At Susan’s house, Susan and Laura were having lunch in the dining room.
“You know, Laura, I love Chad, but sometimes I feel cheated when I look at him. Not that he’s cheating on me, but, like, there’s something missing.”
“I know exactly what you mean. When I see Ralph and his friends playing video games and laughing at fart jokes, I wonder how our species survived this long.”
Susan laughed. “I know! I can’t see either of them facing down a lion, or hunting a woolly mammoth. A pizza, maybe.”
Laura laughed. “Definitely a pizza, but not a lion or a tiger.”
“I wonder what it would be like to have a real man?”
“Yeah, me too.”
Susan tilted her head slightly to one side. She gazed off into the distance, and her daydream began.
Susan was on the couch, working on a list. Chad came home. This version of Chad was much more masculine and intense than the version with which Susan was familiar. Susan stood up.
“Chad, I've got a list of things I need you to do this weekend. I -”
Chad ripped the note out of her hand, crumpled the paper up, then threw it on the floor.
“I just walked into the house. Where's my beer?”
Susan was surprised. “What? Who do you think -”
Chad backhanded Susan across the face, knocking her backward onto the sofa. One whole side of her face throbbed with pain. She put her hand on her battered cheek and she looked up at Chad. She was shocked. Chad looked like a dangerous animal ready to rip her apart.
“I can’t what?” asked Chad menacingly.
Susan shook her head. She was so surprised by Chad’s behavior that she didn’t know what to say. She slowly got up and walked towards the kitchen.
“Pick up your trash!” shouted Chad.
Susan turned around, confused. Chad pointed to the crumpled paper on the floor. Susan came back and picked it up, then went to the kitchen.
Susan tossed the trash into the trash can. Her shock gradually metamorphosed into fury. How dare he treat her like that?
On the counter by the fridge she spotted the knife block. It was full of long, sharp knives. She got a bottle of beer out of the refrigerator, then closed the refrigerator door. She pulled one of the knives out of the block. It had a rounded blade that came to a sharp point. She walked back to the living room, holding the bottle of beer in front of her and the knife behind her back. She had never been so mad in all her life.
There were two recliners. Chad was sitting in the larger one. Susan handed Chad the beer.
Chad took it, but he kept a wary eye on her. “What’s behind your back?”
Chad put the beer down on the table by his chair, and he stood up. He had the face of a hunter.
He grabbed her knife arm. She hit his arm with her free hand, but it had no effect. He pulled her arm out from behind her back and twisted her wrist until she dropped the knife.
“You think that hurt? That's nothing.”
Chad forced Susan’s arm behind her back, then sat down and forced her over his knee. He began spanking her roughly.
“Ow! Stop! You can’t do this to me!”
“My house, my rules! I decide what I can and can't do! Your place is to do what you're told! Do you understand that?”
Susan started crying. “No! I have rights! You can’t treat me like this!”
Chad stood up, forcing Susan to stand up with him.
“Apparently there's some confusion as to who's in charge. We're going to go to the bedroom and settle this right now.”
“No, Chad! Don't do this!”
Chad kept Susan's arm behind her back. He forced her out of the living room and towards the bedroom.
Susan came out of her daydream, visibly disturbed. She looked at Laura, who was still picturing what her own life would be like with an undomesticated man.
Laura imagined herself at home in her living room. She was looking forward to a night on the town, and she was dressed nicely. She was waiting for Ralph so they could go together. She checked her appearance in a mirror on the wall by the front door, then she looked at her watch. She heard the sound of a key in the front door. She stepped back from the door. Ralph entered, pushing a teenage girl in front of him. The primal version of Ralph was stronger and fiercer looking than real-world Ralph. The teenage girl ran to a corner of the living room and squatted down, trembling from fear.
“Who is that?” asked Laura.
Ralph stared at her. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
“I want to go out tonight. I thought we could go together. Who is that girl?”
“She's mine now. The guys and I raided the next town. There's some more loot in the car. You and the girl can unload it later.”
“You can't just bring a girl in here to live! I won't allow it!”
Ralph laughed. “That was funny.” He laughed again. “You think you’re the boss. That’s so cute.” He shook his head. “Now get out of those ridiculous clothes and fix my dinner. I'm going to take the new girl to the bedroom.”
“I'm not fixing your dinner. I'm going out, and I'm going to take this girl back to her family.”
“You think so?”
Ralph was out of patience. He angrily grabbed Laura by her arm. He pulled her to the front door, opened the door, and pushed her out. He followed her onto the front lawn.
“What are you doing?” asked Laura, started to feel frightened.
“I'm throwing you out. You want to have things your way, good luck. I've already got your replacement inside.”
“You can't do this to me!”
“I just did.”
Two guys came running over from the other side of the street. Laura looked smugly at her husband. The cavalry were arriving. Now Ralph would be forced to do what Laura wanted.
“Hey! What's going on here?” said the first guy.
Ralph said, “We just broke up. She wants to make her own decisions.”
“So you don't mind if we take her?” the second guy asked.
Laura was shocked. “What?!”
“She's all yours,” said Ralph.
Each of the two guys grabbed Laura by an arm, and they began pulling her toward the street.
“Ralph! No! You can't let them take me!”
“You think I'm going to risk my body defending you, and you're not even going to do what you're told? Sorry, babe. It doesn't work that way.”
Ralph waved good-bye to Laura, then went into the house and closed the door. The two guys dragged Laura to the sidewalk, and pulled her down the street.
Laura screamed for help, but no one came to save her.
Laura came out of her daydream. Susan could see that Laura’s daydream hadn’t been any more pleasant than her own.
Susan said, “You know, our guys are actually pretty good, aren’t they?”
“Absolutely,” agreed Laura. “I never said they were bad.”
“No, you didn't. Neither did I.”
“That's right, that's right. Um, so, what do you want to do now?”
“Shopping?” suggested Susan.
“Perfect! I need some fresh air.”
Laura collected the dirty plates and glasses, and Susan wiped the table with a clean napkin. The two women then left for an afternoon of cathartic shopping.
Copyright 2018 Mark James Wooding
Cover art copyright 2018 Samantha Rose Wooding