Night Woes

The night was no longer young. More like middle aged. Paunchy, saggy, losing its hair, you know the deal.

It had suspected for a while that the missus was having an affair. Never would have guessed it was with her yoga instructor, though. (The instructor was a woman.)

I'm sorry, dear, but you've never really satisfied me, the missus said when it all finally came out. They'd sent their two kids off to Grandma's for the weekend; the house was empty except for their calm, flat voices. I didn't know it at the time, she added, but it's true. And now I've awakened to desires you could never fulfill.

Probably not—the night lacked both tits and flexibility. So then, it asked, are you going to leave?

I should, shouldn't I? I'm sorry, darling. The missus placed her hand over the night's, then suddenly withdrew it. But you'll still have the children and the dog and the parakeets.

Yes, thought the night. It could finally get rid of those two goddamn parakeets. The dumb little things chittered away constantly; it never could get a decent sleep.

The next day, a U-Haul truck pulled into their driveway, driven by the yoga instructor. She and the missus boxed up all her things and loaded them into the truck without a word to the night.

The missus waved from the passenger seat as they backed out. The night waved back, out of reflex more than anything else.

And then she was gone.

The night shut the door. It stumbled to the kitchen, picked up the parakeets' cage, and carried it out to the picnic table in the backyard. It ducked back inside, then returned with that shotgun it had bought after a string of burglaries hit the subdivision a few years back. The night loaded it, cocked it, flicked off the safety.

The birds twittered mindlessly in their cage.

It sighted down the barrel at them from point-blank range, then sighed and opened the cage door. Go on, it said. Take your chances.

The parakeets stared up at the night for a moment through the open door, then swapped branches on their fake little wire-tree and resumed their twittering.

Peep. Peep. Peep. Peep. Peep. Peep. Peep. Pe—BANG.

And then the birds were gone too.

As I said, the night was no longer young.