Thursday, February 16, 2006

2-16-05 Weddings In Purgatory...

I'm going to post a very uplifting short story I wrote called "Weddings in purgatory". I'll publish it on this blog in mini chapters. Here's the first installment:

by Cullen Carter

W hen the knife slips Sofia doesn’t notice a thing. Even when the blood gushes from my wrist onto the cutting board full of freshly cut oranges, she sits, totally oblivious, at the kitchen table immersed in those goddam wedding magazines.
Her lips flap away, she’s asking me a question I think, but when your stupid life is draining from you by the gallon everything is mute.
She looks at me expectantly.
Can’t you see I’m dying here, Sofia?

And then I cringe, and in a second I’m perfectly alright. Her scratchy voice becomes audible again:
“Snapdragons or Chrysanthemums?” she asks.
“Huh?” I say holding the plate of oranges, staring at the clean cutting board and the wet knife laying on top of it.
“You know, for the rehearsal dinner--did you take the seeds out of those?”
God, what an uptight bitch Sofia can be sometimes. Did you take the seeds out of those? Excuse me, they’re navel oranges. They barely have any seeds. Besides I was cutting them for myself, if you wanted fucking navel oranges get off your lazy ass and get your own.
She stares at me with that slack-jawed look of hers. “Well?”
“Well what?”

“You didn’t answer my question, Grumpy Gabriel.”
“Yes,” I say, sitting down, “I cut the goddam seeds out, sheesh.”
She sighs. “No, silly, what kind of flowers do you want? Chrysanthemums or snapdragons?”
Ragweed. If you really want to know, I want ragweed.
“I don’t know, the second one I guess. Look, I’m going to bed.” Listening to all this wedding shit is wearing me out. “Make sure you lock up before you leave.”
We kiss dispassionately and say our perfunctory goodnight love-yous. I get up and hobble toward the bedroom.
“Oh, what about your oranges?” she asks.
“Finish em,” I say.
“Everything alright, hon?”
Suddenly I slip on cat vomit and fall forward. Trying to catch myself on the edge of the counter
top, my hand slips and my mouth collides full-force with the solid marble top, smashing my teeth into jagged shards, ripping half of them from their sockets.
For a second, the roots dangle like vines and the pain is excruciating, but I blink and things are normal again.
“Yeah, everything’s fine. Just tired,” I say.
In the dark, quiet bedroom, I flop over onto the bed, not even bothering to take off my clothes. Like the lungs of a dying animal, the bed sinks slowly under the weight of my body.

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I'm a happily married 33 gentleman. My wife Allyson and I have an 11 year old daughter named Veronica.