Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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Iris and Desmond

Adapted from a story by Ethel Lina White

by Ron Larson

They were thought to be the perfect loving couple.
Their friends believed that they would be married soon.
But both Iris and Desmond had money trouble,
And when she met rich Syd Hirt, they were doomed.

Aspiring actor, Desmond, was devastated.
He raged for an hour and then left, still angry.
Then she thought: "Now I’m a woman who’s hated."
For Iris, love was less important than money.

When Syd Hirt died seven years later, she was free.
Yes, she was a rich widow who still had her looks.
Desmond had seen Syd Hirt's obituary,
And he thought: "Who'll now feel her cruel hooks?"

It so happened that just a week or so later,
They were on the same city bus one afternoon.
Desmond was seated two rows in front of her.
And neither had any thought that doom loomed.

His coat was shabby; she shuddered in disgust.
The bus wasn't full; she shrunk down in her seat.
At the next stop, she planned to leave the bus.
But, alas, Iris was to meet complete defeat.

From his seat, Desmond both did and did not rise.
One Desmond faced her and began to choke her.
Iris was terrified, as she looked into his eyes.
Yet he was still seated, was her former lover.

She struggled, tried to cry out; and no one came.
The passengers were oblivious to her plight.
It was a futile fight, as deadly terror reigned.
It was an invincible force that took her life.

Desmond learned of her death in the newspaper.
He was shocked they had been on the same bus.
He knew he would do no crying over her.
But the hatred he had felt for her was over.

2017 Ron Larson

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