This little tale is taken from a short story by Stephen King which he adapted for the big screen.  The film had some negative reviews, pointing out that something is lost in the translation, that Stephen King’s words on the page are far more descriptive than the deeds of the actors as viewed by the movie-goer.  However, the first half-hour does grab the audience who then expect that they will be entertained, if not horror-stricken.


theater ticket

                                                               Theater Ticket - Pixabay

Bob (Anthony LaPaglia) and Darcy Anderson (Joan Allen) have just celebrated their 25th anniversary and come off as a happy and successful couple.  Bob gave Darcy earrings with a golden fish, since her Zodiac sign was Pisces. They are well-regarded in their community and have raised three nice children.  Bob is an accountant and the couple together have a small business selling and appraising rare coins.  Their daughter Petra is in the midst of preparing for her wedding and has the support of her parents in her planning activities.

Bob’s accounting business takes him out of town on occasion.  Darcy is a strong character who takes over the reins when he is away.  They have playful banter with each other, such as Darcy’s reply to Bob’s call that he will be away an extra day.  “That will give me more time with the pool boy,” she teases.  She flirts easily with him, promising a reward if he brings a spritz up to their bedroom while she gets ready for bed.  They are an old married couple who enjoy themselves.    

Darcy appears to be unfazed by the newspaper stories of a serial killer called “Beadie” who has already killed twelve women and is still on the loose.  One day, when Bob was away, Darcy was looking in the garage for a battery she needed for one of her projects and opened a small box which contained a photo ID of one of the dead women, Marjorie Duvall.  Marjorie’s photo showed her wearing earrings with a golden fish, the sign of Pisces.  In an instant, Darcy recognized that her life and her marriage as she knew it was over.  When she checked out the localities that Bob visited in the past year on business, they matched the places where the serial killer had done his deeds.

When Bob came home from his business trip, Darcy’s demeanor signaled to him that she knew.  “I would never let Beadie hurt you,” he said.  He coolly explained that when he was in high school, he and his friend Brian Delahanty, whom he called “BD,” planned a shooting inside the school.  BD was killed in an accident and their plan was never carried out.  The urge to kill never left him.  

                                        Anthony LaPagliaCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                        Anthony LaPaglia - Wikimedia

Bob promised that he would stop his criminal activities if Darcy would keep silent about what he told her.  Darcy agreed since their daughter Petra was soon to be married and she did not want her children to know about their father’s past.  They continued to live their lives in such a manner that no one would every suspect that they were harboring a secret.

When Bob found a rare penny in his pocket change, they decided to celebrate.  Darcy noted that Bob was really drunk after their night out, and asked him to bring her a drink when he came up to their bedroom.  In his intoxicated condition, it was easy for her to give him a shove down the stairs, which caused some serious damage but did not kill him.  She finished him off by smothering him with a plastic bag held over his mouth.

It is difficult to imagine that this seemingly straight-laced couple each had no compunction to kill another human being.  Stephen King has a way of convincing his audience that no one is above reproach.  However, since they were both held in such high regard, the authorities believed that Bob’s death was an accident and not the result of foul play.  Darcy continued on with her life, outwardly grieving over the death of her husband.

Another character enters the picture, one we have seen once or twice hovering around, even at the cemetery.  He is a retired detective named Holt Ramsey, who has been investigating the serial killer murders for several years, without a resolution.  He zeroed in on Bob when a waitress in Maine was killed.  Bob ate at that restaurant every time he was in that town.  In fact, it was duly noted that Bob’s car was seen in several instances in the far-flung areas where the Beadie murders occurred.


Stephen KingCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                              Stephen King - Wikimedia

No spoiler here.  Stephen King brings this story to a close, but the reader will have to decide whether or not it is a satisfactory or even a morally acceptable ending.  You be the judge.

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This book of short stories contains Stephen King's novella "A Good Marriage."