The Emancipation of Collette Martin
The Rain, the Park, and Headless Things
An average looking woman with an average shaped body leans against a marble post smoking a cigarette. She is so unexceptional that no one notices the bulging tan bowling bag lying next to her feet. Her light brown eyes scan the lobby of Oakwood National Bank. Happily married couples sit side by side discussing mortgage loans with their plump and grumpy male lenders. Male tellers are discussing the outcome of the Cincinnati Reds game the night before. It was a shame Pete Rose had to miss the All-Star Game. A tall blonde with a nice bust comes prancing over to the woman. "Mr. Montgomery will see you now." The average woman smirks and drops the half-finished cigarette on the marble floor. She gently snuffs the life out of it with the heel of her cherry bomb Mary Janes. She lifts the bowling bag struggling to keep it up and follows the blonde to an open office.
The blonde directs the woman to an empty chair in front of a large oak desk. The woman nods and sits softly in the leather-bound chair. She drops the bowling bag to the floor, and it lands with a dull THUD. "He will be here momentarily", the blonde conveys in a sing-songy tune as she shuts the door. The woman pulls her pack of cigarettes from a small red purse that matches her red skirt and shoes. She lights the cigarette and places the lighter on the desk in front of her. She crosses her legs and leans back letting out a long puff of smoke from her small nostrils. She closes her eyes. The door opens with a slow CREAK.
A short middle-aged balding man creeps over to his desk. He flops in his chair and crosses his hands on top of his desk. "Mrs. Baker, you know I can't help you without your husband present. Bring him on in and I can certainly get you what you need." The woman opens her eyes and takes a long drag of her cigarette. The man pulls a handkerchief from the pocket of his suit jacket and wipes at the beads of sweat just above his bushy eyebrows. The woman pops her tongue and grabs the bowling bag. She unzips it and pulls out a checkbook. "I already have it filled out and signed. I just need to cash it, please." She places the check on the desk and slides it to the man.
The man SCOFFS and snatches it up from the desk. He glances at it quickly and begins to laugh uncontrollably, "Is this a joke? I beg your pardon ma'am, but you must be out of your mind. Your husband will never allow you to withdraw this much money from his account." The woman leans forward, her eyes locked onto the sweat dripping between his eyes, "OUR account." The man continues to chuckle while ripping the check into pieces. Tears well up in the woman’s eyes. "The only way you are getting this amount is if you bring Mr. Baker in here and he signs the check and gives it to me personally, you understand?" The woman wipes away her tear-stained cheeks with her hand, smearing small black traces of mascara. "I knew you were going to say that Mr. Montgomery, that's why I brought him along."
The man sits up straight and gives the woman a puzzled look. The woman gives a soft giggle while tapping her fingers on her knee. "Um, Mrs. Baker I'm sorry, but is he waiting out in the lobby..." The woman gives another soft giggle and motions to the bowling bag with her foot. The man leans forward squinting his eyes to try and get a good glimpse of the inside of the partially unzipped bag. The woman leans forward, her face inches away from his, "Do you want me to get him for you?" The man's body starts to slightly shake with fear, his terrified face goes paperwhite. He manages to muster a low "Yes." between his trembling lips. The woman stands up straight and places her hands on her hips. "Well alright then. First, though I will need..." The woman spots the receipt spike to the left of the desk and snatches it and places it neatly in the middle of the desk. The woman smiles at the man then turns and heaves the bowling bag up onto the desk. She fully unzips the bag and places a hand gently inside.
The woman slightly bites down on her tongue as she slowly raises Mr. Baker's severed head from the bowling bag. She slams his neck stump hard onto the receipt spike. The man GASPS and starts to scream, but the woman leans in and smacks him hard across the face. "Shhh. Don't make a scene. We don't want to be rude to the other patrons." The man leaps up from his seat and backs away from the desk, "I have to c-call the police. You killed him...you killed him you crazy-" The woman holds her palm up to stop the man. "I wouldn't finish that line if I were you. Now, you told me you wouldn't withdraw the money without my husband being present, and well, now that he is present you are just standing there all slack-jawed and silly." The woman crosses her arms and starts tapping her foot, "Why don't you call that beautiful blonde broad and have her get my money ready. Please." The man nods and slowly picks up the receiver to his desk phone and begins dialing. The woman starts to unload the other contents of the bowling bag onto the man's desk; a cleaver, rope, lighter fluid, and some Danishes sealed in a Tupperware container. The man looks up at the woman and she winks at him, "Oh, I need you to try those and tell me if they are good. I tried a new recipe."
The woman walks out of the front entrance of the bank and down the steps and pauses. A loud CRACK of thunder and suddenly rain starts pouring down from the heavens. The woman looks up and closes her eyes. She smiles letting the warm raindrops caress her face. She hears the muffled ring of a fire alarm and the frantic screams of bank patrons as they leave the building. She turns and watches the chaos unfold. A large smile spreads across her face. A police officer runs past her and towards the building. He yells out, "Does anyone know where the fire started?" The woman raises her hand in the air, "Oh, oh, in Mr. Montgomery's office...I think." The police officer gives her a suspicious stare but dismisses her when he notices the fireman has arrived. He runs over to join them.
The woman grows bored of the scene and crosses the street. She enters the park and starts skipping along humming a pop tune. The people around her stare at her with odd fascination as she twirls, laughs, and dances in the downpour. The woman runs her hands over her face and down her hair as if washing away her former self.
"My name is Collette Martin, formally known as Mrs. Collette Baker. I am 35 with no kids and no job. I have spent 12 years being a housewife and homemaker. I enjoy baking, drinking wine in the evening time, and watching I Dream of Jeannie...but what I love most in the whole world is killing. This is my emancipation."