“Earl, help me carry this table to the house. Been sitting out here for days now. I’m going to take it for the living room.”
Her voice was a knell to his ear. He begrudged her every syllable she spoke; every raspy breath she took between sentences. Her wheedling instantaneously made his fingers curl, as if around her fat fleshy wattle.
“Did you hear me Earl?”
Even a deaf-mute could hear you bitch, Earl snarled silently, his upper lip rising in a disgusted curl. He was not facing her, of course. He was walking behind. Always behind that jiggling fat arse and runny panty hose. She never had to turn back to look and see if he was following. She knew he always would be.
The name was a warning.
“Yes Marge,” he mumbled and hunkered down to take the table onto his wide shoulders. He struggled to balance the wood while taking steps on his shortened maligned leg, walking a few shaky steps before gaining his composure and continuing to walk behind Lady Jell-o Junk.
“Wasn’t it such a nice find Earl?” Marge asked. “It’ll look mighty fine in the corner under the bird-cage. Maybe put some nice flowers on it in a vase and spruce the place up a bit. Maybe some yellow Daisies.”
They would have to be fake flowers, he thought, focusing on the side-walk and clenching the table legs tightly. Nothing alive could reside in the same house as Marge. She killed everything. The cage had been empty for a decade or more and was rusted through in some spots. The birds sitting on the perches inside were fake too, though the daft broad still gave them fresh food and water every day. Better than what Earl got.
Step, draaaaag, scuffle. Step draaaaag, scuffle. Five more steps. There’s the dilapidated white picket fence bordering the hell he called home. Marge tried to get him to fix it for her years but he didn’t know how and had only managed to rip holes in it before she stopped his fun. Oh Marge hadn’t liked that at all. Earl had been punished harshly for that one. She didn’t let him do any house repairs after that. Step, draaaag, scuffle. Two more steps and the house was in view.
There was a long ear piercing squeak as Marge opened the gate (even though there were several holes they could have walked through instead). She didn’t bother holding the door open for him and the splintered wood snapped back onto his deformed leg with a bang. He cursed and wiggled around a bit to re-adjust the table.
“Hurry up Earl.”
He was too far behind and she sensed it. Stepdraaaaagscuffle! The brick path laid to the door was uneven and had bricks missing in places. Empty flower pots lined either side full of dirt and cob webs. He had grown used to this path by now and navigated with ease. He always hoped Marge might get her fat foot stuck in one of them and twist her ankle. The imagined sound of her squealing and crying like a stuck pig made Earl smile cruelly. Step draaaag scuffle. Ahh yes, to have the tables turned! To watch from up high while the pasty worm of a woman reached out, drooling, crying, begging for help and he, Earl, doing nothing—
“Earl, be careful here. There’s that step–”
“I’m–I’m sorry Ma’am! My foot and the table was heavy–Please–”
“Earl, you clumsy fool.”
She didn’t even hesitate.The gun came out and her chubby finger had yanked back the trigger before Earl could think another thought.
Marge shook her head and dropped her stub of a cigarette beside the puddle of sticky blood by her foot.
“Waste of a perfectly good table.”
The large woman grunted and hauled herself up the three stairs to her porch where she checked the kitty food bowls and sighed.
“No visitors today. Wonder if I should change the food again. They seem to like fish better.”
Marge took her time to go inside and fix herself a pitcher of sweet iced tea before coming back outside to the gore of her front yard and contemplating it. She flicked a piece of fluffy blonde hair out of her eyes and her pink flamingo printed mumu billowed like a parachute around her as she plunked herself into one of two chairs intact on the porch.
“Taking your sweet time aren’t you?” she called out to the red splatters.
“I’ll blow off the other leg if you don’t hurry it up. You got a yard to clean up mister.”
There was a twitch. Pink gloss smeared lips pursed in satisfaction as a hairy peach bulge started to protrude from the jagged neck.
“Earl don’t talk with your mouth full. It’s rude.”
The peachy balloon of flesh inflated more, hollowing out and growing two hateful blue eyes, popping out a nose. Two nostrils curved outward and twin holes appeared beside them.
“I don’t like doing this to you Earl,” Marge said with a regretful wheeze. “You’re just a such a darn clutz!”
“Marge you bitch,” came Earl’s muffled reply.
“What was that Earl?”
Marge’s paint chipped nail rain over the zipper of the red beaded bag and Earl swallowed his next words.
“Sorry ma’am. I’m such a damn clutz.”
“Watch your language Earl. Are you done then?”
Earl felt around his neck, the skin knitting together into one smooth swath again. His right ear popped out of his head and formed into a half oval.
“Good. Now pick up what’s left of my table and clean your mess. The neighbors might come by. We can only hope.”
Blood wasn’t a new thing at Marge’s place. She used to blow off Earl’s head for fun for the kids when they stopped by. They laughed and were grossed out and thought Marge was cool. She gave them store-bought cookies and took some of the dumber ones inside with her for an “extra special treat”. She didn’t tell them THEY were the treat. She was even fatter back then and always smelled of spices. The soup pot was always on. And there were always store bought cookies.
Nothing alive went near Marge’s house anymore. But she waited. She was patient. Earl hated her but a zombie had little control when someone else was the one holding the gun.