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My Wife is an Animal


For Mitzi, my first wife, it started with a fox mask; the kind made for children that attach with a string of elastic behind the head; pointy ears and snout, holes cut for eyes. She wore it only in the bedroom to begin with; she was a relentless sexual adventurer, always looking for the next thing, with an enthusiasm for the novel and the bizarre. I played along at first; the feral abandonment it instilled in her excited me too. She was wild.

Soon I found her foraging scraps from the kitchen bin and she would become sleepy and introverted during the day, only really coming alive after dusk when she would don her mask and venture to the garden, squatting in the narrow space between the fence and the shed, sniffing the air, watchful and alert.

One cold autumn evening driving through the narrow, yellow-lit streets of London's suburbs, I did not see the quick, lithe figure as it darted heedlessly from the shadows. The impact jolted the steering wheel from my hands and I stopped to peer back at the busted, lifeless body. Kneeling in the gutter, I slipped off her fox mask and ran my fingers through Mitzi’s bloodied red-brown hair.

With Emmanuelle, wife number two, it was wildebeest. Don’t ask me why. She became skittish and wary, starting at the slightest movement, the merest sound. She let herself go. Her hair became unkempt and straggly. Coarse brown whiskers sprouted from her chin. Our sex life was non-existent. One day she ran from the house—I remember the driven, panicked look in her eye—and drowned trying to swim the river, swollen and turbid with spring rain.

Juliette, my third wife, held a particular fascination for seals. She loved their moist dark eyes; so full of innocence, she said. She insisted that I strip her and bind her legs together and her upper arms to her body, rolling her onto her front to wallow ungainly on the living room floor. I fed her sprats that she swallowed headfirst and whole. She taught herself to balance balls upon her nose. She would spend hours alone in the bath. I clubbed her to death.

My new wife Anastasia has lately developed an obsession with lobsters. She claims they mate for life, like seahorses. I don’t know about that. But I do know they are delicious, boiled alive, served with thermidor sauce.

First appeared in Lit 'n' Image, Summer 2009