* ONE SHOWER TOO MANY*
This story was the 2nd place winner in the Writers of Simcoe County’s 2016, Canadian, nation-wide short story competition.
© Frank Westcott, 2016. All rights reserved. www.FrankWestcottPoet.com.
There are some things that rock to their own tunes and some tunes that rock to their own things. It matters only that you and your partner are singing the same songs.
On the anniversary of the wedding that was the great betrayal, there’s a fly in the ointment, and on a spider moon dancing heartbreaks through hotels of Elvis tunes, waiting for the needle to hop a groove in vinyl, under skies of remorse. Blue Suede Shoes rocking to their own beat Cry in the Chapel of weddings futile.
“What wedding?” she said, asking it hard with her eyes and body and voice. Asking it hard, waiting for Time to Be on Her Side, rolling her stones so she could leave gingerly in a moment’s space, her waterfall sounds trinkling and tinkling in the toilet.
“Why do they call pissing, tinkling?” she asked, less hard this time, dancing around the sound of her own voice, in the song, as the needle jumped a track, a groove, where it always did where the scratch was. “Should fix that,” she stated, hard again, and harder than before.
“Put a rubber on it,” he said, watching the hardness in her harden more because he spoke. She didn’t want him to speak. She didn’t want to have to listen.
“What do you mean, put a prophylactic on it?” she said, softening a little, remembering a time when she had put a prophylactic on it. Him. When she feared getting pregnant, even if she was on her period. “You can get pregnant when you are menstruating” she had said, then, waiting for the cure, the prophylactic, the rubber, to roll over his dick down to its root. His root. “Good thing it’s hard,” she had said then, remembering the saying of it.
He started to speak. But she put her finger, her forefinger, her clit finger, to his lip, lips, shushing him.
“I don’t like it when you speak when we make love,” she had said, putting the clit finger to her own lip, lips,to deface the sound of her own voice holding him back with her fingertip.
“A rubber on it? How will that fix things? The groove hopping? The bouncing? From the rut? Where the sound holds itself like you do when you want to come later. In the morning. Especially after your shower. And you have to have another. After. Because you don’t want to take me, the smell of me, to work with you?”
He was about to speak. But she shushed him. With her finger. To her own lips. Not his. But the effect was the same. He did not speak. At all.
He waited like he did in the shower. When he would have to have another. Because he would fuck her, one more time. ‘Cause he had held it the first time. The first encounter. Of the morning. Because he wanted the explosion to be bigger when it came. When he came. And the semen in his canal waltzed through his channel in 2/4 time. Hop-Hop. Hop-Hop.
“Shoulda bin ¾ time,” he muttered. “Hop-pit-y. Hop-pit-y. Being a waltz…” And he was no longer afraid to speak. But wishing he hadn’t. Come in the morning. He wished he had held it. Altogether. All together. Not giving in to her. Not giving him to her. But holding himself away in his mind. Distracted. In the moment. Of the fucking. He could have done it. Kept his own finger, his clit finger on his own lip. Lips. Signalling his own body not to speak either with his mouth or his…
“Put a prophylactic on it?” she said again, wondering in that space in front of them, between them, where no lips were needed. Or fingers pointing away. A way. From each other. Or away and at each other. At the same time.
“Yes…” he said. Neither pointing away nor at. “Yes… Put a rubber on it. Not a prophylactic. Unless you’ve got a whole box. Need the weight. A rubber. Put a rubber on it. An eraser. The things you rub out with. Erase things with. An eraser. On the arm. Put it on the arm. Just above the needle. Keeps it in the groove. The one it is on. In. ”
“In…” she said. Not questioning.
“What?” he said. Questioning. Questioning the he saiding and she saiding.
“In… In the groove. You can’t have it on the groove. You can’t be on a groove. You can only be in a groove.”
He thought of hers. Didn’t put his fingers, finger, to his own lip to silence himself. But turned his wrist at his mouth so the groove of his lip, lips, held his finger in them.
“You’re right,” he said.
“I am,” she said. “So why did you have three showers today? Two in the morning? And one when you got home? From work?”
“I was in the groove,” he said. Smiling a little. But only a little. Because he didn’t want her to see how much he was smiling. Inside. Big. Like an elephant. Like an elephant’s memory. That’s how BIG he was smiling. About the third shower. The one after work. That he didn’t usually take. When he came. Home. After work. And his white shirt showed sweat stains. Around his neck. Collar. Where the collar was. Too tight. Around his neck. Like a noose. And somehow. For some reason. He saw. Thought of her clit finger. To the groove. Of her mouth. When he thought these things. Shushing him. Now. Even if she wasn’t shushing. Now. Really. But it felt like she was.
“So why did you have the third shower today?” she asked. Now. Neither hard nor soft. Or in her groove. And the record stopped playing. And she heard the click. Of the arm re-setting itself. And shutting off. Shutting itself off.
“The third shower?” he said, hearing the click of the arm, too.
“Yes,” she said. “The one after work.”
“Was in the groove,” he repeated. Wishing the record would start. All by itself. Remotely. Click. Click- click, went the arm in his mind.
“My groove…? Were you in my groove…?” she asked. Coldly. Hardly hearing the needle jump. Even though the machine was off.
He shushed himself with his own finger. And without putting it there to his lip. Or lips. And pointed to the player, quiet now, on the other side of the room.
“Try an eraser,” he said. Avoiding the question.
“My groove?” she persisted.
“No, the groove of the Holy Mother of…”
“Don’t adulterate the Mother of G__ ,” she said. And knew it wasn’t her groove. The third shower. The third time. Washing it off. And the dirt still on his neck from the shirt. Embedded there. In the fucking before work and after work, before coming home, and having his third shower of the day.
“Why?” she said, neither cold, nor hard, nor soft, nor shushing with any finger.
“Because…” he said, feeling his finger twitch inside his pants where his pocket moved around his fingers.
“Want a divorce?” she asked.
“No…” he said, “…only a rubber for your arm, so when the needle wants to jump… your groove… cracks on your record, you remember the showers.”
“The ones in the morning?” she said. Asked. Cold, again. Hard. Then soft. Remembering the time, times, she had had a third shower before he came home from work.
“The ones in the morning,” he said.
“They are the important ones,” she said.
They raised their fingers, twitching, her clit finger and his clit finger, and they shushed each other silently, knowing there would be two showers the next morning, and they would forget about the ones after work, or before work ended and he wasn’t home yet.
And it was on the anniversary of the wedding that was the great betrayal. The fly in the ointment hopped over a spider moon and danced a heartbreak through a hotel where bed sheets reminded her of Elvis tunes. She waited for the needle to drop-hop to a groove she hadn’t heard before. She let her blue suede shoes fall to the floor. She rocked to her own beat and wanted to cry in a chapel, just because. Weddings are futile, she thought. And she knew she would have a shower when she got home, and he wasn’t home… yet.
And they both knew they played the same tune. Sang the same songs. Even if they showered at different times. Some times. And didn’t sing in harmony. Or at least rarely.
THE BACKGROUND: I wrote this story's first draft in 2013. Several evolutions later, this final version found itself in 2016. I entered it in The Simcoe County Writers' short story competition. It was a nationwide contest. "One Shower Too Many" came second. It has an edge I like.