Secrets of a Happy Marriage

“The Big Sleep,” a short story by Meg Pokrass

Secrets of a Happy Marriage

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The Big Sleep

He was meticulously rude. Sometimes profoundly nice. When we weren’t arguing, we’d snuggle under our effective sweat-box comforter, frayed from so many happy and sad years of sex and sweat and dog hair. Outside, the whole world seemed to be tanning and wrinkling.

The police popped in one night to see if our fights were murderous. We’d been arguing loudly in the kitchen about the texture of a birthday cake I’d baked for the twentieth anniversary of our sweet dog’s death. It was hard as a rock, and nothing had ever been different. Arguing was part of the cake-eating experience.

When I heard the doorbell ring, I tippy-toed from the kitchen into the bedroom.

“Hello sir, mind if we enter?” a cop-voice said.

“Do you own any weapons, sir?” he asked my husband. It sounded like there were fifteen people, like horses and villagers or showgirls. Lots of feet. A dog toy squeaked. “Whoops!” one of them said.

“With a chef like my bride? Weaponry with this woman here?” then a scratchy minute of silence, my ear to the door. “Where did she go?”

One of the cops let out a giggle. The talkative one sniffed the air, said, “Um. Interesting scent.” He was referring to the sweet smell of marijuana.

It was time for me to enter, so I idled into the living room wearing my “Munch Me” shortie night shirt, and my long-nosed barracuda slippers. Not much else. My legs were still shapely, and tan from bronzing gel.

“Hey! I recognize you! I think I knew your mom!” I said to the younger cop.

He was adorable, with dirty blond hair and an ape-like neck.

Clicking over to him with my vixen slippers, I looked him over the way Bacall checked out Bogie in The Big Sleep.

“You know how to whistle, don’t you?” I said, with my full, husky voice. And then I laughed.

He smiled sheepishly. “We didn’t mean to disturb your evening, ma’am, just doing our jobs.”

“Ha,” my husband said. “Who in their right minds would kill her? Would you kill her?

After they left, my husband was in fine spirits. He put on Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon.”

“You have such wonderful moves,” he said. Asked me to dance.

About the Author

Meg Pokrass is the author of four collections of flash fiction, and one award-winning collection of prose poetry, Cellulose Pajamas, which received the Blue Light Book Award in 2016. Her writing has been widely anthologized, most recently in Best Small Fictions 2018, edited by Aimee Bender, two Norton Anthologies of flash fiction: Flash Fiction International and New MicroExceptionally Short Fiction, Flash Non-Fiction Funny edited by Dinty Moore, Nothing Short of 100, and her stories have been selected for Wigleaf ‘s Top 50’s list numerous times. A new full flash fiction collection, Alligators At Night will be released in the summer of 2018 by Ad Hoc Press. She is the founder of New Flash Fiction Review and co-founder of San Francisco’s Flash Fiction Collective reading series and serves as Festival Curator for the Flash Fiction Festival, U.K. Meg teaches ongoing online workshops for flash fiction writers.

“The Big Sleep” is published here by permission of the author, Meg Pokrass. Copyright © Meg Pokrass 2018. All rights reserved.

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