I know this married couple that lie to each other. Not little things like the quality of his mother’s cooking or if that dress makes her look fat. They lie about big things. They lie about each other’s existence.
She’s unfaithful. But it’s not the occasional one-night stand. She goes on dates with other men all the time.
He doesn’t know. At least that’s what she says. I believe her.
They live on opposite sides of town. She convinced him it would be better if they had separate apartments. They share two sexless nights together every week. One night at his place and one night at her place.
I met him once. She invited me out with them about a year ago. We had drinks at a pub where people take too many shots and women’s bras hang from the ceiling.
She loves to dance. She spent most of the night kicking her feet and throwing her hair around like a wild animal.
He spent most of the night stiff as a corpse.
I resisted the urge to check his pulse.
He was intelligent. He hosts trivia every Tuesday night at a bar downtown.
When there was a lull in the conversation, he filled the silence with inane factoids. I couldn’t tell if they were true.
“Saying goodbye to someone triggers the same response in your brain as if that person died.”
“Once every twelve minutes a girl named Amy breaks someone’s heart.”
“Humans are the only animals capable of jealousy.”
“The word ‘no’ is universally understood, but the word ‘yes’ is not.”
“The first monkey they sent to space was the dumbest one they had. The smarter monkey’s refused to go.”
When the night ended we said goodbye.
He shook my hand and I knew we would never see each other again.
Then she thanked me. Looked right in my eyes. I’ve never seen a person so sincere.
I once saved someone from choking at a restaurant by doing the Heimlich after a piece of brisket was lodged in their throat. When they caught their breath, even they didn’t thank me like this.
It’s been a year. Her ‘thank you’ still haunts me.
I got the urge to look him up about a month ago to tell him.
I dialed a few times. I hung up before he answered.
I decided I’m not going to tell.
I think what he really wants is the idea. And if I tell, the idea would be ruined.
Besides, I’ve got other things to worry about. I’ve had trouble sleeping for the past few months.
And when I can’t sleep, I spend my time scouring the internet.
A few days ago I was thinking about the first monkey they sent to space. I did some research but couldn’t find anything about its intelligence.
I did find out it died up there.
The second monkey they sent to space made it back to earth only to die when the parachute didn’t open.
Charlie Scaturro was born and raised in Brooklyn and currently resides there today. His work has appeared in issue 6.2 of Star 82 Review, was short listed for The Best New Writing Anthology 2017, and has appeared on CBSSports.com, USAToday.com, LATimes.com, Bleacher Report, The Good Men Project, and various publications on Medium.com. Charlie is currently working on a collection of short stories in addition to a few other projects.