Agitato hooked the miniblinds with one finger and cracked them just enough to peek outside. Sure enough, those damn kids were out there again. Playing basketball or hooky or doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. He growled deep in his throat, but since the kids were outside and across the street, they remained unaware of the threat.
He jerked his hand back and let the blinds snap closed again. Something had to be done about those street urchins. Something. And soon.
He closed his eyes and reclined back against the seashell pink bath pillow, stretching his toes out as far as they would reach. They wouldn’t reach all the way to the other end of the jacuzzi, but that was fine. That was just fine. His fingers crept over to the switch for the jets, and the water churned into a whirling maelstrom as he clicked it.
The thunderous waters drowned out the distracting ruckus of those damned neighborhood kids, and Agitato smirked with one corner of his mouth. Peace and quiet. That’s all he needed, all he ever asked for. Lovely, creamy, silky smooth skin, and peace and quiet. That’s it.
His eyelids slipped lower, but suddenly, he realized that he’d forgotten to pick up cherry tomatoes at the grocery store earlier this morning. His head snapped around to the side to have a look at the clock hanging on the north wall. This afternoon, then. It didn’t really matter what time it was, all that matter was the quite serious lack of cherry tomatoes. Severe, even.
He turned the jets off. Curses! Those brats outside were still making godawful noises of merriment. And to top it all off, he’d forgotten to get a fresh towel from the linen closet just outside the bathroom door. He was going to have to dry his body with a used towel. How utterly disgusting.
Everyone at the store would be sure to smell him. They would alienate him in the produce section. He would have to seek out the thrice-damned cherry tomatoes all by himself. Again. This would be yesterday all over again. Just like yesterday, when the thread had worked its way out of the seam of his pants leg and hung there, waving in the wind, for all the world to see.
Agitato briefly considered suicide as an alternative to going out in public. It would be so much easier. But his psychiatrist and his psychologist and his therapist and his counselor all said not to, that it was frowned upon greatly in today’s society. He heaved a long-suffering sigh and drained the jacuzzi.
Yesterday’s towel jeered at him, mocking him for using it twice in a row without washing. Agitato shivered, trying to break free of his compulsion to not wet the hall rug so that he could make his way to the linen closet and get a fresh towel. A fresh towel would be so much better. So much better. Cleaner.
He couldn’t manage it. Maybe next time. He dried his body as roughly as possible, trying to scourge the filthy feeling the towel left on his skin away with pain, but that never worked. Once dry, He threw the towel into the tub to soak up the remainder of the water, hence preventing him from using it again next time, should he happen to forget a fresh towel again. He chuckled at his own cleverness, but quickly scowled again when another squeal of glee drifted in through the window.
Those children. Something must be done about those children.
That evening Agitato enjoyed his cherry tomatoes in the bath, daydreaming of the punishments he would dole out to the neighborhood children when next they disturbed his peace and quiet and silky soft skin.
The water lapped against the side of the tub, waves crashing on a porcelain shore. She brought her foot back underneath the water, and it slopped over the edge, wetting the ancient blue bath towel she used as a rug there.
She turned her head to nestle her chin into the hollow of her shoulder. Slowly, her eyes began to close of their own accord. The chain lock rattled against her front door, and the sound caused her eyelids to fly open. She shot upright in the tub, gripping the sides until her knuckles turned white and her heart raced out of control. A voice, faint from distance and solid wood doors, called to her.
“Sorry, wrong apartment.”
Recognizing the voice as a frequent visitor of her neighbor’s, she relaxed back into the water, sliding down to the welcoming warmth. Her pulse slowed its pounding in her ears, and she lifted her right foot to plug the open mouth of the faucet with her big toe.
The suds were subsiding, and she felt around beneath herself for the cap of her disposable razor. She didn’t find it; she assumed that when she pulled the plug, it would be lost forever down the drain whose crosshairs had rusted away years ago. When she rose to grab her towel and the plug’s chain slipped through her fingers, she had already forgotten to watch for its journey into oblivion.