Ralph was a cheat. Because of that, he was standing, bound and gagged, with Cindy at the edge of an enormous meat grinder at the Outfit’s new rendering plant.
He loved his wife. She was his gal since before he ran numbers for the Outfit when he was still in short pants. He wished she weren’t there attached to him. He wished that she would live, remarry, have children and forget about him. But it was her love and coming home early that bought her to the edge with him.
In a few moments, the blades would make them inseparable. Every drop of blood, every cell, every literal fiber of his being would be combined with hers. They would transcend till death do you part. No one — not even the girls in the back room of the “paint shop,” not Cindy’s father, not even the men of the Outfit — will be able to tear asunder what had been joined at the county courthouse. They would cleave as they are cloven.
As Elkins and Knuckles pushed them down to their quick ends, Ralph smiled blissfully though the terror.
Cindy cursed the day she ever came across him at Tony’s fruit stand.