It was one thing to be lazy, but another thing entirely to boast about it. Isn't that what she was doing? Lying there in the den, pretending to sleep, a toddler fence surrounding the couch, a black-inked sign on white paper reading, "Do not disturb"?
Maybe it wasn’t boasting. Maybe it was more a passive-aggressive slap-in-the-face, if one could indeed slap anyone passively. If it were possible, Sherry was certainly accomplishing it.
“Get the hell up,” Marigold snapped. “Some of us have to vacuum.”
“I said get up.”
“I’m not stopping your vacuum,” Sherry mumbled.
She rolled over, pieces of long, red hair sticking to her open mouth. The rest clung to the back of her emerald school sweatshirt.
“Your FENCE,” Marigold said, ripping it off the floor, causing it to fold in on itself, “is in the WAY!”
She dropped the sandwiched barrier on the floor.
Sherry opened one green eye, then closed it.
Marigold felt spit gather on the back of her tongue, ready to spew out like venom with her next words.
“You don’t look so good,” he said, taking a gulp from the glass of soda she had poured him.
“You have no idea what I go through,” Marigold said. “Do you know how much work I do here? And what does she do? NOTHING. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.”
“I get the idea.”
“No, you don’t because there is nothing to get because she doesn’t do a goddamned thing!”
“You just need to relax,” he said. “Stop worrying about cleaning and the house and the whatever else. You’re going to make yourself old and zitty.”
“I’m already old—too old for zits.”
“Hey, I’m just trying to give you some advice is all.”
“And what do you think is going to happen when Zed comes home with Zack? What are they going to think?”
“I guess they’ll think you have a lazy daughter.”
“Dammit!” She slammed her fist on the table. “We’ve lived here together, what? Five months? And how many times have they seen her do anything other than lounge around, play computer games or talk on the phone? She does nothing. Then she goes out to god knows where and does god knows what and then comes home and does the same thing. Nothing.”
“Well, what are you going to do about it?”
“So….what have you been up to?”
“Oh, nothing much. Did you guys have fun?”
“Yeah, we did. How’s Sherry?”
Zack appeared at the top of the stairs.
His mouth looked full, like he was about to vomit.
“Dad, she’s disgusting! There’s no way I’m gonna live here with this shit!”
“Zack…language. What’s the matter?”
“Go see for yourself.”
There they were.
Zed, Zack, Marigold—staring.
Sherry—naked, asleep on the couch, on her back, white boobs flopping.
“Do not disturb” read the sign Scotch-taped to her pubic hair.
The household found these repulsive goings on completely unendurable.