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Caveat Venditor: Seller Beware

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Jack raced through the house swinging his axe at Alan Henson. His eyes glared like a panther hunting his prey. His granite face glimmered in a sheen of sweat.

“Stop you lying bastard.  So I can teach you a few things about respect,” echoed Jack’s baritone voice throughout the two-story colonial. He raced downstairs waving his axe in close pursuit of his well dressed prey.

From the top of the stairs, Becky illuminated by the morning sun as it lit her mascara streaked red eyes.  “Honey. Please don’t. It was my fault. I should know better. I promise I will never do it again. I know I have promised to behave before, but I really mean it this time.”  She cried out to Jack.

Jack stopped mid way down the stairs, turned to his pleading wife and clearly yelled every word, “Honey.  I’ll only say this once.  Go back into the bedroom.  Shut the door.  I’ll take care of the problem.”

“I know have a problem and I‘m willing to get help. This type of man won’t trick me again.  It’s entirely my fault.  So don’t hurt Alan.  Just let him walk out of the house and forget him.  I would’ve told you about this, eventually.” Becky whined, but the emotional pleadings to her husband fell upon deaf ears as Jack continued to pursue the desperate fellow.

Jack chased Alan in to the dining room. Only the six-foot slab of the mahogany dining table protected the fellow from a certain beheading. They stopped to size each other up. Jack is panting, but still is able to tighten his grip on the axe. Clad in a plaid shirt, blue jeans, work boots, and the axe, he looks more fitting for the forest instead of a suburban home.

“You should listen to your wife. It’s entirely her fault,” said the frightened man, his black silk shirt and hounds tooth pants dark with sweat stains.

“Alan, just leave,” Becky yelled. “Don’t argue with Jack. I should’ve warned you, he’s got a terrible temper.”

“Oh really, I couldn’t tell,” Alan said sarcastically.

“Becky, this will be the last time I say this. Go back in the bedroom, and lock the door. This won’t take long.”  Jack yelled to his wife.

Alan knew he couldn’t handle Jack physically; Jack had eighty pounds over him. So he tried to use his God-giving talent. Maybe he can smooth talk his way out of this. 

“Look buddy. I know you’re upset. You have every right to be. I meant no harm. And besides it’s not like I’m the first one Becky has seen.” Alan grimaced, as he realized that he could have phrased that differently.  Alan thought mental note to self:  sign up for a refresher course, Dale Carnegie’s - How To Win Friends and Influence People.

Jack was furious with anger as he swung the axe across the table. It was an awkward movement that gave Alan time to dodge. Missing his prey, Jack scrambled around the table and chased him to the foyer. 

Alan was backed up against the shelves with few options.  Jack raced towards him with axe in the air and a snarl on his lips, looking like Cujo in plaid.  Alan ducked to his left, his head barely missing the axe.  He felt the shards of plaster, glass and wood as it rained down.  He scrambled away seeking whatever refuge he could find.  

This barbaric dance of destruction continued throughout the first floor. Whenever Jack swung the axe, the fast talker ducked, bobbed, and weaved. Along the way they punched holes in the walls, and shattered Becky’s collection of porcelain figurines she collected throughout their twenty-two year marriage.  Overwhelmed from exhaustion and spent anger the two adversaries find themselves hunkered around the butcher-block island in the gourmet kitchen custom built for Becky.

Alan summoned the last strands of his talents and in his most disarming way said, “Just calm down. I can see that me being here has upset you. I think we - you, Becky, and I, can discuss this like rational adults.”

At the mere mention of his wife’s name, Jack’s anger exploded again. He lunged at Alan.  Alan jumped to the right, grabbed the meat cleaver and ran to the rear of the kitchen.

Jack whirled around on the ball of one foot, “You think your tough now you’ve got a cleaver. But remember buddy size is everything. And darn it, my axe is a helluva lot bigger.”

Alan considered this, and realized it’s not worth the risk. He dropped the cleaver and ran out the back door.

Jack dropped the axe on the kitchen floor and bounded upstairs to Becky.

“I‘m very sorry. It was a moment of weakness.” Becky said through tearful eyes.

Jack pulled her tight to his chest to quiet her sobbing.

“I will go back to seeing my therapist regularly and attend the support group. But it’s so hard.  These men promise me everything under the sun. They just know how to say all the right things.”  Her body shuddered as the last of the sobs broke through the dam of guilt.

Jack looked at his wife tenderly and held her face in his calloused hands, “Honey, I love you and I will always love you. But you have to stop letting these Amway salespeople into our house. You know how persistent they are.”

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Ha! Funny ending!

Joshua Hennen
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree, this story has a genuinely funny ending. Plus, you know how to get the reader interested in the first sentence. "Jack raced through the house swinging his axe at Alan Henson," no one can read that without reading more.

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