Margaret Atwood's The Freeze-Dried Groom -part 2

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 Part one can be read @Margaret Atwood


                                   Her breath mingles in and a faint taste of wine lingers on her tongue as it tangles around with his. He thinks that maybe he shouldn’t go too far. Not with her. Not this one. But now her hands are all over him as she grabs and claws at his back. He wants to lose control? But where would that lead him? Tied up somewhere, gagged with a wadded up cloth stuffed into his mouth, or worse, rolled up in a cheap rug, stiff and dead. Yeah, I heard um in the next room. They sounded like they were having a good time too. Poor guy. She must have been some kook. He thinks this over in his mind. His inner monologue becomes a tangled mess of should and should nots, but the more she gropes and claws the easier the gnarled vines dissolve into lust. But he can’t let her catch him. He has to regain the lead. Sam tosses out the worry, the guilt, dead Clyde, and Gwyneth, and takes control. He would make her chase. Faster! Her black dress discards to the floor, his shirt and pants rip away as their bodies pour onto the bed and the look she wears says she wants him. A look Gwyneth once had ages ago, but sadly, nowadays, it has become a look of disappointment. I was wrong, please come back, we can talk it through. The nostalgic tug loosens its grip. Here in the dark, with this strange woman, her face a porcelain cup, blonde hair wildly disheveled about her head. We can talk it through. Please come back. And soon, he and she begin to melt into each other like voices in a ballad. A wicked ballad.  The headboard raps away like a hammer, sending rhythmic taps into the room next door as she moans and claws at him within the darkness. Clyde, now a faded memory, as daylight slips in through the drawn curtains and the sky spits frozen rain from the sky like lead.

Sam doesn’t know why he agreed to help Bethany, if that is her real name, move Clyde’s cryovaced body along with her wedding memorabilia from the storage locker and dispose of it. He hadn't really thought it through as he drove the rental truck through falling snow and slippery ice, to the storage facility. Bethany would be waiting there, teeth pressed along her bottom lip in worry, probably hoping he hadn't freaked. He pulls into the driveway, the gate is drawn then he crosses through. He backs the truck against the storage door and Bethany stands by, waiting. Her coat is wrapped tight, one hand shoved into a pocket, the other grips a handheld lamp, as a thick floppy hat is drawn over her locks like a lampshade. "Worry much?" Sam queries, an arrogant smirk stitched in his lips. "A little," she smiles wanly.  Sam fishes for the key, undoes the lock and rolls the door open which seems to trundle up in a loud roar.   “You ready,” he asks, his blue eyes melting in to hers. Her answer seems to take an eternity and finally she nods, yes. 

"Clyde first, no need to have him waiting all day," Sam says dryly while pushing a dolly loaded with a wooden crate upon its metal lip through the storage locker; the odd wedding scene relived. He can't stand seeing him back there, trapped behind plastic like a creepy Ken doll. "Right,” Beth answers, businesslike. They cross the storage room towards the back as plumes of frozen air waft from their mouths like cigarette smoke. They lift Clyde’s body and place him into the makeshift coffin, the plastic makes sick crinkling sounds as they squeeze him in. Sam begins to ask her if she used glue on the eye lids but decides against it, not the right time, then he shuts the crate and loads it into the truck. Now the rest —the dress, the cake, the dishes, the champagne and the luggage, all packed and loaded on the truck. Sam steps down the ramp and sees Bethany waiting near the edge. “Easy Peasie pudding,” he says, a savvy look draped across his mouth. She wraps his arms around her body and bites down on her lip. Sam can feel her body through the coat; it’s voltaic. Come on Sam, you better speed up, her breath is on your neck again.

The truck rumbles along the back roads trailing a path of thick tracks, soon covered by the cavalcade of falling snow. Exhaust spews from the truck’s tailpipe as the wheels slip and jounce across the frozen ground.  Sam sits behind the wheel watching the wipers fight against the falling snow in monotonous sweeps and wonders what the hell he is doing here. He feels Bethany’s warm hand on his thigh as the radio creaks out a love song through static do to the weakening signal, and he likes it. Almost there he thinks. Dump her shit and head back to town. He wants to play this game. This silly little game. His wet daydream is interrupted when suddenly out of nowhere she says, "I love this song.” Her voice is low and sedate as if singing a seductive number. “It makes me want to dance. Do you like to dance Sam?" His name sounds unreal in her contralto voice.  "Sure,” Sam smiles. “We should go dancing Sammy baby, just you and me.”  Queer giggles spout from her mouth as she cups it like a school girl caught with her fingers in her pants. "Sure, that sounds nice," Sam lies. He doesn't like to dance. Couldn't even remember the last time he did. “You some kind of gangster Sammy,” she asks flipping down the passenger visor and checks her reflection. "Gangster…," he laughs, his voice sounding simulated in his ears, "what makes you say that?" She paints on a thick coat of red lipstick without answering, while her hazel eyes dance back and forth between Sam and her own reflection. “Well…,” he says, but she only smiles and her hand is back on his thigh. She likes to play games, Sam thinks, as he jerks from her tickling fingers. I can play it too and better than you. She smiles as she continues to slip her hand across his lap, playfully and he wonders if she played this wicked game with Clyde. Faster! She's still in the lead Sam. Where are you?

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