The Lint Collector

by Ian on May 19, 2012

by Bradford Middleton

Jack’s eyes tentatively opened and he rolled over to discover Kate had gone. They had been an item for over five years and this was the first time he had woken up in her bed to discover her gone.

‘I guess she must have been called into work early,’ Jack thought to himself, somewhat disappointed that he wouldn’t get his early morning fuck. He didn’t have to work so simply rolled over again to where his tobacco, papers and ashtray lay and proceeded to roll his first of the day. He’d smoke this before getting up properly and making a strong cup of coffee which would be accompanied by his first joint of the day. He always loved that first joint of the day, especially when he had a nice tasting cup of coffee to go with it.

The day past relatively quickly in a whirl of daytime television, roll-ups of both varieties and coffee and at about four in the afternoon Kate was back in the flat. She had had a bad day at work and Jack was not feeling too confident in his ability to cheer her up – he’d clearly smoked a bit too much pot that day. Kate walked off into their bedroom for some privacy whilst Jack rolled another joint and continued to watch some awful property show on television.

That night he volunteered to cook them both dinner but Kate seemed to be concentrating on something else and said she didn’t fancy any food – she only wanted an early night.

“Look Jack is it OK if you sleep on the sofa tonight… I just need some space at the mo, work was a nightmare today…”

“Well sure love, anything you want to talk about… you know?”

The next morning Jack was woken up by Kate’s loud rumblings in the kitchen, toiling over breakfast.

“I think I’ll go and have a lie-down in the bedroom if that’s OK love?”

“Oh no, not today Jack it’s a right mess in there…”

“Oh… well, any chance of some breakfast?” he said as he struggled to get dressed.

“Sure, no probs love”

“Don’t forget I got work this evening baby so I won’t be in when you get back… I’ll try and be home by 11.30 though…” Most days had become like this. Kate would work during the day and Jack would work during the evening, they would barely see each other. Their relationship could have been better but they were settled into a nice little rut, or at least that’s what Jack thought.

Jack’s work was menial and hard and he generally loathed the people he worked with but at least it helped keep a roof over Kate and his head and paid for the little things they both liked. It was a good thing though that they weren’t that adventurous as the money never seemed to stretch far beyond a few nights a month down the pub, a big bag of grass a month and all the food they could eat. That night he was, as usual, miserable. He’d only been doing this job for about six months but it had already been more than enough. He’d been through a succession of soul-destroying jobs so this was nothing new. That night he got home and couldn’t get in the flat. It appeared that Kate had changed the locks to the flat.

“Why would she do that?” was his immediate thought as he began calling the home phone. “It’s me… what’s going on? I’m outside the flat door. Can you let me in so we can talk?”

He heard her feet moving towards the door as he heard a key go into the lock. She let him in but appeared to be very upset about something.

“I’ll come straight to the point shall I?” Kate asked in a vaguely aggressive manner.

“Erm, yes if you must…” Jack replied whilst moving over to the couch where he would roll his usual post-work joint.

“Well, it’s like this, I want you to move out…. I’ve found someone else.”

“Oh… so that’s it?” was all Jack could think to say. This had come like a bolt out the blue. He wasn’t even aware of their being another possible lover.

“Yes, that’s it.”

“Well, do I at least get to find out who the luckiest bastard in the world is then?” His tone was becoming more antagonistic.

“No.”

Jack’s mind turned away from smoking the joint he’d just finished rolling. “So, you want me to go… when? Tomorrow morning?”

“Yes, I can hardly throw you onto the streets at this hour can I? I’d still like us to be friends…”

His mind turned back to smoking that joint. He’d been looking forward to smoking that monster for the best part of ten hours and now, more than ever, he wanted it real bad. Kate went off into the bedroom. An hour later and Jack had smoked and enjoyed the buzz from the joint whilst watching some American cartoon strips. It was at that moment he decided to go to bed. Kate had said nothing about not sleeping with him that night so he assumed he still could.

He walked into the bedroom only to discover Kate hugging onto something/someone, he couldn’t quite work it out. “What the f….”

“Oh my god, what are you doing in here?”

“Well…”

“Get out, get out…” she screamed waving him away.

“But what is it, what is that you’re with?”

“Well…”

“No, go on… get out!”

He looked around the room and it appeared that the something was missing. ‘It couldn’t be that though, surely…’ he thought as he noticed the lint collection had gone. Kate had collected the lint out of Jack’s bellybutton since day one of their relationship and kept it in a series of huge vases.

“What have you done?” he asked, confused and angry as he couldn’t quite believe what he was thinking.

“Get out!” she said as she rose from the bed to get him out of the bedroom once and for all. As she moved him out the room he turned to witness it. A five-foot tall lint-made representation of him was in bed.

“I don’t believe it, you’re dumping me for that?”

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