If the Horns Fit
I’m not by nature a jealous guy, but I became slightly concerned when Chastity started (and continued) to call me “Lars,” amidst adult relations.
For years we had a clockwork operation in place in the sack department: efficient, effective, identical to last time, nothing weird, functional. Steady for years, and then suddenly all these ideas. Ideas are fine for young people, but we aren’t so young.
I’m not saying I don’t trust her, but what’s with the new trapeze? You can’t even get the right one at Home Depot without special ordering, believe me.
We’ll be sitting over morning coffees together and she’ll say something like, “Wouldn’t it be fun to go at it in bear suits?”
And then I’m forced to ask, “What’s a bear suit?”
Chastity shakes her head piteously and says, “Never mind, dear.”
I’m ready to believe that the Pool Guy who moved into the garage is there solely to take care of the pool. As soon as the tax refund comes in, we’re buying one.
“In-ground,” Chastity votes. I stopped voting out of apathy and a lack of faith in the household democratic process. “Wave-making,” Chastity specifies of the pool.
“Since we don’t have a pool yet, why the Pool Guy?" I ask. I’m always catching up.
She grins and says, “Because…” Then she watches a plane flying high in the sky over the back yard, where she is hanging sheets on the clothesline to dry. Sheets and towels and washcloths and so much underwear. I’m feet away, dis-assembling the million parts of a six-cylinder engine. I’m doing it in the dirt because I can’t work in the garage anymore. Because.
“Because,” she says again, pausing so long I forgot she was answering my question, except for the omissions. “Because…” and the long tail of the trail off is such that I stop nodding at her eventually and return to my task.
Last Friday when I left for work, everything in our bedroom looked normal. By the time I returned for dinner, the bedroom was full of movie cameras and semi-circular tracks around the bed, lighting fixtures, that kind of thing. There were even a couple random production assistants milling around.
“Chastity?” I asked, very much a question, “What’s the ups with this stuff?”
She says, “Sorry hon, we’re only storing all this equipment. For… for… a friend.”
My hackles were up, I started sinking. I felt that cold draft of bad news that usually gets me lying to myself about what the dealio is right away in defense.
“Woman friend or man friend?” I asked, because I wasn’t willing to step around all this film gear indefinitely for just any friend. It would have to be a really really close friend.
That’s as far as we progressed on that conversation. Chastity abruptly trotted into the house, saying she had to tip the pizza delivery guy. But we can’t hear the doorbell from the back yard. And as far as I’m aware, we haven’t ordered pizza. So many people ring our doorbell. I can’t keep track of what each one’s there for.
Chastity prefers to handle the details. I’m more the Big Picture Thinker.
She says as she is falling asleep in my arms, all well with the world again after a bit of marital reconciliation, “Oh God, I love you, Jake.”
I say, “It’s Elliot,” but I don’t want to jump to conclusions.
About the author:
Todd Mercer won the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Award for 2015, the first Woodstock Writers Festival Flash Fiction Award and two Kent County Dyer-Ives Poetry Prizes. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance appeared in 2015 at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent poetry and fiction appear in: Bartleby Snopes, Blink Ink, Dunes Review, Eunoia Review, Gravel, Kentucky Review, The Lake, The Legendary, Liars' League NYC, Literary Orphans, Lost Coast Review, Main Street Rag Anthologies, Midwestern Gothic and Softblow Journal.