Breaking it Down
flash fiction by Rusty Barnes

"Mister Fixit"

Mister Fixit comes to my house in the middle of the day, though I haven’t called him. Rex put his fist through the drywall again last night, and I’m not surprised he’s called Mister Fixit. Rex hates to leave things unfinished, unless they’re me. He left me cold last night, hot makeup sex gone bad one more time. He didn’t kiss me before he left.

“I hear you have stuff need fixing.” He tugs at his ball cap in obeisance. Six feet, lanky, brown hair. Like it’s been planned this way.

“Did Rex call you?”

“Yes ma’am. Told me you had a hole needed filling.” Mister Fixit has a toolbox in his hand and he’s leaning against the door with the other.

“I have that, yes.” This all sounds like a put-on, like some dumb porn movie. Mister Fixit can’t be dumb enough to not realize what he’s said.

“Let me get to filling it, then.” It just gets better. He pushes past me into the kitchen. I wonder for a moment how he knows where to go, but then Rex must have told him.

I remember then I’m still in my bathrobe. I’m participating in the cliché now. It seems harmless, to see how far it will go, how well Rex has prepped Mister Fixit for what he’s about to do. I imagine what Rex might have said, if this is a game he’s picked the players well. I go upstairs to brush my hair and get some clothes on. I choose tight jeans, a loose t-shirt with no bra. I want to be a cliché now. What’s the harm, just once.

I walk back downstairs and into the kitchen, where Mister Fixit is prepping the hole in the drywall, cutting around it.

“Looks like your veneer is peeling too, on that table. You’ll need to re-cover that or get a new table.”

“That’s up to Rex.” I brush against him. “Do you want something cool to drink?” He glances at me once with something like amusement in his eyes.

“No thanks, ma’am.” He turns back to his hole.

“Sometimes I just want to disappear,” I say. “Rex beats me.” The tears come.

“Oh ma’am. You don’t want to do that. Got a man who loves you.” The tears come harder. I can see the hesitation in his eyes. “He’ll straighten up,” says Mr. Fixit, sympathy in his eyes. He puts the tool down and opens his arms, and I go to him as the script dictates. As he holds me in his smell of body odor and gas, putty and rank man, I can feel myself begin to disappear—it’s good. He squeezes tighter, a comfort hug, tighter and tighter. I am smaller and smaller in his arms. I am a wet spot on the shoulder of his grubby shirt, and then I am gone.