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Snug as a Bug

by Marian Brooks

It all started on Saturday. We received only half of the paper; the half with all of the advertisements. Calls to the Inquirer were unanswered but we did receive the other half of Saturday’s paper on Sunday.

This week, on Wednesday, my husband opened the newspaper to learn that Charlie Manual, the Phillies manager, had been fired. “It’s about time, Allison,” he said. He doesn’t say much. Then he turned to Section C, the puzzle page. Someone had already started the crossword! There it was, 1 Across, in jet black ink and categorically wrong.

On Friday, at work, I placed half of a pastrami special in the break room refrigerator. At one o’clock, I was famished. As I was unwrapping the sandwich, enjoying the scent of coleslaw and Russian dressing, I noticed that someone had already taken a huge bite out of it! I hoped that there were surveillance cameras somewhere in that room because I was going to track the perp down.

This was starting to get both scary and very personal.

On Monday morning, I woke to find that my husband of five years had turned into a centipede. I found him behind the sofa curled into concentric circles. There was no mistaking him: leggy, shiny and spineless. Shall I call 911? No, that would be ridiculous. Maybe I should call my mother-in-law. She understands him better than anyone. I was slipping straight into panic mode.

I didn’t expect Myron to speak, since that was not his forte although he did react when I called his name. “Myron? What happened? What did I do? What did you eat?”

No response. He just coiled himself more firmly into a taut little ball. I pushed and prodded him with a chopstick. No response. I had a fleeting impulse to crush him. It would be so easy.

This crisis was going to call for major changes in our relationship if it were to survive. We would both have to adapt.

I was ready to whip up a smoothie of spinach leaves and dried grass for Myron until I searched the Internet. It appears that centipedes are carnivorous, night feeders moving quickly in the dark. They survive on worms and spiders, have small mouths but large claws and venom in their glands. This bit of information changed my perspective completely. There were now only two possibilities; kill him or convince him to resume his personhood. He was clearly not himself. I picked him up gently with tweezers, plopped him into a shoe box and secured the lid.

“Myron,” I whispered into the small hole in the box, “I know I’ve been hard on you lately, nagging you to change, be more talkative, more loving. I know that I’ve bought way too many shoes on-line. I am so sorry. You’ve made your point eloquently. Please, please come back to me.”

Copyright © 2013 by Marian Brooks

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