Sometimes I think events in my short life, which began full of promise, have almost knocked the stuffing out of me. I say full of promise because Sally made me in her workshop from the very best materials, and since her business was making and selling furnishings for patios, pools, and gardens, I imagined the prospect of a life of ease: lying about in the fresh air and soaking up sunshine by the pool behind her workshop. You’re probably thinking that sunshine is not good for a cushion on a permanent basis, but I was handmade from Sunbrella acrylic fabric, and guaranteed for ten years, so it was a good feeling. I was made as a chaise lounge cushion, and you may be unaware that we chaise cushions have a male gender. Sally was an attractive woman with a good figure, and when I saw her in a swimsuit one day, I decided that her nestling up against me was an additional benefit that I hadn’t foreseen.
Alas, how wrong can one be? Soon, she placed me on a lounger frame in her showroom. On Saturday morning, promptly at opening time, the showroom door was flung open and the noisy Glum family entered. The family included a ten-year-old boy, nicknamed Blubber, with dirty pants and boots, and his teenage sister, Frantic, who was wearing five-inch heels and drinking Coke from a plastic cup. I was right to expect trouble. Each member of the family wanted to try every piece of furniture, and sit on every cushion, in the showroom. The boy was one of those kids over whom the parents have no control. He jumped on me and wriggled around, wiping his dirty boots all over my pristine fabric. In a lifeless, bored voice with the authority of a neutered mouse, his father said several times, “Don’t do that Blubber” while continuing to test the destructive limits of a rocking chair. When the wretched Blubber got bored and went off to see how high he could raise all the patio umbrellas, his sister collapsed on me and dripped Coke in several spots on my pillow while digging her stiletto heels into my fabric.
Because of the damage caused by their youngsters, Sally insisted the parents purchase me and the frame supporting me. The Glums wanted a discount. They said, “The cushion looks worn and dirty, and we’re concerned our delicate son Blubber might have picked up an infection from it.”
On Sunday, in my new home, Mr. Glum invited his parents, Fred and Nellie, to join them for a barbecue supper. Fred and Nellie Glum spotted the new lounger as soon as they entered the back yard, and jostled each other in their eagerness to try it. Fred Glum won. He probably weighed in the neighborhood of 275 pounds, making breathing very hard for me, so I was relieved when he discovered a lounger is unsuitable when one needs an endless supply of Budweiser. It’s difficult to gulp greedily while lying down. His stick-thin wife, Nellie, with a fixed, vacant expression, replaced him as he staggered to his feet. I took a deep breath, but only just in time before discovering she had a gas problem, a very noxious gas problem.
I never thought I would owe any thanks to the teenager, Frantic, but she complained of the bad odor around me, prompting everyone to move to the table and chairs at the other end of the patio. When she moved away from me, Nellie stared at me accusingly, insinuating I was responsible for the odor.
As soon as they had moved, Tiddles the Glum’s cat, crept out of the house, surveyed the scene, and decided that a new, yellow sun lounger would be eminently suitable as his new home. Since then he stores the occasional dead mouse or bird on me. Except when Blubber wants to use me as a trampoline, or his sister to transfer sun-tan oil from her body to mine, Tiddles asserts his supremacy.
For the first summer, Mrs. Glum used to grumble about cat hair on me, and clean me with a stiff brush or hold me by one end and whack me hard with the back of it. After that first summer, however, I was forgotten and left outside in wind and rain, with dead leaves collecting on me — not the fun life I had imagined. Now, however, I’m on my way to the local thrift store where an exciting new life awaits me!