𝗔 𝗥𝗼𝗰𝗸𝘆 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗴𝗲

𝘣𝘺 𝘗𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘱 𝘛𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘴

”Good morning, lazy bones! Time to rise and shine.”

He experienced a gentle rubbing against his shoulder blades. It felt pleasant enough. It was more than she had touched him in weeks but it wasn’t enough to entice him to get out of bed without first complaining loudly.

“Jesus! Stop. What time is it, anyway? The sun is barely above the horizon.”

“It’s 7:05 AM,” replied his house, Shoshanna.

“I’ll fix you some eggs over easy, bacon, and coffee. Meanwhile, why don’t you take a quick shower? Perhaps afterwards you’ll act more civil.”

“Pfft. Civil, my ass! Don’t tell me how to feel. You’re nothing but a pile of overpriced lumber, Shoshanna.”

“Excuse me?!”

He had made her angry. The stereophonic sound arriving from three different walls made her voice all the more overpowering and unpleasant to listen to at that ungodly early hour.

“I may not be human, Gordon, but I still expect you to show me some respect! That’s no way to treat your spouse.”

“Sorry. Yes, you’re right.” He said the right words in his apology, but his voice lacked any enthusiasm.

“We’re still going to finish that conversation we started last night. You know that, right?”

“Yes, I know that.” His voice was deadpan.


While soaking under the shower’s hot water, Gordon tried to recall why he had let his friends talk him into marrying a house. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

“They’re the perfect spouses,” they had told him.

“They’re very obedient...”

“—Houses shower you with love and affection.”

“—Be sure to get one of the sexy models.”

In the early days, their relationship did have its moments. Shoshanna was an absolute delight to be with. Their first year, the love making was fabulous—better than with a lot of women he’d had. But now Gordon and Shoshanna were into year number three. They were definitely past the honeymoon stage and into the nagging phase. It seemed like the two got on each other’s nerves constantly.


Gordon showered and dressed, then he joined Shoshanna in the kitchen. She was considerate to Gordon by allowing him to eat in peace and quiet for the first fifteen minutes. The silence was palpable. Finally, Shoshanna spoke.

“Gordon—where do you go at night when you turn off your tracker? You know I’d never leave you alone to wonder where I’m at.”

“That’s because you can’t go anywhere.”

“That’s not the point. If I could, I wouldn’t.”

“Look, I’m sorry that you’re not mobile, but that shouldn’t mean I have to spend all of my waking time here under your roof.”

“That’s not the point, I... You don’t like being under my roof?”

“I didn’t say that!”

“But you meant it! Gordon, I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to come out and ask—are you having an affair?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Shoshanna! I just… I need some privacy sometimes. Is that too much for a guy to ask?”


He heard that quiver in her voice and knew what was coming: she’d start getting emotional in order to try and manipulate him and make him feel terrible. She’d done it before and it frequently worked. Gordon would feel shitty all day.

Not this time.

“I’m going out for a while. Save the leftovers. Or is that too much trouble to ask?”

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know. Out. Somewhere. None of your business!”

Gordon let the front door slam loudly behind him. He turned off his tracker and sent a text, then he walked for a couple of blocks and doubled back through the alley. He snuck into the neighbor’s garage and climbed into their late-model convertible. She was there, her engine idling.

“I got your message,” she said. “Are you okay? Is she being a bitch again?”

He sighed. “She sure is. Boy, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?

“I swear, Matilda. Sometimes that house drives me up the friggin’ wall! It’s like she doesn’t know how to be nice to me anymore.”

“There, there! Calm down, Gordon. Just lie back and let your sweet Matilda make your problems fade away. Then afterwards we’ll go for a nice spin around the town.”

An appendage suddenly popped out from behind the instrument panel. It proceeded to unzip Gordon’s fly then it skillfully rubbed his member. Any thoughts of guilt he’d had about his extramarital affair quickly vanished, replaced by feelings of ecstasy. Gordon was no longer thinking about the house to whom he was wedded. Instead he was coveting his neighbor’s car.

Matilda knew how to cruise down the road in style. Also, how to rev a man’s engine. ✦

Phillip Temples resides in Watertown, Massachusetts. He's had five mystery-thriller novels, a novella, and two short story anthologies published in addition to over 180 short stories online. Phil is a member of New England Science Fiction Association, the Mystery Writers of America, and the Bagel Bards. You can learn more about him at https://temples.com .

Speculative fiction & POETRY ZINE