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The Lunch Club

     Beth Kranz came home to find her husband, Dan, missing. She thought she knew where he had gone, but hoped she was wrong up until she heard the Porsche’s car door slam. She looked out the window and when she saw him haul his golf clubs out of the trunk her faint hope winked out light a candle flame in a draft. Determined not to start another argument, she swallowed hard, pasted a smile on her face, and opened the door.
     Dan brushed past her. “How was lunch?” he greeted her on his way to the bar. The question was a throw-away line, tossed over his shoulder.
     Beth followed him to the den where he busied himself mixing a gin and tonic. He grimaced at the Gordon’s label and put the bottle back under the bar as if afraid someone would see it. The empty Tanguerey bottle, however, was allowed to remain on the counter.
     “Fine. How was yours?” She winced at the sharp edge to her words, but it was too late to take them back.
     “Uh-oh, guess I recognize that tone of voice.” Dan’s tone was jovial and she knew this drink was not his first of the day.
     “I thought you were going to quit going to the club,” she said, trying to sound casual and not accusing.
     “You went out for lunch with your friends, so why shouldn’t I?” he countered. He carried his drink to his recliner and sat, placing the drink on the side table without bothering with a coaster although one was within easy reach.
     “There’s a difference. I ordered a salad and water; the bill was less than five dollars.” She didn’t mention that, her stomach clamoring for more, she had slipped Harriet’s uneaten roll in her purse to eat on the way home. “There isn’t a lunch at the club under fifteen. And, since it’s obvious you played golf, you have to add in the greens fee.” And the bar bill, she didn’t add.
     “So?” His eyes narrowed dangerously, but Beth plowed on.
     “So? Because we agreed not to run up any more tabs at the club, that’s why. We’re behind in our dues now. What possible reason—”
     “I connected with some friends who might have some contacts, if you need a reason. People who know people. I shouldn’t have to explain everything to you.”
     “Your strategy would make more sense to me if you told them you were looking for a job,” she said, exasperated. “I don’t care how many people they know, if you don’t know them. What’s the point?”
     “I hear things,” he said. “Little things I can follow up on. Like who’s hiring, or who left a position I could apply for.”
     So far nothing had come of these tidbits. Instead of further angering him by saying this, she changed course and said, “The bank called again today.”
     “I keep telling you not to worry about the bank. I’ll handle them,” Dan said. He picked up the TV remote and clicked, effectively ending the conversation.