It nagged at him, not in the same way that Miriam did, about fixing the leaky faucet or putting up the storm shutters. After 27 years of marriage he could tune her out easily enough, just like spinning the dial on his old Sears Roebuck.

This was different. It was relentless; this was a song that played on every station. Even down amongst the static of the AM band he could hear it, gnawing away at him beneath the hiss and crackle.

It was in that damn box of his father’s. During his childhood the box had sat smugly on the dresser, given pride of place. Now he kept it in the disgrace of the tool shed, hidden on a back shelf under rusty car parts, but he could still hear it.

He had tried more than once to throw it out. The last time he had driven 50 miles up state. The box, wrapped in a burlap sack, so he wouldn’t have to touch its slimy veneer. He listened to it mocking him from the passenger foot well, thumping against the gear shift when ever he made a left.

He buried it deep in the woods next to the interstate and drove home at 70, hearing only the Ford’s ancient engine bitch and complain. The sense of exhilaration, of finally being free vanished when he pulled on the drive. The box was waiting for him on the door step, like an anxious parent on prom night.

Well this time things would be different. The cold barrel of the thirty-eight he pressed to his temple told him that. This time there would be no coming back.

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