Ellen Black walked to the rear of the mobile home with a heavy basket of wet clothes. The most wanted girl in high school and she had foolishly attached her future to that of Bill [ Butch ] Black. A lazy,handsome man that lived for beer and football. Light bill late? It'll be O.K. Kids? No way. Saving money for a Harley he would never own. And the attentive , kind man from short years ago was now quick with his fists. As long as the targat was Ellen. Once she had earned a two week black eye for asking for ten dollars to buy hair dye.
Reaching the clothes line Ellen let the basket drop with a thud and arched her back to rid the kinks from carrying the load. That's when she first spotted it. A wounded or sick bat pulling it's self in a circle using it's wings as legs. Ellen screamed and ran to the small shed to the side of the trailer to fetch a shovel.
Opening the decrepit door to the shed she grabbed the first shovel she saw not buried in junk. Running back to the laundry, to perform her gruesome task, she saw that the bat had made away on it's own. She felt the fear from seeing the horrid animal subside but still wished she could have dispatched it. She should probably call animal control,just in case, but that would be asking for trouble if Butch found out. She could hear it now. Calling strangers to do my job? Not man enough for you Ellen? Then , if she were lucky, it would be a sharp slap and not a closed fist. Better to let the thing crawl into the brush and die on it's own.
Three hours later the sun and wind had done their jobs and the laundry was dry and blowing softly in the light breeze. Ellen grabbed one of Butch's Ts and sniffed it. Fresh. So no worries there. Now, speeding to finish, Ellen neatly removed the wooden laundry pins and refilled the basket with the clean ,sun fresh material. Now on to dinner.
While the water boiled for the egg noodles, Ellen dumped the clothes and sheets on the sofa and began to fold the towels while sneaking in the end of her favorite soap. Soaps were strictly forbidden as Butch proclaimed they were a training ground for snotty sluts who spent too much money and cheated on their husbands.
Butch walked in right on the money. Laundry put away and dinner, just finished ,and on the table. Without formalities he sat at his chair and started to dish out large portions on his plate. Then,large forkfuls of food would be stuffed into his mouth and swallowed with little or no chewing. " Hell of a day.Grab me a beer. I'm calling this one good."
Calling this one good meant Butch was off the clock and asking for help or getting in the way would just start a fight. Ellen thought about this and her life in general as she examined herself in the bathroom mirror. Thin,but shapely,an almost pretty face with full lips and lively blue eyes that went well with her light blonde hair. A few grey hairs would sneak in now and then but stress could cause that she thought. She may not be the most attractive woman in town but she was still young and if things fell the right way perhaps so would the right man.
Leaving the bathroom Ellen found Butch had left his crumpled beer can on the floor and was already in bed, a half empty beer on the night stand. Must be nice. Six hours on the job and already down for a nap.
Ellen cleaned up after the dinner and decided that a good sweeping of the carpets might be too loud and wake the sleeping beast and so after a light dusting and then putting her husbands clothes out for the next days short work day she took a long bath and day dreamed of if only...
Butch woke in a better than usual mood and after chugging milk from the jug started to dress. He always hummed,off key, to his favorite tune of the week as he shaved. Next he threw on his baggy overalls and finally he was ready for his boots, that Ellen would tie.
" Damn it all Ellen." Butch yelled out.
"What's wrong honey?" Ellen hoped Honey would keep his hands to himself.
" What's wrong? A staple or something just nicked my leg. Thought you washed the clothes."
" I did. Must have been something sharp that stuck in the fabric. Let me check."
Butch was already throwing his overalls to the floor. " I don't have all day for this. Grab my carpenter jeans. The old ones. And fix these overalls today if you can fit it in your busy schedule."
" Sure Butch. Sorry."
Dressed again Butch was in his truck and backing into the road. Ellen took the overalls to the back yard and suspecting there was no staple shook them until her little friend dropped to the ground. He seemed worse off today and a frothy,milky mess covered his mouth and nose. The thing hobbled in circles, it's right wing dragging to the side. Ellen picked up the shovel she had left in the yard and put the bat out of it's misery. How many days would it take, after a bite, to get in this shape. Not long.
Have a good day Butch,Ellen thought with a smile. Then she buried the bat with all due respect.