Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work

Cleaning Supplies. CC2.0 photo by Chiot's Run.

Cleaning Supplies. CC2.0 photo by Chiot’s Run.

Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work
written by Rebekah Postupak

♥ for Beth ♥

You know how they say that stain remover stuff advertised on TV can get anything out?

It’s a lie.

Take the birthday you gave me a yellow shirt (you didn’t know yet to avoid giving me pastels) and then, foolish girl, handed me a popsicle.

“Bonus party favor,” you said, grinning, as a cherry-colored, duck-shaped stain suddenly appeared on my chest.

This meant trouble: kids already loved tormenting me for my ubiquitous stains. I tried explaining my precarious situation to you, but you just made quacking noises until you were laughing so hard your quacks devolved into hiccupping snorts.

I scrubbed and scrubbed (it really was a great shirt) but, though the shirt doesn’t fit anymore, the duck still waddles, like it imprinted on someone hiding just past the seam.

Then there was the time I was housesitting for Mrs. Schauer.

“Merlot!” you said when you showed up, wine in one hand and a shopping bag with Camembert and chick flicks in the other. Not once did you tease me for being scared in that big house by myself. You were less merciful, however, when an hour later I kicked my glass over on the white sheepskin rug and subsequently cleaned it so thoroughly, the spot glowed.

“I didn’t know Mrs. Schauer’s sheep were grey!” you said.

“Club soda next time, okay?” I grumbled. You stuck your tongue out and poured me another glass.

Things only grew worse. Your emergency caramel macchiato I tipped over on my master’s thesis. Your byline-splashed newsprint smeared on my fingers (and then nose) before my first job interview. The ketchup-and-fries you snuck in transformed into a mini Picasso on my wedding dress. Even the delicate bottle of Giorgio celebrating my Halima’s birth became a perfumed ochre garden on my sofa.

And now, you insolent wench, despite knowing better, you’ve really done it: crossed the Great River and smeared a violent mark across my heart.

I’ve scrubbed with bleach, peroxide, vinegar, and baking soda til my hands are raw and bleeding.

Cruel, heartless girl, leaving me all these stains, but nothing to get them out with.


Written as a tribute to darling Flash! Friday draggin Beth Peterson (December 29, 1960 – September 2, 2015) via last weekend‘s Flash Frenzy weekly flash fiction contest. Host Rebecca Allred gives a whopping 360 words and a photo for inspiration: it’s live now (runs Saturday mornings through Sunday evenings); give it a try!

2 thoughts on “Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work

  1. Just read it through again, Rebekah; it’s beautiful and warm and funny and sad. So sorry to hear about Beth, but this is a wonderful tribute.


  2. Beth and I shared a few posts and commiserated on a referent known only to us. I felt that I had discovered another sister and a kindred spirit. Your tribute surely brings chuckles, tears, and a blanket of love from all of of her friends of the quill. Thank you, Rebekah.


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