Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chapter 6: Damned If You Do

Mr Stoat was too polite. When someone stole his parking space, he didn't yell or swear or shake his fist at them. When someone criticised him at work, he didn't take it personally and carried on cheerfully. He apologised when someone cut in line ahead of him at the subway station. With Mr Stoat, everything was water off a duck's back.

Mrs Stoat did not have the same casual, relaxed attitude about life. If someone stole her parking space, she would yell and swear and make up new swear words if she had to. Her personal favourite was fuckweasel. If someone criticised her at work, she criticised them right back. "Your margins are sloppy." "Your face is sloppy." When someone cuts ahead of her at the subway station, Mrs Stoat prefers public shaming and using her outside voice. Mrs Stoat, her husband claims, can be a bit sensitive.

On this particular night, Mr and Mrs Stoat were huddled under the blankets in bed. Mrs Stoat was complaining loudly about winter coats.

"There are no nice coats that fit me!" Mrs Stoat moaned. In high school, Mrs Stoat had been fit and trim and ran several miles a day for fun. After high school, Mrs Stoat obtained a very cushy desk job and took up smoking. She also discovered things like butter and cream and put on a few pounds.

"Maybe wait until next winter?" Mr Stoat asked.

"No, I can't wait until next winter," Mrs Stoat moaned. "This coat is so old that it doesn't come clean anymore. I burned a hole in the sleeve last year because I was standing too close to the bonfire in the backyard. No, Mr Stoat, I need a new coat this year."

"Maybe we could order one online?" he asked his darling wife.

"The only coats Sears has that fit me are for old ladies. Old ladies that shuffle through the grocery store with boot laces dragging through the mud. Old ladies that squeeze every grape. Old ladies that want to dicker over prices. Old ladies that count out their pennies. No, Mr Stoat, I will not order that coat online."

"I mean," said Mr Stoat dryly, "that you could search for plus size winter coats."

"Plus size?" demanded Mrs Stoat. "Are you saying I'm fat?"

Mr Stoat's eyes grew wide with terror.

"No! No I'm not!" Mr Stoat protested.

"So you're saying I look just as good as I did the day we first met?" she pressed, even though she was well aware of the weight she had gained.

Mr Stoat stared at his wife, frantically trying to come up with something to say.

"I didn't say you're fat!" he blurted out.

Mrs Stoat fixed her beady eyes on her husband.

"But I am fat. I have fattened up for the winter," she reminded him. "So either I'm fat or you're a liar."

He kissed his wife, flicked off the light, and snuggled in beside her.

"I love you, crazy lady," said Mr Stoat, smiling to himself in the darkness. Mrs Stoat smiled too.

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