by Marie Anderson                    

From the squeaky rocker facing the spankin’ new Queen-sized mattress which they’d shared for only 16 days—now stripped bare—Carmie rocked and watched her lover-no-more pack his humongous suitcase.

He threw things in willy-nilly, not bothering to fold or separate dirties from laundered.

Lordy, Carmie thought, you could fit a body in that suitcase. She smiled. “I remember, Larry.” She waited for him to respond. No one could not respond to an “I remember.”

He didn’t look at her. He didn’t stop packing. But he did mutter, “Remember what?”

“I remember first spotting you across a crowded room, just like in a Hallmark movie. Your charms crushed my heart. Those eyes, so green! Those lips, so silky! Those muscles, so . . . faint!” She laughed.

Now he did look up, blinked his big green marbles at her. “My mattress store  was hardly crowded,” he said. “Three couples shopping for mattresses. And when I first spotted you, the only solo, it felt more like a horror movie than a Hallmark. Those eyes, so crossed. Those lips, so cracked. Those muscles, so . . . bulging. Those—”

“My money,” she interrupted. “So spendable.”

He grunted. “My mistake, so deadly, letting you wave your cash and line jump over my other customers.”

She laughed. “No one’s deadly. Not yet anyway.” From the silver coils of hair piled high atop her head, she removed her trusty long-bladed scissors. Over the years, they’d served her well in her job as children’s librarian. Now she began to clip her fingernails, today polished purple.

Larry shuddered and resumed cramming his stuff into the suitcase. Her nails grew so fast! So sharp! He had the scratches on his back and bum to prove it.

“I’ll say this for ya, Lar. You know how to sell beds. You had me with that sexy talk about the cupped coils in your top-of-the-line mattress. Satisfaction guaranteed! For days after, all I could think of was cupping your coils and getting my satisfaction guaranteed.”

Larry zipped up the suitcase, hefted it off the bed, and moaned when it landed on his feet. “Well, Carmella, it’s been horrible knowing you and let’s never keep in touch.”

“Only one way to guarantee that, Lar.” She sprang from her chair and charged, her scissors pointed straight at his heart.

He dodged. The scissors plunged into the mattress. Carmie struggled to free them. “What the!” she shrieked.

“Must be stuck in those cupped coils!” he shouted as he hobbled out the room.

While she struggled to free her scissors, she heard his suitcase thump down her stairs. By the time she’d extracted the scissors, his car was crunching down her gravel driveway and squealing away.

She shook her head at the deep gash in her mattress. Fortunately, the city boasted many mattress stores. She’d visit the next one on her list and plan better, try to guarantee that her next purchase would last longer than this one.

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