“I could just about grin and bear the stupid novelty jumpers she usually knits me but that adult onesie is an absolute bloody no-no,” Christopher Walker complained to his wife, Alison, in private in the kitchen, just after his mother-in-law, Veronica, had enthusiastically presented him with this year’s ‘extra special’ Christmas present.
His mother-in-law had a way of getting what she wanted though and so, with words of encouragement from his wife to ‘enter in to the spirit of things’, Chris ended up sitting at the head of the dining room table looking and feeling ridiculous in the woolly white monstrosity with its teddy bear head hood.
He was sullen throughout Christmas dinner and he literally squirmed in his seat with embarrassment when his mother-in-law proceeded to take photographs of him on her iPhone, which she immediately posted to her Facebook page. She shoved the phone under his nose so he could see the picture of himself dressed like a giant teddy bear and put on public display like a toy in a shop window or an animal at the zoo. She had captioned it: ‘This is my cute and cuddly son-in-law. Every mother-in-law should have one that looks just like this!’
Veronica Alston positively revelled in his discomfort.
“That onesie really suits you, Christopher,” she teased. “I think it brings out the beast in you.”
Christopher Walker had lost his appetite, along with his sense of humour, and his masculine pride. Finally, he could take no more of her mockery of him. He slammed down his knife and fork and pushed away his half-eaten plate of roast turkey and all the trimmings.
“I’ve got indigestion,” he announced, through gritted teeth. “I’ll do without pudding.”
He had a vision of escaping to a large whisky in his office and an afternoon spent sitting at his desk browsing sport and porn on his computer while his wife and mother-in-law talked about him behind his back.
“Oh no, Christopher,” his mother-in-law responded. You’ll stay put and eat up all your sprouts,” she insisted; with a sharpness to her tone of voice that suggested he had better do exactly as he was told or else. “Every last one of them,” she added.
“Really, Veronica, I’ve had quite enough, thank you,” he replied politely but firmly, trying to assert his authority in his own home.
“You’re not allowed to leave this table unless you eat your greens,” his mother-in-law retorted in a sing-song voice, as if she were admonishing a schoolboy.
Christopher Walker was just about to rise from the table when his mother-in-law leaned over and pinned his hand to the table with her French-manicured nails and froze him to his seat with an icy stare.
He looked to his wife for help but there was none to be had. “It’s Christmas,” she mouthed. “Please…”
Christopher Walker let out a deep sigh, picked up his fork with his free hand and stabbed at a sprout on his plate, imagining it was the honey-blonde coiffured head of his mother-in-law. He tried his best to swallow the revolting green ball of mush as he did the humiliation of wearing the fluffy teddy bear onesie. He felt sick to the stomach.
A few hours later and after he was forced to sit through the mind-numbing warbling of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, Chris was sent to bed early without any supper due to his excessively loud and pungent flatulence and his miserable face. He had been instructed to bed-down in the attic room as his mother-in-law complained that his snoring was so bad, it travelled through the master bedroom walls to the guest room and she couldn’t get her beauty sleep. And Chris did exactly as he was told without complaint as he realised it meant he could finally have some peace and quiet and escape the critical eye and tongue of his mother-in-law.
“You can wear that onesie in bed,” she said, as he kissed his wife goodnight. “It’ll be cold in the attic.”
She was right, it was cold, and the teddy bear onesie was as a warm and cosy as a fleecy blanket.
While Christopher Walker tossed and turned in his onesie in the sleeping bag on the camp bed in the cold, dark attic, his wife and mother-in-law spent a very comfortable and enjoyable evening in the lounge on the sofa in front of a roaring fire. They watched the Christmas edition of ‘Downton Abbey’ on the telly and chatted over a bottle of sherry and a box of chocolates; looking and behaving more like sisters than mother and daughter.
Just before midnight, Chris awoke with a jolt to find his mother-in-law at his bedside. “Happy Christmas, Christopher” she smiled, handing over a steaming mug. “It’s homemade eggnog.”
“Oh, thank you, Veronica,” Chris muttered sleepily, as he took what he thought was a peace-offering of some kind.
“Enjoy it, Christopher. You deserve it,” she said.
It was a delicious concoction and Chris greedily gulped it down while his mother-in-law watched him drink every last drop. The image of her looming over him quickly became blurry and faded into blackness. With a belly full of sweet, creamy eggnog, he was lulled in to a sleep so deep and relaxing that in the early hours he lost control of his bladder and wet himself, and a little while later he lost control of his bowel and soiled himself too.
When he awoke the next morning Chris was mortified at the state he was in. He shouted out for his wife but it was his mother-in-law who came to the door. Blushing red with embarrassment, Chris said, “I don’t feel very well.” He was aware of an unmistakable odour of effluence emanating from his onesie.
“You’ve had an accident, have you?” his mother-in-law asked, rhetorically. “It smells as if you’ve wet yourself and messed yourself too. You poor thing.”
“Could you please get my wife,” Christopher Walker pleaded through gritted teeth; his upset stomach gurgling ominously. “I’m really not feeling very well.”
“Helen’s gone shopping to the Boxing Day sales. She took your wallet and your car keys so she’ll be out all day. It’s just you and me, Christopher,” Veronica replied.
He groaned in frustration. “I need a doctor. I think I’ve got food poisoning. I’m in agony.” He desperately clenched his buttocks.
“You know, Christopher, I’ve never thought you good enough for my daughter but you really are even more pathetic than even I thought possible, lying there in your own pee and poo.”
Chris couldn’t look her in the eye. To be in this disgusting state in front of his mother-in-law was so humiliating. It was a nightmare. She looked so much like his pretty blonde young wife, only twenty years older and with a will of iron. Everything had to be done her way. She scared him, if the truth be told. And what worried him most was that she so obviously enjoyed wielding that power over him. He knew it gave her pleasure to humiliate him.
“I understand you’d planned a day at the races with the boys today. Such a shame you’ll miss out on all that now,” she said, smirking.
Veronica Alston stood over him. “You’ll have a day confined to bed instead, lying in your own mess. It’ll take a day to get it out of your system.”
Chris could smell her perfume, Chanel No. 5; such a relief to his nostrils to escape his own stench for a moment. Her blue eyes sparkled.
She continued, “Your wife, my lovely daughter, Alison, is out shopping and maxing out your credit cards just as her Mummy told her to.”
She laughed out loud at the pained expression on his face.
Chris was clenching his buttocks as if his life depended on it but still he felt it oozing out of his anus like burning lava. “Oh God!” he moaned. As his mother-in-law regarded his predicament with blatant amusement, the realisation hit him. “What was in that eggnog?” he asked, gasping.
“Oh, just the usual: milk, eggs, sugar, spices, brandy,” she replied, listing the ingredients slowly and deliberately, as he suffered. “And then I thought about whether or not you’d been a good boy this year and what you really deserve for Christmas from your mother-in-law.” She tossed back her curled blonde hair and placed her hands firmly on her curvaceous hips. “So, I added a special gift.” She licked her red lips. “A little something left over from my nursing days: part sedative, part laxative, part poison. It’s a medicine made especially for you by your mummy-in-law.”
Chris now saw his mother-in-law in a whole new light. Behind the coiffeur and vintage twin-set and pearls, she was truly menacing. He trembled in fear. “Why? Why are you doing this to me?” Chris wailed. “What have I done to deserve this?” he cried, with no control of his most intimate parts.
“I’ve been checking up on my son-in-law, as a good mother-in-law should. I know about the other women. I also know about the tax evasion.”
Chris felt nauseous. He wet himself, again. His mother-in-law had him just where she wanted him. She’d had it in for him all along. He could see that now. “Please,” he begged.
“I’ll be quite honest with you, Chris, I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do with you but I’ll be sure to let you know when I make my decision, in due course.”
His mother-in-law was toying with him; prolonging his suffering for her own amusement. She blew him a kiss and headed for the door. “You’re confined to bed today until you’re completely flushed out. Don’t even think of stepping out of this room without my permission.”
“You blackmailing bitch!” he called out as the door closed behind her and the key turned in the lock.
He heard her laughter along with the clacking of her stiletto heels on the stairs, leaving him crying and cursing in her wake.
Many hours later, while Chris still writhed in torment in the filthy bed of his own making, his mother-in-law sat at his desk in his office, copying items from his private files. “Knowledge is power,” Veronica Alston said to herself with a smile as she filled the folder entitled ‘The Comeuppance of Christopher Walker’.