Writing Practice, May 16 2015
Gerald went on a game show and lost. It didn’t matter to anyone but his wife–the lovely Maggie–who promptly began seeing the winner of the game show, an otherwise unremarkable woman by the name of Beth. Beth was married herself, but her husband wasn’t much for contest winners, and after the show aired felt decreasing affection for Beth. But Beth’s husband–contritely-named Joe–didn’t know Gerald, outside of seeing him on TV that one time. Anyways, he didn’t see a future with Gerald, as what little he knew about him didn’t reveal much to recommend. Even Joe knew the question Gerald got wrong.
Beth noticed Joe wasn’t as into her when she invited him into bed with her and Maggie. Maggie didn’t much care for Joe, as he hasn’t won anything, except perhaps Beth’s heart at one time or another. But she would have gone along with it to please Beth. Joe didn’t share her spring enthusiasm. He moved out and took his dog. Maggie and Beth are still over the moon.
Beth didn’t fully consider Joe’s feelings, but winning does strange things to the heart.
Gerald found himself alone for the first time in many years. He hadn’t grasped the tenuousness of their union. But knowing that his marriage was on the line wouldn’t have changed his answer. Raising the stakes doesn’t make someone smarter. But Gerald became a devoted quiz show trainer. He drowned his wifeless time with trivia. Once he felt confident–all Maggie’s things long since excavated from their leased walkup–he applied to several quiz shows. This was back in the day (or was it off in the near future?) when quiz shows were very popular. He was accepted to all of them. Judges loved his story. They loved how he might tell it. They loved how he might lose more.
Gerald sent a letter to Maggie, telling her to watch as he tried to win her back by being some kind of winner. (This was back when people wrote letters. Or perhaps in the future when all the computers break and we’re stuck with the Post again.) Beth opened it and threw it away. She hadn’t ever done anything that cruel before, but winning does strange things to the heart. Maggie didn’t get to see Gerald win, if he had in fact won. Beth didn’t own a TV, since Joe had taken it along with the dog.