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The Bath

The Bath

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Published by Scotty Milder
"It's very hot in here."
"It's very hot in here."

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Published by: Scotty Milder on Aug 24, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/16/2011

 
The Bath
By Scott Milder
Now.
It’s very hot in here.The last three bubbles come up and pop into the air and shethinks
three 
and then she hears the door open behind her.The oldest one, the one who looks most like he could have at onetime been her son, stands there, eyes wide,half in the door, halfout.He sees her, she sees him, and then she follows the dip of hisgaze as it traces the line of her arm into the bathtub and to whatshe is holding there.“What...” He starts.“Get in here. Shut the door.”He looks back up at her and doesn’t move.“What is wrong with...?”“Shut up!” She screams suddenly, surprising herself. “Just shutthe goddamn door and
get in here 
!”He flinches at the cut of her voice and his eyes bounce aroundlike two flies caught in a jar and she knows he knows. The finalclick just happened and he understands. It wouldn’t last long.“For God’s sake!” She cries, and her voice really is a sob.“Just get in here!”She reaches out to him and he tries to run.
Forward.
They’re talking about her on the radio.“... I just heard some crazy bitch drowned her five kids in thebathtub. Jesus can you believe that?”She looks at her watch, which her husband gave her for Christmas
1
 
last year and which the police didn’t take away from her. It says1:42. She started everything at 9:36. That was when she started tofill the bathtub. She counts back, does the math.Just over four hours. What started as her own private littleparadox is already a public circus, and this disembodied voicecoming through dashboard waves is
talking about me and he doesn’teven know me 
...“They’re taking her into custody now but I think we should skipany trial and just string the bitch up by her knockers, hey hey what do you say?...” Someone else, not the DJ, laughs.It was a rock station and they shouldn’t be talking at all,especially not about that. They should be playing music. The cop’seyes in the rear-view mirror bounce back at her and she wonders ifhe’s smiling.
Five 
? She thinks.
Three! Two of them weren’t even children
...But whatever little sane part of her is left deep down doesn’tlike that and wakes up and starts screaming at her. She starts tocry. Just a little.The cop looks at her. He clicks the radio off and makes a rightturn.“Hear that? You’re a celebrity now.” And he chuckles and sheknows he’s smiling.
Back.
The third cop, the young one, comes out of the bedroom and lookslike he wants to be sick.He looks at her quickly and looks away, his eyes wide andfalling like stars. His mouth twists a little and he hurriesoutside.The other one, the older one, sits across from her. Staring at
 
her. She refuses to look at him.Finally, he asks: “Do you mind if I go into the kitchen and geta glass of water?”This surprises her. “Sure. Go ahead. The glasses are in thecupboard just right of the microwave.” Her voice is very even andvery pleasant and it sounds like a jackhammer in her ears.He nods and stands. A few minutes later she hears the cupboardrattle and the faucet come on.He asked her. She is a murderer and he is a cop and still he
asked 
her. That didn’t seem right. She wonders what he thinks ofher.There’s a commotion outside. She hears two voices, raised, butshe can’t understand them. One she recognizes though and her heartshrivels. A few seconds later, banging on the back door. She turns around.Her husband stands there, looking in at her, mouth ferocious andteeth bright. The sun glows behind him, lending him heat. His skinlooks red and she wonders for a second if he’s having a heartattack.“How could you do this!” He screams at her. His voice cracks onthe word “you.” “How! What were you thinking you bitch youhorrible bitch...!”The older cop’s back in the living room now, a half-empty glassin his hand. It’s tipped, and he’s spilling water on the carpetand not noticing. She thinks of saying something and then decidesit doesn’t matter.“Jesus, get him the fuck out of here!” The cop yells and shehears the slap slap of booted feet coming up behind her husband.“You bitch!” He’s still screaming and it’s not even his voiceany more and she wonders if he knows that. Spit flies and drips

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