Midlife in Glimmerspell – Addison Moore

I m going to kill you!” My voice echoes off the porch and sails down the street where a small mob of neighbors has gathered to witness the spectacle. Considering the fact each one of them knows me to be mentally stable and of sound mind, I figure the audience can only aid in my insanity plea. Harold bucks as he claws away at my fingers, but my hands are securely wrapped around his neck with the herculean strength you read about typically utilized by people lifting cars off of their loved ones. “Billie!” he grunts as he gasps for air. “Would you please stop?” He manages to pluck my fingers loose and gulp a few breaths down, but I prove tenacious and wrap my hands right back where they belong ten times tighter than before. “I would have stopped if you would have stopped!” I thunder. The day had started out so innocently. I dropped Harper off at school then headed to the lake for a quick, yet brisk walk around the groomed trail encompassing it despite the fact it’s the dead of winter. And to think I walked in the damn snow to get a better body to impress this guy? Not that he was the sole reason for my sudden desire to lose a full twenty pounds— my ill-fitting jeans took first place in that department. But Harold is my husband—was my husband up until five hot minutes ago—and aside from the fact my feelings have done an abrupt about-face, I generally liked to look nice for him. Turns out, I decided freezing my lady parts off while waddling around Mulberry Lake wasn’t the way I wanted to get rid of those pesky, yet impossible to lose twenty big ones. It’s early January—a wonderful freaking start to a brand new crappy year, and the snow is piled up in every direction in our dismal corner of Maine. Just because I see a small army of insane people jogging around the lake each day, uphill both ways, in the snow, doesn’t mean I needed to be one of them. But in a way I’m glad I chose to take leave of my good senses and attempt the effort this morning. The more out of character, out of my mind, I behave, it’s sure to reduce the prison time I’ll be given come sentencing day.

“We’ve been married for nineteen years!” I howl. “We have a sixteen-year-old daughter!” I scream. “I eschewed a perfectly good surname and made myself a Boobe for you! And how I hate that you’ve turned me into a boob in so many, many ways.” It’s true. The part about the ridiculous surname I’ve endured because of him for the better part of my life. Billie Boobe has been my formal moniker for almost two decades, and not once has anyone been able to say that last name correctly—or more to the point, with a straight face. According to Harold’s family, their indelicate, yet oddly a source of pride, surname is pronounced Bubay—something that sounds European in nature, ritzy even. But not a soul, no matter how literate, no matter how wrinkled their gray matter, no matter how many degrees they have stacked behind their name, none of the above have ever managed to stick the verbal landing. In fact, people just titter all that much more when I try to correct them. They read it like they see it—Boob.

And once in a while, they’ll even pronounce it the all impressive, “Boobie.” It doesn’t get much better than that. Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse. Believe me, I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for it. But I was young, dumb, and in love with a genuine boob. “I hate you!” I bellow as I give him another good shake and his primal apex rocks back and forth as if Harry had suddenly morphed into a bobblehead doll. “Enough.” He pulls back and catches my hands at the wrist, arresting my ability to properly cut off his oxygen supply and thus smother his minuscule brain cells. Although one could argue his brain hasn’t had a gulp of air in years. And after what I just witnessed, Harold Boobe is brain-dead, indeed.

“I’m sorry, Billie,” he pants as I pluck my hands loose. “You shouldn’t have seen that.” His face is red as a beet and his dirty blond hair is greasy and mussed—mostly because he just rolled out of OUR bed with a woman who was NOT me. “YOU shouldn’t have seen that!” I riot back with a finger pointed within an inch of his face. From my peripheral vision I note the crowd gathered across the street, and it seems to be comprised of the entire who’s who of Mulberry Lake. Not a soul is missing. The entire gossip brigade has turned out in full force. Perfect. Just how I wanted to start my day. A burnt piece of avocado toast, followed by freezing my toes off at the lake, only to round out this craptastic morning by finding my husband in bed with his third cousin.

“How dare you sleep with another woman under our roof, in our bed!” I thunder loud enough to invoke a satisfying gasp from the women in the peanut gallery. “You’re the one that bought me that stupid DNA test!” he thunders right back, and I gag on the river of words begging to stream from me. “You said, ‘Take the test, Harold,’” he mocks me with his tone while his hands flail as if to annunciate my ineptness. “‘We’ll see if you’re a Viking! You never know—you could be British royalty!’” A hard groan comes from me. “Don’t try to point the finger my way. You’re no Viking, Harold. And you’re sure as hell not British royalty. You’re one hundred percent idiot! You’re a Neanderthal with only a half-formed brain! I knew the second that little hussy wanted to meet up with you for coffee, she was up to no good!” I say coffee with air quotes because, honest to God, that seemingly innocent morning beverage actually sent up a red flag for me at the time. “I told you not to go.” It’s true.

A hot blonde, third cousin, who happened to be attending a local university found Harry on her DNA Ancestral Journey app and was, like, totally excited to meet him. I bet she was. Harold isn’t bad looking. He’s a six-foot bear of a man—if that bear were one hundred pounds overweight, balding, and happened to hail from Chernobyl. I’m sure there are a few atrophied muscles under that paunch. His face is meh. The only thing women have seen in him over the years is that whole man-in-power thing. He and his family own Harry’s Hardware, right here in town. His mother and sisters are more or less silent partners in the deal. They went into the venture just a few years before Harold and I met—and I think because of that, I’ve never felt the hardware store was truly mine.

I’m responsible for the accounting, the ordering, and getting verbally backhanded by customers while I try my best to offer up some service with a smile. The rest of his family? They sit back and collect a check at the end of the month. It’s easy to see why I’ve always felt more grunt worker, less owner in this scenario. It’s a wonder I spent four years—okay, five if you want to get technical—at Dexter University to get a degree in communications. I’d like to think my degree has come in handy, but let’s call an educational spade a spade. I could have pocketed my parents’ money and lived a nice life in Hawaii for the aforementioned amount of trouble. Harold blows out an aggressive breath as he does a double take across the street. “Geez. Let’s get inside, Billie. The neighbors are watching.

I’m not dressed, and I’m freezing to death.” I scoff at the thought as I glance down at his pale limbs. He managed to jump into his boxers after I alerted him of my presence by way of screaming my bloody head off. And once I ran out of the room, he followed me right onto the front porch. “It’s not my fault you’re freezing to death,” I hiss. “You might prefer succumbing to the elements compared to what I have planned for you. I’ll give you a hint. There’s a scalpel involved, and you will never have to worry about erectile dysfunction again.” Not that he had to worry about it a few minutes ago, or ever, but the visual was too good to pass up. And according to the snickering I hear, the peanut gallery approves of my depraved methods as well.

He cringes a moment. “Come on, Billie. Enough is enough. We’re adults. Let’s get in the living room.” His teeth chatter as he says it and my chest thumps with a dry laugh. “I don’t think we should go inside,” I snip. “I think we should give the fine people of Mulberry Lake a glimpse of what they came for—the truth.” I turn to the crowd. “Harold has had an affair!” I shout and about three of my elderly neighbors stagger on their feet.

A poodle named Pepper that lives down the street starts in on a barking spree, and by the way she’s baring those fangs, I’m pretty sure she’s taken my side in the situation. Our sleepy cul-de-sac was blanketed in another layer of fresh snow last night. It looked so sweet and idyllic I was stupid enough to tell my poor sweet daughter, Harper, that we lived in a fairy tale as I drove her to school. And now when I pick her up, I’ll have to tell her we were living in her father’s perverted porno after all. I turn back to the boob in question. “I thought you loved me, Harold,” I choke on the words. “I mean, I knew your mother hated me—and a few of your sisters, but I thought you genuinely cared for me.” Okay, so that’s not entirely true. Harold has pretty much been a jerk all along, but I’ve long since chosen to overlook it. Nonetheless, that little proclamation makes him look bad, and I hope it makes him feel bad, too, because from here on out, while I have breath in my lungs, whatever makes Harold feel bad makes me feel really, really good.

“But you know what, Harold? I think your mother hates you, too! Harry Boobe? Really? What kind of a competent mother names her child Harry Boobe?” “It’s Harold.” His voice hikes to match mine. He leans in with a menacing look on his face, the veins in his neck dancing like garden snakes. “Nobody calls me Harry, and you know it.” “Then why on earth did you name your business Harry’s Hardware?” Fran from across the street nods as if I had a point, and I do. “Billie”—Harold grunts as he swings us into the house in one quick move and shuts the door behind us—“you and I both know Harry’s Hardware sounds better than Harold’s Hardware. And why the hell are we talking about that, anyway?” He rakes his fingers through what’s left of his hair, which isn’t much. Think halo and bad comb-over. “There’s something I have to tell you.” “Oh no, you don’t.

” I hold up a finger. “You do not get to leave me. I’m leaving you. There, I said it first. Let the record show, I was not dumped by my dumb jackass of a husband who invited a flighty, vapid airhead into our home to spend the weekend when she has a perfectly good university in the next town over where I’m sure the entire football team would have offered her a bed. In fact, I’m sure they already have. Don’t tell me she fooled you with that hair twirling routine. I was there the day you gave her a tour of the hardware store and her eyes were spinning like a couple of slot machines. She sees you as nothing more than a potential sugar daddy. The first of many, I suspect.

You’re nothing but a trophy wife internship for her.” “Did you say daddy?” The blonde bimbo herself comes down the stairs with bare legs and bare arms as she cinches the sash on my pink silk robe. I suck in a sharp breath at the abomination. My goodness, she didn’t even have the decency to get dressed and jump out of the window—I don’t care if it is a two-story fall. Either that was going to break her neck or I was. And it looks as if it’s up to me to do the dirty work. “I can’t believe you told her.” Charlene Plowmen bats her fake furry lashes our way. Her petite frame, her obnoxious level of dewy youth, that model perfect face, and big blue eyes have already danced on my very last nerve. I’m thinking a double homicide is a nice way to round out the day.

If I’m headed to prison, I may as well go big. “He didn’t have to tell me. I saw it all with my own two eyes!” I growl her way, but the baby fawn continues to trek her way across my living room right into the hands of the beast I’m about to morph into. A killer beast hungry to rip apart her flesh. “Harry”—she gives him a playful swat to the arm and giggles—“I thought we were going to wait to tell Harper first?” She blinks my way. “No offense, Billie, but we didn’t know how you’d take it.” She grimaces. “Harry says you can be a little unstable.” I slice a glance that promises a painful death his way. “Go on,” I tell her and Harold lets out a sickly moan as if he didn’t like what was about to come next.

But after witnessing what I did, I have a feeling a confession to a much longer perverted dalliance is about to take place. It was a little over two months ago that Harold’s DNA results came back. I had bought the test kit for his birthday back in October. By the time he spit into the tube and received his results, it was November. By Thanksgiving, Charlene here, ditzy third cousin extraordinaire, had firmly wormed her way into our lives. She’s a sophomore at Dexter University over in Winchester County and was happy to find out she had family in this part of Maine. Her own clueless clan hails from Florida. She said she hates the weather here and apparently was looking for someone to bring the heat. Come to find out, my moron of a husband was happy to comply. There will be heat, all right—when I roast him on a spit and take him for all he’s worth.

Charlene thrusts her left hand my way and I spot my old engagement ring quivering like a hostage on her svelte finger. My jaw roots to the floor. “What in the fresh hell?” I take a daring step forward, and Harold is quick to form a barrier between the ditz and me by way of his furry arm. “That’s my ring!” I bellow. “Now, just a second, Billie,” he says in that tone he’s invoked for years as a means to reprimand me. “It’s not like you ever wore it again after we were married, and technically, it belonged to my grandmother first.” “I’m all about upcycling.” Charlene gives a frantic nod. “It’s, like, really good for the environment. Anyway, he proposed last night, and, of course, I said yes.

And now, I guess we have a wedding to plan.” “Last night?” My voice hikes to unsafe levels again as I look to the dingbat proudly wearing my ring, my robe, and let’s face it, most likely my husband’s bodily fluids. “But I made you beef stroganoff from scratch. Harold and I watched that silly rom-com with you until midnight!” She rolls her eyes. “And believe me, we never thought you’d go to bed. But once you left, Harry didn’t waste any time. He dropped to one knee and I said yes.” She waves me off. “And don’t think we didn’t appreciate the stroganoff. It was so totally romantic what with the candles on the table and everything.

” She presses a hand to her chest as if reliving the romance, and I’m suddenly moved to strangle everyone in the room including myself. “I guess we’ll tell Harper the news once she gets home from school. No need in keeping it a secret. Especially since she’s about to be a big sister.” “A big what?” My voice echoes around the room like a hurricane about to blow the roof off. “That’s right.” Charlene wraps her arms around Harold’s naked flesh. “We weren’t even trying! Can you believe it? I guess I must be super fertile.” Super fertile. I shoot Harold a look.

It took us three years to have Harper and not a single baby soul followed suit. I was at war with my ovaries, my uterus, doing everything humanly possible to give Harper a sibling, and here Charlene jumps into bed with my husband and makes it a reality. How dare she. How dare he. How I hate these two idiots in front of me right now. And to think they’ve had the nerve to procreate. “You need to go,” I grit the words from my teeth. “Both of you. You’re not safe here. The Grim Reaper is peering through the window, and he’s about to do what he does best —slaughter on sight.

” “Oh my God!” Charlene wails as she does a little tap dance. “Is there a killer on the loose?” “There’s a killer on the loose, all right.” I bite the air between us. “And that killer is me! Now put your own damn clothes on and get the hell out of my house!” She zips up the stairs before I can rip my robe right off her body. I would have done it, too, but I’m not in the mood for her thin, perky body to mock me. “And you”—I dig my finger into this virtual stranger’s greasy chest—“you have five minutes to collect all of your worldly belongings. I’m having the locks changed in an hour. And then I’m spending the rest of the afternoon retaining a top-notch divorce attorney. I’m putting the house up for sale and taking half of that stupid hardware store—because it’s mine.” “You can’t take the store.

That belongs to my family.” The veins in his neck jump once again as if he means it. “I was your family, you moron! There’s not a judge in the land who won’t agree with me on that one.” His eyes bug out, and I can see the financial fear taking over. “That’s right, Harold,” I seethe. “Be afraid. Because I’m about to make your life a living hell. You’ll regret the day you ever laid eyes on that hussy, and I’ll make sure you’ll regret the day you laid eyes on me, too. And don’t think for a minute I’m not trading your ridiculous last name for my old one.” I spot Charlene poking her head our way from the landing and sniff.

“And if you were wise, you’d keep your last name, too!” I howl at her. “Although Plowmen isn’t all that much of an improvement. Actually, it’s kind of prophetic when you think about it. But the two of you don’t think, do you? Now go on, get!” I stomp my foot in Harold’s direction and Charlene scuttles off once again, but my obnoxious idiot of a soon-to-be ex doesn’t budge an inch. “You won’t have enough money to buy another place,” he says. “We’re not selling the house. You and Harper will continue to live here.” “After you’ve defiled it? There isn’t enough holy water or sage to cleanse this house of the sins you’ve committed. A fire couldn’t cure the diseases you’ve bestowed upon it!” “You’ll be homeless if you leave,” he barks back. “You’re going to work at the hardware store and keep the house.

I’ve already thought this through.” “Oh?” I balk. “I’ll sleep in the bed you shared with Little Miss Slut, and I’ll work at the hardware store while she walks around like she owns the place—while her belly grows as big as yours? No thank you!” “You’re forty-five, Billie. You’ve never held down a real job, and have no skills to offer the world. You can keep your position at the hardware store. You’re going to need it. You’ll thank me for it later.”

.

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