Tag Archives: marriage

Distortion – Friday Fictioneers

First of all, let me say Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays or whatever, since the next story I do will be after Christmas. Next, let me say I’m sorry that I’ve been bad about reading stories lately. I tend to be very busy these days, but I’ll make an effort. Lastly, this is not based on a true story.

copyright Jean L Hays

copyright Jean L Hays


“Honey, I’m worried.”


“I think you might have a problem.”


“I love you and I just want to spend time with you.”

Emotional blackmail.

She finally looked into his eyes that were snapping like firecrackers. Why was he so angry? She worked hard; couldn’t she relax?

“Fine. I’m going out.”

Ah, peace.

“Can you pick up milk?” she called after him.

She clicked START on her 673rd game of the weekend and the familiar music washed over her mind like a long overdue narcotic rush. Come on high score, she thought, as the colored blocks began to fall.


A Face Only a Wife Could Love – Alastair’s Photo Fiction

copyright Alastair Forbes

copyright Alastair Forbes

A Face Only a Wife Could Love

Dang, I’m hideous,” Alex thought as he glanced down at his reflection in a puddle. He avoided reflective surfaces and envied vampires for their inability to see themselves in mirrors.

A woman’s face appeared next to his in the reflection. Now there was real beauty.

“What are you looking at?”

“Just myself.”

“Narcissist.” She laughed and kissed his cheek.

“Does it bother you that I’m ugly?” he asked.

“I don’t think you’re ugly.”

“Do you think I have a face only a wife could love?”

“You’d better. You don’t get to have a girlfriend now.”

He smiled and took her hand. “Perhaps you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right. Now can we finish crossing the street? We’re holding up traffic.”


If I Were a Poor Man – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Dawn M Miller

copyright Dawn M Miller

If I Were a Poor Man

“If I were a poor man, my dear,” he said, “I would come here and imagine buying you these jewels. I would get a second job, just to buy one  diamond for your beautiful, swan-like neck.”

She looked at him quizzically. “But you’re not a poor man. You just bought this mall.”

“But I want you to know that I would. Would it mean more to you if I did get a job? If I worked hard to buy you some token of my love?”

“That’s dumb. Let’s just buy some now.”

He sighed. “Fine. Pick out what you’d like.”


Unsinkable – Visual Fiction

Taken in Namhae, Korea

Taken in Namhae, Korea


Robert Brouard rowed the old green boat, nicknamed the Love Boat, into the middle of the silent reservoir. The surrounding hills  seemed to smoke with ragged cloud vapor and unwillingly, he thought of the crematory giving off smoke as it transformed his beloved Sandra’s body into nothingness. All he had left of her was an urn of ashes and the boat she had built long ago.

He reached the middle of the reservoir and picking up the urn, he started dumping the ashes out into the water. He didn’t feel sad—at least no sadder than he had for the last week. It was hard to think that the grey dust had ever been a part of her. He accepted it objectively, but he felt no need to say good-bye to it. The boat had more of her spirit left in it than that grey, dusty ash.

The boat…

Sandra would always sit in the back when they went rowing together. She would smile lovingly at him and that would keep him going as he sweated and worked to row them out into the middle of the reservoir for a picnic, or to look at the stars, or just to be alone together. He thought of that first night in it, after she had finally finished and launched the thing that had taken up her spare moments for two years.

He had been so proud of her—I’ll bet I’m the only man in the world whose wife can build a boat, he’d said. It probably wasn’t true, but it made her glow with pleasure and when she was happy, he was happy. They had drunk the champagne instead of smashing it on the prow and then made love in the tippy little craft under the stars. It had been awkward and precarious but passionate, and forty years later, the memory was still electrifying.

But now…

Robert put down the urn and picked up the hatchet, prepared to chop through the bottom. “I’m going to come join you now, if that’s okay, dear,” he said. “Just you, me, and the boat.”

It wasn’t that he felt depressed. He felt none of that black cloud of despair that had sometimes afflicted him as a teenager. It just seemed natural, logical even, to go this way. He had no purpose without her; he was just a lonely old man waiting to die in order to be with his beloved again, so why wait? And he could not leave the boat to be sold off and used by others who did not know its significance and history. Memories were not for sale.

He closed his eyes and with a swift movement, struck the bottom of the boat. He chopped again and again, making a fist-sized hole while water flooded in.

It had covered his calves when the water stopped flowing in. He sat there for some time with wet shoes and socks, wondering why the boat wasn’t sinking. Wood floated, of course, but he had filled the boat with weights to make sure it sank. Still, it refused to sink, as if some of Sandra’s obstinacy had imbued the very timbers. Finally, feeling foolish and confused, he rowed slowly back to shore.

Later that evening, he used the truck winch to pull the boat onto shore and examined it to find what had caused the miracle. He pried off one of the sidewalls and found that it was filled with foam. He checked the others and every space was filled with foam: enough to keep the boat above water, even if it got a hole in it.

And he had never known. Back then, she had been a star swimmer, while he could barely do a lap. Just in case, he could imagine her saying. Just in case we spring a leak. Just in case we’re stranded.

Just in case I die first and you take the boat out alone.

“I’m going to have to fix that hole as soon as possible,” he said. And then, for the first time in that horrible, tragic, soul-crushing week, he began to cry.


Motivational Drill Sergeant Meets His Wife

My dad, the Motivational Drill Sergeant, is hard to get to know. Still, we have our moments, when we bond. Sometimes he’s not even shouting at me.


We were out in the backyard, building ferret traps. We don’t have ferrets in our area, but my dad likes to be prepared. I was feeling bored, so I asked, “Hey, Motivational Drill Sergeant, how did you meet Mom?” I asked this because my dad hates personal questions and I figured it would get a rise out of him. You get him on a good enough rise and he’ll start ranting, which is wicked fun to watch. He once ranted about taxes, automatic transmission, Assyrians, the undead, and Hannah Montana, all in the space of ten minutes.

“Are you saying, Boy, that I have never told you the account of how I met your mother?” He always phrased things in a shouty sort of way, but his tone was casual. He had just finished yelling at a senator for an hour and that always put him in a good mood.

“No, sir,” I said.

“It was before you were born,” he said, and paused. I considered this rather obvious information and waited for him to continue.

“Your mother was a political activist. She was into politics like a badger is into a termite mound: is wasn’t really her thing, but since she was there, she thought she might as well try to take down the whole thing.

“She would call up members of congress in the middle of the night and say, ‘It’s 2am, do you know where your constituents are?’ She wouldn’t hang up until they told her the location of all of them. Then she’d call up the constituents and tell them their members of congress were spying on them and that they’d better elect another one. She still does that sometimes, if she’s bored.”

“Were you a political activist too?” I asked him.

“Are you crazy, Boy?” he shouted. “I hate politics. No, I’d go to rallies and shout at the protesters: tell them to wake up and don’t be so angry all the time. Better ways to change things than walking around, waving a bunch of fruity signs. Then I’d shout at the police and tell them to stop oppressing citizens and standing in the way of progress.”

“So, you yelled at everyone?”

“They all needed a good dose of the Truth,” he said, with a small nod. He stapled the last piece of barbed wire to the ferret cage he was working on, hooked up the battery, and picked up another one.

So many people to yell at.

So many people to yell at.

“Anyway, I was at a rally in Washington D.C when I saw her. She was pretty. I noticed that about her. So I went up to her and said, ‘You call that a sign? I’ve made better signs while I was passed out drunk on the side of the road. If you allow me, Ma’am, I will take you out to dinner and instruct you on how to make a proper sign.’

“She said, ‘You call that a pick-up line? I’ve worked in sewers that didn’t stink half as bad.’

“‘That’s disgraceful!’ I replied. ‘A pretty girl like you shouldn’t be working in a filthy sewer.’

“‘So now you’re telling me where I should work?’ she asked. ‘Just because you think I’m pretty?’

“‘I tell it how I see it, Ma’am,’ I said. ‘And you being pretty is all I know about you so far. I cannot ascertain more without further reconnaissance.’

“At that point, she hit me with her sign. ‘Listen up, you chauvinistic pig of a stuffed shirt,’ she yelled. ‘I will rip your crew cut from your head and use it to scrub my toilet if you don’t back off right now! If a miserable worm like yourself has the gall to insult a woman like me, I will feed you to the sharks!’

“‘Will you marry me?’ I asked her. She hit me with her sign again.

“‘We’ll see,’ she said. We were married six months later.”

“Is that true?” I asked him.

“Are you calling me a liar, Boy?” he shouted. Then his tone softened. “Go ask your mother.”

(Read more Motivational Drill Sergeant stories here)

Crane Game Wife

(Introducing the Mid-Week Flash, a short, often rather odd piece of fiction every Wednesday.)


I found my wife in a crane game. You know, those ones you find on the street and in bars that are impossible to win. This one was in the back of a run-down arcade. I was bored and when I saw a bunch of small, pretty women inside the case, I thought: Why not? Better than a plushie Spongebob doll.

I put a quarter in and started to move the crane around with the joystick, but they all started running away from it. It was then that I realized they weren’t robots or dolls. They made me sit down and tell them about myself, what I was looking for in a girl, and why I liked them in particular (which was hard, since they were asking about all of them and I didn’t know any of them). Finally, after a couple hours, I put in another quarter and one of them jumped on the crane and I got her out.

She was only ten inches tall but she said if I put her in water, she would grow. Of course, stupid me, I left her in too long and now she’s like, seven feet tall.

I still love her though.

When Opposites Attract…Like Matter and Anti-Matter

Back when I lived in Vermont, I knew a married couple called the Harringtons. They loved each other, as far as I could tell, but when it came to their genetic thermostats, they were like black and white.

Mr. Harrington always ran cold; his hands were as chill and clammy as a dead fish and he wore sweaters up into late spring. Mrs. Harrington, on the other hand, could melt icicles just by pointing at them. She was constantly flushed and sweating. I once saw her walking in a blizzard in short sleeves and she was still red in the face.

It turns out that Mrs. Harrington liked to sleep with the covers on, even though she was always hot. Something about the air on her skin made her feel violated, she said. As you can imagine, summer was hellish for her, and as the temperature rose, she kept the air conditioning on more and more. Little did Mr. Harrington know that his wife had hooked up an extra tank of super-powered Freon to the unit. She had bought it from a Russian spam email and it was apparently not intended for home use.

The first night she used it, the temperature in the bedroom fell to below freezing and icicles starting forming on the drapes. Mrs. Harrington slept like a baby, only waking up from the crash of Mr. Harrington falling on the floor in hypothermic convulsions. To this day, he remains the only case of July hypothermia in Vermont history.

Of course, it didn’t help that Mr. Harrington couldn’t sleep with the covers on. He felt like he was being suffocated and woke up hourly, screaming about being buried alive. As you can imagine, winter was a living hell for him, if hell indeed froze over. He would crank the heat as high as it would go until the Harringtons’ gas bill rivaled the GDP of a very, very small country. The gas company had one whole department dedicated to the Harrington account.

With an Exxon Valdez-worth of natural gas pouring into their house every day, Mr. Harrington could finally get comfortable and sleep through the night, but Mrs. Harrington, on the other hand, was experiencing a much more classical picture of Hell. After she was rushed to the hospital in January and treated for heat stroke, the Harringtons knew that something had to change.

They didn’t want to divorce and the idea of separate bedrooms seemed lonely and the quitter’s way out. One day, Mrs. Harrington found a revolutionary type of bed on E-bay. It allowed each side of the bed to regulate its temperature separately by dividing it with a high-pressure air curtain. Mrs. Harrington clicked Buy it Now without even looking at the price.

The bed was sealed and pressurized inside a big glass box. It worked like a charm: Mr. Harrington could turn the heat up all he wanted and Mrs. Harrington could cool her side down until she could see her breath. The first night they used it, they found that it worked too well. As the temperature difference between the two sides of the bed approached eighty degrees, mini storm fronts broke out along the dividing line. A tiny hurricane swept the length of the bed around 4am, pelting them with a thimble full of rain. Still, neither one wanted to stop using it.

“Giving up on this bed would be taking the quitter’s way out,” Mr. Harrington said.

“Plus, it’s non-refundable,” Mrs. Harrington added.

So, now the couple dresses in their rain-slicker pajamas every night and Mrs. Harrington puts on her sleep mask with the small umbrella attached. Mr. Harrington swears that the tiny lightning bolts don’t even wake him up anymore and that the thunderclaps are as soothing as a kitten’s snore.

It wasn’t easy to adjust, but it was a compromise, and isn’t that what marriage is all about?

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