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By Michael C. Keith

Anger is a short madness.
–– Horace

Appliance cords enraged Bertie Reems. They really pissed him off by constantly getting in his way. Racing to get ready for work, he yanked violently on his iron’s cord to dislodge it from the leg of a nearby kitchen chair.

In the act of doing this, the steaming utensil fell on the shirt he was pressing and singed the sleeve. When he noticed this, he grabbed at the iron and burned his hand.

“Son of a bitch!!” he screamed, shaking his scorched fingers. “You rotten prick!!”

Bertie grabbed the iron by its handle and threw it across the room, the cord trailing the hurled object. As it flew past him, its plug caught him hard on the cheek. 

“Ouch!! You lousy bastard!!” he yelled, pressing his just seared hand against his face. “I’ll take care of you once and for all!”

His heart pounding furiously against his ribcage, Bertie retrieved the device from the floor and took his revenge by flinging it through the open kitchen window. It was at that moment that his neighbor, Cary Dwyer, was emptying his trash, and the airborne object glanced his shoulder. 

“You friggin’ jerk!” shouted Dwyer, who had had countless nasty run-ins with Reems during the years he had lived next door. “What the hell you do that for? You crazy mother! You could have killed me. Maybe that’s what you were trying to do?”

When Bertie exited his house to retrieve the iron, his incensed neighbor picked it up and swung it around by its cord. As Bertie approached, he released it. 

“There, you asshole! This belongs to you!” growled Dwyer.

Seeing it coming at him, Bertie ducked just in time to avoid being hit by it. But as before its plug caught his face, this time striking his temple with considerable force.

“Screw you!” shouted Dwyer, reentering his house as Bertie stumbled to the ground, hitting his head against his side door’s granite step. 

Police later tried to figure out why a Black and Decker Steam Advantage F1060 iron lay next to his dead body.
Michael C. Keith is the author of an acclaimed memoir, three story collections, and two-dozen non-fiction books. www.michaelckeith.