I submitted this story for the Midtown Reader’s monthly Story Slam, and was selected to read it last night. The theme was – shocker! – Lady Luck.
The glass falls in slow motion. The sound of shattering is muted by the pounding of blood in my ears.
It started with the car. Not an actual car, mind you, but the idea of the car. A car that would allow my far-side-of-40 husband to zip along the roads instead of plodding. A car that would be quote-fun-to-drive-unquote, whatever that means. I mean, you’re still going to your soul-sucking job and Publix and the dentist – what is the maximum amount of quote-fun-unquote we’re talking about?
I watch wine dribble off the edge of the countertop. I think, distantly, that I’m glad it’s white and not red.
Maybe if I’d let him buy a stupid car, this wouldn’t have happened. But I reasoned that the car lust was a symptom of an underlying dissatisfaction with work, or with me, and I thought he would get over it. I temporarily retired my sweatpants, bought a new color of lipstick, and hoped for the best.
I should have seen this coming.
No one could have seen this coming.
He has come home hours late, radiating a high-definition sobriety usually reserved for religious fanatics and herding dogs. I’d just poured my after-dinner wine when I heard the door, and then there he was. Shirtless.
“Hell….o?” It came out as a question.
He smiled, small at first but getting bigger until it ate his face. Good God, he was practically vibrating.
“Where have you been?” I hated the words as soon as they came out of my mouth.
“You were right,” he said, ignoring my line. He swayed a little, and I checked his pupils. Normal. Dammit. “You were right! I was trying to fix everything but myself. I needed to change ME,” he said, sticking a thumb to his chest.
“That’s….gratifying,” I said. “Where’s your shirt?”
He turned to look towards the door, and I heard a soft crinkling. Around his flank I saw a flash of white.
“What the hell is that?”
“I think my shirt’s in the car,” He shrugged. “Anyway, I was saying, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you said. About not waiting around for a lucky break. How I need to make my own luck. So I did.”
“You did what?”
“I took control of my luck, made it my own. Want to see?”
“Do I want to see your….luck?” I thought, if this is just a euphemism for your wiener, I swear to God I’ll lose it.
He bounced on his toes, nodding. “Yeah! I think you’ll like it!”
And then he was turning, and I saw that his lower back was covered with a large bandage. He was fumbling with the corner, wincing as he did so, and then with a soft ripping, he pulled it to one side.
The first thing I noticed was the blood. The second thing I noticed was the boobs.
“You got a….tattoo?” I whispered.
“It’s Lady Luck!” he giggled. “See the four-leaf clover?”
It was covering Lady Luck’s lady bits. The rest of Lady Luck was nude, reclined across my husband’s soft, pale lower back.
She was winking. Lord have mercy, she was winking.
I look up from the glass I have just dropped and try to absorb the full horror of it all.
“You got a tramp stamp. Of Lady Luck.”
“No, it’s way better than that! What’s under her?”
“Right! Lady Luck, my ass!” He points at one, then the other, then breaks into giddy laughter. “Get it?”
Oh, I get it. I get it perfectly.