By K. A. Williams
Barry was a workaholic and the manager of an appliance store. His new assistant manager was named Jake. People liked Jake. Barry and Anne, his wife, had even invited Jake and his wife
Doris for dinner a few weeks ago to get to know him better.
Even though the store was closed Barry was there, in his office. His uptown business appointment had canceled, and his wife was visiting her sister so he’d decided to return to work even though it was late.
He’d parked and entered at the store’s back entrance, and was checking some of its inventory on the computer. Barry had shut his door from habit, but he could still hear the footsteps. It sounded
like two people were in the hallway, one wearing high heels, and they went into the break room next door.
He looked at the black telephone that sat next to the computer on his oak desk and thought about calling the police, but he hadn’t heard any alarms.
Jake had a key to the store too. What if he called them and it was just Jake showing Doris around the store?
He got up and silently opened the door to listen.
“Barry thinks I’m at my sister’s house. I told him she had a cold and I was going over there to cook and clean for her while he was gone. He went uptown on business.”
Barry couldn’t believe that his wife was at the store and that she had lied to him. Who was she talking to?
He realized she was talking to Jake when he answered, “I’ve never done anything like this before, Anne. You were so nice to me on the phone when I called to let you know that Doris had left me. And I could tell that you were lonely too.”
“Barry cares more about this store than he does about me. I thought when he trained you to be his assistant manager, he’d let you handle more responsibilities. That hasn’t happened. He is so tired when he comes home that we don’t make love as often as I’d like.”
Barry didn’t know what to do. If he didn’t interrupt them soon, his wife was going to commit adultery with Jake. The continued silence made him wonder if they’d already started. He
stepped quietly out of his office onto the highly polished linoleum hallway floor.
“Zip your pants up, I’ve changed my mind,” Anne said. “I’ve never cheated on my husband and I’m not going to start now. I love Barry.”
“Well to tell you the truth, I wasn’t comfortable about sleeping with the boss’s wife in the first place.”
“I’m glad to hear that Jake,” said Barry from the doorway.
Anne and Jake moved apart quickly, shame and shock evident on their faces. Anne was wearing a yellow dress and stared down at her matching high heel shoes, speechless.
Jake wouldn’t meet Barry’s gaze either as he said, “I’m sorry Barry. I guess this means I’m fired.”
“No. I’ve spent too much time training you. Besides, this situation is just as much Anne’s fault as it is yours. But mostly it’s my fault, because I’ve been neglecting my lovely wife. So you’d better go home and get some sleep, Jake, because I expect you back here early to open the store – I’m taking the morning off.”
“I’m sorry, Barry,” Anne said.
“It’s okay, honey.” Barry took Anne in his arms and kissed her. Then he eyed the brown sofa bed against the wall and called to Jake who had left the room. “Lock up when you leave. We’ll be here a while.”