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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1965872
A disastrous return home, after a disastrous trip! Finding the humor in mishap!
“I tell ya, Dot, this had to be a road trip taken right out of the script of ‘Griswolds Take Vacation’!”

“Aw, come on now. It wasn’t all that bad was it?”

I shot her a quick stern look, then turned back to watch the road. We didn’t need any more to contend with on this trip, and we were so close to home now.

“Okay,” she admitted, “maybe it was. But hey, in ten minutes it’ll be but a distant memory. We’ll look back at it and get some good laughs!” She chuckled softly.

Pulling into her driveway, I thanked her for her company on the trip to hell and back. She smiled brightly at this, thanking me for showing her some excitement in her boringly predictable life. We unloaded her things from the back seat of my car, or what was left of it, as her husband appeared at her side.

“What Hap…”

“Don’t ask baby, don’t even ask.”

He shrugged, gave her a peck on the cheek welcoming her home, threw a quick wave in my direction, and then toted everything inside for her. I bid her farewell, promising to call her later, and was on my way home. Ah…home. I couldn’t wait to be there.

As I safely navigated the next ten minutes on the drive home, I couldn’t help but think about my best friend. Dearest Dot…always the optimist. I envied that about her. Such a lovely woman, inside and out. Always a good sport, whatever disaster we had encountered on our get-away. She had a way of getting us through each one, without the slightest loss of our sanity.

I decided that wrestling the crushed trunk lid open to retrieve my bags could wait. I just wanted to get inside and draw a nice hot bubble bath and unwind. Smiling, flooded with relief at making it home intact. I opened the front door, stepping inside. The smile faded in an instant.

My house reeked like a dumping ground for the dead. The further inside I went, the stronger the stench of rot became. I followed my nose to the source. It was coming from my kitchen. I looked around, no dead bodies to be found, thank goodness. As I neared my refrigerator, the odor was unbearable.

“Oh, hell no!” I screamed out, to no one in particular, as I retreated to the open front door.

I breathed in the fresh air, to clear the foul lingering odor from my nostrils. I could feel the threat of tears, stinging at the back of my eyes. I wondered if ‘The Griswolds’ had become stowaways in my car and the insanity would forever continue. My thoughts flashed back to the trip from hell, vividly but quickly replaying the events of the journey. I found myself wishing Dot were here.

I went back inside, resolved to do what must be done, wishing I were one of those gals who kept clothes pins around. Gathering gloves, and a garbage bag, I set to work tossing the putrid contents of my fridge. I tied the bag tightly and immediately took it out to the garbage tote.
Returning to my unwelcomed project, I turned on the tap to draw up some hot, soapy water to commence the scrubbing of the deceased appliance. Until it could be removed, I’d have to get it tolerable. I waited for the hot water to arrive. But, after several minutes, it still ran cold.

I was thankful I had learned how to light the water heater. But, when I approached the door to the room that housed the beast, I noticed the saturated carpeting. When I entered the utility room, the tiled floor came alive with the pool of water dancing upon it in little ripples.

My cell phone began pounding out a familiar tone. Could Dot have known something was amiss?

“Hey Dot,” I answered in a tone of exasperation.

“I’m just making sure you made it home okay, well, with all that happened…”

Was it all the stress ripping my mind away, or simply self-preservation? I wasn’t sure, but whatever it was, I began laughing hysterically. It poured out of me like a fountain and I was powerless to stop it.

“Jess, what on earth?” She asked this, as the laughter became contagious.

I finally managed to convey that I would have to return her call once I was able to collect myself. I muttered something about the Griswolds and ended the call. I went back outdoors and sat on the porch, wiping at the tears induced by my continuing laugh attack. This really wasn’t funny in the least.

A car pulling up intruded upon my senseless neurotic outburst. It was Dot and Jerry. She ran to me, concerned by my tear-streaked face.
“Oh, honey! What happened?"

Then, she saw my body shaking, as I fought off yet another bout of delirious cackling. She couldn’t help but giggle herself, but still had a look of protective curiosity, clouding her pretty face. All I could do was point into the house. They both hurried inside, I followed.

“Holy heck! What is that horrid smell?” Jerry inquired.

I opened the refrigerator, he slammed it shut.

“Okay, I get it! Whoa, that's awful!”

I was finally coherent enough to explain everything to them. We moved the stink monster out of the house and made plans to replace the failed appliances first thing the next day. Jerry, what a trooper he is!

As we took a rest for a moment, Dot remarked; “Yep, those Griswolds were definitely at it again.”

A side note: This was a contest entry, which actually tied for first place! I was limited to 1000 words, and the theme of it had to be about returning home from a long trip only to find the fridge was dead and the hot water tank was leaking. Had I had more words, I would have loved to write about the trip itself too. However, I am soon to begin a re-write, that includes the trip as well! Stay tuned
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