She’d loved that little barbecue pot she found at a small country store in some backwater town on her way to a sales conference. She’d given it to him as a gag to use with his two-grand Weber deluxe.

After one hellish week with the kids who they’d happily shipped off to grandma for the weekend, they found another use for the pot. Lying in bed together naked, the barbecue sauce became paint, the brush an artist’s tool, the canvas, bare flesh, as they painted the contours of each other, admiring their work before slowly licking the sweet tanginess off the neck, the nipples, the toes, and everything in-between.

It turned into a game to experiment with flavors, hunting down specialty shops, culling through mail order catalogs. And ignoring the stares of others as they spent hours reading labels at the grocery, discussing the merits of Worcestershire over soy sauce or whether Ancho chilies would make their skin burn.

It was their secret game, their special game, a game for lovers and the loved, the barbecue pot a symbol of that love. The pot was always hand-washed, carefully stowed in a safe place.

Then he got promoted to a big new office with a secretary and long hours, and she was transferred to a different sales territory, roaming farther and farther from home. The pot sat on the shelf, more empty than not, the catalogs languishing in a drawer.

The kids had been sent to grandma’s again, and though she was tired from her five-hour flight, she’d managed to bring back her treasure from a hotel gift shop in one piece, a jar of Jack Daniel’s rib glaze. Hoping to be ready before he got home, she searched for the pot, but it wasn’t in its safe place.

She found it in the bedroom, on the nightstand, almost empty. In the bottom lay a thin layer of a teriyaki-style sauce, a flavor she’d always hated. On the inside of the pot, she pulled out two long strands of blond hair. They’d often laughed about how their chestnut hair made them look more like siblings than husband and wife. His secretary, who sat outside his big new office, had long blond hair.

She waited for them, knowing she wasn’t expected for another day, and they didn’t disappoint. She watched as they brought the full pot to the bed and lay down, watched as they painted barbecue crosses between their breasts and nipples. She knew then it was fate.

The gun was steady in her hand as she aimed first as the secretary’s cross and then his, one bullet, then another, then another, right in the center of those crosses, and it was done. In the middle of the bed, the red of barbecue mingled with the red of blood, making it look like a ketchup sauce—the cheap kind, thin and runny.

She turned around and walked out the front door, wondering how far she’d get with one gun and one used barbecue pot.

BV Lawson has been published in dozens of magazines, is a Derringer Award winner for her short fiction, and is also a contributor to the Anthony Award-winning Blood on the Bayou. BV’s Scott Drayco crime series was named a finalist for the Shamus, Silver Falchion, and Daphne Awards.

Copyright © 2019 BV Lawson. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited.