They pulled the triggers at the same time
When Petra got home from work, she found a Post-It Note in her date book. It said, Kill David. David was in the bedroom where he had just discovered a Post-It Note stuck in the novel he was reading. It said, Kill Petra. So when Petra entered the bedroom with a gun in her hand she found David holding a gun aimed at her. Petra remembered how long it had taken them to find the right shade of taupe for the bedroom walls. David noticed that Petra’s hair was lighter and straighter than usual. He wondered if she had been to the salon. They pulled the triggers at the same time and both fell dead on the new carpet.
David was at the post office when he found the Post-It Note that told him to crash his car. His palms were moist. He went out to the parking lot and ran his fingers over the red paint of the sports car he had bought in his early twenties. He revved the engine harder than usual and then drove out of the parking lot. The tires spun and sent threads of rubber and stones into the air. The palms of his hands throbbed against the steering wheel. He picked up speed and twisted the wheel. The car slid sideways. He pushed harder on the gas. Trees and houses blurred. He went through a stop sign and pumped the air with his fist. He had never felt so alive. The tires left the pavement and spun on gravel. The car hit a curb and lifted up into the air. I’m flying, David thought. The car crashed into a row of trees, the hood buckled, windshield glass shattered. David told the police that a dog had run out in front of him. He struggled to hide his delight.
Petra wiped down her desk and phone with disinfectant and then she blew out the keyboard with canned air. She put on her coat and opened her date book. One Post-It Note said, Pick up alfredo sauce and the other said, Have sex with a stranger. She wondered if David might have written the second one. She went down the street to a bar and ordered a pear cider. A gentleman in a charcoal suit sat at a table by himself. Petra picked up her drink and joined him. She stuck her Post-It Note to his hand and explained that this was what she had to do today. He dropped a fifty on the table and took her hand.
On Saturday Petra took a Post-It Note from the fridge that said, Do something new. She sat down at the kitchen table, flipped through the newspaper, and sipped her coffee. Something new, she thought, what more is there? In the travel section there were deals to Nepal and Barbados, but she had gone to both those places last year. There were cheap flights to Germany, but she was tired of countries where they didn’t speak English. There were no movies she wanted to see in the entertainment section, and besides, she didn’t think that seeing a movie was anything new. She found an ad for Chinese watercolour painting lessons and dialled the number and signed up. She went into the den where David had most of the wall torn down and told him about the painting class. That is new, he said.
David’s Saturday Post-It Note said, Home renovation. He checked the cupboards in the kitchen for faulty hinges, he pulled drawers out and slid them back in. He went out onto the deck and stepped on boards, but none of them were in need of repair. He stopped at the wall in the den and asked Petra what she would think if the wall were two inches to the left, would it open up a whole new space? Petra agreed that moving the wall would change the room dramatically. David took out his toolbox and started to hammer away at the drywall, relieved that he now had a task.
Each morning Petra and David checked the Post-It Notes stuck to the fridge. They were divided into three categories: tasks for David, tasks for Petra, and activities and tasks for the weekend. And so they would take Post-It Notes that said things like Pick up salad fixings or Drop off dry cleaning and place them into their date books. As the tasks were completed they would crumple up the small rectangles of paper and toss them away. Petra and David liked to know what had to be done.