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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ol' Wifeliss

I worked the engraving knife carefully
It was just a hobby for me
But I took pride in it
Nothing I ever did turned out as nice as the Colt engraving shop
But it was far better than a two year old's work
Take that as you will

The brand new cast iron frying pan weighted down my lap
A reassuring press down
Pressing down my emotions
Providing me a center of focus

My knife slowly worked a "W" into the metal
In classic Old English style
Moving on to an "I"
Then an "F"

My wife sat on the other side of the coffee table
To my left
Past the ugly dark wood turned lamp
With the tape patched shade
A pink box of Kleenex
Dozens of used tissues collected around it
An apple core
A red solo cup of wine

Both of us facing the old RCA console color television
Kept alive by prayer to Baal
Some judicious repair work
And a government rebate provided digital converter box

Local programming wasn't anything special
But at least it gave me a break from HER

Steady hands worked an "E" into the virgin metal

One ham hand brushing greasy black hair out if her beady blue eyes
My wife kept talking
I tuned in for a second just to see what she was saying
She needed a grunt if assertion now and again
It made her think I was paying attention
Kept some arguments from happening

".....and the dentist says Joey's braces can be paid for on a payment plan
Which is pretty good
We could have them paid off in a year
Then Suzanne can get her braces
Which she really needs in my opinion
It might help us win some pageants
She hasn't been finishing higher than fourth all year
And I think it's because of her teeth you know....."

I grunt an affirmative
Because what else am I supposed to do

The letter "L" forms itself under my fingers

Just then Steve and Bobby tumble into the room
A whirl of dirt and motion
Like something out of a Warner Brothers cartoon
Bobby is dripping blood from his nose
Further staining the already ruined ten years ago office beige carpeting

Steve was yelling about his little brother
"Bobby started it!!
I didn't mean to hit him with the stick
It was his fault!"

A letter "I" took shape on the pan

Bobby for his part was crying uncontrollably
Adding tears and drool to the already copious amounts of fluid
Dripping from his face to the carpet
Making abstract shapes on the carpet

I nodded over at the wife
Who was sitting slack jawed now
Dried lasagna sauce from dinner collected in the corner of her mouth
Something stuck in between her top center teeth
Half trying to peer past them at her television show
Half pretending to be concerned about Bobby

"Talk to your mother"
I couldn't be bothered
I was now making a pretty letter "S"

Bobby ran and smashed his messy face into his mothers breast
Wrecking further her food stained T-shirt

From the next room
Baby Alex started crying
Having been woken from his nap

I let it all happen for a minute
While I finished my last letter
"S" finished off my immediate project

My eyes took in my work for a moment
The word glinting back at me
Shiny against the dull flat cast background


I got up
Set the pan lettering side down on the coffee table
And went to hold baby Alex
Who probably smelled of wee

But at least had other redeeming qualities
One of which being
That he didn't look a bit like my wife