An Eye for an Eye
Marriage can really drive one crazy... can't it?
Well, this seat is hard and uncomfortable. And the coffee? Sludge is a better word for it. But I guess I can’t be too picky, seeing as I’m the one being questioned and detained right now. Right, Officer? Sure. I bet the guys behind the two-way mirror agree with me. I’m guessing they prefer Starbucks too.
Okay, okay, I’m getting to it! Just making some small talk is all. I haven’t spoken to many real-life humans for months. I’m not counting my husband or those godawful Zoom meetings. My office went remote when this whole COVID debacle started. Not that I necessarily mind not putting on real pants every day, mind you.
But… I miss human interaction so much. I want to know who Bill from Accounting is fucking; I want to watch the interns flirt. Who’d thunk I’d miss casual Friday or those shitty birthday cakes in the conference room?
I imagine you see a lot of cases like this; domestic bliss gone wrong. Especially with all this quarantine bullshit, working from home, net learning for the kiddies. I’m all for stopping the spread of COVID but not at the expense of my mental health.
Months of this.
Oh, you want to know what finally did it?
What made me lose my shit?
The fucking grapefruit spoon.
Wipe that quizzical look from your face, Officer. It makes you look like a confused German Shepard and it's not becoming.
I’ll enlighten you.
A grapefruit spoon is a pretentious utensil. Serrated edges designed for diving into the meat of the fruit. Paul insisted on adding them to our wedding registry. You know how much they cost? $6 on Amazon, but this idiot wanted one of the pricey ones; sterling silver, fancy as fuck.
One spoon runs $100.
Can you believe that?
Like he’s going to share a grapefruit with The Queen of England.
I wanted a set of kitchen towels, but he vetoed that in favor of that fucking spoon.
Every morning, Paul, without fail, has half a grapefruit for breakfast with some dry toast. He claims the juice is full of antioxidants or some shit. Who knows? He always places it in a bowl and goes to town.
I used to eat with Paul only on weekends. Usually I grabbed Starbucks coffee on my way to the office, plus some fattening pastry. I prefer not to eat breakfast with Paul because —
Well, you know.
Watching Paul eat drives me fucking bonkers.
First, why the fuck does he have to put the grapefruit in a bowl? He couldn’t just eat it on a plate? No, he uses a bowl and using that sterling silver grapefruit spoon that cost $100; he dives into the pink pulp. And he clangs the spoon against the bowl roughly 1,000 times during breakfast. If you didn’t know better, you’d think he suffered from Parkinson’s, as much as he rattles the sides of that poor dish. Just imagine, you’re sitting at your computer on yet another Zoom meeting and clear across the house you hear clink, clank, clink, clank. Fucking Gandhi would have lost his mind!
And I am not Gandhi.
Oh God, the slurping!
Once he’s pried all the fruit out, he lifts the husk up and drinks the rest of the juice. He slurps anytime he ingests anything liquid; hearing him eat soup makes me want to throttle the life out of him. But every single morning? Listening to a solid five minutes of slurping? It’s enough to drive you bat shit. I’ll have the volume cranked all the way up during my meetings, headphones on, door closed, and I can still hear that horrid slurping.
The juice always gets all over his face, too. I’m lucky if he doesn’t drip all over his collar and shirt. Not that grapefruit stains much, but it’s just one more thing. As if I don’t have enough to do; work a full-time job, cook, clean the house. Just add getting the grapefruit juice out of his shirts.
I’m just the lowly wife.
Fuck me, right?
Speaking of me busting my ass in the house, add doing dishes to my ever-expanding list of chores. Paul tosses the grapefruit out, rinses his bowl and plate, and placed them in the dishwasher. I’ve drilled him enough that he has the wherewithal to do that. But the spoon? The precious spoon can’t go into the dishwasher! Paul claims the dishwasher will damage the sterling silver, thus, the grapefruit spoon requires handwashing. Who do you think does that? Paul? If you think he picks up a sponge, you need to go back to the Police Academy, my friend!
It’s me. Always me.
Paul seems to think that picking up dish soap and a sponge with decrease his dick size or something. In all reality, maybe if he had helped more around the house, he’d get laid.
Each day around noon, I walk into the kitchen to top off my coffee and I see that damned spoon in the sink—dark pink flesh clinging to the spoon’s sharpened sides. Mocking me. I can’t stand clutter; I like my kitchen spotless with everything in its place, so I’m compelled to wash the fucking thing. And dry it, leaving no water spots, or Paul will bitch the next morning.
The spoon even has its own place in the silverware drawer! Every time I open the drawer and reach for a fork, I catch a glint of light reflecting off its surface.
Just seeing it fills me with furious rage.
Several months of this, seven days a week, listening to clink, clank, clink, clank, slurrrrp, slurrrrrp.
Months of laundering grapefruit juice out of shirts, laboriously washing and drying the same spoon, day after day.
It’s like that movie Groundhog Day.
Wouldn’t that drive anyone mad?
Each morning, I walk around with gritted teeth, nerves on a knife’s edge, listening to him eat.
A little voice started whispering to me, telling me to do something about it. I wish I could tell you it was my conscience or something, but—
I don’t think so.
The voice seemed distinctly old. It wobbled and wavered, similar to the way my grandmother’s voice sounded when telling a long-winded story. This voice had a sinister tone to it. If this were a Bible story, the voice would belong to the serpent that fucked up that whole Garden of Eden thing for us.
I see that look in your eye. You think I’m nuts, another one of those schizos that think God’s speaking to them. Are your pals in the other room pushing the panic button that summons people that’ll fit me with a nice straitjacket?
Whatever. Think what you want, but the voice is real.
It said, “Look at him. Pig. Filth. He doesn’t care about your well-being or mental health; all he cares about is his daily grapefruit fix.”
At first, I ignored the voice, but after enough time and repeat viewings of Paul going down on the grapefruit like a lesbian cannibal, I paid more attention.
“Do something about it! Teach him a lesson about being such a selfish prick.”
Which brings us to this morning—sun shining, birds chirping, not a cloud in the sky.
The perfect morning.
For once, I had no meetings. My boss is on vacation and gave us a light week of work. Nothing on the docket for my day. And like an idiot, I sat across the table from Paul with my steaming mug of java and a book. As always, standard half a grapefruit in the same ‘ol bowl, dry toast on a plate, him clutching the damn grapefruit spoon in his hand for dear life.
I should have known better than to eat breakfast with him.
Like Alanis Morissette sang, “You live, you learn.”
I sat there with my plate of toast, just about to dive in, while Paul clink, clank, clink, clanked, slurrrrrped. I watched a glob of fruit dribble onto his white shirt. He noticed me watching and laughed! What a hilarious joke! As if I wouldn’t have to take the shirt into the laundry room, spray it with Tide, and wash it in cold water.
Just more work for his domestic slave.
Then Paul made his biggest mistake.
He plopped down the grapefruit, all the juice consumed, wiped his face and said, “Hon? Do you think you can do a better job drying the spoon? I noticed a lot of water spots today and it really turned me off of my breakfast.” He set the spoon down in front of his bowl and pointed. “See all these spots? Very unsightly.”
My brain exploded like a bomb whose fuse had been lit on March 13th, 2020 and had burnt down months later.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, Officer. Everything happened all at once. And it did, but I remember every single detail vividly.
That voice whispered, “Make that fucker pay!”
A searing heat spread from the base of my skull all throughout the rest of my body. My limbs crackled with electricity and I moved with a speed I wished I’d possessed during my high school track days. I leapt up from my chair, knocking it over, reached across the table and grabbed that fucking spoon.
Wielding the spoon… divine! Sterling silver, kissing the palm of my hand.
No wonder Paul loves it.
Paul’s eyebrows rocketed up, nearly touching his receding hairline. A little surprised at my actions, I suppose. But a hint of a smile stamped itself on his lips.
And that smug fucking grin sealed his fate.
I lunged across the table, knocking the damn grapefruit and dishes to the floor. I heard the dishes shattering against the tile and thought, you're gonna have to sweep that up later, dammit. My arm swung back, picking up momentum and rocketed my fist forward towards Paul’s face.
It’d be a lie if I told you I didn’t enjoy what happened next.
The spoon, serrated edges and all, plunged into Paul’s left eye. His mouth rounded in a small ‘o’ shape before he unleashed one of the highest shrieks I’ve ever heard in my life. Decibels cranked up to maximum volume. Enough to drown out all the clinkity clanks had he been eating and not screeching.
His eyeball popped with an audible pffft, and clear jelly dribbled down his cheek. There was some blood mixed in with the goo. It reminded me of bloody snot hacked into a tissue during a brutal allergy season.
The spoon dropped from my palm and I leapt back.
He pinwheeled his arms like an gorilla on roller skates before clutching the spoon and yanking it out, screaming, “You fucking bitch!”
His deflated eye popped out of its socket, skewered on the spoon, looking every bit like a section of grapefruit if you ignored the pearly color and fucked up shape. More jelly spurted out. Too bad he’d already finished his dry ass toast; it might have made a delightful topping.
Another keening wail and he dropped the spoon. Spoon and punctured ruined eye hung at about the level of his chest, held there by a reddish rope that wound its way from the bloody socket. The optic nerve? That’s my guess based on my one semester of anatomy and physiology in college. Not that it matters to you, but I got an A.
I think his remaining eye caught sight of the dangler. All the blood drained from his face, casting his skin with a green tinge. He pitched backwards, fainting dead away. His head made a godawful crack when it collided with the floor. SMACK!
I hope the blood doesn’t stain the tile and grout. That’ll be a bitch to clean. Scalp wounds bleed like stink.
I’m assuming the neighbors called 911. They tend to do that when blood-curdling screams are involved.
I sat down and finished my coffee. That little voice whispered, “Great job. Now… finish breakfast.”
I sat back down to my breakfast and ate slowly, relishing the peace.
Then you all burst through the door, the cavalry!
I couldn’t help myself; I just want to make that clear. It was like a compulsion. I had no choice.
His eye? Where is it?
Well… I hadn’t had eaten my toast yet and by this time, it looked a little dry, despite all the butter.
And that voice sounded awfully hungry.
That eye jelly spread nicely on top and tasted absolutely divine.
About the Creator
Howdy! I’m an ER doc who loves horror, especially with a medical bent. Voted most witty in high school so I’m like, super funny. First novel coming out in Fall 2023! Follow me on Twitter @DrSpooky_ER.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Original narrative & well developed characters
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
The descent to madness. Literal chills!
Absolutely fantastic - I did not expect where that was going and when I got there I felt chills. Excellent job!