Marital Issues

“Well, now I’m way out of my depth. I haven’t managed to get a kiss in my 36 years let alone be married. Oh, well. here goes!”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Word of the Day Challenge — Borrow
Fandangos Flash Fiction Challenge — Picture Above
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Fluid
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Enterprise, Picture, Made
Your Daily Word Prompt — Amalgamate
AuthorWorld — first Paragraph

Marital issues

Today was my birthday. I looked through my gifts and cards from family and friends. The one person I wanted to celebrate with, my wife, had a usual bee in her bonnet. Everyone’s thoughtfulness washed away into a deep well of unhappiness. Her words and actions had tainted yet another day.

The glass still lay on the floor from when Tanya slammed the front door and left. I ignored it in favour of watching the water and arabica beans amalgamate in the filter. Brown fluid dripping lazily into the jug below seemed to hypnotise and take me away from the pains of the day.

It wasn’t my fault Stephanie from work had signed my birthday card with a ruby-red lipstick kiss.

What the hell is this? Been knocking up more than letters on your office desk, have you?’ Tanya had screamed. She’d always been suspicious kind. The slightest thing made her mad at times. I could see why she thought I’d been banging away at my desk in more ways than one.

Of course, I told her she was the one I loved. She was my wife, after all. Hell, I didn’t even know Stephanie had feelings for me.

How many more women have you draped over your keyboard so you could press their buttons, huh?’ she’d carried on nostrils flaring like a bull.

I told her none. Try to explain my innocence to her was like trying to get out of drink driving charges when a copper finds you at the wheel surrounded by beer cans. So, now my birthday had descended into a broken front door and a miserable cup of coffee. I poured some into my mug and collapsed onto the sofa. Sipping the warm brown fluid, I barely noticed the slightly bitter roasted notes of the coffee.

Sitting in silence was driving me nuts. I flicked on the TV and swore as a chat show appeared on the screen. The subject. ‘When is having a marital affair justified?’ Of course, this had to be on TV when you needed a distraction. “I haven’t even had a bloody affair!” I yelled at the screen.

Changing the channel, I selected a nice safe show about restoring antiques. My mind wandered to Stephanie. She was a beautiful, young receptionist. Maybe, I should prove Tanya right and borrow Stephanie a few afternoons a week. I shook my head. No, I’m the loyal one. I hoped Tanya would see that soon enough.

The show ended and was followed by the local news. ‘This Just in.’ began the voluptuous blonde news reporter. ‘A woman has been arrested in the city centre. The arrest comes after she barged into the Fitchum Law Enterprise. It’s believed she verbally and physically assaulted a receptionist.’

I watched as cameras caught sight of the arrested women emerging from the offices I’d worked at for years. My mouth fell open as my eyes almost popped from their sockets. “Tanya! What the hell have you done!”

On-screen, police officers escorted my wife to the back of a police van and thrust her inside. As the doors banged shut hiding her from view, I didn’t know whether to frown or smile. On the one hand, Tanya probably just got me fired. On the other, she might just learn her lesson now she was getting locked up for assault.

Then the phone rang.

“Hello, Peter speaking,” I answered.

“Mr Bingham. I’m police sergeant Edward Clark. I’m afraid I have your wife in custody. She’s been arrested for assault.”

“Oh, I noticed. I apologise if she deafens your ears while you interview her,” I said hiding a smirk.

“Thanks. I’m calling to ascertain whether or not you’ve been having an affair with receptionist Stephanie Lemon. You work with her at the Fitchum Law Enterprise offices, correct?”

“That’s right I do. And no, I am not having an affair with Stephanie. I didn’t even know she had feelings for me. The first I knew was the lipstick kiss in my birthday card which turned my wife into the demon you have in your cells.” I said as a news reporter switched to talking about the coming tax rises.

“Thank you for the information. Your wife is going to be charged with actual bodily harm. The receptionist suffered a split lip in the altercation. Can you come and fetch from the station please?” Edward requested.

I looked through the front window. “No, actually I can’t. She drove off in my car and so I have no way to get there. Also, she broke the front door so I can’t leave the house unattended. Please tell her I love her and I’ll see her when she brings the car home later,” I hung up with a grin and immediately put in a call for a glazier to fix the front door.

Tanya returned home just after four in the afternoon. “Peter! I’m home. Where are you?” she called after gently closing the newly fixed door.

“In the kitchen, love,” I replied. “Just plating your favourite toad in the hole with mash and onion gravy.”

“I’ve been a stupid fool, Peter.” Tanya’s shoulders slumped and she looked the picture of sorrowfulness as she entered the kitchen.

“Look, forget it.” I put the plates and coffees on the table and guided her into a chair. “Sit and eat up, hey.”

“Thank you, Peter. I expected to see divorce papers, not dinner when I got home.” Tanya sliced some sausage and batter and placed it in her mouth.

“Huh, I never wanted a divorce. In fact, all I wanted today was a happy birthday. A birthday that included spending time with you and a bottle of wine.” I said between mouthfuls.

“Really? Then what about the kiss in that card?” Tania said in a measured voice.

“I was as surprised as you were when I saw it,” I locked eyes with her. “Stephanie will be getting reprimanded for doing that. When I see her on Monday morning. If I still have a job, that is.”

“Then you really do still love me?”

I nodded and smiled, “I never stopped.”

“What happens between now and Monday?”

“Well,” I began with a cheeky grin. “That depends if I’m still allowed in the bedroom!”

The End

Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry NookShort StoriesShort Stories 2, and, Short Stories 3 tabs.

Have a great day!

46 thoughts on “Marital Issues

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  1. If you are allowed in the bedroom? “make up sex” has been noted as a compelling reason for some couples to stay together. But I think it sets up a downward spiral of bad behavior. Great story Mason…think about revisiting the couple three years down the line and see if they’ve turned out like Liz Taylor and Richard Burton in who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. Do part 2 where she goes nuts on some other holiday. Like Halloween. She’s jealous because he gave candy to a kid and made eye contact with her mother or something. Let it play out and that’s that. She gets her comeuppance, and although he loves her he’s kinda ok with it (like he was in the original). But she learned enough to keep her hands to herself, but smart phones with cameras prove that she’s a nut case when someone calls the cops for her flipping out on a tired, married woman who was just taking her kids trick-or-treating.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t help it. My mind does what it wants to do….WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST! Yes, out to get what she wants no matter what. And she convinced him to be the scarecrow so that he has no brain and she controls everything. The little girl should have something basic and adorable and innocent – angel, ballerina, etc. The mom should be wearing something normal and not too over-the-top – but clearly dressed up for Halloween. Like flannel pajamas with curlers in her hair. Something VERY not attention grabbing but something that would satisfy her kid that she’s dressed up. But the type of costume you give her has to scream “Hous Frau” and “mother” and “tired” and totally “not looking for anything to confuse my life” So that way the absurdity of it all is clear, just through the costumes and you won’t have to go into any back story for the characters as she’s a bit part (as was the secretary) and the two main characters we already know. Maybe she has 2 kids, the innocent looking girl and a boy dressed like spiderman or something – or if you want to change the time frame a bit, like a Power Ranger.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That would be awesome! I hated Power Rangers. My sisters loved them. But, if I remember how old you said you are, you’re the same age as my middle sister, so it would make sense. You’re the Power Rangers and Pogs group LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Never played or owned Pogs. Never had money to buy things like that. Just played the green ranger and always got beaten up. Still loved wathcing it though.


      5. NO ONE WOULD EVER ASK THAT! Unless you were on Jeopardy and the topic was “Dumb shit that you wish you could remove from your brain but are apparently incapable of removing”

        Liked by 1 person

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