"Remember to be at the banquet tonight, Stan!" yelled my wife as she ran out the door. "It really means a lot to my career."
"Don't worry, I'll be there," I promised.
I finished my cereal, put my dishes away and placed my cell phone on the table. Then I went back upstairs and changed into some comfortable clothes for golfing.
I tossed my clubs and shoes in the car and away I went. I planned on meeting a couple friends at a course by Kutztown, about 100 miles down the road. We teed off at 11:30 on a beautiful fall day. There are some things in life you just can't buy.
We finished the course at 3:30 and dropped into the clubhouse for a meal. I hadn't seen Jack and Steve, my two college buddies, for a few years and we had a great time catching up. We finished eating and decided to play a few more holes since we were having such a great time. We stopped at dusk.
"That was a blast," grinned Jack as we finished our game. "Do you have to leave right away, or can you have a couple drinks with us, Stan?"
"Have I ever refused a drink, especially from such a gracious loser?" I laughed. "Let's get to the watering hole!"
We had a couple beers and retold old war stories from our glory days. I found myself thinking what a good time I was having and I would have to get together with the Jack and Steve more often. I started the two-hour trip home around 9 PM.
As I got closer to home, I felt my mood slowly sour. Brandy would be in a rage when I walked through the door. I would have to deal with her anger and mulled over the best method to lessen, or deflect, her ire. I laughed to myself when I realized I was considering the impossible. She would be livid.
"Where in Goddamn Hell have you been?" were her words of greeting as I ambled into the living room. "I told you that fucking banquet was important to me and for you to be there by six!"
"Sorry about that, Darling. The boss sent me to Doylestown. The traffic was really bad and I just got back."
"I spoke with Tom at his house at 6:30. He said you took a personal day today and didn't go to work! You also left your cell phone on the kitchen table so I couldn't reach you!" screamed Brandy. "You are a bad liar and a miserable fuck!"
"Now that we have that settled, I'm turning in, Sweetheart," I smiled. "I'm bushed."
"Settled? What's settled? So far we've determined you are telling me a lie. How about the truth?" demanded Brandy.
"I was car-jacked by pirates. They took me to an old warehouse to hold me for ransom, but some aliens beamed me up to their space ship and sunk probes into my teeth, eyes, and genitals," I replied. "They left the room and I managed to untie the knots on the rope they had used to immobilize me. Then I had to figure out how to work their controls. I accidentally beamed myself down to Scranton. I had to hitch a ride with a trucker back to my car. Don't worry, though. I feel pretty good, just a little tired."
Brandy looked at me like I was crazy. She was so livid she couldn't even form words for a few seconds.
"Stan, what are you blabbering about? Cut the bullshit and tell me why you missed the banquet. You know it was important to me. I got a nice promotion and you were supposed to be there with me. It was really embarrassing for me," rasped Brandy through clenched teeth.
"I went golfing with Jack and Steve, a couple old college buddies," I admitted. "At first they were beating me pretty good, but I sank a 30 foot putt on seven. From then on I kicked their asses. That new driver is a work of art! I bet I hit a few tee shots close to 300 yards!"
"Golfing?" Brandy repeated incredulously. "You knew this dinner was very important to me and you went golfing? You planned it for days, didn't you? Why did you tell me you would be at my affair if you had no intentions of being there?"
"I didn't want to hurt you, so I lied a little. I hoped you wouldn't find out," I suggested.
"Not find out? Not hurt me? Are you crazy, Stan?" asked Brandy. "How could I not notice you weren't in the goddamn empty chair, you idiot? How could it not hurt me that you failed to attend a very important function?"
"Looking back, I realize now that you had to find out, sooner or later," I admitted. "At the time it was exciting and different. It just happened. I never wanted to hurt you. It was just golf, nothing personal."
"Are you drunk? Did you and your old buddies light up a little weed, Stan?" Brandy asked. "You sound like you've lost your mind. I'm too tired to discuss your selfish, hateful actions tonight. You can sleep in one of the kids' rooms. I don't want you to touch me, or even talk to me for awhile."
"No problem, Darling. I'll be as quiet as a mouse," I promised.
Brandy stared at me like I was some kind of bug she had never seen before as I smiled and headed for Brian's room.
Brandy and I had been married 24 years. Both our kids were in college and we were adjusting to an empty nest. I crawled into Brian's bed and quickly fell asleep, replaying my better golf shots in my dreams.
The next morning I had dressed for work and was reading the paper and eating cereal when Brandy walked into the kitchen.
"Don't think I'm done with you, Stan!" she warned. "I don't know how, or if, you will ever be able to make yesterday up to me. I do think you need to give it some thought. I'll be working a little late tonight, so you can start your penance by fixing your own dinner."
"No problem, Sweetheart. I can take care of myself," I answered. "Have a good time."
"I am going to work. What do you mean have a good time?" demanded Brandy.
"Have a great day, be happy, don't worry about me, don't take any wooden nickels... whatever. It was just an expression."
She gave me that look like I had two heads, then she turned and left for work. I picked up the phone and dialed my work. I told them I didn't feel well and wouldn't be in.
I spent the morning shopping. I finally saw what I wanted at Best Buy and ordered the biggest fucking flat panel TV on the planet. I had it delivered that afternoon and it was all set up and working perfectly by the evening news. It worked so well; I kept trying to look down the lady anchor's blouse! I felt like she was in the room with me. It did take up the entire wall in the living room. It even made the closet door inaccessible, but it was well worth it.
I called a few guys from work and invited them over to watch the first game of the World Series. Then I ordered a few pizzas and some ribs from a place down the road.
It was the top of the third inning when Brandy walked into the room. To say she looked surprised would be a tremendous understatement. She was actually speechless!
Harry, a guy in our accounting office saw her and jumped up and grabbed her hand and started pumping it.
"Congratulations on your promotion! This TV is really cool! Old Stan is a lucky guy to have a wife like you!" he raved.
"Thanks, thanks a lot," wavered Brandy. "I'm pretty tired so I'll leave you boys to your game and go to bed."
That was it? She really took it quite well! I wondered how angry she would be in the morning.
I was dressed for work and reading the morning paper when Brandy entered the kitchen.
"You'll have that goddamn monstrosity out of here and returned to the store before I get home from work tonight! Do you understand me, Stan?" Brandy yelled.
"I think so, Honey. No need to raise your voice," I chuckled. "I'm not deaf."
The door slammed so hard I thought the glass in the windows would break. She was hard to understand at times.
I was watching "Cheers" when Brandy walked into the living room that evening.
"I thought I told you to return that thing today," she began. "You said you understood and that I didn't have to raise my voice. Now I get home and the fucking thing is still here!" she screamed. "What part didn't you understand, idiot?"
"I never understood why they had Norm on this show," I responded. "He isn't very funny."
Foam and spit flew from Brandy's mouth as she tried to frame an intelligible sentence. Her face was crimson.
"Stan, listen to me. I wanted you to take back the TV and you didn't do it. Explain that to me, please," she managed after a minute or so of deep breathing.