Power & Control

 

I had sneaked into the bedroom. After being awake for 3 hours, while my wife slept, I went to retrieve a cigarette. I moved as quietly as humanly possible, maneuvering around a chair, a lamp, and assorted collectibles. Just as I reached the pack that sat atop the dresser, she spoke. “Did you have coffee already?”

“Ya.”, I replied. “I’ve been up since 2 o’clock.”

“Did you make me any?”, she asked.

“No.”, I told her. “You were asleep.”

“I’m awake now.”, she stated.

“Would you like me to make you coffee?”, I asked.

“No.”, she said. “Its okay. I’m awake now. I can do it myself.”

“Then why are we having this conversation?, I replied.

“I was just asking.”, she stated.

“Its quite aggravating.”, I informed her.

“I know.”, she replied. “But its my job.”

“I wish you’d find another line of work.”, I responded.

“No you don’t.”, she said. “You wouldn’t know what to do with yourself without me aggravating you.”

“I suppose you’re right.”, I told her. “All of these years of having a pain in my ass, I suppose I would miss it if it were gone.”

“Oh, don’t start that sweet talking now.”, she stated. “Its far too early, Let me at least have my coffee first.”

I remember the way things used to be. I don’t know what happened to change it all, but it was different. It had been for over 20 years. Somewhere along this long, strange trip, everything shifted. It was like a parallel universe, with things reversed.

“I used to be in charge.”, I told her, although it sounded a lot more like a question than a statement of fact.

“Yes you were.”, she replied.

“Well.”, I continued, “When did all of that change?”

“It never changed.”, she replied.

“Well. it seems to me”, I added, “that I have very little input into things that go on here.”

“That’s because that’s the way you want it.”, she responded.

“That’s not what I want.”, I told her.

“Sit down.”, she said. “We need to talk.”

“Listen carefully.”, she told me. “And please don’t get upset. You were never really in charge.”

“No , I was.”, I said. I remember making every decision.”

“Well”, she continued. “You really didn’t. You felt that you were in charge because I wanted you to feel that you were in charge.”

“What are you talking about?”, I asked,

“Ah, honey”, she said as she moved the hair off of my forehead. “You never stood a chance. None of you do. Everything that has gone on in our lives was because I was in charge. And look where we are today? Beautiful children, and a  happy marriage. What more could you have wanted?”

“The children, while beautiful, are out of their fucking minds.”, I replied. “And as for a happy marriage, we’re not happy, you’re happy. There’s a difference.”

“Is there?”, she asked. “Could you be happy if I was unhappy?”

“Well, no.”, I said.

“And why is that?”, she asked.

“Because I love you?”, I guessed.

“Hell no.”, she answered. “We both know its because I wouldn’t let you.”

“You tricked me.”, I said. She stood up and sat beside me, hugging me as she rubbed my shoulders.

“What can I do to make it better for you?”, she asked. “Whatever you want.”

“I’d like sex .”, I said.

“Okay.”, she said. “Anything else?”

“Do you think you could make me that brisket again?”, I queried. “The one with the roasted potatoes and carrots?”

“Of course.”, she replied.

“Great.”, I said. “That would be great.”

“Is there anything else?”, she asked, as she stood up.

“No I think that covers it.”, I told her.

“I’m glad.”, she remarked. “And honey.”, she said as I began to walk away. “I like it when you put your foot down and try to take control.”

“I know.”, I said. “That’s why you fell in love with me. Right?”

“No.”, she answered. “But don’t stop. Its really very cute.”

She was good. She was very good. She had confused and confounded me, again. It was precisely at that moment that I realized that she was right. I was never really in charge, and I never would be. But it  didn’t matter anyway. The brisket was good, the sex was even better, and I didn’t really want anything else.

 

 

 

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I Am Not Amused

 

As we raced through Donovan’s Gap travelling at speeds of up to one thousand miles an hour, or so it seemed, my wife, who was sitting beside me, had her hands firmly gripped on my right arm trying to hold on. I sat with my eyes and mouth tightly closed, trying to keep the force of the wind from ripping my face off. I could feel the sweat dripping down my face, as she dug her finger nails into the now raw flesh of my arm. And despite the terror, and impending doom that had swallowed me, I noticed just how nice she smelled. But that momentary olfactory sensation was short lived as we careened down a steep curve, banking to the left, and tossing us like rag dolls into the side of the car, and bouncing us back into the other side. My wife threw up just as we came to a screeching stop on the other side of the Gap.

“Well”, I said as we exited the car. “I’m never doing that again.”

“Are you kidding?”, she asked. “That was amazing! Are you afraid, or something?”

“It’s not something.”, I replied. “I’m definitely afraid.”

“You know.”, she continued, “the best way to conquer fear is to face it head on.”

“It’s okay.”, I said. “I’m not really interested in conquest. I’m good with just survival.”

“Is there another ride you want to go on?”, she asked, with her sultry voice in perfect form.

“I’m good.”, I replied. “Think I’ll just keep my feet on the ground for now.”

“Oh, come on.”, she pleaded. “What about Death Zone.”

“No thanks.”, I said. “That last one was as close to the death zone as I’d like to be.”

We wandered around the park, as she identified every ride designed to separate a man from his genitals. “How about that one?”, she excitedly asked.

“Why don’t I get you a funnel cake?”, I suggested.

“I love the funnel cakes here.”, she stated, as joyous as a 5 year old.

We headed to the food area and purchased 1 funnel cake, with every topping known to man, a blue raspberry candy apple, and a soft serve chocolate vanilla swirl ice cream cone. “Do you want some?”, she asked as she shoveled funnel cake into her whipped cream covered face.

“No thanks.”, I said, as I continued eating my blue raspberry candy apple.

“Aren’t you going to offer me some?”, she queried. I did, and she accepted, and I never got the apple back. We continued to wander the park, as she marveled at the myriad of rides that were strategically placed throughout the grounds.

“Let’s go on that one.”, she said. I turned and looked, trying to discern the fear factor. It appeared possible. Not too high, and it didn’t seem to move all that fast. It was called Timberwolf Falls, a rather innocuous name that mentioned neither death or terror. I studied the ride, watching a canoe shaped car travel up the tracks, reaching the peak, and then falling down the track into a pool of water. Seemed harmless enough, and I could swim. And, there wasn’t much of a line up.

“Alright.”, I said, as she jumped for joy. “But this is the last one.” She grabbed my hand and raced me to the ticket booth.

“Hurry up”, she shouted as I purchased two tickets.

“She’s just a little excited.”, I informed the woman in the ticket booth who was now watching my wife jump up and down in the line. We didn’t have to wait long, and then we were next in line. My wife’s excitement seemed to increase exponentially in relation to our position in line. The closer we moved to the front, the more animated she became.

We entered the canoe. She sat in the front, holding on the sides and rocking in her seat. An employee came by to ensure that we were securely locked in our seats. And then we started to move, the slow, deliberate crawl to the top of Timberwolf Falls. It was at this time that I began having second thoughts. It didn’t appear to be so high looking at it from the ground. And why did we need to be locked in our seats? As the canoe reached the peak, it stopped, as if pausing to say a prayer before its final descent into oblivion. My wife was squealing with delight, shouting “come on already” in anticipation of the impending climax. And suddenly, without warning, the canoe moved off the peak, and began its journey, at ever increasing speeds, into the river that seemed to be waiting for our demise. My wife threw her hands in the air, shrieking, as I held on to the sides of the canoe with every ounce of strength my trembling body could muster. We hit the water, and an enormous wave created by our impact washed over us. My wife laughed with joy, wiping water off of her face with her hands, while I gave thanks to any superior being who would listen for our survival. When the canoe arrived at the exit, I couldn’t get out fast enough. I was soaking wet, from top to bottom.

“That was so awesome. Wasn’t it?”, she asked. “Did you like it?”

“It wasn’t all that bad,”, I told her. I think I wet myself, but getting soaked, no one will ever know.”

“Ah, honey.”, she told me as she gave me a hug. “We don’t have to go on anymore rides today.”

“Thank you.”, I replied. “Do you think we can go and sit down somewhere?”

As she began to walk away, I noticed that her white jeans had become almost transparent since they got wet. “You know”, I said, “I can see through your pants.”

“Are you kidding me?”, she shouted, as grabbed my jacket and wrapped it around her waist, trying to cover as much as she could. “Maybe we should just go home now.”

“Or”, I said, “maybe we should go to a hotel and spend the night without any kids.”

“Do you really think you’re up to that after all of the stress and excitement you just endured.”, she asked.

“Well, I think it will be okay.”, I answered. “Provided you do most of the work.”

“So pretty much the way its always been.”, she quipped.

“Very funny.”, I said. “Now lets go find a hotel room and get me on a ride I really enjoy.”

“Well”, she replied, “I suppose its about time you got to pick a ride you want to go on.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Flashback

 

“Where have you been?”, my wife asked me.

“I don’t know.”, I replied.

“What do you mean you don’t know?”, she continued. “You had to have been somewhere.”

“I know.”, I told her. “I was somewhere, but I’m just not sure where that somewhere was.”

“Okay.”, she said. “You’re starting to freak me out.”

“Freak you out?”, I quipped. “How do you think I feel.”

It was a Saturday afternoon. My wife and I had gone out for the day. I had wandered off, as usual, and had somehow become lost. Nothing seemed familiar, and yet I knew I had been there before. It seemed like I had been gone for hours. And standing there, surrounded by the cavern like walls, I was sure that I would never find my way out. Fear and anxiety began to set in, and then the panic hit. Waves of impending doom washed over me, leaving me filled with dread and despair. I realized that I was alone, and had no idea where I was. There were people milling about, but I couldn’t ask anyone for help. I just couldn’t speak. I opened my mouth, but not a sound would come out.

“You always do this.”, my wife pointed out. “It doesn’t matter where we go, you always seem to wander off.”

“This was different.”, I told her. “I don’t think I was here.”

“What the hell does that mean?”, she asked.

“It means”, I leaned over to her in order to whisper, “it means I was somewhere else.”

“Like another store?”, she asked.

“No.”, I responded. “I think somewhere farther away.”

“You’re not making any sense.”, she said.

“I know.”, I replied. “I’ll try to explain, but I don’t really understand it, either. Maybe we should sit down somewhere.” We walked over to the bench that sat in front of a metal sculpture of 3 strange looking women who seemed to be flying, strategically placed over a fountain. “Okay, I’ll tell you everything I know.”, I said as we sat on the bench.

“You were looking at shoes or something, so I thought I’d just walk over to the electronics store. But I never got there. Something happened to me. Everything seemed different, like it had changed in a instant. There were these really bright lights. They were everywhere, and they seemed to blink on and off with some sort of synchronicity. And there was music, but really awful music, like Bon Jovi or something.”

“I like Bon Jovi.”, my wife interjected.

“I know.”, I replied. “And I couldn’t really see anything, I mean I couldn’t make out where I was. I tried to speak, but nothing happened. I just couldn’t make a sound. I could see people, I think they were people, moving around me, but I couldn’t seem to get anyone’s attention. And then, I felt as if I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move. It was like I didn’t have arms or legs. But the lights kept flashing, and getting brighter. There were shadows moving behind them, I thought they were people, but they seemed to be floating, not walking. And then, something got into my mind. I can’t explain it, but it felt like someone was taken information out of my brain. It was so weird.” My wife sat silently for a few moments, thinking about what I had just told her and gathering her thoughts.

“Are you high?”, she asked.

“I sure as hell hope so.”, I answered. “But that has nothing to do with this.”

“Really?”, she asked, as sarcastically as I had ever heard her. “Remember the time we went to Medieval Times, and you were certain that one of the knights had a flying horse? What were you on then?”

“That was different.”, I explained. “Mushrooms, I think.”

“So what do you think happened to you?”, she asked.

“I think I was abducted. By Aliens.”, I told her.

“And what would they want with you?”, she queried.

“Information.”, I answered. “They were getting information and knowledge from my brain.”

“Well”, my wife replied, “Its unlikely they got much except maybe flying horses, and dinosaurs.”

“Dragons.”, I corrected her. “Dragons. Not dinosaurs.”

“Let’s just go home.”, she said. The ride home was one of silent condemnation. She didn’t believe it. Hell, I wasn’t sure if I believed it either. As we turned onto our street, the entire block was lit up. There were blinking lights everywhere, hovering over the houses like low lying clouds. There was a constant hum, as if a giant vacuum cleaner was running.

“It was kind of like this.”, I said.

“Really?”, my wife asked.  “Those are Christmas lights. They’re Christmas lights on the houses. And there are Santa’s and reindeer on the roofs of the houses. And big snowmen on the front lawns. That’s all it is.”

“Then what about what happened earlier?”, I asked. “At the mall?”

“You wandered into the Christmas display.”, she informed me. “With the lights, and Santa and the elves.”

“Well.”, I said. “That makes sense.”

“Ya.”, she replied. “Probably just another Christmas flashback.”

“I guess.”, I replied, as we pulled into the driveway. “You go inside. I’ll be in as soon as I get the giant marshmallow off the lawn.”

 

 

 

The Chocoholic

 

In all of the years I have known my wife, for better or worse, she has had an issue with chocolate. She is an addict. At times she pretends that there isn’t a problem, but deep down she knows. She buys insane amounts of the stuff, stashing it for later, in the event that the planet should run out. She craves it, becomes obsessed with it, and holds on to it as if her life depended on it.

“You won’t believe what I got us.”, my wife told me over the phone. “I got a huge box of Lindor chocolates. 150 of them on sale for $50.”

“What are we going to do with 150 chocolates?”, I asked.

“Eat them.”, she said. “we’ll have chocolates for a year.”

“You know I don’t really eat chocolate, right?”, I reminder her.

“Okay.”, she said. “So, I’ll have chocolates for a year.”

“That should last you 2 years, if its just you eating them.”, I suggested.

“There my chocolates now.”, she stated. “I’ll eat them when I want.”  She wasn’t kidding. The year’s worth of chocolates were gone in about a week. She carried some in her purse, had some at work, and the rest she managed to eat while sitting in bed, reading.

“I don’t feel so good.”, she told me after the last morsel had been eaten. “I’m never doing that again.”

“I’m sure you will.”, I said. Not surprisingly, I was right. I just couldn’t believe how quickly she was going to do it again.

Less than a week later, while shopping, she noticed her favorite boxes of chocolates on sale, the dark chocolate, sea salt topped, caramel things in a box. They are only available at Christmas time. “Can you get me a box?”, she asked. As I walked towards the chocolate display, I heard a voice call out. “Make it two, please.”

“Why not.”, I replied. I picked up the two boxes and placed them in the shopping cart.

“You know what?”, she asked. “Get me one more.”

“Are you sure?”, I asked. “Remember what happened last time.”

“I know.”, she answered. “But this time I’ll pace myself.”

We got home and unpacked the groceries. Several minutes later, as I entered the bedroom, I found my wife sitting on the bed, an open box of the dark chocolate, sea salt topped, caramel things on her lap.

“You’re kidding.”, I stated. “We haven’t even been home for half an hour.”

“I know.”, she said. “Isn’t it awful.”, as she shoved another one into her mouth. Before the evening was through, she had devoured 26 of the 30 chocolates in the box.

“I think I’m going to be sick.”, she said.

“Me too.”, I replied.

“No, seriously.”, she said. “I think I’m going to be really sick.” And she was. For hours.

“I think you’re going to be okay.”, I told her as she settled into bed.

“I think I should take the other boxes of chocolates back.”, she suggested.

“Okay.”, I agreed.

“Or maybe we should just hang on to them.”, she added. “You know, maybe give them as  gifts or something.”

“Whatever you want.”, I said.

“But you’re going to have to hide them somewhere.”, she stated, “and don’t tell me where they are. No matter what.”

“Alright.”, I told her.

“You know what?”, she continued. “Just hide them under the tv stand.”

“Right.”, I said.

 

 

Bitch Toss

 

I have a habit, although my wife refers to it as a disorder, of arriving at work in the wee hours of the morning, and completing all of my paper work. For me, it works. I then have the day to deal with arising issues, and can devout my time to resolving them, un-distracted by looming bureaucratic deadlines. Some mornings, if I am diligent enough, I find myself with time to have a nap in my office before any one else arrives. I suppose I enjoy the solitude, the tranquility of a world unencumbered by the persistent bullshit of asshats and fucktards.

It began when I was still in University, staying up all night to study, or write essays in the silence, while everyone else was asleep. I would often go to Mr. Donut, buy a pack of cigarettes from the machine, and sit at a table all night, drinking coffee and working on my assignments unfettered by the world that slumbered. It bothers my wife. Even though I am not at home, I seem to be responsible for her waking early, not sleeping properly, bad coffee, and a seemingly never ending list of issues that arise in my home between 2am and 6am. At one time, my wife suggested we get separate beds. My counter proposal was that we get separate homes. Needless to say, we still have the one bed.

At my wife’s urging, or rather badgering, I went to the doctor. After a series of intrusive tests, some of which made me feel quite violated, I was advised that my body clock was off.  It could be reset I was told, and I was given a list of things to do, and not to do in order to correct the problem. Surprisingly, I didn’t see it as a problem. My wife however, who takes great joy in complicating and micromanaging my life, insisted that it was. “You need to sleep!”, she told me. “Everybody needs to sleep!”

“You mean, you need to sleep.”, I corrected her.

“Yes.”, she fired back, “I need to sleep. So you need to fix the problem.”

Now, to be truthful, there have been times when I have wanted to suggest things that she needed to fix. Things like get cable back, have more sex, and give me some of the fucking blanket. But there always seems to be a round or two of the game known as bitch and catch. It works like this. No matter what is going on, no matter who is responsible, my wife hurls her bitch at me. My role in this game is to catch it, and hang on to it. If I drop it, the bitches that follow will be harder and more erratic, making it almost impossible to catch and hang on to. The only way this can be won by me, is to catch and hang on to each and every bitch, and at an opportune moment, to throw one back and force her into the catching role. Not surprisingly, she is very weak in this part of the game. I am, and I say this with all modesty, the Provincial Champion, three years in a row, and the reigning Silver Medalist at the World Championship.

Let me assure you that this is no easy feat. The training involved is unprecedented in modern sport. It requires stamina, patience, inner strength, and quick reflexes. It demands a calm interior and a hardened exterior, much like an emotionally charged M & M. Years ago, I secured a trainer and a coach, who work with me several times a week, and I attribute much of my success to their dedication and knowledge in deflecting bitches, the most difficult part of this event. In its simplest terms, it weakens the bitch, slowing it down and minimizing its impact, so that it it falls into your hands like a feather drifting on a warm summer breeze, landing right in the palm of you outstretched and open hand. The idea is to stand perfectly still, don’t even blink, and look at her. And just as she is about to release, lowering your eyes to the ground, and mumbling “I’m sorry, honey.”, creates a disturbance in the atmosphere, causing time to almost stand still. When this is employed correctly, and you have caught the bitch, this is the moment to throw it back. It is unsuspected, and applies a devastating blow to your combatant, one from which they struggle to overcome. The bitches stop.It gets eerily quiet, as she thinks about her next move. Don’t move, and don’t say a word. Anything you say or do at this point will only serve to provide with additional bitches. There is an old saying ‘the one who speaks next, is the one who loses.’. Don’t speak. Through my coach and trainer, I have mastered this by imagining my wife naked. Yep. There she is, standing in front of me, naked, and my mind is occupied in thoughts of sexual fantasy. “What the hell are you doing?”, she asks me, being the first one to speak.

“Nothing.”, I reply. “Just thinking.”

“About what?”. she pries.

“About you.”, I say. “About us.”, as I lower my gaze to the ground again.  

“I’m sorry.”, she says, as she comes towards me, totally bitchless. “I don’t mean to give you a hard time.”

“Well”, I said.  “Seems like you already did.”

“Oh, so it does.”, she remarked, looking at my crotch. “Well, I suppose we should take care of that.”, she continued, as she led me into the bedroom.

Game, set, and match!!!

Rules Of Engagement

 

“I can’t sleep.”, my wife informed me as I was finally drifting off. “The atmosphere has been weird for the past two weeks. Do you know what I mean?”

“I understand the words.”, I replied. “But I have no idea what you mean.”

“Its like things are out of whack.” she continued. “It just doesn’t feel right. And its making me very uneasy.  Does that make any sense?”

“Not really.”, I told her. “But I don’t share your Moroccan sensitivity.”

“Do you think that’s what it is?”, she asked.

“Well”, I answered, “Either that or you’ve lost your mind.”

“We’ll go with the Moroccan sensitivity.”, she said.

“Either way.”, I informed her, “Its okay with me.” Several minutes of silence passed, and I could feel myself drifting off to sleep, once again.

“So what do you want to do now?”, my wife asked.

“What?”, I inquired, both surprised and agitated.

“Well, we can’t sleep.”, she stated, “did you want to talk, or watch tv or something?”

“We could fool around.”, I said.

“No.” , she answered, “I’m not in the mood for that.”

“Well.”, I said, “I think I’ll just go to sleep.”

“That’s it?”, she asked angrily. “You’re only willing to stay awake for sex?”

“Pretty much.”, I told her.

“You’re an ass.”, she said.

“Look.”, I told her, as I turned to face her. “There are only two reasons I have ever been prepared to stay awake. If you need medical attention, or sex. If you don’t need either of those, I have to get some sleep. I’m exhausted”

“Well, I’m over exhausted.” she said. “But this feeling is freaking me out.”

“You can’t be over exhausted.”, I informed her. “Exhausted is finite. There are degrees of tired, and exhausted is the ultimate. You can be over tired, but there is nothing beyond exhausted. You could use an adjective, like totally exhausted, but its redundant. Exhausted implies that you are the most tired you could be.”

“Shut up.”, she said, as she turned her back to me.

“You don’t have to be angry about it.”, I told her.

“Yes I do.”, she stated. “The rules are if I can’t sleep, you stay up with me.”

“Really?”, I inquired. “And if I can’t sleep, do you have to stay up with me?”

“No.”, she informed me. “Only if you’re very sick, or hurt.”

“Who made these rules.”, I asked.

“I did.”, she answered.

“It must be nice to just make up any rule you want.”, I stated sarcastically, sitting up in bed now, realizing that I was completely awake.

“It is.”, she said.

“Well, I’m awake now.”, I told her. “What do you want to do?”

“I’m feeling sleepy now.”, she said. “I think I’m going to go to sleep.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”, I stated with some indignance. “You’ve kept me awake, and now that I can’t sleep, you decide that you’re going to sleep?”

“Those are the rules.”, she said.

“What the hell am I supposed to do now?”, I asked.

“Well”, she said. “Medical attention or sex. You decide.”

“You know you make me crazy.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she replied. “That’s also one of the rules.”

 

 

Please Behave…

 

It was thought to be one of the most important social events of the decade, although I had no idea why. The entire community had been talking about it since it was announced, yet I seemed to have absolutely no interest in attending.  400 guests were invited to watch Mark & Monica promise each other a lifetime of fidelity, love, and ignorance, at was proudly announced as a white wedding. This was not the first time I had been to such an affair. They all seemed pretty much the same; a crowded room filled with loud, obnoxious, and incredibly stupid people, incredibly inedible food, a relatively untalented group of musicians playing cover versions of songs I never much liked when played by the original artists, and Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm Title, parents of the not so lovely bride. As I stood in my room getting dressed, I couldn’t help but to wish for some kind of natural disaster, like an earthquake, or a hurricane perhaps. Or better yet, an alien invasion. Anything to prevent me from attending this spiritually vacuous event.

“I hope that you’ll behave yourself.”, my wife told me as she straightened my tie.

“I always do.”, I replied.

“No.”, she corrected me. “You don’t. Every time you open your mouth, you offend someone.”

“Really?”, I asked. “I try to offend them all.”

“I’m being serious!”, she snapped.

“I know.”, I said. “I’m just not sure why anyone should be offended by the truth.”

“Because sometimes it hurts their feeling.”, she explained.

“I don’t try to hurt people’s feelings.”, I said in my defense. “I just say what I think, and I am entitled to my opinion.”

“I know.”, she answered. “But why do you feel the need to express it so absolutely?”

“Because my opinion is absolute to me.”, I offered in explanation.

“I just want you try, tonight, for me.”, she added. “Just try to be a little less certain that you are always right, or at least try not to let everyone else know. And stay away from Barry Singer”

“Why?”, I inquired.

“Because I am asking you to.” She advised me. “The last time you saw him, you called him an asshole! In front of his daughter!”

“I did not.”, I responded. “I called him an ignorant ass. There is a difference. And besides, she knows that he’s an ass. Every one knows that he’s an ass.”

“Please.”, she asked again with those dark Moroccan eyes. “For me?’

“Alright.”, I told her. “I will try. For you. It won’t change how I think and feel, but I will make an effort to keep my opinion to myself.”

“Thank you.”, she said, as she squeezed my arm. “You look very handsome.”

“Thanks.”, I said. “I have a date with an insanely hot woman.” She blushed. I love it when she blushes.Her face turned a wonderful shade of crimson, and as she looks away, she emits a soft, little giggle that squeaks its way out of the corner of her mouth.

Well, I have rarely made any promises to my wife, but have kept the ones I did. I was determined to try and keep this one as well. I would try to keep my opinions to myself, and let those whose only point is located atop their heads, espouse their stupidity freely, and without consequence.

The venue was already near filled when we arrived. The country club selected for this wondrous  joining of two empty minds was regally decorated. The grounds were beautifully landscaped, and I could see the golf course from the large window in the reception hall.  “I should have brought my clubs.”, I whispered to my wife.

“Behave.”, she reminded me. “Go and talk to someone and try to have a good time.” I knew a good time was not going to be had. There was no one present that I really ever wanted to talk to. Talk about what? None of them had read a book since they were in High School. If only there was a lounge with a television, I could watch the hockey game. I grabbed myself a beer from the bar, and began to wander around the room.

“Hello, neighbor.”, I heard a voice call out. “I thought for sure you would find a reason not to show up.” I turned to see who was there. Barry Singer. The ignorant ass himself.

“Hello, Barry.” I said. “something I can do for you?”

“No no.”, he replied. “Just thought we’d catch up for a while.”

“Sorry, Barry.”, I informed him. “I’m on a mission.”

“What mission?”, he asked.

“Something I have to do for my wife.”, I told him., and I walked away. In a few minutes we were ushered in to another room to watch the spectacle of the ceremony. My wife and I found suitable seats close to the door, and we settled in. As the ceremony began, someone behind me leaned forward and began whispering in my ear. It was Barry Singer.  I had no idea what he was saying, but I recognized the voice. When I didn’t answer, his whisper became louder.

“What are you doing?”, my wife asked.

“I’m not doing anything.”, I told her. “Its Barry Singer behind us. I told you he’s an ass.” Barry continued to lean forward and try to engage me in a conversation, while my wife was growing visibly upset. The people in the row in front of us began to turn around and whisper ‘Shhh’, which only fueled my wife’s ire. As the ceremony continued, I tried my best to ignore the shit head who was sitting behind me, tormenting me solely by his existence, but I could feel myself beginning to lose the ability to ignore him. People in front continued to utter ‘Shhh’, and an elderly woman asked me, quite politely to stop ruining the wedding. My wife was fuming, her eyes grew dark, and the vein in her forehead, shaped like the letter ‘Y’, which only appears when her Spanish-Moroccan begins to boil, was beginning to take shape.

As the ceremony ended, we stood up to leave. “Somebody should take that man outside, tie him to a tree, and drop a squirrel down his pants.”, she said.

“I’m available.”, I told her.

“Don’t bother.”, she answered. “The squirrel would probably starve to death.” Without knowing it, my wife could be incredibly funny. We entered the reception area, and sat at our assigned table. Luckily, Barry Singer was not at our table. It didn’t take long however, but there he was, Barry Singer, standing over my shoulder, inquiring as to how much of a gift we were giving. I could the ‘Y’ vein start to appear. Barely visible at first, but then, there it was, upper case, and in bold font. “This can’t be good!”, I thought. And then it happened. Like a volcanic eruption, fast and furious, and unrelenting.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”, my wife asked Barry. “Do you have some sort of condition that prevents you from acting like a human being? You are, without a doubt the most insipid, irritating man I have ever met. I want you to go away. Now. Go away and stay away from us. Do you understand?” The others at our table sat stunned, with eyes glaring, and mouths opened. I, for one, had never been prouder of my wife. I put my hand on her leg, showing my approval for her crushing defeat of Barry Singer.

“Was it too much?”, she asked me, after apologizing to our table mates for her outburst.

“Not at all.”, I told her. “You were wonderful. But you forget to mention that he’s an ignorant ass.”

“I thought I did.”, she replied.

“No.”, I said. “But its okay. And thankfully, at least one of us can behave in public.”

“Yes.”, she answered. ” I suppose that I shouldn’t have asked you to change. Its who you are, and you’re usually right.”

“Its okay.”, I told her. “You did an exceptional job in my place.”

“Its a good thing that we take turns.”, she stated. “I’m not sure that people could handle both of us at the same time. I think we should go home.”

“Let’s go.”, I said.

“Are you hungry?”, she asked, as we walked to the car.

“I suppose I am.”, I told her.

“Do you feel like Chinese? My treat.”, she asked.

“Sounds like a plan.”, I replied.

“I’m going to have to borrow some money, though.”, she said.

“I already had that figured out.”, I told her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living In The Real World…

 

In an attempt to save even more money that we could put away in the event of some natural or man made disaster, my wife has subtly began her mission to  get rid of Netflix, and install TV antennas in order to watch television.

“What is this?”, I asked. “1963?”

“No”, she said. “I’m just trying to save some money so we can retire.”

“That dream is long gone.”, I told her.

“Well”, she said. “We need to do something. They’re talking about an economic disaster worse than the great depression. People won’t be able to keep their homes, or even have food to eat. We need to start stock piling can goods.”

“Okay.”, I told her. “Go out and buy all of the canned goods you can find.”

“I’ve already made a list.”, she informed me. “I think we should go on the weekend.”

And so, as my wife seems to excel in dealing with these sort of crises, we continue to prepare for them, one after the other. There has been much talk of ‘living off the grid’, and as I have no idea what the grid is, I have been reluctant to give it up. My wife informs me that we would live somewhere, isolated from society, and fend for ourselves. We would create/generate our own heat, and apparently electricity, and obtain our own food through planting and harvesting crops, and hunting & fishing. She has been watching television shows about jut this sort of wilderness living. Surviving as pioneers, with none of the amenities of modern life. “I have no idea how to do any of the things we need to do to survive.”, I told her. “Do they have something like The Home Service Club for off the grid livers?”

“No!”, she said, not amused by my sarcasm. “We would just have to learn how to do things ourselves.” Now prior to this latest carnival of survival, we had dealt with Tiny House living, trailer living, and the ever popular squatting. All I really want is for the damn internet to work properly. I do not want to live in the middle of nowhere in a tent, or a hut, or a cave, surviving on my instincts. My instincts are somewhat limited, not generally useful, and usually only serve to send me to the fridge to grab a beer. I am not certain, but I don’t see that as a big help in wilderness living.

So, the pantry, kitchen cupboards, bedroom closets, and dining room floor are filled with assorted canned goods. We have chick peas, fava beans, peas, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, assorted fruits, tuna, salmon, and I have even seen canned corned beef. I have never eaten canned meat in my life, and I have expressed to me wife, my reluctance to ever do so. “If it is the last thing to eat, I’m sure you’ll give it a try.” perhaps she is right, but I am still uncertain. I have expressed my concern that the shelf life of this so called meat in a can is over 1 year, when meat in my fridge is only good for 3 days. It is concerning and confusing. Nonetheless, I am the proud owner of corned beef in a can.I did insist that we purchase several cans of pie filling. I was adamant the I have my rhubarb-strawberry pie filling. In the event that I cannot eat canned meat, I will at least have a viable substitute. The shelf life for this product is almost 2 years, so when my wife’s corned beef has long since expired, I will still be eating strawberry-rhubarb pie filing.

“I think we’re all set.”, she said as she conducted a thorough inventory of our food stuff. “Nobody eats any of this now.”, she added. “Leave the pie filling alone!”, she told me.

“So we wait for it to expire, and then have to do this all over again?”, one of my daughters asked.

“No.”, my wife explained, “if it is close to expiring, then we will eat it.”

“And what if the food shortage never comes?”, another one of my daughters asked.

“Oh, it will.”, my wife said. “Sooner or later, it will happen.”

“You need to stop watching the news.”, my daughter advised.

And so it was, and continues. A wait and see game with fate. A cat and mouse game between global economic doom, and expiration dates on cans of meat. If I were a betting man, I would wager heavily on my wife, and learn to develop a taste for canned meat. I just may have to. We have so much of it stored in the pantry.

 

Aliens

My wife has always had an interest in the paranormal. She is quite interested in ghosts, specters, and spirits from the other side. She believes that they come to visit out of kindness and good will, and not to scare the hell out of us. She sees them often. I however, am not certain of their intent or their good nature, but I have always given in to my wife’s insistence that all is well in the spirit realm.

There was a time not too long ago, when I saw a different side of my wife. A fear of the unknown. A fear, not of ghostly daring dos, but of possible Alien intrusion. Yes, that’s right. We had a harrowing experience, one that she could not explain other than Alien involvement.

It was early evening, that time in between light and dark, when shadows dance across time and space, making the world appear black and white. There was a fine rain falling, a mist that seemed to enhance the shadows, making them seem closer than they actually were. We were returning home from the Casino. We were regaling each other with tales of our losses, as we approached a short covered section of the road, a covered bridge that was basically an underpass to allow cars to pass above us. We had driven through this underpass hundreds of times. At best, it took 15 seconds to clear, and arrive on the other side.

We entered the short tunnel, There was no talking as we went through. When we reached the other side. We looked at each other with some concern.

“That seemed to take a hell of a long time.”, I said.

“I know.”, my wife agreed. “How long were we in there for?”

I don’t know.”, I answered. I wasn’t looking at the clock.”

“What time did we leave the casino at?”, she asked.

“I don’t remember.”, I said.

“Well, that’s just weird.”, she muttered. “What do you think happened?”

“I have no idea.”, I told her.

“Don’t you think it strange that we both felt it took forever to get through the underpass?”, she asked. And neither of us can remember what time we left the casino?”

“I suppose.”, I stated. “But there’s probably some reasonable explanation.”

“Well”, she said, as straight faced as I had ever seen her, “I think either we were scanned by aliens, or we entered some sort of time warp.” I looked at her closely. She was dead serious.

“Really?”, I asked. “You think that time was frozen while some aliens fiddled with us? I would have liked them to take us out for dinner first.”

“I never said that time was frozen.”, she explained. “We simply don’t remember the time when they scanned us. Something pretty extra ordinary, something extra terrestrial just happened to us.” She paused only long enough to light a cigarette. “What if we have all kinds of weird side effects?”

“Like what?”, I asked.

“I don’t know.”, she replied. “Like horrible nightmares, or we get some virus or something.”

“Or maybe we start sculpting things out of mashed potatoes.”, I offered. “Hey, wait a minute. Did you check to make sure they didn’t take your money when you were being scanned?”

“You really need to stop being such a sarcastic ass.”

” I just don’t know why you’re so freaked out by it.”, I answered.

“Because its weird.”, she said. “Something happened to us, and I can’t explain it. You can’t explain it. Its kind of scary that we can’t account for the time, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know.”, I said. “I guess I just don’t think that everything I can’t explain is the result of a ghost or alien encounter.”

“Well”, she continued, “this was something quite out of the ordinary. Something else was at work here. Don’t you think its even possible?””

“Almost everything is possible.”, I said. “I’m just not sure I want to accept the notion that I had been violated by aliens.”

“Is it really so far fetched?”, she persisted.

“Not really.”, I answered. “I just don’t know how I could respect myself in the morning if its true.”

“You’re an ass.”, she told me.

“I know.”, I reminded her. “You’ve already mentioned that.”

My wife has told this story countless times, to countless numbers of people, and each time, they look to me for some sort of explanation from this world. I can’t give them one. I just don’t know. Perhaps my wife is right. Maybe we were scanned by beings from another world, or another dimension. She just may be right. It wouldn’t be the first time. Or perhaps she is one of them. That would explain so much.

 

 

 

Neighborhood Watch

 

Something was going on with one of our neighbors. He was a relatively nondescript man who one could usually find on his front porch with a beer in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. My wife was certain something sinister had occured, so we spoke about it in whispers, in the dark, sordid shadows of our living room.

“He hasn’t moved in days.”, my wife informed me, as she peered through the living room window, across the street at Mr. Leadbetter.

“Its worse than that.”, I added, “He hasn’t changed his clothes in days, either.”

“Something’s not right.”, she said. “Something strange is going on over there.”

“Or maybe”, I said, “maybe he’s just on vacation.”

“No, its not a vacation.”, she replied.

“How do you know?”, I asked.

“Just a feeling.”, she replied. “Something’s not right. You should go over and talk to him.”.

“I don’t think so.”, I told her. “We should just mind our own business, and leave the man alone”

She sighed that sigh that I had come to know so well. The one that means we’re doing it my way regardless. She paused, deep in thought as she eyed the property across the street. “I wonder where his wife and kids are. I haven’t seen them in a while.”

“Don’t go there.”, I said. “Just leave it alone.”

“Go where?”, she asked.

“All Alfred Hitchcock like.”, I said. “You do this all of the time. You’re going to turn this into something from a Hitchcock movie. I know you. Just leave it alone.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”, she replied. “All I did was to mention that I haven’t seen his family for a while.”

“Uh huh.”, I stated. “Just like the time you believed a little boy was being kidnapped from Chuck E Cheese. Remember? You were sure someone was snatching him. Turns out his father had come to pick him up from a birthday party.”

“He was screaming.”, she said.

“He just didn’t want to leave.”, I reminded her. “And there was the time you were convinced that the birds  congregating on the telephone wire were preparing to attack. You wouldn’t let the kids go outside.”

“There were all kinds of birds out there.”, she remarked.”

“There were a half dozen sparrows on the wire.”, I reminded her. “Hardly a terrifying event.”

“Well, that was different, anyway.”, she said.

“Not really.”, I answered. “You always get like this. Whenever something strange happens, your mind goes right to Hitchcock. Unless it involves spirits. That you never think that’s weird.”

“Well.”, she said in her own defense, “you can’t deny that something strange is going on over there.”

“I can. You don’t know that anything is going on. Just leave it alone.”, I pleaded.

“I wish I could.”, she said. “Well, if you won’t go over and talk to him, I guess that I will have to go.”

“Well”, I said, “you’re on your own with this one.”

“Are you really going to let me go over there by myself?”, she asked.

“If you’d like. I’m not going.”, I told her.

“So we’re just supposed to sit here and do nothing?”, she asked.

“No.”, I replied. “We’re just going to sit here and mind our own business. Everything is okay. Tim didn’t chop his family into pieces and bury them in the garden. This is not a suspense thriller.”

“What if he did do something terrible, and he sneaks off in the dead of night?”, she asked, trying to sound completely rational.

“Alright.”, I said. “I’m going over there.”

“So you think I’m right?”, she asked. “You think something weird is going on?”

“Not at all.”, I answered. “I just want to get my power drill back from him before he leaves the country.”

“You’re such an ass.”, she informed me.

“Now, if I see anything that looks peculiar, like graves, or crop circles,”, I said, “I’ll let you know. And if I’m not back by dark, call the police.”

“Don’t count on it.”, she said merely to show her anger with me.

“Okay, then.”, I said. “I’m off.”

“Be careful.”, she said. “And pretend that you think everything is normal.”

I returned about ten minutes later, visibly upset. “What’s wrong?”, my wife asked. “What did you see over there?”

“Its unbelievable.”, I responded. “I  just can’t believe the bastard could do something like that.”

“He killed them, didn’t he?”, she asked.

“Killed who?”, I asked.

“His family.”, she answered. “He killed his wife and kids.”

“Hell, no.”, I said. “There all inside, sick with the Black Plague or some other virus of death. The bastard broke my damn drill.”

“What?”, she asked.

“He broke my drill.”, I repeated.

“So nothing’s wrong?”, she asked.

“Did you hear me/”, I stated rather sternly. “Yes something happened. He broke my drill. Isn’t that enough?”

“Well.”, she said, as she laughed that coy way she does when she feels just a bit foolish. “At least no one was killed.”

“Not yet, anyway>”, I told her. “But if he doesn’t replace the drill, that may change.”

“You’re so dramatic.”, she said, as she put her arms around me. “You really need to sit down and relax. I don’t know why you always have to blow everything way out of proportion”