Marni is tired of her husband's philandering but treats him to dinner at home.
|This is terribly trite but it was fun to write for a contest where the challenge was to use nothing but dialog.
DINNER AT HOME
by T. Gray
“Hey, babe, I'm home!”
“Hello, Shelby. I'm so glad that you could could make it home from work in time for dinner tonight. The kids are with my mom so we can have an evening to ourselves. I really do think it's time we worked through our differences.”
“Marni, babe, you know how I feel about us. I'm not the one talking divorce, here. Those differences are mostly in your head. But I'm glad to hear that you're willing to work on that, and an evening to ourselves sounds just wonderful.”
“Yes, well, we'll save that comment until later.”
“Here, I brought you a bottle of that Chianti that you like.”
“Thank you, Shel, though the Chianti is your favorite. It will go beautifully with tonight's spaghetti. Oh, and it's chilled, too. How thoughtful of you. I'll go open it and put it on the table. Back in a minute.”
“Always willing to please a gorgeous lady.”
“Sorry, couldn't hear you in the kitchen. What was that?”
“I said I'm always willing to please a beautiful woman.”
“Hmm. We'll save that comment for later, too. Kindly wipe the grin off your face, Shel. We're here to talk.”
“Ah, but who knows where a good talk will lead? It's easier to settle differences when both parties are horizontal.”
“Says you. Now behave. We're going to have a special meal, enjoy some good music, drink some wine, and have a good long talk.”
“Oh, man. I feel like I'm caught in some kind of chick flick.”
“You'd love that, surrounded by beautiful women. Now, everything's ready. We're eating in the kitchen tonight, just you and me. Sit down and pour yourself some Chianti. Oh, come on, no half-measures. Fill that glass right to the top. None for me, thanks, I had this bottle of strawberry zin I've been sipping and I'll stick with it. Match me glass for glass, Shel, like when we were dating.”
“Yeah, those were good times. Here's lookin' at ya. Hmm, that wine is a bit off. Tastes funny. So what is it you want to talk about? Our relationship, and feelings, and like that?”
“Exactly. Would you put some spaghetti on my plate, please? Thank you. Now, I think it's pretty obvious that our marriage is dead.”
“Obvious to you, maybe. I still love you desperately and want to stay married.”
“You love me? Desperately?”
“Well, yeah, I love you a lot, yeah.”
“Enough to be faithful to me?”
“Of course. There's nobody else, never has been, never will be. Here, have some salad.”
“Thank you. Now, take a look at this photo. It's you and Samantha Rhodes at the Starlight Inn last month. March 15, 20:30.”
“Oh, God! How did you – Where did-- No! I don't believe it. You hired somebody to follow me around? That's really low, Marn.”
“Actually, his fee was fairly high. But he did good work. Check these two out. Great shots. You and Charmaine Svodovny. March 19, entering and leaving the Royal Executive Inn. The night you worked late.”
“And this one. Stephany Jedsperson, March 22, 18:30, dining at La Pisana. Business meeting, you said. Here's another of you and Steph coming out of the Barkland Hotel three hours later. Funny business, yes?”
“Marni, stop it. They didn't mean anything. Just fun and games. Recreational sex.”
“Of course, dear. Just fun and games. Pour yourself another glass of Chianti.”
“Yeah, see, that's what I mean. Guys are different, my needs are different from yours. If you were even half the woman that Char or Steph is, I wouldn't have to go somewhere else to have my needs met.”
“You're saying it's my fault that you're unfaithful?”
“Well, if the shoe fits.”
“And you're saying that our marriage is not dead?”
“It's only dead if you let it die. Man, that wine has a kick, I'm dizzy. But yeah, I think things could be fine between us if you'd only be a little forgiving or be a little more exciting. I'm willing to keep trying.”
“But I'm not. Here, read this.”
“What's this? 'Marni, I'm sorry for causing you so much pain. I've been a lousy husband and father. I'm sorry about the kids but I was never home long enough to be a...' Marni, what the—? That's not my signature. I never signed this. ”
“You did, actually. You were in a hurry to go to the 'business meeting' with Samantha.”
“You conned me? Hey,, what gives? You're sitting there looking so smug and self-righteous. What's going on, Marni?”
“Yes, I do feel smug. You're a selfish, egotistical, womanizing SOB and I'm tired of it all. When my detective saw you coming out of the Goodwin and Taylor Law Office, he started checking around. The lawyer, your bank, your investment counselor. He has a way with secretaries – a man after your heart, I guess – and learned that you plan to dodge alimony and hide money offshore so the kids and I will be left with nothing. That was when it really hit home that our marriage is over.”
“A man has to protect himself. Damned divorce lawyers always stick it to the guy. Oh, man. I feel hot. I'm sweating. My gut hurts. Marni...”
“That would be the poison I put in the wine."
"You stupid broad! You poisoned me? I'll kill you! I'll--- fugggh!"
" It causes paralysis, so don't bother trying to attack me.
"Now I'll wash my dishes, so it looks like you had dinner all alone. Did you notice that I let you handle all the serving dishes, so only your fingerprints will be on them? I wiped down the wine bottle for the same reason. I cooked, but it's only natural that my prints will be all over everything in the kitchen.”
“Dammit, Marni! Ach! Arrgh! Oh, crap, it hurts.”
“Oh, good. It will take about five minutes of agony, I understand. Nothing to the five years I've endured."
"Urk! Garp! Fargh!"
“I'll stay until you're gone, then slip out. Have you ever met my cousin Sheila? She's wearing my clothes and she's got this wig that makes her look absolutely like me, even you couldn't tell the difference. She thinks you're a real turd, by the way, and got me the stuff from the clinic where she works, says they've got lousy drug security."
"Gargh! Hunh! Unh!"
“Anyway, Sheila had dinner at the Outback on 15th street and paid with my credit card and left a big tip, so all the wait staff will remember that I was there. Alibi, and all that. Not bad for a stupid broad, I'd say."
“It will be such a shock to come home and find you've killed yourself. Good-bye, Shel.”
About 1800 words