Bad Capitalist

Reads: 137  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Darcy Ford has kept up her end of the American bargain, now it is her husband's turn.

Submitted: February 04, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 04, 2019

A A A

A A A


Darcy Ford was growing desperate. Her husband, Luis, hadn’t always been a bad capitalist, their basement was a testament to this, stuffed, as it was, full of boxes carrying the detritus of an average American life. In that damp cellar, they had preserved lightly used running shoes, remotes for devices they might no longer own, dangerous appliances, dusty photo albums, waterlogged magazines, and plates too ugly to use and too heavy to donate to the poor. But little had been added to his collection in recent years, thus Mrs. Lopez’s worry.

 

Darcy had kept up her end of the American bargain. Though retired, she still bought new clothes every few weeks and subscribed to magazines that she did not read. Luis, in contrast, had not bought anything but gas, food, and underwear for nearly a year. Worse, for several straight Christmases and at least 2 anniversaries he had requested nothing from either her or their children. At first, Darcy assumed that these were the playful declinations Luis had given to the children when they were young so that he could light up extra bright when presented with a macaroni sculpture or an ugly tie. But after that first Christmas, when the mug she bought Luis mysteriously disappeared from under the tree before it could be unwrapped, Darcy realized that this was a new kind of nothingness, a dark room of nothingness that she was afraid to enter. But, Mrs. Lopez was a resilient woman and a patriot, so she put on a brave face and doubled her own consumption to make up for her husband’s shortcomings, which worked for a little while, until Luis joined her in retirement.

 

Without work dragging him out of the house, Luis’s consumption plummeted. First he stopped buying gas, then he slowed his food intake, and finally, he began hand washing his delicates to preserve their useful lives. After a few weeks, he started hinting about selling the car, having grown fond of taking walks to soak in the sunshine and fresh air which, as he was fond of telling his neighbors, were free. 

 

Darcy spent most of her days at the mall with a rotating cast of girlfriends whose husbands were happy with the presents they brought home. She tried to mimic their purchases, but each polo shirt and novelty beer koozy she brought home disappeared as quickly and permanently as the mug. Darcy flirted with surrender, but when Luis mentioned starting a small organic farm in their backyard to feed the family, she grabbed the keys and sped straight to the nearest sporting goods store. There, she allowed a well-groomed salesman to upsell her on an expensive set of golf clubs which she presented to her husband by popping the trunk as he returned from his latest walk.

 

When Luis looked like he was about to decline her final gift, Darcy broke into sobs. She wept for her lost effort, her lost country, and an uncertain future which might very well be communist. And then a miracle occurred. Luis’s face softened, and he thanked her for her gift, rubbing the red leather of the golf bag the way one pets an unfamiliar Rottweiler. After a hug and a little prodding from his wife, Mr. Ford even agreed that golf was not so different from walking and he agreed to play a round the next week.

 

Having gotten a 9 iron-sized foothold in her husband’s life, Darcy sprang into action. She no longer asked what he wanted on gift-giving holidays and instead joined her girlfriends on lavish trips to the mall where she bought golf shoes, balls, tees, hats, novelty mugs, koozies, and ornaments inspired by his new hobby. Soon she got her children involved, and they pooled their money to buy Mr. Ford a trip to a famous course. One of her sons even bought his own set of clubs and played a few rounds with his dad.

 

Things went on like this for years, Luis pretending to like golf while his family happily supported his lie, until one day he learned that golf was a little more strenuous than walking. Stabbing pains in his shoulders and knees eventually forced him to his doctor’s office. There, he demonstrated his creaky backswing for his physician. His doctor’s first prescription was for Luis to get lessons, then, once he was finished laughing at his own joke, the doctor sent Mr. Ford to get an MRI. When Luis informed Darcy of this, she almost leaped out of her chair in the waiting room. As Luis moaned and rubbed his shoulder, Darcy imagined months of physical therapy and a medicine cabinet full of pills, each one a brick in the walkway towards a better future for the USA. 

 

She allowed herself one grin as she curled around the rear of their sedan. It had taken patience and a little luck, but she had turned her husband a good capitalist in the end.

 


© Copyright 2020 Ben Stearns. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

More Flash Fiction Short Stories