Won top ten in contest held by www.virtualbookworm.com, then to be included in their e-book, "A Potpouri of Creativity"

Home Sweet Home
a story by Lauren Knapp


My name is Sam Leigh, and I found out the hard way marriage is not for me. As they say here in Texas, that dog don't hunt. At least, not for me. I got out, just in the nick of time.

My "woman", as I so affectionately and commonly used to refer to her, was quite the piece. She could take a perfectly sunny and breezy day and in two blinks of an eye turn it into a simultaneous setting for history's worst tidal wave, earthquake, and hurricane. She was trim and "spunky" when we first got together seven years ago. I even thought she was kind of cute with her wild hair and bull by the horns attitude. At our wedding I chuckled and rolled my eyes when she mooned all the bridesmaids instead of throwing the bouquet. One month into our marriage when she took my leather address book, set it out in the middle of the driveway, and exploded it with my twelve gauge because it contained two unidentifiable female’s numbers, I started to wonder. After that it was all downhill, but I persevered, because MY marriage was going to last.

I always thought the fact that she could never get pregnant was a blessing from God, kind of a compensation for the mess I was in. I pictured some little soul up there shaking in his boots for fear of being born to this woman. The harder she tried, the more frustrated she'd get, the more hell I'd get. For about a year she thought it was all my fault. She started out nicely; it was oysters, sweet potatoes, protein drinks, and fistfuls of vitamins in my lunch every day. She'd call up work to verify that I had eaten every bit, varying the victims of her interrogations. She didn't care what anyone thought, especially me. Once I got fed up, chucked my homemade "lunch" in the trash, and bolted for Burger King. Two hours later my ears were ringing from her screeches in the earpiece of the phone. I never found out who told her where I went, but somehow, probably through brute force and threats, she attained an inside source at B & T Paint & Body.

As if my nauseating diet wasn't enough, after all that she started insulting my genes, sexual performance, and my, well, you know. Well that kind of put a real damper on everything, to say the least. We couldn't go anywhere, see anyone, do anything without a nasty reference to my "bad chromosomes". I thought maybe this was a phase; kind of a little valley before a great peak, but it just got worse.

She started waking up before me and banging pots and pans in the kitchen. I wore earplugs but she just got louder. I'd drag myself to work with dark circles and the guys would just look at me with this sad look, like I had some terminal illness. Then I'd come home exhausted, on my last leg. This was the part when she liked to become an anchor woman, loudly informing me of the latest medical research on male infertility, specifically on the relevant hazards of exposure to automotive chemicals. Sometimes I'd find myself drifting off with her trailing words on chemicals, envisioning myself prostrate on the floor with a bottle of brake cleaner in my hand. Just down the whole thing, I would think. Just end it now and escape that guttural squawking and her now very large presence. It was almost like she decided that if she wasn't pregnant well then she would at least look like it. Once when she was immodestly undressing for bed I did a double take and just stared. No, it wasn't one of those kind of stares a man has when his girl is sensuously slipping off those delicate spaghetti straps, letting that silky piece float to the floor, opening his arms to her beautiful body that pervades the room and his soul like forest fire. Let's just say that night I had BIG nightmares.

She was getting to me. But the more repulsed I became, the more she would charge at me, like a wild bull. She started showing up at work and badgering me there, in front of everyone. With her arms crossed and feet spread in "cop stance" the barrage of questions, accusations, and insults would begin. I'd be working on a car, and she would follow me around like a huge overstuffed bumble bee. I guess she deduced that because I wouldn't touch her or even get near her anymore that I was having an affair. To tell the truth, all I wanted was peace. Just quiet and peace and solitude.

It's bedtime now. I yawn as the clang of metal bars slams in front me. It's a pretty, kind of discord, a triumphant noise for the end of the day. I smile and thank God for the beautiful opportunity that presented itself to me one day just four months ago: a speeding ticket. All day it had been cloudy and raining. The roads were slick, but I didn't care. I decided to be extra reckless and sped up to hydroplane. The slow hand of the police officer moved across his little book, his head bent down and eyes squinting at my drivers license information. A sudden flash of inspiration, like the freedom and ultimate love of heaven overwhelmed me and sent tendrils of warmth throughout me. It couldn't be more perfect; well it was almost suicide with a Texas officer. I shoved the car door open, flinging the heavyset man to the ground. By the time he reached for his gun I was just past my car, in full apparent flight of the law. Fortunately I had picked the wrong man to mess with.

They say I'll be here for quite some time, and I can forget about hanging onto anything. Even my wife.