“Hon, I’ve had a lousy day,” Drew said, as his wife, Shelley, put her arms under his to guide him into the marble foyer of their Tudor-style home. There was something off about Drew’s voice. The usual baritone was more like a staccato.
“It couldn’t have been that bad — you’re here in one piece, but your new trousers are a mess.”
“It was miserable,” Drew said, flopping onto the maroon corduroy couch, and spitting brown goop out from his bleached teeth onto his golf pants.
“Is it your mom?”
“No, it’s me, Shel, it’s me.”
Earlier that day, Drew’s boss at the accounting firm had caught him vaping in his cubicle and threatened to fire him on the spot.
“I was so pissed off I walked down the street to the weed store and instead of using any kind of common sense and getting my usual stuff, I got an edible.”
He had it right there, outside of MedMen, and crumbled hard onto the concrete sidewalk. The cannibus store guard called in the usual cop, always nearby at Dunkin’s, to provide an escort home for the man dressed in designer golf clothes — he’d been scheduled to have a round with the boys later.
“Problem now, Shel, is that I have no fucking idea where my car is.”
“Come on Drew, don’t be an ass. It must be at your office.”
Shelley, the neighborhood’s favorite interior designer, knew Drew’s Tesla was in the garage at home. She’d dropped him off because her Tesla was in the shop and she needed his to impress a new potential client.
She helped her husband out of his clothes and into a warm bath in the jacuzzi tub.
Shelley then snuck outside and moved his Tesla into the alley behind the house. Her neighbor Beth was back there using the excuse of walking her cat on a leash so she could smoke a joint — her husband disapproved of pot.
“Whatya doin’ Shel?”
“Just playing a joke on Drew.”
“He’s home? I thought he was going golfing.”
“He was … I’ll fill you in later.”
Shelley hurried back inside and scrambled up the spiral staircase to check on her husband.
“Holy shit,” she screamed. Drew was submerged. She used all her weight to yank him to edge of the tub, and slapped his drenched face. A mix of water and projectile vomit landed on her striped J Crew T-shirt.
She slid him over to the edge of the toilet, where he rested his head on the bowl. Shelley texted Beth, who had her house key from a few months back when Beth suggested it would be smart for them to have each other’s keys.
“You never know,” she’d said.
Shelley told her neighbor to come over immediately and to run her upstairs to the master bath.
Beth was a little bitty thing, but had the core of a body builder — all that Pilates had paid off — so Shelley knew the two of them could move Drew to a safe spot.
When Beth got to the bathroom, Shelley was holding Drew’s head so the vomit had a chance of making it into the toilet.
“Christ, what is going on? Does he have that horrific flu?” Beth asked, lurching into a retched cough.
“Jesus, do you have that flu?”
“Nope, just had another big hit before I came over. Needed to prepare myself for what I might find.”
Beth helped Shelley move Drew to a spot on the edge of the tub so he’d have a larger receptacle.
“Drew, honey, you done for a bit?”
He flipped his wrist, shooing the women away.
Shelley yanked Beth by the arm and into the bedroom, where she went over the day. Beth, who seemed to find humor in almost nothing, was tickled by the car situation. She guffawed and slapped Shelley so hard on the back that she was launched across the bedroom, her head connecting with the antique maple headboard.
Shelley, whose day had consisted of only Corona Light and a few salt and vinegar chips — she’d been celebrating snagging a new client — let out a sound from her parched mouth that rivaled gas emerging from a baboon’s ass.
She clasped her hands behind her head, drew her knees into her chest and then pushed her legs out like a mare struggling to birth a calf, pummeling Beth into the maple dresser, causing it to crash onto the fake hardwood floor.
Drew, who must have heard the commotion, crawled into the bedroom, naked and dripping, and went right to Beth, coddling her in his lap.
The wife gathered her Tory Burches, which were now at opposite ends of the bedroom, gave Drew’s naked balls a respectable kick with her oversized bare foot, and spit beer-laden phlegm onto neighbor Beth’s little bitty body before exiting the scene.
Now Shelley knew the real reason her neighbor had suggested they swap house keys.
Kristen Henderson writes flash fiction and memoir. Her work has appeared in the Drabble, 101 Word Story Journal, Limit Experience Journal, amongst others. When she was bored last year, she started an online journal, Bright Flash Literary Review. She splits her time between her homes in Los Angeles, CA and glorious Lamy, NM.