June 21, 2010

The Carlocks

At 5 minutes after 5, Odum Carlock cranked down the driver's & passenger's side windows to get some relief from the sweltering hot air trapped inside his late 80s model chevrolet and pulled out of his space at the ancillary gravel parking lot at United Engineering.  He gently guided his car over the insufficiently sloped curb onto the street and took a left two blocks down where he usually goes straight to the highway.  He was going to stop at a flower shop before coming home to get a bouquet of flowers for his wife to celebrate the promotion he was offered at a meeting with his supervisor earlier that day.

Odum arrived at his house and pulled the car into his driveway, avoiding his neighbor's empty garbage can that had been thrown there and left laying on it's side, halfway on his driveway after the usual Friday morning trash pickup.  He put the car in park and looked up when he heard the garage door starting to open.  He could see his wife's feet step up behind the the rising door and wait for a second until it was low enough for her to duck under.

"You goddamn son of a bitch!" she screamed, striding towards him, glaring at him, as he stepped out of his car.  "What the hell is wrong with you?  How many times did I remind you last night to take the trash out? How many?"

"HOW MANY?!"  she repeated as she rapped three times on the bald spot just above his forehead with her knuckles, adding extra force to the last one, before he pulled his head away.

Odum took a step back and lifted his left forearm to defend himself while rubbing the pink mark on his forehead with his right, uselessly trying to disperse the stinging sensation.  "This is the third fucking week in a row!  It's not going to fucking walk itself out of the garage!  I've fucking had it!" she kept on.

Odum remembered the flowers and reached into his car to get them.  "Here, Bonnie," he said.  "I got these for you."   He held the flowers out towards here.

She stared straight into his eyes and he could see tears welling up in hers, the fierceness in them beginning a slow lapse into sorrow. She looked down at the flowers and for a quick instance he saw her brow gather into a confused expression.  Odum noticed the the flowers had partially wilted in the heat inside his car. 

"You son of a bitch," she said, crying.  "It's too late.  It's too late, Odum."

"Bonnie, you know I . . . love . . .," he stammered, wondering how hollow those words sounded.  "You know I . . ."

"I can smell it . . . in the kitchen."  She sobbed softly, finding it more difficult to force her words out until her voice reached a broken whisper.  "The garbage, Odum, . . . the garbage."


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