The Maureen Show

Written by Tiana Lucaccioni

Photograph by   Joss Woodhead

Photograph by Joss Woodhead

In 1964 I murdered my husband, and thank god that axe was there because he was beginning to annoy me. First, it was the little things: beard hair in the sink, dirty socks on the floor and always trying to have sex with me. Not like it was any good, he knew it, I knew it, fuck, even the dog knew it. The worst was when he’d get out of the shower and shake his dick at me. Can you believe that? Am I supposed to be flattered? Oh, thank you sweet Prince for bestowing this limp dick in my hands. Jesus, whatever happened to foreplay? Romance? I would’ve welcomed anything at that point. Growing up, people have always told me, “Maureen you are just too nice.” Nice? Nice? Grandmas are nice. I wanted to be sexy, I wanted to be fierce and desired by all who I encountered. Is that too much to ask? No, but instead I got nice.

David on the other hand is a beautiful man. Excuse me, was a beautiful man - I was the ugly one in the relationship. When people saw us together I knew what they were thinking: “He’s way too hot for her.” I don’t blame them.  Everyone’s going to say I’m crazy, and yes, yes I am, but you need to hear my side of the story before you lock me up. Metaphorically speaking, we all know I got away with it. August, 6th 1964, Kennedy was dead, the world was chaos and while everyone was enjoying their summer I was chopping up my husband and burring him in the backyard. Tacky, I know, but what else was I supposed to do? I couldn’t leave him in the refrigerator, where would I put the cold cuts? But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s begin with the night David and I met. Now, I’m no Jackie O, but there have been moments in my life where I’ve turned heads. I wore a long satin green dress and poor David had no chance. The minute I saw him I knew I had to have him. My best friend Claire, was the above-average suburban girl; blonde haired, blue eyed. A showstopper. Once again, I found myself being the ugly one in the relationship. So, when I saw an opportunity I bee-lined through the sea of drunk people and before I knew it I was standing toe to toe with David.

'Hi, I’m Maureen,' I blurted out. 'Usually I don’t do this but can I buy you a drink?' His eyes examined every inch of my body. 

He laughed. 'Isn’t that supposed to be my job? I’ll buy this round.' A smiled formed in the corner of my mouth. One drink lead to two and so on, the bar died down and David told me about his life growing up in a small suburb outside Chicago. His father worked on the south side stock yards, his mother stayed home and raised the children, a picturesque childhood, if you ask me. A life I was never lucky enough to have. He walked me home and I was sure we would spend the night together but no. Instead he kissed me on the cheek and said goodnight. I was furious, I had just spent the better part of my Saturday night listening to his life story only to be left with a peck on the cheek. Absolutely unacceptable. I marched up to him and shoved his shoulder, gaining his attention.

'Hey!' David turned around, confused, 'I’m sorry, I thought we had –' I wrapped my fingers around his coat cutting him off and yanked him towards me. Kissing him felt like the first day of fall, when you wake up and can smell the change in the air. It sent shivers down my spine - part of me embraced it but the other part was terrified. I pulled away embarrassed and walked off. David refers to it as the best moment of his life, I find that funny since it was the worst moment of mine. I never meant to fall in love, it was the worst decision I ever made. Not because I feared getting my heart broken, but because I was now liable for someone else’s heart and that kind of responsibility isn’t something I ever wanted.

We married on October 10th 1958. A Sunday. I wore my mother’s dress. The only thing I can remember of the day is getting rice thrown at my head - not the most joyous of memories. There are events in my life that I have chosen to block out, not because they’re too horrific, it’s the opposite really. Happiness is a feeling that I loathe, it disgusts me. It swells up inside me like an infection, making my skin crawl and body shake. I have never chased happiness and because of this it has followed me like a plague.

“Happy wife, happy life” that’s the saying, isn’t it? David lived by this saying, unfortunately for him his wife was evil to the core. So, to ignore the fact that I was not the woman he thought, David would garden. He’d spend hours in our back yard tending to tomatoes, cabbage and every other vegetable he could get his hands on. It was his place to unwind and forget about the world around him. That’s why I buried him there, so he would forever be surrounded by the beautiful things he grew. You see, I’m no monster.

In June of 1960 we moved out of the city and into suburbia. My husband bought a tiny yellow house on Burning Bush Lane. It was repulsive, surrounded by a white picket fence and red roses. I could feel the house mocking me as we pulled into the driveway. This was supposed to be the American Dream? Slaving all day over a hot stove, popping babies out left and right, and for what? To be the perfect housewife? Nothing had ever sounded so revolting. Be that as it may I was a married woman with no job and zero intent on getting one. Therefore, I needed to slip into the role of the beloved wife, and may I say I was the best damn housewife anyone had ever seen. I was ruthless, shoving my way into every book club, ladies lunch and town activity, making sure that everyone knew our names.

After two years on the lane, David and I were a sensation. Summer in the suburbs is one big show; constantly hosting parties, dinners and barbecues. It’s a chance for everyone else in the neighbourhood to praise you and hate you at the same time. At the end of June, we always hosted a huge barbecue for everyone on the block, no children aloud - it was the highlight of the summer. I glided through the back yard in a one-of-kind dress passing out the Hors d'oeuvre. David strutted around the yard with such grace and poise. He was memorizing. Pouring drink after drink, discussing everything from 18th century literature to comic books. Every woman fell in love with him and every man was envious of him. If it weren’t for Maxine Howard we could’ve gone on living our picture-perfect life but she just couldn’t keep her fucking mouth shut.

June 30th, 1962, David and I were hosting our annual barbecue. This time it was different, however. Homemaker Magazine contacted me a few months prior hoping to come and take pictures of the event at our home. I was ecstatic. Finally, someone was noticing me first! I was no longer the ugly one in the relationship. For weeks, I prepped; redecorating the house, creating an impeccable menu and fixing the backyard until it illuminated with supreme beauty. When the day finally arrived, David and I scrambled around the house fixing any last-minute imperfections.

When the guests arrived, I knew tonight would be the highlight of my life. David passed out the scotch as I floated around with the food. At 6:30PM the doorbell rang and Homemaker Magazine arrived. I hurried into the bathroom for a last minute look when David entered with a glass of wine. “Well, honey you did it” We touched glasses, I took a sip of my wine and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you, sweetheart.” I turned around and looked in the mirror one last time. My face was glowing, for the first time in my life I let happiness in and exited the room with my head held high. The back yard was stunning, flashing blubs went off all around me, the moment felt like sheer bliss… That was until Maxine fucking Howard came up to me and ruined the photo and my life.

She leaned into my ear with her grisly looking front teeth and hissed, 'You know Maureen if you added more flour, these cream puffs would be much better.' 

With a disgusted look on her face she picked up the cream puff, smelled it and dropped it into the garbage. Another flash went off and with that an eruption of fury welled up inside me. My organs tightened, my blood boiled and my skin blistered. Without hesitation, I swatted the rest of Maxine’s plate out of her hands. Time slowed, I could see the plate fly out of her hand, over her head and onto the floor. Everyone stopped talking.

'Excuse me!' Maxine shouted as if I was the one who offended her.

'Excuse you? Excuse you?'

 David ran over trying to defuse the situation but it was too late.

'Maxine Howard who do you think you are coming into my house, eating my food and bashing my cream puffs! Especially when we all know that you haven’t cooked a day in your life!' David placed a hand on my shoulder to calm me down. In a fit of rage, I turned and shoved him, he couldn’t help, no one could, the damage was done.

'Everyone get out of my house! Now!' I kicked my heels off, walked inside and spent the rest of my night sitting in the bathtub starting into the mirror. I wondered where the women who felt so beautiful just a couple of hours ago had gone. But I knew better, she was gone and never coming back.

By noon the next day the entire neighbourhood had heard about my outburst. After that, nothing was the same. The barbecues stopped, book club became full overnight and all the spots for Town Event Coordinator had been filled. I knew what was going on, we were being banished. Shoved out of suburbia to fend for ourselves, and by August we were lepers. Or at least I was. David still had his friends, the golf club and Monday night poker. My outburst at the barbecue had driven me out of the inner circle. But not my husband. And that was something I just couldn’t allow.

After two months of living in exile I was beginning to lose it. The days began to blend together; I would wake up at 7am, cook David breakfast and wish him a good day at work. By 9:30am the entire house would be spotless and by noon I was ready to shoot myself from boredom. I tired gardening, knitting and reading but nothing satisfied me like running the housewives of Burning Bush Lane. Summer was over and I was convinced that I would be let back into the group, that wasn’t the case. I became sick with hatred. I hated the people surrounding me, I hated the house I lived in, but most importantly I hated David for leaving me to fend for myself. That type of hatred doesn’t go away. It festers deep inside your brain, whispering delicious words into your ear reminding you that it’s all his fault.

The thought polluted my brain and it drove me to butcher my husband. For an entire year, I planned on killing him, I just needed the right time and place. As the months passed I reassumed the role of the perfect housewife; I cooked, cleaned and even had sex with him on a somewhat consistent basis. When summer came back around again I was ready and it just so happened that Maxine Howard was having a barbecue at her house. Before the barbecue, I sat at my vanity looking at myself in the mirror. A year had passed and it showed; wrinkles hugged my eyes and around the corner of my lips. My hair, once a vibrant red was now a dull grey-brown. A hollow and exhausted woman stared back at me that I didn’t recognise.

David walked in still as beautiful as the day we met, and for a moment, I questioned what I was about to do. But that was only for a moment.

'Honey, we should get going. Maxine wants everyone there by 7pm.”

I forced a smile. When we arrived, Maxine’s husband George, took our coats. He’s was large man, round like a boiling ball, and he lead us through the house, grunting with every step. The entire neighbourhood stood in small clusters all over the back yard. Maxine saw us from across the yard and rushed over.

'Oh David I’m so glad you could make it.' 

 Maxine looked at me and the same disgusted look fell over her face. 'Maureen, you look... rested.' She smiled and walked away yelling about her corn on the Cobb.

David leaned over and whispered in my ear. 'We’ll only stay for a few minutes.' He kissed my cheek and left me again to fend off the sea of judgmental eyes. After an hour of sitting in the corner alone, I had smoked all my cigarettes and drank five martinis. I poked my head out to find David standing next to Maxine. She was holding a small cream puff and slowly placed it into my husband’s mouth. In the corner of my mind the words whispered, Take care of it now in front of everyone. Let them all pay for what they did. 

I stood and began shoving my way through the crowd. I wrapped my fingers around David’s wrist and leaned in to his ear. 'I am leaving.' 

He looked at me confused. 'Mo we just got here, but okay, I hope you don’t mind if I stay a little longer.' 

I smiled. 'Of course honey, just come home whenever you’re ready.' 

He kissed my cheek but not before Maxine could interrupt. 'Don’t worry Maureen we won’t keep him too late!' throwing her head back and letting out a cackle. I kissed David on the cheek and left. I needed to prepare once I walked in the door. I went straight to the garage; grabbed a tarp, an axe, and my yellow cleaning gloves. After that I went upstairs and put on the best dress I owned - a stunning lavender silk dress that hugged every inch of me - David only deserved the best, of course.

I hid the tarp behind the garden and the axe next to a grassy spot, and then I waited. At 10:14pm David got home and by 10:45 he was dead. I stood in the backyard calling for him to come find me. He stumbled his way through the kitchen and into the garden. Standing there in the stalks of sunflowers with the axe between my legs I looked at my husband. His appearance still catching me off guard after all these years. We stood there in the moonlight looking into each other’s eyes. I leaned in and kissed him hard so that all the passion, hatred and love that I had felt after all these years escaped.

Then with all the force I could muster I picked up the axe and swung. The edge of the axe struck David’s stomach with such precision it made my knees shake and for the first time in my life I witnessed pure perfection. It was remarkable. I hushed him with blood dripping from my fingers.

'Shhhh, we both know you deserve this. You left me alone with those suburban savages!' My lips trembled but my mind was clear. David fell to the ground yanking sunflowers down with him. I kissed him for the last time and then with all love I could summon I swung the axe straight into his heart.

On August 6th, 1964, I murdered my husband by chopping him up with an axe. Afterwards I buried him in the backyard and let the flowers cover his body. It was the best moment of my life.