Oh Henry

nagging wife

The door had barely closed when he first heard her voice.

“Henry,” she said. “Henry for Christ’s sake. Take your shoes off.”

He stood dripping wet on the hardwood floor. It was raining outside and he took his jacket off as a clap of thunder shook the house.

“You’re getting it everywhere,” she said.

She sat on the couch with a book pressed against her chest, her glasses resting at the edge of her nose, and watched her husband as he walked across the floor to the closet.

“Oh Henry,” she said. “I just mopped. You’re getting mud everywhere.”

He opened the closet door and put his jacket on the hook, shutting his eyes briefly as he filled his lungs with the stale air from the solitude of the closet.

“Sorry, honey,” he muttered, just loud enough so that she could hear him. “Sorry, sorry, sorry.”

He heard her move up off the couch and when he closed the closet door she was standing behind him.

“Oh Henry,” she said, opening the closet door. “You’re going to get everything wet.”

She took the jacket off the hook and walked it quickly across the room to the front door where she hung it on the knob. She placed the shoes underneath the jacket and listened as the small droplets of water slowly dripped onto their old welcome mat.

She smiled to herself, then traced the trail of brown water across the floor to where her husband stood. His tie hung loosely around his neck and his hands worked slowly down the center of his chest to unbutton his shirt. She knew that he would drop his tie, like he always did, around the back of the kitchen chair. And she knew that he would leave his shirt, like he always did, on the floor of the bedroom.

“Honey,” she said, as he walked down the hallway toward the kitchen. “Put your clothes in the hamper. I don’t want to be picking up after you.”

Her words stopped him briefly. They surrounded him. Everything that she had ever said wrapped tightly around his body. He wanted to scream but only managed to utter the word “OK” before continuing down the hall.

And that was it.

He explained to the officers afterward that something had happened in that moment. Something had broke. He had been standing in the hall, his back burning in his wife’s condescending gaze, when something went wrong inside his head.

“It was a mistake,” he said. “I miss her very much.”

He had charged down the hallway with his pistol drawn as his wife complained about his heavy footsteps.

“You’re walking like an elephant,” she had said. And then: “Oh Henry, No.”

The bullets spoke for every word he never said and when the chamber was empty he dropped it into a puddle of blood that had formed on the hardwood floor.

“Look at this mess,” he said. “I’m sorry honey. I’ll go get the mop.”


A retired East Texas dentist says he regrets fatally shooting his wife of 26 years. Dr. Bobby Nichols said that he misses and loved his wife. He said, “We just got in a fight and I screwed up and killed her with a gun.” – WFAA

49 thoughts on “Oh Henry

  1. Oh snap! Great little story and beautifully crafted. I am glad WordPress is giving more attention to fiction and giving more people the chance to read great stories like this one. Well done!

  2. Hey! I recognize your avatar! Aren’t you Eddie Cabbage?
    Very nice piece! Perfect for Halloween. My husband says I better be careful! Hahaha!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  3. I love it! The ending hits you out of nowhere, just how I like it. I also love the humour at the end. Well Done! It has inspired me to maybe have a crack at some flash fiction. Thankyou.

  4. Hmm, speaking as a nagging wife who is constantly cleaning up after some folks, I feel the need to point out that the “snapping in the brain” thing can go both ways. But if you try to beat someone with the socks they leave on the floor, it generally does less damage than a bullet or a bat would.

    Congrats on the FP!

  5. Very well written. The descriptive detailing is amazing, It almost felt like I was watching a movie.

    Note to self: Stop being such a nag :)

  6. eek. As women we can be a bit overbearing at times. Can’t blame the guy for being sick of it, but he should have spoken up before he shot her!!
    Note to ladies: chill out, stop being so nag-gy…
    Note to the men: tell her to shut you BEFORE ya shoot her…

    Damn! nice post!!

  7. This is a disturbing post and I am sad to see that it was actually chosen to be freshly pressed. I thought that one of the rules was that a post could not be “fear mongering.” Apparently not. This glorifies violence against women, attempts to make readers sympathize with men who murder their wives, promotes the stereotype of women as naggers, and overall makes violence against women justifiable and acceptable.

  8. This is to the above commenter – Womencyclists – it’s fiction! Are you really accusing him of fear mongering. He is telling a story. Some men do shoot their wives. Some women do nag their husbands. This story didn’t glorify that. It certainly didn’t promote it. Do you understand what I’m saying and the mistake you are making? Lord of the Flies doesn’t promote or glorify young boys killing each other. It tells a story about how some violence comes about. It shows us glimpses of human nature. This author fictionalized a news story – it’s okay. Really.

  9. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! And I am so glad to have found your blog. I adore short stories and this one was wonderful. I loved it! Well-written, succinct and quite relatable to anyone who has ever been nagged.

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