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g r a v e l
A L I T E R A R Y J O U R N A L
Brian Alan Ellis
Artwork by Jake Troyli
The Problem with Helen
What bothers me most is that Helen never closes a drawer all the way. She’ll leave it cracked slightly, as though the contents, some random articles, will sneak out to find better homes for themselves. A tiny habit, sure, but those add up.
And it wasn’t always a big deal. In fact, it was one of her cute eccentricities we’d laugh about from time to time.
Now, we hardly ever laugh.
Granted, I do things that bother her, lots of them, like letting my toenails grow out so much that they slice her up at night when we sleep. Helen hates that, and rightfully so. But this open-drawer-leaving business has to stop, and quick.
I mean, it may lead to other things. A gateway problem. She might start leaving the refrigerator door open, which may lead to her leaving the front door open, which could lead to unwanted guests: criminals, bugs, Mormons, children; her mother, even.
And why only drawers? As of now, Helen doesn’t leave the medicine cabinet ajar, nor are open cupboards left in her wake. It’s baffling. What does she have against drawers? You can put things in them. They’re made to close. All the way.
Also, I wonder if she brings this problem with her to work. Can you imagine? A kindergarten teacher, no less! Young, impressionable minds filled with what, the virtues of unfinished business; of Who-Gives-A-Damns?
Just think what those so neglectful to not even close a simple drawer will cast upon this world. All kinds of calamities. Gateway calamities. Calamities for days. Our society will soon be one of lazy, absentminded ineptness; of chaos and bad manners. All because my wife—the architect of future generations—refuses to shut a damn drawer properly.
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