Mrs. Harrow and the Tour du Freaque Catherine Harnett Micro-Fiction

pages Mrs. Harrow and the Tour du Freaque

by Catherine Harnett

Published in Issue No. 200 ~ January, 2014

Mrs. Harrow informs me over pot roast that she has always wanted to be a Deadhead.

Odd that she never mentioned it during twenty years of marriage. Mrs. Harrow has always seemed content; we live comfortably with our two cats, Pussy and Dick, the latter named after her esteemed father, Dr. Richard Tingle.

It appears that for many years she has harbored resentment for missing Woodstock, where she could wallow in the mud and wear flowers in her hair.

Mrs. Harrow is determined to make up for lost time.

She has decided to follow her favorite singer, a young man in leather pants, with blue-streaked hair and a talented pelvis. He was irresistible on that weekly singing show, the one with the unctuous host and his pompadour, and close-ups of the tonsils of eager contestants, mostly black girls singing full force.

Mrs. Harrow was giddy as a sixth-grade girl when Thommy Thorn was selected as the season’s winner. She purchased his record “Freaque,” playing it over and again, loud enough to irritate Mrs. Fenster who claims that her tomato plants are being harmed by the percussive beat. I must admit, some songs are catchy, especially “I Am Always Behind You,” an upbeat number about friendship. Working in the garden, I sometimes catch myself singing the chorus with gusto: ”Nothing comes between us now, nothing ever will/ You will feel me knocking at your back door, waiting to come in.”

Who couldn’t use a friend like that?

Mrs. Harrow has made plans to follow the “Tour du Freaque,” over the period of several months. She calls it her “little summer of love.”

I suppose I should be more enthusiastic, but I am a little miffed by the constant references to her “edgy” musician and his “sensuous” moves. And by his photograph taped to the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, and framed on the nightstand—the last image I see before sleep. In jest, I mentioned that I would gladly wear tighter trousers, and perhaps a streak of color in my hair, but Mrs. Harrow was not amused.

Although I have some trepidation about Mrs. Harrow’s new pre-occupation, I doubt that she will become a heroin addict or perform sexual favors for the drummer or the sound-check men; but I have heard that some women do indeed fall under the spell of stars, and they are never the same.

Mrs. Harrow has always been a handsome, level-headed, frugal woman; so I am surprised when she tells me she has purchased four-dozen pairs of panties, little lacey things she points to in her luggage.

They are a stark contrast to the modest collection I am used to seeing when I empty the dryer. Forty-eight pairs of panties: does she plan to toss them onto the stage, like women did when that Brit Tom Jones, was all the rage?

I never expected her to be so immoderate, dyeing her hair Bozo red and piercing another hole in her right ear. I suppose that this woman in leather pants and boots will return to our sedate life, at least I pray she will.

I had an inkling that things might not go well.

Given the unfortunate turn of events on the “Tour du Freaque,” I expect to see Mrs. Harrow sooner than expected.

Thommy Thorn was found in bed with two boys, both minors. The news article, “A Thorn Between Two Roses,” reported that syringes and white powder were scattered throughout the hotel room, and a cobra, which is on stage for three songs, was coiled around the rungs of the desk chair. To make matters worse, Thommy’s drummer became enraged at being thrown over for two juveniles; he placed a flaming trashcan outside his lover’s room and demolished the ice machine with Thommy’s most expensive guitar.

It is such a relief that Mrs. Harrow is not Thommy Thorn’s type.

Before she returns home, I will destroy, with great pleasure, each and every reminder of the degenerate, starting with the bedside photograph.

I toss his record into the dumpster behind the grocery store; it would be troubling if the trash men knew that “Freaque” had been in my possession. As it is, I feel the fool for loudly singing that song about sodomy while watering the zinnias.

Mrs. Harrow needs to blot out this entire incident. It’s about time we return to our satisfying life; no television, just simple pleasures like canasta, and stroking Pussy and Dick while we read.

I want to forget his name, his face, all those gyrations of his, put Mrs. Harrow’s little adventure and that queer freak behind me.

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Catherine Harnett is a poet and fiction writer from Virginia. She published two poetry books, Still Life and Evidence through the Washington Writers Publishing Press. Her recent work appears in a number of literary journals. Catherine’s short story, ‘Her Gorgeous Grief’ was published by the Hudson Review, and included in Writes of Passage, an anthology of coming - of - age stories. She retired from a Senior Executive position in the U.S. government, and attended Georgetown University where she obtained her M.A. Catherine lives in Fairfax with her daughter.