How to Solve a Marital Problem by Alice Lam

Bruce leant back in his office chair and selected a Gurkha from the humidor. Cigar prepped, he drew in a mouthful of the sweet and creamy smoke. It had been one helluva day. Now though, life couldn’t get any better.

Mary was down in the kitchen. Literally, as ‘on the floor down’.

She’d been good for a while, but frankly, he was already bored after the initial excitement of showing off his new wife to his friends. It was just little things at first, like not feeling butterflies when he woke to see her pretty face next to him. Then things got real.

Mary, his wife and freaking possession goddamnit, was getting above her station. She wanted to hang out with the other wives. She demanded to be taken on luxury holidays all the time. Not that he couldn’t afford it, but he chose how he spent his money.

So today he had reminded her.

First he lured Mary into a sweet mood with a promise of first class tickets to a luxury resort in French Polynesia. Then his pièce de resistance. He grinned when he recalled telling her to put her hand into an open tin of coffee granules for another surprise. Excited, she asked him if was the diamond necklace she had been dropping hints about? Maybe, he had said, leaning against the doorway.

Her hand plunged in, fuelled by greed. Before she could react, a deafening crack dismembered her in a cloud of purple vapour and gas. He was impressed. Nitrogen triiodide had saved the day. He approached with care, avoiding the brown powder.

Crouching down, he plucked the mangled CPU out of her chest. Another one for the collection.


Alice Lam has loved writing for as long as she remembers. Her story ‘Lilies’ came fifth out of 258 entries in the Atlantis Short Story Competition 2017/18 and was published in Atlantis’ first anthology in October 2018. She has another two short stories published in Didcot Writers’ anthologies – ‘The Bright Side’ and “Facing The Music” and a fourth awaiting publication. Check out Alice’s website where you can read some of her short stories, writing blogs, plus links to her beta reading / critique and health writer services.


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