Slate Excerpt

Vivien stormed through her house, from the bedroom to the living room, from the kitchen to the laundry room. She opened the back door and stepped out into the violent sun.

She saw them first in shadow, bouncing up and down, like something one would see in an old Looney Tunes cartoon. She blinked a few times, and then pinched her left arm just to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.

Patrick was naked in the Jacuzzi. He was having sex—wild, animalistic sex—with a young woman who looked no older than thirty.

His secretary.

“Oh yeah!” the girl in the Jacuzzi shouted. “Oh Patrick! Oh yeah! Harder! Harder!”

“Call me Doctor!”

He was seated like the lazy man he was, and she was riding him for all his old achy bones were worth.

“Yes! Doctor! Oh, Doctor! I love it!”

The sex got rougher as the seconds turned to minutes. Vivien stood near the laundry room door like an illicit voyeur, not knowing if she was supposed to stop the proceedings or just start fingering herself.

When the nausea started to kick in, Vivien knew she had to stop standing there. She started walking toward the Jacuzzi, her legs feeling like they weighed five hundred pounds. As she stomped closer toward the whirlpool of sweat and semen, she felt like she was having an out-of-body experience.

This can’t be happening. This isn’t happening.

But it was happening. Her husband of nineteen years was cheating on her right in front of her with his own secretary. And there was nothing she could do about it.

She felt lightheaded, and she could start to feel the vomit inching its way up her windpipe.

“Fuckin’ fucker,” Vivien said.

The young woman turned toward her and screamed. Patrick jerked his right arm to his left out of surprise and tipped over the bottle of wine. Red bloody liquid started gushing from the bottle toward Vivien’s feet.

“Vivien!” Patrick shouted. “What are you doing home!”

Vivien wasn’t thinking. She tilted her body down and dug her sharp fingernails into his armpits. She got a good grip and, with every ounce of her being, dragged him out of the spa and onto the hot cement.

“Owwww!” he screamed.

She kept pulling him, even when his feet weren’t close to touching water anymore. She scraped his neck, back, and buttocks against the cement. He was in tears. His blood started to mix in with the wine to form a substance that looked like the remnants of a cherry smoothie.

Vivien looked at her husband’s mistress with venomous eyes. “Get the fuck out of my house!”

The girl was already leaping out of the spa and running toward the side gate before Vivien had finished her sentence. She grabbed a small towel along the way and managed to cover her breasts, but her buttocks were still exposed for the world to see.

“Vivien, please,” Patrick started, “I can explain everything. This isn’t what it looks like.”

She stepped away from him and made her way over to the storage shed. She had a scary look in her eye that suggested her madness had only begun.

Patrick was starting to sit up when Vivien returned gripping a baseball bat.

“LIAR!” she shouted, and she swung the bat at Patrick’s ribs. He did everything he could to stop the blow, but the whack deeply punctured his skin.

She swung again, but he jumped back, barely managing to evade her second swing. “Stop it! For God’s sake! Put the bat down! Let’s talk about this!”

Vivien had tears in her eyes. “We worked on that Jacuzzi all summer! This is what you wanted it for? You are nothing but… a giant turd!”

The bat dropped almost instantly, and Vivien rushed into the bushes to throw up.

Patrick put one hand on his pained back and another on the top of his head. “You weren’t supposed to be home. You weren’t supposed to see this.”

She moved away from the bush. Yellow vomit, with a tinge of orange, dangled like snot from the bottom of her chin. “That was your new secretary, wasn’t it? Goddammit, Patrick, she looks as young as our child!” She pushed him and started pounding on his chest with her fists. “Why would you do this to me!”

He just kept looking into her eyes, annoyingly confused. “I don’t know, honey. I guess… I needed something.”

Vivien took a breath and became scarily calm. She stared into his eyes with such intensity she looked like she might make his head explode. “What. Did. You. Need.”

He sat down in one of the lawn chairs and put his hands over his face. She waited, but he wasn’t responding.

“Now you listen to me, darling,” Vivien said, crossing her arms and flipping her hair back. “I’m taking your son. I’m taking your money. I’m taking everything. You just made the biggest fucking mistake of your life, pal.”

“Enough!” He stood up and rushed toward Vivien. Before he could put a hand on her, though, she took a step back, made her right hand into a fist, and swung. If this moment had been televised, she would’ve heard the loudest roar of applause in the history of mankind. The fist struck her husband perfectly on his right cheek, stopping his momentum, and causing him to slip and crash against the hard cement ground.

Vivien didn’t let him say another word, and she didn’t care to look back. She ran out of the backyard through the open gate and jumped inside her car. She looked forward, only once, to see that her husband wasn’t coming after her.

Pulling out of the driveway, she looked down to see the secretary’s towel resting in the middle of the road. It was still damp. She ran it over with delight and drove away with the speed of a crazy person who had just escaped from an insane asylum.


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