Friday, September 15, 2006

Karma And The Lucky Man

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

"The health inspector came by today," Karma said quietly.

Andy's spatula hit the floor when he froze. He didn't have to study her face long, he knew she was telling the truth. "And we're still open?" he asked incredulously.

"Yep," she said, not looking at him.

He picked up the spatula and flipped the egg he'd been working on before it burned. His brow furrowed as his eyes bounced across the grill, making twenty snap decisions in a few seconds. "What did it cost me?" he asked.

"Your wife's fidelity," she answered, pulling another gallon of milk from the fridge.

"And how much time did it buy me?"

"About a month."

He walked over and put his hands on her shoulders. "You know, a lot of guys have wives who don't support them in their goals."

"You're a lucky man," she said, beaming.

He thought about that as his eyes danced across the myriad flat surfaces in the little diner. He nearly asked her where they did it. Then thought better of it. One food or another had already slapped every one of those surfaces sometime today.

It's better this way. Not knowing.

"Indeed." Andy got that far away look in his eyes.

"What are you thinking about," Karma asked. He looked down at her. Everybody told her she looked like Meryl Streep and he liked the idea of being with an older woman. It was so different from any life his friends led.

"I'm thinking about next month."

"I am too," she said, smiling at the milk she'd just spilled on the counter. She pulled the rag from her apron and wiped it up. "You're a lucky, lucky man."

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