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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 31 page 09


detail from a Yaser Safi painting of a man brandishing a gun
yaser safi, untitled (detail)

Double Homicide

by Renée Henning

The whole town knew that Jed Harris and “Mac” McCoy hated each other. In Texas, feuds can last a long time. This one began in elementary school. Over the years the two males chased the same girls, were sports rivals, played malicious pranks on each other, and fought with fists and cudgels. It was Mac who started the feud, and it was Mac who kept escalating it.

Jed’s hope for a truce ended when both men were twenty-five. That night he was playing poker with some acquaintances. One of his buddies, who was standing at the window, suddenly said, “What happened to Jed’s truck?!” Through the glass Jed saw his most prized possession, his black pickup truck. Someone had splashed pink paint over it and slashed the tires.

Jed grabbed a phone, called his enemy, and yelled, “Mac, I’m coming to kill you!” Then he ran through the streets to Mac’s apartment and banged on the door. “Open up, you coward!” he shouted. Receiving no response, he kicked the door down.

Nobody was home. Mac had fled so quickly that he forgot his coat and wallet. Enraged, Jed tipped over furniture and broke lamps.

Afterward he left with Mac’s wallet, planning to put the money toward repairs to his truck. A week later, after Mac was reported missing, the police showed up at Jed’s apartment and found the wallet.

Jed was put on trial. He expected to be found innocent because he was innocent and because Mac’s body could not be found. However, the prosecutor introduced the testimony of two poker players who had heard Jed declare his intent to kill Mac and the testimony of a woman who had seen Jed pounding on Mac’s door soon after. Additional evidence concerned the busted door, the overturned and broken furnishings indicating a terrible fight, the discovery of Mac’s wallet in Jed’s possession, and Jed’s fingerprints at the crime scene. After only an hour of deliberation, the jurors concluded that Jed had hidden the corpse and found him guilty of premeditated murder.

Life in prison was tough. To try to forget the boredom and the daily humiliations, Jed would sometimes fantasize in his cell. On better days he would imagine having a wife and children and being rich and free. On darker days he would invent cunning ways to kill Mac someday and get away with it.