*I pitched this to Points in Case. They said it was more Onion material, but Onion doesn't accept submissions without an agent, so I thought I'd just share it here.
Man Trains Pets to Demand Breakfast at and Other Reasonable Grounds for Divorce
Lawmakers look at making divorce easier to cut down on homicide rates
by Trinny Sigler (c)
Betty Lou Guiltenhammer of
has served five years of her 50 year sentence for bludgeoning her spouse, Jimmy
Joe, to death with a high-heeled slipper, after he trained their pets to wake
her up at Pike County, KY
"We had five cats, two dogs, and a couple friendly squirrels. He trained them all to wake me up demanding breakfast at five, knowing I don't have to be at work until nine. Jimmy Joe always was jealous because his job started a few hours before mine.
The cats were the first string of attack, and they would start meowing and scratching on the door around four fifty-five. The dogs would bust in next at five. If that didn't get me up, them squirrels would start scratching on the window at five after. It were more than I could take. One morning I heard Jimmy Joe laughing about it, so I took off my slipper and whacked him in the head. I didn't mean to kill him. Who knew I'd hit just the right spot? Reckon our brains are like egg yolks...like puddin'."
Supporters started the Free Betty Lou campaign to try to get her released. One such supporter was Myra Kendrick who says, "It was an accident. What wife ain't hit their man upside the head with a shoe? They don't usually drop dead. Her sentence shouldn't be more than manslaughter. Maybe even justifiable homicide or not guilty by reason of insanity. Let me ask you something? If five cats, two dogs, and a pair of squirrels woke you up at the ass-crack of dawn, wouldn't that work on you a little? Like water torture, one drip at a time, it adds up. She broke."
Following Jimmy Joe's death, family and friends of both spouses began pressuring law makers to make divorce quicker and more accessible. Jimmy Joe's brother, Timmy Bo, spoke about the family's feelings on the matter.
"Marriage ought to be harder to get into and easier to get out of. Who knew Betty Lou was a psychopath? She always seemed like a sweet girl. Kept the trailer clean. We should've known something was amiss when she did in that rooster during their first year of marriage, but you know...people strangle chickens all the time. But the fact is my brother would be here today, if Betty could've gotten a divorce on the day the pets started harassing her. He would've kept the pets."
"Wish I could've gotten rid of my old lady that easily," said Benny Hogindorf, a local paralegal. "We feel this drive-thru divorce option will be a huge deterrent to first degree murder. Murder is a lot of work, if you think about it. Chasing someone down, killing them, dragging a body through the woods. My ex weighed between three and four hundred pounds. In those cases you have to have at least one accomplice, maybe two, and good friends are hard to come by. So it's that versus pulling through a drive-thru. No more work than it takes to order breakfast."
While some see it as convenience, others see it as erosion of morality.
"I think it's an abomination!" says Pastor Effew of the
"The Bible says that what God has joined, let no man put assunder. Why
make breaking the Lord's commands easier? Marriage is a holy covenant. It shouldn't
be treated like tacos." Crystal
"On what grounds?"
"He routinely takes all the coffee and doesn't make a new pot."
"Any property or kids to divide up?"
"No, he can have it all. I just want out."
"Stop at the first window so the clerk can record this, and then proceed to the second window so the judge can give you the decree. Take the decree home and hang it on the fridge. If he wants to counter, he will have to drive thru himself. Today's drive-thru is free, but each time y'all come back over this, the cost goes up by a thousand dollars. Cash in hand. Enjoy the rest of your day! And if you are happy with our services, my name is Kayla. Will you take this survey? Like us on Facebook!"
Meanwhile from her six by eight cell in prison, Betty Lou Guiltenhammer expresses remorse. "I never meant to kill Jimmy Joe, but if I become the poster child for the rapid divorce, then he didn't die in vain. I mean, if we can do it with tax refunds and mortgages, why can't we do it with divorce too? Why make people wait six months or more? That just gives spouses time to plot each other's demise.
I do think Jimmy Joe set out to drive me crazy when he trained those pets. Well, you got your wish, baby," she says as she simultaneously rubs her locket and points to the heavens, "I took the crazy train down to homicide town. It was a shame Jimmy Joe was on the tracks, but there's consequences for every action. I'm serving mine, and Jimmy's serving his. But no other couples should have to suffer this way..."