Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chapter 3: Hoes Before Bros

One particularly rainy Friday morning, Mr Stoat had taken a vacation day to spend time with his beloved Mrs Stoat, prompting his boss, Mr Squirrel, to bemoan the number of vacation days the Common Folk were allowed. It was on this particular rainy Friday morning that Mrs Stoat chose to have what her therapist referred to as "an episode."

Mr Lynx had been chatting with Mr Stoat the day before and decided to take Mr Stoat up on a five month old offer to excavate another room in his newly-purchased den that weekend. Though Mrs Stoat was generally not the type to deny her husband a chance to do something without her, she was displeased with Mr Lynx's timing. After twenty minutes of hiding in the darkness of the bedroom, under a sheet, a blanket, a duvet, and a five dollar throw blanket from Ikea, not moving, not speaking, and trying not to breathe so that she didn't roast her face off with the heat of her own breath, Mrs Stoat decided that she had her husband needed to have a talk.

"I wanted the car this weekend," Mrs Stoat grumbled after repeated proddings in the arm by her husband, who had entirely too long and pointy fingers. Good for playing the piano was something Mr Stoat had never heard anyone say to him. Especially not little old ladies. Soon after, he had learned the true meaning of sarcasm.

"That's fine," Mr Stoat replied. "Why don't you drop me off and I'll call you when I'm ready to come home?"

"I don't want to do that." Mr Stoat could hear his wife scowling beneath the sheet, the blanket, the duvet, and the five dollar throw blanket from Ikea. "Mr Lynx lives a half an hour away. I do not want, Mr Stoat, to drive a half hour to Mr Lynx's den, then drive a half hour home, then later, drive a half hour back to Mr Lynx's den, and a further half hour home, all so you can perform manual labour that you are not even qualified to do! You, Mr Stoat, are a bureaucrat, not a den-digger." Mrs Stoat buried her face under a pillow.

"But I promised Mr Lynx that I would help him if ever he needed it!" protested Mr Stoat. "You are being unreasonable!"

"Then Mr Lynx can very well drive out here and get you!" snapped Mrs Stoat, who did not think she was being the least bit unreasonable. Gas, after all, was very expensive and the roads were slippery.

"I can ask," Mr Stoat promised. "But if you were drive me out, you and Ms House-Finch could drink grape juice and smoke cheap ultra-light cigarettes and watch Mr Lynx and I dig and scrape and move dirt slightly to the left!"

"But I don't want to!" exclaimed Mrs Stoat, who was still upset with events of the previous weekend that led to her dog-sitting the sick and miserable Lily against her will. "I will not drive you! Mr Lynx can come out here and pick you up himself. Then he can return you home a reasonable amount of time before dinner."

When Mr Stoat opened his mouth to defend his oldest friend (for Mr Stoat and Mr Lynx had been friends since they were first learning to rip the heads off field mice for school lunches), Mrs Stoat lunged. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

"I feel that Mr Lynx never invites you over without some ulterior motive," she stated. Mr Stoat gasped.

"That is not true, my dear!"

"No?" she asked. "When you returned from the party with them last weekend, I still had to go get you. Their dog was out here. They could have driven out here, dropped you off, and picked up their dog. I then had to send Facebook messages all of our invited guests to tell them that lunch was off because I would be driving out to Mr Lynx and Ms House-Finch's den to pick up you."

"Baby," soothed Mr Stoat. "You like driving."

"But I do not like Mr Lynx! I do not like that he expects favours and gives none in return! I do not like how he belittles Ms House-Finch in front of us or how he makes fun of you." Mrs Stoat folded her little arms across her little chest and scrunched up her little face.

"It's just who he is," protested Mr Stoat. "He doesn't mean anything by it. Maybe you're too sensitive to these things."

"Maybe you're too oblivious!" snapped Mrs Stoat. "Would he tease Ms Mongoose the way he teases you? No. That is because he respects her. I do not feel that he shows you the appropriate respect. You are no longer the child who routinely gets his pant leg caught in his bike chain and has to push his bike home in his underpants with his pants flopping on the dusty pavement. You are a respectable adult and deserve to be treated as such."

"So you do not like Mr Lynx," stated Mr Stoat.

"I do not," confirmed his wife.

"So what am I supposed to do?" he asked sadly. "Mr Lynx is my best friend."

"I don't know," snapped his wife.

"Neither do I."

They laid in the bed in silence for a little while, until Toby started barking as though possessed by some ancient barking demon. It was Mr Stoat who spoke first, breaking the cool silence, because he did not have the energy to carry a grudge that Mrs Stoat did. It was one of the reasons he loved her: when she did something, she put her whole heart into it.

"I will call Mr Lynx and I will tell him I am not available this weekend. Then you and I will spend the entire weekend together, shopping for cheap wine, dog food, and discount meat. We will build a fire in the fireplace and curl up with a blanket and the TiVo and watch all of those episodes of Criminal Minds that you haven't made time to watch, even if I feel that this is the worst show on all of television - even worse than 16 and Pregnant or Rich Bride, Poor Bride."

Mrs Stoat peeked one beady eye out from under the covers and fixed it on her husband's face.

"And if he wants you to go work on his den with him?"

"Then he can drive out and pick me up himself."

Mrs Stoat threw off the sheet and the blanket and the duvet and the five dollar throw pillow from Ikea and hugged her husband. They hadn't solved all of the problems, but they had at least talked about them without resorting to the throwing of coffee mugs and the smashing of beer bottles.

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