Husband No. 3.5, a Typographical Terror

I wasn’t big on the institution of marriage, especially since I had just been released from some crackpot’s idea of an asylum. I wasn’t ready for the holy state of acrimony, but he was sick of being my insignificant other. He really wanted to integrate—on my nerves. He talked me into it when he installed a built-in closet with me in it. When he finally let me off the hook, we sealed it with a hiss and became officially engaged—in a brawl. He had a nice smile though and I was quite enameled with him, and a cute pencil mustache which I would sharpen every night.

His name was Bob Kaic and he was an old-fashioned guy. His email address was rkaic@ At my wedding I wore a queasy-colored dress infestooned with carbuncles and everybody got nauseous. It was a blustery day and it was hard for guests to hold down their food so I was glad we had opted for the bag lunch. For our honeymoon we went paraphrasing at Lacuna Beach, where he told me to jettison any big ideas I had. We tried swimming but I was so polluted I dissolved into brackish tears. Then we hiked through a petrified forest but I was more scared than the wood. I forgot to pack my camera and he sniped at me for being unfocused. Afterward we threw pennies in the soda fountain and watched them corrode, then ambled down the boardwalk but found it tedious. The hotel offered us the bridal suite but I bucked at that, just because I have saddle bags and was wearing a halter top is no reason to be mean. I should have paid more attention to my reservations, but it was spur of the moment.

Bob wouldn’t shut up though and gave me a communicative disease. His philosophy of life confused me, not surprising since he was born in Farrago, North Dakota. He lived up near the Indians in Mishmash for a while, then traveled overseas to Gallimaufry and Pastiche. His family came from all walks of life—his father limped, his mother waddled, and his brother had two left feet. His dad was a Doctor of Scatology down at the free clinic, where he was head of Janitorial Services. Bob had an Italian uncle who would never let him do anything—his name was Veto. He once smacked poor Bob with a waffle iron, it left quite an impression—he had hot cross buns for a month. His sister, Compass Rose, was a Girl Scout leader, and his grandfather, Mort, sat in front of the TV impersonating the living. Not his fault though, he had brain surgery by a doctor who was operating under the influence and accidentally installed a dinner plate in his head.

Bob claimed he was an upstanding guy but I usually saw him horizontal. He was a musician, he liked to play the strumpet and was a patron of the tarts. He was short and fat so I called him a jumbo shrimp and he yelled “don’t call me that you oxymoron!” I said come on, we’re all adulterous here. Sometimes I would get engrossed just looking at him.

When we were packing to move into a bigger apartment it turned into a boxing match. One night he came after me with an axiom but it was so illogical I laughed. He chased me outside in the rain where I lost a shoe in the mud. I was hopping mad. When I tried to get back inside he pierced me with his eyes but it was just an entry wound. Once we argued over who ate the last apple—but the core of the problem went deeper, I was a fruit loop. We had no money and lived on Ramen noodle soup, a low-viscosity solution. I told him I couldn’t live in a vacuum but when he showed me how roomy it was inside I said I’d try to pick up the pieces.

But he turned into a bitter man and the smell of vinegar was overpowering. We finally came to a fork in the road but realized we needed it for our potato salad. We labored under the delusion that things would improve, but it was a thankless job with no benefits. The union finally got busted and I’m back to being self-deployed. That seven-month itch really burns.

31 responses to “Husband No. 3.5, a Typographical Terror

  1. How do you do this?! I laughed out loud at “Then we hiked through a petrified forest but I was more scared than the wood.”

    I’ve heard a rule for fiction: tension on every page. You’ve invented a new rule. Wit in every sentence.

  2. Thanks Kay. You know how it is when you get on a roll! As long as it’s not an onion roll.

  3. I love it when you do this ‘shtufffs’. It captures my imagination. True artistry. It has a life of its own. It reminds me of my old sculpture making days -construct, deconstruct and reconstruct into something new. Passersby would comment on liking something. Come back the next and burst into tears and disbelief as the forementioned work laid in pieces on the floor. Then return the following and view the transformed chaos that arose from the ashes taking on a new life………..good shtufffs, Cowgirl.

  4. Thanks Hudson…I never thought about it that way! Now how about some pictures from your transformed-chaos sculpture days? What materials did you use?

    • Would have to dig deep deep deep for images might be able to find an old catalog from a couple group shows….as for material, -anything I did not not have to pay for and that I could get large amounts to allow for exploration.

  5. I am amazed at your skill in this! I laughed so hard and just when I think “that’s my favorite line” another would pop up. It flows so well and is just so funny! Very impressive, my hats off to you (if I wore one).

  6. Thanks! It’s just so much fun and a relief from the darkness.

  7. Wow. Said it last time, say it again. Wow.
    You are really, really good at writing like this. So many gems. A treasure chest indeed. I am awed.

  8. wow! that’s quite a tour de force, to keep all those punning one liners going over an extended coherent narrative. So many gems: Farrago, North Dakota is one of my favourites; How long did you take composing this?

  9. Would you believe it was Fargo/Farrago that started this? Then I just start thinking about words with double meanings and jotting them down, then it just spills out, then I organize them into a sort of story. It’s an exercise that gives me relief from bad news and dark stories, which is usually what I think about, so it’s good for me, and if it gives people a few laughs, all the better! So most of the work is in the thinking rather than the writing. I even think of them when I’m trying to get to sleep…which is a whole lot better than thinking about the demons of the world. Thanks for commenting, J Leo!

  10. I love this!! Other than that, I’m speechless…guess I laughed so hard I lost my mind.

  11. Thank you Patti…I may have to work your comment into one of these stories!

  12. This is so good!

  13. Could not stop laughing. One punch line after the other. You are a natural comic and really can write some funny lines. The way you string it together, the stream of consciousness with the “whoops, there goes a word again” is absolutely unbelievable. Thanks Debra, this really, really brightened my day!

  14. Thanks Bill! I think sometimes I border on corniness, but I giggle about corny stuff all the time so why not. I’m glad it made you laugh. Hope you had fun in RI. That used to be a top playground for me as a teenager, Misquamicut, Charlestown, Watch Hill. Went to Newport once and hated it! You may as well stand there with your wallet open and let them take your money.

  15. Ha! I hate Newport too! We were in Narragansett. No stripers yet but we had a great time despite torrential rain.

    I spent a lot of my summers in Charlestown near East Beach. My Dad had an old lobster boat that I often stayed on for weeks on end in the warmer months. He moored if first in Ninigret Pond, and later in Salt Pond in Wakefield, downstream of the Galilee breachway.

    I was mostly there in the 1960’s swinging back and forth on the end of a mooring to a boat that reminded me of Farley Mowat’s book “TheBoat That Wouldn’t Float” one of all time favorite reads. Anyways it is where I learned to love the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually I had to make a choice woods or ocean, I gravitated towards the resource with fewer people.

  16. Those place-names bring back memories. I never got as attached to the ocean as I would have liked, because in CT most of the beaches are private. You can’t even sneak in because there’s nowhere to park. It was one of the things I hated about CT, though I guess with all the trash people leave behind it probably keeps them cleaner.

    I lost my two front teeth in Charlestown when I was 20. A fisherman in front of me was towing a car with a 30-foot tow rope, which I did not see. When he went to turn, I crashed into the car he was towing, my face hitting the steering wheel. The local courthouse at the time was ridiculous, all in favor of the fisherman. But they did pay for two painful root canals and crowns, which I still have!

    I would have gravitated to the woods too, and still would. Or the desert.

    Did you catch lobster, or just use it for general fishing? What a fun childhood.

    • Dad was unemployed for about 8 years as the result of a strike. One of the things he tried was the lobstering/fishing thing. He eventually lost the boat because he couldn’t pay the boatyard the money he owed them.

      I think he must have bought the boat just before the strike. If he was smart he would have sold it but could not seem to let it go. Basically my mother supported the family for almost a decade working factory work and waitressing. We had no money, and I mean no money. Couldn’t even afford fuel oil in the winter so we chopped wood and tried to heat the house with the fireplace. Character building years. They never recovered financially. Fortunately I grew up and got the hell out.

  17. hahaha You’re WONDERFUL!!!!! I laughed so hard at this … Aren’t words just a BLAST??? lol

  18. I love ’em, just love ’em. Endless possibilities. I can’t stand not knowing the etymology of a new word, once you know that, you’ll never forget it. If I hear a word I don’t know, I have to write it down or look it up immediately.

    It’s impossible to get an accurate count of English words because of the many derivatives, inflections, etc. But most people use a small percentage of the total. That’s why I love writing, in speech I often draw a blank because of nervousness. So, write on! Thanks for comments and compliments Barb, yukking it up sure beats CNN.

  19. Fabulous. My mind has been somersaulted.

  20. Well don’t hurt yourself. Thanks Carl!

  21. I am amazed at anyone being able to do this. It made me laugh all the way through. I had to reread it because the lines were so good.
    …”Bob wouldn’t shut up though and gave me a communicative disease…”
    Please never shut up and keep those communicative diseases coming!!
    Love it!

  22. Thank you so much Char. I’ve had a horrible, depressing week full of vile people, overwhelming debt, and hatred of our government. I need to step away from the darkness until I recover. These crying jags have got to stop, my face is a bloody mess. I’m a fearphobic antisocial butterfly trapped in a bad song. So don’t worry, the fundementia will continue until I can figure out how to write a happy ending. Thanks for encouragement, and to all who comment, it means the world to me and saves my sorry ass from a life sentence of distressing subjects and predicates.

    • Debra – I left you a reply message on my story blog but want you to know I am glad you are going to continue your writing even if it is to ‘step away from the darkness.’ And the fact you can write while you are dealing with so much says much about who you are. You are a survivor, a survivor who cares, a survivor who hasn’t given up. And there will be a happy ending you will write one day…it might be a different happy ending from the one you would write today but a happy ending, nonetheless.
      I hope next week will give you some breathing space and a a bit of peace, too. Thinking of you…… Char

  23. “He was a musician, he liked to play the strumpet and was a patron of the tarts.” I just know I”m gonna use that one on somebody one day! Hang in there, Deb!

  24. Thanks Harry, and feel free to use anything that will possibly make someone laugh (or at least roll their eyes or cause a facepalm). I checked the planet’s giggle graph, and it’s in an appalling recession.

  25. I’ve been away travelling and am just catching up–this is great! Very creative, clever and intelligently done.

  26. Thank you Thomas! Hope your travels took you someplace safe, fun, and educational.

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