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Charlene Tess

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Books by Charlene Tess
Bag of Tricks by Charlene Tess
By Charlene Tess
Saturday, January 30, 2010

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A cheating husband's wife confronts his girlfriend.

The woman was slender, stacked, and peroxide-blond. Her small feet moved in silver slippers around the wooden dance floor. Twenty-something and sexy, her lovely, unlined face shone as she laughed up into the face of a much older man. She was, I finally comprehended, in the arms of a balding old goat—my husband, Harold.

            I watched them circle the floor while trying to collect my thoughts. I had come here on this, the last night of his sales trip, not to spy on him, but to surprise him. I rented the honeymoon suite in this fancy hotel and set up a tray of cocktails and shrimp. I draped my toned, perfumed body in silk from Victoria’s Secret and left a message for him come to my room when he arrived.

            By seven, I knew he wasn’t coming. By nine, I was bored, so I dressed and descended to the hotel lounge. He never saw me come or go. I managed, although fighting tears, to cancel the message and return to my room. I had, until this moment, no idea that his promise of faithfulness made thirty-six  years ago, had been irrevocably revoked. Worst of all, I didn’t know if she was the latest in a long line of lady friends, or the first. No matter, really. Not relevant data.

            After two long days and nights during which I lay supine, nearly drowning in salty tears, I got up, took a shower and ordered hot tea and French pastries. I skipped the aerobic routine which I had faithfully done almost every day for the past twenty years, opened my cosmetics case and threw away my tube of Renova. Then, I took a long, hot shower, and put on a suit that showed off my size six frame. An hour later, I made my way to the cosmetic counter of a crowded department store and filled a bag with expensive products designed to smooth wrinkles, eliminate sags, exfoliate dead skin cells, bleach age spots and rejuvenate aging faces. At another counter, I found hair care products to cover the gray, and thicken thinning follicles. I maxed out Harold’s Visa, but by the time I finished, I had a bag full of the latest geriatric gimmicks. 

            Back at the hotel, I waited in the lobby until I saw Harold leave, presumably to conduct a few legitimate affairs. A short time later, as luck would have it, his young companion appeared in the lobby and made her way to the coffee shop. I waited until she had ordered lunch and then sat down at her table.

            “Mind if I join you?” I asked.

            She looked up—surprised, but not annoyed. “I guess so. Gee, why not. I hate to eat alone, don’t you?”

            Before the coffee carafe was empty, I knew her name, her life history, and the whole story of her relationship with “Harry Bear.” Their liaison had been going on for quite some time, and she accompanied him on all his trips. She told me the poor man was married to an older woman who had let herself go to the point that he just couldn’t get turned on anymore.

            “I’m glad you shared that with me,” I said. I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Harold's—soon to be— former wife.”

            She looked at me blankly for a moment—then her mouth fell slack.

     I set the bag of tissue-wrapped cosmetics on the table in front of her and rose to leave.

             She looked up at me apprehensively. “What is all this?” she asked.

            “A gift for you, my dear. I’m giving you dear old Harold with my blessing, along with these fine products which you will surely need. It is my fondest wish that you use them both to your greatest advantage.”

 

The End


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