At dinner, my wife Diane told me that Deb and Gary were going to stop by for drinks later and that it might be nice to put out one of the good candles.
“Oh?” I said. “Which ones are Deb and Gary?”
“They’re our next door neighbors.”
“I thought it might be nice to light one of the Yankee candles.”
“Isn’t that a little excessive?” I asked. “It’s not like we’re sleeping with them. At least. It’s not like I’m sleeping with them.”
I eyed my wife suspiciously, but she remained focused on her dinner.
“I just thought we’d light it for a little while,” she said.
“And then what is our excuse for blowing it out?” I asked. “When the time comes, what do we tell them? How do we extinguish the candle in a way that seems casual and good-natured?”
“I don’t know.”
“I said I don’t know. I guess I didn’t think of that.”
“You never do, Diane. It’s a miracle we’re not sleeping on the streets.”
We ate in silence for the next five minutes as my mind worked towards a possible compromise. I wasn’t a monster.
“Describe their breathing habits,” I said. “Are they excitable? Do they breath heavily?”
“Forget it,” said Diane. “I don’t even care at this point.”
“I just don’t want them breathing up our expensive candles!”
“I said forget it.”
A week later, there was a fire in the locker where I kept the candles. They melted together into one, gigantic candle. It was too horrible to look at and so I had the firefighters put the candle into a garbage bag so I didn’t have to see the damage.
We buried it in the backyard. Diane cried, but it was a dry cry. There were no tears and I asked her about it.
“I guess I’m all cried out,” said Diane.
“I had a medical procedure,” I said, as I shoveled the last of the dirt onto the candle. “Where if my heart stops beating, I explode. I’m a human bomb.”
It wasn’t true, but if my suspicions were correct and it was Diane who had destroyed the candles, then I knew that I was next. I needed to buy some time until I could investigate the depth of my wife’s lies, starting with these supposed “neighbors.”
That night, from their closet, I watched uncomfortably as Deb and Gary made love in their bed. I had broken in to look for other proof and I guess they kind of surprised me.
“Okay. Well I guess the part about neighbors was real,” I thought. “Well played, Diane.”