Like a panther, I slink my two-hundred fifty pounds of taut, well-toned cellulose along the dark hallway. Even the slightest noise may rouse suspicion and lead to my untimely demise. My wife is, after all, a light sleeper. She was expecting me home from the bar hours ago, but I couldn't call her and tell her I'd be late; I left my cell phone at home. Of course, John's phone was dead, and the last time I saw a pay phone it was on display at a New York art museum. So all that's left for me is to spend 15 minutes creeping past dusty memories hanging on the wall towards my goal: the door.
BONG. BONG. BONG.
I nearly jump out of my skin as the tell-tale grandfather clock on the other end of the hallway lets the world know just how late I am getting home. A brief pause at the door gives me time to take a deep, silent breath and calm my nerves before turning the handle. I have to be patient, to take my time, perhaps even hours. A gentle push, hardly more than a nudge, really, and the door gradually opens to the blackness beyond.
Oh God, that door needs oil. I wait, poised, listening for any movement. All I can hear is my own heart pounding in my chest. Then I move. Every step must be carefully placed. First the toes. Test the ground. Press. Press harder. Shift my weight. Creak! I duck, but no blow comes. The next step. Creak. Creak. Creak. Lord, even the curtains are creaking. Now if only I can slip into bed, I'll be home free. I can just claim I'd been there since-
"And where have you been?" The light flicks on. My wife is sitting up, arms crossed.
Caught in headlights. "I, uh… I was at the bar. John was there. I meant to call-"
"Sure you were. You know it closed an hour ago," she says.
"Is it really that late? I guess we lost track of time talking." I have to act nonchalant, like nothing's wrong. I pull off my shirt and pants and crawl into bed beside my wife.
"Remember, we have to get up for church tomorrow," she says and leans over to kiss me. Instead, she sniffs my breath. "At the bar, huh? You don't smell like you've been drinking."
"What? Well, I stopped early. I mean, I had to drive home."
"And if I call the bar, they'll say you were there, right?"
"Uh, sure, I guess they will."
That look. She knows something's up. "Then how did you pay for it if you left you wallet here?" It's a trap! She pulls my wallet out from her cleavage. How long did she have it in there?
"My wallet?" I ask, patting my side as if I still had on pants, despite that fact that it's right there in front of me. Crap. "I didn't. Well, I… I ran into an old friend the other day. Sharon, that girl I dated in college. I was at her place."
"Sharon? You don't expect me to believe that, do you? You were at John's place, weren't you? You were having a LAN party again."
"No! Of course not!"
"It's written all over your face. You were playing that Diablo game again, weren't you?"
"Why do you say that?"
"Because you brought your laptop."
"No, I, I was having a torrid affair with Sharon."
"Oh please. No lipstick, no perfume… is that Cheeto powder on your cheek? You know I'm going to have to confiscate your laptop for a week," she says.
"Because you lied to me. And we're still going to church."
I heave a defiant sigh and lay down. The light turns off. "At least I don't spend hours on Candy Crush."
"Want me to withdraw sex, too?"