Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

Herbert Quigman was not a man. Well, not a man like you and I. Oh, he had all the parts. Bi-lateral symmetry of course, four major appendages, a head with a nose, mouth, ears and eyes in, more or less, the general configuration one would expect. But the ancient saltwater that comprised much of his blood came from a different ocean, not the one in which we evolved, on a planet that circled a distant star.

However, he did share much in common with men like us. Herbert was an accursed man, for you see, Herbert was married.

After a gruelling day as an insignificant junior partner at Veeblefetzer, Blorquesuong and Goldstein, Herbert liked nothing more than the thought of retiring to his basement workshop to tinker in peace.

No sooner had Herbert donned his safety goggles and fired up his torch to complete his latest invention, when, from the top of the cellar steps came, the VOICE.

“HerrrrrrBERT! What the hell are you doing down there?”

“Nothing Dear, just tinkering with a project.”

“Myeh, myeh, myeh, tinkering with a project,” she said in that mocking tone that made his flooglesang stand on end. “Why couldn’t you be like Edith Cohen’s husband Mort? He runs a successful accounting firm you know.”

Yeah, and he’s only one shaky step to suicide, Herbert thought.

“I should have married Chaim Rosenblatt like my father wanted. `Now there’s a real man,’ my father said, `nothing like that little worm Herbert’ he said, but did I listen? Nooo, I had….”

As her hateful, nasal, tirade bore on, wistful fantasies flickered through the amateur inventor’s anguished mind. Thoughts of the peace and tranquillity that slitting his throat might bring. Drowning is a peaceful way to die, Herbert had heard somewhere.

The verbal harangue continued as Herbert plodded on, intent on completing this, his greatest invention to date. “And another thing Chaim is rich, do you hear me, rich. When was the last time I had a decent dress, or went out to dinner? Why, I am ashamed to have my friends over to this dump…”

“Honeyblossom? Could you come down here for a minute,” he called over his shoulder as he finished up and replaced a spanner to its outlined space on the wall above his workbench.

He remembered when they were first married. She was so delightful and gay. He loved to take her dancing. She used to stand on his feet, like a little blork dancing with her daddy. Now as she hauled her ponderous bulk down the flight of stairs, stairs that didn’t creak so much as scream, he shuddered at the thought of her standing on his toes.

“What do you want? You know how I hate it down here. It’s so wet, and musty smelling. Did you fart? You’re a real prize you know that? Why if I…,”

“Just hold these a moment Dear,” he said as he placed a smooth metal rod in each of her hands.

“What the hell am I supposed to do with these? Shove them up your….”

“and place this on your head,” he continued, placing a gleaming metal cap atop her thinning hair.

“I went to the salon today….”

“Just a moment Snookums,” he said as he threw a switch and adjusted a dial. There was a sharp crack, and a stifled yelp from Mrs. Quigman. She glowed as if illuminated by the noonday sun. Suddenly, she was gone, leaving just the faintest scent of ozone and a fine ash as the two rods fell to the floor.

“Ahhh,” Herbert sighed, “That’s better.”

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