by Jennifer Rachel Baumer
Daniel left that morning. He said he’d send for his things. Susan slammed the door behind him hard enough to cut off his sentence; his words bled on the floor.
“Send for your things,” she said to the empty house, but her words felt flat and wrong and she stopped talking and went into the kitchen to make tea and smash Daniel’s favorite coffee mug.
Daniel called the next afternoon to tell her he wanted custody of the cockatoo and the goldfish. Susan told him she’d fed the goldfish to the cockatoo and then stuffed and roasted the bird. Then she hung up, ruffled Birdboy’s feathers, fed the fish and went back to work.
Daniel called that night and said he wanted custody of all the house plants, since she was obviously unfit to care for any living thing. Susan told him she’d burned the house plants and smoked the pampas grass and it got her stoned. Then she broke his second favorite mug, wondered about his obsession with crockery and went to bed. Since it was only eight p.m., she got up again and watched movies about people who murder their spouses until she was relaxed enough to go to sleep.
Daniel called her the next morning and told her she should expect to hear from his attorney as soon as he got one because she was obviously unfit and he wanted custody of all the stuffed animals they owned jointly. Susan told him he was insane and that the stuffed animals were now unstuffed and all their cotton fluffiness intermingled, and she slammed down the phone. She spent fifteen minutes crying into Mr. Bear’s plush fluffiness until she could get herself pulled together and head in to her job.
Daniel called periodically over the next several days, threatening to retain lawyers and obtain writs, questioning her sanity and answering her rebuffs, and eventually he called and told her he had retained an attorney and that he was going to sue her for custody of herself.
Susan hung up slowly without saying a word. The only thing she could think to say was that she’d killed herself, which Daniel wasn’t likely to believe as long as she was talking to him on the phone. Daniel called back later that day to make arrangements for his custody of Susan, and Susan, confused, went willingly.
Author bio pending.
Art Director: Bonnie Brunish