Getting A Grip
The sales clerk fidgeted restlessly in his chair wondering why he woke up so early every Monday morning to open a store that never got any business until late afternoon. He glanced around the store trying to find a gadget or trinket that he hadn’t yet used to pass the time. People can only be bored for so long before they have to start feeling something else. Unable to find anything, he started to feel the anger building up in his gut. Too much time to think is not a good thing for some people. Their minds take them to strange places. This man’s thoughts took him to an angry place.
His thoughts were interrupted by a small jingling noise as the door slowly opened and a woman entered the store. She stood at the entrance and stared at her shoes for a minute before making her way to the counter.
“Can I help you Miss?” asked the clerk.
Her gaze wandered about the room as if to avoid eye contact.
“I need um; I need a knife to cut meat.” she responded quietly.
“Oh okay, no problem. What about this one?” he asked as he pulled out a large stainless steel knife with a wooden handle.
She answered quickly, “Um no, that’s too big and it needs to be sharper. And a stronger handle with a good grip please. And I prefer it be retractable.”
“Well I don’t think I have anything like that, but I might be able to special order something.” he suggested.
“Um sure, when would it come in?” she asked.
“It’s still early. I could get it in tomorrow. Take a look.” he said, presenting an image on his computer screen. It was a 7-inch switchblade knife with a black rubber handle.
She examined it for a minute, “That will be fine. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Then she hurried out of the shop as if being chased.
Some time later, a group of children passed by a parked car on a driveway. A woman was sitting in the driver’s seat; her gaze fixed on the steering wheel.
One of the kids remarked to the other, “She just sits there like that every day.”
She did. She sat in the driver’s seat and stared at the steering wheel lost in her thoughts. At first she just thought about her day. In the end, though, her thoughts ultimately drifted to one topic, how much she hated her husband. She pondered on how she hated every little thing about him; how he walked, how he talked, how he always sat there reclined in his chair, every little thing. It started out small. At first she’d sit in her car for a few minutes thinking about their last fight or something he did which angered her. Then as the weeks passed, five minutes turned into ten, and ten turned into twenty. A few thoughts about one or two odd occurrences mutated into a systematic evaluation of every invalidating aspect of his person.
The man sat alone reclined in his chair, exhausted from a day’s work. He looked up at the clock. His wife was late coming home again. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. His drift into sleep was interrupted by the sound of the front door closing.
He looked up at his wife, “I’m sorry, I was too tired to cook so I ordered a pizza. It should be here any minute.”
She looked back at him, “I’m not hungry. I’m going to go to bed.”
“All right then, good night.” he said as he shut his eyes pretending to not notice her disgruntled expression. The ensuing argument was cut short by the sound of the doorbell. As he left to pay the pizza man her mind trailed off again.
She sat there on the floor with her arms folded around her knees. She could hear the birds chirping outside. “If I was a bird, I could fly away” she said out loud. She looked over at the wooden knife-handle sticking out of her husband’s chest and reminded herself of how she put it there. She relived the moment.
She heard his voice, “Where is my phone. I can’t find my phone. Where did you put it? Why do you always lose my things!” It was at that moment that she decided she could no longer wait for her special ordered knife to come in. She took the first knife she found in the kitchen and called out, “I found what you’re looking for!”
She waited for him next to the kitchen entryway. As soon as he walked in she came at him from the side and stuck the knife straight into his chest. Years of laziness and poor eating habits had made his bones weak and brittle. Still, there was more resistance from his ribcage than she expected. As he struggled to speak she pulled out the knife and again…and again…and one more time. Finally, he lay lifeless on the floor and she examined the wooden handle sticking out of his chest.
The man sat in his reclining chair eating his pizza. His wife had decided to join him. He looked over at her, “I knew you’d take some. You love mushrooms on pizza.” She looked back at him, “Did you hear? Some lady killed her husband in their house. They say she stabbed him multiple times.” The man continued eating, “Yeah, I heard that. Some people are crazy.” She reached to get another slice, “You know, I think about killing you sometimes.” He looked down at the empty pizza box, “I know, that’s why I make sure to order the mushrooms.” She took a sip of her water, “They’ll keep you alive, for now.” They both laughed and she said, “Thanks”.