creative projects · Fiction

My Wife’s Jawbone

I watched as they played with my wife’s jawbone.

The unruly neighbor kids from up the road were making their runs again. They traveled up and down the neighborhood, spreading their usual juvenile havoc. In their gluttonous carousing, they made an appearance in the stores on Cedar’s drive, zipping through the aisles with no real intent to buy anything. They dipped their dirty little fingers into the candy buckets, pulled toys off the shelves, and tripped over the layers of fabric from costumes sampled and left with little ceremony on the floor.

And now they are playing with my wife. They grabbed her from off her hook and took to spinning her around the décor section. They messed up her hair and played with her long skirts in some grotesque attempt at humor. Oh, the indignity!

One of the bigger boys was teasing another one with her jawbone. Gnashing her teeth against her will. Speaking things that would’ve brought tears to her desolate sockets.

“Do you want a kiss, big boy?” he made my wife say as his sticky fingers were placed most indecently in her skull.

The other boy played along, sucking on my wife’s bony fingers as he bowed low.

“I would be honored, missus.”

They both laughed horribly as one of the black caped ones rolled their eyes and picked through the store in their shallow attempt to clean.

I wanted to stand up and defend her honor. Perhaps whack both boys with the plastic ax hanging about the horseman display.

But I couldn’t. Much like my wife I couldn’t defend myself against their horrible play and jeers. I didn’t even have the legs to walk away. Nothing but pants’ fabric below this waist. I was powerless.

While those boys tortured my poor wife, an older lady was examining me. She wiped her snotty nose on her sleeve as she tugged at my white hair. She moved my head left and right like I was some prized animal. She looked rather content until her eyes wondered to the tag stapled to my suit. She made a face.

“Thirty dollars! For this cheap things?!” She flicked my tag and turned up her nose. “I can get the exact same thing at Walmart for less.”

Why I never!

I didn’t want to hang from your doorstep anyway. She probably kept a cat or two. I can see the feline’s fur in her pumpkin-patterned sweater. That’s just tacky.

Those hooligans have finally released my wife but they left her in quite the unflattering position. She was draped over the spider barrel—headfirst into that chatty bunch. She’s probably getting her ear talked off by Charlotte. After all the other furry spiders got sold off she can’t seem to shut up. It seems that the plastic spiders lose their fun quite fast because she never misses an opportunity to talk with the mummified cats across the aisle or the Dia de los Muertos skulls above her. When she can get someone outside of that bunch, you’ll never be able to silence her. My wife will never hear the end of it until one of the black caped ones get off their lazy posteriors to retrieve her. That could take days.

Well, at least she’s not Dracula. Someone parked a toddler next to him and the little urchin can’t stop pulling at his teeth. It’s probably going to break him. Those little red abominations were stuck on with the cheapest glue and no one—and I mean no one–is going to buy a one toothed vampire. He’ll probably join the dumpster with Frankie who got his plush head ripped off by an inconsolable five year old.

Thank the manufacturers that I was only born a skeleton. Granted a skeleton butler with cartoonish hair but nothing so brand specific that my identity relies on a single characteristic. The worst thing that could happen to me is that some smart-ass teen rips my hair off to show off to his other smart-ass friends in their pseudo-stance against consumerism and the commercialization of their favorite holiday. It happened to Uncle Frederick two weeks ago before I was put on the hook and he had to listen to the whole spiel. If that were to happen to me, I could just get marked down and put into a clearance bin.

One of the black caped ones is inspecting our area. She sighs and grumbles to herself as she picks up the discarded costumes from off the floor. She blew her red hair out of her face as she stuffed each one in their approximate casing. She’s a regular black caped one. Here five out of the seven days of the week and with each passing day she looks more inclined to commit homicide. She admitted to me one evening as she carried me back across the store bridal style, after a group of capricious middle age women decided that I wasn’t worth the extra effort to put back in the proper place, that if she could get away with it she would burn the whole store to the ground and dance on its dying embers. I wanted to ask her what she was waiting for.

She pulled my wife out of the spider bin and grimaced. Some of the kid’s slobber was still on her hands. She shook her little and put her on the hook beside me. She spruced up a bit more before stomping to other parts of the store.
“Oh, why must I suffer so?” My wife started.

“Yes, indeed, why must you suffer?” If I had eyes to roll, I would’ve rolled them.

“Skeleton Butler #3, will there ever come a time when we will escape this foul place with its awful patrons and unsavory staff.”

We can only hope, Skeleton Maid #5. Hopefully, with eve of the Halloween growing nigh we may find ourselves in moderately better homes and waste the rest of our existence gathering dust in the quiet solitude of a family basement.”

“If only.”

“If only.”

The Dracula bat decoration from the ceiling hissed at us. “Why do you two have to be so dramatic?”
It’s easy for that pesky store decoration to act all high and mighty.

Floor models hardly ever go on sale.


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