But seriously: This is my first submission here so please be kind and read all the way to the end before deciding what you think of my twisted little look at middle class americana. There's a lot more here than meets the eye...(so read carefully) or in this stories case...more than meets the... ear!
Tom Shackley Tames A Shrew
When Tom's wife's career takes a down turn, the sweet, loving, but infinitely shallow Sheila shows her true colors and Tom is left facing a lifetime of shrewish torment at the now cruel Sheila's hands. Tom's solution is both brilliant and unique. Don't change anything!
Tom and Sheila got married right after college. Sheila was seemingly on a fast track to becoming a well known model, and Tom was a guy with big dreams of his own. They seemed the perfect couple. She loved her and Tom did too. But Sheila was just so beautiful nothing she carelessly said or did really mattered. And Tom was such a tolerant loving man who idolized her that he could, would and did, overlook all her obvious character flaws and shallowness with little difficulty. And why not, she was so beautiful. All of Tom's friends thought he was a schmuck. But Tom WAS happy.
But life has a way of throwing us nasty curves every so often, and Sheila's career turned into one of those curves. Actually several of those curves. As so often happens in the real world, what we want, and deserve isn't always what we get. What Sheila got was a nice little 3 room in the suburbs (a nice middle-class setup), an ordinary factory worker husband (loving and loyal as a sheepdog), and a job at the local 7 Eleven on the swing shift (Ooops). Hardly the bright lights and glamour she had envisioned. A good life but not the life she wanted! Hardly the life the porcelain princess (as her mother called her) really really DESERVED!
But through it all Tom remained a good provider, eventually got a job he hated in a factory, gave up his dreams, and became everything he had never wanted to be. But it was ok really, as long as he had beautiful Sheila at his loving side...
It had been a really long and difficult week. In midsummer the factory got really hot and miserable. And the last thing Tom had wanted to do was put in an extra half shift because Bob Maxwell hadn't showed up again. But when the boss says come in now or don't bother tomorrow. Tom went to the factory for another 6 hours (that made 18 in 24 hours). So, by the time Tom got home all he wanted was to flop peacefully into an overstuffed easychair in front of the ballgame with a beer and pass blissfully into a stupor. He deserved it. He'd earned it. He didn't have the energy to anything more.
But Tom knew as soon as Sheila met him at the door (something that wasn't her habit unless she wanted to chew his ass over something) that he just wasn't going to get his wish, see his game, or get a few hours peace. Why was she like this ALL the time?
They fought over a gamut of things (all unimportant, the car, the house, her mother, just too many things for such a short time) for the better part of an hour and finally (the game now almost over) he made it to his island in a sea of troubles and plopped his sore butt in front of the game. Crap...we were losing. So badly the game was hardly worth watching... sigh. Damned shrew made me miss most of the game. Tom felt guilty over what he had just thought almost instantly. So beautiful.
He had to forgive her.
Tom closed his eyes to continue listening to what was left of the game and maybe drift into semi peaceful oblivion. Such was not Tom's luck or lot.
It was then the phone rang.
It jerked Tom awake and he immediately prayed it wasn't...
(Sheila) Hello Mother!
(Tom) Shit. Not now.
(Sheila)Yes, the slug is here, in front of the TV swilling cheap beer like the USELESS (emphasized) couch potato he is... Tom hated these calls the most of all. Of all the things he hated in his life these calls were at the top of the list.(Or at least he used to think so. But I get ahead of myself. The story has not progressed to that point yet. Forget this side note entirely.)
But an idea was beginning to form. Tom's guilt was beginning to be replaced with something else. Something he couldn't... put his finger on. Had he done the right thing when he had done what he did?. Dare he? Sigh. No, he couldn't.
There was little doubt Sheila's mother had had a major part to play in embittering Sheila and alienating her from him. She'd never liked him and spent all her life energy emasculating and belittling Tom to Sheila over way too many years.
Over 10 years Tom had come to truly believe that his mother-in-law had only been put on this earth to make him personally (no one else) suffer the pains of the damned. She was his personal cross to bear. (Physically she resembled the Chrysler Building). A personal plague. Some cruel punishment (and so on, and so on).Tom firmly believed that in another life he must have done something truly terrible to deserve her! He chuckled to himself humorlessly at the thought. Who had he been? Atilla the Hun, Jack the Ripper???
In the momentarily forgotten doorway, the conversation reached a new level of cruelty. Tom was trying to ignore it, but he still caught something about his manhood. The way they were going, the two of them would spend at least the next few hours on the phone shredding what little dignity he had left. He hoped just this once for the call to be a short one. Hopeless, but he still could dream.
Hey, maybe the phone company would need to work on the lines or someone would take out a telephone pole?
(Sheila) Yes, mother. Yes mother. Yes mother. Sigh. Another long painful call. (Maybe just one joke? Maybe one harmless...No! He told himself. He wouldn't sink to her...). (Sheila) Practically over before it starts. (Giggle). (Tom) sigh.
Maybe I can just ignore them and concentrate on this sad excuse for a ballgame Tom steeled himself with this small hope. Distraction was good.
But, as if they were reading his thoughts the conversation in the doorway to the living room (you call this living?) got louder, intentionally so. I swear that "thing" on the other end can read minds! Loud enough to ensure he wouldn't hear any of the game or be able to drift off and escape in sleep. Great! Just freakin great! Now he wouldn't hear the ballgame, now he wouldn't get the rest he needed, now he had the migraine of the century. Now he... hehehe. (Perhaps he should have gone into the entertainment industry?) Poor Tom snapped, and after a moment considering ALL his options, cleared his throat.
TOM DICK AND HARRY WALK INTO A BAR!
(Sheila) What mummmmmthhhherrrrr...no. I'm ok. Why? What? My mouth full? Why yes. I'm having a cool delicious popsicle. So cool, so soothing. So sweet I wanna suck it all day long. Sooooo good. It's the absolute best. Mummmumph??? Not that that useless lump would go out and get them for me. He's watching his stupid ball ball ball me ballgame. Stutter? I'm just all worked up even thinking about him just laying there. Hold on mom. (Giggle). I need... to get on... the... table...uh ....cordless phone.
(Sheila) Yes, mother. The car STILL needs to go into the shop and UP on the rack for a gooooooood lube job. (Strange sucking greasy sound) But Tom is such an asshole he'll never... put it in...uh ...take it in. He has more important things to do. So MANY things to do. And he must do them... now...now...now. Yes, mother. I told him what to do... and where he can put it too! No mother, I won't let him off easy.
Tom dick and harry walk into a bar...
Raise? He hasn't had a gooooooood uh oooooooo raise in years. But being a gooood wife I have to pretend he's a goooood uh oooo SO GOOD provider and stroke his... (heavy breathing) fragile ego. I don't know why I stay. I must be... Tom dick and harry walk into a bar... some kind of masochist. (slapping sound) . What? That sound? I was... punishing a bad pussy...cat. Bad pussy!
What mother? When did we get a cat? We don't have a...
Tom dick and harry walk... Everyone should have a pussy... to love ...to stroke.. to make...purr. TOM DICK AND HARRY WALK INTO A BAR... god, is it suddenly hot? I'm going to stroke...uh have a stroke in the heat. Stupid hasn't called the air-conditioning guy yet either. I have to run around half naked just to stay cool. Must stay cool. So hot and ...wet. (Long pause) Mothmumpher? Uh mother? I have to go now. Someone's coming... coming... oh! Tom Dick and harry walk into a bar... to the door. Someone is at the door. I must answer it. I must come...uh...go now... i must ... put out... Tom dick and harry... the cat. "Click".
Life wasn't so bad for Tom anymore... not since he took that home hypnosis course. Sheila would never change... she would always be a mean selfish shrew. With one little difference. A very little difference. But it was one Tom could live with... Looking at her he decided he wouldn't change a thing! She was after all, so beautiful.
Copyright 2000 May only be copied for private use.
If you choose to use this story please attach an appropriate set of warnings about all characters being totally fictional and this story not being an advocation of any immoral or illegal activities. Thanx Cait