by Zalman Velvel
Abe went through his stack of morning messages. Three were marked "URGENT!", from his best friend, Jack. He grabbed the phone.
"Jack, what's wrong?"
"I have to see you right away."
"Your phone works. Talk to me."
"No. It's got to be face to face."
Abe looked at his appointment book. Clients were stacked up all day. "How about Salinger's? 12:30? "
"How about noon?"
When Abe hung up the phone, his first thought was I hope it's not cancer. Please God. The thought of life without his best friend of over fifty years was unbearable. Abe rushed the rest of his appointments and left early for lunch, only to be delayed at the elevator by furniture movers.
Abe extended his hand when he arrived at the table. Jack looked at his watch.
"Okay, I'm sorry. I know I'm late. It wasn't -"
"Shut up and sit down. There's your Scotch. I'm two ahead of you."
"No. Nothing with alcohol for me. I have to be in court this afternoon."
"Fine." Jack took Abe's scotch and downed it in one quick gulp.
"Now you're three ahead. Maybe you better slow down."
"My mother's dead, Abe, and you're the wrong sex for the job."
Abe studied Jack's face. His blue eyes still looked sharp. His skin looked younger than his seventy-two years, and he still had most of his hair. Life was good for Jack. All he needed was a shave. Please God, let that be all he needs.
"So?" Abe gripped the arms of his chair and held his breath.
"So, I want a divorce."
Abe exhaled and started laughing.
"You think this is funny?"
"Compared to what I imagined, it's hilarious. Now I could use a drink." Abe nodded to the waiter and pointed to his glass. "Please, a half glass of chardonnay.”
Jack waited for the waiter to leave before he added:
"I swear, Abe, if I don't divorce that woman, I'll going to kill her."
"Good timing. Two months before your golden wedding anniversary."
"I hate her."
"Jack, come on. What did Janis do that was so terrible?" The waiter arrived with drinks. They gave their food order, and he left.
"She's the devil."
"Could you be a little more specific?"
"You want details? Okay. She doesn't do anything nice for me, that's what she does. Definitely nothing in the bedroom."
"Is there someone else?" Abe whispered.
"No, not yet." Jack looked at his friend. "Oh, you mean for her. No. She's too tired from tormenting me to be interested in someone else. It takes a lot of energy to argue like we do."
"About? About nothing. Everything. Little things, mostly. Like this morning, for instance. We argued about the coffee. She said I keep making the coffee too strong. ……
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