straight down the line

Don’t Believe Everything You See–Or Read

An Alternate Ending to The Postman Always Rings Twice: 

We strolled down the bleak hallways toward my impending death. Neither one of them made eye contact with me. I was sweating like a pig before he gets shipped off to the slaughter. I had said what I needed to say. Father McConnell had it. I guess if you are going to trust anyone it should be a man of God, eh?

But just shy of where I watched all the other death row prisoners go, we made a left. I nearly stopped short, but I kept following the guards. I wasn’t gonna be the one to correct them. They led me into a gray room with a table and two chairs.

“You have one last visit from your sister,” the shorter one grunted.

The two left in a hustle slamming the steel door behind them. I don’t have a sister. I wasn’t gonna argue or anything. But they had the wrong guy.

Then she entered. A blonde in a red dress. It wasn’t until she turned to face me that I realized Cora was standing right there in front of me.

Had I had anything in my stomach, I would’ve been sick. My mind was messing with me. Cora was dead. I had watched her die. Seen her blood. It was over.

“What’s this about?”

She sat down in the chair and smirked. “You forgotten me already?” she said. She had Cora’s voice too. Now my head was turning on me too.

“You’re supposed to be dead.”

I had seen her die. I was there. I was about to die because of it all.

“You of all people should know you shouldn’t believe everything you see.”

“But—but how?”

She smiled and began her story. How she was in the car accident and had lost the baby. And how when she was taken to the hospital she was close to death, and she begged the nurse watching her to tell them she was dead. How she couldn’t bear to see me. The nurse had a soft spot for Cora. She’d read about her in the papers. So the nurse hid her and didn’t tell a soul beside the doctor who cared for Cora. When she had gotten stronger, Cora made some revelations. She had plenty of time to think and realized life could be pretty swell for her if she got a new identity. She could be more like a hell cat than ever. So once she had been put back together again, she did just that. She went by Rose now. Rose Chambers, sister to the infamous murderer Frank Chambers. It made her entitled to part of my life again. No one had thought anything of her. She had travelled away soon as she was well enough to all over the country seeing all the sights we’d talked about. She didn’t have to worry about hotdogs or beer or anything.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. All this time I thought Cora was dead and here she was. Living the life we’d dreamed of.

“So you’re alive then! You’ve come here to clear my name! Get me out of this place!”

Cora smiled slyly. I couldn’t get over how good she looked.

“Not quite. See I realized other things after that accident. Funny how almost dying does that to you. I realized that you hold me back Frank Chambers. And you turned on me. You were going to kill me. That’s what you were thinking about. And I turned on you too. So we’re always gonna turn on each other. So I thought I better make sure I win. And as your sister, I get my money back.”

“Come on Cora, you know I wasn’t gonna kill you.”

“Yeah, you would have. And you would’ve gone off to Mexico with that cat woman. I’m not doing anything you wouldn’t have done. I learned from the best.”

I sat there silent. Not knowing what to say. She was turning on me. She already had. The woman I loved. The one I worked so hard to have to myself. The one I gave my life for. She had turned on me, and I hadn’t even seen it coming. It was smart. So smart I didn’t even know it.

“They’re gonna kill me,” I said at last.

“I know.”

“You’re okay with that?”

“I’m a hell cat, aren’t I?”

“Then why did you come here?”

Cora looked around the room and smirked. “I had to see it all for myself. Also you. One last time. It’s no fun being the only one to know you won. Good bye Frank Chambers.”

Cora got up from her seat and walked out of the room. I watched her leave. I had been thwarted by the woman of my dreams. The woman who served me hotdogs and I walked on the beach with and killed a man with. The woman I had plotted to kill. The woman I loved. My wife.

As I watched her stroll out of the room knowing I had been played by this marvelous woman, and I was about to die. I couldn’t help but think. I had never loved her more.

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