The Case Of The Missing Vowel Girl / 2 December 1997
Lightning! Martin jolted and already had one foot on the antiseptic hotel carpet before he stopped to think.
“Hanna?” he hissed.
She nodded, raised her eyebrows expectantly, then giggled in a way he hadn’t heard in fifteen years, before they were married. With this laugh, she pulled the starchy stiff sheets up to her chin.
Martin had a hundred-ten things to say and as a result they all jammed behind his teeth. “Good God” seeped out and it made him feel a little better. He eased back down to the pillows. Still she giggled.
“How did you get here?” Martin asked.
“What are you talking about?” she said.
“Are we next to the 101?” Martin said. He heard the traffic and wanted to place himself in a specific context.
“A general guideline is you wake up where you fell asleep,” Hanna said.
These were the sort of comments she was supposed to be making. Martin settled into resignation. It was that giggle that had been so disturbing. “That never applies when you pass out.”
“Any questions or comments?”
“That thing where I had my head on the floor and my legs on the bed … was that you or that girl with all the vowels in her name?”
“That was me. I taught you that back in Ann Arbor.”
“Ah yes. I knew it rung a bell. So was there a vowel girl last night at all or was I mistaken?”
“There was a woman with Henry named Kaerie,” Hanna explained. “She had a full tank of fantasy fuel. Perhaps your brief introduction to her clouded your mind sufficiently to think you were fucking her instead of me.”
“Could be. That’s pretty shallow.”
“Peter Billingsley, esquire, has been notified of your shallowness.”
Martin waggled a warning finger. “It’s not technically grounds for divorce, sleeping with your wife…though I can see how one could interpret it as such.”
“Witty to the bitter end.”
I’d suggest seeing a marriage counselor but I’m afraid you’d drag me along, too.”
“Last night was the best sex we ever had, admittedly because you thought I was someone else, but I’ll overlook that for the moment. Let’s just leave it on a good note. Clean, easy, the removal of a tumor, the end.”
“I’m always on the business end of your metaphors.”
“Time for you to go, Martin. I ordered a continental breakfast for one.”