How to Murder Your Wife and Make Marinara Sauce

by Zechariah James Towner

The following short story was originally published in Issue 44 of "Sparkle and Blink" and read aloud for a Quiet Lightning event in Jack Kerouac behind City Lights Books. To the right is a video recording of the reading and below it is the full text of the short story.

It’s all about the ingredients, you see—that’s what most people don’t realize. Yes, everyone knows it somewhere in the back of their minds but people always obsess over the wrong things instead – the tools, for example. Gas stoves versus electric ones, Chef’s knives made by former Samurai Sword crafting masters, copper bottomed pans for even heat distribution – they’re all great yet ultimately superfluous. Whether you make your food in a ten-dollar Teflon pan or a hundred dollar cast iron skillet the most important thing are the ingredients. The ingredients are Key.

Take this marinara: it’s simple ingredients plus heat applied carefully et viola—délicieux. And that’s all most cooking is, you know. Heat applied carefully to delicious ingredients. The heat brings out the flavor.

Take four cloves of garlic (I use six because I like the taste), smash them to remove the skins and bring out the juices, and brown them in a sauce pan (for this you actually don’t want to use that hundred dollar cast iron as the acid of tomatoes reacts poorly with the pan). Be sure to only Golden brown them, not mama-bear brown. Why? Well we don’t want no mama bears in our sauce, silly!

Once you get the brown coloring—on both sides of the garlic mind you, dearie (huh I don’t usually call people “dearie”)—add the tomatoes. If you can get your hands on them use fresh ones but if they’re out of season just find yourself a good brand of canned tomats (heh, I left “O” out the on purpose there. Tomat has a nice sound to it don’t you think?).  You can also remove the skins if you like but I prefer to leave them on as they have delectable vitamins in them. Skins on or off, though, you’ll want to slice them up. Fourths will do if you like it chunky and just chop them more finely for a smoother sauce.

Now put a top on your pan and –



“Yes? Hello?"

“Your wife is cheating on you.”

“What? Who is this?”


The line is dead.

Well this changes everything. Now I have to murder my wife.

It’s all about the planning, you see.

A lot of people obsess over the tools—a semiautomatic handgun, piano wire, a machete (a classic, if I do say so myself)—as there are just so many different utensils one might use, but when plotting to kill your wife it’s really the plan that makes it work. Because at the end of the day any tool will do, really, it just takes the know how and the right application of pressure: a bullet pushing through the scapula, piano wire cutting through the common carotid arteries causing blood to spray everywhere in a beautiful arc of red mist and crushing the victim’s wind pipes, or a machete slicing through the chocolate eggy exterior and biting into that creaming nougat center scientists like to call the frontal lobe (the occipital lobe if you come from behind—Hey! As long as we’re in these parentheses, did I mention that machetes are a classic? They date back, arguably, to the 13th century where they were used by medieval guards, though they called them falchions. So don’t forget that when you use a Machete you’re participating in over seven centuries of tradition!)—and that’s really all that most murdering people is: the know how and the right application of pressure.

But I digress—the problem of my wife is still at hand!

She comes home at six o’clock, which leaves me thirty minutes to craft my plan. How to do it?

My wife always takes a shower when she gets home from work—she feels dirty after work—so the best time to slit her throat with my nine inch hardened steel chef’s knife and stab her dying body repeatedly before disposing of the corpse beneath my Petunias (did I mention I love to garden?) would be while she’s in the shower. In fact, when you kill your wife/significant other, I do recommend that you do it in the shower. It makes the clean up so much easier. We don’t want you staining those nice white sheets your Aunt Martha bought you for your wedding, now do we, dearie? (My goodness, there I go again. Whatever’s gotten into me?)

So we’re going to kill our wives/significant others in the shower—brilliant! Step one of the planning—choosing a location to commit the deed—is done. Now to figure out the manner of the pressure application. You can do it how you want (ad your own flair to it) but I’m going to slit her throat first. That way the copious quantities of blood spewing from the gaping gash in her throat will also fill her lungs making her screams into mere gurgles not unlike those of a newborn baby…or a babbling brook. It’s important to me that my wife not make too much noise when I proceed to stab her repeatedly as our neighbor, Mr. Peters, works nights and won’t be awake for another few hours (My wife and Mr. Peters are good friends, you see, and I know she wouldn’t want to disturb him).

Now, all that’s left is to—



“Hello? Yes?”

“Your wife isn’t cheating on you.”

“What? Who is this?”

“I had the wrong number before. Have a nice day.”


The line is dead.

“Hellooooooo! Honey, I’m home!”

Well this changes everything.