They hadn’t gotten along in a long while. He was quick at name calling, disparaging everything she tried to do. They were both supposed to be in charge of the family finances but it didn’t work that way. If he wanted something, he just went out and bought it. If she wanted something, he always said they couldn’t afford it.
She wasn’t sure how he was spending so much money but the house was falling into disrepair. The roof was leaking in a few places; water was getting in. It was passed the time to paint, now some of the siding was coming off. Even the plumbing didn’t function some of the time.
The children were suffering. He wasn’t in favor of investing in their education. He wasn’t in favor of making sure they had good clothes. He wasn’t even particularly interested in whether they had enough good food to eat. He just wanted to be left alone to spend their money any way he felt like. They weren’t his problem.
He wasn’t hurting, though. He had a lot of nice toys. He had a huge and ever growing gun collection. He bought the newest cars while she was still relegated to last decade’s model. He slept on the finest sheets while she and the kids were lucky to have a mattress (and they better not complain about it!)
He was hostile to their neighbors and old friends. They tried to humor him but that didn’t work. Even while eating at their house, he would complain to their friends that they just didn’t do enough for him and he was sick and tired of putting up with it.
He did socialize though, but with a rough crowd. He admired how rough they were with their own households, how they took no flack off their family. “My way or the highway” worked for them. He was trying to impose that model in his home, too. He was having a fair bit of success.
He’d long since stopped caring about what she thought, about what the kids thought, about what his neighbors and friends thought. To him, he was the only person that mattered. Everyone else could just go to hell and he’d be happy enough to send them there.
He did like adoration, though. There were a few people down at the shop who thought he hung the moon. He could do no wrong. Of course, he laughed at how stupid they were when they weren’t around, but he kept those people close so he could always enjoy their praise, their attention, their devotion. Sometimes he would go out drinking with them (they paid the tab, of course). And he might be three sheets to the wind and sick as a dog, but he always insisted on driving the lot of them without regard for the consequences.
In short, he was a peach of a guy.
She tried. She tried and tried. But there was no working with him. She tried to warn him that the house could no go on this way, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He told her he didn’t care. If she didn’t like it the way that he ran it, then she was the enemy and not welcome in his house.
The kids didn’t fare any better. They were just ungrateful and they could get out, too.
One day, the big day came and she took the big step. Along with the help of the kids, they moved him on down the road; they voted him off the island; they handed him his pink slip. She kicked him to the curb.
He tried to cause a fuss but like all cowards, before long he turned and ran and disappeared back under some slimy rock somewhere.
And life for her and the kids started to become better again.