Shrinking Man

The lady of the house stood in the hallway at the cloakstand mirror and put the finishing touches to her coiffured blonde hair as she conducted the usual one-sided conversation with her husband through the open door to the breakfast room.

However, this morning’s conversation was not at all usual. She spoke slowly and chose her words with great care.

“Darling, I know you have been very enthusiastic about our having another live-in home help, a French or Swedish girl this time, I recall you said.”

She paused for any response but her husband, ensconced at the breakfast table, did not break his gaze from his morning newspaper and double espresso.

She continued, “Well, I really would like to start this New Year with a spring clean, a fresh start, as it were, so I think the sooner we have her here the better.”

Her husband absently grunted in the affirmative and drained his coffee cup.

She stood in the doorway, buttoning up her Burberry mackintosh, and surveyed her husband sitting at the table. Even in middle age, he remained an attractive man with boyish good looks and a slight build that was toned from the sports club. He was well educated, successful, and charming if he fancied it.

His wife spoke brusquely now, “However, my opinion is that a younger woman simply isn’t up to the job of housekeeper and childminder. And your particular criteria of youth and sexual allure would actually be more of a hindrance than a help in the maintenance of a happy home, now wouldn’t it?”

Her husband finally broke away from the financial pages and looked up quizzically at his wife.

His wife was smiling down at him as she elaborated further, “Which is why I have engaged a more mature and robust woman to take charge of the day to day running of this household, and of you, my dear. You see, Michael, my particular criteria for this position is a woman who is perfectly capable of taking a man like you firmly in hand.”

Her husband tried to interject, “Joanna, what are you—?”

“I want a woman who will not waste her valuable time in flirtations and sexual dalliances with a middle aged married man who indulges himself with tarts and Lolitas behind his trusting wife’s back.”

“You’ve gone mad, woman!” he exclaimed.

His wife put her finger to her lips to hush his protests and indicated out in to the hall.

“Darling, I would like to introduce you to Hattie, a very special lady all the way from South Carolina, who I have today employed as the house (and husband) keeper. She answered my classified ad in the international edition of The Lady magazine, and she comes with excellent references.”

A dark shadow filled the corridor and the dull thud of heavy footsteps made its lumbering approach up the corridor. Suddenly, the light was smothered in the breakfast room as a huge figure filled the doorway.

Her husband stood up, in dumb shock, mouth agape, newspaper hanging limply at his groin.

A white scarf was wrapped around her afro hair and a starched white pinny was stretched to bursting point over an enormous body of flesh. She stood over six foot tall and almost as wide and she had to stoop and turn sideways to force her bulk through the doorway.

Mrs Michael Lloyd positively glowed and blossomed in the presence of the new arrival.

Mr Michael Lloyd, on the other hand, looked as if he had seen a horror, indeed, and the colour drained from his face and the energy to escape fled his limbs. He positively paled and shrank at the sight of this big black mature woman.

“Hattie, this is my husband, Michael, the pathetic specimen of a man I told you all about.” She waved her arm between them in a gesture of introduction. “A man who thinks with his penis and cannot keep his dirty thoughts in his dirty pants. This is the man that I recently discovered has been a serial adulterer throughout our ten year marriage.”

She looked her husband directly in the eye. “Isn’t that right, Darling?”

The newspaper scattered across the floor as her husband limped towards her, his arms extended to embrace.

“Please, Darling!” he beseeched.

His wife swiftly stepped away from him and to the side of Hattie.

“As I was saying, Hattie, he has conducted liaisons with so many women, especially young foolish women who do not yet know any better, that I lose count. But, the affairs that spring to mind as particularly repugnant to me are…” She counted them off on her fingers. “My best friend’s eighteen year old daughter, our wedding planner, the babysitter of our children, his personal assistant at the office, my beauty therapist, a waitress at our favourite restaurant, the dance student who lives across the road, etc., etc., etc., and not to forget our recent au pair, of course.”

Hattie placed her hands firmly on her fulsome hips and bent down to examine the little man beneath her who dare not meet her gaze.

“And now he would like me to employ a new home help to add to his list of conquests.”

“It’s not true, my darling,” her husband spluttered. “Please, believe me.”

Joanna Lloyd laughed out loud and shook her head at his barefaced lying.

“I can change!” he added, in desperation.

His wife responded curtly, “Oh, do be quiet, Dear, I am talking to Hattie,” and flicked him away like an annoying buzzing fly.

Michael Lloyd stole a glance at Hattie’s ginormous bosom bearing down upon him. It was impassive. It was terrifying. He quickly set his eyes to the floor at her slippered feet.

His wife continued talking to Hattie and talking down to Michael. “Our children love their father dearly and our lovely home so I will not break that up, for their sake. But I am adamant that my husband will not escape punishment and humiliation for his betrayal of our wedding vows and furthermore, that he will be made a reformed character.”

Her husband gulped and shifted his feet nervously.

Joanna rested her hand tenderly upon Hattie’s muscular arm in a gesture of sisterhood solidarity as she took a good hard look at her errant husband and she came to the climax of her lecture.

“It is my intention for that punishment and humiliation and reformation to occur on a daily basis for the rest of our married lives. And Hattie is here to enforce that. Aren’t you, Hattie?”

Hattie pursed her full lips and set her dark eyes on the weedy white man trembling in her shadow, like a tiny white mouse in the clutches of a big black cat; he was wide eyed and wide mouthed and dribbling slightly. She eyed him up and down with distaste.

“I’ll whoop his ass!” Hattie declared in her deep southern drawl.

Joanna nodded her head in full agreement.

And with that, Hattie suddenly sprang in to action. With a rapid hoisting of her sleeves, Hattie rolled up to him, took him by the scruff of the neck and half marched, half propelled him to the sturdiest chair in the room.

In seconds, her ample bottom spilled over the creaking seat and this beautifully big black woman had this pathetic little white man’s trousers and underpants down in one fell swoop and was beating his lily white bottom with one of her well worn leather slippers.

The man of the house was so overwhelmed by the presence of this powerful black woman, her enormous bosom and ginormous bottom, and the vision of his sweet gentle wife laughing through his tears, that his only response to the humiliation was to feebly kick his feet and moan and groan at the searing pain of each slippered thwack of the leather on his bare, white, pimply bottom.

He was powerless to fight back. He could not escape her might.

His wife stood with her arms crossed, hugging herself and smiling as she took in the glorious scene of Hattie firmly holding down her husband in his place over her broad lap and walloping his rapidly reddening bottom as just punishment for all his wrongdoings over the years.

Mrs Lloyd sighed with relief and contentment then picked up her handbag and her husband’s wallet. She had already informed Hattie of her plans for the day; a long, leisurely and expensive shopping trip and a champagne lunch on her husband’s credit card with her lady friends at Harvey Nicks. And home in time for dinner, as prepared by Hattie, her signature dish of southern fried chicken, followed by apple pie. Meanwhile, Mrs Lloyd’s husband, would have been put to bed early (at the same time as the children) after his supper of bread and milk, and a sound spanking. Joanna and Hattie could then enjoy a cosy dinner together in peace to discuss this first day and their plans for the future. Finally, she would show Hattie the items that she would have got from the list that included a carpet beater and a strop.

“Happy New Year, Michael!” she shouted to her husband as she opened the front door. “And a very happy new year to us, Hattie!” she added as the door closed behind her.

“No! Please, stop! Help me!” her husband screamed in a strangely high pitched voice.

And then the booming voice of Hattie, “Now hush up, boy! You listen to me and you take what you got comin’!”

Michael Lloyd cried out, on and on, like a fretful infant left by his mummy at nursery for the first time, for his wife to come back for him, to save him from this formidable Afro-American woman who scared the life out of him.

Only when Joanna Lloyd turned the key in the ignition, and the engine of her husband’s beloved new Jaguar sports car roared into life, did she finally have respite from her husband’s wailing.