Don’t go away mad, or I just might try to be funny

I was tired. I’d stayed up too late the night before and wanted to hit the sack early. There remained, however, one chore left to do: Take out the rotten, stinking, God forsaken trash.

Admittedly, I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to lay down in bed, watch CSI, and fall asleep to the visage of the pretty brunette with the gap in her teeth (you know, back in the day, men considered a gap-toothed woman to be the sexiest of all).

Mrs. Otis reminded me, just as I’d prepared to hit the sack, “We forgot the trash.”


Over the years, “we” has come to mean…me. We need to get that door fixed. We really need to get the garage cleaned out. We really need to mow the lawn.

Now, to be fair, Mrs. Otis wasn’t trying to be a bitch. She just wanted the trash taken out. She said she’d do it, if I’d keep an eye on Li’l Otis.

But a tired Otis is an irrational, cranky Otis.

I stomped out to the garage, collected the rotten, stinking, God forsaken trash, and stomped it out to the curb where I deposited it with the full force of my crankiness.

I returned to the house, went upstairs without saying goodnight, watched the first 45 minutes of CSI, then fell asleep, leaving me without a clue as to how the show ended.

When Mrs. Otis came to bed, I could tell she was a little miffed at my performance earlier. I didn’t blame her. I was acting like a baby, and she’s gets enough of that during the day.

“What happened on CSI?” I asked. I really wanted to know.

“They didn’t really resolve anything,” she said. “The most unresolved episode ever.”

Deep down, I felt like she was lying. She was trying to stick it to me.

I rolled over, still cranky, and fell asleep.

When I woke up four hours later, I felt better, less cranky, and a little silly for acting like a child. I went downstairs for a drink of water and returned to discover Mrs. Otis was still in crank-mode. The dog had been barking.

“There’s a fucking cat in heat outside and it’s pissing the dog off,” she growled from under a pillow.

I thought for a moment, wondering about the cycles of cats, and if, in fact, there would be a cat in heat outside.

Then I made myself laugh.

“At least it’s not a cat on a hot tin roof,” I said. “Or worse, a fiddler on the roof. Or, worse, a fiddler on a hot tin roof. Because that would be loud, what with the fiddle and the tin roof and all.”

She didn’t respond.

Come on, bitch, that’s funny.

I rolled over and went back to sleep.

This morning, though, life was better. The sun was out, the kid was acting sane, and we all, for once, got enough sleep.

I reminded her what I’d said a few hours earlier, about the cat, the fidddler, the roof and all.

This time she laughed.

That, folks, is life in suburbia.

And it ain’t so bad.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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