Mother’s Day

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Photo credit: Patrick Dobeson
Mama Six loved that turquoise quilt, the one with the black horses and winding river. It reminded her of the time she was a little girl at the ranch, the first time she saw the wild pony grazing near the water’s edge. The thick blanket restored within her a sense of hope and youth, which is why we wrapped her in it after Cecil killed her.

“Isn’t it a little ironic?” Cecil huffed as he tore the rotten paddle through the algae-infested water. A brown leaf clung to his wet chin.

“Huh?”

Cecil stopped rowing for a moment. “It’s Mother’s Day, and…” His brown eyes darted from the turquoise quilt burrito at the center of the boat and back at me. He pulled his lips to the side, the same smirk that started it all. Who knew a sneer warranted an impaled shoulder? It gave another meaning to knife in the back.

The three of us skidded across the water in the boat, like a puck on ice hurling towards the net. Could he have been right? Had it really been Mother’s Day? Suddenly the ball of fire in my gut expanded. “Just keep rowing,” I spat, feeling his hot glare drill a hole between my eyes. “We need to make a story, a different one than last time.”

“What’s wrong with the one we used the first time? You can’t think they’d notice, or even care – just the thought of possible abuse knocks them sideways.”

We row in silence for the next twenty minutes, both of us simultaneously scanning for a good dumping spot and devising a convincing excuse. He could have definitely chosen a better day to murder Mama Six – that was for sure. I swear I could hear our skin scorching and bubbling under the hot, Texan sun. The water that splashed off our oars did little to cool us off, and only formed an annoying puddle at our feet. Mama Six’s blood leaking everywhere didn’t help matters, either.

Then suddenly I saw it. “There!” I pointed towards the darkest pit in the lake. “That’s where we’ll drop her.” Cecil begins unwrapping Mama Six, and I prepare the boulders. “One on each limb ought to do it,” I think out loud.

“I wonder what she would think of us.”

If Cecil kept it up, he’d be the one sleeping with the fishes. “What now?” I couldn’t tell if the exhaustion in my voice was from rowing God-knows-how-far with a boat full of stones, or from my brother’s sad attempts for small talk.

“Mom.” He smiled sheepishly.

I wait to reply after I got the last stone attached. “Who the hell cares, Cecil? She left us, despised us for being different. So why waste any thought on that bitch?” There’s no way I could tell him that I had wondered the same thing after all the other times. As each Mama stopped breathing, I can’t help but to think about a life where the accidents weren’t necessary. “We got each other. That’s all that matters, right?”

Cecil blinked tears away and gripped Mama Six’s ankles. “You’re right, Blaise. Now let’s drop this wench.”

On three, we heave the plump lady off the side of the boat, and she sinks like an anchor, the only evidence of her existence dancing bubbles disappearing on the green water’s surface.

“Now what?” Cecil asked. We both stared into the abyss, numb, hearts pulsing in our throats.

I took a breath before sitting back down and grasping the wet paddle once more. “Now we go back. I figured we’d use Mama Three’s story.”

Cecil giggled. “Seriously? That one again? I was thinking about Two’s, personally. I don’t know if I can fake that again. At least not as convincingly.”

We snickered together, tears staining our cheeks, but mostly from sheer anxiety and fatigue than from hilarity. My fingernails dug into my paddle, sending splinters in my nail beds. Blood dripped from my fingertips as I wept and laughed with hysteria. “Happy Mother’s Day, Cecil.”

Cecil barely held a straight face, forcing back frenzied shouts. “You too, bro. Maybe Seven’ll be the end?”

“Fat chance,” I chimed, winking. “There are still a few Mother’s Days in our future yet.”

 

Rinse and Repeat

Pulsing surges of virulent passion clinch my soul. My body swells with sparkling foam, overwhelming my senses with jubilation and fervor. I can’t keep from groaning as my eyes roll back as the sensation causes every inch of my being to quiver. Places on my body to which I never have given a second thought tremble under the control of an erotic carnival ride.

Suddenly, images of my husband return to me. Memories of our blind date and my thoughts of love at first sight invade my head like a cynical film strip. Every second is another image, illustrating the security and compassion I felt every time he wrapped his strong arms around me. The warped picture show concludes with a flash of me collapsing at his funeral.

The carousel of recollection ends with a final DING. A pair of familiar misty gray eyes peer back at me, and suddenly the crying returns. Before he left my side, he blessed me with his spitting image in the form of a son. I can’t face the little guy without falling to the floor with regret and sorrow, but he needs his mommy. Only, mommy needs a few more days to lament before she loses her mind and does something she’ll regret.

With that in mind I rotate the knob and press start, restarting the washing cycle. I figure one more round before dinner won’t hurt.

Mr. Mother Nature

Take away all the funny moments, routine sex, power struggles, and petty arguments from a marriage and add weekly pruning and a shit ton of squirrels and what do you have? A dendro-lationship, that’s what. It seems nice at first, because participants receive hefty payouts, but who knew that trees were so goddamned bossy!

“Honey, go fetch some fertilizer from the store for me.”

I turned to my wife, a beautiful red maple, who stood in the middle of the living room. She needed a replanting, but I don’t dare mention that. She’s got weight insecurity issues among other things, and last time I observed how large and heavy she was getting; she wept for a week. “Fertilizer? Since when do you need that?”

She giggled. “For the saplings, baby. Why else would I need it?” She repositioned her branches. “You have been collecting the seeds haven’t you?”

I froze, flashing back to the times I neglected to fetch the seeds out of the vacuum bag. “So soon? Maple, we’ve only been together for three months,” I stammered. “I really don’t believe I’m prepared, or mature enough to expand our little family just yet.”

Her thunderous howl brought me to my knees. “I need this, Byron! You don’t know how lonesome I get being stuck in this awful house all day! The only entertainment I get is playing tic-tac-toe with the squirrels, and they always win!” The teenaged tree sobbed thick, amber tears. “I always lose, Byron! Always!”

“Okay! You win this time, okay? I’ll go get some fertilizer and some starter pots, and you’ll have some friends in no time.” I scribbled some notes on my palm with the fancy pen my dad gave me as a graduation present.

The sobbing immediately stopped. “Don’t forget to reread what you’ve written a few times before you leave, so you won’t forget! I know how easily sidetracked you are! You’ve got the brain of goldfish, dear.”

I scowled. “You bet I will.”

“You’re the best husband, ever – you know that?” The stench of sarcasm made me want to puke.

“Watch it; you’ll spoil me,” I muttered before exiting the house.

In the driveway, I glanced down at the reminder on my hand: buy an axe and chop the bitch down. Then I reread it a few times so I wouldn’t forget.