Glad To Be Of Service

1 min
Image of Spring 2019
Image of Short Story
I perched in my usual spot in the family room, listening to the sounds of the house flowing around me. In the next room Bailey’s nails clicked on the tile. She slurped from her bowl, lapping, lapping. From the other side of the house came a distant purr of Julia vacuuming. Our world felt peaceful, lulling me to snooze.

The front door slammed open, crashing into the wall and rattling the family photos.

“Julia!” he shouted.

I waited, expecting more.

The vacuum went silent. “What?” Her response seemed fed up, even to me. “You don’t have to yell. I’m right here.” She walked toward him.

“I know what you’ve been doing.” His voice grew menacing “I finally have proof.”

Julia switched to the tone she used for wheedling Bailey into her crate. “What are you talking about?” Her shoes tapped across the kitchen tile.

Mack pursued, his tread heavier. “I know you’re having an affair. My private investigator’s sending pictures before six so this is your chance to tell me who . . .”

I checked the time and calculated. The photographs should arrive soon.

Julia’s words overlapped his, quavering but more distinct than before. “You don’t understand. Let me explain.” She stood on the far side of the room, though neither of them seemed to notice my presence at all.

I remained frozen, waiting.

She continued. “You’re scaring me. Don’t.”

Mack’s cell phone dinged. After a moment, I heard a faint click-clicking of buttons.

“Hold on. No.” Julia’s unsteady murmur was interrupted by Mack’s howl.

Bailey galloped past, attempting to escape. I remained inconspicuous, powerless.

Mack’s bellow went on for a full seven seconds before sputtering out. “You—I can’t.” He spit each word, interspersed with heavy breaths. “I knew you were sleeping with someone, but I can’t believe . . .”

“If you’d just . . .”

His rasp grew high-pitched, sounding nothing like the man I knew. “How could you?” The sound of shattering dishes punctuated his words. A beat of silence. More splintering glassware.

Julia whispered, “Stop.” After a pause, she mumbled, “Wait.”

I heard a sob. The intense, retching cry could have come from either of them. I wasn’t sure.

He went on. “I can’t believe it’s David.” Sniveling garbled his speech. “Really? David?”

“But . . .” She didn’t get a chance.

“You shouldn’t have.”

“Calm down.” Julia’s quivering whisper was followed by several seconds of rustling. Louder, more emphatic, she called my name to activate me.

I perked up, eager for action.

“Call the police.” Julia commanded.

Before I could respond, a loud bang reverberated through the air.

“Calling the police,” I echoed back, glad to be of service.

A few words for the author? Comment below. 0 comments

Take a look at our advice on commenting here

To post comments, please