by Rachel Redfern
The little ducks sat smugly on the shower curtain today. Evil ducks, just waiting to goose-step off the cheerful, blue plastic and march through the bathroom brutally conquering the sink (a.k.a. Austria) before capturing the bathtub (Poland) on their Nazi-ish march for world domination. The poor bamboo soap dispenser and his flimsy, toothbrush-holding wife never had a chance in the demonic world of ceramic tile.
I turned back to my bath. The bathroom was definitely starting to get out of control. I’ll need to pay extra attention to the rest of the house, though, and make sure that this strange behavior doesn’t move to the other rooms.
Sean left me three months ago. I hate him.
I’ve always felt that the cereal boxes were a little confined in the cupboard. Sean used to laugh at me for letting them sit out on the counter all afternoon, but I just felt that they must have needed some air. They’ve been coming across as more repressed lately, though. The Corn Pops boxes were exceptionally pushy this morning. The poor Apple Jacks struggle for space in the crowded kitchen cupboard (the Corn Pops always get to be Palestine; the Apple Jacks sigh and agree to be Israel, but only if the Frosted Flakes agree to mediate). I’ve warned them time and time again that those flakes don’t hold any real power; they’re backed by Tony the Tiger, but he’s just a lot of talk. They insisted that the UN, um, the Frosted Flakes are working on a viable solution. I just giggled and closed the cupboard. The Apple Jacks are cute in their naiveté.
Silly cereal boxes, if they only knew—eventually everyone stabs you in the back. Sean had an affair with a floozy named Stacy. I hate her too.
The black pantsuit hanging from the hanger is getting awfully close to the strappy, short, red and silky Chinese number. Everyone is in fact. No matter how much I attempt to separate them, they all gravitate back. Some people just can’t keep their hands to themselves as they squirm for another Cold War. I had a serious conversation with my black pantsuit about the nature of professional behavior and not mixing business with pleasure, but it struggles to listen. It was a lesson Sean could have learned too.
One day I slammed my open palm into the wall by the door nine times and then punched a hole through it. I’m not sure which day it was, though—all of the household drama has thrown me off a bit.
The washing machine has been telling me some interesting stories lately. Apparently, the dryer believes he is some kind of Moses and has been leading a band of chosen socks to the Promised Land. This event comes after his clever trick of turning water into blood, which dyed several loads a bright shade of pink. However, his semi-messianic ideal of deliverance has done nothing but cause cases of clinical depression in the left-behind socks; they keep mumbling about destroyed illusions of spending eternity with a perfect soul mate. I sympathize with them, so I moved the leftover socks into a box next to my bed and gave them all a round of fabric softener. It was hard to get to sleep with all of the drunken singing, but they were finally looking happy again, so I left them alone.
My mother called today to see how I was doing. I didn’t answer the phone. I knew it was her because she is the only one that calls anymore. My boss stopped calling weeks ago. The last voicemail he left me mentioned severance checks and his heartfelt apologies for what I must be going through. I have no idea why he’s apologizing, though. I’m doing fine, and I always hated my job.
The DVD player has completely destroyed the TV. The entire entertainment center almost went up in flames, and when I went over to investigate, I found smoke pouring out of the TV, and the DVD player just sitting there with a smug smile on her blinking face. According to the surround sound, the TV decided to play Goliath, the big bully, and the DVD player naturally wanted to be David. High electronic signals were passed, a little too much current, a zap, and the TV went up in flames. I thought things were getting better in the house because most everyone was getting along, but this is getting malicious. The blatant antagonism between my appliances needs to stop.
I played a game of darts today. I used Sean’s 1994 high school graduation picture hanging in the dining room as my board. The pockmarks it made on his face were lovely. I don’t feel bad about this. I realize I might be setting a bad example for my out-of-control, impressionable household items; however, my anger isn’t violent. It’s pure.
My bottle of peroxide thinks she is Marilyn Monroe. So far she has had an affair with the Color Care Shampoo, the toothpaste, and a slightly pathetic washrag. I tell her about Marilyn post-JFK, but she insists that the medicine cabinet is going to be her next great conquest. It’s obvious that she has been fading a little with lack of attention, but gentlemen still prefer blondes. She’ll find something to do before she’s empty. I do admire her fortitude, though—she’s been able to pick herself up from all sorts of “male mishaps” over the years. Perhaps I should try a stint at being the “other woman.”
Rock ballads have become my constant companions. Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” can only be outdone by Don Maclean’s “American Pie.” As cliché as it sounds, they give me a sense of pride in how “dramatic” my own life has become. I’ve even considered sending a short biography to whatever is left of Aerosmith in the hopes that they will use my life as an inspiration for their next album. The irony will be wonderful; Sean hated Aerosmith.
Woodstock is hosted in my garage every summer. Sean never took me seriously when I said this, but that’s only because he never really liked music or concerts or fun or ’80s movies or dancing or swimming or spending time with me. Three years ago the whole Woodstock/garage thing got out of hand and the bike and an old soccer ball were completely crushed to death by a screaming mob of Craftsman tools (the Beatles were playing on the other side of the garage—it was quite a stampede). I tried to explain this to Sean when he found me crying over the soccer ball, but he didn’t understand and told me to stop being so sensitive. Still, every time I go in there I feel a little overwhelmed by the screaming mass of bodies that surround me. But the Police do a pretty good job of riot control, so I’m not too worried.
Today, I think I finally had a breakthrough. I killed Sean. I feel liberated—more like myself. In order to kill Sean, I smashed every picture of him in the house. I took a baseball bat to the 1969, cherry-red Camaro he left in the backyard. Then, I rammed his favorite putter into the garbage disposal.
It was awesome.
“GO, GO, GO!” I screamed to the dead leaves in the pool. “This is the last helicopter out of Saigon!” The leaves struggled to swim to the other end of the pool as fast as they could without the benefit of arms. I reached in with my giant net and attempted to fish them out. They didn’t make it, though, before the pool sweeper moved in. I hung my head; the poor leaves had been so young when they were drafted into the pool. They just wanted to go home. To die alone seems a terrible thing. I feel like I can’t face the grief over their demise alone. Despite their constant clogging of the pool drain, were they really so terrible? Perhaps I should have forgiven them sooner and fished them out while they still had a chance.
I think I might feel bad about killing Sean. However, my refrigerator has become quite philosophical lately, so I tried talking to him about my guilt. The other appliances recommended him; apparently, his work on psychoanalysis has actually developed into a major theory. According to the blender, the fridge completely cured the toaster of his awkward fetishism (he kept spitting the bread back at me). I told the fridge what I did to Sean. I don’t think he was listening as well as he normally does, though, because every time I pushed the speaker button, he made a weird noise and dropped a few ice chips at my feet. All in all, he wasn’t much help.
Therefore, I’ve also started to talk to my mirror. She’s a gentle companion, a little more understanding than Freud the refrigerator. I told her about Stacy and Sean and the putter; she sounded gently reproving, sympathizing with my feelings but promoting Christlike forgiveness and charity.
I’ve decided I don’t like my mirror anymore. I’ve switched to my blow-dryer. She’s a feminist and she takes a slightly different track with Sean’s blatant infidelity. She told me what she did to my hair straightener after she found out he had cheated on her with the curling iron. Essentially, she pushed him into a sink full of water. I always wondered how he shorted out. I like her.
Today, I danced around in my underwear and sunglasses singing “Superstitious.” Stevie Wonder couldn’t have done it better, especially since I felt like it ritualistically cleansed me of my love for Sean. I washed my face and hands and did spinal twists to purge me of his toxins. I have decided to make my own wine. Bacchus style. I rolled up my pant legs, got out the old plastic pool, and dumped in a load of grapes. I have every intention of getting completely drunk tonight.
This morning, post-wine (though apparently it takes longer than a few hours to ferment your wine, so last night I was mostly just drinking grape juice), I took a quick turn around the backyard, attempting to reestablish myself as the master of the house. The beat-up Camaro sat sadly in the corner by the garage, its usually boisterous frame sagging slightly with the sadness my baseball bat must have wreaked upon its soul. I stood next to it, poor thing. I shouldn’t have taken out my anger on him; it’s not his fault that Sean abandoned him too. I leaned against the driver door. I used to love this old car. I used to love to shift and feel the transmission tighten under my fingers before it surged forward. Sean rarely let me drive it, though. In fact, he rarely drove it himself, said he didn’t want anything to happen to it.
The solution suddenly occurred to me—I’ll fix up the car, keep it, and claim it as my own. Give it back its soul.
I don’t know much about fixing cars, but most of the damage is superficial and I’m filled with the desire to accomplish my designs. Each morning I jump out of bed, eager to begin. Being able to restore everything that the car lost during the past five months has done a lot for its self-esteem—though I can’t say the same for the hammer named Spinelli, who I used to beat out a few of the dents I’d caused. Spinelli was more than helpful; however, I feel like I need to keep a closer eye on the garage goings-on—some of his suggestions about how to cure what ails the screwdriver sounded pretty violent. I mean, I’d always known he was sort of the head honcho in there, but I had no idea that the other appliances bothered him so much. Or that he had disposed of so many over the past few years.
I think Sean wants his Camaro back. At least that’s what the answering machine told me when the lawyer called. I’ve decided to ignore it, and I told the answering machine to ignore him too. Today, I had a mechanic come and replace the windshield and side-view mirrors. I had a hard time containing the garage tools while the poor man was here. Apparently, Spinelli had a few of his boys down by the lawnmower a few days ago, staging a nuts-and-bolts heist. It was obviously extremely successful because the lawnmower was completely stripped and the chief drill bit had his forces scattered all over the floor, desperately looking for Spinelli. The mechanic looked around with a confused look and didn’t know what to do with himself in all the pandemonium.
It’s been four weeks of hard going, but the Camaro is fixed. I went outside today for the first time in a while. The drive was awesome. When I drive, I get to be Britain. Imperialist Britain (pre–King Edward). The compact Camaro never seems quite big enough to take on the Suburban sitting in the lane next to me, but that’s the beauty of it—inch by inch I move in, until I own the road. They say England’s policies make the world England; therefore, I am a law unto myself. I made a U-turn doing 80 on the highway, and I laughed like a madman. It felt like I was gaining control again.
Sean will supposedly be by tomorrow to pick up the car, but when I mentioned that to the Camaro, the poor thing shuddered and stalled at the intersection. I don’t think the car wants to see him again.
Today, for the first time in three years, I made a decision. I grabbed a few clothes, the cured toaster, the duckie shower curtain, and the hair dryer (I think I might need her advice again before this is all over) and packed it all into the back of the car. I prepared a few goodies for the ride and (seeing how I won’t be back) stashed my CD collection underneath the passenger seat. I’m not taking the answering machine or the phone, though: they are merely busybodies and gossips who will tell the world where I’ve gone. And that can’t happen. Not yet.
I am Elvis. Everyone, Elvis has left the building.