The Great Walloping Sneeze

I sit on the couch watching trailers on IMDB. Maggie is lying in bed holding her stomach. She has P.M.D.D. which means that once a month she grows fangs and sucks the blood from our cat, Frank (which is fine since Frank could stand to lose some weight).

She looks up and says, “It feels like my vagina has to sneeze—like, a great big blood sneeze.”

“We’ve become too close,” I say.

But she isn’t listening; she is watching Frank who is unwisely circling her feet, trying to sneak his way up the bed to where Maggie has left a pile of orange peels.

*

I remember my first girlfriend. It was over a decade ago. It was raining and we pulled off onto a side road because I had to pee. I got out, not closing the door, and while I peed, I accidentally farted. My girlfriend leaned her head out of the door and cried, “YOU FARTED.”

And I said, “No.”

“Yes, you did.”

“No, it was the rain.”

She frowned at me and then watched me finish peeing before saying, “We’ve been together for six months and only now you fart? You must not love me.” She howled and kicked open the door before dropping to all fours and running off into the dark and the rain and the cold night.

It’s not that my father ever told me not to fart in front of women; it is just that he never did and so I learned it through osmosis.

*

Frank has made it halfway up the bed before flopping over, tempting fate. He’d make a poor hunter.

“Have you sneezed yet?” I ask.

“Nuh-uh!” Maggie moans.

“I’ll make you some tea,” I tell her.

I get up and head for the kitchen.

“You’re not that old!”

“What?”

Maggie eyes Frank, curled up like a little beetle just outside her reach. 

“The grunting.”

“What grunting?”

“You grunted when you stood.”

“I didn’t.”

“You did, like an old man. You grunted and farted.”

“I did not.”

When I get back to the room, I see Frank, looking forlorn and wet with blood, hanging from Maggie’s jaws. There is a flake of orange peel dangling from one whisker.

She spits him out. He fumbles onto the couch then settles into a fat furry ball, panting.

“I sneezed!” Maggie cries.

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