The Football Widowís Revenge
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By Scott Hubanks
It is impossible to say how the idea entered my brain! I loved Roger. We were married for thirty years, and he was a good provider. There was no passion in our marriage, but he never wronged me. It must have been that remote control. Yes, it was this!
Roger was a very particular man. He worked at Hanleyís Hardware. He expected his dinner on time every night at six oíclock after he had drank a beer after coming home at five thirty. Then he would settle into his green recliner and watch the television.
His routine never changed. He would heave his body out of bed, smear deodorant across his armpits, and throw on the same clothes he wore every day that were only cleaned when I could steal them away from him. He even cut the grass in those clothes. I still shudder to think about those horrid brown pants and the tan shirt that was originally white.
I didnít say anything when he started to grow his hair longer on one side, and then comb it over his bald spot. I didnít mind the fact that most of our conversations consisted of remarks about the show that we happened to be watching or a funny commercial. He would sit in front of the television on Saturday watching NASCAR and actually talk to the television. It didnít exactly bother me, though I must admit to being somewhat annoyed that at times he talked to it more than he talked to me.
It must have been something about the autumn. Perhaps the air was crisper than usual. Perhaps the change hit me stronger than I expected.
It was Sunday. I had a roast in the oven that had taken three hours to bring to perfection. You could smell that roast from the sidewalk. After I had popped the taters into the broth, I opened the refrigerator to take Roger a fresh Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. I had hoped that he would appreciate the favor enough to come to dinner, but the Packers were on the television. It was the first game of the year against the Bears, I guess, by what I could tell from his mumbling as he took the beer. He hadnít even touched the cheese and crackers I had set on the TV tray next to the recliner. He sat there pressing the buttons on the remote controlóflipping between channels when the commercials came on.
I retreated to the kitchen to lick my wounds. I resolved that at least one person in the house would eat dinner on time when the roast was finished. I heard him clapping in the living room, then click-click-click as he flipped the channels with the remote control. I swear the sound of the remote followed me into the kitchen, because I hadnít noticed it before.
The potatoes were almost finished. I heard more of Rogerís applause coming from the living room. I couldnít bring myself to go and find out what had happened; partially because I was upset with Roger; partially because Iíve never understood football anyway. I know that itís a good thing when a player takes the ball across that thick white line, but I donít know what it actually means. I didnít want to give Roger the chance to demonstrate his superior knowledge.
I turned on the radio. Patsy Clineís voice came from the speaker. I sighed, and feeling sentimental, I went into the refrigerator to get myself a beer. If you canít beat Ďem join Ďem I guess. I had just opened the beer, while Patsy was out walkiní after midnight, when Roger called from the living room. He wanted another beer. I took him the open one that I had, and he hollered something at me about the beer going flat, while his right thumb stabbed the button on the remote control, and the football game came back on the TV.
The blood rushed thorough my ears, with a click-click-click following me, while I went back to the kitchen. I opened the cupboards and pulled out dishes, setting the table for one. I set the other dish on the counter, just in case Roger decided he wanted to eat. I pulled the roast from the oven and, getting the carving fork and knife from the rack, I fished the roast out of the broth and set it on the cutting board.
I had hardly begun carving the roast, when Roger informed me from the living room that he wasnít hungry. He told me that he would eat after the game or maybe take me out to the tavern for a real meal. This was a big gameóand he wanted another beer. I went to the refrigerator to get it, reminding myself that things had always been like this in the fall during the thirty football seasons of our marriage. He now imagined himself to be Brett Favre instead of Bart Starr, but nothing else had changed.
I donít know why I had the carving knife in my hand when I took Roger his beer. A red cloud seems to have settled, blotting out my memory. My next recollection is that the green recliner was now dark red. I wondered why, but I soon made the terrible connection between the knife in my hand and Roger. I donít know what happened next, but I remember one thing: the expression on Rogerís face was the same and that infernal television was flipping between the channels. His thumb had been frozen on the remote!
I escaped the houseóand the horror I had left behind. In the alley, I found Dale, the fat guy with the beard who sits in a lawn chair all summer wearing nothing but a pair of swimming trunks. I told him my situation as he clucked over me like a mother hen. I still donít remember everything about that evening, but I thank God that Dale doesnít watch football.