Firing for Effect




It was a bruise. That wasn’t up for debate. The question was how she got it. It was a small one-no bigger than a thumbnail-but high enough on the inside of her thigh to make a man wonder. No matter. She had a matching one on the outside of the other thigh that was a little larger. She had always been a klutz-even when she was light on her feet, she wasn’t really. Great dancer but liable to trip coming off the floor. But still. It could have been a love bite, a hickey, a sucker-bite like they called them in high school. No telling. Unless he flat out asked and he wasn’t drunk enough to do that. Wasn’t really drunk at all.

She wore the same high tight shorts and tank top that she rocked thirty pounds and twenty years ago. Still drove him mad. Maybe because he rarely saw her in them these days. He would see her in the warehouse and mostly imagine. If you could call remembering, imagining. But the ache he was starting to feel was not an ancient memory. It was here and now.

She was larger than she had been but who wasn’t? It was well-earned size. One kid, living over in Ohio with his dad coupled with over a decade of physical work-lifting and stacking and running a forklift-left her scant time or energy to run on a treadmill for hours like the women in the office. Nah, this one was built by life for life.

She shifted to her left and pulled her right foot up onto the chair further stripping her right thigh. Her shorts climbed high enough that their next move would be inside of her. Jesus, she didn’t even know what she was doing. At least he hoped she didn’t. That would have just been cruel. He stopped caring about the scant camouflage his sunglasses provided and stared.

He almost jumped-startled out of his leggy reverie-when Teddy slipped a cold 16 over his left shoulder. No idea that the guy was behind him. So not good. “Thanks, Bra”, he covered and popped the snap top. “No worries”, he said loping past them on his way to the shed no doubt engrossed in one of dozens of projects that he starts but never seems to finish. Their acre back here always looks like a shop class after the lunch bell rings.

“How is it with him?” he asked her crotch.

She watched him disappear into the shed. “Its fine, you know? He’s Teddy”, she shrugged and dropped her foot creating a large expanse of smooth, bare lap. “He’s okay-I mean he wouldn’t have been my first choice, you know? But he was there.” She shrugged. “Sometimes it’s good to come home to somebody. Even somebody goofy.”

“I might have something open up in the early shift for him-not a full 40-just part time.”

“Anything you can do, sweetheart”, she said.

His mind went to a place where he could feel that bare lap under his. He felt himself riding them-flying like Superman in the comics-arms straight out and his legs kicked back and himself grinding between her thighs.  The back of his throat went dry. He sucked at the beer warming in his hand and shifted uncomfortably.

“You flat out stopped texting me. It’s like a have to hunt you down during the day to just see you.”

She looked over her sunglasses at him. “I know how it is with you. But you’re married to my best friend. If we did it and it went sour-and face it, with me it usually does-I’d lose you and that would hurt. But I’d lose her and that would be tragic.”

He knew the words from his wife’s romance novels that were scattered about the house. “Yearning” was one, “aching” was another. He always thought the aching wasn’t real-just a feeling. Not like a bad shoulder or twisted knee. But this was worse. Though sunken deep in the old chaise, playing the cool cat behind his shades, he felt like he was leaning forward directing the pain in his heart-and lower-at her. Firing for effect.


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