Strip Jack!

Strip Jack!

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

We'd been caught out in the yacht that day,

A storm blew up in the lee,

The clouds had gathered at four o'clock

In the wake of a rising sea,

'It's looking grim,' I had said to her

As we spun the bows around,

And headed in to the distant shore

As the first of the rain came down.

 

The sun went in and the sky was black

As I reefed the sail in short,

While Linda pulled in the spinnaker,

And clung to the rail's support,

She made her way to the cabin then

As my phone began to ring,

I heard, 'It's done!' and my mind went numb,

It was time to do my thing!

 

She stood with her back toward me as

I lunged with the marlin spike,

She dropped like a faded butterfly

In search of its last midnight,

I dragged her out to the afterdeck

And bound her up in the chain,

Then sent her down with the anchor where

She never would wake again!

 

I cast off the anchor chain and then

I retched all over the deck,

It had to be done, I told myself,

And I thought of her cousin, Beck,

She'd done the deed we'd agreed upon,

Had seen off her husband, Ben,

So Beck would be mine to have and hold

As I'd dreamed and I'd schemed, back when.

 

We'd always been close, the four of us,

Had holidayed in the snow,

We'd sat in a dark secluded bar

In the aftermath of a show,

We'd played Strip Jack in the garden 'til

The women were stripped to the waist,

Then each of us swapped, and went to bed,

And woke to a different face!

 

We thought we could get away with it,

Old friends, just casual sex,

We'd been together so long, we had

No clue what would happen next,

I thought that Linda was furtive,

Making eyes at Ben in the dark,

And I was caught in a whisper then,

With Beck in our local park.

 

Then Ben and I found the silences

Embarrassing, hard to bear,

Where once we'd laughed and we'd joked

That camaraderie wasn't there,

Then Beck had told me he'd soured on her,

And Linda, too, went strange,

So when we swapped, we schemed and planned

With our partners out of range.

 

'I think he's planning to murder me,'

Said Beck, on a tearful night,

When she curled up tight in the sheets and cried,

And seemed in an awful plight,

'I wonder what they're planning now,'

She said, in the early dawn,

Then I thought of Linda's silences,

And Ben, and I felt forlorn.

 

Then Beck had told me she loved me so,

And drove me out of my mind,

I knew that I'd do most anything

For the wife of my former friend,

She said one day that she had a plan,

To rid herself of Ben,

'But you must do what you have to do

When I phone, and tell you when!'

 

I tied the yacht to the outer Quay

Drove homeward, just as we'd planned,

I thought to report the following day

That she'd left for another man,

But when I opened the old front door

I saw them sitting there,

Both Ben, alive, in the dining room,

And Beck with a frightened stare!

 

'Where's Linda?' Ben was the first to speak,

And I just froze - he knew!

But Beck said, 'I tried phoning her,

I thought that she was with you.'

And then she showed me the frosted cake

She'd worked on all day through,

'It's for your anniversary,

She'd planned a surprise for you!'

 

I pulled the cell phone out, and stared,

The phone had been my wife's,

My own I'd left in the den downstairs,

That message had cost her life.

'It's done!' meant the anniversary cake,

I hadn't replied a word,

Now Ben looked long and hard at me,

'Where's Linda?' - then he stared!

 

I said that she must be out somewhere,

Then opened a cask of wine,

Sat back, as Ben filled the tumblers full

I knew, for the final time.

'Here's to your anniversary,'

He said, as we drank the toast,

And I thought I could see by the window there

The shape of my Linda's ghost.

 

But Beck had choked on the wine, and gasped,

Her mouth a purple hue,

She stared and sighed in a faint surprise

As the truth came into view.

'She's dead, my friend, did you think I'd lend

My wife for the sake of yours?

I knew the play and it ends today,

Where's Linda - Dead? Of course!'

 

There wasn't another word to say,

We sat and drank in the dark,

With Beck spread over the table like

Some rag doll, left in the park.

I read the anniversary card

That Linda had left for me:

'To the only man I have ever loved...

On our anniversary!'

 

David Lewis Paget

© 2012 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

That is great!
I couldnt help but think of the play 'strangers on a train'(i think that was its name). But the witty way you told it, and wife swapping twist was entertaining. Not sure how or why some people do that, but i know a few who do or have..{ewee}.
really enjoyed reading your work!!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

i love it a very engrossing story in the travel size form of a poem

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Your poems hit in the gut! Often I read them twice or thrice! I enjoy the thrill and tension till the end. It brings out the hunger for the unusual and of course I wait for the surprise at the end. I really love your poems!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David..darn I had thought he was going to get away with it,,only the other man in the picture had thought out a betteer ending..You are an amazing writer my Aussie Mate..I pray you and Lyn are doing well and getting better each day..love..Kathie

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

That was a fabulous tale. So tragic, and so well put together. I loved reading every word.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

That is great!
I couldnt help but think of the play 'strangers on a train'(i think that was its name). But the witty way you told it, and wife swapping twist was entertaining. Not sure how or why some people do that, but i know a few who do or have..{ewee}.
really enjoyed reading your work!!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Blimey, here's a tale of tragedy! Amazingly woven, haunting and deathly tale full of intrigue murder and shadows. Marvellous.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Bloody hell. I'm so naive I just can't imagine people wife swapping. They don't do they? But then I never understand, when in a restaurant with others, why said others want to sample bits off each others' plates. I am clearly missing out somewhere. Now where was my birdspotter's global list of species? Great write, sir.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This was great!!! I loved the story inside the poem and the darkside of it all_ good job!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Given the nature of the plot, it would hardly have done to have all come out well, now would it? But as I've no desire to sound like a broken record, I'll only congratulate you, in somewhat less effusive terms than ordinarily, on another masterpiece of the macabre, David. Well done!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I love your voice, how it lends an air of timelessness to the poem. At once, it seems modern and ancient. Aside from the telephone of course, it could have happened anytime. It's a tragic tale of love and deceit, hope and happenstance. As always, you entertain and make me forget that I'm even reading.

One of my favorite bookplates reads, "Books - they open and you fall in." Your poems are like that. I simply fall in.

Great job!

Linda Marie

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 13, 2010
Last Updated on June 28, 2012
Tags: friends, cousins, swapping, murder

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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