Jim walked around the house with his chest puffed out, fists clenched at his sides. He drew his lip to one side in a half-sneer, half-grin. He probably thought it made him look tough. He didn’t look tough at all. He looked like one of those professional wrestlers puffed up on steroids and playing to the camera. He was a caricature of a man. If he wasn’t so frightening, he would be hilarious.
“Bitch, I was in both Gulf wars,” he boasted.
“Both Gulf wars?” I thought. I knew better than to question him or challenge him in any way. Whatever he said, I had to go along with it unless I wanted to be choked and slapped around.
Jim stuck his chest out as much as he could as he tried to suck in his beer belly. He succeeded only in making his man-boobs look larger. I figured he was at least a C-cup by now. I kept my face serious and stifled a giggle. He looked ridiculous. Jim’s pants sagged off his behind showing his underwear halfway down his butt. There was a brown smudge from crotch to waistband. I went from stifling giggles to trying not to gag. Jim was one disgusting human being when he was drunk. I would have to wash those nasty underpants in the morning.
Jim marched up to where I was sitting on the sofa. “I was a fucking drill instructor! I had those privates pissing their pants! I am fucking hard!”
“Too bad your cock isn’t hard anymore,” I thought and stifled another giggle. I buried my face in my hands and drew my knees to my chest to hide my face. If he saw me smiling he would knock me through the wall. Jim thought I was crying.
“What the fuck are you crying about bitch?” he demanded.
“I don’t know,” I whispered.
Jim grabbed me by my long hair and hoisted me to my feet. I stopped smiling abruptly. “Here we go again,” I thought. Maybe this is the time he kills me. I started imagining my obituary when he wrapped his hand around my throat:
October 20, 2009
Mary Butler, age 49
Services at Brown Funeral Home 9:00 AM
Burial to follow at Heaven’s Gate Cemetery
That’s all. Short. To the point. No one outside the police, the prosecutor and my children would ever really know what happened to me or even care. Jim shoved me by my throat back to the sofa. He marched off to the refrigerator for another beer. My throat hurt and when I tried to swallow it felt like there was a lump right in the middle of my throat making it hard to swallow. I stood up and started upstairs to check out my bruised throat in the bathroom mirror. As I passed through the kitchen on my way upstairs, there was Jim standing at the kitchen sink. He had his cock out and was pissing in the sink. Well, when I say pissing in the sink, what I really mean is pissing at the sink. He was so drunk he was swaying side to side and back and forth. His stinking piss was splattering all over the front of the cabinet and on the clean dishes on the side board.
I knew better than to say anything to him. I learned my lesson the first time I called him out for urinating somewhere other than the toilet. Usually he pisses in his bed or in empty juice bottles he keeps in his room because he’s too lazy or too drunk to navigate the stairs to the bathroom. Occasionally he pisses in the refrigerator or in the range. I’ve never understood how he can mistake the refrigerator for the toilet. He has to open the door and a light comes on. Can anyone get so drunk they really think a refrigerator is a toilet?
I flipped the light switch in the bathroom. I was shocked by the appearance of the woman that stared back at me from the mirror. Her hair was sticking straight up on one side. Her eyes had deep circles underneath. The dark circles were almost the same deep purple as the fingerprints on her throat. I read somewhere that unless someone dies from strangulation, the bruises on the throat clear up within a few hours, a day at the most, due to the large number of blood vessels in the throat. All evidence of his attack on me would be gone by tomorrow afternoon.
The house was eerily quiet now. The music was off and I couldn’t hear the television anymore. I strained my ear and heard Jim snoring. He snored so loudly that we had separate bedrooms for years. It’s impossible to sleep next to someone who sounds like a bulldozer when they sleep. I crept downstairs and saw Jim on the sofa. He passed out with his pants around his knees. Jim was lying on his back. His flaccid dick flopped to one side. For a drill instructor he sure had trouble making that little private stand at attention. I usually covered him with a sheet but tonight I just left him there and headed upstairs to bed.
I saw my old briefcase in the corner of my bedroom. I kept important papers, like birth certificates, social security cards and our marriage license in that briefcase. I remembered Jim’s military discharge papers were in that briefcase too. I had never questioned his claims of military service. I just assumed he did all those things he said he did — saved lives, killed the enemy, fought bravely for his country. It dawned on me that I had never seen a photo, not one medal or a single letter of commendation. I opened my briefcase and found Jim’s discharge papers. I tried to laugh but my throat hurt too much. He was an E-4 and he was discharged before Saddam invaded Kuwait.
I pulled back the covers on my bed and crawled in between the cool sheets. I turned on the television and flipped through the channels until I found a program that I must have been destined to watch that night. The show was called Who the [BLEEP] Did I Marry? Well if that isn’t the $64,000 question! As I fell asleep I thought, “I hope I have enough bleach to clean up the sink in the morning.”
I’m back and trying to write again.
© 2012 H Maria Perry
All Rights Reserved