Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Putting the otter on the trapeze seemed an ill-advised idea.

Putting the otter on the trapeze seemed an ill-advised idea. However when one is lacking an alternative, how could he object?
Oliver collected. He had a Russian satellite that fell out of space, the pumps Madonna wore for the first concert on her first tour, an impressive collection of bugs that are bigger than a fist, one of Julia Childs’ aprons, an anchor from WWI, the list goes on. The trapeze was the only scrap of sturdy surface left to claim in Oliver’s climate controlled basement.
            Oliver’s friend Dave knew just who to call when he found the dead animal petrified by the dry cold winter. When he received the call he knew he was almost out of space, but his proclivity could not be overcome. Oliver said he’d love to have the specimen and thought that it would be an impressive addition to his petrified lizard and mummified inchoate stillborn kitten and mother cat still attached by the cord.
            Once he was sure that the otter was stable on the circa 1954 High Flyer Trapeze, one of twenty still in existence, he exited the basement walking with heavy steps up the wooden stair case lined with stacks of every National Geographic magazine ever printed.
            Emerging into the kitchen with the powder blue curtains and the oak cabinets carefully designed by his wife last spring, he found her smoking a cigarette in the breakfast nook. His wife Patty was a patient woman. She denied his hedonism of hoarding and acted with proper probity in everything that she did. She insisted on emitting an image of their marriage as a blissful idyll. Her card club was so impressed. She looked up from her crossword puzzle to examine her husband and lowered her eyes again to enter FABFOUR in 36 across with an imitation smile pushing up her cheeks.
            Oliver loved his wife. She let him collect and she made delicious dinners. He couldn’t imagine a more perfect mate. At dinner he would always prattle on to her about the lovely things he had collected and dreamed of collecting, and when she had friends over, she would allow him extra money to go out to the bar with his friends so that her company wouldn’t bore him. He had never had to impugn his wife about anything or prevaricate about the things that he did and wanted to do. Yes, she was tailor fit just for him.
            So when the local museum closed and sold the things they did not gift to other museum collections, Oliver went and spent prodigal amounts of the couple’s money. He bought countless Native American artifacts, an antique wringer, three sets of china from a Charleston high society family- pre civil war, two log cabin quilts, a Bostonian desk from the 18th century, and a smorgasbord or pictures among other acquirements. His collection no longer fit into his basement and he was forced to expand into the rest of the house. His wife no longer had room to do her crossword puzzles in the kitchen nook, but like the rest of her life, she ignored this imbroglio. She now sat in the middle of pathways running through the house to do her crossword puzzles, and she smoked outside, as to not stain her husbands collection. She stopped being a part of card club and continued her life as a miserable woman, all for the sake of pride.

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