HOUSE RULES • by Ralph Uttaro

Most of the guys had already gone home for winter break. It was just me and Dewey and Manascalco in front of a crackling fire with a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red. A storm swirled outside, snow piling up like fine white dust on the windowsill.

“I really miss Elaine,” Dewey moaned.

He had pursued her doggedly all of September and October, sending her flowers, leaving notes on her Facebook wall. When he started disappearing for days at a time right before Thanksgiving we suspected that he had closed the deal.

We had an unwritten rule. No deep personal conversations. That was one of the cool things about our house. Maybe it was the scotch, but me and Manascalco were being a little lax about enforcing the rule.

“I’m in love. I think she may be the one.” That was enough for me.

“Dude, she can’t be that good,” I cracked. Manascalco laughed. Dewey looked at me sharply.

“I think she was a virgin.”

Manascalco rolled his eyes. We both knew. It was freshman year, late, after a big party. Elaine and I were going at it in the top bunk when Manascalco tumbled in and turned on the lights.

“Your glass is empty,” I said, pouring Dewey three more fingers of scotch.

I guess that’s why you have rules.

Ralph Uttaro masquerades as a corporate real estate executive by day. He lives outside Rochester, New York with his wife Pamela.

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