by Edd Howarth

I get up in the middle of the night and pee on things. Not sleep walking, sleep peeing. This is a problem. I also have a short temper, but this is another problem for another day.
First we thought it was the dog. “This dog needs help,” my wife would say, dabbing the damp from the floral print armchair. But one night I dreamed that I peed on the CD rack in the living room. The next morning I found my wife shaking each case out, piling the ruined paper booklets. “I’m not sure how he got it up this high,” she said.

Then ‘the dog’ peed on the umbrella stand, the study wall, the downstairs futon. We banished him to the tool shed with the rakes and broken lawn mower. I meant to fix that a while ago, just like the left gutter hanging loose over the yard, the split tree trunk from the storm, the broken light in the attic, the hairline cracks in the plaster.

There’s an easy way to fix the problem, and that’s getting up early and cleaning the mess before my wife. I managed it once, but then stopped. The problem is that I’m lazy. “Rob,” I’d say to myself on the drive to work, “you’re a lazy guy.” I stay up till three in the morning watching the lady in the corner of the TV sign words to the deaf. I eat weird things like microwaveable kebabs. I don’t look after myself at all.

To top it all off, I’m a liar. “The foundation must be leaking,” I say to my wife, bent over a fresh patch, before I go to work. Lately, I work long into the night, so that maybe when I get back I’m too tired to get up and walk around and pee on things.

When I get home, my wife is always waiting. “Lots of work at the office?” she asks.

“Yes,” I say, and then we go to bed and she stares at the ceiling until I fall asleep. Since then, I’ve added ‘stop lying’ to my list of things to fix.

My wife is so beautiful. Sometimes, before I go to sleep, I think about how beautiful she really is. It’s a wonder someone like me ever ended up with someone like her. Now I’m peeing on things. I’ve made a list of things to fix: the dent on the back fender, the unbalanced fan in the kitchen, my cubicle at the office, the dying plant in the study, the cracks in the plaster, the lawnmower, the sink, my clothes, my temper, my diet. But first I need to stop peeing on things. After that, I know that things will get better. I know that everything else will fall into place.

Photo: Edd Howarth
Edd Howarth wrote his first short story in crayon on the walls of his mother’s kitchen. He was twenty-one years old. Since then, his stories have appeared in INK, Six Sentences, Infinite Windows, M-Brane SF, and was short listed for the 2009 Bridport Short Story Prize and the 2010 Oddcon Flash Fiction Prize. He currently works as a staff writer on The Southside Messenger.