They sat on the couch staring at the television, he in baggy pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt, she in a faded flannel nightgown and a pair of his black socks.

“It’s getting chilly,” she said.

“Uh-huh. You want me to turn up the heat?”

“Would you please?”

“I’ll do it during the commercial. Okay?”


They continued staring at a program involving two professional thieves working for the CIA, FBI or some such initialed organization. The thieves, a man and woman who could only exist on television or fashion magazines, exchanged sexual banter while robbing top secret documents from a safe in an Atlantic City casino in order to protect the American Way of Life.

Finally, the commercial came on.

“I’ll turn up the heat,” he said. “While I’m up, you want something?”

“I think I’ll make some tea. You want a cup?”

“Yeah. What kind we have?”

“Peppermint, Chamomile, Ginseng.”

“Chamomile sounds good.”

He adjusted the thermostat. While she made the tea, he went to the bathroom.

“Do we still have those granola bars?”

“I finished the last one for lunch today,” she said. “I was going to cut up some fruit.”

“Sounds good,” he shouted from the bathroom.

Soon they were back on the couch staring at the TV, a cup of tea on their end tables. A plate of apple, pear and banana slices between them.

Someone was chasing the thieves. They ran in and out of rooms, down staircases, up alleyways, managing to maintain sexual banter while never messing their hair.

“I gotta pee,” she said. “Fill me in on what happens.”

“I bet they get away from the bad guys. There’s still a half hour to go.”

“Maybe this is the episode where they get caught, killed and leave twenty minutes of dead time.”

“We can only hope,” he said.

While she was gone he munched on the fruit, trying to eat only apples and bananas because he knew she liked the pears best.

“Honey,” he called, after a few minutes. “Where are you? You’re missing the scene where their body doubles kick stuntmen.”

“Sorry. I thought you’d like some cheese.”

As planned by the Madison Avenue underworld, she arrived just in time for the commercials. He pressed mute on the remote control and attacked the plate of assorted low-fat cheeses. Some actually tasted vaguely like cheese.

“Why are we so hungry? We had a good dinner. The stir fry was delicious.”

She smiled. “Thanks for going to the supermarket. The fresh spinach was a perfect touch.”

“No problem. That’s what retirement’s for. I’m glad you felt like cooking.”

“You know how I enjoy cutting vegetables when I have the extra time. Maybe I’ll take cooking classes when I retire.”

He undid the mute; the show was starting.

They stared some more as the plot took predictable twists and turns while the entendres doubled and tripled. With the food gone, she put the plate on the end table next to her and reached for his hand. He moved closer to her and she rested her hand on his leg.

They stared at another chase scene followed by a kick boxing demonstration. Miraculously, just as the good guys were about to be pummeled by the bad guys, the authorities appeared. Safe, the sexual innuendo continued.

“Thank God,” he said. “Her make-up was almost smeared.”

“Look. His suit jacket is still buttoned.”

He muted the commercials and next week’s coming attractions and reached around to pull her closer. They kissed, a short, mouths closed peck. He stretched his neck and pulled away.

“You okay?” she asked, as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“Yeah. Remember when we used to make out in my Rambler? This was easier then.”

“Harder, actually.”

“Hurt a guy while he’s down, why don’t you?”

She lifted his sweatshirt and rested her head on his white-haired chest. He noted how gray hairs streaked her once black hair.

“I like this,” she said.

“I do, too.”

“I wouldn’t trade watching a dumb TV show with you for anything.”

He considered listing a few things he’d trade for, but forty-two years of marriage had taught him when not to joke. “Mmm,” he said, instead, and ran his index finger along her cheek. She slipped her hand just under the elastic of his pajama bottom.

“Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?”

“Maybe later, but now let’s just enjoy the moment.” Her fingers circled the tuft of hair just below his belly button.

He wrapped his arm around her.

They sat on the couch staring at the television, he in baggy pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt, she in a faded flannel nightgown and a pair of his black socks.

“Do you think the magic has gone out of our marriage?” she asked.

“Probably,” he said. “But it’s been replaced with something real.”

Wayne Scheer has locked himself 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. He’s been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net.

If you want to keep EDF around, Patreon is the answer.

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Every Day Fiction