My husband has been three days without cigarettes. He is driving me crazy. Not as crazy as Harry, in the story below is driving his wife, but he is getting on my nerves. I love him. God knows I love him, but one of the running jokes between me and my friends, when he is without his cigarettes, is that I may need to borrow a shovel. It is just a joke. I would NEVER do what Deanna does to Harry.
By Lisa McCourt Hollar
Deanna froze, hearing her husband’s footsteps behind her. What the hell did he want now?
“Deanna, have you seen my lighter?”
“It’s on top of the refrigerator,” Deanna said, sighing. She stood next to the sink watching as her husband went through his ashtray looking for a butt long enough to light and smoke. She felt for him, she really did, but he was driving her crazy.
“Damn,” Harry said, setting the ashtray down and holding up a small stub that might…might, allow him a few puffs. It would have to do. Deanna watched him work at getting it lit and hold it gently between his fingers. Harry took a puff and closed his eyes.
Deanna had been trying to get him to stop, ever since the baby was born, but Harry was a pain in the ass without his smokes. So as a compromise, she had told her husband he could smoke outside. But then winter hit and he began smoking in the basement, gradually working his way to the basement entrance, which was in the kitchen.
When the bills had been paid this week, Deanna did the unthinkable; she didn’t leave enough out to buy the precious cigarettes. She knew if Harry didn’t have the money to smoke, he would have to quit. At least that was the theory. What she had failed to take into consideration was what a pain he would be during the detox period.
“What the hell is this,” Harry asked, dropping what was left of the stub into the ashtray.
“What is what,” Deanna groaned, bracing herself for whatever it was he wanted to bitch about now.
“On the stove?”
“Popcorn chicken,” Deanna said. “I told you lunch was ready, remember. Plates on the counter.”
“It looks burnt.”
“I left it in the oven a wee bit too long, but it is not burnt.” Deanna rolled her eyes heavenward and prayed for patience.
“It’s burnt. I can’t eat that shit.”
“It is crispy,” Deanna said, her impatience showing in her voice.
“Crispy,” Harry snorted. “What the hell ever. Why don’t you take some cooking lessons so we don’t have to choke on shit like this?”
“That is it,” Deanna said, slamming the plate she was washing against the side of the sink and breaking it. “Just because you are having a hard time functioning without your cigarettes does not give you the right to talk to me like that!”
“I will talk to you however I want and you will listen, after all it is you’re the cause of the problem!”
“OUT! GET OUT NOW, BEFORE I DO SOMETHING I REGRET!”
“What are you going to do, cry,” Harry scoffed.
Deanna didn’t even think, she reacted, reaching out with the jagged plate in her hand and slashing Harry’s stomach wide open. The plate was sharper than she had imagined, slicing through the fatty layers of Harry’s stomach and spilling blood and other stuff onto the floor. His mouth dropped open as his hands grasped at his intestines, trying to push them back in.
Deanna dropped the remainder of the plate, throwing her hands up over her mouth. She stared in horror as her husband staggered towards her and then faltered, swaying to the left before catching himself on the counter. He tried to say something to her but nothing came out, except for some blood that he regurgitated. Harry’s knees buckled and he collapsed on the floor, dying in just a matter of seconds.
Deanna stood there a moment, staring at the heap that had been her husband. In the next room she heard the baby start to cry and outside, the school bus pulls up. Removing the apron she left the kitchen, hoping the kids wouldn’t start in on her right away wanting an after school snack. She would need time to clean Harry’s mess up and think of something to tell the neighbors.
“He left for a pack of cigarettes and never came home.” Deanna rehearsed it in her mind a few moments and decided it had a ring of truth to it. She would go with that.
And now that this story is written and my husband growls at me, yet again, I am going out to buy him a pack. Because he will live longer if he smokes.
Copyright© 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved.