She Had the Biggest Smile on Her Face
Finalist for the 2003 Eating Mothballs Fiction Prize


Shouts from the old man next door woke me up.
"Jimmy! Jimmy! Get back here! Why you little ... Jimmy!"
This was not a new thing. Jimmy, the old man's pet ferret, was always getting loose. Especially on Sunday mornings.
When the old man started yelling, "Help me! Help me find my Jimmy," I reached over and pulled down the window hard. Then I bundled back under the covers and turned to face Janine.
She looked so beautiful, just lying there, fast asleep. Dreaming her dreams, draped in the warm blankets, so serene, so naked, all the world's troubles a million miles away. I could just stare at her for hours, watch her chest rise and fall with her soft, gentle breaths.
I gave her a little nudge.
She tucked her face into the pillow.
"Hey," I said, quietly.
Her eyes eased open and she gave me a smile of acknowledgement, peaking her way into awareness without quite leaving the safe haven of Sunday morning slumber. She knew how to ignore the old man's screams.
"Hey... wake up. I want a blow job."
The angelic look gracing her face disappeared immediately.
"I'm trying to sleep."
"I know, but you're just so beautiful, and look, I'm hard as a rock."
I lifted the blankets so she could see.
"FUCK!" she screamed as she yanked the blankets back down, pulling them completely off me in the process. "Now I'm fucking wide awake."
"Oh, good, you can get to work down there." I pointed with my finger.
She just laid there for a long while. I figured the less I talked, the better chances I had of actually getting some action. I heard sirens off in the distance.

All of the sudden she gets up, walks to the closet, rips a tie off the tie rack, and then fumbles around the top shelf with a clawing arm. Sweaters were falling all over the floor. I kept my eye on her ass. Damn. I thought to myself, "I need to take a bite out of crime." Out loud, I said, "Oh yeah, baby."
Janine climbed back into bed, and jerked the tie around my forehead, violently knotting it into an extremely tight blindfold.
I was thinking, "Ouch," but managed to say, out loud, "Oh yeah, baby," one more time.
Then, she grabbed me down low, and with her other hand, started easing her fingers into my mouth. I gave a little moan, and then started sucking. Her fingers glided out of my mouth, and I tried to follow where they went, even though I couldn't see. I searched by thrusting my head into her shoulder, following the length of her arm with my forehead. She grabbed my chin, eased her fingers back into my mouth, and, hmmm, something else, I wasn't really sure what, but because I was sucking so hard, I swallowed it right down.
Janine burst out laughing.
"What?" I said. "What's so funny?" I threw off the blindfold. "What the fuck was that?"
"Holy shit," she said. She put her face down into the blankets to muffle her own laughter. "You just ate a mothball."
"A mothball."
"But that's like poison." I started spitting.
"Ask me for a blow job now."
"Janine! Jesus Christ! Are mothballs poisonous?"
"No, come on, ask me for a blow job."
"I could be fucking dying right now. Janine, this isn't fucking funny."
All of the sudden the blare of the sirens overtook the entire room, then choked three times before going totally silent.
I got up to see what was going on. An ambulance was parked in front of the old man's house.
Oh good, I thought, I can ask one of the medics if mothballs are poisonous.
I pulled on some pants, threw on a shirt, and ran outside. It was the old man who needed the ambulance. They already had him strapped into a stretcher.
He kept saying, "Jimmy. Where's Jimmy?" Over and over. I could barely get a word in edgewise, but as they were lifting the stretcher into the ambulance, I shouted, "Hey, if you eat a mothball, is that like, poisonous?"
One of the medics just gave me an annoyed look. Then he slammed the back doors to the ambulance shut. The sirens shot back on, and the ambulance tore off down the street.
I went back inside the house. I wasn't sure if I should make myself puke or get to the hospital or what. Could this be it? Am I going to get sick? Maybe this is no big deal at all. What the hell are mothballs, anyway?
Janine was fast asleep, and she had the biggest smile on her face. I tried to find the mothball packaging, but it was lost among the sweaters, if there even was any packaging. Giving up, I looked out the window, and there was Jimmy, basking in the glow of the Sunday morning sun, right on our window sill.
I wondered if Jimmy would attack Janine if he got into the room. I tiptoed over and gently opened the window back up. Janine was still smiling that big-ass smile when I walked out and quietly shut the bedroom door.