Dead Man’s Party by Joni Caggiano

A small jute doll with a red heart and voodoo pins sticking out of it
Image Source: Canva Pro

Isabella was having a difficult time breathing.  Every inch of her was crying silently, releasing her anger on the gas pedal.  She restrained herself by pumping the breaks so her husband, Liam, whom she was tailing, would not see her red Tesla.

Isabella was a striking woman who loved her husband of twenty years.  She knew it would be difficult marrying a doctor.  He would always have access to beautiful young nurses and interns.  Somebody was satisfying Liam’s zealous craving for sex, that much she knew.

The thought of another woman touching Liam’s body made her crazy.  Isabella had tried her best to seduce him using expensive lingerie and toys.  She knew every way imaginable to excite him after twenty years.  Yet nothing was working.

She slowed down, opened a window, and let the cool fall air settle her.  Isabella had always bought elaborate decorations and spent hours designing their Halloween party.  There was always a lot of merriment in the community for their annual Halloween festivities.  This was unlikely to be another jovial Halloween.

Liam had not noticed Isabella’s car.  Near the hospital, Isabella saw a red-headed woman who looked very young run towards Liam.  Isabella could tell she was a resident. Her heart was hemorrhaging as she saw their passionate embrace.  The mere thought of living without Liam was unbearable, yet her uncanny desire to run them both over engulfed her.

The next day, Isabella entered the kitchen early, and Liam was sporting too much fragrance.  “Liam, what is the nature of this seminar?  It seems odd that you’re leaving the week before Halloween.  You know how much Sara’s gymnastic team likes to have her friends over.  I am making my famous martinis again, and everyone is already asking about our party.”

“I will be here the whole week before Halloween.  The seminar is the week after. Isabella, I can tell you are upset about something.  Your hands are shaking.  Why don’t you tell me what is wrong?” Liam said in an abnormally irritating voice. 

“Perhaps it’s because you have become both an absent husband and father.  Perhaps something else has all your attention?”

“Honestly, sweetheart, you and Sara are the only things I think of when I am not at work.  Did you contact the same agency to send actors out to frighten the kids again this year?  I am going to be late,” Liam said as he whistled out the door.

Isabella called the hospital to talk to her best friend of fifteen years, Susi, who was a nurse there.  It took only minutes for Susi to tell Isabella everything.  Her name was Ava, a twenty-six-year-old intern.  Isabella was hysterical but managed a sincere thanks before vomiting in her coffee cup.

Isabella called the hospital and informed Ava that she had some information that was vital about her new boyfriend, Dr. Liam Alexander.  Ava was reluctant, but she agreed to meet for lunch in two hours.  Ava tried sounding professional, but Isabella could tell she was scared. 

After three hours, they were both crying.  Ava told Isabella that she had no idea he was married or had a child.  Their spicy dating period had been going on for over a year.  

Ava and Isabella plotted their revenge.  Isabella would have a gardener dig a hole for a large containment garden and provide a top to close it.  Ava would provide a safe combination of drugs to knock Liam out for four hours on Sunday, October 23rd, when Sara was having a sleepover with her fellow gymnasts.  Ava would come over at midnight to help bury Liam in the containment garden.  Isabella would call the hospital on Monday to let them know the family was sick from COVID, so no one would be looking for Liam.

Isabella would have everything ready when Ava got there.  Isabella would drill two holes: a small hole to provide oxygen and a few drops of water daily and a fist size hole with a stopper.

Isabella and Ava agreed to keep Liam buried until the Halloween party.  There would be actors playing ghosts, goblins, talking pumpkins, and giant bugs.  The box containing her husband would be in an area with lots of activity. 

Isabella would punch the stopper when pretending to drop some candy.   The larger hole would make it easy for someone to hear his screams.  With the screams audible, there would be a rush toward the area.  One of the male guests would certainly dig up her unfaithful husband.  Liam would never know how he got there. 

He would emerge covered in urine and, hopefully, some feces.  With every one of their neighbors clapping for the most significant evening performance, Liam would have to play along.  His ego was way too big to confess his affair with Ava.

And the first thing he would see when he was out of the box would be Isabella, Ava, and Susi having martinis and clapping along with everyone else.

The plan was executed with precision and on the evening of the party, a couple of young children heard Liam’s screaming above all the noise, and he was rescued.  The man stood up to thunderous applause from the crowd!  It was the best entertainment the family had ever pulled off.

The neighbors laughed hysterically.  All night, the guests had been told that Liam was busy in an emergency surgery.  Liam, weak and bewildered, collapsed upon seeing the faces of his wife, her best friend, and Ava.  The applause for Liam’s supposed performance was easily heard throughout their community.  But when the host didn’t stand up and bow, someone asked if he was alright.

One of the physicians quickly ran to Liam’s side and checked to see if he was breathing.  Unable to detect a heartbeat, he performed CPR but could not revive the man.  The coroner was at the party and pronounced Liam dead from what appeared to have been a massive coronary.

-JONI CAGGIANO

Joni’s blog is Rum and Robots, where she has published poetry, photography, and short stories. Take a look at Joni’s work in Spillwords Press NYC, Vita Brevis Press, The Finest Example, The Tiny Seed Literary Journal, I Write Her – The Short of it, and MasticadoresUSA. Joni’s work was included in the following anthologies: The Sound of Brilliance (The Short of It Publishing, Volume 1 2020), Inner Eye (Poets Choice, 2021), and It’s Not Easy (Poets Choice 2021). Her blog is an effort to give back – she is a surviving Adult Child of Alcoholics. Joni is a retired nurse and paralegal.

You can also read her writing on Instagram @jonicaggiano and Twitter @theinnerchild1.

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32 Comments Add yours

  1. Terveen Gill says:

    Joni’s short story is an eerie blend of betrayal, revenge, and sheer bad luck. Beware of a woman and her hurt, it could be deadlier than poison. The story progresses from doubt to conviction to revenge to satisfaction to a bizarre turn of events, and keeps the reader guessing and looking for closure. If death can be the outcome of a Halloween lesson gone wrong, then learning is definitely injurious to health. Happy Halloween!
    Congratulations Joni!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Thank you so much Terveen for your kind words and for having faith in my words. I certainly appreciate all of your gracious words as well. I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. Sending big hugs, Joni

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes! Congratulations Joni! A most powerful piece, so well written and so full of emotion! Joni, you are a wonderful writer, both in poetry and short prose and I am sure that if you attempt a longer narrative or form, maybe a novel, you would be successful. Cheers and all the best! And I congratulate Terveen Gill for selecting the work of this wonderful and blessed writer. All the best and greetings from Spain.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      What a sweet comment Francisco. You have written such a lovely comment and made my morning so special indeed. I appreciate all your faith in me and it means a lot. I too, am grateful that Terveen has faith in my abilities. Thank you for reading my story and I wish you a wonderful day and send blessings your way. All the best to you two as well. Love Joni

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You’re very welcome Joni! Lots of love to you both ⚘️

        Liked by 2 people

  3. bobro87 says:

    Intriguing story, beautifully written! I couldn’t read it fast enough to find out what happens. Great work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Thank you so much for reading Jill. I appreciate your kind comment and thanks for taking the time to read my story. Sending the whole family lots of love and hugs. We will have to catch up very soon my friend. Big hugs and love, Joni

      Liked by 1 person

  4. michnavs says:

    You are a briliant story teller Joni….i have to read and read it again because it is so good

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Hi Mich thank you so much for your kindness. I appreciate your reading my story and making such a kind comment. It always means a lot to me when anyone reads a story because I know everyone is busy. Have a wonderful and blessed week ahead. Sending big hugs and love, Joni

      Liked by 2 people

      1. michnavs says:

        Sending you more love Joni…🎈🌹

        Liked by 2 people

        1. jonicaggiano says:

          Thank you Mich, we can not have too much love and I am grateful for yours. ❤️

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Michele Lee says:

    Oh my, a tangled web Liam did weave! Joni, you are a creative and imaginative storyteller!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Thank you Michele for reading and for your kind comment. Liam did get himself in a mess. Sending you big hugs and blessings Michele. Joni

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Michele Lee says:

        You are welcome, Joni. My pleasure! Have a wonderful week of writing and being. 💖

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Cassa Bassa says:

    What an ending on a Halloween party!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Thank you Cassa for reading I really appreciate it. Yes, he messed with two angry women that were a bit vengeful. They did mean to kill him. Blessings to you my friend. Hugs, Joni

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cassa Bassa says:

        Ha Lady Vengeance (a perfume name made by Juliette Has A Gun – a French perfume house).

        Liked by 2 people

        1. jonicaggiano says:

          Haha Cassa that is some serious vengeance! That is wild, I had not heard about the perfume. Pretty wild! Big hugs my friend xoxoxo

          Like

  7. kenhume31 says:

    That’ll teach Liam a lesson not to mess around or betray the women in his life!😛😛😉 Well written Joni! 👏👏👍👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Dear Ken thanks for reading me here so much. Also you are certainly right Liam messed with two wrong women. They also got a surprise never meaning to kill the guy. “Getting even,” is bad business. Thanks for your kind compliment my friend. Big hugs, Joni

      Like

      1. kenhume31 says:

        You’re welcome Joni. 🙏😊No worries. I do enjoy reading your work wherever it’s at! 😁 An example of karma on both sides of the fence.

        Like

  8. Great story, Joni!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Dawn thank you for reading and your kind compliment. It is appreciated. Sending big hugs and blessings, Joni

      Liked by 1 person

  9. HensBlooms says:

    Very well written short story Joni 💕🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Thank you so much dearest Henrietta. I appreciate your reading me here and your sweet comment. Hope your new week is off to a great start. Big hugs and love, Joni

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my goodness, Joni! Your stories are so thoughtful and detail-oriented, bravo my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jonicaggiano says:

    Tiffany thank you so much for reading with your crazy schedule. It means a lot to me. What a kind comment indeed. Sending lots of love your way, and hope things settle down at work.

    Like

  12. Aish says:

    Intriguing story. You really know how to keep the readers keep hooked on ’till the end. Enjoyed reading it. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

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