“Honey, empty the dishwasher before you leave,” Heather said to her husband, Gerald, as she was busily nursing their twins.

“Sure thing, sweetie pie. Love of my life,” he answered, tickling the tops of her breasts. His two sons, tucked like footballs, one under each of her arms, sucked noisily on her nipples. It was a sweet spot, he recalled fondly, bending low to kiss each boy on the head. “My little guzzlers,” he said, winking at his wife and blowing her a kiss as he turned on his heel. “I’d like to knock their noggins aside and get in there for a swig myself,” he called to her, leaving quickly through the kitchen door, dishwasher left unemptied. How could a man remember a thing like that when he had just been witness to two others of his gender gorging on his wife’s breasts? “Impossible!” He shouted happily.

Inside his briefcase he had THE BOOK that had changed his life. He headed straight for the coffee shop near where he worked. Slim chance his wife would emerge from the condo, given the hungry young twins she had in her care. But why chance it? Why ruin a perfectly good, why a beautiful day—heavenly—with even a whisper of doubt that he would be found out? No, better he should trot a bit farther and remove himself from the danger zone entirely.

Gerald had taken three personal days, on the advice of his therapist—so no guilt here, no sireee, just pure freedom and joy. Time for himself. The father, the provider, the one on whom all fiscal responsibility lay. The one who had been robbed of his wife’s ample bosoms by the tiny twins—but he was not resentful. No! Quite to the contrary. He was doing what he needed to do to feed himself. To provide that all-important sense of freedom and zest for life. All around him he noticed exhausted, downtrodden, sleep deprived, sex deprived, wife deprived fathers, falling into the trough of despair. But not Gerald. Oh no, not him. He would not fall into that trap. He patted his very light briefcase. Not with this inside.

Swinging into the coffee shop, finding his favorite window view corner table available, he thought, Yes! This is a great day. He sat down with his double-shot mocha, extra whip and pulled out The Book: If Only One Of You Can Survive, It May As Well Be You. “Thank you, thank you,” he said thinking of his shrink, the author and purveyor of this incredible book. What a lifesaver, he thought, opening to chapter two, which was—wonder of wonders—entitled “Lifesaver,” replete with a colorful picture of that old time treat: a book of lifesavers. What every kid wanted as part of his (hopefully) plentiful stack of stocking stuffers at Christmas.

Gerald placed a neat check mark next to the picture of an orange lifesaver, the first in a colorful column of lifesaving tips. “Make wise use of good natured forgetting when it comes to chores.” No need to rush on to the next tip. No need to rush at all. Gerald intended to savor the orange lifesaver, his mouth puckering to suck, suck, suck.

# # #

It Might As Well Be Me by Helen Silverstein
originally published August 2, 2009



Helen Silverstein has been published in Big Pulp and 34th Parallel Magazine.

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It Might As Well Be Me


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