Odd socks go to sleepy l.., p.1
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       Odd Socks: Go To Sleepy Little Baby, p.1
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           Stacy Stutz
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Odd Socks: Go To Sleepy Little Baby
Odd Socks

  a Serial of

  Short Stories

  Second Installment:

  Go to Sleepy Little Baby

  by

  Stacy Stutz

  Copyright Stacy Stutz

  Table of Contents:

  Author’s Note

  Go To Sleepy Little Baby

  End Notes

  Author’s Note:

  Hi, and welcome to the start of my grand experiment. This “book” is the second of a series of semi-monthly installments of short stories. The “serial” novel (or novella) has a long history dating back to at least, One Thousand and One Tales. I believe its heyday may have been in Dickens’ day. Print was in its infancy, books were costly, and mostly out of reach of the common man, however more and more people could read. Sound familiar?

  Even as the market for fiction writers in the print market has shrunk and the digital market has expanded making it possible for anyone with access to a computer and the internet to become published writers, the same troubles exist for the unknown writer – garnering a decent reader base. We jump through many a hoop to have one or two people read our work and it’s no less demoralizing than a wall covered with rejection notices. The most successful Indie writer is not only a good writer (or at the least a passable one) he is a really good marketer. It’s the marketing side of things that has brought me to this point – yup – this is a gimmick.

  Go to Sleepy Little Baby

  Lilah stood on the cusp of the stairs trailing a white gloved finger along the freshly polished mahogany banister. With more than just a bit of satisfaction, she gazed upon the main floor of her house, her beautiful immaculate home. The slightly pungent scent of assorted cleansers perfumed the air as an underlayment for the earthy sweet smell of newly applied beeswax. She inhaled deeply taking in the familiar smells. With a well-practiced eye, she reviewed her morning work. The Brazilian cherry-wood floors glowed, the brasses gleamed, and the silver sparkled like cool moonlight on fresh snow. The late morning light streamed purely though tall windows with not a mote of dust to diminish its power. Content, she turned her back to the downstairs and continued up the steps while allowing her hand to linger on the banister; her glove remained pristine.

  As she continued her cleaning in the upper rooms, her mind wandered. Her body knew this routine well, she was an automaton; she never varied from the same routine, from the same motions – ever. Her therapist had suggested she change things up, “Just a little bit” she had said. “Lilah, it could be as small of a change as cleaning the second guest room before you clean the first.” Dr. Evans knew every detail of Lilah’s routine. In the darker days of her past, her cleaning rituals were all that Lilah could talk about. Those days, she stayed in that place; unable to clean – not that she hadn’t tried. But the nurses and doctors thwarted her efforts; she resorted to chanting the soothing memories of cleaning.

  No, her routine might be exactingly the same but she was better.

  “But, what happens when your routine gets broken?” Dr. Evans asked.

  “That’s what those little pills are for,” she replied.

  “Are they helping?”

  “I can stop cleaning when I’m done, so yeah they help.”

  They were helping a bit too much, as far as Lilah was concerned. But, she didn’t share that tidbit of information with the good doctor. They weren’t just helping her keep her OCD in check; they were leaching out her will to clean. And since that was simply unacceptable, she decreased the dose. She didn’t tell Dr. Evans, she didn’t tell Samuel. She hadn’t stopped taking them, she knew she never wanted to go back there.

  “Yes,” she thought to herself, “I’m much better now. There’s nothing wrong with routine, why without routine the world would fall into anarchy,” she rationalized.

  She quickly finished up the guest room and headed to the master suite. Standing in the doorway, she appraised the room. Last night's foot traffic had marred the creamy white carpet slightly. With the deliberation of a forensic detective, she dropped to the floor to examine the slight tread pattern. Samuel forgot to remove his shoes, shameful. Tsking aloud, she stood up and surveyed the rest of the room. The bed was already made. Still, she would strip it bare, vacuum the mattress and lay freshly laundered linens, it doesn't take long for bedbugs to infest and she wasn't taking any chances. Her eyes continued to scan the room. She noticed a small pile of clothing on her husband's side of the suite. A flash of anger heated her normally pallid face. Negligently tossed in the corner was a pair of dark blue trouser socks and most offensively, used underwear.

  "Slovenly bastard," she announced to the empty room.

  Pinching her thumb and her pointer finger together, she managed to pick up the offensive items, minimizing skin contact. Tapping her toe on the lever, she opened Samuel’s hamper and dropped them in. Grimacing with distaste, she held her contaminated hand in front of her, as if the germs might crawl up her arm and infest her whole being.

  She forgot her polluted fingers immediately upon opening the door to the connecting bathroom. A horrific odor assaulted her senses. It seemed to be originating from the commode.

  A repugnant sight almost brought her to her knees. She felt the filthy air coalesce around her, wrapping her in its diseased blanket. There, in her beautiful coral colored commode was a festering, rotting, stinking, vile pile of shit.

  Her routine broken, her mind shut down and virtually going blank. Acting on innate instinct, she turned on heel back towards her basket of cleaning supplies that sat just outside the bathroom door; she removed a pair of latex gloves and put them on. Leaning just barely into the bathroom, she flipped a switch, engaged the exhaust fan, and then closed the door. Taking a garbage bag from the same basket, she carried it down the hall and into the guest suite. She went into the bathroom stripped and placed her clothes, shoes and all, in the bag. The stench of decay and disease was still ripe in her nostrils; grabbing her bottle of Vicks Vapor Rub, she liberally swabbed the insides of her nose. Turning the shower on full, she stood under the scorching stream of water for an hour as she tried to remove the filth from her skin. Thank God for an instant hot water heater, was her only thought the entire time.

  The boiling hot water and antibacterial soap weren't sufficient. Without much forethought, she retrieved the bottle of bleach stashed under the bathroom sink and doused her already scrubbed tender skin. Standing aside from the steaming stream of water, she allowed the bleach to work its magic for a full ten minutes. It burned like hell and she gave herself over to the pain of the chemical induced fire dancing on her skin. As it began to abate just a smidge, she stepped back into the water to rinse the final dregs of filth away. Drying herself with a fluffy white towel and still on mental autopilot, she padded nude into the adjoining bedroom. She retrieved an environmental suit from the closet. It was bright orange, the kind you’d see in sci-fi movies, the kind scientists wear after they have poisoned the whole world with radiation or a killer virus. It was a full on getup with a self-contained breathing apparatus. God only knows what her rare guests thought of it when they hung their garments in the closet. No one had ever dared to comment on it, at least not to her.

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