Mabel leaned on the hood of the old truck and watched Harold struggle with the stubborn rear wheel. He was up to his armpits in mud, and somehow that was her fault, too. She was vaguely aware of the monologue of cuss words streaming from under the truck. She cursed herself for suggesting this afternoon ride through the country; the picnic had been ruined when the downpour began. She had just enough time to gather the sandwiches at the first crack of thunder, and Harold had just enough time to grab her by the hair when she wasn't climbing into the truck fast enough.
Mabel stared at the ground as the spring rain fell on her face and thought about her life. Her sisters had all seemed to find good men. Charlie was not the most handsome fellow but had a steady job as barber, for instance. He made minimum wage but never left welts. Then there was Simon. He was a farmer who worked from sun up to sun down. Mabel only wished Harold was gone for that long every day! Where had she gone wrong?
The clattering under the truck was getting louder, and Mabel stood and tore apart the petals from a nearby wildflower. She was sick of icing body parts and waiting for bruises to heal. And the fact that Harold was getting quiet was not a good sign. If he had to walk back to town to get help for this wheel...she might as well start digging her grave now.
Part of the problem is that he had them all convinced. Her mother, her father, even her sisters. Harold was the cat's meow and there was nothing else anyone could say about it. He had come traipsing into town one day with his pocket full of New York money and Mabel had foolishly thought it was the beginning of a fairy tale. Three weeks into their marriage, she had smelled the perfume on his collar and suffered a busted lip when she asked him about it. How was she going to endure a lifetime of this?
Mabel watched the reflection of the birds in a nearby puddle with envy. All at once she had a flash of kicking the jack out from under the car and squishing him like a fat beetle. It would be seen as an accident. Just like all of the accidents she had suffered for years. Except there would be no icing this one.
"Come here, you stupid bitch!" she heard him scream from deep under the metallic mousetrap. For the first time in a long while, Mabel smiled. She knew what she had to do. And a little mud never hurt anyone...
I hope you enjoyed this Magpie Tale!