Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Entry #141

Spouse
by Catrina Joos


"George, sweetie, don't you think I look lovely?"

George did not look up from his crossword puzzle.

"Of course, Dear."

Fifteen across. Ten letters. Clue: The man with all the answers. Answer: Alex Trebek.

On the bedside table was a pair of thick spectacles, an empty bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, a single wineglass.

"Georgie-poo, you're not looking."

George reached for the wineglass instead of his glasses. What was there to see? It was only dwarfish, dowdy, dumpy Loraine. Baby weight, she says. What a crock. All five of them miscarriages, but she never stopped eating for two.

On three-inch stiletto heels, Loraine spun slowly. It was a crimson sheath-dress that pinched and puckered around her bloated belly. The sequins shimmered in the lamplight. George, bleary-eyed, saw what looked like a blood-sausage, shiny with grease, being rotated on a spit.

Loraine prattled on. Didn't George just love the dress? It had taken months to find. For the first time in her life, she felt glamorous. She wanted to dance at Lisa's wedding; she hadn't danced in decades. In fact, she'd become a real hermit after James, miscarriage number-five. She wanted to surprise everyone, especially her sister.

Gracious, gorgeous, gazelle-like Grace.

George said nothing; he returned to the confounded puzzle. Even though it was only the Wednesday edition of The Times, sixty-four down was proving troublesome. Six letters. Clue: Better half.

"George, sweetie, do you think I look fat?"

God willing, let my hearing be the next to go. "Of course, Dear."

21 comments:

Dottie said...

Great character development. It seems like a small thing, but with so many entries I like how the crossword puzzle clue relates us back to the title. Great story.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Lovely depiction of George's callousness toward his wife, toward her weight, toward the miscarriages. His escapism is that crossword puzzle.

laughingwolf said...

uh-oh... too late now, georgie!

wrath999 said...

Humorous and entertaining

alex

Hoodie said...

A major score. Perfect humor.

I love this (though my belly flab does not *wink*). The sausage on a spit image. Priceless.

Kudos.

Laurel said...

Funny and sad. Poor Loraine. I, too, really likedthe sausage image.

Aerin said...

Yikes. George is dead.

Ranee Kaur Banerjee said...

Excellently crafted. Crafty characterization. I've enjoyed your story.

Aimee Laine said...

Insert foot into mouth! Great visuals with the dress! :)

Deb S said...

Love the blood-sausage image.

Catvibe said...

Sad! (Tho I laughed, sorry Loraine ;-D)

Precie said...

Somehow, despite all the death and carnage and loss spiraling through the contest entries, THIS is the entry that depresses me most. (I mean that as a compliment.)

Patsy said...

He's not exactly Mr sensitive, is he? I hope she does dance at the wedding - and on his grave.

BernardL said...

A humorous look at sad reality. :)

pjd said...

I was laughing so hard by the end (sorry Precie) that I almost didn't read the comments. Then I saw Aerin's editorial on the contest's body count and completely lost it.

The language is terrific. There is no tell, only show. The voice is exquisite. Word choice, unerring. Really terrific.

This one definitely makes my short list of favorites.

September said...

poor Loraine - but maybe I should say poor Georgie - he's gonna get it. or he should.
this may be all too true of a scenario but definitely funny in a sad way. nice writing.

Aniket said...

Certainly one of my fav.

Subtly put in humorous disguise the sad truth of life. Perfect in every sense of the word.

Tessa said...

Fantastic! Fast paced, utterly original with great dialogue. Absolutely a top contender - well done on a brilliant job!

JaneyV said...

To have lost five babies and to have named them shows that Lorraine is emotionally vulnerable and deserving in her relationship of respect, love and support. Her Husband is, however, a shit. I was delighted that his vile nature was exposed by his own stupidity.

I appreciate the humpour of the final line but, like Precie, I felt quite depressed. That just goes to show you how well written this piece was. Without any clumsiness you simply unfolded a complex and dysfunctional relationship and exposed the villain of the piece. I have to commend you highly for that.

I hope Lorraine is OK.

jason evans said...

That's the Great Wall of China there. So much quiet hatred and cold poison.

Perfect score.

Congratulations on Honorable Mention!!

Jaye Wells said...

Loved this one. The structure is perfect and clever. Great job!