Hump The Stump by Steve Allan
I wasn’t always a stump. People used to say I bit off all my limbs just to get away from my coyote ugly wife. When I sobered up after the accident that might have been true, but the surgeons had already taken my arms and legs. We met when I was a drunk, which explains a lot. It was a friend’s wedding. She actually left by ambulance after mistakenly eating some seafood. Allergies. I’ve been a fan of shrimp cocktail ever since.
The stump thing sucks, but you get used to it. I lay in bed and watch TV most of the day. Insurance even paid for a robotic arm that I can control with my tongue. Neat little device. I have a mini-fridge stocked with juice and snacks, and use my mechanical arm to feed myself. It isn’t too bad, at least not until she comes home.
I guess you might ask how a man with no arms and no legs can kill his wife. It’s possible. You have to know her, what she’ll do and then anticipate it. And when my wife said she was writing another goddamn poem, I knew I had to do it.
She had published one poem, and I hated it. The poem was about me. Actually, it was about my sperm. At open mic nights, she’d wait until the end before shocking the audience with it. And after she finished reading, there’d be hesitant applause followed by uncomfortable looks. My wife thought it great. It wasn’t. I can’t stand her writing, especially that goddamn poem.
After the big markets rejected the sperm poem, some obscure poetry journal accepted it for a contributor’s copy.
“I’m gonna write another one,” she said when sperm poem issue came in the mail. “A sequel. And I’m gonna need your help. Tomorrow night.” Then she made a sucking noise.
Oh my fucking god, I thought. But, I quickly realized my opportunity to get rid of her.
My nurse Freddie came this morning. I asked for a shrimp cocktail for lunch. Freddie fixed it for me and placed it in my mini-fridge. I thanked him when he left. As soon as he was gone I took a shrimp out and rubbed it on my cock.
I’ve been doing that all day and only stopped when she came home from open mic night at the bookstore. She walks into the bedroom with nothing on, but she’s carrying a pen and notepad. And now the hard part, literally: I have to get it up.
She scribbles a few notes as she exercises her jaw.
“Ready, baby?” she says and doesn’t wait for a reply. She begins and I think of the latest Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
She stops and coughs. She writes a couple of lines and then brings up some phlegm before starting again.
Jesus, I hope she doesn’t bite it off.
I feel the inevitable coming when she suddenly stands and grabs at her throat. No air is going in or out and she’s turning purple. She rushes to the phone and pounds on the numbers, but I had Freddie disconnect it earlier. She drops the cordless and goes to her knees. She looks up, but her eyes are going into the back of her head. She collapses and then jerks for a while before she is still. The pen finally falls out of her hand and rolls along the hardwood floor until it stops by the television stand.
Once I know the world is safe from any more bad poetry, I use the robotic arm to open the mini-fridge and finish the rest of the shrimp.