If you are a member of my family, under the age of 18 or religious, suffer from heart fibrillations, spina bifida, scabies, arachnophobia or some other condition that might cause you to keel over if you’ve had a fright, STOP READING NOW.
Seriously. You WILL regret it if you don’t. Like, excuse me while I wash my brain in a warm bleach bath and gouge my eyes out with forks to get rid of the images, kind of regret.
You have been warned.
I’m good at cleaning the kitchen. I have a knack for getting all the nooks and crannies sparkling, spanky clean. (Except the damn oven. That thing is so black and filthy that I set off the smoke detector every time I try to bake some goddamn pizza rolls.) Someone once asked me how I got so good at cleaning the kitchen, and I kind of cocked my head to the side and looked at her like, DUH. I fucking invented cleaning the kitchen.
Practice makes perfect, darling.
Red is a fan of the way I clean the kitchen. In that respect, our relationship with clean kitchens has never been a “lie back and think of England” type of thing. I do most of the cleaning, but every once in a while, Red has been known to throw an odd plate or two into the dishwasher, start it, and then wait for me to pet his head and praise him for a job well done.
I used to enjoy cleaning the kitchen. It made me feel grown up and vaguely Stepford-ish, like I should wear pearls and red high heels and a frilly apron while I cleaned the rest of the house. I used to clean the kitchen top to bottom three or four times a week. Sometimes more than once a day. But then I wised up and realized a clean kitchen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies Home Journal fucking lied, y’all.
Suddenly, cleaning the kitchen became another chore on my ever expanding, never finished because there’s not enough time in the day to-do list. Sure, I still did it, but sometimes it took a cocktail or three to get me in the mood to pull on my yellow rubber gloves and start scrubbing.
Recently, Red and I have been arguing about cleaning the kitchen. He gets all pissed off if I forget to run the garbage disposal after I clean the left over macaroni off Boo’s high chair tray. He wails and points and starts saying nasty things like “ants” and “infestations” and “I swear to God, the next time it’s my turn to clean the kitchen, I’ll put it off JUST LIKE YOU DO and then you’ll want to do it yourself.”
You know, shit like that.
Last night, after we’d finished watching the shows we’d missed this week, he rolled over and kissed me very sweetly on the tip of the nose and asked, “Are you going to clean the kitchen tonight?” I told him I was pretty tired. The kitchen would be there in the morning, dammit, and I intended to get a full eight hours of sleep for once.
Red didn’t like that. Apparently I had promised him the previous night that I would for-sure-no-I’m-not-lying-this-time-wink-wink clean the kitchen before I fell asleep. I accused him of making shit up (again, because he tends to quote me on things that would never pass over my tongue) and rolled over. I fell asleep quickly, and drifted in the dream land.
Only this time, dream land was undead and bent on eating my fucking brains with an ice cream scoop.
Some time in the wee morning hours (before Boo started asking me to turn on SpongeBob but after our Jeff Foxworthy/Lou Ferrigno redneck neighbor started banging on his tow truck–which he parks right behind our fucking bedroom window–with a sledge hammer or something) I started dreaming.
In my dream, Red and I lived in a two story walk-up flat in London (because DUH, all zombie apocalypses start in London). We had been out on a date at the Dorchester Hotel, where for some reason, there was a drink fountain shaped like a giant swan and the most delicious vodka ever flowed freely out of the swan’s beak.
After we finished dinner, we walked back to our flat. We started cleaning the kitchen as soon as we got home, and for some reason, dream-me (who must lack the OCD qualities real-me possesses in abundance) forgot to lock the front door. After the kitchen was thoroughly spic and span, we went upstairs and fell asleep.
Dream-me woke up to something scraping at the window. It sounded kind of like fingernails on chalkboard, if the fingernails were actually pick ax wielding zombies terrorizing the neighborhood. I got out of bed and very cautiously peeked between two slats of the blinds.
The world around our little London flat had exploded into a scene from a George Romero movie. There were zombies everywhere. Not the dumb, slow zombies, either. These were the kind with superhuman speed and agility, and I watched in horror as a pack of them overtook a little old lady walking down the street with a shopping bag full of cat food. She whacked them about the heads with her tins of Fancy Feast, but the zombies were too strong for her. Before I cover my eyes, one of them bit off one of her ears, letting loose a spray of bright red arterial blood. Then she disappeared beneath the ravenous hoard.
I yelled for dream-Red to wake up, but he was wearing his earplugs and sleepy mask–just like the real Red–and I could not wake him up. I grabbed the machete off his bedside table (and yes, we DO have a machete in our bedroom in real life just in case we’re attacked by zombies or rabid wallabies) and started digging through the closet for the shotgun and ammo. (And yes, we do have a shotgun and lots of ammo in the bedroom closet in real life, so I wouldn’t try to break into our fucking house if I were you. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.)
Then I head the front door open.
The door we had forgotten to lock the night before because I was too busy cleaning the kitchen.
I leapt over the bed and shook Red, but he would not wake up. Before I could blink, the zombies were on us. I hacked at them blindly with the machete, aiming to chop their motherfucking heads off, but it was no use. They were faster (and hungrier for BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINZ) than me. I watched in horror as one of them dragged the still sleeping Red off the bed and out of down the stairs.
And then I woke up. I mean, the real me woke up. Panting and curled up in the fetal position, my arms extended like I had been flailing about in my sleep. Still shaking off the last vestiges of zombies feasting on my soon-to-be husband, I rolled over and started shaking Red to wake him up.
And yeah, it took a while. He could sleep through a fucking nuclear explosion.
Chelsie: Red. WAKE UP. (shake, shake, shake) Wake up.
Red: (after ten minutes of shaking) What? Whassamatter?
Chelsie: You got eaten by zombies.
Chelsie: We forgot to lock the door because we were cleaning the fucking kitchen and the zombies got in our house and you wouldn’t wake up and I couldn’t figure out how to work the shot gun BECAUSE YOU FORGOT TO SHOW ME HOW and the machete didn’t work on the zombies and they dragged you out of bed and ATE YOU.
Red: What. Are. You. Talking. About?
Red: Yeah, I heard that part.
Chelsie: You don’t get it. You DIED because we were too busy cleaning the kitchen to remember to lock the door. And I don’t want zombies to eat you in real life, so I promise I won’t put off cleaning the kitchen any more. EVER AGAIN. I swear. I’ve learned my lessons. Zombies know if your kitchen hasn’t been cleaned in a while.
Red: So… You wanna clean the kitchen right now? Before Boo wakes up?
Chelsie: Let me go make sure the front door is locked.