by Matthew Sanborn Smith
The soapman and Vanya made sudsy love in her shower for the fourteenth time that month. Once plump and glossy, his limbs now grew slender and cracked, his skin mottled. But Vanya didn't mind and that's why he loved her.
He was supposed to stay in the bathroom when she went to work. At least he thought he was, but Vanya had turned the fan off too soon, and he felt sticky and clammy too far into the day. He checked the linen closet for a towel, and saw another soapman.
It startled him. It still lay in its original packaging, bright green where he was yellow. It stood six and a half feet tall and took up the entire left end of the closet. He looked at himself. Had he ever been that large?
He called Vanya at work.
"Garrollo's Air Printing, this is Vanya, how may I help you?"
"You like green more than yellow, do you?" he said.
"I'm sorry, who is this?"
"This is your soapman. I just found your boy-toy in the linen closet. I thought you loved me."
"I don't " she started loudly, then whispered. "I don't love you. You're the soap."
"I'm giving my life to you, Vanya, rubbing myself into oblivion so you can be clean!"
"So what am I supposed to do when you're gone, never wash again? I can't believe I'm arguing with the soap! Hang up the phone and get back in the bathroom."
"I'll not! I'll go find a homeless woman who'll appreciate me. She won't bathe again when I'm gone."
"Jesus, whatever, just lock the door on your way out."
"Of course," he said. "I'm not a barbarian."
Before she hung up, he heard her say, "I'm calling Soapster " So, she was going straight to his manufacturer.
He left the house, but found he didn't want a homeless woman. He wanted Vanya, even if she didn't want him. A light rain started and he hid in the bushes beneath the house's overhang to stay dry.
That evening she came home and half an hour later a Soapster truck pulled into the driveway. Would they take him away and sell him to a used car lot? No. They delivered four new Soapmen and one Soapwoman, rushing them in on handtrucks as the rain picked up. After the truck left he went to her bathroom window and peered into the frosted glass.
They were all in there, Vanya and all the soap people, the seven of them showering in a disgusting but remarkably clean orgy. He stepped back into the open yard, shocked by Vanya's lack of inhibition. She wanted dirty love, he could see that. It was the one kind of love he could never give.
"You soapslut! I hope one of them gets in your eye!" He screamed out the fill of his broken heart. But Vanya never heard as the raging thunder obliterated his shouting. The soapman raised his hands to heaven and embraced the cold rains, melting to a pale sliver in the driving onslaught, slowly, gladly.