Flash Fiction by Susan Tepper


 

Two Tall White Guys

It started a few years ago when I sent him out to replace the old side-by-side fridge that came with the house. The freezer side was so narrow I had to put a Carvel ice cream cake in sideways. Maybe that was the point of the side-by-side, but any other normal cake would have gotten squished. Carvel kept their cakes at Arctic level temps.

So…anyways…he came back without purchasing a new fridge. Claimed the old guy who owned the little appliance store on the highway gave him a hard time. I’ve been in there—that guy can be a bit of a curmudgeon, but I always managed to squeeze a smile from old lemon face.

Apparently the rift between them was over width.

I heard that and flew into a rage. It was summer and the a/c wasn’t up to snuff, and the fridge was sideways, and, well, I blew. Jumping into the car and slamming down the highway to the appliance store. In under ten minutes the deal was done. I’d bought a nice white fridge with a kind of pebbly exterior. Standard and classic.

When my sister came over later in the week, she mocked the new fridge saying I should have shelled out for a Sub-Zero, and that mine looked cheesy.

I thought it looked rather handsome against the painted white (fake) paneled walls. It blended in nicely with my white dishwasher and white stove. I told my sister she was a snob, but she didn’t seem to mind.

So, anyway. The fridge was here to stay.

Mostly it was just me and the fridge. We breakfasted together while he grabbed a bagel and coffee at the café. We lunched together, me and the fridge, while he was at work. Most nights we ate dinner out.

So, essentially, it was me and the fridge.

Until he got sick and had to stay home. Which meant I had to cook. And also meant there were three of us in the kitchen now.

The fridge began acting up. First it made long groaning noises which only began when he took his chair at the table. I tried opening and closing the freezer door to see if that would dislodge whatever problem was going on. That didn’t work. I turned the ice maker on and off, on and off. No significant change, the fridge continued to groan even louder.

I told him I probably should phone a repair service before the fridge conked out completely. We discussed this option then he left the kitchen.

As he ascended the stairs, I noticed the fridge had quieted down. No groaning or sputtering at all.

Same thing the next night. All was quiet in the kitchen until he took his place at the table. He noticed the noise and called it that damned refrigerator saying he never wanted it in the first place, that it didn’t fit the space properly. The fridge continued to moan and groan until he left the kitchen.

This went on a few more nights.

On the fourth night I told him: I think the fridge has a boner for me.

He looked at me like I’m insane. Then he said What are you talking about?

Well…it’s not used to you. It kind of bonded with me over time. We spend a lot of time together in the kitchen. I do my bills at the table. You know I think it’s a male fridge.

You are crazy he said.

He stood up walking toward the fridge. They were roughly the same in height.

Two tall white guys fighting over me.

Funny, he said. Until it wasn’t.

 

Susan Tepper has been published in Oddball several times and found the experience exhilarating. She’s the author of seven published books of fiction and poetry, her latest linked collection Monte Carlo Days & Nights was released by Rain Mountain Press, NYC in November of 2017.

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma. He has a wife Karen, and daughter.

 

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