Short Story: Make ‘Em Laugh

“Ok……yeah ok I’ll tell her. Thank you.”

Mark hung up with Cheryl, his mother in law’s nurse. He looked down at his cell phone to confirm that he had pressed the end call button. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the outline of his wife on the couch. He could hear the sound of his beating heart, as if it were beating against his eardrums. He then noticed a nervous flop sweat beginning to develop as he tried to calmly breathe in and out with a meditative pace.

“Who was that honey?” his wife asked, her eyes not leaving the television screen.

“O that was your mother’s nurse.”

As he curled and uncurled his toes, Mark was thankful his voice didn’t begin to crack like a boy in the midst of puberty. It would’ve all been painfully obvious then. He assumed his voice had a nice and calm matter to it. He still had to brainstorm how he was going to deliver the real news.

His wife looked up from the television. “What did she want? Is everything ok? Mom isn’t being rude today is she?”

Mark quietly exhaled a sigh of relief. His wife was assuming that as usual, her mother was being a bitch to anybody around her and not thinking the worst. As Mark quickly thought how he was to deliver the news, he made sure eyes didn’t give away how horrible the current situation was.

Before Mark opened his mouth, he happened to think of his favorite film, Singin’ In The Rain. Just before deciding what to say, he heard the voice of Donald O’ Connor saying three simple words.

Make ‘Em Laugh!

“Honey, you know how your mom used to collect rare Barbie dolls?”

Mark’s wife nodded in agreement, a look of confusion began to show.

Mark smiled the wide open mouthed smile he was frequently complimented on and rolled his eyes in a humorous and overly exaggerated fashion.

“Well let’s just say she’s through with that and is now soon to be collecting maggots in the local cemetery.”

Silence filled the room as Diane’s jaw slowly dropped and tears filled her eyes. She leapt up from the couch and flung her purse over her shoulder, quickly fishing for her car keys.

“Honey you don’t have to drive, I can drive….”

Mark wanted to say more but Diane slapped him as hard as she could. Mark spun around from the force of the slap and when he had done a complete turn, he looked towards the front door at just the moment it was slamming shut. The force of the door slamming shut stopped his heart for a moment as a wave of goosebumps went across his back.

Mark rushed to the window and watched as his wife quickly backed out of the driveway, not even taking the time to see if anybody was coming down the road.

A van happened to be coming at the time and had to swerve into Mark’s mailbox in order to avoid hitting her. Diane didn’t even look in her rearview mirror as this near collision took place. She only stopped in the road long enough to switch the car out of reverse before taking off.

“Man I fucked that up.” Mark said, holding the side of his face as he began to taste blood.



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