a Women Writer's' Showcase
by Allen McGill

"Mom," my daughter Sissy called, looking over her shoulder. "The other one's back."

"What do you mean, 'the other one'?" I said, brushing past her into the house.

"And what's going on here? The phone doesn't work, the house has changed, some guy who looked at me weird is mowing my lawn."

"Danny," my wife Kerry called to me, "what are you doing here? Didn't they contact you and fill you in?" She looked different, too. Real pretty-like. Kinda dressy for the afternoon, with her hair done up, makeup on and wearing a dress instead of jeans.

"Mrs. Carstairs," a voice called, followed by a smiling, pudgy lady in a maid's outfit coming to the entranceway from the kitchen area. She was speaking to Kerry. "What time would you like dinner...oh, excuse me. I didn't know there was someone here."

Kerry whispered something to her, and she left the room.

"Who the hell is that?" I asked. "And who the hell is Mrs. Carstairs?"

Sissy looked at me with a smart-ass grin. "We have a maid now," she said. "I don't have to do chores any more. I don't have to do a lot of things you used to make me do. I even got to pick my own new last name."

"What are you crazy?"

"Now Danny, don't get upset," Kerry said. "I guess the storms we've been having for the past two weeks interrupted the communications. You should have been contacted on your 'business trip' and told about the changes."

"What changes? Nobody asked me about any changes."

"No, dear. You have no say in the matter. You see, Sissy and I, being the women of the house, have decided that you don't come up to the standards of father- or husband-hood that we feel we're entitled to. You're too strict, spend too much away on 'business trips' getting tanned, have that little chippy that you take along with you, provide too little, drink too much and...frankly, you're boring." She covered her mouth to whisper: "And as a lover, you're a real dud!"

I stood stock-still, expecting the nightmare to end.

"So," Kerry said with a smile to Sissy as she put her arm around her shoulders, "we've traded you in for a new model. I'd strongly suggest that you just leave now. He's very fond of us--and very protective." She looked past my shoulder toward the front lawn. I turned. Lawn-mower man was standing not far away watching us, fists on his hips.

She took my arm and led me to the door. I was too stunned to resist, or really comprehend what was happening.

"I've had the maid call the Replacement Bureau to come for you--oh, here they come now."

A black and white van drove up to park in front of the house. "Now, if you don't cause any trouble, they'll just take you to their headquarters and maybe arrange for a nice new family for you. I've written a fair letter of recommendation..."

"I don't understand," I said, with what I'm afraid was an undeniable whine. "Nobody said any..."

"Of course not," Kerry said with a laugh. She was joined by Sissy, who seemed to be delighted with the entire situation. "You're just a man. Men will no longer have any say in the making of decisions for us. Perhaps you should all be told that when you're younger, but often it's not necessary for you to know. We always hope you'll live up to our expectations without being threatened, but, well sorry dear, you just didn't make the grade."

She nudged me in the direction of the attendants from the Bureau, called "Have a nice life," and closed the door behind me. I heard the lawn mower start up again.

I wonder if men's lib knows about this.

Originally from NYC, Allen lives, writes, acts and directs theatre in Mexico. His published fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, photos, etc., have appeared in print as well as on line: NY Times, The Writer, Newsday, Literary Potpourri, Flashquake, Poetry Midwest, Poetic Voices, Herons Nest, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, World Haiku Review, many others. He is haibun editor for Simply Haiku. http://tinyurl.com/m7il - Contact Allen.