(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

August 2015

Watching Television

by Wayne Scheer

 

They sat on the couch staring at the television, he in baggy pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt, she in a faded flannel nightgown and a pair of his black socks.


“It’s getting chilly,” she said.


“Uh-huh. You want me to turn up the heat?”

 

“Would you please?”

 

“I’ll do it during the commercial. Okay?”

 

“Okay.”

 

They continued staring at a program involving two professional thieves working for the CIA, FBI or some such initialed organization. The thieves, a man and woman who could only exist on television, movies and fashion magazines, exchanged sexual banter while robbing papers from a safe in an Atlantic City casino in order to protect the American Way of Life.

 

Finally, the commercial came on.

 

“I’ll turn up the heat,” he said. “While I’m up, you want something?”

 

“No, I think I’ll make some tea. You want a cup?”

 

“Yeah. What kind we have?”

 

“Peppermint, Chamomile, Ginseng.”

 

“Chamomile sounds good.”

 

He adjusted the thermostat while she put two cups of water in the microwave.

 

“Do we still have those granola bars?”

 

“I finished the last one for lunch today,” she said. “I was going to cut up some fruit.”

 

“Sounds good,” he shouted from the bathroom.

 

Soon they were back on the couch staring at the TV, a cup of tea on their end tables. A plate of apple, pear and banana slices sat on the couch between them. Someone was chasing the thieves. They ran in and out of rooms, down staircases, up alleyways, managing to maintain sexual banter while never messing their hair.

 

“I gotta pee,” she said. “Fill me in on what happens.”

 

“I bet they get away from the bad guys. There’s still a half hour to go.”

 

“Maybe this is the episode where they get caught, killed and there’s twenty minutes of dead time.”

 

“We can only hope,” he said.

 

While she was gone, he munched on the fruit trying to eat only apples and bananas because he knew she liked the pears best.

 

“Honey,” he called, after a few minutes. “Where are you? You're missing the scene where their body doubles kick stuntmen.”

 

“Sorry. I thought you’d like some cheese.”

 

As planned by the Madison Avenue underworld, she arrived just in time for the commercials. He pressed mute on the remote control and attacked the plate of assorted low-fat cheeses. Some actually tasted vaguely like cheese.

 

“Why are we so hungry? We had a good dinner. The stir fry was delicious.”

 

She smiled. “Thanks for going to the supermarket. The fresh spinach was a perfect touch.”

 

“No problem. That’s what retirement’s for. I’m glad you felt like cooking.”

 

“You know how I enjoy cutting vegetables when I have the extra time. Maybe I’ll take cooking classes when I retire.”

 

He undid the mute; the show was starting.

 

They stared some more as the plot took predictable twists and turns while the entendres doubled and tripled. With the food gone, she put the plate on the end table next to her and reached for his hand. He moved closer to her and she rested her hand on his leg.

 

They stared at another chase scene followed by a kick boxing demonstration. Miraculously, just as the good guys were about to be pummeled by the bad guys, the authorities appeared. Safe, the sexual innuendo continued.

 

“Thank God,” he said. “Her make-up was almost smeared.”

 

“Look. His suit jacket is still buttoned.”

 

He muted the commercials and next week’s coming attractions and reached around to pull her closer. They kissed, not passionately but intimately. She pulled up his sweatshirt and rested her head on his white-haired chest. He noted how gray hairs streaked her once black hair.

 

“I like this,” she said.

 

“I do, too.”

 

“I wouldn’t trade watching a dumb TV show with you for anything.”

 

“Mmmm.” He ran his index finger along her cheek.

 

“Anything on next?” she asked.

 

“There’s always a Law and Order or a CSI.”

 

“I’m tired, but I don’t want to move.”

 

“Then don’t.”

 

They sat on the couch staring at the television, he in baggy pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt, she in a faded flannel nightgown and a pair of his black socks.

 

“Do you think the magic is out of our marriage?” she asked.

 

“Probably,” he said. “But it’s been replaced with something real. Love.”

 

*     *     *     *     *

Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. He's published numerous stories, poems and essays in print and online, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories. (http://issuu.com/pearnoir/docs/revealing_moments). His short story, “Zen and the Art of House Painting” has been made into a short film. (http://vimeo.com/18491827) Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



 

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