'His Swiss Army Penknife' by Joy Manné

I killed him.
I killed him with his Swiss army penknife. It was surprisingly easy to do. He’d shoved his earplugs in so he didn’t hear the squawk and the grate of the rust as I wrenched the blade out. How I hated that noise.
Every night he ate a granny smith apple in bed before sleeping. Every night when he extricated the blade to peel it I told him, “That noise hurts my ears and my teeth. It’s worse than scratching fingernails on a blackboard.” Every night for the last forty years I begged him to oil it, but he’d lived with me for the last twenty with his earplugs in.
I killed him, and then I destroyed his most precious object, kept faithfully by his bedside all these years: a battered fake-silver tray, his only aunt’s award for her work as a canteen monitor and the only thing he’d ever inherited,
It was afterwards that I found his brown leather notebook.
The judge said he shouldn’t have written the story of his second life with the woman he spent the days with when he left his earplugs at home on his aunt’s fake silver tray.
When I buried him I opened his Swiss army penknife to form a cross between his hands and dropped his earplugs into his coffin.
I got six month for my crime of passion. I’ll be out before the anniversary, and on that day, and every year I’ll scatter earplugs on his grave.


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