Beer cans – crushed, un-crushed, half-filled, empty, unopened – littered the top of the coffee table and also beneath it. Marianne dutifully picked them up and threw them into the garbage bag she was hauling around the living room. Bags of chips beckoned at her from between the sofa cushions. She sighed and fished out maybe 10 bags. She was tempted to just upend the garbage bag into Jason’s beloved classic Jag, the only place he cleaned up after himself. But stopped herself. Afterall, she’d been picking up after Jason and his messes for the past five years. Why stop now?
Jason was a world-class slob. In the beginning, she nagged at him to pick up after himself. She was his wife, for God’s sake, not his cleaner. That first time, he’d left a bruise on the left side of her face. And a split lip. She started dialling 911. He grabbed her, apologised and said that it was the stress of work that day. He’d never do that again. She believed him and hung up.
The next time when she asked him to please wash the dishes he’d been using because she didn’t have the time right then. She got a dislocated jaw and 2 weeks medical leave.
So, she did what she had to do. Shut up and clean up. This was five years ago.
That day she was in the middle of furiously vacuuming the entire living room. The carpet was peppered with bits of chips, hair (ugh) and other unmentionables. It was a sty. The door opened and Jason walked through. He’d had a jungle trekking event that day and came right home. Marianne watched, aghast and eyes wide, as he tracked mud through the hallway and onto the carpet she was painstakingly vacuumming.
She snapped. Like a twig. And hit him with the vacuum handle.
Jason collapsed onto the floor, holding his hands up to protect his head and still she continued hitting him. Then she put the vacuum on full power and pointed the nozzle towards him.
You could hear cracks and whooshes. Jason’s skin began to peel off from his face, sucked into the cylindrical vacuum pipe. He reached out towards Marianne and his fingers went in too. Then his entire arm. Marianne stayed steady. Bones were breaking as Jason’s body resisted the pull of the vacuum. He held on to the sofa with his remaining hand, the other lost in the suction. But it was futile. The vacuum was determined. His other arm succumbed. Soon, both arms up to his shoulder were in the pipe.
Eyes wide, his head flattened then narrowed into a point into the vacuum. Jason’s ear-splitting scream arrested. His head in, the rest of his body soon followed. Cracking and breaking.
Then, there was no more Jason. Not even a speck of blood remained. Hmmm…what a neat freak at death, thought Marianne. She switched the vaccum cleaner off and went into the kitchen. She mixed herself a cocktail and settled down on the sofa, switched on the television.
Aaahhh…she thought and sipped her drink, I love a clean house.