Saturday, April 5, 2008

Short Story Saturday

June Peterson studied her husband across the breakfast table from over the top of her half eyed glasses. He was as he usually was, every morning, reading the paper, eating half a grapefruit, and drinking a cup of black coffee. Even on Sundays the man did not deviate from his daily pattern. "It'll throw off my bowels" he had growled at her when she attempted to serve him something different.
Since he'd retired from the shoe factory, he had gotten even worse, in her estimation. Exactly 28 minutes were to be spent at the breakfast table, and then, he would excuse himself, take his bowl and cup to the sink, then go and get dressed. Which took him exactly fourteen minutes. He came out of the bedroom looking exactly the same as he would look if he were reporting for work at the shoe factory, as the manager he had finally become almost 15 years ago, bow tie, and all.
Instead of leaving for work, however, he would walk down to the park, where his friend, Ed, also retired, would be waiting for their daily game of chess. During the time he was gone, June cleaned house, went grocery shopping if she needed to, (never to spend over 100.00 without asking, please) and then come home, and make him a turkey sandwich on wheat bread with one slice of american cheese. Cut in a triangle. That, accompanied by exactly ten Pringles Chips, was his lunch. Every day.
After lunch he allowed himself some time to read a magazine, or mow the lawn, if it needed it. On Sundays, (but Sunday's only), he took a nap. Occasionally, he would wander down to the basement, and make a birdhouse, but, they had so many birdhouses up in their back yard that one could hardly see the trees. Plus, it infuriated him to no end when the little old lady next door, Edna, would let her cats out, and they would come hunting over in his birdhouses. He threatened, daily, to get a BB gun, and sit out there, picking off the cats. There had been fewer of them up until 2 weeks ago, and then the amount of cats she seemed to have tripled, for some odd reason.
Dinner was to be served at 5:30, on the nose. It was to consist of exactly 4 oz. of meat for each of them, rice or potatoes (alternating days), and a vegetable. And not a 'weird' vegetable, either, like artichoke, or brussel sprouts. It was to be peas, carrots, corn, or green beans. From a can. ("Fresh vegetables are sprayed with poison" he constantly told June. "I don't want to eat poison."
After dinner, he sat down to read what was left of the newspaper he had not covered at breakfast. If he was feeling particularly feisty, they would play a game of cribbage. And on Saturday nights, he allowed her one glass of wine, and he would have a tumbler of whisky. Only on Saturday, though.
This particular day, though, June had it in her head to break the rut they were both in. She'd finally had enough. Seeing that lovely young woman get hauled away, laughing, in a strait jacket last week in an ambulance had gotten June to start thinking. She didn't want to be the next one hauled off.
Deliberately, she got up, and went over to her husband, and sprinkled sugar on his grapefruit. He didn't even notice, until he took a bite. Without realizing it, he smiled a tiny smile. Then, a frown. Looking down at the piece of fruit, he asked her suspiciously "What did you do?"
"Nothing" she replied, looking at herself in the mirror, patting her curlers. "I wonder how I would look with shorter hair" she mused to herself.
Staring at June for a few seconds, John Peterson wondered what had gotten into her. Shaking his head he took another bite of grapefruit.
"Sure is sweet today" he noted.
"Yes Dear" she replied, and walked into the bedroom. Taking his drawer full of bow ties, she emptied them into the bathroom trash, a place he would never look. She made sure she got every single one of them. Then quickly left the room.
John, when he went to get dressed, pulled open his drawer, frowning. "Where are all my bow ties?" he hollered to his wife. No answer was received. Stalking out to the living room, he was astounded to find his lunch sandwich on the counter, with his chips, and a note saying "I will be back later- here is your lunch". She didn't even bother to sign it.
What has gotten into that woman?" he thought, frowning again.
Deciding he could not miss his chess, he took a chance, and left the house, without a bow tie. Without realizing it, he began to whistle as he walked down the street, towards the park. He even smiled at a few people. (Not Edna, however.) "What a nice day" he thought.
Meanwhile, downtown, June was enjoying herself immensely. She was at a popular salon, having a manicure, a pedicure, and her hair cut. She was even going to get her eyebrows waxed, and some lash extensions. (Hi Daryl! Thanks for the idea!). After that, she was going to go to the shoe store, to buy some kicky new shoes, and then? She was going to go buy herself a new dress. It was spring, after all! AND, she was going to spend more than 100.00. Possibly more than 500.00. She didn't care.
She did not arrive home again until well after five in the evening, in her new spring dress, and her kicky new shoes. Stopping to admire herself in the hall mirror, she wondered why she had not done this sooner. The soft pink dress matched her newly painted toes perfectly, and the french manicure on her nails was perfect. Her hair, now much shorter, curled on its own, and bounced happily against her cheeks. Batting her new eyelashes at herself, she laughed.
Hearing his wife laughing, John got out of his easy chair, taking care to leave his Time magazine open to the page he was reading. By the time he made it into the hallway, she was gone, however. Sniffing the air, he smelled a nice, spicy perfume, and it surprised him. "I know that scent" he thought to himself. "Its been a long time since I smelled it, though. What is she up to?" Shaking his head, he went back to his magazine.
Hiding behind the kitchen door, June listened to her husbands footsteps as they went back down the hall, to the living room.
"Good" she thought, and began to set up dinner. She had stopped at the flower shop, and bought a large bouquet of Tulips. She put them into her cut glass vase she'd gotten on her wedding day, and set them on the table. Taking out her best china, she set the table with it. That done, she went into the kitchen and unpacked their dinner. She had gotten take out Chinese Food from the place everyone was raving about. "John, dinner" was all she had to say.
John sighed as he got up, and entered the dining room. The sensual, dark red tulips were the first thing he noticed, then the china. It had been his mothers china. He could not remember the last time he saw it. Sitting down, he looked around, and smelled the spicy smell of June's perfume.
When she came into the room, he could not believe his eyes. She looked ten years younger, at least. Before he could say a word, she placed a plate in front of him loaded with chinese food. Looking up at her quizzically, he gasped when he saw her sit down, pick up some chopsticks, and begin to eat! Flabbergasted, he followed suit (but with a fork, he could only bend so much).
John enjoyed his Chinese dinner more than he could say. He enjoyed eating it off his mothers china, he enjoyed looking across the table at his beautiful wife. He even enjoyed the tulips. He liked everything so much, he forgot to complain about it.
When bed time rolled around, the curtains were closed tight against the starlit night, and John, (and June) enjoyed even more.
The next morning, as he walked to his chess game, grin on his face, without a bow tie, his neighbors were frankly shocked to see him stoop, and pet a cat....


Bubblewench said...

One just never knows where you are going to take us. Nice.

holly said...

yes. we never ever know. but we are usually certain someone's going to die. or get arrested. but PET A CAT? NOOOOO! the HORROR!!!! that leads to cat-liking. (not cat-licking, which is very VERY different).

Daryl said...

I am flattered I helped! Loved this one as much as the others .. you get better with each story .. and what's so neat is they are all different .. you know not all horror or all sad or all funny .. range, variety .. like June you know how to sweeten and spice things up!

sybil law said...


david mcmahon said...

Wonderful word trail, as always.

CamiKaos said...

you saw that this post is listed among David's posts of the day right. It's a good one.

Cath said...

That was a truly enjoyable read! And so good to see so many of my friends here too. :0) I'm over from David's this time, but I'll be back!

My expressions LIVE said...

Very well written! I loved all the little detail that you include.