All it took was one look. Perhaps it was a leer.
She stood near him, but far away in thought, and certainly unaware of him. But men never realize this.
“She digs me,” he thought.
Even though she didn’t.
And she wouldn’t dig him if she knew him. Married, children, Republican and Lutheran, all added up to one big fat “no.”
He kept looking, searching the library of his memory, trying to recall some string of words that used to work; words that brought home the bounty, words that lay cozy and warm against the earlobes of someone who needed warming.
St. Cloud was a place where everyone needed warming, but it was June.
His daydream was interrupted by the remembrance of the errand he’d been dispatched to accomplish. Somehow the Ace Hardware had turned into the Caribou Coffee joint, and here he was, looking at the blonde he wanted to meet, while staving off thoughts of what the other woman wanted.
The "other woman," indeed. “The Wife,” he called her, when she came up in conversation.
“The wife won’t let me out tonight, boys,” he’d tell pals inviting him to a drink. “The wife can’t get enough,” he often boasted.
Of course, The Wife just wanted him to pick up a tiny O-ring to keep the faucet from dripping. The only ring in sight was the one his coffee left on his napkin as he pondered the blonde.
Duty dripped incessantly like the faucet he was supposed to be fixing. The Wife was in his brain, working against him, reminding him that things needed fixing, but all the fix he needed was in a ceramic cup or standing 10 feet away from him.
Linnea Jacobson, he thought. What was it that worked on her?
Had he shared some deep and sensitive morsel with her? He could nearly taste whatever it was that worked in the old days, before time shook loose the last leaf of a young blood’s savvy skills with the women.
Judas! He thought. He never swore, never even slightly. Judas! Again.
He dialed home. The Wife answered.
“Honey, what size O ring?”
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