Happy Wife, Happy Life
Ronnie barked at his wife, “Mildred, my beer’s empty.”
Mildred scampered to the refrigerator. She opened the door and put her head inside.
She stood up and closed the door.
“Sorry, Ronnie. You’re out again.”
“What’s the matter with you?” Ronnie hollered. “What’s wrong with your head these days, always forgetting to buy me more beer? I think you’re really beginning to turn dumb.”
“Sorry to upset you,” Mildred said. “Maybe you’re right. I might be turning dumb. Let me run out get you some more right now.”
“And make sure it’s cold,” Ronnie commanded.
Ronnie pulled out his wallet and the car keys.
“It’s not like you got that much to do around here. I don’t even make you get a real job, so can’t you at least remember my beer?”
“You’re a wonderful husband,” Mildred said. “I’m sorry. I’ll try harder.”
He gave his wife some bills, along with the keys.
“Remember, make sure it’s cold. And get yourself a Snickers for being such a peach.”
Ronnie was steamed about not having his beer there at the cold and ready, exactly when and how he needed it. But his annoyance was quickly offset by the feeling that his wife loved and respected him enough to so dutifully and thoroughly satisfy all of his petty desires and demands. She was so grateful to have Ronnie, she’d run off like a trained puppy to get him whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it, which made Ronnie darned proud to be a husband deserving of so much respect.
“I’ll be back in a flash,” Mildred said, heading out the door.
“Yeah. Hurry back,” Ronnie said.
She drove down the street and pulled into a lot.
Stewart was in his car waiting. Mildred saw him. She put up a finger to say, wait a minute.
Stewart had been waiting 10 minutes. Sometimes he waited 5. Sometimes 15. Once he waited 40 minutes. It was hard to know the exact time, every time, so they agreed if Mildred didn’t show up by 7 p.m. it was okay for Stewart to leave. And sometimes Stewart had other things going on. If he wasn’t waiting in the lot within their prescribed timeframe, he lost out. But he was almost always there waiting every second or third day. And even with a 40 minute wait, it wasn’t anything Steward could complain about, given the gift he was about to receive.
Mildred ran inside the liquor store and got a cold six pack of Schlitz and a Snickers bar. She ran with them back to Stewart’s car. He reached across the seat to open the door. She threw the beer and candy in the back seat. Then she jumped in.
“How’s it going?” Stewart asked.
“You know,” she said.
“You’re getting really good at this,” Steward said.
“Practice,” Mildred said. “And the quicker, the better.”
“You ready then?” he asked.
“Of course,” she said.
Stewart unzipped his pants. Mildred sucked until he came in her mouth. As always, it was warm and this time, thankfully, more runny than mucoid.
“Now don’t forget to swish it around. And don’t spit,” Stewart said. “Not until you get home.”
Mildred acknowledged with a nod.
“Make sure to get it all over your teeth and your tongue,” Stewart said. “And all between your teeth and the rut between your lips and gums.”
Mildred slumped and shot him a curt look that said, you don’t need to remind me.
“This is a sick revenge,” Stewart said. “But better than poison, I guess.”
Mildred smiled with her lips.
“Sure you don’t want nothing?” Stewart asked.
With her head, Mildred said, “No.”
“When should I come again?”
Mildred held up two fingers.
“Friday?” Stewart asked.
Mildred affirmed with a nod.
She hurried out of Stewart’s car. She reached behind the seat to retrieve her sack with the candy and beer. She started her own car and raced home. She dashed through the door, slamming the sack with the cans of beer and her candy bar on the counter, then rushed to the cupboard to get a clean glass.
Ronnie sat in front of the television, proud at how eager his wife was to please him. It hadn’t taken more than half an hour to get him what he wanted. Her desire to placate confirmed to Ronnie what a fantastic husband he was.
Mildred popped open one of Ronnie’s cold beers. With her back turned to her husband, she spit into the bottom of the empty glass. What was left she spit into the sink. She held the can of cold beer high from the glass. She poured. With all the foam, she knew Ronnie wouldn’t know.
She crossed the living room and handed Ronnie the glass, then walked back to the kitchen.
“About time,” he said. “And it’s got one helluva head. Haven’t I told you to pour with the can close to the glass, with the glass tilted?”
“I’m sorry,” Mildred said.
Ronnie swigged. It was still nice and cold.
“Damned good beer,” he said.
“I’m glad you like it,” Mildred said.
Ronnie asked confidently, “I treat you good, don’t I, Hon? Ain’t that why you love me so much?”
“Of course,” Mildred said. “You treat me the best.”
Ronnie asked his wife, “So how much did you get this time? A whole case, I hope.”
“The cases were all warm,” she lied.
“Damn. Just like last time. What’s wrong with that place?”
“Yes,” she said. “Just like last time and all the times before. I don’t understand why they don’t keep any of the cases cold.”
Mildred understood her husband well enough to know she’d never get caught in the lie. She knew her husband was too lazy to think enough to put any of the clues together. And then, even if he did, he was too lazy to get out of his chair and drive to the liquor store to confirm any of his suspicions.
“Maybe you ought to find a better place to get me my beer. One that sells cases cold. Or at least buy a few six packs at a time.”
“This place is the closest. Anywhere else will be five more minutes, at least. And that’s all the warmer your beer will be once I get back.”
“Then get me at least two sixers at a time. That way it’ll last more than a day or two.”
“They’re heavy,” Mildred complained. “It’s enough to carry just one.”
Again, she knew her husband was too lazy to even think. Too lazy to even consider that she might use a cart.
“You’re getting as weak as you are dumb,” Ronnie grumbled. “That’s what happens when you don’t do any real work.”
“Hush now,” Mildred said. “Be happy. You got what you wanted.”
Ronnie sipped on his beer and decided to be happy for a spell.
Then he asked, “Did you get yourself a Snickers?”
Mildred was resting with her elbows on the kitchen counter, watching her husband watch whatever he was watching on TV.
“Yes. It’s right here. I’m eating it now.”
Mildred unwrapped the candy and took a bite.
“I figured you’d eat it on the drive home.”
“No,” she said. “I didn’t want to be distracted with driving. I thought I’d wait till I got home where I can relax and enjoy it more.”
Ronnie asked his wife if she had his change.
Mildred walked across the living room again and put the bills and coins on the coffee table. Then she leaned in to kiss her husband on the lips.
“You taste like Snickers,” he said.
“You’re a fine husband,” Mildred said. “Thanks for the candy.”
Then she strolled back to the kitchen and spit out the taste of Ronnie’s cheap beer kiss.