Evelyn McCormick knew that her bubble bath was officially ruined when the huge black whale fluke surged up through her bathroom floor, flicking spume and saltwater everywhere.
“Darling!” she yelled. Although if you asked her, she would never admit that she yelled — ladies didn’t yell, a fact drilled into her at a very early age by her mother. Rather, ladies enunciated with a clear and carrying voice until their requests were followed.
When that didn’t get her a response, she followed with “ROGER!”
“Yes, dear?” floated back from the rec room.
“We’ve got whales again!”
“WHALES!” she enunciated loudly. “In the bathroom. Again.”
“Oh.” There was a pause. “Can it wait for a bit, dear? The Masters is on.”
Evelyn ground her teeth, another no-no for ladies according to Mother, but in the face of Roger’s inexplicable devotion to golf she felt she’d earned a bit of gnashing. She then glared at the whale fluke waving lazily through her tile floor. The last time a transdimensional cetacean had popped up through the bathroom floor, she’d been plucking her eyebrows in preparation for cocktails with the Wainwrights. Like a good wife, she waited for Roger, who had been watching the Tampa Bay Pro-Am tour, to deal with it. As a result, the linen closet had been drenched, her White Shoulders perfume bottle was smashed to bits, and she never did finish plucking her right eyebrow.
She flicked some bubbles at the fluke. “Shoo,” she ordered. “Go away — I’m taking a bath.”
The whale didn’t seem impressed. Instead, its fluke undulated lazily in the steamy air, batting against the crystal ceiling light fixture. Evelyn’s breath hitched in her throat as rainbow sparkles danced around the bathroom. “Oh, no you don’t, she growled. “That light fixture is Swarovski, darn it!”
There was no help for it, not while the Masters was on. Mother would undoubtedly have Words (read: throw a ladylike snit) when she heard about it during their next lunch at the country club, but there was no other choice. If Evelyn wanted to get rid of this pesky whale before it destroyed her bathroom again, she’d simply have to do it herself.
Trying to maintain as much modesty as possible behind her rapidly dwindling bubbles, she reached for the harpoon they kept tucked between the tub and toilet. Thank goodness Babs Wainwright had told her all about the Bother-B-Gone Transdimensional Pest Control company after the last whale. “We had turtles,” Babs confided over a highball at the club. “Big ones. And they were where you really don’t want to see turtles, if you get my meaning.”
Leaning back like the nice man from Bother-B-Gone had showed her during their practice session in the showroom, Evelyn hefted the harpoon and sighted down it, looking for a vulnerable point on the whale’s hide. A flipper oozed up through the floor, now, waving cheekily at her.
“Try to hit them around the flippers,” the salesman had said. “And don’t worry about hurting it. Research has shown that transdimensional pests don’t feel pain like we do, and they’re more scared of you than you are of them. Just smack it with everything you’ve got.”
With that in mind, Evelyn set her jaw, careful not to grimace and bring on frown lines, and thrust the harpoon forward with all her might. As it turned out, doing housework and lifting highballs at the Club had gifted her with more muscle tissue than she thought, because the barbed tip sank into the sleek black hide right in front of the flipper.
The whale gave a frightful burbling moan before sinking back under the tile floor. The lingering scent of saltwater and flecks of spume on the mirror over the sinks were the only proof that the bathroom had ever been invaded. Evelyn suppressed an unladylike cheer and sank back into her bubble bath, triumphant.
“Did you say something, dear?” Roger called faintly.
“Hm? Oh, no, darling. Everything’s fine,” she enunciated with a dainty smile. She still had fifteen minutes of relaxation time, then she could get dried off, finish her toilette, get dressed and have a nice dinner at the Club — assuming that the golf game was over by then, of course. Maybe Babs and Charlie would be there, and they could even get a game of bridge going —
A wheezy honk interrupted her thoughts of beating Babs soundly and enjoying a relaxing post-game cocktail. Evelyn turned in time to see a sleek brown head emerge from the toilet bowl, blue-tinted water splashing and dripping over the rim. The creature’s whiskers trembled, its soulful brown eyes giving her a mournful once-over as it honked again in greeting.
“Oh, no,” Evelyn moaned, sinking back into her suds. “Not seals. Roger — ROGER!”
Melanie Fletcher is an expatriate Chicagoan who currently lives in North Dallas with her husband the Bodacious Brit™ and their four fabulous furbags JJ, Jordan, Jessica, and Jeremy (yes, they were following a theme, moving along now). When not herding cats, she turns into SF Writer Girl, and has the SFWA membership card to prove it. In related activities, she produces the podcast Don’t Quit Your Day Job: The Podcast with Jerry J. Davis, Patrick Gaik and Stacy the News Girl.