Contest #177 winner 🏆

106 comments

Fiction Funny

Note: brief reference to ableist language

Rachel stood at the kitchen sink watching the snow fall softly over the back yard, muffling the world in its white overcoat. She wanted to wrap her mind up the same snug way, but in the living room, her husband was watching some show where commentators loudly traded barbs and lobbed insults at each other. The noise was incessant. Oh! The noise, noise, noise, noise! she thought, visualizing herself poised on a snowy crag, ear cocked to the Whos down in Whoville below, except these were clamorous and opinionated Whos. I’m on your side, Mr. Grinch, she decided, and reached up to turn off her hearing aids. The soft silence outside the window was suddenly complemented by a similar hush within her own head. Ah, much better.


“Did you hear that?” As if on cue, her husband was bellowing for her attention. 


Rachel sighed. “Hear what?”


“That guy running for office. He’s a complete idiot.”


Without her hearing aids, Rachel could just hear the skeleton of sentences, mostly vowel sounds with mushy consonants failing to knit them together into meaning, requiring a bit of guess work to decode. It was like wearing a sweater in her ears which is why she had broken down finally and invested in the hearing aids. There were times, though, when she wasn’t all that sure she wanted to hear so much of what was going on in the world. Still, she felt compelled to answer, raising her voice to be heard over his show. “Who?”


“That yahoo running for office with the weird tan. They should call him Colonel Mustard.”


Rachel sucked in her breath upon hearing her husband call somebody, anybody, a “retard.” She didn’t even like to think the word, let alone hear her husband bellowing it from the other room for all the neighbors to hear. “Don’t call people that word.”


“What word?”


“You know, that word. It is totally inappropriate.”


Frank was used to his wife’s often creative interpretations of the world around her and was inclined to take liberties in translation. “I’ll say he’s inappropriate,” he agreed heartily, delighted she was taking a position. She generally didn’t pay enough attention to world events, burrowing down instead into the cocoon of a comfortably retired life.


“Then why did you say it?” she called out.


“Say what?”


“That word.”


“What word?”


“Well, I can’t say it,” Rachel shouted over the noise. “We don’t talk like that about people with…you know…mental disabilities.”


“Mental disabilities?” Frank was surprised. For her to call the candidate mentally disabled was pretty strong. She was usually so polite, so darned politically neutral. About time she saw things my way, he thought approvingly. “Ha! He has no ability, that’s the problem,” he chuckled.


Rachel drew in her breath. What was wrong with the man? First using the ‘R’ word to describe someone, then being so cruel as to suggest that people who are differently abled have no abilities at all! Sometimes, she just didn’t know what to make of the man. “Frank! That is terrible! We all have something to contribute.”


“Over my dead body!” Was his wife insane? First calling the man mentally disabled, then wanting to contribute to his candidacy? It was that kind of lunatic inconsistency that got the country where it was in the first place! He turned up the volume on the tv to make his feelings clear, shouting a final, “We are not contributing a penny to his campaign.”


Unbelievably, Rachel did not take the hint, calling out, “No I don’t think we have any. What do you want champaign for anyway?”


“What on earth makes you think I’d support his campaign?”


“Frank, it’s really just for special occasions.”


“Right. He was charged with tax evasion. And cooking the books.”


“I don’t know. I was thinking of fish. You could have some white wine with that.”


Frank paused. White wine? Why would she be offering him wine at 4:00 in the afternoon? He gave it a thought. She must have said she was sick of the hearing the right whine. “I totally agree. Though the left could do with a little less complaining too.”


“I’m not complaining!”


“I didn’t say you were! I said the left was.”


“No, it isn’t leftovers. I just got the cod last night.”


Frank took a longer moment to process this. She just talked to God last night? His wife wasn’t exactly a Bible thumper, nor did she seem likely to suddenly see the light, so to speak. He decided he needed clarity. “You talked to who?”


“I ought to what?” Rachel was beginning to sound testy.


Frank drew a deep breath. “I said I was wondering who you talked to.”


“I saw Bette Jean, of course, and that nice lady who works the cash register. Why?”


Frank tried to work these names into a tapestry of sense in his mind and came up empty. He decided to let it go. You live with someone long enough, and really, you couldn’t sweat the details. He returned his full attention to the commentators on the tv who were having a field day raking the candidate over the coals about something he had done 30 years earlier. With well over thirty years to his own name, he felt his sympathies fall to the candidate on this one. “Really, people ought to just let the past lie.”


He didn’t realize he had spoken aloud into a momentary lull in the volume of the show. He definitely realized he had spoken aloud as soon as Rachel’s retort shot out of the kitchen in a dangerous sniper attack. “Frank! Why on earth would you accuse me of lying about talking to Bette Jean and the cashier?”


“I wasn’t, honey! I was talking about how people ought to just let the past lie. Not you. You are the soul of honesty.” He pitched his praise to a hearty bellow to ensure she heard him. 


The silence that followed suggested whatever danger had been brewing in the kitchen might be simmering down. But feeling confident, he overstepped, adding, “Not like this moron.”


Rachel sighed to herself. Frank is getting cantankerous in his old age, she mused. They say old men do get grouchy. “That’s not a nice word either. You shouldn’t use slurs like that.”


“Oh, I’m sure about it.”


“Sure about what? Using disrespectful language?” Rachel’s voice was tilting back into the danger zone. He could practically hear her reloading to return fire.


“No, that he is an idiot!”


“Who?”


“The idiot running for office. Colonel Mustard.”


Rachel slammed her hand down on the sink in irritation. She crossed the kitchen to stand in the doorway where she could see her husband ensconced in his Barcalounger, the tv ratcheted up with two anchors jabbering their opinions at each other like deranged squirrels fighting over a nut. “Frank, again, that is unacceptable. And after all the work you did with sweet little Sammi next door with his special needs, I wouldn’t have thought you felt that way.”


“What’s Sammi got to do with it?”


“It’s true he’s a bit slow, has trouble, but you don’t call him a…well, names.”


Frank turned to favor his wife with a puzzled glance. “Well, Sammi’s not running for re-election, Rach.”


“Frank! Sammi does not run around with an erec—”


“—and anyway, I call it like I see it and that man is just—”


“— what man?”


“Colonel Mustard!”


“Ohmyheavens!” Rachel threw her hands in the air as if to protect herself from the grenade her husband had just lobbed into the living room. “You say that word one more time in this house and…well, I just don’t know. I had no idea you were such a bigot.”


Frank turned all the way around in the chair to better assess what bug his wife had in her ear. The air in the living room had become decidedly frosty, with plumes of righteous indignation radiating from her sturdy frame. Still, a man has to defend himself. “Bigot? What, against mustard? It’s ketchup I don’t like.”


“You betcha I don’t like it.” Finally, her husband was grasping her central complaint here, Rachel thought. About time.


“I thought you liked ketchup.” Frank had the distinct impression the conversation had leapt the tracks, but what with the commentators’ laughter rising and swelling in an auditory tide of noise in the background, he wasn’t sure where the derailment had occurred. Damn it. He should probably turn down the volume. What the heck had he done with the remote?


“Why are we talking about ketchup?” Really, not only cranky, but Frank might just be getting a little senile, Rachel thought.  It was worrying.


“Don’t tell me to catch up.” Frank’s voice took on an edge, slicing up from behind the recliner where he was pawing about between the cushions like a dog burying a bone. He’d about had it with her correcting tone. “You’re the one who started talking about condiments.”


Rachel snorted. “As if we need condoms at our age.”


“Stop with all the heart health worry, all right? Just because of a little too much salt, suddenly we can’t have any condiments. They inject the food with taste.”


“Damn skippy sex improves with age,” was his wife's inexplicable rejoinder. Frank stopped searching for the remote to stare at her over the back of the recliner. He wasn’t sure what had redirected her down this new line of thought, but a man shouldn’t stand in the way of progress.


“I’m glad you think so.” Was it him, or was the air in the room becoming warmer? He cautiously probed the emotional temperature for any jagged edges of lingering outrage. Finding none, he added, “I just don't have a clue how we got here.”


“Hear what?”



December 22, 2022 20:11

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

106 comments

14:17 Jan 27, 2023

Hi, Are you facing trouble in downloading a slide? My client design a website of (<a href="https://slidesharedown.com/">slide share downloader</a>).If anyone facing issue in downloading slides visit site. Thanks.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Autumn Dixon
04:03 Jan 25, 2023

Nice story! Got a little weird for me since I am young, but I enjoyed it! Would you please read my story? It's called Geography Watcher! It has crime, horror, and mystery! If you find it please comment on it! Greatly appreciated! Again, love the story read it in a couple of minutes! Very funny!

Reply

Show 0 replies
01:49 Jan 24, 2023

HAHAHHA im laughing out loud

Reply

Laurel Hanson
18:24 Jan 24, 2023

So glad you enjoyed it!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jordan Sarf
01:33 Jan 24, 2023

Hi Laurel, I absolutely LOVED this! I was laughing more and more as the conversation escalated! I'm a film producer from NYC and would love to discuss the idea of bringing this story to life as a short! If interested, feel free to email me at jordans@ineffable-pictures.com Best, Jordan Sarf

Reply

Laurel Hanson
16:13 Jan 26, 2023

I emailed you a reply directly. If still interested and if you did not receive my email. just let me know.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
02:50 Jan 22, 2023

Oh, my goodness! This story was hilarious. I was crying from laughter. Great sense of humor, and terrific writing. Loved it.

Reply

Laurel Hanson
11:56 Jan 22, 2023

Thank-you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Joe Lynch
10:05 Jan 19, 2023

Very well done...very comical!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Abhishek Todmal
10:12 Jan 17, 2023

Hey, Laurel, you've penned a fantastic piece. Throughly enjoyed reading through it - who doesn't like a bit of comedy to grace their domestic disputes? Though I doubt that is how it was seen by either party during the nuptials of :) Well done, truly!

Reply

Laurel Hanson
12:40 Jan 17, 2023

Thank-you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Parker Henry
12:07 Jan 13, 2023

Hi Laurel, Nice story. Would you mind me reading it for my Youtube series? I'd be sure to credit you here or link to any social media you wish. Best, Parker

Reply

Laurel Hanson
13:11 Jan 13, 2023

I don't mind. I would like to be credited by name if that is OK with you. How would I access your youtube series? I'd be interested in hearing what you do.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Andrea Marian
23:45 Jan 11, 2023

Get 5,500$ every day, for six months! See how it works. What’sApp :+39 3512405862 I want to testify about Dark Web blank atm cards which can withdraw money from any atm machines around the world. I was very poor before and have no job. I saw so much testimony about how Dark Web hackers send them the atm blank card and use it to collect money in any atm machine and become rich. Email : dr.austinsolutionhome1@gmail.com What’sApp : +39 351240 5862 They also sent me the blank atm card. I have used it to get 90,000$. withdraw the maximum of 5500$...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Andrea Marian
23:45 Jan 11, 2023

Get 5,500$ every day, for six months! See how it works. What’sApp :+39 3512405862 I want to testify about Dark Web blank atm cards which can withdraw money from any atm machines around the world. I was very poor before and have no job. I saw so much testimony about how Dark Web hackers send them the atm blank card and use it to collect money in any atm machine and become rich. Email : dr.austinsolutionhome1@gmail.com What’sApp : +39 351240 5862 They also sent me the blank atm card. I have used it to get 90,000$. withdraw the maximum of 5500$...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Lily Finch
03:30 Jan 10, 2023

It truly is an entertaining piece-I had to know what it was about; your title drew me in. LF6

Reply

Laurel Hanson
12:55 Jan 10, 2023

Thank-you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Molly Kelash
15:41 Jan 09, 2023

Oh, this is too funny! I have a little hearing loss and so I could totally relate to the ridiculous arguments that occur from mishearing. SO well done! (I do have hearing aids now, and they definitely help!)

Reply

Laurel Hanson
18:07 Jan 09, 2023

Glad to hear it. I got hearing aids before our school mandated masks. Rest assured, without being able to see their mouths, it was like going blind as well as deaf, so I lucked out.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Stanley Witham
22:08 Jan 08, 2023

Being hard of hearing myself, I can relate to this story very well. Great job !!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Chad Eastwood
03:50 Jan 06, 2023

Brilliant! It's first thing in the morning and I am laughing my head off! I am sure you laughed yourself while you were writing it. Thanks!

Reply

Laurel Hanson
12:30 Jan 06, 2023

I did actually. Then I waited with bated breath hoping anyone else thought it was funny as well, since it's pretty hard to tell how your own words will resonate. Thank-you for reading and enjoying it!

Reply

Chad Eastwood
14:34 Jan 06, 2023

You are very welcome. It was great. I could imagine writing it myself and laughing away.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Belinda Callahan
02:34 Jan 06, 2023

Laurel, I enjoyed your story very much. I needed a good chuckle. I have communication difficulties with my mother who has been deafer than she will admit for some time. It feels like the loony bin when I visit with two TVs blaring and no one understanding anyone else. Glad you could see the humor. Keep on writing, you have talent.

Reply

Laurel Hanson
12:29 Jan 06, 2023

Thank-you. And as an aside, admitting that I couldn't hear very well and needed help was, in the end, such a simple thing. I needed to do it in order to keep teaching; I hope maybe your mom can see that too!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Sav Lightwood
05:50 Jan 05, 2023

A refreshingly unique take on the prompt and hella witty. I'm sure it was a delight to write. Well-deserved win, Ms. Duck Crocs 🦆 (its a crime that there's no rubber duck emoji)

Reply

Laurel Hanson
14:11 Jan 05, 2023

You made me laugh out loud with 'Ms. Duck Crocs'! I had established a reputation for my crocs with my students so the duck croc icon seemed the best embodiment of who I am when the time came to attempt to distill myself into a little picture. Thanks for making my day!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mike Henry
03:19 Jan 05, 2023

Loved your story, Laurel, and the clever way you used the dialogue with hilarious results! A well-deserved win.

Reply

Laurel Hanson
14:07 Jan 05, 2023

Thank-you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
23:49 Jan 04, 2023

I feel so blessed again in my marriage after Doctor Oku brought back my husband that separated with me for a good 3 months. Even though I have mouths all over my body, it won't be enough to thank Doctor Oku for his help in my life. My husband separated with me for 3 months and has been in pain and agony without him. So, I searched for help everywhere but nothing worked out, not until I meant Doctor Oku who I contacted online. I explained my situation to him and he promised that my husband will get back to me within 48 to 72 hours as long as ...

Reply

Show 0 replies
23:49 Jan 04, 2023

Save Your Marriage from divorce today. Get Your Ex lover Back! with a love spell 2023 by okutemple@gmail.com

Reply

Show 0 replies
Dan Hansen
18:38 Jan 04, 2023

Hi Laurel, Congrats on the Win!! Your story gave me goose bumps and a warm fuzzy feeling because it reminded me of my mother and i having conversations when she left out her hearing aids or needed a battery change and didn't ley me know. The conversation sounded like our conversations. She passed away in 2021 and I was her caregiver... Thank you for reminding me of really cool times with her and giving me the inspiration to keep doing what I love. Amazing works! Dan

Reply

Laurel Hanson
21:28 Jan 04, 2023

Thank you so much. I appreciate hearing that is felt authentic to someone with real experience. I am sorry to hear your mother passed away. I see this was during covid quarantines, which was a particularly difficult time for the sick and elderly. My father died that year as well, but we were unable to visit until the end, and that was a real tragedy. Oddly, my dad could hear a pin drop at the age of 96. I have not been so lucky, so write from an authentic experience for this story as well. Your words are much appreciated.

Reply

Dan Hansen
00:26 Jan 07, 2023

Sorry to hear about your dad. I can imagine. My mom stharp as a tack and even wrote her columns to the last minute before going to hospital. I picked up her torch and do her columns for our local paper, She was my editor and taught me a lot. I miss her.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply