Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Three Word Wednesday

The rules, if you wanna call 'em that, are here.
Today's Words: Corridor, Linger, Subtle

Rotten Egg
Continuation of "Morning"
Three and a half miles out Stone Harbor Boulevard, twenty-seven miles up the Garden State Parkway, and two and a half miles west on the Atlantic City Expressway.

The cab driver made it quick and painless. Michelle’s mind twittered to and fro about this and that over the course of the forty-minute drive. She thought about her bills, but quickly discounted them as insignificant. She remembered the pie she’d baked for her neighbor and felt bad that she wouldn’t be able to deliver it. The Saturday L.A. Times crossword (the hardest one of the week) was almost done and sitting on the dining room table. She remembered her dog and two cats. Who would take care of them? The next logical thought was, unfortunately, of her husband; only because he loved animals. He valued animals more than he did her. The animals would be fine, Michelle concluded. She squinted her eyes hard, trying to force him out of her thoughts. Bastard! She thought. There; he was gone – then back again. Then slumber.

The subtle double/triple bump the cab made as it sped over the section of road from Parkway to bridge was familiar enough to wake Michelle. She opened her eyes and tried to focus on her watch. She decided it didn’t matter and looked out over Great Egg Harbor Bay. “More like a great, rotten egg,” she said to herself. The cab driver glanced at her in his mirror, but decided against striking up conversation. He wondered if his fare was a little off. His sister was. He felt a little sorry for Michelle. He knew something wasn’t right.

The great, rotten egg was, of course, her husband. Richard. Bastard, wife batterer, liar, cheater, malingerer, tweaker. His family blamed the crystal meth, but Michelle knew a part of him they didn’t, and she’d known that part since sixth grade. She’d seen plenty of “Good Richard,” but in the ebbing years of their marriage, she’d seen much too much “Bad Richard.” “Bad Richard” was bad – very bad. She recounted the last straw, only four short days ago…

He walked in the front door, arriving home from work. She remembered it vividly. He’d walked in the door with a scowl, grumbling about some thing or another she’d forgotten to pack in his lunchbox. Just as she began to ask him what was wrong, he slapped her.

His right arm swept in a wide arc. She could see it coming. It was all in slow motion. He’d done this before, she thought in a split-second, but had always stopped short, letting his hand linger menacingly close to her face for a few seconds, before pushing past her and to the bedroom. She wondered if she should duck. She wondered if she should be brave and let him see that he didn’t scare her with his childish games. All this in a split-second.

Even if she’d decided she should duck, she’d have been too late. His wide, heavy hand splayed in a shuddering, dull thud against the side of her head. His fingers extended behind her left ear; the palm of his hand just forward of her ear. Michelle felt nothing. An explosion of white encompassed her entire field of vision. The power of the blow sent her crashing to her right and over a small table under a front window. She dragged the small goldfish bowl off the table in an instinctive attempt to break her fall. She felt nothing. She heard nothing. She remembered nothing when she woke up in the hospital. She lay on her side on the gurney, watching as her husband walked handcuffed, escorted by handsomely uniformed New Jersey State Troopers, down the long, sterilely-lit corridor, “call me if she dies or anything” he offered over his shoulder to the disapproving nurse manager.

“Ma’am. Ma’am” The cab driver’s voice startled Michelle before she realized it wasn’t Richard.

“Yeah. Sorry. Where are we?”

“Right where you wanted to go. Pomona Airport.”

“Oh. Okay. How much do I owe you?” Michelle had to think for a few seconds about the airport name. Not many people called it Pomona anymore. It was better known now as the metropolitan-sounding Atlantic City International Airport.

“For you? Seventy five bucks oughta cover it. Don’t bother with a tip. Figure I owe ya for all the yappin’ you did in your sleep. Pretty good shit, pardon my French, if you don’t mind me sayin’.”

“I don’t mind. What did you say your name was?”


“Well thank you Lou. Thank you for being my hero.” With that, she gave him a warm smile, handed him a hundred-dollar bill and slipped out of the cab with her overnight bag in tow.

The sun blinded her temporarily. A jetliner roared away and into a steep, banking turn toward the south. A woman argued with a porter about the size of her carry-on as a pigeon looked on, seemingly understanding everything.
The fumes and noise of automobiles reminded her of Manhattan. Or was it Philadelphia?


Shelley said...

Please, don't make Michelle go back.

pia said...

Oh but has she learned?

Interesting. Like the detail--sense of place and the incident was vivid, maybe too vivid

paisley said...

sent her back... well never get rid of richard till he really does something awful to her!!!!

i'm just saying that cuz i read the other

great read .. loved it

gautami tripathy said...

Very fine detailing in this story. Wholly engrossing too..

Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

I really got into this chapter, and your description of the slap was almost too good.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the description of the slap - brings back memories. Maybe not as harsh, but they are there. Richard is really a "dick". Good writing. You keep me waiting/wanting to read more. Bring it on.

TC said...

I too, want to know if she's learned, if she's really gone or if she'll succumb to "good Richard" a time or two more?

Bunny ~N~ Early said...

Nice read. Were you thinking about your sister?

Clare said...

Powerful and heartbreaking! I found myself holding my breath at times and getting beyond furious at Richard. This was so well written and 100% believable. I hope Michelle doesn't go back to that creep.

Paul said...

Very powerful. Will she break away?

renee255 said...

Richard sucks, and I hope that is how he gets to spend his time in jail, sucking some cock!!!

I bet this time Michelle is done with the fucker.

The_Gator said...

lol, bunny, i was thinking the same thing.

On that note, how is sis? Time to update on whats going on there.

Bone said...

I think this is my favorite installment yet, Carlos.

I really like "the ebbing years of their marriage."

You describe her thoughts so well, then her memory of him hitting her. And the last paragraph is splendid.

renee255 said...

By the way, Friday at the bank the right door was locked. Fortunately I was at a slow pace and didn't end up looking like and "idiot". :)