The requirements: Write a story of 500 words or less using this list of horrors supplied by individual writers in a Facebook Women’s Writer’s Group. (My word was Alzheimer’s, as you might have guessed).
Laundry, Shh, Spiders, Failure, Assault, Moist, Slice!, Exhole (as in “ass-hole ex”), Freakotomy, Disco, Underground, Procrastination, Stoic, Writing, Parasitic, Boredom, Suffocating, Rats, Bbbbbreathe, Procrastination, Politics, Failure, Monday, Childabuse, Infanticide, If, war, Alzheimer’s, Should’ve, Truth, Shvitz, life, diarrhea, Alone, Mother-in-law, Darkness, Infinite, Traffic, Debt, Disease, Forgetfulness, Blood, Clowns.
No big deal, right? Here’s mine:
I’m suffocating here in the laundry room, with the air awash in the cloying scent of fabric softener. It assaults my senses, making it near impossible to bbbbbreathe… It’s freakin’ hot in here, in this little coffin underground, deep in the recesses of what used to be our happy home. I’m sweating more than a Sumo wrestler in a shvitz, and I wipe the back of my right forearm across my forehead, to no avail. My shirt is more than moist and I long to tear it off and throw it at the machine.
Suddenly, I’ve never felt so alone. This was Brian—my rock, my love, the man I’d never thought existed after my exhole Stuart pretty nearly obliterated any hopes I’d had for my life and mired us in a debt so deep I swear that I climbed over spiders and rats just to get out. Exhole, indeed. Sometimes I still think I should find him and take a knife—a big, honkin’ butcher knife—and cut his balls off. Slice! But then reason kicks in. Or maybe it’s procrastination. I hate blades. And blood. And besides which, I’m pretty sure he never had any balls to begin with.
Back to Brian. I hadn’t been that surprised at the Alzheimer’s diagnosis. After all, I’d known that something hadn’t been quite right with my usually stoic husband these past several months. The truth was, he had taken to some pretty odd behavior. Unlike the usual forgetfulness that you’d expect with the disease, Brian had become strange, manic—downright freaky. His vocabulary changed and he developed a queer sort of diarrhea of the mouth.
I’m writing all of this down on a clean pillowcase, thinking how it’s like every Stephen King novel that my mother-in-law had ever lent to him had suddenly invaded whatever lobe was responsible for speech. I picture some kind of hideous parasitic creature of darkness nibbling on his grey matter out of sheer boredom.
Outbursts of insanity, inanity had burst from his lips like the staccato light from a disco ball, at the least expected times. It had happened just this past Monday. He’d been watching the traffic report on our local news channel and still sat, staring at the screen, as the traffic gave way to the weather and then the usual string of depressing local and national stories: politics, war, child abuse, infanticide, murder, rape. The failure of humans to respect life in an infinite number of ways. “Storms, storms, storms,” he muttered. “Shining, misery, slam, face, rose, crunch.”
The doctor had said we had months, if not years. Yet today I’d come home to find a steady stream of clowns leaving our house. Clowns! I’d found Brian at the kitchen counter, holding a fork and whispering something about a “freakotomy.” If only I’d run back out the door instead of downstairs…
Choking back a sob, I hold my breath. Did I just hear whispering?
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