Now Or Neven: short story by Paul Stears

Every morning of our marriage I have to suffer the indignity of her calling me a pig when I eat my cereal.  “Neven!” she screams when she can stand no more.  She says it in front of our three boys, which embarrasses me.  If not my eating then my nose hissing like a snake as I snore or my legs wobbling like an electric toothbrush makes her furious.

My wife and I got married while expecting the third boy, more to give the boys a semblance of normal, family life than for love.  My fifteen year old daughter from a previous marriage always says, “Why don’t you just divorce her, dad?” and I just mumble at her when she asks because I cannot tell her the truth which is that my wife earns all the money.  Ever since my wife and I got married, my daughter has had less to do with me.  I think there is a power struggle between my wife and her.

Anyway, the fat pointy end of my tie slaps me in the face once, and then twice, as I tie my tie.  I tighten it around my neck and go to the kitchen for breakfast.  My wife tells me to tuck my shirt in but I know I still have to do that.  “And don’t forget the recycling,” she tells me.  She feels like she does us all a favour by collecting the recycling in a bag every week.  I suppose it is good.

I throw her bag of recycling onto the back seat of our car and an empty bottle of milk rolls onto the floor.  Rolling my eyes, I slam the door shut and sit in front of the steering wheel.  I grip the ring of leather wrapped around the steering wheel, endless, smooth and cold.  I tell myself to stay calm – live not on evil.  Live not on evil, I repeat to myself in my head.  With a twist of the key in the ignition the engine rumbles on.

“Stop, Neven,” my boss says, two hours later, in his office, “would you like some tissues?”

I nod.  He has just let me know that out of me and Hannah I will lose my job today.  I burst into tears.  When I ask why, through the blubbing, he says that she has better prospects.  I wasted the morning away, typing “murdrum” over and over on my computer, so I suppose he has a point.  The repetition calms me, though.  He tells me I have been nice to work with over the past twenty years and then ushers me out.

I walk to my car in a huff and leave my wife a message as she has meetings all day.  I sit and wonder how many people get sacked every day, trying to curb my feelings of embarrassment.  Then I rotate the car key and drive away, hearing that old milk bottle roll around in the back which reminds me to recycle.

Thanks for reading/watching,

Forever yours,


Coming OverClick a Picfrabz-writer-what-my-friends-think-i-do-what-my-mom-thinks-i-do-what-s-24d512


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