Untitled Housewife Story
Rain pattered on the screen door of the porch at a fast pace. It bounced off the pretreated wooden slats and slid down to the ground four floors below. The railing dripped in one forth time. Puddles had formed hours ago and now were overflowing and running down the hill swelling up the dirt as the stream passed. Everything in view of the glass porch door took on a gray hazy hue as if it were a charcoal painting that had been cast overboard in a lover’s quarrel. The weatherman said there would be flooding in parts of the area, and roads would already be dangerously slick. Nikki looked out the window and pretended to inhale the outside fog with her tiny squished nose. It looked sweet and thick enough to swallow like blueberry cream. She loved the rainy spring season. The snow had melted away and brighter warmer days were ahead. Soon she would plant flowers outside on that wet porch and watch them blossom into beautiful creations of her own doing. She had started wearing her auburn neck length hair up in a bandana, a different color for each day of the week. It kept her hair out of her face while she did housework.
The large apartment they had just bought kept her busy. The living room was bigger than a two car garage and opened up into a dining room about half its size. There was plenty of room to expand the family if she and her husband ever chose. She worked hard to make the two bedroom abode spotless using natural cleaners like lemon juice and baking soda. She cared deeply about the environment and didn’t want her living space to smell like chemicals. She learned a few special techniques from the home improvement channel on television which made the daily tasks easier.
It was already three o’clock and Nikki felt like she had done nothing all day. She had no reason to. The dishes were washed, dried, and put away in the cupboard. She had taken the laundry down to the community laundromat and it was now folded neatly in the proper drawers. Bills were paid and the bathroom was scrubbed free of any dirt or scum. She pulled out the duster and began in the living room.
Carefully she went over all of her husband's electronics from his game systems to the cable box, not forgetting the DVD player. The television needed a once over with some glass cleaner. She would tackle that later if she had time. Mounds of DVDs filled the black entertainment center that held everything. Nikki maneuvered the duster around each case to get every speck of dust. On the left side shelf was a box of remotes. Nikki brushed them lightly. She had cleaned their buttons with a cotton swab the day before. There was no need to do that tedious task again. The coffee table sat in the center of the room, clean enough to eat off of. Still, Nikki moved the magazines and moved the duster over the glass surface. The small cherry tables on each side of the black couch were no exception and received the same treatment, even if that meant she had to place all six of the tea candles on the beige carpet for a moment and then replace them in the chic placement she had them in before.
There were two bookshelves in the study stuffed with paperbacks and textbooks from their days at college. Nikki shrugged and just dusted the top and the edges where the books did not cover. She began to hum. “Hmmm bop bop bop bop bop bop... honey honey...” It was one of the songs they played at their wedding reception; a childhood favorite for Nikki. She continued the song in the bedroom, wiping the tops of her and her husband's dressers. More knick knacks sat on the dusty surfaces. They honeymooned in Paris and brought back souvenirs to decorate their room like a European hotel room. When they finally saw what a hotel room actually looked like in Europe and how plain they were, they decided to use their imagination and create their own. It was their European hotel room, a lavish suite with clean white sheets and a burgundy duvet over a fluffy down comforter. They nailed a padded headboard against the wall and sat an antique trunk at the foot of the bed. That looked much better than a real hotel in Europe.
The carpet needed shampooing. Nikki made a mental note of it while she pulled the vacuum from the broom closet in the rectangular kitchen and rolled it over the threshold into the living room. She couldn't use the plug behind the entertainment center. The surge protector was full of high powered electronic equipment whose wires were intertwined in a maze only her husband knew the answer to. She plugged the vacuum into the opposite wall near the porch door and brought it to life with the touch of her foot. VROOOOOOO! The bagless contraption howled as it began to suck up the invisible dust hidden deep within the carpet fibers. Nikki had spared no expense with her vacuum. She bought the hypoallergenic bag-less model from the commercial. It was supposed to be a designer model and though it was ugly it did the job well. She inched the vacuum forward and then back making long sweeping motions over one line of carpet, then another until the living room was finished. She looked at her progress and saw no change in the carpet. She had been wearing her shoes the entire time which tracked dirt under her feet. “Didn't that happen yesterday?” she thought to herself. She smiled at the irony. “All that work for nothing. Oh well, better luck tomorrow.”
She swung the vacuum around ninety degrees and continued in the dining room, still humming “... honey honey...” The vacuum drowned out her voice but she could still hear it in her head and that was all the mattered. She pulled out the wrought iron chairs upholstered with red pleather from the glass table and vacuumed the black rug underneath. She remembered she had found that rug at a flea market right before they moved. They were going for a high class look in their dining room to match the bedroom and balance out the informal living room that was covered in cheap but colorful art and mismatched objects that over the years had become prized possessions to both of them.
Down the hall the vacuum slid in repetitive slow motions. The walls were lined with pictures of Nikki and her husband while they were dating, most of them taken at the park where they grew up. Nothing but smiles marked their faces. Those were happy times and they drove Nikki into nostalgia. She didn’t remember anything special, just that she loved her husband for all those moments, each and every one. The power wavering causing the vacuum to change pitch snapped her out of deep thought. She looked at the clock hanging on the wall in the kitchen. She had been vacuuming for over an hour.
“Silly me.” Nikki said to herself. “No time to be thinking of the past.” She checked the drum to make sure it wasn't full. It was getting close; she would have to empty it after she was finished the entire apartment.
The study was the hardest room to do. Nikki had to run the vacuum along the edges of the second hand red couch that folded out into a bed in case the in laws decided to come over for a surprise stay. Dirt loved to hide just under the front where feet hung over the side. Nikki had to pull out the hose to tackle such a task. She got down on her knees and slaved for the cleanest carpet she could get. She was not about to move the couch. She was exhausted as it was, and didn't need to throw her young back out. She was a strong girl, but had no idea how to lift things. She learned that when they moved in. Her father and brother were helping them. She lifted her bulky old computer monitor without her knees. Within seconds it crashed onto the pavement and Nikki could help no longer. She was exiled to the couch and her husband fed her soup in the evening while he unpacked.
After around the couch was clean, it was just a matter of getting as close to the bookcases without bumping them. Nikki had anchored them to the wall days after they had moved in, but one bump could send several books flying. The computer chair swiveled easily on the plastic rug and did not hinder Nikki in her chores. The filing cabinet and computer desk were a different story. Once again she had to use an attachment to get in all of the little corners. This time it was the elongated nozzle for concentrated sucking power. Nikki saw cookie crumbs between the filing cabinet and the desk. She swore that was the last time she would let her husband eat in the study again.
Finally she wheeled the vacuum into the bedroom after unplugging it from the wall in the living room. It was the only place the long gray cord would not reach. She plugged it in beside her husband's dresser and gently kicked the button to get the device going. It whirred back to life and sucked up a penny, but it didn't think twice of putting it in the drum. This made Nikki wonder when the country was going to rid itself of the useless penny and decimalize the monetary system. This kept her mind occupied while she expertly went over the carpet, even in the large walk in closets. She went over them twice, then turned off the machine and wheeled in the cord. She was done.
Only a hot bath could soothe her tired muscles and she knew she deserved some pampering time. It was part of her routine; clean the house, take a bath, then read a book. It was what she had been doing for the past year since she had tied the knot.
The hot water funneled from the silver square faucet into the one person tub with a heavy and loud thundering sound. Nikki went into the bathroom closet where her bubble bath collection made her selection difficult. She was in a fruity sort of mood but didn’t want something too sweet. Watermelon was out of the question. She looked around and found a water lily and peach fragrance that had yet to be opened. She could smell it before she touched it. A light sweet scent with a hint of flower extract would be just the thing to untie all of her knots. She poured several capfuls under the running water and instantly bubbles started to form and spread across the water’s surface. She crossed her arms and pulled her green sweater and collared shirt combination over her head. She didn’t do this because it was easier but because it made her feel sexy. It was how the models and the strippers took off their clothes. Then she slid her khaki slacks off starting with the left leg and then the right, imagining her husband was standing in the doorway. Off came her pants with a kick of both legs. It flew through the air through the image of her husband into the hallway. He was looking at her and licking his lips. He wanted her. If he were there then he would have pushed her up onto the sink and made love to her.
Now was not the time to be thinking of him. It was her time to spend on herself. Nikki turned off the water just as the overflow drain was about to make the water more shallow and took off her green snow pea socks. It was a hobby of hers to collect cute socks. She wore them every day if she could help it, and wore them out pretty quickly.
The bath was just the right temperature, and Nikki melted into the water; each muscle turning into dough as it touched the warm bubbly water. The aroma of the bubble bath encircled her head and teased her senses. She felt like she was at the spa being waited on by the most handsome employee there. His name was Javier, and he was always single. His skin was the color of a caramel latte, and he was grande size. He wore nothing but a black bowtie and sometimes a black thong, but not very often. His voice sounded like he had been smoking for five years, but his breath smelled like mint leaves and his teeth were white as summer clouds. He served her champagne and brie cheese on rounded crackers. He whispered poetry to her and freshened up her bubbles without using his hands.
But as Nikki’s hands and feet began to prune, Javier faded away becoming a mere shadow in the corner of her eye. That meant it was time to get out and get dinner started. Her husband would be home in a half hour.
There was no such thing as a microwavable dinner in Nikki’s kitchen. Her apartment had a kitchen and she was going to use it. After preheating the oven to four hundred twenty degrees, she took the boneless chicken breasts she had defrosted the night before from the fridge and put them on the counter. She made sure to put it in a plastic bag just in case the packaging leaked. If not she would have chicken juice all over the rest of her food, an unsanitary dilemma.
She tiptoed over to the counter next to the dishwasher behind her and pulled out a ceramic casserole dish. It was a wedding present from Nikki’s parents. Her father told her to use it every day and make her husband happy. She agreed; no reason to upset her father and let his thoughtful gift gather dust.
With a meat hammer she pounded the two breasts flat and massaged the soft pink tissue to break up the strands of sinew. She wished she could have thrown them into hot water to soften the meat like the bath she had just took, but dead flesh didn’t work that way. She would have to do the task herself.
Once the meat was about a half inch thick, she went to her spice drawer and meandered over more choices. As she grabbed the knob and pulled, an array of smells filled her nose. She could identify every one as they floated down to her tongue in a parade of culinary imagery. She smiled and instinctively placed her hands over the bottles she wanted. She was a psychic of sorts, using her intuition and memory to find where she had last left the rosemary, thyme, and sage. The salt and pepper were on the dining room table as part of the minimal centerpiece consisting of a medium red vase filled one fourth of the way with white stones.
Nikki sprinkled the salt and pepper sparingly over the two widened pieces of meat. This would bring out the flavors of the other spices, as anyone who had spent some part of their life in the kitchen knew. It was the most basic lesson of the art. She pinched the rosemary, thyme, and sage one by one between her fingers and quickly moved her fingers over the chicken to liberally cover the surface. Her hips began to sway as she sang. “Sugar… honey honey…”
A light bulb burned bright and burst in her head. She forgot to put on the potatoes and carrots. She rushed to the other side of the kitchen and dove into the cabinet under the toaster. She pulled out the first two pots on the top of the pile, a small and medium pot. They were the two pots she used the most in cooking and they had burn marks on their bottoms and scratches in the Teflon. Those were from her earlier marriage days when forgetfulness was by her side with all of the excitement from the honeymoon airing out of her mind.
Both pots went under the running faucet and onto the back two burners of the stove. With expert timing and movement she lit the burners simultaneously. The waiting game was a pleasant break for her as she could get back to her chicken. She took the left edge of the first piece, tucked it tightly over itself, and began to roll the chicken so a swirl pattern of spices formed on the sides. It was a new recipe she saw on the cooking channel. It looked simple enough and it was in practice. Chicken Roulade she believed it was called and it was fancy, like what the professionals in fine dining establishments made for their customers dressed in their Sunday best and jewelry that she could never afford. She shook the jealousy out of her head and placed the rolled up chicken in the casserole dish. The fridge was her next destination where she pulled out the chicken broth, baby carrots, and a sack of potatoes hidden in the corner next to the door. The carrots simply had to go into the small pot of boiling water and just a splash of chicken broth before going into the over for twenty minutes finished the main course. The potatoes would take more brunt work. She pulled two large potatoes out of the sack and ran them under cold water, rubbing them vigorously with her hands to remove all traces of dirt. She thought about the time when she was careless and the potatoes were gritty. She didn’t want to think about the bad times now. She thought about the pictures on the wall in the hallway. Those were better times.
“Sugar…” she hummed while she pulled out the cutting board from the top drawer and a knife from the block above. “Honey…” She cut the potatoes into cubes and placed them in the medium pot of boiling water to soften. “… Honey.” Out of the top cabinet came a small white bowl with a black painted rim. She had bought these after the honeymoon. They were simple and compatible with any décor should they choose to redecorate. They were also microwave safe which she needed in this case. Nikki sliced a tablespoon of butter into the bowl and put it in the microwave for ten seconds. Most of it succumbed to the heat but would have to swirl it around to get the rest to melt in the warm liquid if she didn’t want the fat to boil or burn.
The potatoes rolled around in the pot while Nikki fished them out with a black plastic slotted spoon. The last two pieces escaped her grasp for a moment but in the end she won the battle against the starch and dumped them on a paper towel to dry. They stuck to the paper towel when she tried to pour them into the melted butter.
“You’re not getting away.” Nikki whispered as she pried each cube off the towel, picked off the paper, and placed it into the bowl before coating them in the butter with her bare hands. She found herself in a bit of a pickle. Her hands were coated in butter. “Whoops.” She laughed and used her elbow to turn on the water and pump coconut scented soap out of the dispenser. She loved the smell of coconut just as any housewife does. It reminded her of the tropical paradise in her dreams where she might go if her husband got a raise. She could lay on the beach and tan while Javier took care of her. Javier would definitely be there; she’d make sure.
The carrots were about to boil over when Nikki noticed them and turned off the heat. She waved her hand over them to get the light orange foam to go down. She looked back at the clock; it was time to take out the chicken. Then, the door opened and her husband was home.
Alvin was a medium height stocky man with a small smile and big eyes. His wore his hair neatly gelled back and in a tight ponytail. He hung up his black sports jacket and sighed. His coat had protected his sky blue shirt and gray tie, but his tan dress pants and black shoes were soaked through. “Hi honey. Dinner sure smells good.”
Nikki smiled at the sound of his voice. “It’s a new recipe. I know you’ll like it.” She bent over and took out the chicken which filled the room with the alluring scent of a family thanksgiving. The broth had boiled and steamed into the chicken, making it tender enough to cut with a fork. All of the spices combined to make Alvin’s mouth water from the foyer as he slipped off his shoes and walked across the living room in his black socks.
Alvin leaned over the stove and gave Nikki a soft moist kiss on her neck. His breath was warm and gentle, but had undertones of desire. He wrapped his arms around her waist and smelled the remains of the water lily and peach bubble bath in her hair. “You smell good too.”
Nikki turned around and returned his kiss to his lips. “Maybe later tonight. I know you’re hungry, so let’s eat now.”
“Starving.” Alvin replied, grabbing a white and black plate down from the cabinet.
“Uh uh uh.” Nikki scolded as she put his plate back. “Let me serve you. You go sit at the table.”
Alvin rubbed his hands together eagerly and did as he was told. He could feel the tension in his back melting away just sitting down waiting for dinner. Nikki briefly interrupted his thoughts when she set down two glasses of iced tea next to him and across from him where she would sit.
“Sugar… oh honey honey…” she sang in a barely audible voice before returning to the kitchen to retrieve the main course.
The dining room seemed quiet and serene. He could let his thoughts wander around and let his eyes admire the color scheme his precious wife had chosen. He knew nothing of interior decoration and she seemed to know all the answers.
Nikki floated into the dining room and set a plate of aromatic food in front of him. She placed another plate directly opposite of his across the table and sat there. She snuck him a sweet but foxy smile which he returned in a heartbeat. “Did you have any trouble in the rain?” Nikki fluted softly starting the usual dinner conversation.
“Oh it was horrible out there.” Alvin bantered. “First the bus was late and the wind picked up. By the time the bus arrived and I got a seat, my hair was dripping down my back. Oh well, it happens I guess.” He sliced into the chicken roulade and put it to his lips. “How was your day?”
“Busy,” She replied. “as always. I saw on the news that a hurricane hit Hawaii and killed several hundred people. Aren’t your parents going to vacation in Hawaii?”
“Oh they went months ago before hurricane season.”
“Smart move for them.” Nikki took a bite of the potatoes. “I think these could have gone in for a little longer.”
“They are perfect.” Alvin winked. “Your food is always perfect, as are you.” After swallowing his chicken, he changed the subject. “We were talking in the office today about the tax raises that will go into effect next month.”
“Not another one.”
“That’s what I said. This one is to take care of the roads and promote the educational system.” Alvin’s head drooped for just a moment as he focused on the meal in front of him, enticed by that first taste of the roulade. He failed to notice Nikki pulling a Smith and Wesson 9mm from under the table. “Andrew, you know the man in the cubicle next to mine? He says that it’s all going to the higher officials who get paid to do nothing.” He was too late in addressing his wife with the attention of his eyes. “What-“
A bullet tore through the bridge of Alvin’s nose like a careless young boy’s baseball through a little old lady’s window. His head flung back and his body had to follow, making the chair fly backward on its back two legs. The chair did not tip over but fall back forward, forcing Alvin’s face into his food.
Nikki stood up and shuffled out of the dining room to the living room. Upstairs and next door she could hear the aftermath of her shot. Muffled screams and voices filled the apartments around hers. What was that? Was that gunfire? Bryan, call the police! Yes I just heard a gun go off downstairs. The voices were louder as she opened the door to outside the apartment and slumped down the stairs. Drops of blood seeped into her green sweater collared shirt combination. There was no one in the hallway. No one wanted to be next.
“Honey…” she mumbled as she opened the door from the common area to outside into the world. The rain had not lightened up and she was instantly soaked when she stepped out from the canopy over the door. She took a left and went around the building. “sugar sugar…”
Down the wet cement stairs she went, making each step heavier than the last. In her right hand the Smith and Wesson hung loosely between her fingers, the barrel still hot from the one bullet she had fired. She sat down on the second to the last stair and leaned forward looking down at the dangling gun.
“You are my candy girl…” She noticed she was holding the gun in the firing position, the muzzle pointing to the left. Her finger was on the trigger. In the distance she could hear police sirens, ambulance sirens, and fire truck sirens. They were sending in the whole brigade just for her.
She raised the gun limply towards her mouth and stared at it. In a way it looked like a penis to her stiff and ready to be satisfied. She wanted to satisfy it because it was asking so nicely. The tip of her tongue touched the tip of the barrel which was now as cold as the rain. The gunshot residue was salty and sweet.
“You ah mah cundah gah…” she whispered as she ran her tongue along the shaft and flicked at the deadly hole. Her fingers were almost numb from the icy rain pouring down on her gorgeous body and withered mind. Her lips curled around the barrel. She wanted to satisfy the stiffness, to warm it and mother it. She just had to.
“And you’ve got me wanting… you.” Her painful fingers cringed tightly, pulling the trigger.
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