John Knoll

CROSS-CLEANERS

He: What do you hate the most?

She: (thinking)

He: Shopping at Wal-Mart? Driving rush hour traffic? Government bureaucracy?

She: Just shut up. Will you please shut up? I hate your patriarchal prompting. Like I can’t even think of what I hate without you prompting me.

He: So that’s what you hate the most?

She: What?

He: You hate me because I’m a man.

She: I didn’t say that.

He: Then what did you mean when you said you hate my patriarchal prompting?

She: You’re so screwed up. You know that?

He: You hate patriarchy more than anything. Admit it.

She: No, I hate housecleaning more than anything. I hate housework even more than I hate you. I could easily leave you, never see you sad ass face again, but housework is always there. Wherever I go, there it is. Dirt. Dog shit on the rug. Cat piss stains on the sofa. Dirty dishes, I hate it. Housecleaning never goes away. Never will. Never. Never. Never.

He: I’m sorry you feel that way.

She: You’re what? Don’t you patronize me. You son-of-a-bitch.

He: There you go with that feminist rap again. I’m not patronizing you. I’m just disagreeing with you because housecleaning is like sex to me. It’s getting your hands in forbidden places, like cleaning shit out of the toilet bowl and secretly taking off your rubber gloves.

She: You’re sick.

He: O come on now. You know I’m a liar. And I’d appreciate it if you would quit interrupting me.

She: I’m not interrupting you.

He: Yes you are.

She: O excuse me. Please go on. It’s just that I’m so literal. I didn’t realize you were speaking metaphorically.

He: Thank-you. You see housecleaning is like sex because it has to be done and afterwards I always feel so much better; so clean, so pure. In fact, in a lot of ways housecleaning is better than sex.

She: Then why don’t you do more housecleaning if it’s so god-damned sexy?

He: Because I’m repressed.

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