I Married a Monster
by Rachel Parsons
part 1 of 2
It was only after six months of marital bliss that George realized his wife was a monster. Had he been paying attention, he would have known all along, but he hadn’t. It was only when he first came home late and drunk that she revealed her true nature.
It was almost midnight on a Tuesday (or Wednesday, depending on your point of view) when he staggered out of his friend Roger’s Mercedes, waved as Roger wished him “Good Luck, old man,” and made a meandering sketch of the Mississippi toward his town house in the gated community on the hill overlooking the still-flooded sites of the food riots.
He even went so far as to take his keys out of his pocket before he realized, oh, that’s right, the little woman would be home. He grinned; then frowned. He remembered how disappointed his mother had been the time when he was but five years old, and he had climbed up the counter and grabbed the cheese slices.
He still cringed at her rage at his having eaten all the cheese. As an investment manager for a major finance company, he could now have all the cheese he wanted, but he was still afraid of rejection.
Trish had never rejected him before, but he had never eaten all her cheese before. And boy, had he done it this time. He remembered through the crystalline, almost frozen fog that had been his fine, acute financier’s mind, that she had told him to be early, as she was going to make his special dinner in the way he really, really liked. That meant she would be dressed, or rather, undressed, as the naughty serving girl. He gulped. Opened the door.
And that was when he realized he had married a monster.
She was there on the couch, sobbing. Or at least he thought it was her. She was in the naughty maid’s costume, that’s what made him certain it was her. Who else would be so attired, at his hour, in his nice, upper middle class house atop the hill? The garter belts, the lacy, transparent little brassiere and undies that hid nothing.
Not even the fact that her skin was now grey and translucent, and things that looked like wormlike turds were circulating through and between her internal organs. And the smell: like decaying flesh combined with diesel fumes.
Her eyes, now amoeba-like appendages with cilia, blinked at him. “Where were you?” she bawled. He put his hands to his ears, as the screeching was like steely pins jabbing at his eardrums.
“Trish?” he said, staggering.
“And you’re drunk. The meal is ruined, and I so worried! You could have called.”
He put his right index finger up to stop the torrent of accusations. With the thumb and forefinger of his left, he held his nose. “I’ll be right back,” he said, in a pinched, nasally sound.
He made it to the gun closet without vomiting.
After punching in the codes, and opening the closet door, he picked up his Glock 9 MM. He put it on the pistol rack. Searched behind where it had been. Found his hearing protectors. Turned on the volume, set it to low. Searched some more, found his shooting glasses. Shut the closet door, not bothering to lock it. He wasn’t afraid of intruders getting his collection this time.
The bathroom was next to the gun closet, he went into it, went through the medicine cabinet, found some menthol jell. Stuck wads up his nose. Then, bracing himself, went back to the living room to confront Trish.
He was almost sober now, and for a moment, he thought he had simply experienced some hyper-intense, sudden onset of the DT’s. Like the drug addict in Naked Lunch, he was simply seeing mugwumps. That’s all. Bad enough to see his wife as a mugwump, but Trish turning into a monster. Much worse.
By the time he had arrived back in the living room, he realized, through his recharging brain, that maybe it would be better if his wife were a monster and he wasn’t suffering from the DT’s. After all, he had experienced six of the worst episodes of PMS known to man, and this sudden change couldn’t be any worse than that.
And he needed an intact, non-hallucinating brain. How else could he sell investors to put their hard-earned money into struggling companies that could barely keep up with the rolling thunder of high unemployment and inflation that was hitting the country as the government tried to solve the economic crisis by alternatively raising taxes, creating stagnation (thus fixing inflation) and deficit spending, creating inflation (thus eroding much-needed capital but fixing stagnation).
“Darling, what’s the matter?”
Trish came up to him and hugged him, making his flesh feel like it was dotted with thousands of red-hot needles. She must have sensed something was wrong, as she backed off and looked at him quizzically. “Have I done something to upset you? I know you don’t like me nagging, or behaving like a whiny wife, but I was worried. You’ve never done anything like this before.”
“Uh, Trish, notice what I have on my face,” he croaked out, still feeling prickly from the hug.
Her eyes narrowed. She glanced at the headphones, the bulletproof, tinted sunglasses; the wads of snot-like jell. Then a hand went to her mouth. “Oh my God! You’re seeing the real me, aren’t you?”
“What must you be thinking? Oh, please, George, please. I couldn’t bear it if you were to leave me.” She slinked back to the couch, oozed unto it like a slug looking for a tomato.
He laughed, as he realized that she had mirrored his thought when he came through the door, inexcusably late and drunk. But he hadn’t turned into a monster. Or had he?
In a moment of doubt, he went to the full-length mirror on the face of the clothes closet by the front door and peered at his reflection. He saw the disheveled man in the rumpled sports jacket and slacks, his brown hair looking like a cowpat that had splattered on his head. His eyes were too bloodshot to show off his blue irises to full effect, and his nose looked bulbous, although he was pretty sure that was his imagination.
“George, why are you staring at yourself?”
“I thought it might have happened to me, too.”
“What happened to you too?” From her bewildered manner, he knew that whatever she had been expecting as a reaction from him, he wasn’t giving it to her.
“That I had turned into a monster also.” It wasn’t the brightest thing to say. She broke into tears; placed tendrils on sockets; each sob making him feel as though someone had stuck his head inside an old, iron church bell and was ringing it unmercifully.
“Can you at least put a robe on?” George asked her, after the crying had stopped. She nodded, and went into their bedroom, came out with his robe — the purple one with the white specks — covering most of her hideousness. The cloven feet still showed, and the pus-like pulsations through her sucker-like tendrils that used to be fingers.
She joined him back on the couch. He resisted the impulse to leap up and dive out their living room window. Surely, if she were going to eat him, she would have done it by now. After all, most women he knew couldn’t stay on a diet for as long as six months.
“I should have known something was going on when you told me your family couldn’t attend the wedding, as they were way out of town. How far out of town are we talking about? Twenty-five, or maybe one hundred twenty-five trillion miles out of town?”
“What are you talking about, George?” She still sniffed from the crying jag. He handed her the box of Kleenex from their black porcelain coffee table. She took one and blew her olfactory organ on it.
“Trish, I admit I was insensitive and stupid, coming home drunk. But I think I’ve handled this new, uh, development in our relationship pretty darn well. And I’m not stupid. You are beautiful.” He paused as she rolled her stalks. “Okay, you’re really hideous right now, but in a beautiful sort of way.”
“Yeah, right.” The susurration reached a decibel level that switched on the sound cut-off on his headphones.
“I’ve taken biology. You’re symmetrical; all your organs appear to be working together, you have opposable thumbs. You’re not some kind of freak.” The stalk rolls again. “No, hear me out.” He suppressed a gag. “You’re not a freak, so that leads to one other conclusion.”
“And that is?” The sound was chilly; if this was their first real fight, it wasn’t going so good, George thought.
“I mean, there were clues all along, I guess. I would tried to help you with a problem, and you’d get angry, you’d say that I don’t appreciate you, although everything I do is for you, you’d get emotional for no good reason I could tell, and it was some little things.
Like, we’d go shopping, and instead of just finding what we needed and going home, you’d stop and talk to people at the store. You’d eat chocolate dipped pickles with salt on them right before your monthly cycle. I didn’t think anything of these oddities at the time, but now, there is just one conclusion to draw.”
She crossed her arms under her breasts, or rather what used to be her breasts, they now resembled fire hoses that tangled and untangled themselves. “And that is?” she repeated.
“You’re an alien. That’s the only explanation. The only thing left to say is: Why are you here?’”
“Why, to take over the Earth, of course,” she said in a nasty trill.
Copyright © 2009 by Rachel Parsons