“Well, slap mah ass and call me Clementine,” the jaded copy editor said aloud to no one. The Chicago office was dark and she was no doubt the last in the building for the night, so she let her slaphappiness free.
The jaded copy editor had just finished an editing marathon on an upcoming, southern gothic novel for a new client. Although breaking her record of pages finished in one day pleased her, the southern colloquialisms had infested her delirious, sleep-deprived brain.
She took a whiz. While washing her hands, the jaded copy editor glanced at the clock above the mirror. “Butter mah bosoms and call me a biscuit,” she said to her reflection, delighted to find she still had plenty of time to spare before she had to pick up her son from her ex at the pick-up spot she and Him had agreed on.
She’d made a point not to keep Him waiting. “Best be early; if Him ain’t happy, ain’t no one gone be happy.”
What is wrong with you? You’re from the mid-west for christ’s sake, an inner-voice said. Give it a rest.
The tightness had faded to a minimum over time, the tightness she got when having to be in the vicinity of Him. The jaded copy editor had practiced non-reaction for so long that Him couldn’t bother her anymore. Her feeler that feeled feelings could no longer feel. Hallelujah. It was liberating.
“Boy, I sure was up a holler,” the jaded copy editor said on the drive, still unable to stop herself from sounding like she’d just stepped off the porch of a plantation estate in Alabama. She’d impressed herself in getting out from under the stack of work she’d begun the week with.
The exchange of their son, this time around, was uneventful. Him only made a couple underhanded comments disguised as consideration.
“Don’t pee on mah leg and tell me it’s raining,” the jaded copy editor whispered in response to Him’s passive-aggressive pettiness out of earshot.
He’s such a vile douche nugget, the inner-voice said of Him.
Her son was overtired as well when they got back to the jaded copy editor’s apartment. The five-year-old threw a tantrum because she’d given him ‘the wrong straw color’ in his apple juice. Then he melted down because she told him no, he wasn’t allowed to play with her nail polish.
“Get your outta my bitch stupid house!” the delirious boy screamed at his mother.
The jaded copy editor cocked her head. She stared at her son. This was a first.
What kind of monster had we created? This had to be Him’s influence.
There’s really no point now in telling your son to mind his manners, the inner-voice said.
After pausing a moment, the echo of her son’s exclamation gigglified the jaded copy editor.
“You’re never going to get anywhere in life speaking to anyone like that,” she said to her son. “You’re going to have to be much more creative! And what is up with that grammar, dude? That’s liable to get you laughed out of a room, buddy.”
The confused boy said nothing.
“Don’t worry, we’ll work on it. I mean, we’re going to have to, right? No one would ever be able to take an insult like that seriously.”
Her son’s tantrum was silenced for good then.
“Twern’t no devils ever bothered by no sack o’ feathers, sonny boy,” the jaded copy editor said.