His co-workers lounged against the building, drinking coffee and smoking before punching in for the early shift. The elbow nudging began as he got out of the truck, walked to the driver’s side window, and kissed his wife goodbye. He sensed the men’s envy as he watched her drive away, and could just make out the familiar, mocking whispers of pussy-whipped, on a short leash, and under her thumb before he turned and the smirks quickly vanished.
They never said anything to his face, the chicken-shits. Must have been something about the way he carried himself or the old knife scar bisecting his right cheek that quelled even bigger men’s voices. But he’d seen their stares when she brought him his lunch every day, wearing those short-shorts and bare-midriff blouses, the way conversations halted and sandwiches stopped midway to mouths when she shook out her blonde curls.
He knew they wondered how somebody who looked like him had gotten someone who looked like her. Hell, he wondered himself. So, if she liked taking him to work, bringing his lunch, and picking him up at the end of his shift, he didn’t complain. A short leash anchored both ends.
Bob Strother’s work has been published internationally and adapted for film. A three-time pushcart Prize nominee, Strother has four novels and a short story collection in print, as well as several magazine articles.