by Eric DeLee
This story is about a man named Emery during 'one of his days'.
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Emery walked out of the bedroom, squinting at the ray of sunlight that snuck through a crack between the thick curtains and the window. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and surely didn’t make up for the lack of taste when he started scratching his crotch area. He let out a monstrous wail of a yawn, and stretched his hands as far over his head as he could possibly reach.
In the living room, the audience from some daytime talk show was chanting “Whore! Whore! Whore!”, over and over again. Emery rolled his eyes. He couldn’t believe that Trish still watched all of that junk TV. He headed towards the direction of the kitchen, wobbling down the tiny hallway barley able to carry his own weight anymore, until he reached the kitchen table. Not an inch of the table’s surface shown with all of the trash that decorated it. Brown McDonald bags were piled on top of each other. Little wads of yellow paper that they use to cover their cheeseburgers were scattered all around. Roaches crawled over these, scavenging for whatever crumbs were left behind.
“Trish?” The only answer from the living room was the TV. His own labored breathing made it hard to even hear that. He pulled back a chair and sat down. The chair moaned under the man’s weight. He craned his neck out, trying to look into the living room, but wasn’t able to see past the corner. He could see the reflective glow on the wall, but that was about the extent of it.
The kitchen was a total wreck. There were dishes stacked in both sinks and a large pile overflowing onto the counter top. Roaches frenzied over these treasure, crawling over and under plates with caked on spaghetti sauce and dropping into glasses half full of some unidentified liquid. Flies buzzed around the mess, landing occasionally and savoring the area. Next to a pan of some congealed meal of the past, a mouse was trying to chew through the plastic bag holding a loaf of moldy Wonder Bread.
Emery watched all of this, while shaking his head from side to side. He was sick of this life. He was tired of living in conditions like this. Most of all, he was tired of Trish not cleaning the house when he asked. That was going to change though! He was going to make damn sure that things were going to change that very day!
“Fuckin’ woman watches TV all day and night. Doesn’t do a damn thing.” Sweat was starting to bead on his forehead. Although he was talking, he wasn’t really talking to anyone in particular. He raised his fist and squared it above a cockroach feasting on a blob of mustard. He smacked it down, crunching the roach underneath. He looked at the mess left behind, and absently wiped the back of his hand on his belly. He struggled to stand back up, but made it on the third attempt. His breathing turned raspy and harsh once again.
“TRISH!” Still no answer. Anger boiled inside, and threatened to crest over. He started for the living room when he got control of his temper again. God knows he can really loose a grip on that one! He’s done it in the past over silly little things, and regretted them everytime he saw Trish’s face. She was a sweet gal and she deserved better then a fat slob that was medically unfit to go to work. He reminded himself of that everyday, when he woke up and she was still by his side. Maybe she stayed out of pity, hell, how was he to know. He loved her though, and he supposed that is what really counts. Even if she did just sit on her fat ass all day watching TV.
He walked over to the wall with the Honeywheel thermostat sticking form it and adjusted the temperature. He guessed it to be close to 90 degrees in the kitchen. His skin was already layered with a film of oily sweat and his body was starting to put off a very strong aroma. He had not heard the AC kick on, but supposed that it would in any moment. It would not, but that’s the funny thing. Emery would not remember anything about the AC. Heck, the electricity has been off for nearly three weeks now, but he still insists that he hears the TV playing in the living room. Even his eyes are playing tricks on him nowadays... although the sunlight coming through the picture window is the real cause of the glow on the wall, you would never be able to convince Emery of that nonsense. Emery was having one of his ‘days’. Emery then had an urge! He wanted to make some coffee. Why he had wanted coffee when it was already smoldering is beyond reasoning, but you have to remember who we are talking about here.
The coffee pot was next to the fridge. Emery had a smile pasted onto his face. He looked the part of a fool but kept grinning his cartoon smile regardless. He brushed away a few of the cockroaches climbing the side of the pot and then lifted the pot to his nose. The coffee was strong and thick. Fuzzy green islands of mold floated on the surface. When he tilted the coffee pot to take a sip from it, a dark ring circumferences the inner part of the glass, marking where the coffee had sat for weeks. He expected the coffee to be hot when he tasted it, but spat out a mouthful when he realized that it was no more than room temperature.
“ACK!” He cried! He stuck out his tongue and wiped it against the arm not holding onto the coffee pot. If there was one thing in this world that Emery hated, it was cold coffee. Maybe the guy was not as crazy as the doctors pronounced him to be after all. I mean, who likes cold coffee? He dumped the syrupy substance that once was coffee over the dishes in the sink. A swarm of fruit flies scattered into the air. He turned the faucet on, meaning to fill the pot back up with water, but nothing came out. This puzzled Emery. When you turn the handle with a blue label on it, you would get cold water. That’s what Trish had taught him. He looked over at the handle marked with a red label and wondered if perhaps the cold water decided to move over into that handle. He tried it and got the same results. Now he was baffled.
“Trish?” No answer. Just the damned TV again. Or, as the docs would have said, just his imagination again. “Trish? I can’t find the water.” He set the coffee pot on the counter, squashing more cockroaches underneath it and turned to go into the living room again.
When he reached the living room, he had to grab onto the back of the couch to steady himself. If he had thought it was hot in the kitchen, it was an inferno in the living room. And the smell! Even the smell had rocked Emery back on his heels. He had to consciously fight a battle with his stomach in order to avoid vomiting. In time, he won the battle, and his vertigo passed. He looked at the TV. The screen was black, and Emery noticed a layer of thick dust covering it like a film. He walked closer and his foot sunk into something soft and giving. Instant heat enveloped his foot. A warm liquid covered it.
On the floor, in front of the couch, was the carcass of a dog. You could not identify the breed of the dog due to the state of decay it was in. The only things that held true; it had black hair, a tail, was medium sized and it was dead. The ribcage of the animal had swelled within the heat of the living room. One of its legs layed across its muzzle. Its eyes were already shriveling and had the appearance of dark plums. Emery’s foot had punctured into the dog’s underbelly spilling spoiled insides and settled blood onto the carpet. Maggots made their home on a fairly large portion of the dog’s side. Emery saw none of this. Mind you, he’s having one of his days.
He looked down, saw his dog, Lady, and sat on the couch so that he could pet her. He stroked her side, unaware of how brittle the hairs were or how they seemed to peel away from the dog’s skin at the slightest touch. He patted her on her ribs, a hollow sound echoed in the room, and he sat back up on the couch. He absently wiped his hand on his chest. Maggots tumbled off of it, some rolling onto the couch cushions and others squirming on his chest. There was an old clock hanging on the wall that showed a picture of The Duke. He saw that the big hand was on the 5 and the little hand was just past the 2. He wondered where Trish had gone, and why she had left without giving him a kiss, but he decided that he’d just take a nap and wait for her.
~~~ *** ~~~
Five hours later, Emery woke up hungry. He looked at the picture of John Wayne and noticed that the time was exactly the same as it was when he went to sleep. He didn’t find that strange at all, he just thought that maybe he had slept a long time. He called out for Trish but again she did not answer. It was unlike her to forget about him for such a long time. He reminded himself to teach her a lesson once she got home. In the meantime, sitting on the couch wondering where she is was not doing anything to subside the hunger pains that riveted through his body. He figured it was time to get something out of the freezer and try to cook it for himself.
The deep freezer was located in the garage. There is a door that connects the garage with the kitchen. When he made it back to the kitchen table, his breathing returned to its quick raspy ways. If you could imagine pressure needle built right onto Emery’s chest, you would no doubt see the needle edging the red area. Emery knew that if he kept up at this pace, he more than likely was going to have another ‘heart cramp’. The doctor had told him it was a full blown heart attack, but what do they know? Besides, he was too young to have a heart attack.
Emery wobbled over to the pan next to the loaf of bread and looked at the mess that was inside. He sniffed at it in a way that would be comical to any bypasser. He poured out the mess and a stink rose from it that was just about as bad as the stink that was in the living room. He shook his head in disgust. The first thing he’d make that woman do when she came home was clean the dishes. God this place was filthy!
He turned and placed the pan on the stove (washing it wasn’t a priority for him, and besides, there wasn’t any water). The stove was one of those older gas stoves. Trish had told him to never touch it unless it was an emergency. He turned on the dial which turned on the gas. He had forgotten about lighting the burner with a match, but that was just a minute detail, wasn’t it? It did not seem to matter anyways, Emery did not care.
When he opened the deep freezer, another smell hit him like a fist in the stomach. But this was a little different this time. It was the smell of blood and spoiled meat. In the freezer, there were numerous soaked paper bags. A few of the bags were McDonald’s bags, you could still see the familiar arches printed on them. He lifted one of the bags and looked inside. Blood dripped from the bag and ran onto his considerable belly. Inside, there was a chunk of meat that looked like a cow heart. On the bag, where it wasn’t soaked in blood, the word ‘Hart’ was written with a crayon. The letters looked as though they were written by a child, but were in fact Emery’s own hand writing. He smiled and placed the bag on the floor.
There was something else he wanted, so he dug deeper in the freezer. There was a puddle of water, about four inches high from where the freezer had defrosted. The water was tainted red, and numerous brown McDonald’s bags were floating and bobbing on its surface. Emery’s arms were tainted red all the way up to his elbows as well. Then he struck something in the corner. He grabbed the object with both hands and lifted it out of the freezer. A smile painted across his face.
“TRISH! Trish, it’s you!” He hugged his wife’s dripping head to his chest. Trish’s eyes bulged as though in shock. Her face was swollen from being submerged under the water for so long. Her tongue lay lifeless on her chin and her skin had taken to a purplish tint.
“Trish! I’ve looked for you all day today!” Trish of course said nothing in reply. He looked over the head for just a moment longer, and tossed it carelessly to the floor. Trish’s head rolled to the side, where she will stay for no doubt a long time. Emery was more interested in eating right now then of teaching her a lesson. Besides, he remembered that there was still another foot somewhere in the freezer. He hadn’t remembered eating the last one yet. Then again, you never could tell. After all, Emery was having one of his ‘days’.