Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Original stories, one-thousand words or less.

Journal #159

I am having so much trouble writing the next chapter of “The Bar.” I know what I want to write, but somehow the story goes off into another direction. If I do not get it in the next couple of days then perhaps it would not hurt to put it aside for a year or two and then come back to it. Then of course I may trash the story altogether for want of what to do with it.

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Journal #158

Well, I’ve done it again. I cannot believe I have not written in my journal since the 25th of April. I have been so busy rewriting, house cleaning, and visiting with my family that time slipped away from me with out my noticing it. I am working on the next chapter of “The Bar” at this time, and I hope to have it posted in the next couple of days. As I mentioned before, I am also trying to write a children’s puppet show, or perhaps I should call it a play for a three-year girl. I have never written for such a young child, or at that level before, and I am finding it harder than the play for adults, that I just finished writing. I am not sure if I will post it when I am finished writing it, but I will let you know at some time in the future.

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Journal #155

I have made the corrections on my play, therefore I am posting it today. I have definitely learned that I could never be a playwriter. Anyway, I am posting it under flash fiction as it is only a ten-minute play.

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“Dinner At Mom’s”

 

One Saturday morning we received a call from my husband’s mother inviting us to dinner that night. She told Adam that we were having vegetable lasagna.

When Adam got off the phone and related the conversation he had with his Mom, I felt miserable.

I love my mother-in-law, astonishingly, more than I would have believed possible and I did not want to hurt her feelings. The truth is I detested lasagna.

Every time I tried to eat it, I would start gagging. The pasta was always mushy. If I tried to force myself to eat lasagna, I would be sick before I finished the meal. Therefore, I decided to eat a late lunch, and lots of it.

As the time moved closer to dinner, I tried to come up with plausible excuses for not going to dinner tonight.

What if I said, a rare exotic fly bit me, when I was out of the country last time.

Just why it took six years to start creating problems for meat this time, there were no answers.

What if I said I was on a diet, Right, and just when did this diet start?

Once again, there were no answers. I wished, we could simply give her a call and say we took a wrong turn and that now we were utterly irrevocably lost… I was certain she would believe that story.

Especially since, we lived less than two miles from her and we could not disappear forever. The truth was, I was going to have to go to dinner at mom’s tonight and I knew it.

As the day progressed to evening, I discovered that the more plausible excuses I tried to come up with the more ashamed of myself I became.

I spent the rest of the day feeling as if I were the most dishonest person in the world!

All these excuses were merely lies. A rose by any other name was simply a rose. Not Shakespeare’s version, my version, there was just nothing sweet about my rose.

This made me feel nauseous; perhaps I would not have to tell a lie after all. No, that was not the truth. Tonight, I was going to tell a lie.

At five in the evening, Adam, our daughter Caitlyn and I got in the car for the short, two-mile, ride to Moms house. We
made the trip there in record time.

Adam was driving me to my impending doom, or so I felt, more rapidly than necessary.

Of course, it could have been that he was hungry, since it truly was dinnertime.

I honestly do not know if Mom sensed anything was wrong, or different with me, but in my mind, I was sure that she knew I was prepared to lie about dinner.

As soon as my nerves started settling down, I started to notice the aroma that was wafting throughout the house.

The smell that was coming out of the kitchen was the most wonderful attention-grabbing smell that I had ever known!

My mouth was watering within seconds.

Well of course, I told myself that food could smell incredible and not actually taste good.

That little speech I gave myself made me feel better. Well, the truth is, better in the sense that if I had to lie, at least I could honestly say it smelled great.

We visited with Mom and caught up on each other’s daily activities and projects. Mom, being a high school English teacher,
always had interesting stories to tell.

For a time my mind was on the subjects at hand, until Mom announced, it was time for dinner.

Guilt and worry were instantly back. Now, all I had to do was just get dinner over with, and not make a complete idiot of myself. Adam and Caitlyn were first in line to fill their plates.

Mom told me to fix my plate next. I was reluctant, but I went ahead and put a small amount of the dreaded lasagna on my plate.

At the same time, I was still trying to compose a believable lie. Knowing that if the food did not make me wretch, the lie would
probably choke me.

We bowed our heads, Adam asked the blessings, and then it was time to eat.

Reluctantly, I took an extremely small bite. I was so shocked I almost choked, anyway.

The lasagna was beyond good, it was unbelievably good. It was the most wonderful food I had ever eaten.

I ate the small amount I had on my plate, and hurried back to the counter to put more food on my plate. With a noticeable difference this time, I filled it as full as I could get it.

As we ate our dinner, I began to feel worse than ever. Of course, I praised the dinner along with everyone else, but I had been ready to lie to Mom.

There was only one-way to straighten out this mess. I knew no one else was aware of my pre-planned lie, But I knew.

I spent the next thirty minutes explaining to Mom, the story of how I had come prepared to lie to her tonight.

How I managed to tell, from beginning to end, my story, I will never know.

Mom was very gracious and forgiving, as moms frequently are. I had spent the entire day in a state of pandemonium, for no reason. Even if I had detested the dinner, Mom would not have been upset.

Lies always encumber the heart. For me, constructing the preparations to lie is the same thing as lying.

I like to think I learned from that night, and I pray that the culpability of a lie, any lie, will stay with me forever.

As we drove the short distance home that night, my heart was light and my soul felt renewed. I had a song on my lips and a smile on my face.

I also had that wonderful recipe in my hands.

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“The Coat”

Winter was on its way, even in Alabama. Later in the year than was normal, but the chill in the air gave warning to the impending cold days to come. I decided that it was time for Fred and I to take our sons shopping, for winter coats on the following Saturday.

Saturday morning came and the whole family piled in the car for the shopping trip. My husband, Fred, was always the best line of defense against the boys trying to convince me to buy unneeded items.

It was a long and tiring day, but in the end both boys had the coat that was exactly what they had always wanted, or so they said.

Sam, being 15 and cool, had chosen the same coat that every “cool kid at school was wearing,” He said.

Shawn, who was 6 years old, just had to have the coat that his brother told him, was “so cool looking.”

What did Mom and Dad know about these things, they were just there to drive and pay for everything!

We could not have cared less, Fred and I was extremely happy to let them have their “cool “coats so that we could go home. We were especially happy that the shopping was over.

Monday brought with it a cold front that was bordering on freezing!

The boys were quite happy to wear their coats to school (after all, they did have the coolest coats in town!). I dropped them off at their schools and watched as each boy headed for class.

The day was like any other, in which I spent the day cleaning and cooking. At two in the afternoon, I left home to go pick up Shawn from school.

This being his second year of school I was worried that he would be scared, if I were to not park in front of the building each day.

At two thirty, the bell rang and the children started piling out of the school. Laughing and playing, they all came running out. Shawn was not in the fray of these excited children, instead of running and laughing, he was walking slowly towards me with his head down, and looking quite sad.

As soon as he opened the door, I realized he was not wearing his coat and that he was not sad, he was looking worried.

I said, “Shawn, what is wrong?” Then, I asked, “Where is your coat?”

Shawn’s reply was simply this.

“Mama, please don’t be mad at me.” As two tears trailed down his cheeks, he told me the story of his missing coat.

“Do you remember Johnny Cagen, from my class last year?”

The name brought up the sad little face of a child I had met in Shawn’s kindergarten class. Shawn went on to say, “You remember how he was last year, you know, mom, he’s poor, right?”

I nodded my head, he continued.

“When we went outside today, Johnny did not have a coat on. I asked him where his
coat was and he told me that he didn’t have a coat. I ask him when his mom was going to get him a coat and he said his mom was dead!”

“He told me that his daddy could not buy him a coat, because they were poor, not rich like us. Please don’t be mad, Mama, I gave Johnny my coat because he was so cold and I can use my old coat. That’s o.k., Mom, isn’t it?”

I was in awe of my baby boy!

One of my dreams was to raise caring and loving children; children who would someday know when to step up and give the clothes off their backs, should someone ever be in dire need of such a gift. That day had arrived and I was so very proud of my son.

I reached out to him and held my sweet, caring, unselfish son in my arms. I told him how proud I was of him, and I was “not mad, not mad at all!”

We left the school and headed for the clothing store. We were not wealthy by any means. We had each other, the roof over our heads, our bills paid and food on our table, but I felt far richer than any person in the world could ever feel. Our family’s true wealth was the gift of love and caring our son had given that day, in the form of a new coat.

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“This Time”

“I thought we were going out tonight.” Trisha Novak asked the man on the other end of the phone.

After a few minutes, she said, “Sure I understand Colby. This is our vacation and a business trip for you.” She intoned resignedly, “It is just that we have been in Hawaii for three days and I only get to see you at breakfast.”

Again she listened, only this time it was to just listen to his whining about how she should understand that he was the president of a large corporation, blah, blah, blah. Trisha stopped listening to his self-importance tirade.

Trisha had begun to wonder what she had seen in him in the first place. “No I do not want to mess up this wonderful chance for you. Of course I want to see your company be successful,” Enough, Trisha thought. When was enough, enough?

“Oh, I guess I will go to one of the Islands. Where…, oh, Molokai and I think I will have dinner there also; they say it has the most beautiful sunsets. I will see you tomorrow, if you can find the time. All right, I will call you when I return from the Island. See you then,” Trisha hung up the phone and walked out the door.

As she walked out in the tropical gardens provided at the Four Seasons Hotel, Trisha’s mind was on her conversations with Colby she had over the last three days. She found a hidden alcove surrounded by fragrant flowers that were unique to the Island.

Trisha decided to sit on the stone bench for a while. She knew she had to really consider the consequences if she were to marry Colby. “I don’t think I love him,” She whispered aloud, as she leaned back and closed her eyes.

Trisha opened her eyes and listened, a noise, a voice, what had she heard? As she sat there straining to listen to see if her peaceful sanctuary would be discovered she heard his voice.

“I do love you Ashley, but you know I have to marry Trisha, we need her money.”

Trisha was devastated. Every man she had ever dated had been interested in her inheritance, not her. She was about to step out and face Colby, when she froze in her tracks.

“Please marry her and let’s get this finished, please?”

“I know sweetheart, I am going to ask her to marry me tomorrow, here on the Island. I have booked a Pacific Island cruise and I am going to tell her it is for our honeymoon.”

“Yes.” The unknown Ashley squealed in delight. “Colby, just how are you planning to kill her?”

Trisha’s eyes opened wide, in sheer horror of what she was overhearing. She covered her mouth with her hands to keep from making a sound. Trisha did not doubt that if Colby and Ashley were to find her concealed there, she was a dead woman.

“That is the ingenious part of my plan. She will go overboard on our wedding night. Poor pitiful me, I will be so utterly distraught.”

“Magnificently wicked, can I come on the cruise too?” Ashley asked Colby.

“It will be glorious; I can just see it now.” Colby said, ignoring Ashley’s question.

Trisha heard Colby say something about her having left the Island now and their voiced faded in the distance, as they walked away.

The tears fell uncontrolled down her cheeks, as the horrendous images Colby and Ashley’s words had created, came unbidden and unchecked into her mind.

“Dead, he wants me dead. How could I have been so ignorant, to believe anyone would ever want me,” Trisha asked the rhetorical question. Money that is all men consider when they see a rich woman.

Daddy warned me after he divorced his fourth wife, Deb. “At least she was willing to take your money without wanting to kill you Daddy,” Trisha whispered up to the heavens, as she hurriedly walked the garden path towards the back of the hotel.

No longer could she smell the sweetness of the flowers that surrounded her. She saw only malevolence everywhere, lurking, waiting for her. She had to get off this Island, now.

Trisha was shaking her head, “No, I need to charter an airplane now; I want to leave here immediately.” Trisha all but yelled at the woman behind the counter.

“I tell you lady, now is pilot rest time. He not take you away from Island till two o’clock,” she said with her native Islander accent and a beatific smile on her fascinating full face.

Disgusted, Trisha shook her head vehemently, “No, this simply will not do. Please get me out of Hawaii.” It was at this moment that a tall, extremely handsome, well-built, blond man walked into the room.

“Hi, I’m David Yohanson, what can we help you with?”

Once again, Trisha explained her need for a chartered plane.

“Where would you like to go,” He asked.

“To Papeete Polynesia.,” Trisha said.

He inclined his head in acknowledgment. “Akanahe, tell Garret where I’ve gone, and-“

“I understand David, the beautiful red hair Wahini wish me to tell no one she goes with you.” David bent to give the laughing Akanahe a kiss on the cheek.

When they had been in flight for around three hours David started frowning. They had flown into a seriously bad storm.” Looks as if we are in for some bad weather,” he said at the exact moment that lightning hit the plane’s single engine. The plane’s engine caught fire and immediately rocketed towards the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Trisha’s last words, before they hit the sparkling water was, “this time, no one win.”  As tears rolled down her cheeks.

When Trisha opened her eyes, she saw a gorgeous blond male guardian angel hovering in front of her,” I’m in heaven.” Trisha smiled and closed her eyes.

“Not yet, only paradise, this time, you win,” David said. He kissed her cheek, laid down beside her, and said. “Thank
God.”

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“Kiana-Leia (Divine-Child-of-God)”

Aoiani, why do so many of the other children always leave us?” Kiana-Leia sighed as she asked the question. Kiana-Leia was wandering through the garden path surrounded by dew kissed, fragrant exotic flowers of all kinds.

Aoiani was sitting on the ledge of the glistening white marble pond, watching the captivating little elfin of a child, dressed in a soft baby pink and white dress, walking towards her. This child made Aoiani’s, heart sings.

Smiling, she dipped her hand into the sparkling blue water of the children’s pond and lifted her eyes to Kiana-Leia.

”Ah, my precious Kiana-Leia, so this is what has you looking so sad this beautiful morning.” Kiana-Leia nodded her darling little head.

“Let me see if I can explain it, so that you can understand. Come sit here beside me.”

Aoiani patted the ledge with her hand, in an age-old gesture of invitation.

Hopping over every glistening vein of black, so that her little foot would not touch any of the black on the marble floor, Kiana Leia grabbed the large column closest to her to steady herself. She reached out and in her hand was a gift of love, to someone she held dear to her heart.

Kiana-Leia gave Aoiani her gift of an exotically beautiful pink flower that she held in her tiny hand, as she sat down beside her.

Smiling, Aoiani accepted the flower and bent down to kiss the radiantly, beautiful, child on the forehead.

This child is as luminous as the sun in heaven and as magnificently beautiful, as the flower she chose to give me. She is a gift from God, thought Aoiani.

“Now sweet Kiana-Leia, which of your many brothers or sisters, did you have to share with the world today.”

Dipping her tiny hand into the water and wiggling her fingers so that the fish in the pond would come to her, Kiana-Leia said in her angelic little voice, “Kaimano, I know he is my brother, God said so! So…why did he leave me here? I thought he loved me and was going to be my brother for always.”

“I think perhaps you have never heard the story of the Awakening.”

Shaking her little head, her curly sun-kissed hair shimmered as it swung back and forth on her back, Kiana-Leia said, “Will you tell me the story, Please?”

“In the beginning of time the birds would not sing. The animals refused to show themselves. The beautiful flowers refused to share their fragrance with the people of the world. The trees all bent towards the ground, as if to show sorrow. Oceans refused to relinquish their bounty, for the entire world to enjoy. The sky would not let man see its magnificence splendor. Of all the people of earth, there were no young to nurture, none would grow old, nor would they die. They simply were.”

“Oh my goodness, Aoiani,” Kiana-Leia said. With her pink little mouth puckering and her chin starting to quiver, she shook her head in apologetic unhappiness. “Couldn’t He make everything alright? Why would he let it be so dreadful….Well, I think he should fix it. I will go tell him right now.” With her face set in absolute determination, Kiana-Leia jumped down off the ledge and stomped her tiny little foot. She would have marched off to do exactly what she said she would do, if Aoiani had not reached out and stopped her.

Laughing, Aoiani said. “Wait my precious little anela (angel.) You must wait, unwearyingly, for the story to end. Then if you feel you still need to speak with him, you may do so.”

Kiana-Leia gave Aoiani one of her angelic smiles and said. “Please hurry, I do not know why, but I am feeling as if something is about to…, maybe it is just that I want all stories to be happy.”

“Yes, I understand. Time is irrelevant and moves quickly here.”

“As I was saying, The Father looked down upon the earth and was concerned. He walked through the majestic marble halls of heaven, His splendid robes flowing around him, contemplating the problem. He glanced up when he heard a group of the cherubs playing and laughing and our Father laughed joyously. He now understood what he had to do. His earth was weeping; they had no reason to be joyful for they were childless. This He could correct. God walked to the entrance of heaven, out into the great garden of life, and said for all to hear, “Aloha-Mai-No, Aloha-Aku-No. (you give your love to me; I give my love to you.)”

“That day, the first children were born to the people of earth. The Birds started singing; the animals came out for all to see. Flowers sent out their sweet essence and oceans released their bounty. Trees stood straight and tall, reaching towards the opening magnificence of the heavens, to give thanks. Man no longer wanted to live forever. They had everything needed to give them life.
The Awakening had begun.”

Kiana-Leia stood up, slowly turned to face Aoiani. “Oh my goodness, that is an amazing story.” Her cherubic cheeks glistened with tears. Slowly, she asked her most important question. “Is that where all the children have gone, and Kaimano?”

Aoiani stood up and walked the few steps to Kiana-Leia. Bending down she kissed her on the cheek. “Yes little Anela (Angel), your brother left a few years ago now. Soon, you will see him, because today is your Awakening.

Aoiani stepped back from Kiana-Leia. She raised her eyes and looked upon her guardian angel. Aoiani was the essence of good and loveliness as she shimmered in the brilliant light, dressed all in white, golden hair that looked like sunshine itself, glistened. She wore a garland of flowers in her hair.

Fading away, Aoiani spread her wings, bowed her head and said, “Mahalo-E-Ke-Akua-No-Keia-Lo, Hele-mei-hoohi-wa-hi-wa. (Thanks-be-to-God-for-this-day, Come-celebrate) Today heaven rejoices. Give my love to, Kaimano, now called Sam,” Aoiani whispered.

Annarose was born.

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“V-World”

“Welcome to V-World, where your dear ones can enjoy their remaining days, in the way they wished they could have lived all of their lives.”

Linda and I were reading a brochure, which our father had just handed us to read.

“What on earth ever made you even consider going in to a retirement home Daddy,” I said beseechingly? “You know you can live with me or even Linda, you do not have to go into a home.”

“I agree with Shannon, I really do not want to see you go into one of those places either Dad,” Linda echoed my words with a tear in her eye.

“Now, now girls, I know both of you would have me in your homes, but you are young and need to live your lives unencumbered by an old man like me. In addition, I have been searching on the internet and I like the way this V-World sounds. Did you know that I could live the rest of my days as a young W.W. II spy if I want to? I was thinking I might want to choose the package where I can travel throughout the galaxies as a space ship commander. Just imagine, traveling from planet to galaxy to planet, seeing outer space in the body of a twenty-one year old man, to meet your mother again and then to live my life with her, the sky will be the limit for us…” His voice trailed off into nothing, and I could tell his thoughts were on my Mom and her memory.

Tears were running freely, unchecked, down his cheeks, onto the front of his freshly laundered plaid lumberjack style shirt. My father was seventy-eight years old and I treasured him as some would treasure the Hope Diamond. His tears and the thought of him giving up on life and going into a V-World, home for the elderly, broke my heart.

“Daddy please do not do this,” I pleaded.

“Daddy, please reconsider and stay with me for six months then stay with Shannon for six months and see if you would still want to go to V-World after a year.” Linda cajoled.

“Girls, I love you with all my heart, but the discussion is over. I have made up my mind. Now, let’s eat dinner and tomorrow morning, if you two want, you can go with me to V
World, I need to fill out some papers and perhaps sign the contract.”

We stopped trying to talk to him about it. When our daddy said the discussion was over, it was over, we had learned this the hard way throughout the years. My sister tried to keep the conversation light during dinner, but it was extremely hard to do.

The next morning we drove to the home.

The building was an architect’s dream, with its towering height and stately pillars. The home was on ten acres of lush green fertile ground with trees and gardens everywhere, it was magnificent. It was killing me on the inside to do this and looking over at Linda; I knew she felt the same way.

“Just look at this beautiful place, girls, and you did not want me to come here.”

Opening the huge twelve-foot oak doors, we entered into what looked like a palace entry room. A starchy faced man in a three-piece suit regally walked briskly towards, us with an
outstretched hand, which he offered to my father, he welcomed us.

“My name is Allen Wesley and you must be Mr. Jeffery K. Austin, of the Austin Research Facilities, welcome to V-World. I am quite sure you will be pleased with what we have to offer you here”.

I groaned inwardly and my sister made a small coughing noise in her throat. My father introduced us to Mr. Wesley.

“Yes well, shall we step into my office, Mr. Austin?’

When we started to follow them, Mr. Wesley informed Linda and me that the paperwork would take around an hour to complete. He pointed to a garden lounge where we could wait. He politely dismissed us.

As we were walking across to the door Mr. Wesley had indicated, a man in a lab coat came out a door that I had not noticed earlier. Linda grabbed my arm and pulled me into the hall, the man had come through, before the door had time to close.

“What are you doing, this is the wrong door?”

“Lower your voice Shannon. Did you not notice that this door does not have a knob to allow entry to it?” Linda said as she let the door close behind her.” I do not trust this place, I want to see what these so call V-World suites look like.”

There were only four doors, two on the left and two on the right, one of which we had just entered through. We chose the first door on the left. When I opened the door my sister and I were stunned into silence, we were speechless. There before us line after line, row after row, were what looked to be hundreds of people hooked up to tubes, wires, and cables, from every part of their bodies.

“Do you believe this, Linda?”

“So much for the royal suite, look at this place it is full of a bunch of skeletons with skin stretched over them. Maybe this is the discount room or something,”Linda said.

“No it isn’t, look at this name tag, a Mr. R.W. Vanderbilt.”

We quickly snapped photos in all three rooms of the same disgusting sight, sent them to our fathers phone and left the forbidden area.

“Hi Daddy, are you finished for the day,” I asked.

“I sure am sweetheart.”

Turning and speaking with Mr. Wesley dad said, “I will be letting you know my decision, soon.”

“Do not take too long to make up your mind. We only have one royalty suite left.”

“Yes, and would that be the same type of suite old Raymond Vanderbilt chose?”

“Ah yes, the very same.”

In the car, Dad said, “Thanks for the spy work girls, now start making those calls. Linda, call Thurston Vanderbilt first.”

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“The Game”

“James, will you please listen to me? I am trying to tell you that when I went down to the store this morning, Mavis told me th-“

“Damn-it Helen, why on earth would I care what that old windbag and you talked about this morning? Every time you go to that store, you two gossip for over an hour. It’s a wonder either one of you get anything done at all. I want to sit here enjoy my chips, beer, watch the game and enjoy myself. Is that too much to ask from you? Just go in the kitchen and read one of those love books you like, after you cook dinner.”

Helen was fuming. She had endured the interruption with grace, the gossip remark had started her anger, but harping on her books… after all, only an idiot thought Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” series was a love book. “Fine, enjoy yourself.” Helen left the room.

Hours later, the Dallas Cowboys won their game and James was a happy man. James swallowed the last of his beer from the six-pack that he had in the cooler. He looked at his watch and realized that it was after ten at night and Helen had never even told him dinner was ready. Now that he thought about it, he had not heard a sound coming from the kitchen, nor had he smelled food cooking the entire time he watched the game.

The kitchen was dark, as he walked into the room; James flipped the light on and saw nothing of dinner. The room was as spotless as if no one had ever prepared a meal there.
The room had an odd cold feel to it, similar to the feeling of emptiness and the loneliness of being deserted and unloved. James could not leave the room quick enough.

“That’s the way of a woman. Punish a man just because he would rather watch a ball game instead of listening to her prattle on for hours about all the gossip she heard that day
and the other rubbish women want to harp on all the time.” James muttered under his breath as he searched the house for Helen. He could not find her anywhere.

After searching everywhere, even the tool shed and garage, James stepped out front to see if Helen’s car was in the driveway. It was gone. James was satisfied with his thoughts of a vindictive wife. “Well we will just see about that. If Helen thinks I am going to worry about her and search all over the place for her, she had better think again. A man’s home is his castle and no one, not even a wife has the right to keep him from relaxing and enjoying it.” Ranting to himself all the way to the kitchen, James decided to see what there was in the refrigerator to eat.

The food he thought he had smelled cooking when he first came home from work was non-existing. James settled for a ham sandwich with the last slice of cheese he found in the bottom of the produce drawer.

After angrily slathering entirely too much mayo and mustard on his sandwich, James grabbed a glass and fixed himself a glass of tea. He then went back into the living room, sloshing tea from the glass, as he plopped down on the couch  and stabbed at the remote controls trying to find something to watch on television.

Finding a movie that he had seen many times before, James tried to watch it. Between wiping the blobs of mustard and mayo of his shirt and pants, glancing at the clock every five minutes and ranting about the injustice of a wife who was insensitive to his needs or wants, James never saw the movie he had chosen to watch.

Two hours later the movie was over and Helen was still not home. James turned the television off and paced the floors. He did not know whether he should be angry or worried, so he alternated between the two.

At two o’clock in the morning, James saw lights from a car turn into the driveway. Thank God, Helen was safe, James thought, and then he promptly became angry. He heard
Helen’s keys in the kitchen door as she unlocked it. He heard the door close
and then the sound of Helen locking the door..

James could not stand it any longer. He jumped up off the couch and stomped into the kitchen. There was Helen putting all kinds of covered dishes into the once empty
refrigerator. If possible, James became angrier than he already was. “Where have you been?” Without waiting for an answer, he continued. Is this how you decide to punish me?”

“Punish you, where would you get an idea like that? I simply did as you asked. Such a fuss over getting what you asked for in the first place.”

James sighed. “Helen please just tell me.”

“It is too late now James.”

“Are you saying that you are leaving me? Honey, I am sorry, I should not have been so hateful. I promise not to act that way again.”

“I am not leaving you, James. What I was trying to tell you earlier was that Mavis told me about a contest the radio station was having. I entered and won. So, I spent my
evening in the box seats at the Cowboy Stadium, then afterwards I went to the Ranch and had barbecue with the Dallas Cowboys and their friends and families. It was an exciting evening. The signed football and food I brought home, is from them to you. I guess they felt sorry for you.” Helen kissed a speechless James, told him goodnight and went upstairs to bed.

James felt worse than ever, but that night he knew he had received what he deserved. Head hanging, shoulders slumped, he picked up the signed football, shook his head,
turned out the light and headed for bed.

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