A GOOD WOMAN • by Wayne Scheer

The sun streamed through the partially closed bedroom blinds creating bars of light. Andrew pulled the covers over his head.

“Honey, are you still in bed? It’s almost noon,” Linda, his wife, whispered. She pulled down the blanket enough to kiss his cheek, studded with a three-day growth of beard. She could see white hairs sprouting amidst the black ones. “You can’t sleep all day.”

“Why not?”

“There are things to do.”

“Like what?”

“Don’t you have resumes to send out? Phone calls to make?”

“What’s the difference? Nobody’s hiring.”

“You don’t know that. You can’t give up.”

Andrew sat up in bed and stretched. “It’s been almost six months now. I’ve sent out eighty-two resumes and called everyone I know who might help. I’ve gotten, what? One interview. And they told me I’m overqualified. This might be the perfect time to give up.”

“And do what? Sleep all day?”

Andrew squinted to see the clock. “Damn, I didn’t realize it was so late. What are you doing home, anyway?”

“I was worried about you. I called the house and your cell.”

“I’m fine. I’ll get up if it’ll make you happy. You have to get back to work.” In a voice almost inaudible, he added, “We can’t afford to lose your salary.”

“I’m on my lunch hour. Let me make you something to eat.”

“No, don’t bother. I should be making you lunch.”

“Then get up and do it. You said you’d fix the lock on the back door, and the lawn needs mowing. I’ll give you a list of things we need at the grocery store. There’s plenty to do.”

“I know, I know. Plenty to do.”

“Oh, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get out of this damn bed!” Her voice cracked. “You’re more than just a paycheck to me, you know.” Smiling, she added, “You’re my yard boy and stud muffin, too.”

Andrew reached out to hug her. “At least I haven’t lost you.”

She pulled away. “Would you leave me if I lost my job?”

“Of course, not. But it’s not the same.”

“The hell it isn’t.”

Andrew nodded. “I’m sorry,” he said. He got out of bed and kissed her. “So I’m your stud muffin, huh?”

“Maybe after a shower and shave.”

Wayne Scheer has been locked in a room with his computer and turtle since his retirement. (Wayne’s, not the turtle’s.) To keep from going back to work, he’s published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems, including Revealing Moments, a collection of twenty-four flash stories, available at http://www.pearnoir.com/thumbscrews.htm. He’s been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. Wayne can be contacted at wvscheer@aol.com.

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