When You Marry the Daughter

TODAY, LAURA KEPT BITCHING AT ME ABOUT THE DAMN SHED. EVEN though I fixed the damn thing yesterday, I told her there was no way it had to be done again. She says the walls are rattling and the roof’s in bad shape. I’ve been married to my beautiful Laura for ten wonderful years and although I love her to death she can push all the right buttons. She stepped in front of the television, her fat fine ass eclipsing the screen and blocked my view of the big game.

I can’t stand that fucking shed; I hear noises coming out of there day and night and no matter how hard I try I can’t ignore them. They’ve roused me out of a deep sleep a few times and its hard to go back to sleep. For all I know it’s the damn cats getting in the trash cans again. I’m not a chickenshit or a couch potato like Laura and her family like to peg me as but I know when I’ve done something and when I haven’t. Some people think that just because they have a bad day, they think they can ruin the rest of your good day.

“Move your ass.”

“Fix the shed or I’m not moving.”

I knew she wouldn’t budge. I sighed, threw my hands in the air, bolted off the couch into the garage and strapped on my brown leather tool pouch. Hammer, screwdriver, wrenches and ratchets; a box of shingles and roofing nails and I was out the door. When I got out there, she was right. Two slats in the middle of the right side wall were waving like a flag above City Hall and a few shingles came off, too.

As I was repairing the shingles, I heard a humming sound coming from inside the shed. I ignored it and went back to work, which took ten minutes. After I nailed the two metal slats back into place, I heard the humming sound again. When I opened the door, a musty coppery odor hit me instantly. I stepped over the long yellow extension cord we’d run from the house and hooked up to the baseboard heater sitting along the far left corner.

“Well, well.” My mother-in-law said, “About time your lazy ass came out here and did something.”

“Afternoon to you, too Evelyn.”

There are times when I can’t even look at her. Her long straight black hair fell across her massive pale shoulders like an opera curtain during intermission; her penetrating blue eyes froze me in place as they’d done before. She started to gain weight about last week after she ate the old couple next door so we put her in the shed for safekeeping; she’d gone from a hundred and ninety pound bag of bones to a thousand pound slab of pale fat stacked upon itself. The bodies of the three missing hikers hung upside down, pouring rivers of blood onto the hay-strewn floor. She plucked the left leg off the skinny redhead like she were snapping the drumstick off from a whole chicken and bit into the meat.

“Unless you’re gonna watch, you might as well shut the fuckin’ door.” She said, holding the thick hemorrhaging leg in her hand.

They’re right, you know. When you marry the daughter, you marry her mother, too.

“Sorry.” I said and did as she asked.

By Brian J. Smith

4 responses to “When You Marry the Daughter

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