by Kirk Melson
I used to love taking my wife out to eat. It was always a carefree time when we could visit about what was going on in our lives, share our dreams and our struggles.
Then she began to write…fiction.
And the carefree quickly morphed into the socially awkward. Oh we still discussed our dreams and our struggles and what was going on in our lives, but the stories she was (and still is) writing began to intrude.
I’ve always loved her book ideas and personally I think she’s a genius writer. And I’m NOT saying that because she’s my wife. She’s really good. She writes the kind of books I like to read—scifi and mystery/suspense—the kind of books a man can sink his teeth into.
And as an engineer I’m fascinated by the process. I still marvel at how her mind comes up with this stuff! But that’s also the challenging part for eating out…in public. Contrary to what I thought about fiction writers, these books don’t just spring forth fully formed. There are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of little details to be ironed out before everything fits together just right.
Details like how to murder someone. Or how to make her characters act right. I mean really, they’re imaginary characters. I would have thought they’d have been easy to control.
As usual, I was dead wrong.
And meal times seems to be when Edie is most comfortable discussing these problems with me. I’m flattered really. I can’t imagine why she’d think I’d have any insight into the challenges she’s facing.
And I can assure you, I do NOT have any experience in murdering someone.
But that doesn’t stop conversations like this from occurring at our favorite restaurants.
“I need your help with an issue I’m having with my antagonist.” An innocent enough way to start dinner conversation.
“Sure. How can I help?” I want to support her anyway possible. What else could I say?
“Well, we need to plan a murder.” She says it so matter of factly, like it’s a common topic of conversation.
I notice a few people glance our way, like they’re certain they couldn’t have heard that correctly.
“Are you sure you want to talk about that here?” I can see it coming, but can’t stop it or even get out of the way.
What indeed? “Okay, shoot.”
She frowns. “No, I need something more original than just shooting or stabbing someone. It’s got to be unique, and hard to solve.”
No those around us have stopped eating, some mid bite. My only thought is to get this topic finished and on to another one before someone calls the police. “I have to admit I can’t imagine. Maybe some kind of poison.”
“That sounds like a possibility, maybe something slipped into her food or drink.” She stares into space for a moment then smiles. “When I get home I’ll research some poisons and see if that helps.”
Then she’s off chatting about another subject.
I on the other hand am signaling to the waiter for the check. I want to be long gone before the police arrive.
Has this happened to anyone else out there? Give a struggling spouse some perspective!