The Met

“Webster, hurry darling! Our cab will be here in ten minutes!”

Fuck you, Esther…I mumble under my breath. Another night at the Metropolitan Opera House. Joy of joys. I regret giving Esther season tickets. I didn’t think she’s drag me along every goddamn time. The idea was for her to take one of her snooty friends along with her, but she insisted I go with her instead.

“Webbie, I just know you’ll have a wonderful time at the opera. Think of the culture!”

I hate it when she calls me “Webbie.” Good thing she doesn’t know my secret pet name for her is “Ether,” as in “I want to cover your mouth with a cloth soaked in ether.”

Don’t get me wrong; I love my wife, but I’ve been married to the dizzy broad for almost sixty years. I don’t care who you are, that’s a long fucking time. You try waking up to the same saggy pair of tits and wrinkled jowls every damn morning and try to stay excited for a woman.

“Esther, I don’t want to go tonight. Call Constance or Bonnie and ask if they want to go. I just don’t feel like it.”

Whatever Esther was doing in the other room fell to the ground with a “thud.” If I’m lucky, it was her and she broke her hip.

“Webster Murphy Allen, you are going to the opera with me and that’s final. Now finish putting your tuxedo on. I’ll help with your bow tie.”

Damn. She didn’t break her hip.

I sigh heavily and get up from my leather easy chair that’s in the corner of our bedroom. I place the bookmark into the novel I’m reading–a John Grisham snooze-fest–and set the book on the mahogany end table. I was a lawyer for many years, but haven’t practiced for twenty. That seems like an eternity ago, and truthfully, the last time I was really happy. I loved our legal system and miss it terribly. I like to read Grisham and tear his story to shreds. What a shitty lawyer and an even shittier writer. I could run circles around this clown.

My bones are stiff and crack as I stand up. I am eighty-seven years old, after all. Lately, it seems to have gotten worse. I don’t know if my arthritis is acting up or just old age finally settling into my marrow, but whatever it is, I’m not fond of it. I slowly shuffle over to the closet door where my tuxedo is hung carefully on a wooden hanger. I reach up to grab it and as I do, Esther comes into the bedroom and startles me, causing me to drop the suit on the floor.

“Oh, Webbie, hurry and pick that up before it gets wrinkled and covered in dog hair!”

…Ether on a rag…maybe in her sleep so she won’t struggle…

I dress in the penguin suit and Esther ties my bow tie as promised.

“There. Oh, Webbie, you always look so dashing in a tux,” she coos as she kisses my sunken cheek. “Oh goodness, you need a shave.”

Yes, definitely in her sleep. Quick and painless.


The opera is a bore, as usual. The only thing worth going for was Alice Simmons, the young wife of the maestro. Her seat is one row in front and slightly to the left of me and I have a perfect view of her perky breasts pulling her strapless black gown taut over them during the entire show. I remember when Esther’s breasts were like that and I feel a familiar stirring in my tuxedo trousers. I excuse myself to use the restroom. When the pecker knocks, don’t ignore it.

I make my way to the bathroom and start jacking off in the stall, thinking of Alice Simmons’ tits the entire time, how good they would feel and taste. I finish myself off and look down at the toilet seat to wipe up my mess when I notice blood. My blood. What the hell? My half-stiff pecker still in my hand, I see blood on the tip and gasp in horror.


Prostate cancer is my diagnosis.

“Mr. Allen, I’m afraid it’s advanced very quickly and there isn’t a lot we can do for you at this late stage aside from making you as comfortable as possible,” said the doctor that couldn’t be much older than my grandson, Theo.

“I’m eighty-seven years old, Doc,” I grumble. “I’m surprised I lived this long. You’ve met my wife.”

The young doctor laughs politely as he fills out a prescription for pain medication and slide the blue slip across his massive oak desk toward me. I reach out with arthritic fingers and carefully fold it and place it in the inside pocket of my suit jacket.

“Thanks, kid,” I say with a wink.

“You’re welcome, Mr. Allen.”


Esther wants to take a trip, “for old time’s sake,” she says between tears. She hasn’t taken the news of my impending death well.

“Webbie, we need to get away. I don’t want you spend the last few months of your life cooped up in this old house,” she sniffs and blows her nose loudly.

…maybe ether is too weak for her…maybe chloroform first, then the ether…

We decide on Toronto, Canada, of all goddamned placed. Theo wants to see a Toronto Bluejays game. I want to jump off the top of the CN Tower. Esther wants to go to the opera.

…chloroform, then ether, then a pillow over her face for good measure…

We spend the afternoon shopping and eating far too much food and my balding head gets sunburned at the baseball game, but I see that my family is happy, so begrudgingly, I’m happy too, just very tired and wore out. Esther and Theo want to continue on, but I beg them to let me go back to the hotel to rest. All this crap has worn me out. Esther has pity on a dying man and allows this.

I flip off my sneakers as I sit on the edge of the bed and fall on my back into the soft mattress. I moan with pleasure and immediately fall asleep.

Little did I know I wasn’t going to wake up and my last thought alive would be of Alice Simmons’ perfect breasts.


  1. mark · May 1, 2012

    That you pulled this outta your wazoo in one sitting is very impressive to me. I kind of expected the ending, but it was still the right way to finish it.

    Alice must’ve had quite a rack…

  2. Hugh Hinter · May 1, 2012

    Totally engrossing. Nuanced, touching and oh so very human. It tugged at my heart and my mind. It felt real. I identified with the characters instantly. The narrative and pacing were spot-on. I wanted more. ee zulkoski, you are one talented writer. I’m a fan, if you hadn’t already guessed. Bravo!

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