Winds of words howled inside Gerald’s head as he sat silently eating his supper listening to his wife.
“I don’t understand what you did to make this happen?” She picked at her lima beans, while behind glass a panorama of juniper and blazing mountain ranges surrounded them. Gusts whistled past the house without giving anything away.
“It doesn’t make sense,” she said.
“No,” said Gerald, picking up a potato. “It doesn’t”.
“What about that McCarthy character? He’s never on time and barely does a damn thing. Why not him?” she asked.
“Would’ve made more sense,” he said quietly, while wind chimes clanged outside. The front swing jangled on its chains.
“Somebody had something against you, some kind of grudge. Things like this don’t happen for no reason,” she said.
He looked up at her, then back at his plate. His teeth ripped away at a chicken leg.
“What about that Carl? He’s just been waiting to push you out. His wife’s already living like she’s the queen. Gets her fingers done at that Nails Unlimited, over by the bank. You don’t see me walking in that place. She’s got nerve sashaying in and out of there, like he’s already got the job.” She poked at the food on her plate. “They could care less if we starved.”
Gerald continued to eat.
“What the hell are we going to do now?” she asked. “You know I can’t work with this damn arthritis!”
Gerald narrowed his eyes and worried his way through a series of facial tics. She’d never worked a day in her life. He didn’t know how much longer he could take her endless badgering. Outside the sky was darkening. Unidentifiable creaks and bangs sounded from a distance.
“You’re just going to have to get back out there, aren’t you? Nobody’s going to make our bed for us,” she continued, “you listening to me, Gerald? Back on that horse first thing tomorrow.”
Gerald walked to the refrigerator, opened it, and grabbed a beer. He sat back down and watched his wife’s jabbering mouth. He took a long swig from his bottle, set it down, and glared into her face. The raging storm continued to knock over anything that gusted in its path. Gerald took another long swig. His wife’s judgement surged forward like a mutiny. Everyday he came home to something that he had done wrong. It’s as if she waited all day to pounce on him as soon as walked in the door. A savage, uncontrollable urge blazed out of Gerald as he grabbed her throat and started to throttle her like a tree branch swinging back and forth. He realized he could just snap her in two.
“I could kill you right now, old lady,” he hissed through tightened lips.
His wife’s eyes swelled into huge purple orbits. Her bulging face ignited from within. She reached up and embedded her fork into Gerald’s cheek. He screamed and lurched back, pulling at his face. A chair knocked over and Gerald fell with it. His wife dropped back into hers, clawing for air, while the prevailing westerly’s gyrated around them, spiraling and twisting their world into one rabid knot.
This flash piece was published in Galleys Online, Oct. 2009