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Simon glanced at his watch as the elevator passed the 25th floor and stopped at the 24th.  The doors parted and three people stepped on; Simon moved with the crowd to make room for the new passengers.  As the elevator dropped silently, Simon looked at his watch again.  It was 12:06.  He had only one hour for lunch and he didn't like spending any of it in the damn elevator. The elevator stopped at the sixth floor, and, once again, Simon moved with the crowd to make room. This time, he was pushed to the back and forced to endure the discomfort of being pressed between a hard wall and a fat, albeit, soft, perfume-saturated amazon.  He began to feel dizzy as the elevator stopped at the lobby.  The doors opened and a mass of flesh moved quickly toward the revolving doors that led to the street. The thirty-five-year-old stock broker took a deep breath of fresh, perfume-free, polluted city air as he walked briskly away from his office building.

As usual, it took him five minutes to reach the restaurant where he was to meet Donna.  He entered the crowded restaurant and looked for her. As he scanned the crowd, he saw a waving arm; it was Donna. He sighed and moved into the restaurant. After narrowly missing several speeding waiters, Simon reached Donna's table and slid into the chair opposite her.  He wriggled out of his overcoat and draped it over the back of his chair.

"At last. I'm here."  He took her hands in his and smiled lovingly at her. "You look great."

She did look lovely in her sexy, black dress. He was especially aware of her beautiful, blond hair that fell sensuously on her shoulders. "I'm glad you're here. I missed you."

"I missed you, too," he assured her. "The week seemed like an eternity."

"Will we be able to meet this weekend," she whispered.

As Simon was about to answer her, a voice attached to a middle-aged body with a black apron around its middle asked if they were ready to order. “Bring us two house salads, please,” Donna said, and the waiter scooped up the menus and left.

"I won't know if I can get away until Friday.  My mother-in-law might be coming to visit. If she does, my wife will probably take her shopping.  That will mean they'll be away for most of Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed."

"I hope you`ll be able to get away, Simon. I really need you."

"It's so unfair, Donna.  Why couldn't we have met ten years ago? Why do I have to be with the wrong person? Why? You were smart. You got out of your bad marriage before you got in too deep. Why didn't I?  If I had known a long time ago that I could feel what I feel with you, I... hell, it doesn't do any good to agonize. It's just that I want to be with you so badly, but all we can do is meet like two thieves in the night." Simon sighed and leaned back in his chair just as the waiter came with the salads and left.  Simon picked up his fork and looked at Donna, who had tears in her eyes.

"Donna, you’re crying?"

"I'm sorry, Simon. I can't help it. I love you so much and I want to be with you as much as you want to be with me, but we can't be together." She took a dainty handkerchief from her purse and wiped her eyes. "Simon. It's getting late, and we have to get back to work. Let's enjoy these few moments. Okay?"

Simon smiled and nodded.

They ate their lunch and chatted about their love for each other.  After they finished eating, the waiter brought the bill. After checking the waiter's addition, Simon placed several bills on the table and then turned to get his coat from the back of his chair. As he was about to pull his coat off the back, he gasped and spun around. Donna, who was zipping her jacket, looked up quickly. "What's wrong, Simon?  You look like you saw a ghost."

Simon leaned forward and whispered, "Look behind me, to your right, in the corner, on the other side of the restaurant. Do you see her?"

"See who?"

"It's Sharon, my wife.  I wasn’t sure when I first saw her because she’s so far away, but she turned and I saw her face for a moment, and I’m sure it’s Sharon."

"Are you sure, Simon?"

"I'm positive.  We've got to get out of here," he said and they walked quickly out of the restaurant.

They met the next day at an out-of-the-way pub. "Yesterday, when you got home?  Did your wife say anything?"

"No, she didn't.  She didn't say a word. I don't know what to think. I can't believe she was at the restaurant by accident.  I think she was following me."  Simon held her hands. “I want you, Donna, and the only way I’m going to have you is if my wife disappears.”

“I don’t understand, Simon. What do you mean?”

“I’m going to kill my wife,” he whispered.

Donna’s jaw dropped. “Murder? Simon, I want you as much as you want me, but murder isn’t the answer.  Don’t you watch the news or read the paper? People generally don’t get away with murder. Simon, I don’t want any part of murder. I don’t want to be with a murderer. Stay with your wife. Look, we can get together once in a while.”

“No. A woman as beautiful as you won’t stay single for long. I couldn’t stand thinking of another man making love to you. I’m going to go through with it.”

“Donna will come around. She loves me and she’ll accept that what I’m doing I’m doing for us.” That night, Simon suffocated his wife with a pillow. “There, I did it. Now, Donna and I can be together,” he thought and wrapped his wife’s body in a blanket, took her body to the garage and put it into the trunk of the car. He thought for a moment.  “Where can I bury her? I know. The woods below the Blue Mountains,” he said, got a shovel and drove ten miles to the woods.  After putting her body on the ground, he dug a grave four-feet deep, put her body in and filled the grave with dirt. “There. Nobody will ever find her,” he said and drove home. The next morning, he called Donna. “Donna, meet me for lunch. Our usual place,” he said and hung up.

The next morning, Donna called Simon. “I won’t be able to meet you for lunch, Simon. My boss called a staff meeting that will run from eleven to three. Call me tonight,” she said and hung up.

“Okay, my news will wait. I’ll go to lunch by myself,” he said and left for work. At noon, he went to their usual restaurant and ordered a salad. While he waited, he looked around the restaurant. “No,” he mumbled as he stood up. “It can’t be,” he said and walked slowly toward a table where a woman was sitting. He approached her and she looked up at him. “May I help you?” she said wondering why this person was there.

He stood silently staring wide-eyed at her. After a few moments, he pointed his finger at her. “You can’t be here,” he screamed and began to shake. “I killed you.”

The woman looked terrified at the raving man. “Who are you? What do you want?”

Several men got up from their tables and walked quickly toward Simon.

“You’re dead. I killed you. You have to go back to your grave,” he yelled, and, as he leaped across the table to get at her, the approaching men grabbed him and held him down. “Let me go. She can’t be here. Take her back to her grave. She’s dead.”

The court ruled that Simon was a danger to society and was sent to a facility for the insane, where he was locked in a room. To this day, he paces, and yells over and over and over. “I killed her. She shouldn’t be following me. Take her back to her grave. She’s dead. I killed her. I killed her: I killed her; take her back to her grave. I killed her…….”

It is said that every person has a double, a doppelganger. Obviously, Simon never knew about doppelgangers.

The End


Bio: While teaching communication skills and English at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote short stories and plays, one of which won a reading at Smith College. Since retiring in 2000, he has written short stories and novellas.








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