The Haunting of Chilled Spouse

Plexi Glass was in a bit of a pickle. And as she often did when encountering situations she couldn’t resolve by waving about her titanium checkbook, she called her best friend. “Tupper, you have got to get over here immediately.”

Tupper Ware, already in a bit of a mood after having to relinquish one of her martinis in order to answer the phone, was not impressed with this entreaty. “Why?”

Plexi sighed. “Look, there’s no reason to go into it now. We both know you’ve been drinking, because you’re awake, and I’ll just have to explain it all over again in five minutes. Just grab a pitcher of whatever you’re sucking down today and get over here.”

Thirty minutes later, the doorbell rang, filling the house with an orchestral arrangement of Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back”. (Said doorbell was a rather fancy one, able to scan the fingerprint of the ringer and then select an appropriate ditty from within its vast archives.) Plexi threw open the door before the song could really kick into gear, thereby irritating one of the tropical plants in the foyer who was rather fond of Elton. “What the hell took you so long?”

Tupper clattered through the entrance, leaving a trail of garlic-stuffed artisan olives behind her on the expansive and expensive Italian tile of the porch. “The traffic was terrible. I barely survived.”

“But you live next door. How was there traffic?”

Tupper gasped. “Did you think I was going to come by foot? Darlin’, you know I don’t walk on grass. That’s for the little people. I had Driver whisk me over, but since he’s had just as many martinis as me, there were some navigational issues. We may have circled the block a time or twenty. These things happen.”

Plexi slammed the front door, creating a gust of wind that ruffled the already ruffled leaves of the Elton-loving tropical plant. (Said plant discreetly whipped out his cell phone and punched the speed-dial button for his lawyer. Enough was enough.) “Speaking of things happening, you are not going to believe how my day has gone.”

Tupper took another swill from her latest swill. “Oh, I think I can. When you’re comfortably numb, your belief systems have a much lower tolerance level. Let me guess. Did you have to fire another pool boy for sleeping with the gardener instead of you? Look, I’ve told you a thousand times that the real problem is the gardener, not your neglected cavern. He’s too damn cute and he’s twenty years younger than us. Gardeners should always be older and homely. My great aunt Burpy, may she rest in pieces, taught me that a long time ago and-”

Plexi opened the front door and slammed it again, startling the Elton plant into dropping his phone on an imported hibiscus. (There would be a rumble later between the two, but that’s for another story.) “Tupper! Stop talking about that!”

Tupper was confused, which surprised no one, least of all her martini. “About my Aunt Burpy? I know you think I made her up, but that was really her name. And she was very important to our family. Without her, we wouldn’t have known how to market the signature products for our company. Which means I wouldn’t be rich and couldn’t afford to be your neighbor and we never would have become friends and none of the naughty things we’ve done since then would have happened. So, you need to be more considerate of my Aunt Burpy. In fact, I think you should sing a song about her right now and-”

Plexi reached over and slapped Tupper with the intensity of a Trump supporter determined to remain ignorant. Tupper, despite the subsequent head-wobbling and trip-stumbling and possible loss of a tooth, retained the iron grip on her martini glass. (Professional drinkers can fall down a flight of stairs and never spill a drop. True story.) “Oh, thank you for that. I think I have some clarity now. Please tell me all about your woes and I will support you undyingly.”

Plexi grimaced. “Interesting that you should mention the word ‘dying’, because that plays into it.”

Tupper shook her head. “No, the word I actually said was-”

Plexi raised her hand again.

Tupper ceased and desisted.

Plexi nodded. “Good. Now, let’s go into the parlor so I can tell the story in private. I don’t trust that tropical plant over there.”

Elton gulped, discreetly put his lawyer on hold in mid-sentence, and tried to look pretty and innocent.

Plexi and Tupper clattered their way into the “parlor”, which was a complete misnomer, as the room had none of the attributes of the Victorian chambers of yore but many of the attributes of modern interior designers who pretend to “evoke the past” without grasping that past, at all.  They settled on an uncomfortable couch designed to represent a burrito, the unfortunate result of a high-end “furniture as food” trend that lasted for roughly six weeks in 2018 before smacking against the wall of futility and rapid-fire social change on social media. Tupper rearranged the refried-beans pillows to her liking, siphoned off another healthy squirt of martini from the portable bar she had dragged with her, and then patted Plexi on her chicly-thin knee. “Tell me what happened.”

Plexi took a deep breath. “Well, it all started when I woke up this morning.”

Tupper patted again. “Oh, honey, there’s your problem. You should never wake up in the morning. I refuse to get out of bed until mid-afternoon. Things are much easier when everyone is already worn out from their day.”

Plexi shoved Tupper’s hand off her overly-streamlined knee. “Anyway, I went into the West Wing to talk to Tinted about something or other that was annoying me, I no longer recall.”

Tupper paused in the midst of crunching an artisan olive. (Hand-stuffed by peasants in a part of Italy where there’s nothing else to do but stuff things.) “Tinted? Is that a person, place or thing?”

Plexi sighed again. “Yes, Tupper. It’s a person. My husband. The one you keep managing to sleep with despite my strong hints that maybe that’s not the best idea.”

Tupper finished her olive, chewing and swallowing pensively. “Oh, right. That Tinted. Got it. But you know, in my defense, it was really the alcohol talking. It’s such an enabler. Everybody says so in my Bridge Club.”

Plexi shook her head. “No, it wasn’t the alcohol. It was your overheated loins playing squat tag with anything that moved. But that’s not the point. The point is that when I walked into Tinted’s room, he was dead.”

Tupper reflected. “Dead as in hungover, or dead as in no pulse? There is a difference, though not much.”

“Dead as in when I touched him on the shoulder while he was sitting in bed, he fell over and something vile came out of his mouth.”

Tupper leaned forward. “Honey, that doesn’t mean he was dead. He always talked dirty to me. That man has some naughty ideas, he sure did. Of course, that’s probably why I kept ordering another round from his personal bar, so to speak.”

Plexi grimaced. “No, words didn’t come out of his mouth. Blood did. And some chunky bits.”

Tupper sat back. “Oh. Well, that’s a bit different. Especially the chunky bits. I would think that’s not normal, but I drink a lot. What did you do?”

“I picked up the phone to call housekeeping, because I sure as hell wasn’t going to deal with this, especially since I had an alibi.”

Tupper was curious. “How did you have an alibi?”

“The latest pool boy doesn’t mind excavating ancient caverns.”

Tupper smiled. “Good for you! But still, what did you do with the tainted Tinted?”

Plexi shivered, either from the memories or the realization that she was late for her latest anxiety medication. (It’s hard to be rich. Sometimes you need pills.) “Before anyone could answer in housekeeping, Tinted suddenly sat back up in bed and turned to me and said. ‘I know what you did last summer.’ Well, I didn’t particularly care for the sound of that, because I did a lot of things last summer, and most of them would not look good in the society papers.”

Tupper nodded. “Girl, I hear that. We can’t jeopardize our membership in all the right clubs. Aunt Burpy said that-”

“And I knew right away that I had to do something very crucial at this point. If my husband was now an extra from ‘The Walking Dead’, and it sure appeared that way since he was all pasty and his skin was falling off and he smelled like a yeast infection. I can’t have an undead husband with no sense of propriety and discretion. So, I decided to hide him until I could figure out what to do.”

Tupper was intrigued and apparently excited, rapid-pumping more healthy martini squirts from her portable bar. “You hid him? Where? Can I see him?”

Plexi was non-plussed. “Why would you want to do that?”

“Are you kidding? Nothing ever happens in this town. It’s about time we got some culture around here.”

Plexi paused. “You really are a twisted little tramp. At other times I might admire that, but I’m not feeling it right now. Sometimes I just don’t understand you. I expected you to support me, not consider the whole thing an art exhibit. I need your help because my husband is locked in the wine cellar in the basement.”

Tupper’s eyes lit up. “The basement! That’s where we played our favorite games!” She launched herself off the burrito couch and raced toward the basement door, never spilling a drop because, professional.

Twenty minutes later, because the house was brazenly over-large, the two women thundered down the cobwebby wooden stairs (good help is hard to find, ask anybody) and screeched to a halt in front of the wine cellar, guarded as it was by iron gates that had a penitentiary flair. (Tupper: “I never understood the iron gates.” Plexi: “We had to protect our stock from you.” Tupper: “Oh, I get it. Good move.”)

Within the iron bars, Tinted Glass was trudging back and forth in the same flight pattern, mumbling to himself in an aggressive manner, which is the hallmark of psychotics and delusional politicians.

Tupper looked at Plexi: “What is he saying?”

Plexi looked at Tupper: “How should I know? I never listened to him when he was alive. I’m certainly not going to change that now.”

Suddenly, Tinted raced to the bars and shook them furiously, causing even more of his already-deficient skin to slough off. “You will die in the bowels of Bonnywood Manor!”

Tupper: “That’s kind of rude. What the hell is Bonnywood Manor?”

Plexi: “No idea.”


Click here to read the next entry in this sordid story…


13 replies »

    • Fair disclosure: I have never actually seen “LA Story”. Of course, it came out during the time when I refused to go see anything that wasn’t subtitled and obscure, because I was in THAT kind of phase. But I must seek it out and envision myself as you during the viewing. I’ll keep you posted… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My question is, what was it YOU were swilling while writing this? Not judging you, by the way. Merely asking for a *cough* friend as she seeks better writing prompts. And prompting. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, during the actual writing, I don’t believe there was any swilling. But I will fess up to some possible lingering affects of having several “Truly” beverages earlier in the day. Have you tried these things? They’re basically alcohol-tinged seltzer water with NO carbs, for the woman of mystery who wishes to tipple a bit but remain svelte. Partner thinks they’re a wretched abomination, but I find them rather fetching…

      Liked by 1 person

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