by Jack Swenson

He was mad but not as mad as she was.  "Why didn't you tell me it was Halloween?" he asked.  She shook her head.  The doorbell rang.  It was a couple of the neighbor kids.  The girl was dressed as a fairy, the little boy as Spiderman.  Their foxy mother was with them, too.  East Indian gal.  Very pretty.  He passed a plate of candy to the kids and grinned at the Mrs.  When they left, he closed the door, and his wife was standing behind him, her hands on her hips.


He brushed past her, sat down on the couch and turned on the television.  He sulked.  He had wanted to hit the sack early and fool around.  Now he'd have to be the Candy Man for thirty or forty kids.  They hadn't even eaten dinner.


He could be such a poop, she thought.  The doorbell rang again.  A pirate, a princess, a something.  God knows what the third one was supposed to be.  Their father waved at them from the sidewalk.  Five minutes later it was a bumble bee.  This time Daddy was looking over the kid's shoulder.  He pointed.  "Ooo, Kit Kats!  Get those," he said.


Time passed.  They skipped dinner.  He had a Diet Coke and munched on potato chips.  At ten o'clock they locked the door and turned off the outdoor lights.  When he got out of the bathroom, the bedroom was dark, and his wife was already asleep.  He turned on the light on the nightstand on his side of the bed, picked up a magazine, and began to flip the pages.