Solutions for a Cheating Wife
by Jack Ford
I’m sitting in Sweeney’s Pub drinking Connemara—my fourth glass—trying to drown the knowing of my wife’s cheating on me. So far, the whiskey ain’t working. I waggle my glass at Sweeney, who’s busy watching General Hospital on TV. The fat barkeep finally notices me, comes over with the Connemara.
“Jaysus, Danny boy,” he says, pouring. “It ain’t yet noon, and you’re halfway to shit-faced.”
I ignore him and sip the Connemara. Smooth as liquid gold. Warm as my cheating redheaded Irish lass’ kiss.
“Goddamn, Earleen O’Riley, for your cheating heart!” It’s out before I can catch it.
Sweeney gives me a big no-shit grin. “You catch her doing the dirty with some bugger?”
“No,” I say.
“Then how you know she’s cheating?”
“I just know.”
“Danny boy, when it comes to knowing women, a fella don’t know shit.”
But I know. I know about all those nights her claiming to work late, her headaches at bed time, her putting on lipstick just to go to the deli.
“Were me,” Sweeney offers, “I’d cheat her back.”
Fat asshole don’t have a clue how it is between me and Earleen. Like me cheating on her would ease my pain.
In the backbar mirror, I spot Big Mick Maguire heading my way. I consider leaving because the place’s getting too crowded for the mood I’m in.
He drops heavy onto the stool next to me, tells Sweeney to bring him anything diet, which is odd because Mick’s usually a two-pitcher Guinness fella.
Sweeney rummages around in the under-bar cooler, comes out with a can of Coke Zero.
“Liam told me my arse’s getting big,” Big Mick says. He lifts his butt off the stool, presents it to me and Sweeney. “Whatta you fellas think?”
Wide enough to give shade on a hot July day, I’m thinking.
Sweeney, ever the ass-kisser, says, “Looks fine to me.”
“What I tell Liam.” He pops the can’s top, takes a sip. “Shit tastes like dog piss.”
Sweeney refills my glass. “On the house,” he says. “Danny boy here, is having a bad day.”
“How’s that?” Mick asks.
“He thinks his wife’s cheating on him.”
“A woman’s an uncertain thing, Danny boy,” Like some damn brainy wise man. “You want a true love, you gotta find yourself a fella like my Liam.”
Sweeney grunts. “I prefer my loves to have tits and a crack.”
Sometimes, Sweeney is shit-stupid.
Big Mick gives him a look that could freeze Hell, and Sweeney quickly retreats back to General Hospital.
“Real bummer,” Big Mick says.
Real understatement, I’m thinking.
He downs the rest of his Coke Zero in one enormous swallow, sours his face up. “What a fella won’t do for love.”
He’s right about that.
“Can I ask you something, Big Mick?”
He eyes me suspicious like. “Yeah, I guess.”
“What would you do if Liam cheated on you?”
“Liam don’t ever cheat on me,” he says, real hard like.
“But suppose he did.”
He crushes the Coke can in his hand like it was an enemy’s neck. “Then, I guess I’d have to kill him.”
Big Mick always sees things as black and white.
“Could you ever forgive him?”
“It ain’t a forgivin’ thing, Danny boy.”
Maybe he’s right. Maybe Sweeney’s right. And maybe I got my own solution for a cheating wife.
I get up, head for the door.
“Where you goin’?” Mick says.
“You gonna kill Earleen?” More a statement than question.
“Nope. Gonna ask her if she’s cheating on me.”
Big Mick laughs. “Jaysus, if you ain’t a nickel short a dime.”
“You know she’s gonna lie to ya.”
“Pretty sure of it, Big Mike.”
But sometimes believing a lie is less hurt than knowing the truth.
◊ ◊ ◊
Jack Ford is a retired General Motors Systems Analyst. He writes because he can’t help it. Flash fiction is just as hard, it just doesn’t take as long.
3 thoughts on “Solutions for a Cheating Wife”
I really like the atmosphere and dialogue. Great last line except that it doesn’t need the emphasis of italic font or the qualifying “But.” AGB
very good story. excellent dialogue. i agree with ag burstein about the last line. the characters were well-developed in such a short space.
I agree with AG. If you wanted to believe the lie, why spend so much time mulling it over?