The following writing may contain mature subject matter that some readers may find unsettling: graphic violence, gore, drugs, sexuality, vulgarity, nudity and other mature themes.
This writing is fiction. Names, characters, settings and events are either used fictitiously or are products of the writers' imaginations. Any resemblance to real events, settings or people, dead or alive, is coincidental unless stated otherwise.
"Time can seem almost arbitrary when your night leaves you dreaming an alternate reality for just over fifty hours."
-- Observation attributed to Doctor Virginia McKay
The baked potato lay steaming on the patio table, chunks missing and sour cream bleeding with chives. A stainless steel fork rested upon the edge of the plate, and the chairs around the table were empty.
Classical music played in the background, a mix of stirring emotions in calm synergy. And on the other side of the iron fence, on either side of a net, two unfit people were playing a singles game of tennis.
One was an obese man, red-faced and sweating. The other was a large woman with brown curly hair. She seemed to have kept her composure better, as she calmly sent the ball back to him with an idle swing of the racket.
"This is why I don't want to do this in real life," he said. "It hurts."
"You're too angry with the ball, Jack," she told him.
Undeterred, hitting it back, "Well, work has been stressful. I have anger to vent, darling."
"It's always that, ain't it? Always that damn school. You didn't even want to finish your baked potato, Jack."
"So?" he watched her send it careening over the net. He swung and missed it, "Argh!"
"Jack, I want a divorce."
He looked directly at her from across the tennis court, "Pardon?"
"This marriage isn't working. I want a divorce."
The man's bulbous head turned a rich purple, "Twenty-nine years and you want a divorce!?" Outrage.
The bright green ball lay on the court, untouched.
"Jack, be calm or I will not discuss this with you. The counseling isn't working, Doctor McKay agrees with me on that one."
"Oh please, that woman is a youth-worker."
"And a psychologist. And a wife."
"I don't care if she's the God damn Pope! We'll discuss this in the morning. I'm leaving! Business calls."
And the large silhouette of Johan Gleimhurst faded into translucency and then transparency - he had logged off their dreamworld suite.
"Thirty, love. Not twenty-nine. Today's the day. And you forgot!" And nobody heard her, as she stamped a foot down against the ground in frustration. Anniversary indeed.
The system confirmed what it perceived to have heard, an ephemeral voice, "The score is thirty - love. Winner is Jennifer Gleimhurst. Opponent offline from network. Seek new opponent?"