I never met a list I liked
The despised list was on the kitchen counter. Man, how he hated her and these lists! He looked to see what the hell she was getting now.
At first he doubted what he was seeing. He started to reread it when she snatched it out his hand.
“Hey, I was looking at that,” he said.
“No need for you to see it! “she snapped,” it’s just my grocery list.” She stopped and started to hand it back to him. “Unless,” she smiled, “you want to get groceries.”
“Yeah, right,” he snorted. Pointing at the list he asked, “Why do you have rat poison on it?”
She looked at him as if he was crazy. “If you would go down in the basement once in a while, you’d notice all the signs. They’re starting to take over the place.” She gave him a disgusted look. “You haven’t cleaned that basement for weeks.”
He looked shocked. “What do you mean?! I threw away all those old golf clubs, even if I REALLY didn’t want to.”
“True,” she answered, “but did you clean out some of that other junk?”
He huffed. “Some of those are antiques?”
“No,” she said as she walked out the door, “just stuff you’re afraid to throw away since you MIGHT use them again”
“Yeah, right,” he said to himself as he got a beer out of the fridge.
That night at dinner he said, “You’re right, there may be mice down there.”
“Did you put any of that poison I bought on them?”
“You need more potent poison, “he grumbled, “You don’t want the critters holding on to die in the walls.”
She sighed and shook her head. ”I’ll be sure to get some today.”
Her lists were driving him insane. She was always doing them, and she seemed compelled to do everything on them as soon as possible. She couldn’t do anything without them. At least she didn’t use sticky notes; they’d be all over the place. He thought that it may not be a bad idea; he wouldn’t have to paint the walls anymore; but no, she kept her lists in the top drawer in the kitchen. She never threw any away---she had a scrapbook that she would put the overflow in.
One day he asked her. “Why do you do that? That’s beyond weird.”
She gave him a dirty look. “I wouldn’t talk about being weird if I were you.” She looked back at the book. “This is all I need. Every list has a date on it, and the time I began and the time I finished. All I have to do is look at one and know what happened that day.”
He shook his head. “Whatever floats your boat,” and walked away.
At dinner a few days later, she was making another list while they were eating dinner.
“Come on, can’t you give it a rest? At least while we’re eating...Geez!”
She smiled at him. “Ok, I will. She finished what she was writing and put down the pencil. “Sorry ‘bout that. I just wanted to get this down before I forgot.”
He glimpsed at the list. Picking it up, he asked “What’s this one for?”
“A list of those coming to the family reunion,” she said, reaching for the list.
He held on to it. “Don’t invite Aunt Emilie. She laughs with her mouth full.” He shuddered. “It makes me sick to see it.”
“I can’t do that. She’s family, no matter how bad her manners are,” she grimaced. “Now give me that back.”
He started to hand it over, when something struck him. He checked the list again. “How come my name’s not on it, and who’s this Paul Cheroot?”
“Oh, it’s the butcher down at the market. He always gives me the best cuts, and he arranged to get this good beef at a reduced cost. He’ll even cut it up.” She grinned, “I think he’s sweet on me.”
He grinned. “You, know, I used to work in a butcher shop.”
She grimaced. “Yes, I’ve heard that story before; and how you especially enjoyed beating the sides of beef. Made you feel like Rocky.”
“Those were good days,” he sighed.
“Until the boss fired you for breaking all the ribs,” she said.
He gave her the list. “You didn’t say why I’m not on the list.”
She smiled as she took it back. “Of course you are, dummy. You know you’re going to be there.”
The reunion was a great success, and more people showed up than were not on her list. That was ok; there was more than enough rib steak and other goodies to go around.
Aunt Emile walked up to him. He tried not to look at her already stuffed mouth.
“Great affair!” She said, surprised he could make it out, or she managed to get it down. “Where’s your wife? I wanted to thank her personally about the spread.” She stopped for a moment—she had to swallow.
“She’s around her somewhere,” he grinned. “She was on the list.”
She suddenly looked at him with wide eyes. “Did you hear what happened to Paul Cheroot?”
He shook his head slowly. “Too bad; you have to be careful when you’re cutting alone.”
She carried on. It seemed like she had a gleam in her eye as she talked. “Hit a main artery in his leg, and bled out before help could arrive.”
She paused, taking another mouthful. “Well, I guess it’s good news for you. They needed a new butcher, and you were able to fill in.”
He stared at the crowd eating their steaks with gusto. “Yes,” he said, “very lucky.”