The Bengal Beat

The Green-Eyed Monster

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The Green-Eyed Monster (Photo by analogicus via Pixabay under the Creative Commons)

The Green-Eyed Monster (Photo by analogicus via Pixabay under the Creative Commons)

The Green-Eyed Monster (Photo by analogicus via Pixabay under the Creative Commons)

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It was in the bitter, bleak night when the moon was a large icebox lemon pie, covered with wisps of grey meringue, when she heard the rattling on her door. At first, she tried to solace herself by saying it might just be a figment of her imagination, perhaps the wind, but then it happened. The moaning—oh, the moaning! It was like a banshee howling in the bitter black, wailing for something or someone to return to that cursed land of shadows. It began as a low wail, trembling as if the voice might crack in two, and then rising to a high warble, all the time screaming, “Rosalina, Rosalina, Rosalina!” She scurried into the checkered kitchen, her oil lamp throwing devilish shadows upon the pale walls, and frantically searched for it. You see, she knew exactly what the thing wailing outside her door wanted. It had come year after year at the same time for the same item, and each time she gave it to the thing standing outside. But tonight—tonight was different. Never had the bloody thing pounding at her door sounded so impatient—so demanding in its wailing. Hurriedly, her vein-streaked hands thrust open the kitchen cabinets vainly reaching in its depths for—but, alas, it was not there. Not there! Why, what would she say to that beast clambering outside her little house? Puzzled, she stood frozen, absorbed in thought, until a horrid shriek returned her to the present.

Her heart heavy, she trod back to the front door, intently listening to that moaning, that wailing, that shrieking outside in the bitter bleak cold of the night. Her white knuckles grasped the bronze knob and slowly turned it. And there it was. Enveloped in the yellow moon’s dim light, a withered, hunched skeleton of a man, nearly crippled, was gnashing his teeth and foaming at the mouth. Their eyes met for half a second, hers watery blue and his dilated pupils as dark as the thing inside that wildly possessed him: greed.

“There is no more.”

Her thin lips quivered as she whispered the words that she knew would break the heart of her husband standing in front of her. The weathered man stood dazed and let out one last long shriek of agony, crumpling in a heap to the dust. She stood there for quite some time in the bitterly cold night, just standing, quietly observing the still body lying near her bare feet. And then a faint smile traced her thin lips as she pulled out a wad of crumpled dollar bills from her apron pocket and scattered them over the dead body that was no more.

He had always wanted to provide the best for his wife. Ever since the day Rosalina married this once-handsome businessman, she thought she would never want for anything. Indeed, for some time she was allowed the finest luxuries in life: luscious mink coats, pearly-white silk gloves, imported smooth French wine, and any other comfort she could dream of. But then, one day, people ran through the streets senselessly screaming that the stock market crashed. Soon, even the richest found themselves scurrying around and begging for money, like the poor souls they had scoffed at just a month prior. It was then that her husband became the monster she feared. Oh, at first, it was just a few outbursts from him at the dinner table, mostly outraged about the disheveled state of their finances. But soon it turned into much more than she could ever imagine. She vividly recalled one particular afternoon when she was fanning herself with a scrap of an out-of-date magazine when he burst through the front door and stood proudly in front of her in tattered clothes. Later, she learned her husband had fought a little boy for a penny on the ground. A penny! What had the existence she knew come to? It wasn’t long before the rest of his sanity, along with their marriage, slipped through his hands, even though he still grasped at it vainly. In a way, she sort of pitied the skeleton of the man she once treasured and sought to please, but when October 29th rolled around each year, she could never forgive the thing outside her door. And finally, greed had its wretched way with this green-eyed monster.

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