He should have moved to Canada. No, Dana couldn’t stand cold weather. Maybe Costa Rica. The weather was nice, the cost of living was cheap, and you didn’t have to be a millionaire to afford treatment if you got sick. Too late now.

The prick from human resources had gone on and on about how the company’s new health plan was more comprehensive than the previous one. Sure, the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays were all substantially higher, but wasn’t it worth it to know that you and your family were protected? He had been ready to retire, but the new coverage sounded too good to pass up.

Dana had gotten sick, seriously sick, six months later. The out of pocket hospitalization costs had put a serious dent in their savings. At least his wife was getting the care she needed. The doctor had said she needed the operation, but the prognosis was good. He had signed the papers authorizing the procedure and scheduled time off from his job.

The doctor had returned the following morning, along with a tall, cadaverous man who smelled like breath mints and had the gray, wrinkled complexion of a binge smoker. He introduced himself as the director of the hospital, and explained that Dana’s operation had not been approved by the Board because it was a relatively new procedure. Also, it was not covered by the man’s insurance.

It had taken him a minute to recover his speech. Did the director understand that Dana’s life was hanging in the balance? Had he ever heard of the Hippocratic Oath?

The men had studied their hands and assured him they would do everything possible to make his wife comfortable. They were giving up.

The plan had come together as he spent the afternoon watching Dana sleep. She was going to die because he had believed the prick from human resources. She was going to die because he had been too stupid to retire and get them the hell out of a country that didn’t care whether you lived or died. He had heard that revenge was a dish that was best served cold. Bullshit.

It hadn’t been hard. The director had been too busy fumbling for a cigarette to see him coming across the parking lot. A sock filled with marbles had done the trick. The prick in human resources had been even easier.

He had prepared an evening meal, even though he was a lousy cook. Dana used to tease him about it. What would he do for dinner if something happened to her? He could barely make toast.

The table was set for three. The man dumped the burger and fries from McDonalds on his plate and studied his dinner companions. The prick had blood leaking from his ear and was looking at him cross-eyed. The director had shrunk at least two sizes and was curled up in his chair.

The man swallowed a handful of fries and gestured to his guests.

“Eat up. I went to some trouble to make this. It may need some seasoning. Dana didn’t have a recipe for a soup of laundry detergent. She uses Gain, by the way. I added two cups of gasoline to give it more flavor.”

The director was crying now. The prick still hadn’t said a word. The man sighed and reached for his sack of marbles.

“Your choice. If you try the soup and it doesn’t agree with you, maybe I’ll call 911. If you don’t, your heads will look like a bowl of cherry cobbler in about two minutes.”

They hit the floor at almost the same time. The man finished his burger and fries, and put his plate in the dishwasher. He would dispose of the men after he watched a little television. Dana hated a messy kitchen.