Benny looked over at his recliner and thought, 'baseball headquarters in t-minus fifteen minutes'. He opened the oven door and looked at the large sheet of pizza rolls that were just beginning to 'crisp up'; just the way he liked them. With the new 'sports package' he got from the cable company, he would be able to watch ballgames well into the evening. He thought he heard his wife, but didn't see her when he looked around. "I wonder where she is?", he asked out loud, before dismissing the urge to actually look for her. 'It's almost time', he said to himself, as he slid the tasty snacks onto a paper plate. He 'popped' open another beer and, with a snack cake under his chin, carried his baseball 'feast' into the living room.
He and the wife didn't seem to see each other much, as he was often busy in the garage, or the basement; working on his 'crafts' or other hobbies. Then there was bowling on Friday night and golf all day Saturday. And, of course, work, five days a week, for both of them. He felt that he and Brenda led full, productive lives, and could never remember hearing a complaint come out of her mouth about their schedules. He 'loved' his wife, but wasn't really into church, or bingo, or any of the other lame 'wifely' things he thought she might 'dabble' in. She seemed to be alright with things, and, after all, was out with her 'girlfriends' three or four nights a week.
Benny's paper plate was empty after the first three innings of the game. He burped and lay back; deep into his favorite chair. He thought about getting up for another beer, but didn't want to move an inch. The snacks were lying 'heavy' in his stomach and a nap sounded good. As he began to doze off, he heard the back door opening. After making 'kitchen' noises for a few moments, his wife rushed by him on her way to the bedroom. He heard her shuffling things around in their boudoir for a few minutes, and then thought he heard the zipping up of a suitcase. As unusual as that might have been, the lazy sports fan still didn't stir from his comfy chair.
Brenda walked out of the bedroom. She was breathing hard when she stopped to kiss her husband on the forehead. "Going out on an overnight with the girls", she said as she walked towards the kitchen. Benny still didn't get off his butt to see what was going on with his wife of eighteen years. This wasn't the first time she went on an overnight with the 'girls' and it probably wouldn't be her last. He was changing to another game when he heard the back door open and then close. "Damn", he said out loud, before thinking he should have asked her to get him a couple more beers.
Benny had watched five ball games and an hour of reality TV before he really thought about Brenda leaving earlier. He reluctantly got up and went into the kitchen to scrounge up some dinner. The sink was full of dishes and he quietly chided her in his mind for it. There was some red stuff smeared around on the counter. "Must have been a crafts day with the ladies", he surmised out loud as he poked around in the freezer for something easy to make; before the next ball game started. He was momentarily proud as he picked up a bottle of cleanser and squeezed on the pump handle; shooting a stream of bleach cleaner across the room at the red stuff. "Maybe it won't stain before she cleans it up tomorrow", he said out loud.
The next morning Benny woke up to a loud knock at the back door. He had just entered the kitchen when two burly men came crashing through it. They had on riot gear and were carrying semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. "POLICE!!!!...SEARCH WARRANT!!!" was all the hapless, half-asleep man heard as he was corralled to the floor and handcuffed. The eight or nine officers, who came to execute the warrant, stepped over Benny as he lay there wondering what he did to deserve this treatment. As the group dumped out drawers, and knocked things off of shelves, they seemed to get angrier and angrier at him. After thirty minutes of searching and trashing Benny's home, one of the officers helped him up and then, shoved him into his chair. "WHERE IS SHE?!...WHERE IS THE MONEY?!...WHERE IS YOUR WIFE?!", the man with a lot of stripes on his arm asked as Benny sat there with a totally blank look on his face.
By the time they got to the police station, Benny learned that his wife and her 'girlfriends' had been robbing banks for a number of years. She had been put on the FBI's Most Wanted List eighteen years ago, for similar charges, but had dropped completely off the 'grid'. A lot of the things he had seen, and heard, when his face wasn't buried in the TV, began to make sense.
Benny sat on a bench, among serious (real) criminals, in a holding cell, while the detective in charge of his case prepared to question him. He thought back to when he met his wife, and how it seemed awfully easy for such a beautiful woman to fall for a 'clod' like him. He slowly began to put together all the time she spent away from home, and all the overnighters; 'out' with her 'girlfriends'. He wondered how long he was going to be sentenced to for being stupid enough to believe she wanted anything more from him than a different last name and life. 'Did she ever love him at all'? They put a team of detectives on him and interrogated the poor, pitiful fool for hours and hours before becoming disgusted with his 'innocent act', or, perhaps his complete ignorance of her actions. They truly couldn't figure out which!
When he got home, after being released, Benny looked at the wrecked interior of his house, and thought his life was over. He was right, to a point. As he pushed through the rubble, that had been his nice, tidy home, he heard his wife whisper, "sorry sweetheart". He almost jumped out of his skin, before turning to see the woman he was married to, but didn't know at all, standing in the shadows. When his eyes adjusted, he could see that she had been crying. He wanted to yell at her, but the tears made him hold his tongue. He wouldn't admit it, but he was also wary of getting his butt kicked by the 'little' women, who apparently was a 'bad a**', armed bank robber.
Over the next hour they talked about her criminal history. She had, indeed, used him to cover her tracks so long ago. It didn't matter though, according to her, because she had developed 'deep' feelings for her husband of convenience. The next thing he knew, he was swinging his sledge hammer, and breaking up a false wall in the basement. As he bashed holes in the cleverly mortared up 'cubby', large bundles of bills began to fall out. She carefully stacked them inside a large suitcase, while he continued uncovering her loot from recent and past robberies. There must have been several million dollars!
When it was all safely inside the case, his wife stood up and kissed him passionately on the lips for two solid minutes!!! It made him remember, fondly, when they had sex a couple of times last year. It took him off guard, and, while in a dazed state, he put a few things into an overnight bag, so they could make their getaway. They drove to the mall, so they could walk around a little and make sure the police weren't tailing them. As they passed a hotdog vender, she was nice enough to get a couple of dogs; knowing it would settle his nerves. The two lovers stood in the entertainment section of a department store and ate their last meal in this 'deadwood' town.
The Thursday night game was on and drew Benny's interest. It was preseason, but was exciting. The quarterback was in the huddle relaying a plan to his players for getting the thirteen yards they needed to convert fourth down. As they came to the line, the quarterback yelled out signals. When the defense jumped, the offense was awarded five of the thirteen yards without running a play. After lining up again, the center 'muffed' the ball and sent it careening over the quarterback's head. As the leader of the team scrambled to recover the fumble, all of the other team converged on him. With only a split second left, before he was pummeled to the ground, the quarterback picked up the ball and flung it over the line's head. It resulted in a reception that was run seventy yards for a touchdown. The clock ran out, and Benny felt a little tingle, after watching the comedy of errors turn into something that would be on all the highlight reels that entire week.
It wasn't a long walk back home, but Benny hailed a cab because it was raining. He stood there waiting for the yellow vehicle to get stopped so he could get out of the weather. He felt stupid that all his 'wife' had to do was get him a hotdog, and stand him in front of a TV to give her far more time than she needed to dump him in the mall and make her getaway. What he didn't know was that, on top everything else, she and her girlfriend of twenty years would have a civil union ceremony later that week South of the border. She may have been a bigamist and a felon, but he was an idiot.
With a towel on his wet head, Benny sat in his recliner chair, back at the house, and fell fast asleep. He woke up later and realized it had all been a dream. Well...maybe not. The house was still a wreck and he was sitting on pieces of debris from the police's search. Benny wasn't really that surprised a moment later, when the same police, for a second time in two days, rammed through his door and began yelling at him. He was allowed to sit, upright, in his chair this time as they finished ransacking his home. When the detective came up stairs with the sledge hammer, he smiled at Benny and said, "we got you!".
"When this comes back with your fingerprints on it, you're toast", the detective said as he shook the sledge menacingly at the poor guy. "You mean the sledge hammer that I've owned for nearly fifteen years?", was Benny's answer. He was so happy that he didn't pocket any of the loot earlier...he really meant to. The detective dropped the sledge at Benny's feet and walked towards the door with a dejected look on his face. It was, at least, nice of his treacherous wife not to leave any evidence in their home. Even the 'thoughtful' squirt of bleach material had rendered blood evidence of the woman, who was with his wife last night, useless. The detective knocked over one of the remaining, upright pieces of furniture as he walked towards the door.
Benny leaned his hopelessly broken front door against the splintered opening. He looked around his 'trashed' house as he walked back to his chair. He picked up a half-full can of beer from the other night and checked the top for debris. After taking a test swig, he shrugged his shoulders and finished it. He then sat down and turned on the TV.