Damian Dressick

Cleaning House

Kristin vac­u­ums our apart­ment for the sixth time today. She takes her sweet time inscrib­ing elab­o­rate hiero­glyph­ics in the wheat-col­ored wall to wall. A word here, a phrase there. She is writ­ing, she tells me curt­ly, the sto­ry of our marriage.

This is the year after our hon­ey­moon in Belize, she intones, mak­ing a series of quick swipes in front of the microfiber sec­tion­al. Moving toward the pic­ture win­dow, she lan­guid­ly push­es her arm out and pulls it back in. We are now slow danc­ing, she says, to the Isley Brothers under the Saranac full moon the fall you got pro­mot­ed. Minutes pass and she heads for the break­front, her lines less con­trolled, thrusts tak­ing on a grind­ing qual­i­ty. You’re spend­ing a lot of time over in that cor­ner, I say. Are you writ­ing the win­ter in Little Rock while you fin­ished your secu­ri­ties license or those months swel­ter­ing in Boston dur­ing your Charles Schwab intern­ship? Long past both, she laughs. This is the affair you had with that fat slut Babs Hamilton last Christmas when I was vis­it­ing my broth­er in Omaha. She repeat­ed­ly slaps the Hoover’s car­pet attach­ment into the base­board. This is me, she says, dis­cov­er­ing Babs Hamilton’s bra right here behind the fichus. This, she says drag­ging the can­is­ter toward me, is the after­noon at Sushi Café when I asked you if you’d stooped to screw­ing our friends’ wives.

I do noth­ing when Kristin snatch­es the tenth anniver­sary TAG Heuer from my wrist, grinds it beneath her heel and vac­u­ums it up off the tile floor of the kitchen. After she vac­u­ums up my car keys, the remains of sev­er­al cred­it cards and most of a neck­tie, I take a sip of cof­fee, assume we’ll talk this out. But she sucks up my flash dri­ve, a knit hat, my brief­case. I fol­low her through the apart­ment as the WindTunnel Anniversary Ultra™ with HEPA fil­ter inhales a shelf of books, camp­ing gear, fly rods, slalom skis and my vin­tage record col­lec­tion. When Kristin has picked my clos­et clean, she tells me she is head­ing for the garage. I remind her I still have numer­ous pay­ments to make on the Volvo. Shrugging, she changes the bag, cuts me a look. The Volvo, she says, is just the begin­ning of her find­ing Babs Hamilton’s step-daughter’s num­ber on my phone last weekend.


Author of the forth­com­ing sto­ry col­lec­tion Fables of the DeconstructionDamian Dressick’s sto­ries have appeared in near­ly fifty lit­er­ary jour­nals, includ­ing failbetter.com, Barcelona Review, Caketrain, Vestal Review, Smokelong Quarterly and Alimentum. He can be found online at www.damiandressick.com.