Unwound (short fiction)

Todd had broken the lamp. Again.

Jackson pulled aside his son. “You have to be more careful.”

Maureen sighed. “I don’t know why you’re making such a big deal about it. We’ll fix it.”

“You can’t fix everything,” he said.

“Yes, we can.” She pulled her unwinder from her pocket, waved it over the lamp. The old lamp jumped back onto the end table and put itself back together. “See? No harm done?”

Jackson had always hated that ugly, old lamp. He would’ve been happy to sweep it into the garbage and never think about it again.

“It’s not about the lamp,” he said. “He has to learn responsibility.”

Maureen ruffled Todd’s hair. “He’s responsible. Go on, honey. Go play.”

Jackson stared at the device in her hand. “I hate that thing.”

“You’re just an old curmudgeon,” she said. “Stop being silly. Did you hear? They just released the newest ones. You can use them on pets now.”

“Shit. Really?”

“Barbara used it last week to unwind their cat after it was hit by a car. Worked like a charm.”

“That’s nice.” He’d always liked that cat.

“And Sally and John are just waiting for human approval so that they can unwind their marriage. Should be any day now.”

“Why?”

“Oh, it just wasn’t working out. They both decided to start fresh.” She kissed him.

She sat on the couch, reading her book. He loved her, but did that matter? If tomorrow, she decided it wasn’t “working out” would she unwind their life together. What would happen to them? What would happen to Todd?

“I hate those things,” he said.

“You’ll get used to them.”

He went outside for some air.  A few minutes later, he heard the lamp break.

Again.

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