The Knife

The knife was angry at the woman, big blowsy, careless, bitch of a woman. For years he had been patient with her clumsy mishandling, dropping him point first on the floor more times than he cared to remember. But now he was fed up with her and he was finally going to do something about it.

For years, he had cut her slack. She'd drop him on the floor, and mar his finish, but he would remind himself. I'm silverware. No need to get riled. An indispensable tool, the family friend, kitchen helper. He was proud to serve at table. Well, he used to be proud to serve at the table. He could butter a slice of toast or cut a pork chop, with equal facility. He enjoyed his contact with the fork and plate. Teamwork, that was what a meal was all about. Each utensil with a special role to play. He was the specialist in spreading and cutting and scraping, when that woman burned the toast, as she frequently did.

But lately things had been getting bad, very bad. He'd been left overnight in the sink with his blade corroding one too many times. His silverplate had tarnished badly and she never polished him. Last week she had used him to scrape the boogers off the wall of her son's bedroom. There was a chip off the old block. Little "Buddy". What a prime piece of human refuse!

But Sunday, somehow, Sunday had been the worst day. He was clean and resting in the silverware drawer when she pulled him out. The phone rang and she slammed him on the table. She finished her conversation and then dipped his tip into a stinking jar of rancid peanut butter. It wouldn't have been so bad, but there were toast crumbs in there, and mixed globs of jelly and jam. She pulled the blade out and waved him about idly, not even thinking about what she was doing, she made a hash out of the buttering process. She took no pride in her work. He who was capable of doing so much more was ashamed to work for such a loser. Then she set him down dismissively as if he were a soulless slave, he who had been so sharp and so bright. She didn't even wipe his blade, just left him sloppily covered with slimy peanut butter to sit in the damp sink all night, separated from friends in the silverware drawer, helpless, alone, lonely, humiliated, and bleeding rust.

He sat in the sink for two full days, covered with stinking peanut butter, but he didn't take the humiliation lying down. Oh no, he began to plot his revenge. Some day, not today, but some day soon, when opportunity knocked, he would get a bit of his own back. Oh, yes! But he'd have to be sharp and ready.

Two days later...TWO DAYS! The woman found the discarded blade. She was padding blithely around the kitchen in her slippers and bathrobe singing "Oh, what a beautiful morning." Beautiful morning, hah! She picked him out of the kitchen sink.

"Ooh, yuck!" she exclaimed,"Disgusting!"

Disgusting was he! His atoms vibrated with revulsion from the tone of her voice, from the touch of her hands on his body, and then she dumped him, just dumped him onto the hard porcelain surface of the sink, point first. He landed painfully.

"Oklahoma..." she was singing now in her big blowsy voice with the teakettle shrieking in harmony. The tea kettle sang better than she did was his acidly cutting thought.

She filled a bowl with hot, soapy water. His hatred grew. She was beginning to wash the silverware. She caressed the spoons in the silky water and massaged them with a scrub cloth. She was singing "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" while he swung into "Mac the Knife". "When the shark bites..."

She had picked him up again. He was getting excited. She was going to wash him. He loved to be washed, even if it was her. How he hated the gooey mire that encrusted him. "When the shark bites..." No, no, not now. She scrubbed him with the little green cloth, slid the cloth along the length of his soapy flanks, and slipped his tip into the pan of soapy bubbles. Yes, it felt fantastic, that slick, slide into the silver bath and now his blade was shining and she sluiced him in the silvery fountain with the lights dancing. God, he felt great, powerful again. Now, now, he thought in wild exultation, "That old Mac Heath, babe!" he screamed and sliced through the flesh of her thumb. She screamed back high and sharp.

He didn't care when she dropped him again to the floor of the sink. He could still taste her blood on his blade. It was sweet.