Monday, August 5, 2013

Writing as Lily, my protagonist in "The Loving Wife"

Lily of “The Loving Wife:

I’m Lily Mohin Mulrooney, and I’m a murderer.  Well, at least I’m honest.  I don’t admit that publicly, but yes, I killed my husband Gerry.  I hope you understand why. 

Growing up, there was no one I loved more than my father, Jim Mohin. He grew up in Derry, North Ireland, a Catholic who hated the sight of tanks on his beloved Bishop’s Street.  As a boy, he threw rocks at those tanks and taunted the soldiers, but he wouldn’t join the IRA because he never wanted to hit soft targets.  The tension, however, was always boiling below the surface.  He married my ma in 1970, the same year I was born, and worked in a factory.  Though not overtly political, Jim did participate in marches, but Bloody Sunday galvanized his nationalism.  When those soldiers fired on unarmed, peaceful demonstrators, my father swore he’d fight for Ireland.  Jim and my mother Mary were walking together with the other protestors when the shooting began.  My parents saw people fall around them.  A bullet grazed my mother’s arm, and she was six months pregnant.  It was then that Jim really joined the IRA, and he only left Derry when a bombing went horribly wrong.  My parents sneaked onboard a merchant vessel with my brother Ian and me. We settled in New Orleans, and Jim went to work on the docks.  He soon began working for bookies, and before long, had his own book.  We soon moved into a spacious house on Canal Boulevard.  Life was good.

My father idolized me.  Early on, Jim saw that I loved dance and acting.  He sent me to the best coaches in the city, and I was soon acting in local productions.  Ian and I went to the best schools, and life was perfect.  When I was fifteen, my idyllic life came to an end.  My father died in a car accident.  The house was mortgaged, and we didn’t have much money.  We moved to an old shotgun in Mid-City.  My mother worked two jobs and soon began taking men home in exchange for money.  I could no longer take dancing or acting lessons, but I worked on my own.  Of course, Ian and I had to find other jobs as well.  I missed out on many opportunities because I was working odd jobs, and I sometimes missed work so that I could go to auditions.  I gave myself to boys and girls who would give me money or drugs.  (Not that I was a hard-core drug user. I liked being in control). I sometimes slept with local directors so they would cast me in plays.  Sex was never love or even pleasure. It was getting what I wanted. 

One of those directors started sleeping with my mother.  I wasn’t sleeping with him, but he’d heard about my reputation.  When he tried coming onto me again, I fought him.  He was strong, but I pulled a knife from the sheath I strapped to my thigh and ran it through his gut.  He fell like a bloated piece of pork.  I ran for my mother.  She almost panicked but then decided we needed to get rid of the body.  Ian wanted to wrap him in a blanket and dump him in the river. My mother thought it was too risky.  Then, a brilliant idea hit me.  I suggested we cut him up and cook him. The next day, my mother donated a delicious stew to a local shelter.  No one suspected a thing.

Too many times I scrounged for food in the pantry.  I hated poverty, but I studied hard and made it to college.  But—I also knew I wouldn’t make it to Broadway.  I became a drama teacher, but the pay was still too low for a girl who wanted to travel.  My brother, like my father, worked for bookies and tended bar in their establishments.  I wanted to help him and my ma. 

Then, I met Gerry.  I saw his big house and knew my troubles were over.  Luring him in was easy. It was even easier convincing those two morons to help me kill him.  I’ll soon be on a European cruise.  Maybe I’ll meet another man. 

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