Merv turned on her then, one hand clamping down on her bony shoulder, the other rooting itself in the thin hair on top of her head. Her endless carping turned into screams, beautiful screams as the muscles in his wrists and arms and back flexed; and when her head tore loose from her neck, it did so with a glorious meaty rending sound and a fierce spatter of hot blood.
"Well?" she added, in her finest buzzsaw screech -- the woman was old and frail, but still had a pair of lungs on her. Merv sighed inwardly as his fondest daydreams once more made way for reality. Not that Julia wasn't a hell of a woman, better than a man like him deserved, but goddamn, her mother...
"No ma'am, Mrs. Feldman," he replied -- seven years he and Julia had been married, but God forbid he refer to his mother-in-law by her good Christian name; nossir, that was one liberty that Mervin J. Kincade was not in a position to take. "I most definitely am going to do that first thing tomorrow -- just as soon as the boss comes back from vacation, y'see."
"Hmph," the old bat replied. She craned her neck forward, glaring up at him as though expecting to skewer him with just that look in her eye... that haughty you-never-deserved-my-daughter look that he didn't know how he had managed to put up with this long. That, in fact, he couldn't put up with anymore. And wouldn't. The force of his clenched hand smashing into her face was enough to slam her back against the wall; he pinned her there with the other hand, and kept punching, and punching, and punching. She wasn't giving him any look, now, not through the welter of blood that had previously been her face.
Merv blinked. "Are you even listening to me, Mervin?" she snapped, hands on hips, practically sneering at him. "You'd best get your act together, young man, or my Julia may just start realizing just what a mistake she made in marrying you -- "
"Yes ma'am," Merv interrupted, speaking quickly so he could maybe get out of this conversation before she could get on his case for that, too. "I'm real sorry, ma'am, but I promised I'd help Julia set up for dinner, and you know how I hate to disappoint her."
He hurried out of the room, though not quite quickly enough to avoid hearing her mutter something about how it was already too late for that.
The story about promising to help Julia was, of course, a lie; but she was pleased enough when he showed up to help carry things to the dining room table. They all managed to sit down and start eating with a minimum of snark... and then the smoke detector in the kitchen went off.
Julia jumped up from the table. "Oh, my pie!" she exclaimed, and rushed back through the kitchen door. They could hear her in there, pulling open the oven door and muttering over its contents.
A flicker of movement caught at the corner of Merv's eye, and he felt another of those stifled sighs coming on. Mrs. Feldman was taking in a deep breath, no doubt to fuel her latest nagfest at his expense. He started to turn toward her --
-- and froze.
She was choking.
The old bat hadn't bothered to actually finish chewing before starting in on him again, and now she was actually choking on something.
For a moment he sat there, listening to his wife's movements in the next room, and watching the weak struggles of his mother-in-law across the table.
Finally he rose from his chair, set his napkin down carefully beside his plate, and headed into the kitchen to see what he could do to help.
Are mothers-in-law really that shrill in real life? I realize that in the wacky wacky sitcoms and whatnot they are awful harridans that exist only to torment and humiliate their put-upon sons-in-law (assuming we're talking about the wife's mother, which is the case in the comic). But does that actually bear out in reality? I can't really speak from experience, seeing as I don't have a wife; but, I mean, people aren't nearly as simple as TV tends to make them out to be, so I'm thinking that this relationship is probably generally more nuanced.
Also: every character name in this one is lifted from a webcomic which, in its original incarnation, was one of my favorite Keenspot titles back in the early days of that particular collective. This is because I randomly decided to name the husband Merv and then found it amusing to go with the theme. A delicious ham sandwich to anyone who spots the ref! (Void in the state of Idaho.)