Tinker (a #31ShortHorrors tale)

Marva’s fingertips trailed over the drawer fronts on the plastic cabinets that held her husband’s screws, nails, bolts, nuts, and other assorted bits. The wirecutters were hanging on the pegboard next to the ball peen hammer, under the regular hammer. A chalk outline traced where each tool should hang correctly.

She hosed the pegboard down and watched the water drip drip in a trail to the drain cover in the center of the smooth garage floor. Lining the garage walls were orderly sets of cabinets, countertops, and shelving, a chef’s dream kitchen, if said chef whipped up repaired Ferraris or Baby Benzs for dessert each night. A place for everything, and everything in its place.


A tilt of her head, the whir of an electric motor, the flick of an outside light. Marva raced out a side door and into her own kitchen.

Mickey was at the kitchen table working on his times tables. Mona was practicing a spelling list. The twins worked quietly, mouthing answers to themselves. Then, on an invisible cue, they traded schoolwork. Halving their homework time was a system they developed and perfected throughout second grade; now in third grade, they were masters of efficiency. Marva kissed the top of Mona’s blonde hair and gave Mickey a playful tug on the earlobe as she rushed to turn off the oven.

The roast was burnt. Charred. Dead. No longer alive. Not edible to even Eddie the Great Dane. He whimpered and lumbered back to his cushy bed near Mickey’s feet. The side door clicked and everyone jumped. Even Eddie.

“Honey, you’re home early!” Marva sang.

“What’s that goddawful – what the HELL, Marva? I just fixed that oven!” he snarled.

“Yes, I didn’t realize you’d fixed it,” Marva whispered. “I had used it on the old settings.”

The family sat in stony silence around the gleaming mahogany dining room table. Mickey and Mona ate two rolls each and picked at their vegetables. Their dad smirked at the meat as he ate four rolls and the rest of the cheesy broccoli. Marva pushed broccoli around her plate. Eddie lay at her feet in solidarity.

“Why don’t you have some roast, Mother?” her husband sneered.

“Afraid I don’t have much of an appetite,” she answered, her voice catching.

“Oh? You haven’t even TRIED IT,” he roared, rising from his chair and crossing the space between them in three strides. He slide the platter of blackness across the table, knocking Marva’s own plate on the floor. The platter skidded to a halt and the grease at the bottom took more time halting, stopping only at Marva’s blouse. She gasped.

He put his hand on the back of her head. “Kids, what do we always say about food we’re unfamiliar with?” his wide false grin aimed at the children.

“Try it, you might like it,” they answered in robotic monotone, staring into their plates.

“Yes, DEAR. TRY IT, you might LIKE it,” Father demanded. He shoved Marva’s face down onto the sharp, solid roast. She’d gulped air like she was ready to deep-sea dive, but he pounded it out of her. Again and again, he crashed her head into the roast. She felt the blood drip drip down her face before she felt her skin split open under her eyelid, across and under her nose, and just under her eyebrow. Her lip split open, the upper frenulum slit, black char lined her teeth and flaked off her skin in bits. Loud explosions of light, blue, green red, then purple, covered her vision. Three, four, eight, finally, times he slammed her head into the roast.

The meat, finally tenderized, lay in three large, solid chunks on the china platter, which was split in half. Marva had fainted sometime between blows three and six. When Father let go of her head, she fell like a sack of potatoes out of the chair. Eddie whined and licked her face. The children’s tears drip dripped down their cheeks, off the tips of their chins.

“Dismissed,” Father panted. Mickey and Mona bolted from their highbacked dining chairs and ran hand in hand up the center hallway stairs.

Another Christmas, another family photograph missing Marva. Another extra Rubbermaid barrel at the curbside, ostensibly filled with wrapping paper and boxes and frustration-free packaging. This year the raccoons snatched at the lid. Neighborhood dogs whined at it, knocked it over. The garbage men cursed the house and the scattered ceramic shards that lay about the overturned barrel when they arrived.

New Year’s Eve. A chance to start again. A chance to get everything right.

Marva stood gingerly, leaned against her bed, finding her balance. Sitter booked, check. Pizza ordered, check. She walked slowly to her closet, a hand on the wall for balance. The door slid open, and she pulled out a heavy clothes hanger covered in plastic, and a pink shoe box from the upper shelf. The plastic lifted up and over, floated to the carpet. She spread the dress out on the divet.

Siren red, strapless, sweetheart neckline, red sequins everywhere, a shower of them cascading between the bust. Marva took a long, hot shower, placed cool gel packs on her eyes, and dried her hair. Theatre makeup tonight.

She checked her form in the mirror. Veronica Lake curl. Purple full length gloves. Red stilettos. Dress down to there, slit up to there.

Ready for a fresh start. She spritzed on Chanel No 5 and carefully went downstairs to answer the door.

The pizza guy’s eyes nearly fell out of his head but popped right back into focus with his hundred dollar tip.

The sitter, “Va va VOOM Mrs. O! Lookit YOU! Ready to paint the town red!” the teenager squealed. The children chimed in.

“Ok now kids, be good for Stacy, hm? You can watch the ball drop but then it’s straight to bed!” she smiled and kissed the tops of their heads. “Remember, Mommy loves you more than life itself. Happy New Year!” and Marva fell into her kids’ group hug.

Stilettoes on the concrete, tap tap tap. Fingernails on the workshop window, tap tap tap. Knuckles on the workshop door, rap rap rap.

Her husband’s eyes, wide.

“I, I didn’t make plans, tonight… I thought you were still…” he stuttered.

“Recovering?” she purred. “I’m feeling much better now.” She trailed her gloved fingers from his white starched shirt collar down to his belt. “I thought maybe we could stay in?” she whispered. “Have our own little … celebration?”

“Um, sure, ok,” he mumbled. “Let me just wash my hands, I was…”

“Tinkering,” Marva finished for him.

“Yeah,” he said weakly, and vanished to the shadows.

A faucet on, then off, drip drip.

He walked back to the middle of the shop floor, to the drain. The lights dimmed, then out, click click.

“Honey?” he called out to the darkness.

Hands on his shoulders, she was behind him, kneading his neck, the tops of his arms, all the way down to his wrists. She pulled them slowly, massaging his palms, until zip pop, the zip tie was in place.

A kitchen chair banged at the backs of his knees. He as obliged, due his lack of balance, to sit down. Zip pop zip pop, two more zip ties around his ankles, to the chair.

“Honey, what is this?” he called weakly.

“Hmmm. What is this, indeed?” she answered from the darkness. A fluorescent shop light trained on the top of his head, pointed out where exactly his hair was thinning. Sweat from his temples, drip drip.

She sauntered from the shadows. The electric door opener was in her hand. She stood next to him and aimed it at the door. It rose, smooth and quiet as silk. His Lamborghini parked just outside.

Marva placed the remote starter in her husband’s right hand. “Go ahead,” she spoke gently, “try it.”

Click click.


Red, orange, yellow enveloped his face as he watched his favorite and best toy blasted to shards.

“Oops. I must have forgotten to tell you I fixed it,” Marva purred. “You should have used the new settings. One click, not two.”

“Bu bu but you didn’t TELL me!” he gasped. She smiled, touched her cheek, still visibly swollen.

She stood before him, ripped his shirt open at the buttons. Removed her gloves in one long, languid move after another, draped them over his shoulders. He could smell her. She lowered the garage door click click.

He looked her over, hair to stiletto. Eye caught on the slit in her dress, where it stopped at her hip. She watched him watch her.

“Remember the last time we made love?” she purred, bent over at the waist before him. He stared at her cleavage and nodded. “And remember what you did that you said you were certain I would enjoy?”

His face darkened. Her doctor had had a lot of statements about safe words and biting and how one shouldn’t bite one’s spouse’s nipples off.

Marva held the wirecutters in her hand now. She moved toward him, straddled his thighs, and settled down on his lap, slowly. As she moved, her dress didn’t keep up, and what would have been a nip-slip ended up as a smooth, bald breast slip, the light brown of her areola above her dress, no nub to top it. Marva rotated her hips on her husband’s lap, felt him harden beneath her crotch.

“I’m certain you will like this, it’s all the rage in the newest clubs,” she purred, “and it won’t it be nice for us to be married, a truly matching pair?”

She pressed the cold metal of the wire cutters to his chest with one hand, unbuckled, unbuttoned, and unzipped his trousers with the other. Released his hard cock from his boxers. “It’s been so long, I’m not sure I remember how to do this,” she whispered as she rose up.

His breath trembled.

She sank down on him and as she did, the blood ran drip drip down his front, into her dress and he cried out in pain, agony, ecstasy as she rode him and cut, every so slightly, a million tiny slits, until his nipple hung by a slender strip of skin.

She sat still on him, letting him rest, not letting him cum. She bent down, took the nub between her teeth, and pulled, spit it into the darkness of the garage. He opened his eyes, whimpered, looked down at her now-rotating hips and groaned. As he got closer, she snipped and cut and slit again, with the same result.

As she spit the second nipple across the room, she raised herself up off of his dick and looked at him. Blood poured down his front, over his trousers, onto the floor. His turgid, purple prick aimed skyward like a beacon. His red, blotchy, sweaty head lolled to one side. She disappeared tap tap into the darkness and then reappeared with one hand behind her back.

Marva slapped him hard. “Wake up, you bastard. Wake the fuck up.” He came to, and watched her wrap one cold hand around his flagging dick. She pumped, and he whimpered, “Please don’t.”

“Why not? Do you really mean you don’t like this? I was sure you would like it. As sure as you were sure that I would like it so many times.” She pumped faster and his dick got longer, harder, the veins stuck out.

“Please don’t, I don’t want this, you can’t do this,” he panted.

“I can tell from the way you’re breathing you must like it. Otherwise your cock wouldn’t be hard,” she said, words ice in his spine. “You know you want it, you know it feels good baby, just give in to it.”

She pumped him harder, kneeled down between his knees, her face inches from his cock, the heat of her tongue on the wet head of it. His hips bucked and his balls tightened, he felt the cum surging forth, and he cried out as the pipecutter closed around the based of his turgid dick and clack clack closed. In one motion, she stood, tossed the pipe cutter on the concrete floor (clang clang), and dangled his still spasming penis in front of his face.

“You know you loved it, otherwise you wouldn’t be breathing that hard.”

Drip drip down the garage floor drain. Thump thump, the bag into the trunk of the car. Splish splash, into the ocean. Chomp chomp, the Northern Great Whites had a surprise midnight snack off the coast of Cape Cod.



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