Thursday, January 4, 2018

One Pair of Leopard-Skin Briefs blog post #266

Hard to believe another year has fled into our past, isn’t it? They seem to be picking up speed lately. By the way, I received the galley proofs for The Lovely Pines from DSP Publications a couple of days ago. That means we’re getting closer to a release date for the novel.

Also, I completed and submitted the manuscript for Abaddon’s Locusts, the fifth book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series.

Now, how about another flash fiction piece this week?

Courtesy of Bangood
Everything unraveled the day I found a pair of silk, leopard-skin men’s briefs atop a pile of our folded laundry. I wear tidy whites, so it didn’t take a lot of brain power to figure they weren’t mine.
Sharon and I married right out of college before either of us knew who the hell we were. We both had a career—nurse and construction foreman, respectively. We probably were in love at one time but emerged from that exalted state a while back. Not a bad record among my generation: four years of bliss followed by two years of indifference, drifting toward hostility.
“Care to explain this?” I asked coldly, prepared to disbelieve whatever outlandish story she came up with. Our sex life was lacking something—a scrap of fake leopard-skin, apparently—but I never dreamed she’d be unfaithful.
Her neutral look frosted into something more hostile. My wife’s full lower lip, once her sexiest trait, shot out in exasperation. “Do I need to?”
I gave her my phoniest smile. “If you found a pair of women’s panties in the car, wouldn’t you expect an explanation?”
She turned nasty at least five or six caustic remarks ahead of schedule. “Not especially. I’d figure they were yours.”
Low blow. Dirty fighting. “Funny!” I held up the briefs. “Maybe you’ve gone butch and are wearing men’s underwear now.”
She looked down the long nose I once thought so cute. “Might make a functioning sexual unit if I had. After all, it takes two to tango. For your information, darling, I bumped into this man at the Laundromat and we spilled our loads—”
“Define ‘loads’ for me, will you, sweetheart?”
She stamped her foot and sprayed locks like that bratty kid Margaret in Dennis, the Menace. “Cute, coming from the man who has trouble delivering one. Do you want an explanation or not?”
I twisted my face into a frown. “I think I’ve got it. Some guy’s stuff got mixed up with yours. Right? Oh, by the way, define stuff, will you?”
“You argue like a girl, did you know that?” She arched an elegant eyebrow at me. “But my explanation happens to be the truth. Anyway, it’s the only enlightenment you’re going to get. And by the way, if you fixed the damned washing machine, like the man of the house, I wouldn’t have to go out to clean our clothes. From now on, you do it!”
“I don’t have time—”
“And I do?” She spun on her heels and stomped away, leaving a pair of men’s silk underwear decorated with faux feral cat roundels dangling from my fingers.

I ran out of clean clothes about the same time I ran out of marriage. By then we were merely an economic unit sharing living space and expenses. Sharon didn’t speak to me any more than absolutely necessary, and I held my tongue around her. She fixed her own meals; I fixed mine…well, the cafeteria down the block did. She had her bedroom; I had mine. She did her laundry; and I, apparently, was to do mine.
It was late spring and our busiest season at work, so I hadn’t had an opportunity to look at the washer. Consequently, I loaded the clothes basket with my soiled rags, pointedly ignored her dainty things, and headed out the door for the Zia Laundromat half a mile down Montgomery Boulevard from our house. I took along that stray pair of underwear in case I found the stud who Sharon apparently felt was more of a man than a life-long construction worker.
The Laundromat was big and airy and damned near empty this early in the evening. Everything was stark white… walls, machines, tables. A couple of women sat in chairs lining the east wall, probably comparing notes on what wusses their husbands were while washers in front of them chugged and gurgled and groaned, emitting vapors of bleach and detergent and other earthy odors I did not care to contemplate.
I spotted a young fellow fussing around on the west side of the building, so I figured that was the men’s section. I hadn’t been in a Laundromat in ten years, and the machines bore little resemblance to the ones out of my distant past. I must have looked confused because the stranger stepped up and showed me how to set the machines. After swallowing an ungodly amount of quarters, the washers—one for whites and one for coloreds like my mama taught me—pissed and glugged and chugged doing the labor of a dozen washerwomen of yore.
“Hey, you forgot this!” the guy said, snatching the clean leopard-skin from the bottom of my basket. Then he did a double take. The good-looking, fair-haired young stud of around twenty-three or four held up the underwear by the elastic band.
“Man, where’d you get these? I slipped them into a chick’s basket after we bumped into one another. Figured she’d look me up to give them back. But she didn’t.”
I couldn’t decide whether to slug the son of a bitch or go the bar, get drunk, and mourn my marriage. Hell! Why not all of the above?

I hope none of you have reached this point in your relationship. But it does happen, right?

And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. There are a lot of you out there with something to say… so say it.

If you feel like dropping me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.

See you next week.


New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

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