A Dinner Time Story | Audio
By Dane Zeller
Dane Zeller writes anything that comes to his mind: detective novels, opinion pieces, humorous short stories (usually romantic) and birthday cards to his wife. He teaches in the business department at a university in Kansas City. He lives in Westwood, Kansas with his wife.
Sally sat at the dining room table set for two. The candles were out and cold. The clock showed 7:39. The smell of meatloaf was nearly gone from the kitchen.
She heard the garage door open and shut, and then Bob came through the door lugging his briefcase.
"Hi, honey," he said as he sat down at the table, bypassing the usual welcome-home kiss on Sally's cheek. "Sorry I'm late. Wayne was in a real funk. He asked me to go down to Clancey's for a brew. I couldn't let him down; he needed to talk." Bob took a sip from the wine glass. "I know you've gone out of your way to prepare supper. Thanks for waiting."
She smiled as she re-lit the candles. "No problem, Bob. I'll just warm it up."
"Also, it's happy hour at Clancey's. Two for the price of one. I knew you'd appreciate the savings."
"I thought that was on Tuesdays."
Bob hesitated. "No, it's tonight."
"What's up with Wayne?"
"Same old thing. He's worried about losing his job. He's got a high house payment, three car payments, and he's missing quotas. He's missed projections the last three months."
"Three months? Last time I talked to Frieda, it was seven months."
Bob looked down at his tie that was stuffed into his shirt pocket. The tail end of the tie was hanging out.
"Well maybe it's a guy thing; he can't tell the whole truth about his failure. To top it off, Freida and the kids bought a little Dachsund puppy that pees all over the carpet."
"How cute. He'll outgrow that."
"She...it's a she, and she's been peeing for six weeks."
"And, I think they only have two cars."
Bob stuffed the tie back into the pocket.
"What do you mean?"
"You said he had three car payments."
"Oh. Two...three...it doesn't matter. Maybe he was just embellishing his story. You know how depressed people get."
"Not exactly. And a high house payment? Frieda told me they inherited enough to almost pay outright for that mansion."
"Hmmm...he was obviously blowing up his story."
"Bob, did you buy a new cologne?"
"Uh...no...yes, I did."
"I can still smell it at the end of the day. I was just wondering."
"Yeah, it's called "Etu Floray. I got it down at the CVF"
"You mean 'the CVS'."
"Also, I don't think they've had that dog for six weeks. More like three weeks."
"I've lost track." Bob sipped from the glass of ice water. Perhaps the large amount of moisture on the outside of the glass caused his grip on the glass to be uneasy.
"What's her name?"
"What's her name?"
Bob picked up the salad fork. A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead.
"Oh, honey I was going to tell you. Her name is Michelle and she invited me to a harmless lunch and I didn't see the problem but she came on to me and I'll never do it again honey it's over I said goodbye at Clancey's tonight. She was just a fling, the sex meant nothing to me I love you so much."
"Bob. I meant the dog's name."
He put the fork down next to the knife, but not exactly parallel to it.