The Sponge (Paul Rousseau)

This lady’s wife disappeared last night and she is walking downtown, asking people if they have seen her.

“Have you seen this woman?” she asks, outside a sports bar. She shows a picture of her to a group of people wearing jerseys.

“That’s a sponge,” someone from the group says, authoritatively. “Like a dish sponge.”

“She went missing last night. I’m terrified of what could happen to her,” the lady says. “She’s my wife.”

Another person wearing a jersey steps in.

“This ain’t no picture. It’s a sponge. Like that sponge-guy cartoon,” the jersey wearer says.

The lady in search of her wife frowns. Noticing this, the second jersey suddenly feels bad.

“When did you last see… her,” they say. 

“Well, we went to the Dinner Theatre last night, had Italian, made love in our apartment bathroom, and fell asleep holding hands. Now she’s disappeared. Please tell me you’ve seen her?”

A third jersey approaches.

“Hmm, you know what?” The jersey puts their hand on their chin. “No wait. It couldn’t be.”

They look up, straining their neck, as if being struck by lightning.

“Well wait.”

Their left eye twitches unnaturally.

“Maybe? No?” 

“If you have any information,” says the lady in search of her wife, “I would be so grateful.”

She turns the palms of her hands skyward, doing a sort of pleading shrug. They bob to the syllable beats stressed in so-grate-ful.

“I think I saw her in some dude’s shopping cart at the supermarket. Kinda squished between a carton of egg whites and a chip clip,” the third jersey says. “Mueller’s, Off 2nd and Main.” 

“Oh my God thank you so much,” the lady in search of her wife says.

“I hope you find your sponge,” they all say.


Paul Rousseau is a disabled writer from Minnesota. His work has appeared in Roxane Gay’s The Audacity, X-R-A-Y, CatapultOkay Donkey, and Wigleaf, and is forthcoming from Hippocampus and JMWW. You can follow him on Twitter @Paulwrites7


image: Peter Gutierrez