Venus Fly Trap, page 1
Venus Fly Trap
Copyright 2014 Reta Ross
Table of Contents
About Reta Ross
Other books by Reta Ross
This story acknowledges the fact that secrets can be revealed from the most unconventional sources inadvertently and without malice aforethought. Sometimes things just happen and often with amusing consequences.
A man should be able to do as he pleases in the privacy of his own home. If he does participate in something unconventional that’s his business as long as no one gets hurt. He should not feel apprehensive that someone is snooping into his covert actions. Paranoia should not have to be the order of the day, not in one’s home.
Venus Fly Trap
Claudette looked at her husband, tall, handsome and self-assured. And why wouldn’t he be? Jim was at the top of his game as CEO of Beckman, Shepherd and Forbes pulling in a huge salary, benefits and perks to make one’s head spin. But she knew he kept secrets, played the cards close to his chest. Well maybe it was possible to put a kink in his armor.
“Jim, guess what I know all about you. I know what you do when I’m not here. What you do when you are alone.”
“Excuse me? What was that?”
“You heard me.”
“Yes, but I’m not sure what you mean.”
She had seen caution in his face before but not to this extent. She wished she had kept her mouth shut. There was no way she could back pedal. Racking her brain she scrambled to turn what could be a volatile situation into something light-hearted maybe even funny.
“What the hell goes on? Have you got the place bugged?”
“No. I just know.”
“Okay, so what do you know?” Jim’s voice came out loud, extraordinarily sarcastic and unsettling.
“I know that you talk to plants when I’m not around.” She thinks maybe it is possible to lighten the mood after all.
“Plants, seriously? Get real. Come on you think I talk to plants, you’ve got to be joking,” Jim says.
“Yes you do, especially the Venus Fly Trap.”
They were newlyweds. They had scraped their savings together to buy this mansion in the country. It was beautiful, a creek ran through the property, there were fruit trees and evergreens, lovely flowerbeds of perennials and annuals, rosebushes to die for. The house was a big old Georgian style yellow brick. They added a two-car garage plus casement windows and refurbished the mantelpiece on both fireplaces, converting the one in the study to gas. It felt like they were living in paradise; the only fly in the ointment was the flies plus Jim’s secretive nature.
Being formerly city dwellers the overwhelming presence of flies out in the country was a bit of a shock but not something that could deter them because almost everything else was perfect
The big old-fashioned kitchen with the newly installed patio doors transformed the south facing wall to totally glass, flooding the kitchen with light. A rambling oak stairway led up to three spacious bedrooms and a huge bathroom with an old-fashioned claw-foot tub. The toilet had an elevated water tank which you flushed by pulling on a chain.
They got the Venus Fly Trap as a joke; neither of them seriously thought it could make a difference. Fly coils, swatters, Dodo coils did not work. Keeping windows closed and opening the doors only enough to slip in and out, hoping no fly would gain entry as they exited or entered helped.
It was a steady job keeping ahead of the influx; their dog, Misty, snapped at the flies, in an effort to catch or subdue them. She probably hoped to scare them away because she never seemed upset when she failed to close her mouth around the offending things.
Misty was a beautiful white dog, a Spitz and possibly way too smart for her own good. She could walk on her hind legs. Jim got her to do so. It was characteristic of her breed; probably why you see so many Spitz dogs in the circus. He also got her to pirouette. “Turn circles,” he would say and off she would go dancing about the room like a whirling dervish.
Misty also thought she can converse like humans. She moved her mouth as if talking and sounds came out such as yawns, moans and groans.
Claudette turned to her and gently said “Misty, speak English.” The dog thought someone was actually listening to her and she was finally contributing to the conversation. So she continued to beak on putting in her two cents worth here and there.
The Fly Trap was not up to the task. If it trapped any flies at all the quantity was negligible, possibly one a month. The plant’s presence made no dent in the fly mass. Claudette could just imagine Jim berating the thing for not doing its job.
“I know you also talk to my stuffy, the stuffed buffalo.”
“The stuffed buffalo, you really are losing it.” He looked worried, apprehensive about these revelations so she knew she was on to something.
The stuffy, a prize he won at the carnival, was real cute, jet black with a red plastic collar and a leash. The leash gave the impression that you could conceivably take the thing for a walk.
“And so what else, what other nuts things am I guilty of when you are not around? His eyes bulged with wonder displaying paranoia. He was clearly getting agitated by these allegations.
“I know that you stand on your head in the hallway.”
“What the hell goes on? Why are you saying all this?”
“I am saying it because it is true.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“No you must have a hidden camera.”
“So you admit it, you do all these things?” She couldn’t help laughing.
He didn’t answer but it was obvious he was puzzled and a bit worried by the disclosures.
“I’m sorry Jim I’ve been pulling your chain just like you pulled the buffalo’s.”
“Come on what’s this all about?”
“Am I right you talk to the Venus Fly Trap and the Buffalo and stand on your head?”
“You figure it out. You’re the psychic. Just how bloody far does this fucking psychic ability go?”
“You sound scared. You sound like a man with something to hide.”
“Tough luck hiding anything from you.”
The fear and paranoia she unleashed in him was unsettling and she hoped to be able to undo the damage. She didn’t want him thinking he was an open book or that she was actually spying on him.
“It was Misty, she told me.”
“Oh, yes so now you’re telling me the dog can talk.”
“No, not really but she can communicate.”
“Yes when she wants out for a pee, is hungry or pissed off but there is no way she could tell you I talk to the Venus Fly Trap and the stuffy. She’d be about as affective with that kind of communication as she is catching flies.”
He glanced at the dog. Misty looked sheepish, and wondered why she was being discussed.
“I know you’ve been standing on your head. Misty didn’t tell me that. I found some coins on the floor in the hallway. I figured they came out of your pocket when you did a headstand because that’s happened to me when I do my yoga postures without first emptying my pockets.”
“That’s a relief. It’s good to know I’ve been found out by your powers of perception and not some wacko psychic ability.”
“My being a nurse helps with my psychic ability.”
“Yes and you are a very good one at that always tuned in to the wants and needs of your patients, most swear you can read their minds.”
“They’re right, I can.”
“I suppose you wouldn’t find it all that difficult to figure me out.”
“You’re going to give that dog a
“Jim, remember the time I grabbed a little alligator squeak toy away from you when you squeaked it and Misty came bounding down the stairs in hot pursuit. Hiding the toy to prevent further instances didn’t do a hell of a lot of good.”
Even though it was out of sight Jim needed only to look at the dog and say “gator, where’s the gator?” and Misty would growl and prepare herself for battle
“So what about the plant and the buffalo, you say the dog told you about that?” Jim said.
“Remember we once read that plants thrive if we send them love. You must have tried it out and been vocal about it, in front of Misty, just to get her going. And the buffalo you’d fondle it or show it affection just to piss her off, to tease her, to make her jealous. You are such a committed tease. I know about the buffalo because she got really upset when I picked it up, she acted jealous, growled and bared her teeth.”
Misty perked up, she knew she was being talked about and became cautious and very alert.
Claudette reached for the buffalo to illustrate her point. This sent Misty pouncing on it. Jim giggled and his laughter upset the dog, even further and embarrassed her. She slinked to the door. Worry clouded her face, she whined to get out, away from these kooks who were once again acting peculiar.
Claudette felt apprehensive over Jim’s paranoia and wondered just what else he was trying to hide what other secrets lurked, stashed away beyond her ability to unearth them.
About the Author
Novels are now written with less abandon than previously done and they are shrinking. However, it is possible for a small book to be large in its associations and for big books to be small in theirs. So it seems size doesn’t matter but content does. Books of short stories can be novels in pure form boiled down to essentials.
Most writers no longer look at the world objectively. Books now deal with small incidents rather than the big picture. A drug addict child, a gambling habit, a lost job. Neither, reader nor writer wants to bite off a big chunk of the universe and examine it. This narrowing of focus can be attributable to a loss of hope, but I hope not. What I think we need is a good laugh.
Here in today’s global village we often don’t have time for the long emotional commitment needed to enjoy an imaginative novel. We want instant gratification. Humor is very gratifying so my short comedic tales are an attempt to satisfy a need besides I have a few chuckles in the process of writing them.
Laughing apparently causes the endothelium, the tissue that lines blood vessels, to expand, which increases blood flow. Laughter may also improve arterial health by reducing mental stress, which constricts vessels and cuts blood flow.
Slap stick comedy or practical jokes are not funny to me but satire is. Serious incidents with a light spin on them can often be hilarious. I once gave a speech at Toastmasters on public hangings. I had them rolling in the isles. Several members of the audience suggested that I enter a humorous speech contest. But that would take away the element of surprise and make it not so funny.
The short stories in my comedy collection are surprising and are centered round subjects like Queen Elizabeth, a Middle East dictator, Christmas, Aliens, A Tropical Disease, A man relentlessly teasing a dog.
What the hell is funny about that kind of stuff, you say? Well read my stories, A Royal Scam, Alien Christmas, Mad Dogma, Necessito Medico, Venus Fly Trap and you’ll find out.
Other books by this author
(Coming November 12, 2014)
Retro Flex (collection of short stories)
Humor/Comedy Short Stories
A Royal Scam
Venus Fly Trap
Necessito Medico (I Need a Doctor)