Copyright© 2015 by Bill Offutt
"Hi Jeanne," Bud said, having finally gotten up his nerve to make the call. He had drunk two beers in quick succession and practiced what he wanted to say. Then he dialed the phone and took a deep breath.
"Hey, hi yourself," Jeanne said, "believe it or not, I was just about to call you."
"Really, how come?"
"No, it's your dime, you go first," she said, sitting down on the kitchen stool and taking off her earring. She sounded, Bud decided, unusually happy.
"I need a favor, a real big favor," he said and took another deep breath, about to plunge in.
"Uh huh," she replied, sounding dubious. "How big?"
"I want you to give me a divorce, a nice, quiet, no-fuss, no contest, inexpensive and friendly divorce."
"Did you hear me?"
"Uh huh," she said, exhaling. "I heard you."
"Sunday," she said, "I was home, having supper with my folks you know."
Bud swallowed and put the phone to his other ear, confused and impatient.
"So anyhow," she went on, "I talked to Daddy and I asked him if it would be okay if I divorced you."
"What!" Bud said loudly.
"Now don't get excited. I've met somebody, at work, a nice guy, a CPA."
"You met somebody."
"And, well, we got to talking, and I told him we had been separated for a while."
"Yeah," said Bud, "like five years, getting on six."
"So he said, why didn't we get divorced so we both could, you know, get on with our lives."
"Right, right, I agree," Bud said, finding this development hard to believe. "But how did your father... ?"
"He blew his stack, ranted and raved and called me names. Momma had to give him a pill and make me go home."
"Geeze, that's too bad," Bud said.