Ant Smith



She had never thought that she would have tried to change her man. His habits, his appearance, his essential nature. She had considered herself to be in love. And she had believed that had meant, for better or for worse. But nevertheless, here she was, sneaking around like a thief while he slept.

There were things she would need. A towel certainly, and that was easy ' she would use the little pink fluffy one that he complained looked 'gay'. She liked it. It was nice. It was one of the few feminine touches in their home. She liked to luxuriate in its soft pile after a shower. It caressed her in exactly the same way his light-fingered touch would when first they had met, surprising the crevices she forgot that she had. On the other hand he would often stomp out of the bathroom, holding it aloft like a dead thing, and Bellow

'What in the hell am I supposed to do with this? Dry myself or dance like a midget gay matador?'

She would giggle at that. It isn't that she minded that he complained. And she found him funny and ultimately sexual. Thinking of him prancing like that now still made her smile. She loved him in so many ways.

But, for the way that he bellows.

Then she would need something with which to cut, and something with which to scoop. The ice-cream scoop had a loose handle and she was forever having to ply her fingers deep into the gooey semi-frozen mess to retrieve it, licking them clean and inevitably ending up with a little blob of raspberry ripple transferred from her thumb to the tip of her nose, which she would leave - as she knew he would kiss it from her. That would not do. Not in this case. She wouldn't be struggling with frozen desserts here, and the thought of poshing about with her fingers almost made her stomach churn. She would have to use the long handled salad spoon.

The cutting would be the worst bit and she had decided at the outset that she would not take a ham-fisted DIY approach to that. When she had ordered the scalpels she had surprised herself. This was to be no heat of the moment affair. It isn't that she wanted to punish him in any way; the thought of hurting him was far, far from her mind. She believed that. But to have to plan so assiduously was terribly, terribly difficult. She never knew she had it in her. The scalpels had been hidden beneath the moulded tray that held the knives and forks and all of the strange twisted and inevitably interlocked kitchen thingamajigs. Corkscrews and skewers, spatulas and whisks. She pulled them out gingerly, her heart pounding at what seemed like a terrible clatter afraid he would awaken and bellow out something like

'For god's sake woman what are you doing, attacking the walls of Jericho like a bastard thalidomide?' He'd never understood 'political correctness'. She didn't mind that. She knew he didn't have a bad bone in his body. His words would shock for sure, but he had a colour to his language like no other. You were never left uncertain of what he meant, and he often gave cause for an involuntary gasp or giggle of shock. She would never censure him. If only he could have learned to whisper.

But he did not wake up. The web site she had found had proven most useful. Most complete in its instruction. It had come from 'The Society for Cutting Up Men'. Mostly, quite horrific and of course majoring on neutering and home castration. When 'SCUM' had shown up on the bank statement, she had told him that they were suppliers of kitchen cleaning products. She did not like to lie, but she didn't want to be causing him any concern. She loved him very much.

She had thought she could not delve all of the way through its vast archive; the pictures alone had lead to several weeks of disturbed nights. But buried very deeply was just one article that held the answer to all of her prayers. The years of running out of shops in embarrassment, of leaving parties early and often alone, of smiling demurely at people wearing looks that said 'and you married that?' after he had bellowed some new obscenity' And after all it was not actually such a very big thing. Just the one article, 'On how to remove a man's natural bellow'. Apparently there's a condition. Medically proven but little known. Some men, it seems, are cursed with a 'natural bellow'. She would be fixing him. It isn't like 'changing' him at all. She just had to cure his bellow. For the both of them. She was sure he would be much, much happier. The article had said so.

She gathered all of her things together and crept into the bedroom. He was snoring like a baby, a baby troll that is. One of the symptoms of his condition she now understood. The dread and the fear, the panic and the doubt melted from her as she watched his troubled and fitful sleep - the poor thing. She lays out the towel next to just the right spot and takes a careful hold of the treacherous blade hoping she had used just enough of the narcotic she prepares to make the change.

The scooping was definitely the worst. There seemed to be just so much of it. That had surprised her, perhaps given the extreme nature of his condition it should not have. She just wished that she had not managed to get a globule of it on the end of her nose. That moment had caused her to vomit. But she had it, the once believed mythical Mugio furari ' the Bellow Sac. And then they both slept soundly.

And the morning brought a great transformation. He did not leap from bed bellowing 'Hands off cocks on socks' rather a simple, if somewhat meek, 'Morning dear' at which she smiled to herself. All was good. All was as it should be. As he limps slightly from the room to put on a pot of hot coffee she reclined in a relief that was only momentarily interrupted by a single thought. 'Surely, a penis isn't meant to be quite as big as all of that?'