Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stories on Demand: Part Two

Submitted words: catechumenate, apoplectic, joy, nefarious, hemorrhoid, cellar door, plethora, facetious, caterwaul, implied vulgarities.

Chiquita seemed like the perfect pet name for his late wife (as she was rather diminutive), but the general public understood that it was bestowed in the same spirit as calling a hefty man Slim. Although she may have been tiny, her temper was larger than life. Passionate and volatile, she was prone to dramatic outbursts and fits of apoplectic rage, one of which had proven quite literal and left Harvey a widower three years earlier.

There had been few attendees at her funeral, and no one had anything especially glowing to say. Even the priest officiating fought the urge to describe her as “eight feet of trouble in a five foot body,” and he’d known her since her catechumenate.

Harvey, for his part, found Chiquita exciting. He rode out her wild mood swings as others might ride a roller coaster – both hands in the air and screaming. He emerged from each encounter disheveled and perhaps a bit dizzy, but thrilled.

He assumed she took equal joy in their exchanges, though he never asked directly. She could unleash a plethora of insults at the slightest provocation. Rather than calling him a pain in the ass, she referred to him as a hemorrhoid that she simply could not get rid of. She often hurled this invective at him when they were running errands together in town. Believing her to be facetious, Harvey seemed oblivious to the stares.

Most people who knew her heaved a collective, albeit guilty, sigh of relief when this nefarious little woman went into the ground. The more immediate neighbors gave silent thanks for an end to the frequent late-night caterwauling. And Harvey, bereft of any dynamic influences, settled into a predictable life free of both implied vulgarities and companionship.

He visited her monthly, without fail. While others seemed more than willing to forget her, Harvey worked hard to remember. He found it comforting to see her name etched carefully into the headstone. “Beloved wife” proved that she had, in fact, walked next to him for a time; he liked to trace the words before leaving.

On this visit, however, his finger encountered a new pattern of grooves. Scratched faintly into the stone just below the dates, barely legible, were two words: "cellar door."


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