Published in Squalorly

The t-shirted man splayed on the couch physically objected to the timing of the commercial break. His marriage allowed him such fault findings; he would take them often. His wife was nearby in what passed for a study, listening to a country album, perusing a website that ontologically mimed an open bar at a wedding.

Their home was expansive but not well lit, a cave with a single fire.

Small comfort: the commercial was aggressive but short. In it a dimpled woman in a pink dress (the dress, a tank top yanked vertically, the woman, more damnation than grace, a genetic stranger to monkeys) protested the lackadaisical manner of her absent but likely overweight spouse. If only, she cried to God, palms upturned in supplication, if only my husband would remember to buy the damn milk at the grocery store!

She couldn't actually say damn; the word's tacky understudy implied its use.

"But wait!" said a Voice, and a golden exclamation mark spun like a flicked toothpick overtop her face, her face always on the television, the Voice always seeding from it, and the Voice explicated, "Well now he can! Introducing—"

The t-shirted man muted the narrative speed bump but nevertheless saw that the advert was promoting a temporary tattoo that stuck on the veiny inside of a man's wrist: in a jovial, untrustworthy font, the washable ink listed what to remember to purchase on food outings.

"Will you look at that," the t-shirted man said to nobody in particular.

Their home was one in a leafy neighborhood that curved in on itself with the logic of a vine. Wind chimes went unnoticed. Flash rounds clapped off television sets and hung limply on shut drapes. There was nothing unnatural about any of it.