It is soap night. There’s going to be a wedding. Only death can match a wedding and only a wedding can supersede murder. “Jane met George Wickham while attending a wedding. They danced all night and fell in love. It was a love full of passion and violence. They lived together in a small house that sometimes George Wickham smashed up, but he always cleaned up after himself, so Jane never complained, even when he threw a chair through the bedroom window, Jane just kept quiet, smiled, and made him a cup of hot coffee, black, two sugars.” The credits have not started yet; Kitty is telling me the back-story. We are very excited, we had red wine, snacks, it is going to be a long night. The credits have not started yet. “Jane liked the fact that George Wickham never went anywhere without a gun in his belt. He even took the gun with him to the mall. Wherever he went so did the gun. Jane suspected that he had killed a few men. She once asked him and he told Jane that he whacked people.” Kitty stops and takes a swig of the red wine. George Wickham is a member of a family. It is a big family. “Jane liked that George Wickham was close to his brothers and that he would do anything for them. Jane loved him for being loyal. He not only looked after his brothers, but he made sure his mother and sisters were always comfortable. However, nobody was looked after like Jane, he really looked after Jane, he even took the top off boiled eggs for Jane. It was a trick. He would pull out his gun, take aim, and pull the trigger.” On 5 September, (it was a Tuesday) George Wickham pointed his gun, pulled the trigger, and shot Jane in the head. I know this because Kitty told me all about it, the very night, I was at work, she phoned me, she was shocked, the nation was shocked. The music starts. The music is a parody of Georges Delerue’s Le Mepris. The opening credits look cheap.
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A photograph of a very big house. It is morning. The sun is shinning. The sky is cobalt blue. The lawn is perfect. The car parked in front of the big house is shiny and black. Kitty pokes me in the rib and smiles. She likes this house and the people inside the house, the house is a dream house, the people are beautiful and rich. “That is the Darcy house,” says Kitty. It is a photograph I want to say, a simulacrum, but don’t, I don’t want another poke in the rib. “It used to belong to Lady Catherine de Bourgh but she lost it playing poker with a Chinese man and he sold the house to William Collins and he was run over no sorry he fell out of the window although he could have been pushed and so the house ended up with Darcy.” Kitty empties her glass.
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“That’s Elizabeth, Jane’s younger sister,” says Kitty. Jane is on a very big, ornate bed. “That’s Darcy.” Darcy is in the shower. He is extremely good looking. I remove my shoes and slouch. Kitty is getting drunk. Her teeth are purple, her tongue is purple, she has a purple ring around her lips and she is not bothered, Darcy is in the shower and covered in soap sods.
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Elizabeth opens her legs wide and tries to concentrate, but just when she starts to feel good, she thinks about the wedding. “And why is Darcy taking so long in the shower.” She pinches her left nipple and softly circles her clitoris. Two masked men hold her down. One man shoves his big cock into her mouth; the other man inserts his big cock into her anus. It feels good: the smile betrays her. One man bites her nipple, while the other man bites her clitoris. Elizabeth is now fully playing with herself, her legs are opened wide, her lips parted, and sweat starts to appear in places that only the camera can pick up. Her eyelids are glued shut. She fears that if she opens her eyes the orgy will dissipate and Elizabeth does not want the orgy to dissipate. With her eyes closed, the orgy feels so real, the penis in her anus feels so real, it feels so real Elizabeth is amazed just how real it feels. She can feel the hands upon her body; feel the teeth biting her nipple. Elizabeth has to open her eyes. It is all too much. Elizabeth fears she will never again see the real world. What is happening is too real. That the insubstantial has become concrete is too much. Elizabeth opens her eyes. The camera swings around. “Goddamn it Darcy we have a wedding to attend and I don’t want to be late,” says Elizabeth. Kitty laughs. I’m drunk. I sit up.
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Darcy locks the bathroom door and turns on the shower. “Who has two showers in a morning,” says Kitty. Elizabeth is banging on the door. She is using one of Darcy’s shoes. “Hurry up,” says Elizabeth. She is angry. Darcy gargles, spits, and flushes the toilet. He climbs into the shower. Elizabeth sits on the bed. She starts to cry. “She always cries before a wedding,” says Kitty. She curses Darcy silently. This is not cable. She looks at the clock, which is on her side of the bed, (“Darcy refuses to have the clock on his side of the bed”), and screams loudly. I am confused. “Elizabeth hates to be late. She has never been late. No matter what she has to sacrifice, she is never late. The girls’ mother was always late and so the girls made a pact never to be late. Elizabeth and Jenny’s mother had also been a drunk, but Elizabeth and Jenny liked to drink, so they said they would only drink the drinks their mother refused to drink and so they drank only beer. Elizabeth didn’t like beer but beer was better than having nothing, although she did suspect that Jenny touched wine afterall she had been living with George Wickham and wine for George Wickham was like half-and-half for Darcy, neither man could live without their wine and half-and-half. I nod. Kitty smiles pleased with herself. Elizabeth picks up her pillow holds it to her face and cries. “The beauty of a wedding always makes her cry, the pre-husband-and-wife, the flowers, the children, the music, the church, the post-husband-and-wife, the whole event makes Elizabeth cry,” says Kitty. Darcy is singing in the shower. Elizabeth throws the pillow across the room. She picks up Darcy’s shoe and pounds the door. “Darcy we can’t be late. Darcy I refuse to be late.” Elizabeth breaks the heel of the shoe. Darcy climbs out of the shower, dries. He unlocks the bathroom door. Before the door fully opens Elizabeth picks up the heel and the shoes and throws both heel and shoes out of the bedroom window. It is summer and the window is open.
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Darcy can’t find the shoes that he wants to wear for the wedding, so he will have to wear shoes that really don’t match the suit he is going to wear for the wedding, but they are better than no shoes, and Darcy has to wear shoes, he can’t go barefoot to the wedding. This is all so important and serious. Darcy puts on his boxer shorts. Elizabeth is in the shower. “She never sings in the shower. She is pragmatic in the shower; she washes her hair, her body, and shaves the places that need to be shaved.” Darcy sits on the bed and puts on his socks. He turns on the television, closes the window, and lights a cigarette. “Darcy never hurries. His father suffered a huge heart attack while speeding along I-845. The car crashed into a truck transporting highly flammable liquid. The explosion killed twenty-five people.” Darcy stands up and puts on his shirt. Elizabeth is out of the shower. Darcy turns off the television before Elizabeth can catch him watching the television. Mary, Elizabeth’s younger sister, enters the bedroom. She is wearing only bra and panties, cotton, white. I sit up. Kitty shakes her and tuts, she hates Mary, I can tell. “Where’s the bitch,” says Mary. Kitty is scowling: she really hates Mary. I fear for the television. Darcy points to the bathroom door. “Were you doing it earlier,” says Mary. “Fucking,” says Kitty loudly, looking at me, seeing if I understand. Darcy shakes his head, denying the intrusion of Elizabeth’s fantasy. “I am sure I heard you,” says Mary. Darcy grabs Mary, pulls her to him, kisses her hard on the lips, and presses his hand into her crotch. “He likes the feel of cotton and the warmth emanating from the crotch.” Mary sighs. Kitty sighs. I sigh. Darcy covers Mary’s mouth with his free hand and with the other hand presses deeper into Mary’s crotch. Kitty is gaping. Mary’s eyes enlarge. Her face changes color. The camera really picks up the color change. Darcy can feel the hot breath on his hand. Elizabeth is brushing her teeth. The water is running. “She has no concern about waste and the environment.” Darcy pushes Mary away. She hits the wall. “Mary is better looking than Elizabeth,” I admit. “But she doesn’t have the class of Elizabeth. Mary likes jeans and t-shirts that are tight and show off her fantastic nipples, whereas Elizabeth likes Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.” Mary rubs her behind and the leaves the bedroom. I hate commercials.
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Elizabeth opens the bathroom door, as Darcy sits down on the bed. “Get up Darcy we have to hurry I can’t be late you know that,” says Elizabeth. Darcy stands up, walks past Elizabeth, enters the bathroom, and washes his hands. The kitchen is very modern and very, very clean. Mary has prepared breakfast, eggs, bacon, toast, and fresh coffee. Darcy sits down at the table and waits for Mary to fix him a plate and fill up his cup with coffee, half-and-half, one sugar. “Darcy we don’t have time for breakfast,” says Elizabeth. Mary heaps eggs and bacon onto the plate. Darcy takes the plate. Mary fills Darcy’s cup with coffee half-and-half, one sugar. “You better make it quick,” says Elizabeth, sitting down. Mary fixes Elizabeth a plate. “Mary doesn’t have class, but she really knows how to cook, unlike her older sister.” Darcy lights two cigarettes and hands a cigarette to Mary. Elizabeth coughs. The telephone rings. I jump up and hurry to the restroom, I knock over something.
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“Leave it god damn it we can’t talk we are going to be late,” says Elizabeth. She is on the verge of crying again. Mary stuffing her mouth with toast answers the telephone.
“It’s for you,” says Mary. Elizabeth takes the telephone from Mary. “Hello,” says Elizabeth, looking at the clock over the cooker. “Hello Doll I just want to say I loved your older sister and if it weren’t for her I would never have met the love of my life Georgiana and you know that without Georgiana I would never have made it but I just want to tell you I still grieve over Jane.” “Thank you, I too miss Jane,” says Elizabeth. She is crying. “I wish she would stop fucking crying,” says Kitty. Her eyes are barely open. “See you soon at the wedding and don’t be late doll,” says George Wickham. The line goes dead. Elizabeth sits down at the breakfast table and picks up her cup. The cup is empty. Mary fills the cup with coffee. The coffee is cold. “Twenty eight people drowned off the coast of the India. The twenty-eight were doing fine until the sharks showed up. It was very one sided. There wasn’t much of a mess, surprisingly,” says Darcy. He always talks about death.” Elizabeth gives Darcy the look. “The famous look. I love that look.” Kitty does the same look, now I know. “Twenty-five people were killed in a car crash on I-485. It was a dreadful accident. There was a terrible mess,” says Mary. Elizabeth gives Mary a kick.
At a ball given by Mr. Bingley at Netherfield, Mr. Darcy becomes aware of a general expectation that Mr. Bingley and Jane will marry, and the Bennet family, with the exception of Jane and Elizabeth, make a public display of poor manners and decorum. The following morning,
Mary sighs. Her ankle is throbbing. She is a terrible actress. Darcy feds bits of bacon to a cat. The cat is purring. “If you’re going to fed Jane, do not forget Austin,” says Mary. “You’re going to give the cats heart attacks,” says Elizabeth.
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Elizabeth is crying. Darcy locks the front door. “I wonder if Georgiana likes boiled eggs,” says Mary. “My sister loves them,” says Darcy. Mary giggles. “Mary finds Darcy to be very funny. She thinks his humor is on the same level as hers. She believes, and she enjoys this more so than Darcy, who believes he is of a higher intelligence than Mary, and also Elizabeth, even though Elizabeth is a lawyer, and her job allows not only for Darcy not to work, to read book after book, to pretend to write, but also have Mary has a maid.” I scratch my head. I’m lost. Elizabeth walks slowly to her car, but before she can unlock the door, Darcy makes it clear that he is to drive to the wedding in his car. Before Elizabeth can say a word, Mary is standing next to Darcy’s car. “She will sit in the back. Elizabeth will sit next to Darcy. The sisters know that it is all to do with masculinity, that Darcy is making it clear that he is a man, that he is head of the tribe.” I nod my head and keep silent. I don’t want to enter the quagmire and end up fighting to get out. Darcy unlocks the doors. He starts the car. The car slowly rolls forward. Darcy lights a cigarette. Elizabeth says something under her breath. It is not cable. Mary lights a cigarette. Elizabeth says the same thing under her breath. “They have a plan to kill her with second-hand smoke.” The car hurries out of the driveway and rolls over Darcy’s shoes. Darcy puts his foot down on the gas pedal and races the car through the streets with the abandonment of the famous racecar driver, Charles Bingley. “Look Tristram Shandy,” says Darcy, adjusting the rearview mirror as Mary opens her legs, pulls up her dress, and shows Darcy her white cotton panties. The car careens wildly, zipping along. “Can Darcy drive with his eyes on the rearview mirror,” says Mary. No one answers. Kitty is sleeping. I remove the glass and her shoes. Darcy is oscillating and Elizabeth is readjusting her face. Will the wedding take place without violence? Will we get there on time or will we be late? Will Elizabeth see that Mary is showing Darcy her underwear? Will Mary tell her sister that she has been sleeping with her husband? Will George Wickham remove any more egg lids with a bullet? Will he survive now he is the Godfather? Will Elizabeth get cancer and leave her wealth to Darcy and Mary? Will Darcy ever slow down and stop at a red light? These questions—and many others—will be answered in the next
Paul Kavanagh was born in England and lives in Charlotte, N.C. His writing credits include poetry and short stories in Sleeping Fish, Burnside Review, and Monkeybicycle, among others.