The Pause
Adina Pernell
T here was a metal separation -- a cool and steely line that divided Aaron Jackson's sanity. Half of him was calm and collected, and the other side would’ve baffled Mr. Hyde. He had worked hard all his life in case a situation like this arose. Calmly, A.J. stared out the windows of his light pink, New Smyrna Beach condominium, which overlooked a vast blue of ocean and a carpet of fine sand that seemed to continue for miles. He realized what he doing. The crazy thing was that he knew this and could still eat breakfast that morning, and file his taxes with startling effectiveness. The sun seemed to start to set with the same predetermination that A.J. felt. There was nothing that could stop a tide once it came rolling towards the shore. There was no room for pausing to think. That one A.J. knew for sure.

The phone rung from what seemed like a long distance away. A.J. tore himself away from his thoughts, and made his way to the receiver.

"Hello A.J. here," he coughed. "Excuse me."

"Hello, Is This Aaron Jackson?"


" Mr. Jackson this is Tracy from Greater East Bay Insurance Company, calling to verify the information on your life insurance policy."

"I've already faxed you the verification Tracy."

"OK Mr. Jackson here it is. Thank you, and goodbye."

"Goodbye," he signed, coughing.

The insurance policy was a good call. He was glad he'd thought of it and by tonight it would be all over. His wife and kids were staying in Daytona with His mother, and they would never suspect anything. It would all be achieved according the plan.

He was wondering if accidental drowning would sound plausible enough. His body probably wouldn't be found for days; maybe even weeks. By the time the sharks were done with him they would skip the full autopsy. After all no one knew he as sick. He hadn't seen the doctor, but he knew and was tired of hiding it. Being a Doctor he knew the signs of an acute illness. He had already decided to do it. His wife would be set for life on a settlement like that, and it would mean a great future for his kids.

Minutes before he had heard his wife's voice on the phone, and his kids laughing -- their innocent, candy-filled voices dancing in the receiver. He smiled, but his grin was bittersweet as he headed for the screen door that led to the beach.

He noticed that between the aluminum screen door and the sliding glass door their appeared to be a metal separation.

As he paused there for a moment, the phone rang.

First published: May 2000