Edward O’Dwyer is a writer from Limerick, where he lives and writes at present. He is primarily known as a poet, with two collections from Salmon Poetry to his name — Bad News, Good News, Bad News (2017) and The Rain on Cruise’s Street (2014). Right now he is working on a collection of ‘dark comedy’ flash fictions with the theme of infidelity.
Work takes me out of the country quite a bit, and I miss my wife terribly, but we make the best of it. We Facetime each night I’m away. It makes it so much more bearable being so far away knowing that I’ll still be able to see her pretty face and hear her melodious voice.
Last night, however, I couldn’t help noticing the pair of men’s underwear hanging from a corner of the picture frame behind her head. It certainly wasn’t one of mine, I knew right away, what with them being florescent yellow. She was sipping a glass of red wine, seemingly unaware of them.
I didn’t know what to say, whether to point their presence out to her or not.
“Are you okay, honey?” she asked. “You seem a little distracted.”
“It’s just been a tough day,” I said. “I’m shattered, that’s all.” I wrapped the call up pretty quickly by faking several large yawns and claiming that I’d a very early start again. I was panicking. Was there any conceivable way this could be innocent?
The image of her wild, passionate, love-making face flashed in my mind, followed by the image of her hand recklessly tossing the underwear into the air.
I really had to be up early so tried to get some sleep, knowing it wouldn’t be easy. It was impossible, as it turns out. I didn’t get a wink. When I closed my eyes all I could see was florescent yellow.
I received word that my wife had been kidnapped and if I ever wanted to see her again I’d better pay the ransom. The same note also mentioned that if I contacted the police they would know and kill her immediately in a very painful fashion.
Days of thinking what to do passed, before I finally opted to disregard it, balling up the note and tossing it on the flames of the roaring fire I’d set for my date that evening. I’d been seeing another woman for a while before all of this and now I was leaning towards asking her to become my girlfriend on an official capacity. I was very excited, and that was before I realised that we could have full use of the Jacuzzi as well and not have to have any worry about my wife arriving home and discovering us there.
Impatient, my wife’s kidnappers sent further word that they were not kidding around at all and that soon they would be sending bits of her through the mail. I ripped up the note into little bits and threw the bunch of paper flecks into the bin.
True to their word, soon a parcel arrived and it was her wedding band finger, still wearing the ring. Perhaps they were trying to prove beyond any doubt that it was indeed my wife’s finger, but I thought it a very silly move out of them, since the ring is genuine diamond and worth many, many thousands. They weren’t at all cut out for this kidnapping business, it was clear.
I stuffed the stiff, ghastly finger in the garbage disposal, and cleaned the ring and stored it safely away. After all, I figured I might need it again soon.
Knowing I’d be overjoyed, my girlfriend got tickets for us to see Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
“You really are the best,” I said, beaming with excitement at the thought of at last seeing Messi and Neymar and Iniesta and all the rest.
To the match she wore the jersey I got for her, with Messi on the back of it. The atmosphere was getting inside her, I could tell. She was getting quite comfortable in her surroundings. Soon she was cheering and singing and shouting out expletives at Ronaldo, Ramos and the referee. She was jumping up and down in the stands like a true Catalan, a genuine Blaugrana.
She got so caught up in it, when Messi scored a goal she grabbed another man and began ardently kissing him. He was very handsome, to be fair. I stood there watching them, four busy hands introducing themselves to new bodies. I didn’t know how to react.
When the ref blew the final whistle they were still kissing.
“I’ll see you back at the hotel?” I asked awkwardly, but there was no response, no evidence she’d even heard me. The stadium emptied and the floodlights went out and they continued kissing as though they had nothing else they wanted to do with the rest of their lives.