Illustration by Tony Karnes


Save the Last Dance for Me
Daniel held Julietta tightly yet reverently against his body as they swayed slowly and elegantly to the strains of the old Sinatra tune “Black Magic.” Her taffeta gown rustled sensuously as he swished her in a circle, and her exotic perfume almost had him swooning. Her head was snuggled into Daniel’s broad shoulder. She was so light in his arms, so dainty, so perfect, and she moved with him as though they shared a brain. Folks had always commented on how well they danced together.
Everything had always been so right, from their first “eyes-across-the-room” meeting, through their whirlwind courtship and the years of marriage right up to tonight. They were so perfect for each other, each complimenting the other in so many ways. Although Julietta had been unable to have the children they had desired they had travelled together, worked together and loved together.
It was late in the evening, their fourteenth wedding anniversary on this Christmas Eve, and Daniel could see, over her pale shoulder, the Christmassy lights of the inner city twinkling though the window wall of their 27th floor Auckland waterfront apartment. The apartment had been a gift from her corporate genius father on the day of their wedding, a gift to cement their vows of an eternity together. They loved to entertain their many friends here, but most especially loved their quiet, romantic dinners alone, with candles and music and the exquisite food that Julietta cooked. Music was an integral part of their lives, woven inextricably into the fabric of their love. And why not, as Julietta was a trained soprano who had sung at La Scala and Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, until her career had been tragically cut short by inoperable nodes on her vocal chords, only last year.
Money had never been a problem for the couple. Julietta had her large inheritance, and Daniel had taken over his father’s business after the old fellow had become too frail. He had worked in it all his life, straight from school. Hardware wasn’t a glamorous occupation, but it was honest toil, and he enjoyed it. It was also lucrative.
Dreamily, Daniel and Julietta circled their plush lounge room, and he manoevoured them once again around the rich, gleaming swamp kauri coffee table where their two Waterford crystal wine glasses stood side by side. His empty, hers still full. He smiled to himself. Julietta, ever considerate, would want to be clear-headed for him when they retired to their king sized bed at midnight, as they did on their anniversary each year, to again consummate their eternal pledge.
Sinatra, in his immaculate voice, was crooning a rather enchanting version of “Over the Rainbow,” and Daniel let go of Julietta’s right hand, lifting her head from his shoulder. He smiled at her, his love almost bursting from his chest even after all those years of marriage, and raised her delicate chin with gentle fingers. As he touched her crimson lips with his own, breathing in her unique perfume, a fat, creamy maggot dropped from her left eye socket, wriggling momentarily in his lush but immaculately-trimmed mustaches. Without taking his eyes from Julietta’s lips he drew the squirming creature in with his tongue and pressed it slowly against the roof of his mouth until it burst.
“I fear I’ve had you out a wee bit too long in this unseasonal heat, Julietta. Happy Anniversary, my darling, and Merry Christmas!”


Illustration by Cathy Edmunds


You know you’re a writer when…
feeding from her femoral artery
under a mid-winter moon
you pause
take out your fountain pen
fill the reservoir with her blood
and write a haiku on her panties