Double-Undie Night

by Stefanie Freele

art-doubleundienightBecause her husband doesn’t come home until 3 a.m., she shoots him with pepper spray.

He is drunk and believes her when she apologizes, saying she thought the bang-crumple-crumple on the screen door was the hor­rifying sound of an intruder.

“Sorry, hon,” she dabs his face with a wet washcloth.

He wavers in the bedroom, closed-eyed and wobbly, “Why do they make pants so difficult?”

She doesn’t help him undress, but instead pours water in his boots.

As he pulls on a second pair of underwear over the first, she feels almost compelled to tell him of his error, but instead offers to make a sandwich. Tomato and cream cheese on one half, chopped cucum­ber and cat litter sprinkle the other.

He squints as he chomps. “Crunchy bread. Lots of sourdough seeds.”

She places a glass of milk next to his relaxed hand. “To bed with me.”

“I love you.” He sprays food across the table. “You’re the one. I tell everybody.”

She snuggles into the sheets and listens to him bumble around in the dining room. “Why so many chairs?”

He bomb-flops onto his side of the bed with the gasoline gush of beer stink.

She waits for that even huff-breath before she removes his foot from the covers. He snores as she uncaps the bottle of Sweet Magenta Sky nail polish. She starts with the big toe, bulbous com­pared to the rest, one slow stroke at a time.

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About Stefanie Freele

Stefanie Freele's recent short story collection, Surrounded by Water, released by Press 53 includes the Glimmer Train Fiction Award winning title story. Her first short story collection, Feeding Strays released by Lost Horse Press was a finalist for both the Book of the Year Award and the 2010 Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Stefanie was the October 2012 Writer-In-Residence for Necessary Fiction and she is the previous fiction editor of the Los Angeles Review. Stefanie has a MFA in fiction from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts: Whidbey Writers Workshop in Washington.

Stefanie Freele

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