Jack’s wife put the steak platter on the table, the same as she did every night. Then she refilled her husband’s wine glass followed by her own, also a nightly ritual.
She settle back in her chair across the table from her husband and watched him carve the steak into portions. At the same time she wanted to fix his spectacles hanging crooked on the tip of his nose.
Mrs. Sprat daydreamed of a spicier life. She wished she could be anywhere other than her own home and with any man other than her spindly husband who grew uglier as he aged.
Once the lean meat was separated from the fat and gristle, she watched her husband serve the better part to himself because Jack Sprat could eat no fat. Since his wife could eat no lean, he pushed the platter of the fatty remains toward Mrs. Sprat. And so between them both, they shared their dinner in silence while they licked the platter clean.
Jack left the table without a word and retire for the night in his own bedroom.
As well, Mrs. Sprat retire to her bedroom, but instead of sleep she kept company with an erotic romance novel and silver bullet.
* * *
The next morning, Mrs. Sprat awoke around nine o’clock, hours after her husband had left for work. It was a morning she particularly dreaded rolling out of bed to face the same routine. Still, the quicker she started her day, the quicker she could return to Manuel, the studmuffin stable boy in her sexy novel.
So she dressed in a hurry, skipped her usual cut of coffee with bread and headed for the butcher shop in the town square.
As usual, the butcher saw Mrs. Sprat walking toward his shop. “Good morning,” he greeted her as she entered. He then held out a paper wrapped cut of her usual beef steak selection.
On that particular morning, she was especially offended to be seen so predictable. “Not today, sir. What do you have in the way of pork?”
The butcher raised his eyebrows in surprise. “A tenderloin on special today, ma’am, but it is as lean as lean can be.”
“That’ll do,” Mrs. Sprat replied at the same time her stomach fluttered and turned at the thought of lean meat. Regardless, she had a sudden urge to changes her life no matter what the cost.
“Yes, ma’am,” the butcher said and wrapped her new selection.
Mrs. Sprat paid him and went on her way.
While Mrs. Sprat weaved through a gathering of pushcarts merchants, she thought about wine. It also had to be something different. A white maybe?
A few feet from Flannery’s Wine Shop, an elderly man with a crooked back leaned on his cane where he stood beside a cow. He called out to Mrs. Sprat, “Magic beans for trade.”
She turned and chuckled. “I’ve heard about your magic beans, sir, and a giant bean stalk is not needed at the Sprat house.”
“Then what do you need, madam? I’m sure to have it.”
She thought for a moment how she needed something to liven up her life, but answered instead, “Thank you for your offer, but all I need is at Flannery’s Wine Shop across the way. You best peddle your wares elsewhere.”
The man pulled a bottle from his cart. “So you wouldn’t be interested in this exceptional wine I’ve brought from France? On special today. For you madam, half price, and I guarantee you will more than enjoy the spirits it brings.”
The thought of French wine with dinner widened Mrs. Sprat’s eyes. “Fine, fine,” she said then paid the man and took the bottle.
He called after Mrs. Sprat, “Be careful with the wine. Sip it slowly and only drink one small glass.”
* * *
Mrs. Sprat had dinner prepared a half hour early and kept it warming in the oven. What to do now? she wondered.
The wine bottle sat on the counter within sight. Did she dare open it before her husband arrived home from work? After all, it was a new varietal, and she should at least make sure the wine had not turned to vinegar.
The cork removed easy enough. She then waved the bottle under her nose, taking in the irresistible aroma of the spicy vintage. So far so good, she thought but the taste would be the true test.
Forgetting the man’s warning about a modest pour, Mrs. Sprat tipped the bottle until the wine glass was nearly filled. She took her first sip cautiously and swished the spirits in her mouth before swallowing. The flavor was so spicy her mouth felt on fire, causing her to wave her hand over her lips. The heat did not detour her from taking another sip. In no time, she had guzzled down every last drop in the glass, then every last drop in the bottle.
Something in the wine had created an wanton tingling throughout her body. Over come with a shiver, she needed more of something, anything.
No longer was the thought of lean meat vile in her mind. She pulled the tenderloin from the oven with her bare hands. The meat scorched her flesh, but the pain was oddly pleasurable. She shoved the narrow end of the meat into her mouth and sucked at it, tonging the juices that drizzled down the back of her throat. Like a starving dog, she then gulped down chunks of meat until nothing was left but her fingers to lick clean.
More, she thought, but still could not figure out what.
At that moment, she heard the front door open. Jack had arrived home. An odd craving for her husband built deep within her. She ran to him, her mouth at the ready.
© Copyright 2012 W. J. Howard