Scary bach­e­lor meat party

GA Voice - - Theater -

My hus­band Preppy was sick all last week. Our sched­ules do not al­low for ill­ness, so at the first sign of a snif­fle the of­fend­ing party is re­quired to quar­an­tine in the guest room un­til the threat of con­ta­gion has passed.

This is really hard on the dog. She’ll spend the en­tire night trot­ting back and forth be­tween his bed and mine, a bone hang­ing out of her mouth like a ci­gar, whin­ing in con­fu­sion re­gard­ing where her loy­al­ties should lie. The sick per­son ob­vi­ously needs her more. The well per­son won’t wake her up with the cough­ing and the sneez­ing, which is im­por­tant con­sid­er­ing her agenda re­quires her to sleep for 16 hours daily.

Main­tain­ing sep­a­rate bed­rooms really throws our com­pet­ing sched­ules into sharp re­lief. We can go four or five days at a time with­out see­ing each other awake. If we’re on op­po­site sides of the house, I lose the com­fort of at least see­ing him sleep­ing. But one does what one can with what one has, and I know he’s close by, which is some­thing.

This week, Preppy’s in Washington, D.C., for a lit­tle work/play combo that will in­clude “see­ing Obama’s house, Lin­coln, and the pointy thing.” It’s his first trip to our na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

I’m there next month. He’s off to New York af­ter that, where I was in early Fe­bru­ary. It’s as though we booked fun things to do to­gether, but ne­glected to con­firm any of the dates.

Each time Preppy goes out of town, I quickly amass damn­ing ev­i­dence of the hoarder I would be­come if he went away for­ever. For some rea­son, be­ing mar­ried is the only thing that seems to re­mind me that we own a trash can,.

If he’s gone for three days, I clean up on day three. If he’s gone for 10 days, I clean up on day 10. Funny dis­cov­ery: If I leave an empty cel­ery bag and a de­pleted hum­mus con­tainer on the kitchen counter, they mul­ti­ply in­de­pen­dently of my in­flu­ence.

There’s an ex­pec­ta­tion that, with the hus­band away, one might be tempted to be naughty. And oh boy, I am. I have what I call the Scary Bach­e­lor Meat Party.

Preppy is a veg­e­tar­ian, so when he’s gone, our kitchen turns into a butcher shop. Steak, bags of pep­per­oni, ba­con… once, I sat and picked apart an en­tire Publix ro­tis­serie chicken on the sofa with my bare hands, like a “Walking Dead” zom­bie or Jodie Fos­ter in “Nell.”

So I take my meat, and then I queue up some scary movies. Preppy hates ‘em. So when I’ve got the house to my­self, we’re talk­ing wall-towall scream­ing teenagers be­ing chased by men with chain­saws. I stay up way too late and have a right fine time, eat­ing ba­con and watch­ing peo­ple in peril. That’s how I spent tonight, and then I went to bed.

And then I heard a noise. It was just a lit­tle noise. It could have been the wind, or maybe a mouse. Or a per­son, stand­ing in my kitchen, mov­ing care­fully so that they could sneak up on me and mur­der me be­cause they want my TV or they heard I wrote “An­gry Fags” and they want to hate crime me in my bed, or maybe they ride a bi­cy­cle and they found out I’m friends with Melissa Carter.

“Daisy. Go see what that is! Go!” I whis­pered, ur­gently, to the dog at the foot of my bed. She raised her head slightly, then let out a dis­ap­prov­ing grunt and went back to sleep. I hated her so hard in that moment.

I laid there, for ei­ther two min­utes or six hours, un­mov­ing, wait­ing for the sound again. Noth­ing. Then I leapt out of bed, locked the bed­room door, grabbed my phone, and put on un­der­pants and a t-shirt in case there were news cam­eras or po­lice of­fi­cers in my fu­ture. Still, no sound other than the snor­ing dog.

It’s easy to take mo­ments for granted, like the com­fort of an­other hu­man next to you. Some­one who can re­as­sure you it was just the wind. And that maybe you shouldn’t stay up ‘til three in the morn­ing eat­ing a side of beef while watch­ing hor­ror movies.

To­pher Payne is an At­lanta-based play­wright, and the au­thor of the book “Nec­es­sary Lux­u­ries: Notes on a Semi-Fab­u­lous Life.” Find out more at to­pher­payne.com

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