Roscoe makes a discovery: Life is full of potholes. A Show, Don't Tell Entry
|An entry for the April round of "Show, Don't Tell Contest"
Prompt: Write a story that includes the information in the prompt:
~ When Roscoe comes home from work, the house is a disgusting mess.
~ His wife, Ruby, is angry when he notices the mess.
~ Ruby watches TV instead of fixing dinner.
~ Roscoe orders take-out and cleans up the mess.
Word Limit: Min ~ 1000; Max ~ 3000
Word Count: 1007
Ker-thunk! Damn potholes, Roscoe's brows furrowed as he pushed his glasses back up the slope of his nose. He squinted, peering through the nearly opaque windshield awash in light from the setting sun. I can’t even see the damn things! “Just once, I’d like to actually see people do what they promised. Stupid, lying politicians!”
Slowing, Roscoe pulled into his driveway and stopped abruptly, just short of running over his son’s bike that lay sprawled across his path. He could feel the heat in his cheeks as he leaned on his horn and waited. And waited. Finally, in disgust, he got out and shoved the bike out of the way. I should just have run the thing over! It would serve Junior right. He took a deep breath and let it out with a whoosh. OK, Roscoe, calm down. He’s just a kid, he chided himself.
Roscoe threaded his way up the chalk emblazoned walkway, feeling the tensions of the day begin to fade away with the prospect of being home and spending time with his wife.
He pushed the door open which immediately ricocheted back. “Ouch! “ he yelled with a bit more drama than needed, rubbing his head. He pushed again, watching the throw rug behind it coil like a spring. He turned slightly and pushed through the narrow opening, scanning the room for more traps. The house was a disaster! Dirty clothes and mismatched shoes lay along the hallway interspersed with the mail that had been dropped through the door slot.
“Ruby? Honey? Are you here? “
He listened intently and heard a muffled voice coming from the living room although he couldn’t be sure given the sounds of the T.V. Tiptoeing his way through the debris-covered floor, he followed the sounds of Jeopardy. I’ll take ‘what-the-hell’s-going-on’ for $200, popped into his mind as confusion darkened toward anger.
He poked his head around the corner and scanned the gloomy room. “Ruby?”
A hand coalesced above the couch. “I’m here.”
“Are you OK? If not, what the hell is going on? Junior left his bike in the drive, the house is a mess, and…“ He stopped, staring at his wife unkempt appearance. “you look like all you done today is not a damn thing!”
“Oh, mighty lord of the manor, forgive me for not rising and celebrating your return!” The scorn in her voice was palpable.
Roscoe bit his tongue. “Look, all I’m saying is it’s been a long day…”
“No shit! You have no idea. You leave the house, spend all day in a nice office, and then come home where you expect to continue your perfect life. You have no clue as to what it takes to maintain that illusion you have.”
Roscoe stepped back, eyes wide with surprise. “But, but…”
“No buts about it!” she continued. “Yes, Junior’s bike is in the drive. That’s because he was upset about being sent home from school. Evidently your son was accused of touching a girl inappropriately.”
“What? He did what?”
She held up her hand. “Don’t worry. I’ve taken care of it. Evidently she tripped and he tried to catch her inadvertently grabbing her boobs. All the teacher saw was his hands on her chest. The damn school reacted before getting the whole story. They called and apologized. I told them they could pay for his shrink. ”
Roscoe couldn’t control a small laugh.
“You think that’s funny?” She pointed toward her foot which was lying on a package of frozen vegetables on the coffee table. “Then, you’ll be in stitches over this!”
“Oh, honey. What happened?” he said with concern. Her silent glare should have warned him.
“Do you remember last week when I asked you to fix the hall runner because it keeps sliding?”
Roscoe’s cheeks flushed, vaguely recalling the conversation as his hand involuntarily reached toward the bump on his forehead.
Her flinty-eyed stare morphed into a tight-lipped, “I see that you do remember.”
Abruptly, she turned back to the T.V. “I’ve spent the afternoon watching soaps and game shows. Yes, it’s mind candy but you know what? Sometimes you just need a sugar fix!”
He walked around the couch and sat next to her, reaching for her hand. She didn’t pull back. That’s a good sign!
On the T.V., a commercial for Domino’s Pizza was beginning. “We don't want to lose any great-tasting pizza to a pothole, ruining a wonderful meal," a voice was saying. “Citizens who feel their city is plagued by potholes can submit their zip code for consideration at Paving for Pizza.”
Roscoe blurted out a laugh. I guess life is full of potholes. You can ride them out or repair them. Complaining about them doesn’t do any good. “Honey, after the day you’ve had, I totally understand. I’m sorry you’ve had such a crappy day. You just rest and leave everything to me.”
She looked at him, doubt filling her eyes.
“Ummm. Can I get you another bag of veggies?”
Roscoe watched an avalanche of emotions tumble across Ruby’s face, finally ending in a laugh. Not just a laugh, but a cascade of laughter that soon infected him. Each time one thought they were laughed out, the other would start up. Finally, they lay against each other, gasping for breath.
“If I wasn’t so weak, I’d hit you,” Ruby said, feebly raising an arm.
“No, I mean it. I’m going to clean up the house and order us dinner. You won’t have to lift a finger.”
Ruby began laughing again. “You? Clean? This I have to see.”
Roscoe bounced up. “Tada! You just watch!” He grabbed several trash bags from the kitchen and began putting stuff in them.
“Really? You’re just going to throw everything out?” Ruby asked.
“Not at all. I have a system, I’ll have you know. Dirty clothes in one. Shoes in another. Trash in another.”
“OK. And what’s for dinner?”
Roscoe didn’t hesitate. “Domino Pizza! Maybe I can get a few more potholes repaired while I’m at it,” he grinned.