I wrote this story for a zine I made a few years ago. Please enjoy or stop reading it if you're not enjoying it. Summer's too short.
The Summer Mickey Lost His Finger Trying to Start the Lawn Mower in the Dark
Wendy told her husband that he smelled like a stranger while they were making love and he got the impression that she liked the idea of the stranger more than the idea of him. The husband pouted and Wendy went out to the couch. He did smell like a stranger because he’d been to a two-day training about a new type of cash register and he’d used the hotel shampoo, plus the liquor on his breath. He drank the liquor after he got back because it was his first job thing away from home and he wanted to feel like a weary travelling businessman and not a second-generation gas station owner.
So that’s why Wendy was on the couch and it was because she was on the couch she heard Mick scream from his garage next door and ran over. Not because they were involved in some tryst, although they were and had been all through the summer. Mickey and Wendy had slept together three times, mostly because, in May, Mick had seen her bent over in her garden in pink shorts that were too short and too tight and couldn’t stop thinking about her ass (she was wearing shorts that were too short and tight because she’d had them since high school, but couldn’t part with them, so she had banished them to yard work clothes). Then he got the courage up or had drank enough or was just stupid and bold enough to ask her why she wasn’t wearing the pink shorts one day in June at the gas station while she was giving him change (on the old cash register where the drawer jammed and he had more time to think of something to say while she unjammed it). And Wendy had blushed and uncrossed her legs on the stool she was sitting on. She blushed and uncrossed her legs because he made her feel like she was a teenager again and she’d never felt as pretty as she did when she was a teenager (which is why she couldn’t part with the pink shorts). So Wendy said, still blushing, “I can’t even button them up anymore.” And Mick said, “Even better,” and walked out quick.
He walked out quick because his wife, Rachelle, was outside honking the horn. She was honking because she’d seen the pink shorts too, not just this May, but four summers straight at the beach back in high school (and she didn’t button them up then either). Rachelle had disliked Wendy since forever because Wendy had always been too cheerful. She had been cheerful because she was happy and pretty and free. Rachelle had never been cheerful because the women in her family just never were. They said Rachelle’s grandfather died young because he didn’t believe in divorce. Har har.
So that’s why Rachelle assumed Wendy was in the garage in her nightgown for the wrong reasons when her husband cut his finger off and she shouted and wailed and the cops came. Mrs. Berza called the cops because Mrs. Berza called the cops every time something woke up her dogs and the cops were slow to come for that same reason. And that’s why they never got the finger back on.
Wendy and Mickey never fooled around again after that. Mick griped it was because of his missing digit and Wendy said no, it was just too much drama, but really it was because she kept thinking about her husband, in a way, as the stranger, as the weary businessman, and she fell back in love with him. To themselves they always use the summer Mickey lost his finger as a marker for the time their marriage got its second wind.
I don’t know why he was trying to start the damn mower in the dark. Who knows why these things happen?