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Don't Ask

(294 words)
by Neil Anthony


She didn't disguise what she did. I'll concede her that much.

She brought home a young man from her office, introduced me offhandedly, and told me they'd be working late on urgent annual report papers. She took him upstairs to her workroom.

Two hours later, I knocked on the door. I tried the handle. The door was locked.

“George, go away,” she said, and there was something in her voice that dismissed and excluded me. It wasn't a figures-and-documents voice. Go away. Get lost. Leave us alone.

I went to bed at midnight, and they were still at it.

I had to get up early in the morning. It was barely light when I left. In bed beside me, she grumbled in her sleep as I disturbed her.

I got home early, just after five. The young man was sitting at the kitchen table, eating wolfishly. He smiled at me, fearless, smug.

“We'll be starting again in a moment,” my wife said. “You'll have to do for yourself.”

After two hours, I crept to the door and listened with my ear against it. I couldn't hear a sound.

In bed, I waited for her in the dark. I heard the young man leave in his car. She took a bath. It was after midnight.

She slid into bed and saw I was awake. “Don't ask,” she said. “If you ask, I'll tell you.”

There was something in her voice that suggested I wouldn't want to hear it.

“You look different,” I said. “You are different.” She'd never looked half as good.

“George, don't ask,” she said, upgrading the warning.

“All I want,” I said, “is what he gets.”

She rolled over and turned away from me. “Don't be disgusting,” she said. “I'm your wife.”



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