(A Free Adaptation of a Tale from Boccaccio’s Decameron)
How can I put this? Husband, which is what I call my husband, is an idiot. Because what
happened the other day with Lover proves it. As if I needed any proof. I am not an idiot,
just so you know. Although I admit you could make a good case for it based purely on
who I married.
I suppose I must have loved Husband at one time. When we met I must have loved
that skinny something-or-other, though at seventeen who knows what love is? I sure did
not know. Nor do I know if I know now. I do know I wanted to get out of the house,
where my mother — who at that time was trying to switch to those low-tar cigarettes and
was smoking about a hundred and fifty of them a day — was driving me mad.
Either way, it’s hard to believe that back then I thought that enormous Adam’s
apple of Husband’s, which is like, literally, fifteen times the normal size, was cute! I used
to kiss it. Or try to. We played this puppy love game where I would try to kiss it before he could swallow, and I would kiss, pwshwp, but he would swallow so fast, glnk, that I never kissed it one time.
Now, I watch it at the dinner table as he eats away, and I see it go up and down, up and down, and I just want to lunge over and stab it with a steak knife. Yech.
On the other hand, one thing that Husband can not lay claim to having in a huge
size, and I know you think I’m going to say his Johnson, but I’m not, because his Johnson
is in accordance with his Adam’s apple, although he can’t put his Johnson to any use for
me and hasn’t ever been able to, is his chin. Husband can not lay claim to one. You could
take a ruler, say, or like the spine of a magazine, and draw a line from Husband’s nose,
which looks like a young parsnip, to his Adam’s apple, and you would not hit anything
Lover, meanwhile, has no problems in either the chin or Adam’s apple department. He called yesterday, and
that’s when everything got started. It was Monday morning, and
Husband had just gone off to work as usual. Husband works as a . . . you know, I don’t
really know what Husband does, but I want to say it has something to do with caulking
because he talks about caulking a lot and doesn’t make much money at it.
That’s for sure. We are poor. Which I mind.
So Husband goes out to caulk something or other and pretty soon Lover calls.
Lover always calls on Monday morning because it’s been all weekend since we’ve seen
each other, because he is married too, and because Husband doesn’t leave the house over
the weekend. Husband watches High Hoops, the 24-hour high-school-basketball channel,
all weekend long.
Husband was a high school basketball star at our high school. He’s a tall drink of
water, Husband is. I will say I never saw a more white and scrawny human than Husband
in that basketball uniform. Through the armhole, you could see his whole white ribcage,
because his arms were about as big around as something real thin and the armholes were
for normal arms. It was adorable. Husband was the high scorer on our team. On the one
hand, that is not saying much, since our high school was not very good in basketball. But
on the other hand, it is really saying a lot, because Husband shot all his baskets underhand.
He was remarkably good with that shot. You would really be surprised.
Everybody who saw it was. When he took a shot, if it didn’t get knocked down, which
I’ll admit was frequently, it would go in. And when we won that game, I mean, when we
won that one game we won, everybody on the team lifted Husband up on their shoulders
and cheered him and everything.
And I was only seventeen, as I mentioned, but my knockers, which are my best
feature, already commanded a great deal of respect in the community, if I do say so myself.
And they entitled me to Husband, who, at that moment, with his mile-long limbs flailing
around and bashing his teammates in their faces as they tried to carry him off the court,
seemed special. It turned out to be true: Husband is special . . . just not in any good way.
So I know Lover is going to call, because he always does on Monday morning, and
I’m waiting for him to call and see what kind of witty, erotic thing he’s going to say this
time, because that’s what he always does: says something witty and erotic. One time, he
called and said, “I’m hungry for a fur burger and a piece of split leg pie.” The other day, the
day that I’m talking about, he calls up and says, “What’s on the vagina for today?” And so I
go, and I thought this was pretty good, “I don’t know, but I know what’s going to be in
it.” So he said he’d come over.
Husband, for his part, has what I politely call a P.E. problem. And I do not mean
Physical Education. I mean, for instance, that I have learned not to blink my eyes for fear
of missing anything, although there is not much to see when you’re watching because of
the very problem I’m talking about. In other words, it doesn’t make any difference
whether you’re paying any attention or not. I read about some of those techniques you can
read about. But that’s about as far as it ever got because the technique usually had the
opposite effect it was supposed to have. And Husband has other problems. Let me put it
this way: The only place Husband ever “goes down to” is the cellar. He keeps his
caulking supplies down there I think.
So Lover comes over. I’m back talking about what happened the other day if you
couldn’t tell. Lover comes to the side door like he usually does. I let him in and before I
can even lock the door, Lover has moved up behind me and is kissing the back of my neck,
which he does by kind of lifting up my snood. And he begins to press himself against my
behind, and with the hand that isn’t lifting up my snood he holds a paper bag out in front of
me, and I am happy because I know it’s Devil-icious brand Choco-lotta Chunks ice cream,
which is my favorite.
Lover always brings Devil-icious brand Choco-lotta Chunks ice cream because the
day we met we shared some together. I met Lover at SkinSations, which is not where we
had the ice cream but which is the tattoo store at the mall. It was about a year ago. I know
because that’s when I switched to low-tar cigarettes, and I was chain smoking
those things like mad, but of course you can’t chain smoke, or even just smoke in most
stores. I was thinking about getting a tattoo because I was going through a period when I
felt like all the rock and roll had gone out of my life. But instead I got Lover.
I went outside SkinSations and I was about to light my cigarette when Lover comes
out of nowhere and lights it for me. Here was this man with great big arms and a great big
neck and a tiny little head, but a very handsome head, and expensive shoes and a beeper.
And in contrast with Husband, who, as I have said, is all Adam’s apple and no chin, Lover
was all chin and no Adam’s apple. Lover has the chin of a man with an extremely nice chin
and the money of a man with money.
But what really did it for me was when we went to get the ice cream and we were
sitting at this cute little table at the mall there, smoking low-tar cigarettes and eating ice
cream, and Lover, although he wasn’t Lover yet but he would be real soon, stares into my
eyes and then underneath the little table there he starts tracing his fingers around the edges
of my bruises. I’m pretty knock-kneed.
So the other day, I go into the kitchen to get a spoon and Lover follows me and
soon I’m eating Devil-icious brand Choco-lotta Chunks ice cream and looking out the
kitchen window and I start excavating for the big chocolate chunks. And I know he is
going to go back to lifting up my snood and kissing my neck and positioning his pork
sword against my back porch and analyzing my big upper frontal superstructure by which I
mean massaging my massive melons.
And that’s exactly what he does. And just to play with him a little, I pretend not to
be noticing too much, which is not really pretending because I am concentrating pretty hard
on my excavation activities. And just as I have success excavating what is the biggest
chunk in the whole Devil-icious brand Choco-lotta Chunks container, because I know how
big they get and this was one of the biggest I have ever seen, and I am putting it in my
mouth while Lover is touching me like he’s trying to tune in Radio Free Europe, if you
know what I mean, what do I see?
Husband! I see Husband! Husband is walking up the street towards our house
with some guy!
And so I go, “Oh God! Oh my God!”
And then Lover says, “I know, I know,” thinking I was talking about how sexed
up we were getting. And so I say, “No, Lover! It’s Husband! Get down!” So we’re both
crouching down on the floor below the counters, and I am practically peeing in my panties,
and I don’t know what to do. I can’t see whether Husband is coming to the front door or
the back door. Then, I realize: It’s okay for me to be here! Just not for Lover and the fabric Kilimanjaro bulging out of his pants.
So I stand up. But by that time I can’t see them any more and I don’t know which
door they are going to come in, but I have to take a guess, and I figure since Husband has
company he’s going to go to the front door. But I was wrong, because just as I push
Lover on through the side door to the garage, the garage door begins to open! So all I could
do was stick Lover in the back of our old piece-of-shit van, in which I lost my virginity to
Husband the night his team won their one game. It was before he was my husband, of
course, but after I knew he would be my husband, but not long after, because I said yes
and then we did it. And the whole thing, by which I mean the proposal and the acceptance
and the doing it, took about thirty-two seconds total.
So Lover gets in the van. Lover gets in the van as Husband and the other man open
up the garage door. And so, to Husband, I say, “You’d better have a good explanation for
why you’re home from work, because you know we can’t afford for you to take a day off,
because if I were you, I’d be caulking up a storm, because we are poor and we need the
money and even if we don’t have any kids and can’t ever have any kids, we still need the
money because you don’t make any!”
Husband and I don’t have any children, by the way, because I can’t have children,
because when I was thirteen I fell off the roof of my house onto the branch of a tree. But I
won’t tell you what I was doing on the roof! No, I won’t!
So Husband says it’s Martin Luther King Day and so he has the day off. And you
know, I have to say it is shameful that we don’t celebrate Martin Luther King Day the way
we should. Do you know of any other day where you could forget you have the day off?
That is bad. And in this case it was very, very bad because Lover’s in the van and I’m in a
I figure I have to stall for time, so I say, “Who is this man?” and Husband says he
met him at the bus stop and they got to talking and are you ready for this? I mean, are
you ready? The man came over to buy the van for five hundred dollars!
So I go, “He can’t! He can’t buy the van! He can’t buy the van for five hundred
dollars!” I don’t know what else to say.
And Husband asks me why not. And I go, “Because you are so dumb!” And I am
wondering what in the world I’m going to do. And then I get an idea.
And so I go, “You think you got a good price? Is that what you think?” and I start
to talk really, really loud, and I go, “BECAUSE I HAVE A MAN RIGHT NOW WHO’S
INSPECTING THE VAN AND HE SAYS HE’LL BUY THE VAN FOR SEVEN
And Husband says, “Seven hundred dollars for that old tub?”
So I say, “HE’S INSPECTING THE INSIDE OF THE VAN RIGHT NOW.”
So Lover comes out of the back of the van and, boy, is he smooth, and he goes,
“This is certainly a fine van you have here. I’d like to buy it for seven hundred dollars.”
And Husband is all excited and he tells the other man to get lost.
And then Lover says, “As I said, I am happy to pay you the seven hundred dollars I
offered you for this vehicle. But upon inspecting the inside, I observed that the fine shag
carpeting is in dire need of a cleaning. And if you’ll only vacuum the carpet, I will gladly
move forward with the previously mentioned transaction and purchase this van for seven
So Husband practically trips over himself getting the ScumSucker down off the
garage wall, and I am wondering what the heck Lover is doing. But he gives me a big
wink and he is so cute when he does that. And so Husband gets his skinny praying-mantis
self into the van and starts vacuuming the shag carpet that’s been there since that night I
referred to, which was the start of the problems between Husband and me right there, even
though I didn’t know it then. Because just like the so-called act itself, our marriage was
over before it even began, because that is what made Husband hate me, because that’s what
he does: hates me. I know he does, because he hates himself because of his P.E. problem,
and if you can’t love yourself you can’t truly love anybody, can you?
So Husband is vacuuming, and I’m watching him, leaning in from the front door of
the van, and that’s when I feel Lover moving up behind me. And lifting up my snood.
And reaching around. And lifting up my skirt. And generally picking up where he left off
before any of this happened.
And I am surprised, but more than that, because of Lover’s expert tweakings and
so on, I am beginning to run a temperature, if you know what I mean. And pretty soon
Lover’s one-eyed trouser snake begins to slither into my garden of delight. And, you
know, I never realized how loud that ScumSucker really is, because of course I never use
it. But I can tell you it is very loud because I am now actively responding to Lover’s
loving and I don’t even notice how loud I am getting, until all of a sudden, the ScumSucker
And there is only the sound of me yelling, “DON’T STOP! DON’T STOP! DON’T
And this is where the part about Husband being an idiot comes in, because
Husband evidently thinks I want him to keep vacuuming. And so he starts up the
ScumSucker again, and Lover, for his part, just picks up a little speed.
So now I’m screaming, “DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!” at the top of my lungs
and that’s when I find out just exactly how loud the ScumSucker is, because Husband can
apparently hear me, and he yells back “I’M DOING IT! I’M DOING IT!” but all the while
it’s Lover who is really doing it and, I mean, he really is.
Anyway, you can imagine. But there’s more, because after Lover and Husband are
done, and Lover pays out seven crisp bills for the van, which I take, thank you very much,
Lover gets Husband to follow him home in the van to Lover’s house. And I go in to make
dinner for Husband and I start to cry and I find what’s left of the Devil-icious brand
Choco-lotta’ Chunks ice cream and put it in the freezer.
And after we eat, Husband goes in as usual and starts watching High Hoops.
Before long, he says, “What about dessert?” So I go bring him what’s left of the Devil-
icious brand Choco-lotta Chunks ice cream. And we’re sitting there. And Husband takes
a big bite and a little of it drips out onto his Adam’s apple. It would have hit the chin of
And I’m watching it, waiting for it to drip, and Husband doesn’t notice because he
is all intent on a high-school free throw, but how could he not notice? And it looks like it’s
just about to drip, but it doesn’t, it just stays there, defying the laws of gravity.