The words over at Three Word Wednesday are cease, heat and nasty.
And Shock Collars are for Dogs
Being a man, and thereby drawn visually to things, he had the added foible (that’s what she called it – a foible) of becoming distracted in open settings and watched the action rapt, when she thought he should be listening to her, and only her.
At first, she put up with it. Then she called him on it. Often using the word “cease” as something of a safe word for him.
And for as much as he tried, he couldn’t help himself when she left on another dry discourse to begin scanning the room as life coursed and blossomed around him.
“Have you heard anything I’ve said?” she’d snap and he’d recite back to her the last set of sentences, like a court stenographer. “Cease.”
Dark thoughts began to form in her mind. Maybe he wasn’t the man for her, their shared future. Lord knows she had tried to shape him more toward her image, choosing his clothing and then his (well, her) friends. But really his distractions were just too much.
She plotted her escape from the relationship, contemplated the sorrow and heartache it would bring. The division of things, arguments over CDs. Being alone again.
Until late one night while he snored away, she lay on the couch with the TV sound turned down and flipped through channels aimlessly; with her feet tucked under her anxious, she chewed at the skin around her fingernails until nasty little pinpoints of blood appeared.
The infomercial stopped her fingers from manipulating the remote.
“With these amazing little servants, turn any man into the dedicated, attentive lover you’ve dreamed about – all for three easy payments of $89.95.”
Without a thought, she dialed, ordered and put the charges, plus postage and handling, on her debit card that she kept secret and hidden from their joint account.
And waited four-to-six weeks for the answer to his condition.
They came in a plain brown padded envelope. He nearly had tossed it into the recycling, thinking it was a pack of coupons they never clipped, or another offer to refinance the home they didn’t own. Until he fingered the envelope, felt the faint ridges and curves.
“This came for you,” he said as he slapped the envelope down on the counter, like he was discarding a poker hand.
Immediately she knew what it was; she felt the heat generated in her cheeks, but gave off an air of feigned indifference.
“How was your day?” she asked. “Steaks for dinner? I thought we could open that last bottle of pinot we’ve been hording.”
Ears perked, he read her body language and slipped his hands around her waist and buried his head in her auburn hair that smelled faintly of basil and grapefruit.
“And maybe later, we can…” and let his fingers curve between her inner thighs, finishing the thought.
In the harsh light of the bathroom in the aftermath of their rather quick and vanilla lovemaking (he already had drifted off, like he does, she registered angrily), she fingered the tiny vial, inspected the forms and shapes that danced inside. Like Sea Monkeys, but much more man-made, as if these tiny life forms were the product of an illicit Industrial Revolution tryst between robots . And this vial held a tiny bit of the milt of the indiscretion.
And with a determined sigh, she shook the vial per instruction, broke the seal and walked silently to the bedroom and dumped the contents into his ear canal.
“Let’s go out tonight, you and me,” she said over a quick breakfast of muffins and sliced fruit. “Get a drink and maybe some dinner at Pathos.”
“You hate Pathos, you said it was way too noisy.”
“It is, but I know you love it there – and we haven’t had Pastitsio in ages.”
The place was packed when she got there; he had thought ahead, reserved his favorite table near the back, away from the bar. He was already there, and had settled into his preferred seat that put his back to the wall – and gave a theater view to the entire room.
They kissed and she launched into a long dialogue of her day, a detailed list of battles won, battles lost, scorecards kept.
His eyes drifted…
And his entire body shudder slightly in spasm, like what happens when you conjure a creepy thought, and his eyes bulged ever so slightly.
“I’m sorry, what were saying?” he asked. “Whew, is it hot in here or what?”
Little spittle bubbles frothed at his lips. His eyes looked watery, a little sad.
She talked of shoes and friends and office gossip between players he'd never met. He scanned the room, or tried.
Each attempt to drift was met with tiny tremors, scant bits of seizure. His eyes always returned to her. He wore a weary smile.
Soon, spittle bubbles turned to drool. His eyes went from watery to red-rimmed and puffy.
When his nose and gums began to bleed, she asked for the check, declined to-go boxes and led him by the elbow to her car. He made a gurgling sound as his head hit the passenger-side glass.
Hot terror coursed through her; blood droplets made teardrop patterns on his crisp white Oxford shirt and clashed obscene with the azure and yellow stripes of his silk tie. He had passed out, total lights out, as if he was dead-drunk.
Frantic, she dialed the 800-number on her mobile. The number of the company from the infomercial, from the embossed card she kept in her purse, the very one that said to call if there were complications, various side-effects.
And in a disconnected, metallic voice, the recording announced the number was no longer in service.