She thanked him for folding the laundry, and he thanked her for the lovely dinner, and she thanked him for mowing the lawn, and he thanked her for cutting his hair, and she thanked him for meeting her at the trail for a walk. “I would do anything for you, baby,” he said, and what he meant was the heroic sort of doing that bespoke a love beyond all loves, the way he would run to the edge of the cliff and pull her from fingertip dangle, or throw himself in the path of a saber-wielding Saracen, if one should walk down their shady street and start doing his thing. “I know you would, baby,” she replied. “I love you so much.”
After they put their clothes back on, she asked if he would pick up the dog poop in back. Then she asked if he would clean the gutters. Then she asked if he would snake the balky toilet. Then she asked if he would crawl under the house with a length of cardboard tubing and collect all the spider webs, and he agreed, although he wondered why the request, from someone who never went under the house? He was under the house when the roof collapsed and crushed her flat, lying there beneath the rubble and alive and covered in cobwebs when the rescuers pulled back the flooring and let him climb into daylight, but when he learned about his wife, and what had happened, he broke into deep sobbing and beat himself in the head with both fists as he recalled the many times she had asked him to “take that box and put it in the attic,” and he had said, “Sure thing, baby,” even though the last few times he had done this—boxes of books, old LPs, tools she inherited from her father, toys from the off-to-college kids—he had heard a creaking sound and had sensed that the rafters were straining to hold it all up and he wondered if maybe, just once, he should have said “No.”
worked in newspapers and owned a restaurant. His writing is in more than thirty publications, including Yolk, Barzakh, Bending Genres, Flash Boulevard, Revolution John, Sledgehammer Lit, and Pulp Modern Flash. He lives in Oregon, with his wife and their dog, who licks faces but does not tweet.
Author’s website: https://chiselchips.com/