The Trouble with Bubbles

Posted on September 29, 2005 by Jenna

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Margaret slips into a warm bubble-filled bath.

“Calgon,” she says, languidly, “Take me away!”

Then come the Calgon-horses down from the sky, four of them, caparisoned with the foam of the stars. Their eyes are burning with blue fires and their breath is smoke in the void.

They are racing past the bathtub now. There is a wrench and a jerk as their bathhooks catch hold. Margaret’s bathtub lurches into motion. It crashes through the bathroom wall into the hallway of her apartment complex. It skitters down the hall, now leaning right, now leaning left. It breaks through the outer wall of her apartment complex and arcs majestically across the street.

A truck horn roars.

“No, Calgon!” cries Margaret. “Left! Left!”

The horses rear and whinny. The bathtub whisks to the side. It careens against the window of a Chinese food store, drenched with hanging ducks. It rattles along the sidewalk.

Now Margaret points upwards, towards the city that is her destination.

“There,” she says.

But the horses lower down their heads, and look into the grates along the street; and a cold chill horror joins the lavender of the bath.

“Please,” says Margaret. “No. Calgon, don’t take me below.”

Mr. Clean is standing in the distance, on the streets, his bald head shining. His hands are on his hips. He is laughing.

And Margaret casts her eyes to him in appeal, but that doughty man of affordable cleaning solutions is as ruthless as the sun.

“Someone,” says Margaret.

And there are a few who run towards the bathtub rather than away, but they are not enough.

What has been said cannot be unsaid; and Calgon takes Margaret to a place without recourse.