He clicked off the television and turned to his wife. She typed
furiously on her laptop. He touched her shoulder, then smiled, nodded at the
upstairs bedroom, and did his Beavis and Butthead laugh.
    She frowned. "You were supposed to put it on my Outlook calendar,
with a two hour warning popping up. I like the chime."
    "Sorry, I forgot."
    "I like to be prepared."
    "Of course you do," he soothed. "Next time I'll put it on both your
calendar and list of Action Items."
    "Thanks. It's tax season. You know how tight my schedule is."
    "Of course."
    She sent an email, made sure it sent successfully, and checked her
three other email accounts. Saved the report she was working on, closed it,
opened it, typed in four words, saved and closed again. She shut down her
laptop and waited for the process to complete ("sometimes it doesn't shut
down all the way, and could overheat and catch on fire" she'd told him
numerous times). Then she slipped it in the case, placed it neatly beside
the couch, and checked the voice-mail on both her cell and office phone.
    He waited patiently.
    She hung up, removed her glasses, shook loose her bun, let her
gorgeous raven hair unfurl down her shoulders, and grabbed a bottle of wine
and two glasses from the kitchen.
    She headed for the stairs, glanced back, and smiled. "Prepare to get
    He nodded and rose from the couch. How he'd scored this woman, he'd
never know.

Tom Mahony is a biological consultant in California with an M.S. degree from Humboldt State University. His fiction has
been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in dozens of online and print publications, including Surfer
Magazine, Flashquake, The Rose & Thorn, Pindeldyboz, In Posse Review, Boston Literary Magazine, 34th Parallel,
Diddledog,  Foliate Oak, and Decomp. His short fiction collection, Slow Entropy, was published by Thumbscrews Press
in 2009. He is looking for a publisher for several novels. Visit him at

The nucleus of the piece was the line about the Outlook calendar, something my wife and I have joked about. I built the rest of the story around that. I have no idea where the fastidious accounting vixen came from. 



Copyright 2009