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Tonguing Mortar

I fall immediately in love with the house. I quit my job at the StuffMart and spend all my time caressing her bricks, and tonguing her mortar. The neighbors don't complain; this neighborhood's full of such lascivious dwellings that I see every owner caressing mantels, and rubbing up against skirting boards as often as they catch me singing love songs to my gate posts. I'm sitting inside her living room watching the news when I learn about the weather.
The wickedest storm to hit our shores in a hundred years, the radio says, so powerful the governor has ordered mandatory evacuation.
I'm the first on the phone, asking exactly how I transport my house. The woman on the line doesn't understand what I mean, keeps asking me if I'm talking about my wife, and I hang up since she's clearly being obtuse on purpose. The neighborhood association meets that evening and we discuss a plan, but there's nothing in the end we can do, but barricade our beautiful windows with shutters, and pile sandbags in doorways. I listen to my beloved weep as the storm tears her to shreds, stroking her floorboards as she's ripped away from me into the wind. It takes me a month to gather her parts, strewn across three counties, and even then I'm missing half of her body.
The rebuild goes well enough, but in the end she's not mine anymore. She's some Frankenstein's monster, reconstituted from soulless timber from a builder's yard. The man I sell her to looks at the monster's foyer with lust in his eyes, and I resist the urge to call him a pervert as I shuffle boxes into the truck. A mile away I find some of my fallen beloved's floorboards in a pasture, and use them as the base for a yacht, a thirty-footer, and feel her soul come to life. We spend our time sailing into storms, laughing gleefully at the wind.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019
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