Copyright 2016 Carey Burns
Yvonne tilted her head, listening for the soft metal ‘clang’ of the mailbox. “I got it!” She squealed, jumping off the couch and dashing to the front door. In twenty years of travel with the Eustice Caroll Circus, Yvonne never once got to fetch her own mail.
As she stepped on to the porch, she could hear the usual sniggering of children hiding close by. “I hear you, and you’re not very nice! Your parents should teach you all some manners!” She snatched the mail and sulked back inside the house.
She looked up, eyes moist, at Bruce, her husband. “What is wrong, my flower?” He rushed to her and wrapped his huge arms around her body.
“Oh, Bruce, it’s those horrible kids again. They are so cruel.” She pulled free of his grasp. “They left this in the mailbox.” Eyes glistening with tears, she held up a box of facial wax.
Anger flashed in Bruce’s eyes and his muscles flexed and twitched. “Do not cry, my love. I could tie their bicycles into knots, would that make you smile again, my beautiful angel?”
Yvonne’s lips curled into a tiny smile as she imagined Bruce towering over the whimpering gang of hooligans, warped bicycles in his hands. “No, you’d better not. We don’t need to add fuel to our bonfire of unpopularity, you know.” She twisted her index finger under her chin, coiling her well-groomed beard around it as she thought about sweet revenge.
Just then the phone rang and as he answered it, his soft voice masking his true size After a brief conversation he hung up and smiled at Yvonne. “Guess who that was.”
“Was it the gym? Did you get the job?”
He swept her into his arms. “I start tomorrow!”
“I knew they’d like you! I’m so proud of you, Bruce.” She kissed his cheek and nuzzled against his neck.
“See, we don’t need the circus anymore, my love. Eustice was wrong about not being accepted into the real world."
A dreamy smile settled on Yvonne’s lips. “Eustice was wrong.”
The next day, Yvonne was busy cooking a celebratory dinner with all of Bruce’s favorites. As she worked, she heard the ‘clang’ of the mailbox.
“It better not be those kids again…” She wiped her hands and made her way to the door, afraid to open it.
She pulled the door open and took a tentative step onto the porch. Yvonne listened but heard nothing. Relieved, she took another step before reaching for the lid.
Just then, she felt something hit her head. She touched her hand to her scalp and felt something slimy. Before she knew it, she was being pelted with eggs. Screaming, she ran inside.
She sat on the couch for hours, weeping. The egg had dried and her hair was shellacked in a frightful manner. Her beard was a mess of broken shell encrusted by yolk and white. “I can’t let Bruce see me like this…” Yvonne forced herself off the couch and walked to the bathroom to clean up.
She gasped, catching sight of herself in the mirror. “Oh, my…” She examined her crusty hair and touched her stiff, messy beard. With trembling hands she lifted a pair of scissors and cut the clots from her facial hair. “Oh my..” Was all she could bring herself to say.
Clean-shaven, she rinsed her hair in cool water to loosen the egg mess and showered away the whole horrible incident. She put on a brave face for Bruce, who would be home at any moment.
Yvonne could hear his steps on the porch, heavy and burdened. He opened the door and sulked into the house.
“Bruce, are you alright?” She forgot about her own ordeal when she saw the expression on his face.
“They fired me…I…hurt a client.” He sank onto the couch, cradling his head in his huge hands.
“What? How?” She stroked his back, unsure what to say.
“Too much weight. The guy said he could handle it…I should have used better judgment. I’m a big, dumb oaf!”
Yvonne kissed his forehead. “No you aren’t. I bet he was just trying to be a tough guy.”
Bruce looked at Yvonne, shocked. “What happened to…your beard?” He barely recognized her.
Fighting back tears she looked away. “Those kids. They egged me. It was so awful, I had to cut it all off.”
He crushed her to his chest. “Oh, my love, we were fools. That damned Eustice was right after all.”