short stories Short Stories

Short stories: Tough Love Tough Love

By Sean Hoade

A shocking tale of violent passions; please don't try this at home!

Do you know how to tell if an electrical cord is frayed? It took me a while to spot them as well as I can now, but with practice and a few bad shocks I soon honed my observational skills to the point where a slit in the insulation, or one stray, copper strand poking out, was like a siren going off in my head. I also learned to watch out for lamps that had been unplugged, loose light bulbs and trailing wires where there clearly shouldn't be any. If you have any sense you'll always carry a flashlight to check for similar traps. Popping a plug into a socket with a split flex is asking to feel the muscle-contracting thud of 240 volts AC surging through you. If you're unlucky enough to hear your eardrums galvanise into a high-pitched scream, you may not live to tell the tale.

I was lucky; I lived. But then I was wearing rubber-soled shoes which minimised the circuit the lamp and I formed with the floor and wall. And the bare wire poking out of the insulation made contact with the cast on my arm, not bare skin, so that helped. Not that I don't give my wife, Lurleen, as good as she gives me. On one memorable occasion I returned the favour so successfully I still can't believe she went for it. She's so fanatical about housekeeping she won't tolerate a flooded kitchen for the few minutes it takes to get someone to come out and fix the dishwasher. So, feeling adventurous, I removed the bolt from the spin arm—that little doodad that rinses the dishes—and told Lurleen that the big, soapy mess all over her parquet flooring would just have to wait if she wanted the dishes done. Of course, she yelled down the stairs in horror that she'd do them 'this instant!' "Fine!" I shouted back and added thoughtfully that I'd even fill the sink for her. What I omitted to mention was that I tossed every knife, cleaver, sharp spatula, skewer and lethal serving fork in the house into the soapy water.

Schlurp! Her pinkie was almost sucked into the compactor as she screamed at me to empty the sink. I fished it out eventually and the doctors successfully sewed it back on, but not before I accidentally lacerated several more of her fingers emptying the sink. It took her a week to climb down off the ceiling but she eventually acknowledged the gag was a good one. Just in case you think I'm slipping, I did consider loosening the stair runners and putting a rolling pin on the treads before she came down, but she did that to me the week before and frankly, originality is more important at this point in our marriage than trying to run up the highest score; as is the sex. Whether it was the loss of blood or the drugs they gave her, Lurleen was insatiable that night. Our lovemaking was more intense than ever as we bit, scratched (watching out for her pinkie, of course) and gouged our way to one explosive orgasm after another. We were closer, more turned on and crazier for each other than we had been since she filled the light bulb in the refrigerator with gunpowder and I was rushed to hospital for a cornea transplant.

So when I came home tonight, I was pretty excited when I found the mousetrap in the letterbox and the upturned carpet tacks next to the shoe rack. I concluded that she was feeling frisky and after a long, hard day designing missile warheads, I was in the perfect mood to give her what she wanted. But as I pulled the tacks out of my foot, I noticed a disconcerting trail of discarded clothes leading up the stairs. But it wasn't the crumpled, black cocktail dress, laddered tights, discarded stilettoes and split-crotch panties that tightened the knot in my stomach, nor the broken end of a beer bottle cunningly concealed beneath a silk camisole. No, it was the checked, cotton shirt, work jeans and filthy trainers—all caked with white cement— strewn amongst my wife's clothes, that subdued the bulge in my pants and wrenched a strangled cry from my throat: "Lurleen!"
What was this? Had some horney construction worker come over to drill my sweetheart after her day at the lounge? I winced as I carefully drew the last carpet tack from my foot, watching the spurting blood miss the plastic stair runners (which she had loosened) and stain the carpet.
"LURLEEEN!" I screamed again.
"Come and get me, lover boy," her taunting squeal came from our bedroom. "It's not as much fun without you, babycakes."
"Bitch!" I muttered under my breath as I hobbled up the stairs—only to be brought up short where they turned a right-angle by a waist-high, chain-link fence which my loving wife had stretched across my path. Two suspicious-looking wires trailed on up the stairs, no doubt connecting the fence to our electrical supply.

I should add that I first met Lurleen when I was teaching an adult-education class in home wiring as part of my community service for aggravated assault. She was a damn good student and especially attentive when I was describing the dangers of faulty wiring. As you can imagine, it was love at first sight. I knew Lurleen would never juice it up to fatal levels, but I really didn't feel like trying to jump that lethal-looking fence, risk soiling my underwear and being out of it for an hour while some horny redneck dumped a load of cement between my honey's thighs. Could my Lurleen really be cheating on me? I knew she worked around sexy men every night at the club, but she'd never brought anyone back or even so much as expressed the desire to play away from home. And yet, some guy's clothes were all over my stairs and I could hear her giggling in bed. That was enough for me. I turned on my painful heel, stumbled down the stairs (carefully avoiding the broken beer bottle) and wrenched open the back door to try a different approach.

I hauled the ladder out of the garage—but even here she had anticipated me—and my hands were soon as bloody as my foot from the splinters she'd teased out of the wood. I swore under my breath and painfully lugged the ladder towards our bedroom window. My neighbour Harry, cradling a Miller Lite and dressed in Bermuda shorts and an undershirt, leaned nonchalantly over the fence and asked: "Mickey, don't tell me you two are at it again?"
A Miller Lite! And people say Lurleen and I do bad things to ourselves.
"Just a little problem with the door locks," I said. "Got to climb up there and—"
"—You're bleeding, Mickey."
I looked at my hands which had coated the ladder red. My injured foot was leaking blood from the air holes of my shoes. "They put glue in Miller Lite, you know," I snapped. "That's what makes it foam so well."
My jibe went home. "You need help" he said.
I measured the distance to the bedroom window, behind which my beautiful wife was having her scars lovingly traced by another man. "That would be great," I said, tilting the ladder toward him. "Take an end?"
He shook his head, took a long pull from his can and waddled back inside.

"Bastard!" I muttered. Harry may have had to watch a lot of ambulances come and go and buy the occasional 'get well soon' card, but it's not as if we're unproductive residents. Our yard sales supply crutches to the whole neighbourhood; kids know Lurleen can tie a tourniquet and wrap lost teeth so they can be replanted like no other mother on the block. People have such limited ideas of what constitutes a 'normal' personal life that it colours all their other attitudes. I mean, Harry masturbates (noisily) with his bathroom window open in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. You think that's pleasant to live next door to?

I charged across the lawn toward the bedroom window, the slippery ladder thrust out before me like a giant bayonet. But ten feet short of the wall, my right leg suddenly buckled as it sank into a freshly dug hole in the lawn. The only reason my shinbone didn't break like a pencil in the hands of an irate teacher was that I had broken my stride to talk to Harry and hadn't built up enough speed. Even so, my hamstring shrieked in protest and the sweat poured down my face as waves of pain shot through my twisted leg. I had to admit that Lurleen had given this a lot of thought. My face burned with love and admiration and grinding, bitter jealousy gripped my thudding heart. Even with my hands lacerated and bloody from the splinters, I knew I would have enough more than enough strength to squeeze the life out of Mr Cement once I got up there and pulled him out of my wife.

I slammed the ladder into the ground and swung it up against the bedroom window sill, shattering the pane and bringing shards of glass raining down on me. "Lurleen!"
Her adorable blonde head poked out. "Hurry up! You're missing the party!"
I threw myself onto the ladder and stepping gingerly with my injured foot, shimmied up the rungs to the sunshine of my life and her new lover. "Stop, honey. Stop whatever it is you're doing."
She grinned, showing her chipped pearly whites and lifted up her nightdress to flash her boobs at me. "Come on, Mick," she teased. "Your job wouldn't be fun if it was that easy." She giggled, took hold of the ladder and shoved.

I was looking at a broken vertebra at the very least—possibly a skull fracture—which didn't bother me so much (Lurleen makes a great chicken soup that'll cure almost anything). What did bother me was the knowledge that I wouldn't be able to do a goddamn thing to prove to Lurleen what a real man could do for her. I mustn't hit the ground. As the ladder began its sweep toward the lawn, I pushed off with my good foot and managed to grab hold of the window frame. The shattered glass cut my fingers, but it was nothing major. I could probably swing myself in with only minor injuries if I could only reach the top of the window and hurl myself in feet-first.
Which I did. My bloody foot squished in its sock as I landed on the bedroom carpet in a tangled heap. Fortunately I only lost a few inches of skin off my back and took three of the carpet tacks Lurleen had thoughtfully scattered beneath the window, in my ass

Panting and bleeding, I saw no one other than my wife in the room.
"Where is the bastard?" I shouted.
Lurleen was sitting at her dressing-table, looking alluring in a sheer, black negligée I had never seen before. She turned her head innocently toward me.
"What bastard?" she asked.
"The construction guy. The man you've been screwing in our bed—you bitch!"
"Who said there's another man?" she asked with a crooked smile, standing up and lifting up the negligée to show me she wasn't wearing any panties.
"How about another man's jeans and shirt crumpled next to your clothes downstairs?"
"Mickey, Mickey, Mickey," she purred as she slunk slowly over and put her arms around my neck, "have you been in an office so long you don't recognise your own old work clothes? There's no other man for me, babycakes."
I could feel my cheeks reddening. "But… why, Lurleen? I mean, you've broken my bones before, slashed me, punctured my eardrums, burned me. But this really hurt."
"I know." Her lips parted into a huge, loving smile. "Happy anniversary, darling."
Happy—? It took a second for my own grin to appear. I shook my head in admiration and wonder. "You're amazing," I said. "All I did was buy you flowers."
"You know me too well."
"Then I'm happy," she cooed, planting a long kiss on my chapped mouth. "Let's get you stitched up and celebrate."

That, my friend, is tough love and Lurleen is what every wife should be: someone who will do anything for you—and to you. Someone who is willing to shed blood. Someone who knows that kisses come and go, adoring looks and mind-shattering sex are temporary, but scars are forever.

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Story © 2005 Sean Hoade. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Picture, design & construction © / 011105

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