Someone To Tell It To by Jean-Luc Bouchard

“I looked him right in the eyes and said, ‘You’ve got to be honest with me. I can take all the jabs in the world but I won’t take you being dishonest.'”
“Good.”
“I looked right at him and said it. Do you know how many cigarettes I found in his coat?”
“How many?”
“Six!”
“Haha oh God.”
“And I think to myself, ‘How long has this been going on?’ Because, you know, he quit way back before—”
“Right, I know.”
“Well so this whole cigarette situation was just the final straw. I said, ‘That’s it.’ I went into the living room and he’s just lying on the couch facing the TV and I’m standing there just looking at him like, ‘Hello?’”
“Haha, yeah.”
“It’s ridiculous. I looked him right in the eye and said it was ridiculous.”
“It is.”
“This cigarette thing, the lying, and he has the nerve to complain about the house. I get it, he works, I don’t expect him to help much. Give me a hand when he can, you know, little stuff?”
“Of course.”
“And so he’s been giving me crap lately about the house, and I’m telling him, ‘Listen, if you want the house a certain way, you do it, okay? Because I’m doing what I’m doing, but if you want it done differently, then you do it.’”
“Right.”
“‘Be thankful for what I do already before you start complaining to me about the damn shower drain.’”
“Ha!”
“Sometimes…”
“Man…”
“Do you like your coffee?”
“Do you?”
“No, it’s woody. Doesn’t it taste woody?”
“Yeah, it’s not very good, is it?”
“It tastes like when you leave soda for too long in one of those cheap fast food cardboard cups.”
“It does!”
“Try to flag the waiter down if you see him. But anyway. All this comes up when I confronted him about the cigarettes. That he has the nerve to complain to me and act like I’m the bad guy and he’s the good guy when he’s being dishonest.”
“Mm.”
“Like he’s always in the right?”
“Mm.”
“I’m fed up. And I’ll tell you something else that’s been a problem: he’s getting fat.”
“Is he?”
“Oh yes. Tremendously fat. He’s gained 70, 80 pounds in the last couple weeks, at least.”
“Hm!”
“He’s eating enough for a small army and refuses to admit it. I try to tell him nicely that he should watch what he’s eating but he won’t listen. It’s making him slow, though, all the weight. I see him huffin’ and puffin’ going up the stairs we have out front.”
“Oh no, really?”
“He is! And we only have two steps out front, so…”
“Mm right.”
“I don’t know where it’s coming from. You know me, I’ve always been perfectly content with my cup of coffee and bowl of saltines for dinner, but he’s been demanding we eat more and more elaborate meals. Goodness knows where he even heard of Chicken Kiev in the first place. And…”
“Mm?”
“And I…oh, I don’t think I should…”
“What!”
“No…haha, no…”
“Oh you have to!”
“Well…haha, well his weight’s really making him sluggish…in the bedroom.”
“Ha! Oh!”
“Yeah, haha, I’ll ask him, you know, oh come on, you know, every now and then, ‘Hey, how about coming to bed with me?’ Haha right?”
“Haha! Well?”
“And he’ll grunt, ‘Eh, sure!’”
“Ha!”
“And it takes him about an hour to roll off the couch, and then another 30 or 40 minutes to get up on his feet, and the walk to the bedroom damn near takes him half a day.”
“Wow!”
“And in all this time I’ve gone to sleep and woken up and dropped the kids at school…”
“Right!”
“So there’s that!”
“Ha, my goodness…”
“I’m saying…”
“My.”
“It’s all of this, it all adds up, you know? And it really gets to me, it wears me down. And then he gets the nerve, with all of this going on, the nerve to look me in the eyes and lie about the cigarettes. And oh! Oh! On top of all this? On top of this? Do you know what else?”
“What?”
“He hits me! He hits me mercilessly!”
“No!”
“It’s true! Last night he took a bat and caved in the side of my head.”
“I was going to say it looked different, but I wasn’t sure.”
“No, it is! It’s from the bat! He thinks this relationship is all take and no give, that he can just keep asking for more and more and more and I’ll just do whatever he wants whenever he wants it. And then he gets mad when I say how I feel?”
“Ugh…so unfair…”
“Very unfair! And it’s not like I didn’t have to make sacrifices for this marriage, oh no no no! Three months ago, when his legs began to fuse together and swell like a balloon, did I complain? Did I tell him, ‘You know, hon, the bubbling sound your skin makes keeps me up at night,’ or, ‘You know what, dear, it’s a big pain in the butt trying to squeeze you through the door now,’ did I?”
“No you didn’t.”
“No! I didn’t! And meanwhile he’s smoking again and he’s cheating on me—”
“No!”
“Oh, didn’t I mention?”
“No!”
“Oh, you’ll love this.”
“I can’t even…”
“So it all starts when I was washing the toaster. I was having a hell of a time getting it clean. I mean, it was taking me four times as long to clean it as it normally would. I had to get my arms like this just to reach around it, and then I’d have to bring them all the way back to spritz the rag with cleaner. It was a pain.”
“Mm.”
“Well then I realized, ‘Hey, this isn’t our toaster.’ Do you know what it was? A brand new dishwasher, chrome plating and everything, sitting right in the middle of my kitchen.”
“Fancy!”
“So I inspect the thing, because I had no idea where it came from, and I find this envelope taped to the side of it. And it’s addressed to you-know-who.”
“M-mm…”
“So naturally I tear it open—”
“Ha!”
“—and inside is this disgusting letter from someone named Nikki.”
“God…”
“Oh it was terrible, the dirtiest thing…And pictures!”
“No!”
“Oh yes! Hundreds of Polaroids, spilling out onto my floor. I had to swim into the living room for air.”
“Oh how awful.”
“She had breasts like watermelons, out to here! And maybe eighteen years old. Maybe. At the oldest.”
“Ugh.”
“And she signs the letter with, ‘Because I remembered, last time we were in the throes of mind-blowing sensual pleasure, that you said you needed a new dishwasher. Until next time, Nikki.’”
“Ugh.”
“So you can see why I’m in the state that I’m in.”
“Of course. I’m amazed how well you’re taking all of it. I’d be a mess.”
“Well, thank you for listening.”
“Oh of course, anytime.”
“I know it was a lot of ranting and venting.”
“No no it’s fine.”
“This coffee tastes like sawdust.”
“Yes, it’s not very good.”
“Wanna pay and then we’ll head outside for a smoke?”
“Yeah sounds good.”

Jean-Luc Bouchard is a writer living in New York whose short fiction has appeared in Specter, Umbrella Factory, 100 Word Story, Eastlit, Danse Macabre, and Blotterature. He is a graduate of Vassar College, where he studied English, Music, and Asian Studies. You can check out Jean-Luc’s website, or follow him on Twitter.

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