The Napkin

Debbie – 555-0142

With a smudge of a fushia lip print underneath.  What kind of whore kisses a cheap bar napkin?  What kind of whore wears that shade of pink?  Debbie.  I knew a Debbie once.  She insisted it was pronounced it Deebee, which is the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard.  Did she think she was too good for the name?  I never thought Debbie was the name of whores, but this Debbie sure changed my mind.

This wasn’t the first Debbie.  They weren’t all called Debbie, but they were all the same.  Barflies with big boobs and mall bangs in a spandex casing, throwing themselves at him, knowing he’s a stupid man who can’t see past the tits and ass to the ring on his finger.  If he even wears it when he goes out.  Probably not, but that’s a moot point.  Everyone knows he’s married.  My face is splashed along side his on every magazine on every newsstand in the country.  We are the perfect couple in the perfect marriage with the perfect number of perfect children.  Makes me goddamn ill.  But I smile and pose, my arm around his waist, his arm around my shoulders, faking it for all the world to see.  Debbies have come and gone, our secret shielded from the rest of the world.

But this time was different.  It’s never been personal before because I knew this was how he was before we married.  Hell, I was a Debbie.  And, truth be told, I’ve had my fair share of Debbies, but they were usually a Derek or a Drew or a Donald.  I never asked him to change and he never made any promises.  It was just the way we were, the lifestyle we lead, and the unspoken understanding that it would stay between us.  But this time was different.  My body was failing and he promised to stop.  My body was consuming itself with angry vengeance and wasn’t going to stop until there was nothing left to destroy and he told me he wouldn’t do that anymore.

Debbie.  Debbie.  No, not Debbie.  Him.  He was doing this, not her.  He was bound to me through better or worse, sickness and health, not her.  I carried his children in my womb and nourished them on my breast and nurtured them in my arms, not hers.  He won’t stop and that much is clear.  If he was lying when I was in my hospital bed, begging him to stay home with me and the children for my last remaining months, then he will never tell the truth.

I dropped to the floor, still holding the napkin in one hand and his pants in the other.  I was sick.  I was dying.  That much was for sure.  But I was still strong.  Abnormally strong at that moment.  With a rush of adrenaline, I tore his jeans clean in half, through the crotch.  Poetic justice.  But that wasn’t enough.  Standing, I went to the washroom and got a pair of scissors and cut.  I cut the legs off, up the seam, the back pockets in half.  I cut the belt loops, the zipper off.  Those scissors in my hand, destroying a part of him beyond repair, felt good.  It felt like a release.  Like this has been waiting around inside of me for a very long time and I’ve finally allowed it to explode out of me.  It was a rush, a thrill.  And I wanted more.

Walking down the spiral staircase, I was surprised, not that I was walking down there, intending to do what I intended to do, but that I felt nothing stopping me.  No hesitation, no guilt, no good angel on my shoulder.  What I did feel was a push, an urge, the devil on my back whispering in my ear that he has it coming.  That he deserves this.  That I deserve to do this to him.  The devil pushed and I didn’t push back.

The scissors felt cool and heavy in my hand and I wanted this more.  The floor felt hard and barren under my feet and I wanted this more.  The hall was silent and still and I wanted this more.  When I came to the door that lead to his studio, I stopped and looked down at my hands.  The scissors were in my right and in my left was the bar napkin.  I hadn’t even noticed that I hadn’t let go.  I looked at Debbie’s lips one last time.  They were motivating me to do very, very bad things.

I opened the door slowly, stepped inside the sound proof room and there he was.  Of course he was; he was always in there.  But today he was by himself, softly singing a song he had sung to me and our kids a thousand times.  It was a song about love, which is what every song is about, but this one was our song and it was beautiful.  When he was with the band, they used amps cranked to 11 and no one could hear themselves think.  They were all half deaf from decades of living amidst the noise of their music.  For me, it was never about their music.  I was never even much of a fan of hard rock.  What weakened my knees was when he was alone in his studio, just him, his voice, and his acoustic guitar his father gave him when he was 14.  He was paid to growl into the microphone and play his electric guitar with ferocity and rage, but he could sing like an angel.  His voice was my beacon.  It would calm our children when they were collicky or when they had fallen and skinned their knees.  It had mended my broken heart time and time again, resolved arguments, soothed my raging heart.  His voice, this voice, was what I first fell in love with twenty years ago.

Mid-phrase, he looked up from his guitar and smiled when he saw me.  Speaking into the microphone, he asked what was up.  One last time, I looked down at my hands.  In my right, the scissors, in my left, the napkin.  My right hand opened up and the scissors dropped to the floor, hitting with a clunk beside my bare foot.  I stared at them for a moment.  The devil was gone.

“Honey?  You ok?  What’s up?”

Looking over to my left, to the napkin, I closed my eyes and breathed in deep.  “Nothing.  Just…nothing.” 

I turned and walked back out of the room, dropping the napkin as I left. 

Goddamn him and his voice. 


I am participating in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. Each week I’ll be tackling a challenge issued by another writer participating in the exercise. This week, Steffani gave me this:

What cliche fits you (or your character) best? How does it affect your actions?

I used two cliches, actually, both of which originate from The Mourning Bride by William Congreve –

Hell has no fury like a woman scorned

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast (yes, it is breast, not beast.)

(I have nothing against anyone with the name Debbie.  It was just a name that popped into my head at the time.  I’m sure there are a proportional number of whorey Debbies as there are whores with any other name.)

I challenged Lazidaisical with this: “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince(ss).”  Tell a story from the perspective of one of those frogs.


42 thoughts on “The Napkin

  1. Yeah, I feel like I;ve been reading the characters for a while.

    I like the ending the most. You never give in to convention. I love that.

    what’s the deal w you and boobs this week? yesterday on twitter and now this? Cool.

  2. This was awesome. Those cliches were done perfectly. And the aside? Made me laugh out loud for real. Great job on this prompt. I love seeing what everyone comes up with.

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