Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Nagging

It was twelve-thirty in the evening and Anna-Marie Tufton, as per her usual agreement with her unspoken wedding vows, was troubling her husband. It was not the usual hum-drum bothering a typical nagging wife would chide her husband with such as changing the car oil or not leaving crumbs in the bed. No, these naggings were much more painful and involved Anna-Marie telling her husband Franklin-David Tufton III to pluck his eyebrows, wax his body because his hairy chest made her convulse, and to clip his toenails daily (she always complained that in bed at night his toenails would scratch up her legs). Franklin-David was going to kill her.
Gruffly, he shoved the well-worn plugs into his ears and kindly reminded his wife Anna-Marie to take her sleeping pill, then with a weighty suspiration rolled over to sleep. Anna-Marie scoffed and swallowed her single rouge pill, wincing at the bitter taste of the water in her cup. She concluded right then and there she would simply have to remind Franklin-David to either change the water filter or buy more of the liquid in bottled containers.
Late that next morning, Anna-Marie found herself wakened by the aroma of bacon. She was for once pleasantly surprised rather than irritated her husband had decided to use the kitchen. She always assumed Franklin-David was a clumsy oaf who would put cereal in the microwave given the chance, but the maple-y smell of the pig soothed her. She lazily made her way down the stairs and sat at the new kitchen table she had to remind her husband over twenty some odd times to get, waiting for him to take notice. When he finally turned around his face morphed to a ghastly, chalky color. His grip loosened on the frying pan of bacon, allowing it to slip between his large fingers and hit the floor. Anna-Marie groaned; she would have to remind him to change that tile if it left a crack.
Over the course of the next baker’s dozen worth of days, Anna-Marie noticed her husband’s demeanor greatly alter. His eyes grew dark circles underneath them; his face became gaunt and never lost that chalky color from the morning he dropped the bacon. He would barely eat the food Anna-Marie would slave over (or so she’d claim), and he refused to touch her. Then there was also that hideous smell that followed her wherever she went, despite her frequent bathing and use of perfumes. Anna-Marie was about at wit’s end until one day she could stand it no longer. She decided to confront her husband and found him by the side of the house where she had reminded him earlier to rake the leaves. She got behind him and shouted his name. Startled, Franklin-David spun around and hit Anna-Marie in the skull with the rake.
Her head flopped into her hands.
Anna-Marie contorted her face, staring up at her stout neck and shoulders. After the briefest of pauses, she allowed herself to speak out loud the question that plagued her mind, asking, “Am I dead?”

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