Such a Cruel Month
It’s April and Stu Abbleford wants to walk in the park even though his wife objects because two men died there in recent months. Days later in the park Stu meets an old boss he blames for a brutal accident. Stu wants to kill him, but the job proves difficult and then the boss turns up dead anyhow. Stu unravels as he tries to sort out what happened, and in the end, he surprises even the cops. More
April might indeed be the cruelest month. Take the case of Stuart Abbleford.
A retired resident of Des Moines, Iowa, Stu has walked at the mall for his winter exercise, but now that April has arrived, he’s ready to stretch his legs in a park with green grass and fresh air.
Stu hears his wife steering him toward a walk around the neighborhood, but he’s bored with that. He also shrugs off the reality that two men have died in the park in recent months. One was a suicide, and the other was a drug dealer who was robbed and murdered. The latter, Stu asserts, just goes with the territory.
So despite old injuries and some creakiness of age, Stu goes to the park for regular exercise. After a few days, he meets a man his age who suggests they once worked together. Neither man figures out the other at first, but on their second meeting the truth comes out. After twenty-two years, Stu has again encountered his nemesis, Tom Lasley.
Stu blames Lasley, his onetime boss, for a work incident that severely injured him, but Lasley doesn’t see it that way and advises Stu that his grudge is doing him more harm than good. After craving revenge for so long, Stu threatens to kill his old boss but lacks the means to murder him that day in the park.
After Lasley flees, Stu digs out his father’s old hunting knives and becomes obsessed with terminating Lasley, whom he now considers only a despicable parasite. As the mission proves more difficult than expected, Stu grows to accept the advice of his wife Kate that the best course is to forgive his old boss. Even so, Stu struggles to let go of his old grudge.
Later in the month, when Lasley is actually stabbed to death, the police turn up the heat on Stu. He insists he’s innocent, but wherever the truth lies, Stu begins to unravel as he tries to sort out what happened and what didn’t.
On the last day of April, Stu finds himself talking to the cops again. A boxed-up pistol on the dining table is one surprise he serves up, but far from the only one.
Available ebook formats: