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By Dora Graham.
I think I published this in Woman's Day all Women's Weekly or woman's something or other... anyway it paid a couple of bills! BETRAYAL
they say that the first line should get you in. While how's this for a first line? I've just shot my best friend.

I did it with a .32 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver. In fact, the barrel is still warm, and the pungent smell of hot, smoking metal is somewhat satisfying to the nostrils. I shot five times... just for the hell of it.

I'm a writer. I specialise in short murder mysteries, so is not unusual that I keep a gun. Actually I have several. It helps establish authenticity when you can actually look at the object you describing. Besides which, I enjoy collecting them. I have an 18th century flintlock pistol in pride of place over my Mantel, along with several trophies earned through my involvement with the pistol club.

Although I've had three books of short stories published, I'm working on my first novel. My publisher would like it completed in six weeks. Fat chance! After all been through these last few months, I'll be lucky to have it finished this year.

Six months ago, while riding high on the success of my third book, I discovered my husband was having an affair.

It came as a complete surprise, though in retrospect, I guess I hadn't really been taking much notice of David. I was busy with my career, and I suppose I to my marriage had granted.

I hadn't noticed that he was coming in later and later each evening, nor had I paid any attention to his excuses. I was completely involved in my work. I was married, in a sense, to my word processor.

A typical day from me is one where I lock myself away in my office fro 7 am until around noon, working solidly at my machine. I have lunch, then walk for an hour with my St Bernard, Achates, through the fields around my farm. I love the peace and tranquillity of the farm, yet it's only a 20 minutes drive to the city,where, unfortunately I often need to be.

At two, are usually make all obligatory phone calls, or run any errands before settling back into my office at three, and working until 9 p.m. a fairly rigid schedule, but one that any dedicated writer would find necessary.

There are, however, deviations from all schedules. On the day of my last book launch, I had the book signing session to attend in the city, and an appointment to take Achates to the vet, after which I had arranged to meet my publisher, Rusty Chan for lunch

My husband's office in the law firm Martin, Maguire and Hamilton, is just across the road from the restaurant. As I was a little early from my luncheon appointment, I decided to make an impromptu call on David. I walked into the foyer of the building, and as I waited for the lift to take me to his office on the 13th floor, I noticed a red Mercedes convertible pull up outside the building.

I recognise the car is belonging to Diane Lane, a woman I have known to 10 years, and whom I considered a good friend and confidante. It was, in fact Diane who had encouraged me to write.

In the passenger seat was David. This immediately struck me as odd because I'd always thought that David never cared much for Diane. "too prim and proper", he always said. The next thing I saw was Diane slip her scheming arms around my husbands conniving neck as he delivered a passionate, lingering kiss on her prim and proper lips.

The lift door opened. Dazed,I got in and press the button for the 25th floor and the roof of the building.

An icy wind tugged at my hair as I leaned over the railing and gazed down at the streets. I saw the red Mercedes drive away, and the end that was my miserable husband enter the building. I felt angry, betrayed and humiliated. How could I not have known! And how they both must have laughed at me.

At home later that afternoon, I placed the floor trying to decide what to do. Then the phone rang. It was the vet with some devastating news. I was told that my beloved Achates had an inoperable tumour in her stomach. It was terminal. "Six months", he said. "It would be kinder to have her put to sleep".

In one afternoon, my whole world had collapsed around me. I'd been betrayed by two people I loved and trusted. And now, the ultimate irony. I was being forced to betray my most loyal and unconditionally loving companion. I felt helpless and out-of-control.

I locked myself in my office and cried tears of frustration, grief and anger. I had no want to talk to-to share my heartache, and my heart truly felt as though it would break. I tried to imagine life without David, and somehow that prospect didn't seem as dismal as life without Achates.

I managed to transfer my feelings of lost to my word processor, and sometime later, I began to type furiously, filling the screen over and over with words and emotions that just seemed to pour from me.

The plot began to form, a storyline developed, and quite by accident that afternoon, the skeleton of a rather good novel was created.

So here I am, six months down the track, still working on that novel. Rusty is excited, as all good publishers are when their favourite author is about to produce their best work.

Sadly, I made the most difficult decision of my life, and had Achates put to sleep shortly after the diagnosis of her tumour.

I may do not so difficult decision and divorced David three months ago, almost immediately after which he married Diane-in a very "prim and proper" wedding ceremony.

And after a long and fruitful association, I parted company with my word processor. It was my very best friend, yet its betrayed me too. An electronic malfunction caused it to wipe to entire chapters of my novel. A major setback, and quite unforgivable.

I bought a brand-new computer yesterday, and since the word processor was declared officially beyond repair, I decided to use it for target practice.

I promise you, it didn't feel a thing.
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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