My Funny Honey
Where was I last night? Nobody needs to know. I could have been home, curled up on the sofa- mug of tea in one hand, remote in the other- but I wasn’t. Perhaps I was intoxicated, lips locked with the waiter from the Mexican bar down the street. No. If that were the case you would still smell the tequila reeking on my breath this morning. Maybe, I spent my time at a friend’s, watching Chicago. No. If that were the case, I would still be humming the Cell Block Tango, right now. Where I was last night was far more interesting, far more shocking… but nobody needs to know, not even you.
Tony and I met a year ago. I sat in that café, Steamy Mugs, with the blue leather seats, one Thursday afternoon. After a dull day at the call centre, I stared into my cappuccino, making shapes in the cream with my spoon. I wanted a man in my life, not just any man, he had to tick all my boxes. He had to drive, have a job that required a suit or an authoritative uniform, be in good shape, be from a good home and of course, he had to want to get married. I used to sit, in Steamy Mugs, on the blue leather seats, every Thursday afternoon- that’s how I know I met Tony on a Thursday. I watched the men come and go, trying to find Mr Box-Ticker, but none of them were right. I could tell just by looking at the men that they weren’t right. Sometimes the right one would appear, but unfortunately, he was always accompanied by a cheap looking tart.
That Thursday, I was pondering bitterly over one particular man who was particularly perfect, but as usual, already taken. He and his crooked-nosed woman only stayed briefly, getting her ‘skinny latte’ to go. No wonder she was so disgracefully thin, disappearing when she turned sideways. I on the other hand, am voluptuous, it takes a woman with some breasts to properly handle a man like that. The rays of sun were no longer splattered around the café, instead the sky was warming to a rosy orange, as dusk made its advent. About to pack up for the day, I put on one last dash of my Cherry Rouge lipstick (in case I met my dream man on the journey home) then Tony walked in. His dark hair was ruffled, in a sweet ‘I’m fatigued after a long day at the office’ kind of style. He sat down at a table directly next to mine, loosening his tie. He began pulling out various things from his pockets. First his car keys. Check. Then a gym membership card. Check. Then finally a bank note.
Tony ordered an espresso. He was very polite to the waiter- he was from a good home. Check. ‘This is it, Cindy,’ I thought to myself, ‘this is your man, the one we have waited for all these Thursdays.’ I played coy, tucking one of my auburn curls behind my ear. Tony and I were the only customers left in the café. My spoon very purposely by accident jumped from my fingers. Immediately, Tony bent down to pick it up and handed it to me. I fluttered a sweet smile in response- one like Roxie Hart would have given the reporters. Of course, he couldn’t resist and by the end of our evening chatting, he had basically proclaimed his love for me. Well, not quite, but I knew he would when I was finished with him.
Things were going perfectly. Tony was everything I had planned. I had somebody to make my coffee for me, I didn’t need to go to Steamy Mugs. On our first date he took me to go and see Chicago. Tony told me I would have made a much better Roxie. ‘You don’t need to tell me that, my funny honey,’ I thought to myself, ‘I’ve been playing Roxie my entire life- minus the blonde hair.’
After six months Tony and I moved in together, into his little house in Elmbridge- next to a small stream. At first everything was wonderful. Tony talked of marrying me. ‘Cindy Callahan, my ivory skinned rose,’ he cooed, ‘I want to marry you one day, I want you to be, Mrs Cindy Taunton.’ Ecstatic, I phoned my mother, who did not share my joy, to say the least.
‘He won’t marry you, Cindy, darling, they never do.’
‘Mother he’s not like daddy, he’s not a drunkard, he wears a suit, he drives.’
I sensed her wince at the mention of my father. She put an end to our phone call. She wasn’t going to get me down. What did she know? Bitter old hag.
Ten Thursdays passed and Tony still hadn’t proposed. I began to grow impatient as my mother’s warning rang in my ears. Tony started working late. On the rare occasion that he finished before six, he spent the evening fussing over his mother on the phone. On such nights, if I heard him arriving home early, I would dart over and unplug the landline. The old cow didn’t know how to work a phone and only knew how to use the speed dial Tony had set up for her. She didn’t even have his mobile number- thank goodness.
‘Your mother phoned this afternoon,’ I would inform him, ‘she’s going to bed early so don’t call her.’
‘My mother takes all these early nights, but never remembers taking them. Her memory is getting worse,’ he replied, ‘she persists in telling me that the phone isn’t working when she calls, I’m worried about her. She’s never been good with technology.’
‘Hopefully that means she’s on her last legs,’ I muttered.
‘Nothing, Tony dear, I said you must be tired, take a seat, rest your legs.’
Tony’s lack of haste with proposing, combined with his frequent late nights working, began to irritate me. As the weeks went by his aggravating living habits became more and more visible. First, I noticed the dustings of bristles coating the sink after he shaved. I still loved him though- didn’t I? I must have because Tony was supposed to be my Mr Box-Ticker, my funny honey. Although, when my trips to the toilet became incredibly uncomfortable, because Tony was incapable of putting the seat down, I began to lose my patience.
Gradually, I was reminded of the frustrations of living with a man. Reminded of the empty promises they speak but never keep- sixteen Thursdays had gone past and he had still not proposed. I know because I counted. Tony never listened. I tried to tell him but he never listened. He never washed the bristles away and he never put the seat down. The dirty washing, how could I forget about the dirty washing? Was it so hard for him to lift the lid of the washing basket and place the clothes inside, rather than throwing them on the top? ‘Cindy,’ I told myself, ‘keep your cool. So much work has gone into Tony he has to be perfect. We wouldn’t want to do something we would regret now, would we?’
Then the arguments started. He got comfortable you see. He began to answer back. I tried to remind him of how much I loved him, how much he had to co-operate, because he was the one. It was the twentieth Thursday and I made dinner for us both: lasagne with garlic bread. Garlic bread was Tony’s favourite. I slipped into my silver dress- the one with the tassels round the bottom. Tony stumbled home rancid with booze and a yellow stain down his shirt. He sat slumped across the table whilst I tried to speak to him about my day working at the call centre. He stared, mouth open, like a stunned fish while I spoke. If you’d have been there! If you’d have seen it!
‘What did I just say?’ I screeched, slamming my fist on the table. The cutlery shuddered.
Tony shrugged his shoulders and my head fell into my hands. He shovelled lasagne into his mouth and chewed unbearably loudly. I ground my teeth and clenched my fists in an effort not to lean across the table and strangle him with his tie. What? A person can dream can’t they? You don’t think I would actually do it do you? If I did though, he had it coming.
Flinging my chair backwards, I stormed to the kitchen. Furiously, I began washing up. I was just drying the knife I used to slice the garlic bread, when Tony tumbled into the doorway. He began murmuring something about his mother and I continued to dry. I rubbed the chequered tea-towel over the glistening knife edge. Sweat was beading under my curled fingers as I gripped the handle. Tony was still talking about his mother. I turned to him, lunged forward and he fell into my knife. He fell into my knife six times.
I carried on drying the knife- wiping off the blood stains. The imaginary blood stains, I didn’t do it, but if I did, he had it coming. It was a nice thought while it lasted. I laid the knife on the marble countertop and barged past Tony, up the stairs to the bathroom. Leaning over the sink I shut my eyes and began to splash my face with water. When I opened my eyes, there they were. The bristles. The disgusting, tiny bristles scattered all over the bathroom sink!
Trembling, I opened the door and there he stood, balancing at the top of the stairs. ‘Cindy,’ I thought to myself, ‘those stairs are pretty steep, better make sure Tony doesn’t purposely by accident fall down them.’
‘Where is my ring?’ I screamed, diving towards him. I could have felt the thud of his chest hit my palms and vibrate through me. His drunken body would have flown down those stairs. I would have stood at the top, the frustration leaving me, as I stared down at his limp body. I could have skipped down to where he lay and glanced at his drooping face, the blood seeping out from behind his ruffled hair. After nudging him a little with my foot I would have decided he was definitely dead.
I would have left it a few hours, until I had the concealment of the night, before I dragged the body down to the stream. It would have been an awful struggle to drag it down to the stream (I’m guessing). Then, I could skip back home, free in the knowledge that I could return to Steamy Mugs, with the blue leather seats, on Thursday afternoons, to find a new Mr Box-Ticker. Before going to bed I’d have to get rid of the blood stains.
I didn’t do it, but if I had, he would have had it coming.
As I turned off the lamp and lay my head on the pillow, I thought about how I viewed Tony somehow differently now. The next morning I awoke with a startle. Somebody was knocking at the front door. I rolled out of bed and grabbed my dressing gown. I hopped down the stairs and smoothed my hair a little before opening the door. On the other side stood a regretful looking police officer.
‘Miss Callahan,’ he nodded gravely, ‘I am afraid to report we have found a body which we believe is that of your partner, Tony Taunton, he was found down by the stream with a suspicious head injury. We need to try and establish a picture of Tony’s last movements- where were you last night?’
‘Officer!’ I gasped, pulling the most shocked of all faces, ‘how could this be? Last night? Well… I was at home, curled up on the sofa- mug of tea in one hand and remote in the other.’ I loosened my dressing gown a little to reveal the top of my breasts- after all, suits look good, but I love a man in uniform.