Welcome to Friday Fiction, hosted right here tonight at Pod Tales! Please feel free to add the link to your blog at the bottom of this post, and check out the other submissions for your first summer reading weekend.
I’ve been missing the last couple of weeks, but had to make sure I wrote something new for this week. This is basically just a short character sketch piece, featuring Bill Williams from the Pod series. I’d like to dedicate this short story to Kim, in honor of her husband Gary, who passed away this week. It’s always been a joy to know two people who love each other, and we’re saddened by his passing. May his memory be for a blessing.
FBI Special Agent Marion “Bill” Williams straddled the stool at the coffee shop counter. His legs splayed wide to either side, and he leaned forward on both elbows with the steaming mug of coffee trapped between his hands. The morning news and variety show played on the television attached high on the wall, with the smiling hosts interviewing an attractive actress.
To Bill’s right, Agent Roberts licked his lips and let out a soft whistle. “Man, she could sure rock my world,” Roberts said.
Bill sipped his coffee and shook his head. “You’re married,” he said.
“Yeah, but I’m not dead. My wife already knows if I ever got a chance to meet her, I’d take it.”
On Bill’s left, Agent Johannsen offered her take. “For me, it’s Bart Manley. My guy knows that I’d be single for Manley anytime.” She gave a lusty feline-style growl. “Those eyes, those shoulders, that behind – rar!”
Bill rolled his eyes and took another sip of coffee, lowering the cup for a refill when the waitress came by with the carafe.
“How about you, Williams?” Roberts asked. “Who’s your dream girl?”
“Angela,” Bill replied.
“Yeah, yeah, okay. Now that you’ve given the reply that’ll keep your wife happy, give us the real answer.”
“Really, Williams,” Johannsen added. “Are you afraid I’ll rat you out to the wife?”
Bill stirred some cream into the refreshed coffee. “My answer is still the same. Angela has always been my dream girl.”
“Oh, come on,” Roberts scoffed. “Every guy has a fantasy girl. How about this? What if your wife gave you a ‘pass’ that, for one weekend, you weren’t married. You could go after any woman you wanted without penalty, free and clear. You can’t tell me you’d go after the same woman you’ve been waking up next to for years.”
“Yes, I can,” Bill said. He gestured at the television screen. “You think it’s okay to want her because she’s a beautiful celebrity, and you can rationalize that you’ll probably never even meet her, let alone have any chance that she would agree to anything else. The issue, though, isn’t whether you might ever cheat on your wife with her – the issue is that you’ve expressed your first choice, and that first choice isn’t your wife.” He sat up straight, and looked both left and right to meet their eyes. “Angela is my wife. When I proposed to her, I didn’t ask her to marry me because someone I liked more wasn’t available. She wasn’t my second choice, and I didn’t ‘settle’ for someone I could have instead of someone I couldn’t have.”
“So you’re telling us that if a magic genie told you that you could have any woman in the world, just for the wishing, you’d wish for Angela?” Johannsen asked.
“Why not? She’s my best friend. She’s the mother of our children. She already knows all about me, and loves me anyway. If I wished for anyone else, I would be throwing away the best thing that’s ever happened to me, for the uncertainty that I might find someone better.” He took another sip of coffee. “My vows didn’t include any provisions for someone on the side. There was no infidelity clause based on how beautiful another woman might be, or how famous, or rich, or whether I thought maybe I wasn’t getting enough at home, or anything else. My vow was to remain faithful to her for the rest of our lives, period.”
“But, what if she released you from the vow?”
Bill smiled. “She can’t. I made the vow with her, not to her. We made the vows to God, so we can’t release each other from them.”
“Now you’re getting religious on us.” Johannsen moaned.
“Say what you want, but however you want to couch it, the last thing I ever want to say or imply to Angela is that there is someone else in this world that I’d rather be with, regardless of how unlikely the scenario might be. She was my first choice when I proposed to her, she was still my first choice when we married, she’s still my first choice now, and if we’re so blessed, she’ll be my first choice on our fiftieth anniversary.” He glanced at his watch. “Now, if you two are done salivating over people you’ll never get to meet, we have a meeting to get to.”