“If you’re looking for those birds, they’re gone,” Linda said.
From a distant part of the townhouse she heard a washing machine start, and in another moment or two Gilbert bustled in with a bottle of wine and a glass.
“Here,” he said, filling the glass. “I started your clothes, I got you this drink, and in a minute I’m gonna get to work on those steaks. Okay?”
“I’m not in the mood to eat,” Linda said. But she took the wine glass from Gilbert and rested it on her belly.
“That washer you got’s complicated but I managed to figure it out,” Gilbert said. He stood looking down at her. “You know, you really got a lot of dirty clothes. You need to get a maid or something.”
“A maid?” Linda asked. “You go and hire me one. Why the hell should I have to pay someone to do my laundry?”
“Maybe you should take a vacation,” Gilbert said. “Ever think of that? Maybe I can sneak away, too, we can go to Mexico or someplace, sit on the beach and relax.”
“The beach,” Linda snorted. “Bunch of goddamn sand. I’ll never understand why people want to go some weird creepy foreign place and sit on a pile of goddamn sand.”
“Take my word, baby,” Gilbert said, “you need to relax, some. You’re on edge—you’re getting to the point where you make me nervous. So drink your wine and relax.”
“Relaxation is the next thing to death,” Linda said. She turned her face away from Gilbert.
“You’re crazy,” Gilbert said. He walked off, and soon Linda could hear some banging around in the kitchen.
Linda took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, almost relaxed, not quite dead, probably depressed. The beach, she thought. Goddamn. Sand. Ridiculous. Oh well. She closed her eyes. The couch was very comfortable, and she might have had a pleasant time lounging there, dozing—except for that damn cat staring at her, and Gilbert. Gilbert would probably want to use his man-meat on her after dinner; that would have to be avoided. But at least she was getting her laundry done—that was the important thing, clean clothes, maybe even ironed clean clothes. It was almost worth putting up with man-meat for.