Entertaining Just an Option

Timothy Gager

On Saturday Brent woke up between his wife Sharon and another female they had met last night at the bar. The guest had puked in both the upstairs and downstairs toilets and Sharon slept in a puddle of her own pee.

He and Sharon planned well yesterday afternoon; a good meal to cushion the booze before they went out and warm clothing for the winter weather. Brent’s hat with the ear flaps lay on the floor next to the bed.

Sharon sometimes wet the bed after one of these nights. She also snored loudly when she went to bed drunk. He was used to her snore but not the little idiosyncrasies of the guest, who crept up his chest and nestled under his arm pit enough times to constantly disrupt his sleep. All night he had to think which woman his hands were on and searched for Sharon each time.

It took a few minutes to realize that he had blacked out sometime around last call. The last thing he remembered was a brief moment of the girl running into bathroom, hearing her efforts, followed by the splash. Brent remembered the bar but couldn’t remember the girl’s name. He remembered Sharon making out with her last night before doing shots; her hands running through the girls short hair and her headband being pulled off. He went out for a smoke.

“I think I’m a pretty good wife,” Sharon told him following him outside the bar. It was the first thing she said to him after dragging five times on a Salem.

“Oh, now you’re going to pay attention to me,” he said and spat on the ground.

“What are you talking about? I came out here to pay attention to you now. I had plenty to do inside but I wanted to talk to you. Usually you’re the one checking up on me during a smoke break. I know that’s why you started smoking again so that when I went out you could follow me.”

“I can’t trust that you wouldn’t start flirting with someone during your smoke breaks. Creeps wait and watch women head to the door.”

“I’m doing just fine inside. Shit, I don’t want you to be mad Brent.”

“You’re doing better than fine. I’m not mad. If I were mad I would have jumped in the car and left you there to do your business.”

“Most guys would be doing back flips watching what was happening.”

“You know, I’m not like most guys.”

“Yeah, most guys are fun and don’t spit that much.” Brent adjusted the ear flaps over his ears as he could to ward off the cold.

“You look like one of Muppets,” Sharon said and smiled. “Remember last week when I caught you throwing out an empty wrapped in a newspaper in the trash?”

“Yes.”

“And last week when you yelled, “Oh bullshit!” at the TV during Intervention when Jeff VanVonderen said that drinking was something that was uncontrollable?”

“Yes.”

“Why don’t you do something about it?” Sharon asked.

“Why do you still care?”

“Because I do. You throw a bottle out, wrapped in newspaper to keep it quiet and when I caught you, you said that sad goodbyes were better than slammed doors. What the fuck is that?”

Brent’s spat again and it landed on her shoe.

***

Inside the girl had bought four shots; three tequila and a lemon drop shooter. “I don’t like shots. I only wanted a fruit juice” Sharon said.

“Oh, I thought you wanted to wash the tequila down with something fruity like a lemon drop. Here, have two.” She handed the extra tequila to Brent, who downed both causing his mouth to fill with the dry fumes. Sharon drank the lemon-drop. Brent grabbed Sharon around the waist and turned to the girl, “Do you want a ride home?”

***

Brent gave the girl a long kiss while Sharon was still in the shower. When Sharon returned in a towel the girl kissed her too. “Come on Brent,” Sharon said. “This is fun.”

Brent pulled back. “You guys do what you want to do,” he said. Sharon gave him a frustrated look while they stood there uncomfortable. “I’m going to need a ride to work later,” the girl said.

***

Brent drove while Sharon and the guest sat in the back. The only sound in the car was the girl giving directions.

When they arrived at her apartment, the girl brushed a tear from Sharon’s cheek. Brent attempted to twist back to say goodbye but was blocked by the headrest. He flicked on the radio and the car was no longer silent as the girl gets out. “It was fun,” she said. She did not look back after the door slammed.

“What were you crying about?” he asked Sharon, who continued looking out the window.

Brent rolled out of the parking spot without pressing down on the gas pedal until the car slowly hit 5 mph. He continued the slow roll until they were half a block down. Finally, he put his foot down slowly, as the car hits 10, 15, 20. What he was doing cannot be described as acceleration. “Why don’t you go?” Sharon asked.

He turned the radio off again when the car hit 30. “I’m really trying to like you again,” Brent said. Sharon didn’t respond but looked into Brent’s eyes that stayed on her in the rear view mirror.

 
 

Timothy Gager is the author of eight books of short fiction and poetry. His latest Treating a Sick Animal: Flash and Micro Fictions (Cervena Barva Press) features over forty stories, many previously published in various literary magazines.