By noon, I always know if I'm going to have a good night. The contents of the brown paper bag, its top folded down not once but twice on the corner of my desk, are my oracle. I imagine archeologists must feel the same anticipation when breaking new ground, exhilarated at the prospect of a new discovery in virgin layers of stone. Some days just staring at the bag waiting on the corner of the desk is enough to make me stiffen in my sensible khaki pants.
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Some men decipher their wives libido by studying arcane and subtle signs
they read from the slick pages of women's magazines. Me, I just wait for lunch.
Yesterday I found two ham and cheese sandwiches bagged together and a bag of plain chips. She hadn't bothered with dessert and the way everything was slung haphazard into the bag told me it would be a boring evening. Sure enough, we had leftovers for dinner, spent a few hours watching television and were off to bed. She fell asleep before I managed to get comfortable.
On nights like that, I think of lunches past. A favorite memory is chicken and dumplings with cherry cobbler for dessert. The dumplings were just right, tender and moist in their bath of thrice peppered chicken. The cobbler was a decadent contrast of slightly tangy cherries and rich syrup, topped by a flaky crust. That evening she was insatiable, like a woman starving for sex. I was forced to cover the dark half moons her teeth left on my neck by wearing a tie the following day. If I venture further into my memory I recall peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chocolate milk and snack cakes. She'd met me at the door in a plaid skirt, one of my dress shirts and her chestnut hair in pigtails. Later, after I could barely stand she'd pouted up at me with bubblegum lips and told me she needed a spanking.
Today the suspense is palpable; I've been having trouble resisting the urge to peek. It's been almost two weeks since I've found any culinary clues when reading the portents of my bagged lunches. Her best friend from college Diane had been visiting. She was leaving today. Stolen glances at our guest's athletic legs and perfect cleavage have been my only outlet other than masturbating to memories of lunches past, which is beginning to feel like self defense.
Finally, noon arrives. I close the door to my office and loosen my tie in anticipation of a wonderful meal. To my surprise there is a second bag in with the spaghetti and meatballs and French bread. My wife usually uses those disposable plastic containers not a second tightly folded bag. I'm intrigued but hold off opening the second bag until I've eaten most of the delicious spaghetti, relishing the bold spices of the homemade sauce and one piece of parmesan crusted bread.
Setting aside the remains of a decidedly promising meal, I open the smaller second bag. Inside is a bowl of steamed rice with teriyaki chicken and even a fortune cookie. Expecting a dessert or small snack for later I’m confused, but I eat a small portion of the teriyaki anyway. I was breaking the fortune cookie when my desk phone rang, signaling the end of lunch.
"Did you enjoy your lunch?" my wife asked her voice innocent. I wasn't fooled.
“It was certainly interesting.” I reply, not trying to hide the innuendo.
“I’ll tell Diane you liked it. She helped fix it.” she replied. I could almost see the corners of her mouth turning up in a naughty smile.
“Diane? I thought she was heading back to Florida today.” I inquired a little surprised, my mind a storm of speculation.
“I asked her to stay the night. It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other. I just wanted a little more time together. You don’t mind do you?” she asked her voice dripping with innuendo.
“Not at all.” I responded finally noticing the words typed small on the narrow slip of paper between my fingers. You will soon find yourself doubly blessed.
Hanging up the phone I smile, reading the entrails of my lunch with rare relish.
Smile if you're stupid,
laugh if you understand.