YOU JUST NEVER KNOW what nutty thing will take you to the top of the heap. Of course I
was already something of a local celebrity, but I never thought I’d have to shoot someone
to become a household name–in a good way, that is. Anyway, the fact is that just one
week ago, I, Marlene Milstein-Whitman, shot Benjamin Brian Whitman, sole bearer of
my DNA. And I can’t even claim it was an accident, since there were many witnesses,
eight if you count Benjy. Everyone was there to sample the dinner I was planning for the
approaching bat mitzvah of Brittany Grossman, daughter of the plumbing Grossmans,
who not only run the town but are also major backers of Carl’s campaign. Bernie
Grossman himself was so close to the actual “scene of the crime” that some blood
spattered onto his 100-percent cashmere pants, which he did not like one bit, being something of a snappy dresser.
“Jeez-uz Kay-rist, Marlene, what the devil have you done?” he sputtered, calling 911 on his cell phone. “We need an ambulance out here to the mayor’s house,” he shouted. “There’s been a shooting–the mayor’s son has been shot!”
“Oh God,” screamed Bernie’s wife, the bejeweled and bulimic Belle Grossman, just before she fainted daintily onto my orange velvet sectional. The two other couples serving on the bat mitzvah-menu focus group skedaddled pronto, leaving me with my husband Carl, Bernie, the unconscious Belle and the more unconscious Benjy, to wait for help. As the paramedics loaded Benjy into the ambulance, I begged to ride with him.
“Hold it, she’s the one that shot him!” shouted Bernie, but it was too late, we were off with the sirens wailing and lights flashing. Carl stayed behind for damage control, yelling, “Call me as soon as there’s anything!”
At the hospital they stuck me in some doctor’s lounge with a cup of coffee and a donut to await my son’s fate. I was petrified that he might die, which of course meant I would too, since what mother could live after killing her child? Like most people, I started making deals with God about what I would do if Benjy were spared: Besides fasting on Yom Kippur, I promised to always pick up my dog’s poop even if nobody was watching, and never curse at telemarketers, just politely say, “No, thank you,” after all they are just trying to earn a living. But my thoughts of future good deeds were blotted out by visions of harsh legal proceedings, loosely based on bad TV movies starring Meredith Baxter Birney:
JUDGE: How do you plead, you despicable creature?
ME: I plead for my son’s forgiveness, Your Honor.
JUDGE: Well, don’t hold your breath . . . unless, of course, it was an accident.
ME: No sirree, Bob, that was no accident. I did it on purpose, I took aim and shot.
JUDGE: How could you shoot your own child, and such a handsome boy at that?
ME: Actually, he started it, Your Honor. My wounds are far deeper than his, I’m sure, unless I’ve killed him. Oh, I never should have had children, in fact I never really wanted children, it’s just that Carl was always working late, and I went off the pill, you see, I had an allergic reaction to—
JUDGE: Shut up, you worthless cockroach! You are the lowest of the low; there is no excuse you could offer . . .
Interrupting this reverie was a doctor who looked to be about 14, dressed in blue-green pajamas and paper slippers and with a little cotton mask dangling from one ear.
“Mrs. Mayor? Or Mrs. Whitman, I’m not sure what the correct terminology is.
“Mrs. Whitman is fine.”
“Well then, Mrs. Whitman, you’ll be happy to learn that your son will be fine.”
“Really! My Benjy is alive? After a bullet through the heart?”
“Actually, the bullet merely grazed his buttock, impacting his hip joint more than anything else. He was never in any danger. Whoever shot him either never intended to hurt him or had very poor aim.”
“Oh, that was me. I have a severe astigmatism, not to mention a pair of very cheap glasses I got at ForEyes.”
“Mrs. Whitman? Your son is okay, but he’s not perfect: He will certainly live, but he may limp. And he will never run a marathon, will never summit Mount Everest and surely will never forgive you. Ha ha, just a little joke there. Anyway, in the silver-lining department, he will probably qualify for handicapped plates and so will always have that great parking spot outside the movies, restaurants, the mall, whatever.”
“What did you say?”
“I said you can peek in on him now, but he’s been given a sedative and will most likely sleep all night, so you might as well go on home.”
“Can I just sit in his room?”
“Certainly, as long as you’re not packing heat.”
“I said, would you like something to eat?”
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.