first printed in Loud Coffee Press
Travis didn’t need no grapevine to figure out Lucille was stepping out on him, but that didn’t stop them cluckers from flapping their gums like they was sheets flapping on the clothes line in those dry summer winds. Travis was a least resistance type of guy but that didn’t mean he was hard of seeing too. He saw what he saw with his Lucille vision and what he saw was her belt threaded through all them loops of her faded discount jeans.
It was Lucille’s way to miss the back loop and in all his years of knowing her, Travis kept this information to himself just like he kept the freckle where her spine dipped into her tailbone to himself too. In that way he knew her better than she knew herself. Night after night he watched his secret unbuckle that belt and whip it loose. Then came the night his stomach lurched into his throat threatening to choke him where he lay on their marital bed. That belt was looped through all them loops and every day after that she never did miss any of them loops again.
Then there was Rovina and old Fanny sitting on old Fanny’s porch code switching to hushed pantomime when he lumbered by on his way home from the metal factory, his nod met with two pitying ones in return. That was the night he found them thong panties Lucille retired two weeks after they exchanged vows in his daddy’s backyard at the top of the laundry pile.
After a week of them cluckers greeting Travis with them pitying nods, he decided enough was enough. He stormed into the house all prepared to have it out with Lucille when he was stopped in his booted tracks. The house, which of late held the stifling stench of Lucille’s new perfume, was filled with the warm, gooey aroma of baking apples. Now Lucille was no great cook and even burnt them pre-fab chocolate chip cookies so no one could fault Travis for stepping back out onto the porch to make sure he had walked into the right house. But there was their house number 428 with the crooked 2 hanging over the wood frame door.
“Lucille,” he hollered, “I got something to say to…”
Lucille spun around and caught his open mouth with a forkful of baked apple. The insides of his cheeks took to tingling the way they always did when his taste buds was taken by the tart. By the time the warmth traveled down his throat and into his belly, his first thought was far behind his second thought and all he could do was bob his head like an old dog who screws up on his hind legs and wags his tail when he hears his master approaching. That night Lucille rustled up these pork chops baked in cinnamon the likes of which he had never tasted, not even at that fancy restaurant out by the casino they went to for their third anniversary. Even the coffee had a woody and nutty flavor to it—a far cry from Lucille’s usual burnt brew. Every night that week he came home to a new tantalizing aroma wafting from the kitchen and it made him forget the seething resolve he woke up to each morning when Lucille was already gone, working her morning overtime at the diner up on Creek Lane Road.
At the weekly poker game, the men in their unwritten way talked around the Lucille dilemma, commenting on all the overtime she’d been clocking, hearing their wives in their heads goading them what to say. She can’t do him like that…this is a respectable community…tell him he better get a handle on his woman. By the time Travis laid his three Jacks down, the men in their heads were in full blown battles with their women. Travis folded his arms around the pot and swept the chips in, wondering what Lucille was making for dinner, and his mouth couldn’t help but to water.
The most dangerous woman is an unapologetic funny woman. This is Evelyn F. Katz—a writer whose voice is both humorous and haunting. Her work has appeared in Indolent Books What Rough Beasts, The Voices’ Project, Coffee Shop Poems, Tell Us A Story Blog, Leisure…Dinner with the Muse Vol. III, First Literary Review East, Prospectus: A Literary Offering, New York Writers Coalition The Journal, BEAT Gen Anthology, Wine Cellar Press and her micro fiction piece Recess in the Spring 22 issue of Dribble Drabble.