Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Vanity Kills"

I had to get out of the house and out of the city, that much was certain.

Unfortunately the epiphany that I was looking for came about nine minutes too late. I had become one of those people in the newspapers that I hold in contempt, because their reflexes override their common sense. Like when someone is crossing the street on a stormy day and wind snatches their umbrella from their hands. They turn around and scramble for their umbrella, not realizing that the light has changed and the bus is going to run the umbrella and them, over.

Or when a house is burning down and someone goes back into the house to retrieve the family photo album, only to have the ceiling collapse and snuff out their lives. My undoing was my vanity, which managed to betray me twice. My fingers were still burning as I sat down in my Subaru station wagon, the bleach and cleansers amongst other things had done quite a number on my hands.

Nor did I feel clean despite soaking in the shower until the water heater cried “uncle.” I could still feel the dirt from the backyard caked all over me. I grabbed the rearview mirror and looked back at my tired eyes. I looked every bit as old and worn out as Miranda accused me of being; “thirty going on sixty-five,” despite the fact that I’m four years younger than she was. She knew from the very first date that we had, that I hated aging and she made it a point throughout our relationship to push that button like some robot that tests a part’s durability so many thousands of times.

I took a deep breath and adjusted the mirror back to its original position. I had to get away from this house…I had to get away from this city.

It wasn’t really someone or something chasing me away, it was all me and the fact that I couldn’t complete one simple, solitary thought. I had become a creature of pure instinct with barely any reasoning left over to control my own actions. I did somehow manage to book a flight to Cabo San Lucas and I also managed to pack a bag. Beyond that, I was just a hot tired mess. I got all of six blocks away from our cozy little house, before I remembered that I had forgotten both my facial scrub and moisturizers. I didn’t want to stop at one of the malls along the way or pay through the nose at the airport for my favorite brand, so I went back home.

As I pulled up, there was Miranda right there at the front gate of our little hideaway and she started in again with how ungracefully I was aging. She was telling me how she was going to leave me for somebody younger whose tits weren’t permanently going south for the winter.

“Nobody’s going to want you, Sheila, except for some museum that might use you as a stand-in at a mummy exhibit.”

I kicked the gate open and walked past her. Once I was in Mexico, my thoughts and mind would be my own again. Two minutes later and I had the very products that kept the wrinkles away under my arms in two small carry-on bags…unfortunately that was about three minutes too many.

My brother, who loves to drop in unannounced, pulled up right next to my station wagon and honked. He seemed to have a brand new floozy with him and she wasn’t the typical silicone-enhanced cheerleader-type that he usually had dangling from his arm when he’s in town. She had a definite and deliberate air about her.

She was also more butch than Miranda and I put together, which made me dislike her instantly because that was the very type that Miranda seemed to like to cheat on me with, the most. My brother and his new girlfriend got out, and he didn’t close his door all the way, which I had not noticed at the time. Introductions were made, though I still can’t recall her name as I was preoccupied with how was I going to get them to leave and make my flight.

It was at that point that I wondered if her “definite and deliberate air” had the scent of a law enforcement background, because she reeked of being a cop. Suddenly my brother’s car door flew open and a German Sheppard leapt out and ran past me into the yard.

His girlfriend ran after the dog and my brother said, “Wow, Fritzi must have the scent of a dead squirrel or something. She’s training to be a rescue dog and he just goes nuts when there’s anything dead around.”

My brother went after them and I went into a slow backpedal, until they went around the back of the house, where I then got in my Subaru and sped off.

The rest I’ll just have to imagine, as I am now just pulling up on the freeway. No doubt, the dog is still digging through the three and a half feet of dirt that took me some six hours to dig up and he when he finally reaches Miranda, she’ll still have that hateful smirk on her face. She'll have that same vindictive grin that somehow survived that tumble down the stairs that we both took; her neck breaking and me having to drag her into the backyard.

“You know you are going to age twice as fast in prison” Miranda cackles at me in the rearview mirror from the backseat. She has that same venomous sneer on her now purple lips.

I just sigh, as I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ve lost my sanity as far back as last night, when I was digging her grave. I chuckle and say with what little defiance I can muster “even in death, you still can’t keep that big fat trap of yours shut, can you Miranda?”

7 comments:

Dale said...

Nice twist there and great title as well. At least he'll look good in the mug shot if he's caught.

Cormac Brown said...

Dale,

Sigh.

"Nobody’s going to want you, Sheila, except for some museum that might use you as a stand-in at a mummy exhibit."

Um, they were a lesbian couple. If you didn't get that, then I screwed up as a writer.

Quin Browne said...

i got it.

and it was a nice twist.

and a good story.


i hope she makes it to mexico...'cause that's where i'd be headed.

Dale said...

I've failed as a reader and read too quickly. It's not you, it's me. Or I could have said, one of them's always 'the man'. Would that have saved me? Nope, betrayed by a cheap joke.

Cormac Brown said...

Quin,

Thank you and I'd go for some small Caribbean island like in "Have And Have Not." Not that I'm plotting, I'm just looking at it from a logistical standpoint and I'll bet they are less likely to have extradition treaties in place.

Dale,

You have had your chance and your favored reader status has been revoked ; )

Dale said...

You spelled favoured wrong. :-) I'll do my best to regain my standing. I can do that from a seated position right?

Cormac Brown said...

Dale,

Favored with a "u?" In this case, I don't blame Candada as Parker and Stone would have me do, but I blame Britannia.