A long married couple with long married couple problems
|There’s was a tasteful yellow one-story three bedroom fully paid for with wall to wall carpeting nestled on a quiet cul-de-sac. The Taylors had lived there for thirty-one years. They had no children, which was tough at first, finding out they were not able to have children, but they grew to be okay with it, just one of those things.
Jack Taylor was the old man. Retired now for over ten years, he spent most days playing golf at the city Municipal. He’d been a plumber for forever and had the savings account to prove it. Jack told his friends that even after all this time, the smell of shit was still the smell of money to him. It was plumber’s humor and Jack had a million of ‘em.
Betty Taylor was the lady of the house. Jack called her “Betts,” and Betty hated the name and had told Jack more times than she cared to remember that she wished he wouldn’t call her that. If Jack ever heard her even once make this request, he didn't let on.
Last Thursday, as afternoon bridge was wrapping up, Betty admitted to her friends at the card table how she sometimes fantasized about getting Jack’s double-barreled shotgun out of the hall closet and waiting for Mr. Man to come home. “Hey Betts, what’s for dinner?” And how she imagined herself, little old me, coming out of the kitchen, shotgun waist high, and vaporizing the son-of-a-bitch into pink mist, then watch his gloopy brains slither down her robin’s egg blue walls. "Screw the rug," she said. "I mean it. Really... Screw the fricken rug!"
When they heard their timid friend Betty Taylor tell this story about getting the shotgun out of the hall closet and not worrying about the gore staining the rug, the ladies all laughed long and hard in gravely, bourbon-soaked voices with their eyes closed and their heads thrown back—“Whaaaaaa-ha-ha-ha!” Wife humor.
Betty was a card.
She was known for her brown wool pantsuits. Jack disliked pantsuits of any color, but probably brown wool ones most of all. Pantsuits reminded him of Hillary Clinton, and Jack hated Hillary Clinton and that was exactly why Betty wore them. That, and the fact that she loved Hillary Clinton.
When Hillary lost the election, Betty was beside herself with unhappiness and when Jack told her—which he did way too often—“Hey, ya lost for christsake, get over it!” she tried to let it go, but she didn’t get over it. She doubted she ever would. She bought more brown wool pantsuits and wore them proudly while she watched Fox News with Jack.
Jack knew what she was doing, how she’d come into the TV room with a fresh beer for him, maybe a saucer of Vienna Sausages with the little red-flagged toothpicks and proceed to wiggle her skinny ass around the room in her brown pantsuit in front of the television while she dusted.
Tonight, while dusting, she told Jack she was thinking about getting a Hillary Clinton haircut, and would he mind?
“No, Betts,” Jack replied to his eyelash-batting wife as she traipsed around the room dusting this, dusting that, dusting the TV screen with her wand of orange feathers. “My one and only wish is for you to be happy.”
Betty flopped down on her La-Z-Boy Recliner and studied her husband sitting next to her on his matching recliner. He still had his black and white golf shoes on, his feet up, his red baseball style MAGA hat cocked a bit sideways on his reclined head. With a cold beer in his right hand and a saucer of still warm Vienna Sausages perched high on his tall stomach, he silently studied the television screen with furrowed brow.
Betty said, “Jacky...?"
Jack said, "Shsss!"
"Do you really mean it? I mean, really and truly mean it? You want me to be happy...honest injun?”
Jack said, “Are you kidding me? Of course I mean it!” He smiled like he thought the question amusing, like the endless pantsuits were amusing, but Jack really didn’t think any of it was amusing, and Betty knew it, and Jack knew she knew it. "Oh, here we go, here we go," Jack said, leaning forward, he fell in with the chant; “Send them back! Send them back!"
“Jack…” Betty continued and Jack knew what was coming. He could tell by her voice alone. He stopped chanting and took a swig of beer and then a deep slow cleansing breath in through his nose and out through his mouth and looked sideways at his wife.
“If you really mean that, you would—”
“Beddeee...” Jack said, his voice a warning all its own.
“No! It needs to be said and it needs to be said now!”
"Don’t go there. I'm begging, damn it! I'm freakin' begging you here!"
“Jack, I can’t stand it any longer. I have to say it! You know I have to say it! This cannot go on! The toilet paper roll goes on with the paper coming over the top. We’ve talked about this. I have shown you the original picture on the patent and it shows clearly the roll goes on with the toilet paper coming down over the top, okay? Over the top, right, Jacky? Over the top! And I’m only asking—”
“It’s not done that way in my house, Betty! Not today, not tomorrow, not ever! I won’t stand for it! Do you hear me? I won’t stand for it! And only a dem would even consider doing it your way!" He gave his wife a cold stare and made a swiping motion with his open hand sideways straight across the air.
Jack turned the volume up on the TV and began full-voiced chanting, “Send them back! Send them back! Send them back! Send them back!" and Betty rose to her feet.
"Screw the carpet," she whispered as she made her way to the hall closet.