Johnny America




Dabovitch got fired.

He told his wife that evening.

First she was stand­ing and he was sit­ting. Then he was stand­ing and she was stand­ing. Then she was sit­ting and he was pac­ing. Then she was stand­ing at the slid­ing door that looked out of their apart­ment in­to the lot. It was af­ter sunset.

“I was go­ing to quit any­way,” Dabovitch said from some­where be­hind her. His tie was loos­ened and he had the short, close-cropped beard of a mid­dle manager.

“Go­ing to,” said his wife, as if spec­u­la­tions were ir­rel­e­vant. In her mind they were ir­rel­e­vant, though some­times her de­f­i­n­i­tion of spec­u­la­tion varied.

Dabovitch went in­to the kitchen for a beer.

But he didn’t get one.

He was afraid now how it would look to his wife. He was al­so afraid how it would look if he didn’t get one, so he re­moved a can from the fridge and set it on the counter.

But this was no good either.

His wife en­tered the kitchen and leaned against the door­jamb. She was a very pret­ty woman with tired eyes. She worked too. They would nev­er be rich. They were just old enough now to re­al­ize it. “Look at you,” she said.

“What,” said Dabovitch, though not be­cause he hadn’t heard her. He was in love with her more than she was in love with him.

“What would hap­pen,” said his wife, “if I told you now I was pregnant?”

His eyes went wide. He moved to­ward her, but stopped when she laughed.

An hour passed.

Nei­ther of them made dinner.

When it was dark they were both sit­ting on the couch.

Filed under Fiction on September 23rd, 2008

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Reader Comments

s darwin wrote:

the sim­plic­i­ty and al­most bar­ren qual­i­ty of the style leaves the read­er feel­ing a bit disoriented.

NTB wrote:

I saw Ed read this in Hous­ton, TX, and it got a stand­ing ova­tion. Some­thing about the mood of the room that night. One of my fa­vorite of Ed­ward’s stories.

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