The Smell of Revenge
September 15th, the day Linda Carter got revenge.
Seventy-five degrees, partly cloudy. Just out of the shower, Linda rushed down the walk, her purple robe gaping with every stride. The soles of her bunny slippers scrubbed the pavement. “Damn.” Her newspaper lay in the grass. “Again?” She marched across the tall grass with clenched fists. “I’m gonna kill that little twerp.”
The grass needed cutting- the first reason the neighbors hated her. The second – she didn’t belong in the ritzy subdivision for the rich and stupid. Linda, a secretary at a local college, stood out like a sore thumb in Cedar Hills’ lavish homes, expensive cars, and snobbish attitudes. Six months ago, Linda inherited the house after her mother’s death. Even with her inheritance, she struggled paying the bills. Without her mother’s constant insults and daft ideas on how Linda should conduct her life, Linda enjoyed peaceful days – except for complaining neighbors, the paper boy, her job—
“Shit!” Linda stopped two feet shy of the newspaper. The August sun beat down as her bunny slipper sunk into a large pile of dogshit. A gentle flower perfumed breeze changed quick. The digested dogfood assailed her nostrils. Anger outweighed nausea. Action overrode meek nature.
“Not today.” With one shoe on and one shoe off, Linda walked toward the back shed. The air, thick and hot, suffocated her. Sweat poured down her face and neck. The purple robe’s belt worked lose. “I’m tired of being treated like dirt.” Linda’s mind flashed to the promotion given to Don Willerby, the boss’ son. I get the work. He gets the money. Her bare front exposed, she entered the gate. It slammed behind her. Wood banging against wood. Pop! Pop! A noise loud enough to roust Simon, the black tom resting in the Mum bed.
“Damned neighbor dog.” Down the brick walk headed for the 10x14 shed her mother pained puce. Large breast bouncing to their own beat. Swinging arms. Rage rising with each step. “I told that woman to stop letting her dogs shit in my yard.” The woman of whom she spoke – Jackie Anderson. A slim, shapely blonde who lived next door, Jackie came from old money. She was rich. Her mother – rich. Her grandmother – rich. Great grandmother – rich. Her life, pure perfection. White roses stood along the iron gate. A well-manicured yard spread before a large, lavish house. The one-time Linda entered it, she was so uncomfortable, she couldn’t sit down hard. The front room was done in all white. “Grand,” Jackie said with pride, French manicured hands gesturing to each piece. White sofa, white rug, white coffee table. Pictures of her little one point five white kids rested in white frames.
Jackie walked her two white poodles around the neighborhood at six ‘clock each morning. Their noses point toward the sky like their shit don’t stink – like their master.
“Why should I have to clean up after them?” Linda said. When she opened the wooden door, her other bunny slipper lay on the brick walk behind her. A red handled shovel stood on the south wall between the pickaxe and the sledgehammer. “Tired o cleaning up after other people.” Linda snatched the shovel, tipping the sledgehammer and causing a domino effect. The sledgehammer went down knocking over the pickaxe knocking over the weed eater knocking over— By the time, the opened paint can fell and turned the shed floor white, Linda was on the driveway.
She stood over the pile with shovel in hand. Always cleaning up after others. Why should she clean up the pile? Maybe she shouldn’t. Her eyes fell to her bunny slipper. Only the tiny ears poked through brown mound. Maybe she should. Cleaning up dog shit…. Being passed over r promotions at work. How long would she be a doormat? With a grunt Linda jabbed the shovel underneath the pile and lifted. “It will go on as long as you let it,” Linda said staring at the large pile on the shovel. It was fresh. It stank. Linda thought she’d vomit before she reached Jackie’s front door. Two bumps on the wooden door.
Thump! Thump! The lock clicked. Half a turn of the knob. Jackie Lewis’ slim frame stood behind the partially opened door. “What the hell?” Jackie stared at Linda’s open robe.
“Good morning,” Linda said with a smile. The red handle chin level with Jackie.
“What…what….” Jackie’s voice trailed off. With wide eyes she stared at the pile. She placed a thin hand over her nose then took a step back. Linda took one forward. Jackie took another backwards and Linda another forward.
“I’ve asked you not to allow your dog to do this in my yard.” Linda stood in the spacious living room. Expensive paintings adorned the walls. A plush white rug lay in the center of the room.
“I tried to… I didn’t have a pooper scooper …I—”
“No problem.” Linda pushed past Jackie.
“What are you doing?”
“Returning what’s yours.” In one smooth motion Linda flipped the shovel. A firm shake. The pile landed on the white rug with a thud.
“My rug!” Jackie sank down to her knees with a small yip. “What have you done?”
Linda stepped out onto the porch closing the door behind her. Linda walked home swinging the red handle shovel merrily, from her right hand.
Katrina Byrd: "A Jackson, Mississippi native, I am a writer and playwright with an MA fin Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women. My most recent work appeared in Writing Workshops Dallas, Holl & Lane Literary Magazine and Bay St. Louis Little Theater. “I Put The F in Sex” is forthcoming in Limited Experience Journal."