by h. l. nelson
My bathwater is normal-piss yellow. Not dark, dehydrated-piss yellow, thank god. Jim said they’re dumping chlorine in our county water supply, to kill the algae bloom. Why is it called a ‘bloom’, I asked him. Algae ain’t flowers. Speaking of, I’d continued, why in the hell didn’t you buy me flowers for Mother’s Day? He’d said, Because you’re not my mama, duh. What an ass. I wrinkled my nose at the tickets for the Monster X truck rally he’d bought for himself, claiming they were for me. He’d looked serious and said, I thought you liked the rallies, June. Had that hurt look he gets sometimes when I’m being a real bitch. I said, Alright, fine. I like ’em just fine.
The water is clear as it comes out of the tap. After, when it’s all mixed in, it turns yellow. Reminds me of Jim, when he gets together with his friends. He’s sweet by himself, maybe a little dumb. But all together, they’re dumber than a sack full of dead raccoons. And yellow as this water. Like that time they stole the orange plaid couch from outside the furniture store, because their friend Billy needed one for his ‘man cave’. Which is his garage. So they got the couch up into the truck and were about to take off when a cop turned onto the street. What do you think they did? They all ran. Every last one of ’em. Just left the truck there and took off in different directions. Eric, the truck’s owner, went to jail for a few days. Damn fools.
I wonder what Jim’s doing in the other room, and wish he’d do the dishes so I can relax the rest of the evening. I’ve done another 12-hour shift at the Motel 6 “hospitality desk”, as my boss calls it, and my feet hurt real bad. Sticking my toe in the stream of hot water, I imagine Jim with an apron on, naked, his tan-lined ass sticking out of the open back while he soaps and rinses, and me eyeing him from the kitchen table, drinking a mimosa, my feet propped up. Jim may be dumb, but he’s a hell of a lover. I want to touch myself, but my yelling bladder ruins the daydream. I don’t want to get out of the tub. What the hell, I say, and let loose. It’s not like anyone’d be able to tell in this water.
I relight my cigarette, which takes a sec; filter’s soggy. Then I pick up my Cosmo from the floor. Flipping through, I see all the perfect women. Not a wrinkle or stretch mark in sight. I lift up the magazine and look down, below the rippling yellow. Through it, my stippled, stretched stomach looks just like chicken skin. I drag long on the cigarette.
Thinking the magazine’ll help me figure out how to update my look, I study every page, even the ads. There’s one about a new kind of electric toothbrush, called Flexair. I like the name. Makes me think of strength, being light and airy. I glance around our cramped mobile home bathroom, think of all the repairs needing to be made that we can’t afford: the fucked up plumbing, leaking roof, sagging porch. This goddamn house is crushing the air right out of us. God knows Jim and I could use some room to breathe.
The woman and man in the ad are standing in silk robes over a granite or marble (I still can’t tell the difference between) double-sink bath counter. The two oval mirrors are lined in gold. Real rich-like. There’s even a little poodle on a plush-looking dog pillow, or maybe a shit-zoo or whatever those dogs are. Little shitz. Anyway, the husband’s all sad with his manual toothbrush, and she’s smiling at him with her small white teeth, holding up the Flexair.
All of a sudden, I want that Flexair more than anything. I yell at Jim, I wanna get one of these Flexair electric toothbrushes. He grunts back. I’m always telling him I want something or other.
I get out and wrap up in my thin cotton robe. I’ve had it since the hospital when I delivered Charlie. He’s stroking himself when I walk in, though he stops when he sees me, and I can tell he was almost there. The movie’s almost over, his favorite, the one with the three girls and one guy. They’re all fake blonde with big fat tits and shiny asses. The guy squirts baby oil on them halfway through.
Anyway, they’re not like me, with my dark hair and no tits or ass. And, I’d told him not to do that with Charlie sleeping right in the other room. He grins a little sheepish at me, like a boy who’s been caught. I’m pissed, but still horny from my bath. Before I know what I’m doing, I’m on my knees in front of him, legs spread and robe hanging open so he can touch my tits while I’m doing it. Those girls on the TV are moaning like crazy, sliding their slick asses all over the guy’s big dick. Jim’s is just as big, though. I’ve told him he could be a pornstar. This movie really gets me into it and I can take more of him in my mouth. Then, right as the guy in the movie squirts it on all three of the girls’ tongues and cheeks, Jim finishes. He’s so hard at the end I choke and pull away, gulping for air while he smacks me on the back, laughing.
Why were you laughing, you jerk, I say. Aww baby, I’m sorry, he says. You just looked so funny choking on my dick, is all. He tries to grab me for a hug, but I turn away.
I huff to the bathroom to brush him off my teeth. I feel a little dizzy and out of breath. The cracked linoleum and water-swollen particleboard cabinet leer at me. I steady myself by holding onto the counter. Once I’m breathing okay, I get the brush out of the cabinet. I squeeze the paste onto wilted bristles and turn on the tap. Lying, clear water spits forth. I dream of Flexair.
published 11 September 2013