Mrs Stoat was having a very bad day.
The cat sat on the back of the couch and pulled tiny mouthfuls of fur
out of a small patch on his back, then evenly distributed the fruits of
his labour all over the cushions. Mr Stoat used Mrs Stoat's laptop the
night before, but didn't shut it down. He left three PDFs, two browser
windows, the calculator, Mah Jongg, a notepad, and a half-watched
episode of Dexter opened. When Mrs Stoat opened the lid in the
morning, she found three error messages, a mouse that wouldn't work, a
keyboard that wouldn't work, a blank background, and a low battery
warning. She couldn't restart the computer and pressing the power button
just made her finger hurt. The puppy piddled in the kitchen and took a
huge crap in the living room, then broke into a cupboard and tore a hole
in the bottom of the Puppy Chow bag.
Mrs Stoat found the hot water tap in the bathroom dripping, ear wax on
the end of the nail clippers, the toothpaste tube squeezed in the
middle, the toothpaste cap in the sink, and whiskers all over the
counter. In the kitchen, she found that Mr Stoat had not wiped the
counters after breakfast, that he had left an empty burner on low, and
four tablespoons of oatmeal remained in the bottom of a bowl. The four
cannisters, all different sizes, were out of order, which made Mrs
Stoat's left eye twitch. And in the cabinet with the hats and mittens
and gloves and scarves, Mrs Stoat found a bag full of plastic containers
her husband brought home from work after God alone knew how long.
Mrs Stoat scowled as she vacuumed up the cat hair.
Mrs Stoat grumbled as she pulled the batter out of the laptop.
Mrs Stoat coughed as she dabbed up the puppy piddle.
Mrs Stoat gagged as she scooped up the puppy turds.
The puppy watched Mrs Stoat curiously. The cat scratched on the door to
go outside. The dog curled up on his rug in front of the fire and
ignored them all.
Mrs Stoat growled as she turned off the hot water tap.
Mrs Stoat screamed as she rinsed the ear wax off the nail clippers.
Mrs Stoat sniffled as she screwed the cap back on the toothpaste that was squeezed in the middle.
Mrs Stoat choked back a sob as she brushed up the whiskers on the counter.
Mrs Stoat wiped away a tear as she wiped the counters with their milk spots and dry oats.
Mrs Stoat cried as she turned off the back right burner.
Mrs Stoat wept as she cleaned out the cold, sticky oatmeal.
Mrs Stoat bawled as she put the cannisters back in order of size.
When the dishes were done, the kitchen was in order, the bathroom was
cleaned, the dogs were walked, the cat was brushed, the living room was
vacuumed, and the front walk was shovelled, Mrs Stoat lit a cigarette,
poured a glass of wine, and sat down in the big armchair in front of the
"Darling?" Mr Stoat called as he stepped through the front door. "I've brought Mr Squirrel with me. What's for dinner?"