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A Quiet Night

by scriever 

Posted: 26 May 2017
Word Count: 980
Summary: For the challenge

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

It was two o’clock, the dark heart of the night. Outside the house, under the yellow sodium glare, all was quiet. Inside the master bedroom of 11 Leamington Road, however, it was a different story. Leona lay on the right hand side of the bed in the dark room, bloodshot eyes wide, staring at nothing. She had been awake since the first sonorous notes of Brian’s nightly concerto. Brian snored. He snored when he was lying on his back, but then most people do that. He also snored when he was lying on his side; either side, he wasn't fussy. He snored all the time. Most of the time the noise was so regular that Leona could set the bedside clock by it; occasionally, however, there were krakatoa-like eruptions, snorts of such power that they even woke Brian up. Only to drop off immediately, and start snoring again.

It normally happened about 15 minutes after he fell asleep. If Leona was really tired and managed to drop off before the snoring began she could sleep through it, although not if he’d had a curry or a few beers, when the volume of the snores shook the walls and once even set off George’s car alarm. George lived across the road and one house down. But if, like tonight, she was awake or in that half-life between wakefulness and slumber when it started she had no chance.

This can’t go on, she thought. She considered making up a bed on the couch downstairs, but the thought of the cold hall floor, finding sheets and a quilt, and the discomfort of the couch itself quickly put paid to that idea. Normally she would have gone through to one of the other bedrooms, but with Suzy and Tom both back from uni for summer these options were closed to her. 

She let her mind wander, back to these carefree pre-children days, before Brian snored, or at least before she noticed. The days when they used to have sex when they went to bed rather than just go to sleep. Maybe that would help? She considered the possibility of reactivating their sex life, but soon dismissed it up with an inward shudder that precisely matched another wheezing exhalation. Brian wasn’t the fine figure of a man that he had been when they married. Or rather he was: in one way he was twice the man he used to be. His weight probably didn’t help his snoring and the triple chin must be making things worse. When he lay on his back the rippling vibrations could almost be soothing, if it wasn’t for the noise.
In the darkness, listening to the window vibrating gently as Brian exhaled, Leona was suddenly furious. What wouldn’t she do for a night of peace from this fucking racket. One quiet night. She ran through her usual fantasies. Leona’s night time fantasies didn’t involve moonlit beaches and handsome strangers; rather, they tended to dwell on darker pleasures. Holding a pillow over Brian's fat face until the snoring stopped was an old favourite, but lately she had begun to be a bit more creative. She recalled a favourite film, The Railway Man; visions of Colin Firth being waterboarded by the Japanese had stayed with her, but not in that way it had stayed with the rest of the audience. If it hadn’t been for all the water she would have tried it on Brian by now. 

She ran through the other options: a pair of his smelly socks stuffed into his mouth; thick, extremely adhesive gaffer tape; a heavy wooden mallet; poisoned cocoa; a scorpion secreted in his pyjamas. None of them particularly appealed; they all required some effort from her, and the scorpion would probably get her too. Likewise the tarantula. She thought back to other films she had seen. Perhaps that stuff Jabba The Hut had trapped Harrison Ford in? They didn't have it in B & Q. She had asked. She considered the classic 'Double Indemnity'. Could she find someone else whose husband kept her awake all night with his snoring and come to a mutually beneficial spouse knocking-off arrangement? But that wouldn't be necessary, because just then Jimmy Cagney burst into the room in a gangster suit and pumped a few rounds into Brian’s sleeping form, followed by John Wayne, in his 7th cavalry gear, with his trusty Colt 45. Humphrey Bogart ambled in, cigarette in the corner of his mouth, inspected the now quiet body, pronounced it dead, tipped his homburg to Leona, and left. The room was quiet.
The room was quiet! It took a while for it to register, so clear had her wish-dreams been. Was he dead? She felt a pang of guilt; if he’d passed on while she had been dreaming up ways to make that happen she’d never forgive herself. But at least she’d get a sleep. Cautiously, she raised herself on her right arm and peeked over the rotund mass beside her. She saw a slight movement as he breathed. Not dead then. But in the sudden silence she still couldn’t sleep. It was, as someone, probably John Wayne, had remarked once, too quiet. 

She lay tensed, waiting for The Return Of The Snore. And despite being so tired that the inside of her eyelids felt as if they were lined with grit, she still couldn’t get to sleep. Right now she hated the big, silent lump beside her; he didn’t care, didn’t even know, if he snored or not. He just made her life a misery. She still wanted to kill him. Perhaps if she started leaving bits of soap around the bathroom floor. And in the peace and quiet of their silent room, with the joyful image of Brian falling headfirst towards the toilet, she finally slid under the heavy, welcoming, 22 tog downie of sleep.     

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Comments by other Members

Bazz at 20:54 on 26 May 2017  Report this post
I like the strained note of humour here, Ross, the tension that tips into encroaching madness. The dreamlike intervention of the movie figures works perfectly, the sleep deprived hallucinatory edge is equally amusing and sinister... Does seem to end on a dark note though!

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