It had been a pretty lax Spring day over in Kicksburg, thus far. The residents mostly kept to themselves, running errands, tending to their blossoming yards, or occasionally mingling with each other outside. Typical, considering everyone knew almost everyone else. Things seemed rather quiet and peaceful, like the small town almost always was.
"Rosie, you might wanna see this!"
Well, except for that little exclamation coming from Mark Simmons Jr., one of very few wealthy people to have taken refuge in Kicksburg, and the son of one of the town's few VIP citizens. Why someone who could afford to live practically anywhere in the world would want to settle down in this humble, somewhat quirky province was beyond anyone's understanding. Junior managed to find his girlfriend of about ten months out in the backyard, putting some work into her current project: a fruit and vegetable garden. She pruned the tomato plants with one hand, while scattering carrot seeds with the other. Seemed like the perfect task for a workaholic from the deep south.
"Okay, I'm sorry I never told you this before, but I don't really like that nickname," Rosemary responded as she stood up to face him, using one hand to wipe her glistening brow while the other adjusted her plaid tube-top. "Just say Rose or Rosemary."
"Oh, uh, my apologies," Junior rubbed the back of his head. "Anyway, the paper just got dropped off, and I found a headline that might intrigue you."
Rosemary said nothing as she accepted the paper, brushing the bangs out of her midnight blue eyes as she flipped to the page her boyfriend had donkey-eared for her. The headline in question read, "Notorious Mafia Boss Found Dead In Hudson River", and was more than enough to engross her, grabbing her like a Venus fly trap did its prey. The mobster in question had been none other than Maria Giovanni, known for her overtly violent and macabre tendencies, and her family's generations-old tactic of recruiting goons by taking in unwanted children, carrying out the latter by either picking orphans off the street or talking women out of abortions; why, some of her organization's hideouts were disguised as foster homes, resulting in a ton of babies that were simply handed to them. Maria was even known for being the very first trans woman to lead organized crime. Her killing was the result of being shredded by a yacht's propeller, and had been done in self-defense after she'd launched an attack on a group of known political activists at the Plaza Hotel; as a result, no charges were pressed.
"Wow, apparently one of Maria's most notable feats was when she brutally murdered her parents when they refused to accept her after she came out, thus resulting in her inheriting the family business," Rosemary noted as she skimmed over the pages.
"Really? That's what you picked up from all this?" Junior asked incredulously, reading the article over his girlfriend's shoulder. "This is the same bitch who indoctrinated and then killed your kid, nearly killed us, and as we can see here, she even tried to murder the Looks Don't Matter gang! She's an absolute piece of scum, and frankly it infuriates me that the media is choosing to give her this flowery eulogy and highlight everything she ever did like it's some amazing achievement! Just like they did with other ghouls like John McCain, Ronald Reagan, and the Bushes!"
"Believe me, I'm aware."
"Okay, so what do you think of all this? Are you sad? Relieved? Angry? What?"
"I'm… I'm not sure."
"What do you mean, you're not sure?"
"Well… I mean, don't get me wrong, I didn't like Maria at all. She nearly ruined my life, and to this day, I'm still mad at myself for ever being her friend," Rosemary explained. "And I'm glad to know she can't hurt anyone else now, as well as the fact that her entire organization fell apart in the aftermath… but… is it really a good idea to celebrate someone else's death? Regardless of what that person may have done to me? I mean… it doesn't sound very Christian, does it?"
"Oh, please. We're not even married—yet—and we've had sex about a dozen times. Christianity went out the damn window," Junior couldn't help but chuckle a little at that remark. "I normally don't like slandering the dead either, but this time is different. I'm not gonna just start weeping and moaning over the passing of someone who nearly took my life and harassed my girlfriend. If anything, I'd be weeping with joy right now."
"Yes, but if you think about it, Maria was kinda' responsible for bringing us together in the first place."
"That's true… look, I've made up my mind. You can choose to grieve or not, but I'm personally relieved that she's out of our hair. I'm gonna go whip up a feast for tonight in order to celebrate this new era of peace. Hopefully that garden will be finished soon, so I don't have to keep buying produce."
Rosemary looked on in silence as she watched Junior reenter the mansion, before shifting her eyes back to the newspaper in her hands. She just couldn't quite place why she had such mixed emotions right now. She knew she was better off without Maria there to bother her anymore, and she knew she would never forgive her for her many heinous actions, but was it really tactful to rejoice over her much-too-young death? It just sounded wrong in her eyes, and Rosemary's judgement as to what was right or wrong was usually spot on.
It took a couple more read-throughs of the article, but eventually, she came to a final decision. With a resounding sigh, she tucked the newspaper under her arm and retrieved a pair of hedge-clippers from the recently-built toolshed, before shredding the entire paper until its words were incomprehensible. She then grabbed a shovel and stirred the resulting ribbons into the compost pile.
"With any luck, this will rot in there and be forgotten alongside everything else in the pile," Rosemary concluded. "I will neither grieve nor celebrate her demise."