The Bitch Wrangler
Another Short Story from Ina Disguise
For SB, who rocks my world.
“And for goodness’ sake, don’t forget the milk this time. I don’t have time for this. You’re so careless.” Una glowered at him.
William sighed. He dimly remembered a time when his wife was happy. It had been some time ago. When did she turn into such a nag? Every interaction ended with “You’re so…”
“Yes dear. Can I fetch you anything else?” William tried as best he could to sound neutral. He squeezed his eyes shut, awaiting the response.
“Don’t even think about getting sarcastic with me. Just hurry up. Your parents are coming at eight.” Una pursed her lips and turned her back on him.
William headed for the garden, got into his car. Thank goodness the weekend was nearly over, and he could get back to the relative sanity of work.
The following day William arrived at the office to find uproar. A histrionic actressy-type they had taken on was throwing a tantrum, apparently because of some unknown issue with the team leader. She was strutting around the large open plan office, having thrown her sunglasses vaguely in the direction of her desk and was flouncing sufficiently for her cape to be hitting the heads of the other staff, who otherwise seemed to find this spectacle quite funny.
“Titanic Dickhead!” she exclaimed as she stamped and snuffled her way to pick up her workpile and associated stationary. Peter, William’s assistant, motioned to him to come into his office.
“What are we going to do? She can’t carry on like this all day.” Peter wrung his hands and looked anxious.
“I guess we’ll have to speak to the team leader.” William sighed. “Ask him to come into my office.”
The team leader, a quiet, studious and usually geeky man, was duly summoned to the office.
“Can you tell me what is wrong with your staff member?” William tried to look stern. “She seems upset.”
“It’s nothing, sir. She’ll be fine tomorrow.” the titanic dickhead remained calm. “It is an impressive display of fury, don’t you think?” he smiled.
William looked nervous. “Can you tell me what it’s about?”
“I could, but it’s not really relevant. If she is still like this in a couple of days, we can talk about it then. You can discuss it with her if you want, but you are unlikely to get much sense out of her.”
“Ok I’ll do that.” William was confused. “Thanks.”
Later that morning, Willam called his assistant and the female staff member to his office.
“We couldn’t help but notice that you seem a bit upset? Could you tell us what the problem is?”
“Upset?” The lady peered over the top of her sunglasses. “No, I think everything is fine?”
“With your team leader. You seem upset. Is there anything we can help you with?” William looked stern. “We have no HR function here, but we were a bit concerned.”
“My team leader? Oh, no he’s amazing. Keep him.” she nodded in agreement with herself. “Best manager I’ve ever worked with. Understands the job, very serious attitude, thoughtful, positive, organised the list goes on…..”
“Oh, oh good. We’ll tell him to keep up the good work.” William smiled. “So no further problems you want to discuss?”
“None that I can think of.” the lady smiled. “Can I go back to work? If I don’t hit target, he might stare at me with a look of slight bemusement, and I couldn’t bear it.”
“Yes, yes that’s fine.” William was now intrigued. The plot thickened.
The following day, after a few more run-ins with his wife, William arrived at work to find that the actressy type had come in an hour early and was quietly working. An atmosphere of happy calm pervaded the office. He called the team leader to the office.
“Ok how do you do it?”
“Sorry?” the team leader looked quizzical.
“She was furious yesterday, and then turned around and told us how marvellous you are. How do you do that?” William squinted at the team leader
“Oh that? Oh it’s not difficult. They’re a bit like horses.”
“Yeah, when I was young, I used to help my father training horses. Ever tried arguing with a horse?”
“Exactly. There’s no point. So, generally speaking, I apply the same principles with women. Arab horse training is very different from the American concept of ‘breaking.’ We like our horses fearless and loyal, so its a different process. Very much applies to women as well, I find.” he stretched out slightly in his seat. “That one was a very nervous horse, so she was a bit flighty yesterday, but she’s OK now. You just have to be a bit patient.”
“Right, so you’re saying think more like a horse trainer?”
“Yeah, you show them what you want, you give them space to think about it, let them freak out a bit, then you show them again until they get the idea. Let them play with the bridle for a bit, if you see what I mean.”
“So, was she objecting to something that you want?” William was curious now.
“Not at all, she is just frightened. The spirited ones are so much fun though, aren’t they?”
“Ok, so if I want my wife to be happier, I should show her what I plan to do in advance?”
“Yes, put a bit of thought into it, decide what you want and then demonstrate it. There’s no point in discussing it.”
“I’ll try that. Thank you.” William turned to his computer. “I’ll let you know how it goes.”
Later that afternoon, William thought about what he wanted from his wife. More sex would be nice, he thought. He considered buying some sex toys and leaving them lying in the bedroom, and quickly decided that she would not like the look of that at all.
Less nagging, how should he go about that? Nagging presumably indicated discontent on some deeper level, since he considered himself pretty good at putting up shelves, or shopping, or whatever. More sex was presumably the answer to that, too, but the more he thought about it, the less she would like that as a leading part of the wish list.
From this, William eventually got to cuddling as being an issue. He had read somewhere that cuddling improves female health, so perhaps that might be something to consider? How would he demonstrate his intention to cuddle her when she was so hostile? He decided to see if there was anything on the Ikea website, and isolated a giant bean bag that might work. He purchased it, and then wondered if he could make further improvements, and bought some scented candles.
He then considered how he would persuade her onto the bean bag with him, and realised that he had skipped a step or two. At last he had a plan that might work.
William put some relaxing music on as he drove home, and happily considered how to make his wife happier. She was already complaining as he entered the house.
“You’re late.” she bristled “You’re dinner is probably ruined.”
“I’m sorry, dear.” William smiled. “Would you prefer to go out?”
“What? No!” his wife looked furious.
“Would you mind taking a look at my hand?” William smiled at her again, making sure he met her eyes.
“Is there something wrong with it?” she looked confused.
“Have a look at it for me, and see.” William held out an outstretched palm. His wife duly inspected his hand from where she stood. She looked at his hand, and then looked at him, slightly perturbed by this odd request.
“It looks fine to me.” she turned away slightly. William had not realised she was this withdrawn.
“You could try having a closer look?” he tried. He moved slightly closer. This was way more exciting than he expected it to be.
“I’ll maybe take a look later, when we are watching TV.” his wife looked nervous and quickly left the room.
William considered this to be a good start. Who knew where this strange mini-adventure would lead? The team leader had been right however, William realised that his wife was a very unhappy horse that needed gentle handling. Even flowers would probably come as a shock.
The next day William thought it was probably too early to pursue the issue of actually touching his hand, so he decided to invent a reason for her to dress up. He booked afternoon tea at a local hotel, and made a point of wearing a tie she had chosen.
She was furious, of course, at not being given any notice, but William happily ignored it. He noticed her slightly dispirited air as she donned her twinset and skirt. He wondered how he would restore her confidence? This was turning out to be a lot of work.
He presumed that improving the confidence of horses involved a lot of grooming and whispering, so this meant the hand issue was probably quite urgent. He made a point of ushering her through doorways to reaffirm the message about his hand. She seemed to be slightly less alarmed by seeing it, but she wasn’t really connecting with it yet. He felt that they had made a bit of progress towards making use of his giant bean bag, however, so he was reasonably pleased with himself.
“When are you going to do the garden? There isn’t much of the weekend left?” his wife sounded slightly less fractious. Things were looking up.
“Don’t worry, I will do what I can with the rest of the afternoon, and then we can relax.” William was rather proud of this small advance. Taking charge would be a slow and delicate process.
William relayed his progress to the team leader on Monday, who smiled and reassured him that he was doing well. William glowed with happiness. Perhaps tonight his wife would forget to nag him and actually touch his hand!