By Steve Weddle
“Be sure to pack something nice, in case my mom wants to go out to dinner,” she said, loading deodorants, shampoos, nail clippers, toothbrushes into a bag.
He stood at the end of the bed, looking into the opened duffle bag, trying to decide what exactly “something nice” meant. “I have some brown pants and a white shirt. That all right?”
“Are they the tan pants or the khaki ones?”
“The light brown ones,” he said, pulling them out of the suitcase to show her when she stuck her head out of the bathroom door.
Robert Stokes zipped the duffle bag closed, dragged it to the other side of the house, to the front door. He took the stack of envelopes from the side table. The bills he’d worked on last night. He shuffled them into order, looking at the dates he’d written on the backs of the envelopes.
This one gets mailed the third. These two before the tenth. A clump that would wait. He turned around to the hallway. “We need to stop for stamps,” he said.
“What?” from the bedroom.
“Stamps. We need stamps.”
“We have stamps,” she said, coming down the hall to the bills. “In the basket.” She reached into the basket, pulled out three paper clips and a rubber band. “What happened to the stamps?”
“We need stamps.”
“I thought we had some.”
“We don’t. That’s why we need some.”
“Jesus, does everything have to be a fight with you?”
“What fight? I’m just saying we need stamps.”
“I know. You said that the first time.”
“And you said I was wrong.”
“I didn’t say you were wrong. Jesus Christ. I just thought we had some goddamn stamps. What is it with you?”
“With me? All I said was we need stamps and you have to come out and prove me wrong.”
“I was looking for the mother fucking stamps, Robert. Jesus.”
“We don’t have any.”