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The Final Suit.

Fizzy Wine in Greece

By JBazPublished 4 months ago 7 min read
The Final Suit.
Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

A cardboard box, why would he even suggest such a thing?

Abbey swept the last of the imaginary dirt into the empty dustpan. Staring nowhere and everywhere, as she carefully hung the broom back in the closet for the fourth time that morning. Each motion was mechanical, pure reflex, without thought.

She remained motionless, as the grandfather clock struck eleven times to announce the hour. As the last chime faded, she realized there was only two hours left, before her daughter came to pick up her fathers suit. In her mind, once she did that, everything would become real.

Abbey made for the bedroom, preparing to pick the suit for her husband, but first a cup of tea would be in order. Filling the kettle and placing it on the stove she patiently waited for the water to boil.

Her mind drifted back to this mornings disturbing conversation with the insurance company. Who informed her that due to the many withdrawals there was less than ten thousand dollars left in the account. Abbey was unaware that Daniel had been withdrawing cash from the policy. They were never rich, but she was astonished to find they were in such dire straights that he was using their life insurance money to live.

The sharp whistle of the kettle filled the tiny kitchen, she made herself an oolong tea. In mid pour she suddenly had a craving for a stronger beverage, like peppermint schnapps. Abbey was not accustomed to the taste of alcohol; she tried schnapps once and thought it was refreshing. Although, much to expensive to purchase for herself.

All their lives they struggled to get ahead, always falling short. Poor investments, wrong place wrong time, you name it bad luck followed them like the plague.

But Daniel always said they had each other, and that was enough.

On those rare occasions when she decided to join the ladies for a luncheon, the girls always sipped on sparkling wine. They seemed to have so much fun drinking the luxurious beverage, but it was beyond her budget, so she stuck with tea. Daniel used to say she wasn't missing anything; he tried it and didn’t care for the taste. She figured that was why he always drank beer.

Sipping the last of her tea, Abbey washed her cup and put it away immediately, the way Daniel liked it.

Her thoughts drifted back to yesterdays talk with Carl, one of her oldest friends and the towns funeral director. He fancied her in high school, and she had felt the same. He was so tall and handsome, there was something about his mocha skin that accented every muscle in his athletic body. But in 1974 the idea of them being together was taboo and they both knew it.

One night, Abbey told her best friend Betty, who in turned told her parents, who in turn told Abbey’s parents, who then sent Abbey to a private school. Her father was so angry.

That plan backfired because she met Danny and before they knew it…..she was pregnant.

Regardless, she and Carl remained close, never romantically of course.

Carls words were still bouncing around, inside her head. He was aware of their financial situation and mentioned that they could still use the expensive casket in church for the service. After the service they would bury Daniel in a cardboard coffin. Many people were doing this now. The cost would be a fraction of what she would be paying.

Abbey asked Carl 'Was his wife buried in a cardboard coffin?' After a moment of silence, Carl whispered, ‘No.’ But begged her to think on it.

Abbey refused to hear any more on the cardboard box, saying, Danny was a good man and treated her well. He was an industrious person. Besides, when he found out he was sick, he picked out the casket himself.

That of course was before she found out the insurance money was no longer there. She was counting on the money, so she could pay off the second mortgage and the funeral expenses and hopefully have enough left for her to live on.

Now she wasn't so sure. Perhaps if she cut back on a few things like cable television and worked for a few more years. Also, she would continue cutting her own hair

She should be fine.

She now understood why Danny was always upset that her job did not have a pension.

It dawned on her that the amount left in the insurance wouldn't even cover the funeral cost.

Wandering through the empty home, she walked past her cabinet full of snow globes and postcards. Places Danny had been on his travels with work. He would bring her one from every trip, describe the city in detail, saying one day they would go there on a holiday together. Her favorites were New York, and London, but she always dreamt of going to Greece.

Unfortunately, the timing never worked out, with four pregnancies, and a mortgage, cash flow was always low. She wanted a job, but Danny said no wife of his would work, he was the man, and he would provide. Until one year they had no choice. Abbey got a job at a department store. On her first day as she was leaving, Danny stood in the doorway crying, it broke her heart.

Sitting on the edge of her empty bed, her hand casually caressed the place where Danny slept for almost fifty years. Abbey looked up and saw her reflection in the mirror. Other than some grey hairs, she still looked good, people said she looked ten years younger than her age. She was a little heavier, but her waist was still modestly slim. Housework, maintaining the yard and garden, while caring for four children was better than any gym. Plus, to save on the cost of a bus pass, she walked to and from work every day.

With a sigh, Abbey stood up, she had put this off for to long. Carl was waiting for the final suit Danny would ever wear.

Opening the closet door, she stared at his collection. He always looked so handsome in them, so dignified. She had to admit even near the end Danny still looked good. He worked hard at keeping his physique, going to the gym, playing on the company softball team, even after he retired. And of course, golf with his friends once a week.

Abbey chose the dark blue one, pulled out his black shoes, and grey shirt and laid them on the bed. She was about to walk away when she remembered the tie. Opening the closet once more she glanced at them, one by one. This was an important decision. Reaching for a dark grey tie with tiny black stripes, she pulled, but it caught on something. Sliding the rest of the clothing items out of the way, she noticed the tip of the tie disappeared into the back corner wall of the closet. With a sharp tug, the tie came loose as did a section of the wall. It opened, revealing a secret compartment.

After a few moments contemplating, Abbey grabbed all the remaining clothes and threw them on the bed. Staring into the empty closet, she knelt and opened the secret door further. Her eyes grew wide, her mouth dropped. She couldn't believe what she saw. It didn't make sense, none of it did. She cleaned the house, she did the laundry, how had she not seen this before.

This was impossible.

Reaching her hand into the cavity she grasped one of the items, and slowly withdrew it. Kneeling on the floor, numb, staring at the largest bundle of cash she ever held in her life. Her hand could barely hold it. Flipping through the bills she realized they were all hundreds. After a brief hesitation, Abbey dove in and began withdrawing stack after stack. Soon she was surrounded by bundles of cash. The closet floor was littered with packages of hundreds and fifties.

Standing up, trying to make sense of it all, it dawned on her that Danny must have squirreled all this money away for years, or he wasn’t who he said he was, or …or. Her head started spinning.

All those holidays they never took, all the second-hand clothes she purchased for her and the children, the fizzy wine she could have tried.


A sense of peace washed over her, realizing she no longer needed to worry about the funeral expense.

Abbey dialed the phone and waited for Carl to answer. Clearing her throat and composing herself she spoke. "Carl, tell me more about that cardboard box option."

Short Story

About the Creator


I have enjoyed writing for most of my life, never professionally.

I wish to now share my stories with others, lets see where it goes.

Born and raised on the Canadian Prairies, I currently reside on the West Coast. I call both places home.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (10)

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  • Ibeto Prince3 months ago

    very nice

  • This was poignant and uplifting at the same time. I’m really curious to know what she’s going to do with all that cash, a holiday, start over somewhere new, or just modestly live out her days. Great Story Jbaz

  • Cathy holmes4 months ago

    This is fabulous and I absolutely love that ending. Well done.

  • Naomi Gold4 months ago

    LOVE this. All the fizzy wine for Abbey, and for you! 🥂 I especially love how you started the story off so mysteriously, cardboard? WTF? And then ended it with that phone call. Good luck in the challenge.

  • Lol, I loved what Abbey did at the end. From being so hesitant and feeling so bad about Daniel being buried in a cardboard box, she became utmost confident after he discovery! Fantastic story!

  • Dana Stewart4 months ago

    You are brilliant. This story, this plot, the character development. Absolutely fantastic Jason! I don't want to give anything away, but I love how she reconciled the betrayal there at the end. 💞

  • Mark Gagnon4 months ago

    My kind of story! Well done 👍

  • Phil Flannery4 months ago

    A spy perhaps? Money man for the mob? Bad Danny!

  • ALI HAMZA4 months ago

    nice story.

  • Babs Iverson4 months ago

    Fabulous story, Jason!!! Loved it!!!

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