The Scientist’s Wife by John Wentworth Chapin

Steven blurts it out: he cheated on her, broke into the lab, time-travelled back, fixed it. Technically, no cheating… they wouldn’t even know he broke in at work. Now it is all fine…except his conscience: fancy dinner and confession.

“You’re ridiculous. Time travel is impossible, Steven.” Her lobster tail is getting cold, drawn butter congealing.

He persists. “For the sake of this $200 meal, let’s pretend it’s not…. So are we good?”

Luann sighs, sucks a claw. “You think I care if it physically happened? If it temporally happened? You didn’t just fantasize. You screwed her – so you cheated. Pour more Perrier Jouet, asshole.”

“But it never happened! The universe has no record of it!” Steven looks triumphant: NASA-nerd triumphant, like when he beats a video game. She has no patience for it.

“Do you remember it?” Luann asks. “Did you get off?”

He nods.

“So there’s record.”

“But I made it so I never even met her!”

“Plus, you are a work-breaker-inner and coverer-upper.”

Steven’s brow furrows and he considers the diagonal weave of his napkin as it curves at a fold.

“Okay, Mister space-time engineer. You didn’t meet her. You didn’t boink her. But I’m a therapist… and I know you will. Or did. Or whatever.”

Luann tries to enjoy her lobster. She knows her husband: he’s sneaking back to the lab and this meal will never show up on the Visa bill.

Steven knows she knows: time travel is better than bulimia.


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Filed under John Wentworth Chapin

7 responses to “The Scientist’s Wife by John Wentworth Chapin

  1. Read this on f’naut today and loved it, love it again. So different, and
    twisted in a good way.

  2. Even Albert Einstein wasn’t smart enough to win an arguement with his wife; thats why he married his cousin. Thank you for sharing this smile.

  3. Amazing concept, and the careful structuring to turn it into such a great story! Well done, John.

  4. This is deftly drawn and layered like a puzzle, lile Suduko which i probably not only mis-spelled but also have never attempted. I’m left with that image of Luann sucking the claw. Just rich with tight details.

  5. So clever! Well played.

  6. len kuntz

    clever idea. loved that ending. nice job.

  7. Pingback: Week # 47 – Blind Spot | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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