As Barbara stands in the middle of her backyard, a cool breeze caresses her face, drying the damp spots on her cheeks. It’s dusk in Portland and mildly chilly. Giving the breeze a cold bite. But that bite is mild compared to the bite Barbara felt last night at the realization that the love of her life, Donald, was sleeping around with her widowed neighbor Aksanna.
Barbara had recently suspected something was amiss. Aksanna would often stop by asking for “help”, to fix problems in her house. Just yesterday Barbara thought to herself, after the most recent visit, “Why doesn’t that Rusky cow call a damn repair man! Clearly she needs professional help with the issues in that place.” Furthermore, whenever Donald went over to “help her out” the stays were much longer than they should be. “Two hours to fix a leaking faucet!? Ha!” Barbara laughed aloud, but that laugh slowly transformed into more tears for the evening breeze to dry off.
In front of Barbara was the metal trash can she would use to turn fallen leaves and branches into mulch for her garden. Today something different would be disposed of. Artifacts of a dead era that would be burnt in the fires of revenge! The can was already partially filled. It contained, several pairs of leisure suits. Donald loved his leisure suits, “the fucker!” And Aksanna always complimented how he looked in them, “dirty bitch!” This was far from enough. Barbara, or Barbie as friends called her, wanted Donald, or Donny as HIS friends called him, to suffer. Suffer like she did when she recently made a surprise lunch time visit home and saw, through her bedroom window, into Aksanna’s home. What she saw was her dearest love, Donald, and that tramp embraced in the throngs of passion. She could overhear, “fix it Mr. Donald, fix it good”, in Aksanna’s thick Russian accent.
Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good” plays on the record player. Donald had bought the album for Barbara days after it was released back in 74’, their first year together. That year seemed so perfect. Just like this song was perfect for that recognition of what that sleaze ball was, and an anthem to take back her dignity.
Barbie walks back into the house with a purpose. She goes right into the room they shared and stares at the bed they once made love in. All she can think about was how this wasn’t the only bed he did the deed in recently. A fire as hot as lava flares up in here. She pans her head back and forth quickly looking for something of his. She finds his college graduation ring. He used to say it was some of the best years of his life. Fair recompense to ruin something from his best years after he wasted some of hers. She goes back out and hurls it into the can. It makes a tinging sound as it bounces around inside till it reaches the suits.
She goes back into the house. And out of the corner of her eye she catches the site of a picture frame. “Oh yes” she thinks. Its Donny’s signed picture of Joe Walsh. A member of his favorite band the Eagles. “You like the Eagles, well watch this go fly!” She flings the frame at the nearest wall like a pitcher throwing a fastball at his target. The glass, crashes against the wall and falls to the floor. She removes the picture and sets it in the can.
She looks at the can, and wonders if this is enough? T hen her mind travels back to the times when Aksanna had come over after her messy divorce. And what Barbie took as just gentle, supportive, touches between friends, was just an early appetizer to the intimate touches those two would eventually be giving each other behind her back. “Enough? Oh it’ll never be enough payback for you jerk-off.”
Tears of rage fill Barbie’s eyes as she whirls looking for the next item to incinerate. Then she finds it. Nailed to the wall. His framed plumber’s certification. She had helped him pay for the classes. He had been so proud of himself after the completion of the course. It afforded him the chance to buy better things for him and her. And to buy those god damned suits he loved so much. Little did she know he would use the skills she helped pay for to go “check” Aksanna’s “plumbing”. That fire, straight out of Hades itself, flared up within Barbie again. This time she belted out a guttural scream. She ran towards the frame, ripped it off the wall and took it to the can. Smashed it on the top edge of the cylinder and deposited the diploma inside.
She had previously readied a can of kerosene and some matches next to the dumpster. She poured the liquid into the can and grabbed a match from the box and held it for a second and pondered. She thought of all the good times they had had. Talks of marriage, and maybe children one day. Their love wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad. She thought of how he said she “was the most beautiful thing these eyes have ever laid upon”. Then she thought of Aksanna and her long luxurious brunette locks. How she would accentuate her voluptuous bosom with the dresses she wore. Barbie looked down at her bosom. It was nothing to write home about. Yet she knew she was a damn good woman, and said aloud “you fudged up a damn good thing baby!” That fire of pain deep within her soul rose again, it made her so hot it could have dried the tears pouring down her cheeks and lit the match all at once.
As she lit the match and watched it tumble into the can, she remembered the last time she spoke to Donald, the night she confronted him on the whole affair. He was filled with I’m sorry’s and sad stares. Before he left he begged for her to “not go and do anything crazy with his stuff”, out of respect for the good time they spent together. Barbie thought, “no problem, I will respect you like you respected me you leisure suit wearing douche-bag”. He should of known better, just like the red hair on her head, she was a woman set ablaze. As she poured the remains from her bonfire of retribution into a box and left it on the porch, she pronounced, “There’s your respect you son of a bitch”.