Eureka by Bill Bruce

Bill Bruce is the 1st place winner of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Short Fiction Contest.

Aerial view of island in blue-green waters
Photo by John Westrock on Unsplash

“Hey”

                                   “hey”

“What’re you up to?”

                                   “not much. u?”

“About to take Emma to her
soccer game”

                                   “nice”

“You at your apt?”

                                   “yea”

“Wish I was there”

                                   “me too”

“Other night was great”

                                   “yea”

“What’s wrong?”

                                        “nothin why?”

“You seem distant”

                                   “bored I guess”

“Maybe I swing by later?”

                                   “how?”

“I’ll think of something”

                                   “like?”

“I have to finish marking
papers at my office”

                                   “on a Saturday night?”

“She’ll buy it”

                                   “wow”

“Don’t want me to?”

“course I do”

“Somethin’s up with you”

                                   “i’m fine”

“What is it?”

“i don’t know what we’re doin”

“What do you mean?”

                                   “us. what’re we doin?”

“I told you”

                                   “tell me again”

“I love you. I want to spend
the rest of my life with you”

                                   “when’s that start?”

“Couple weeks”

                                   “you gonna tell her that?”

“I said as soon as I get the
financials in order”

“what’s to get in order? u get half, she gets half”

“Half isn’t really half”

                                   “u lost me”

“Something I didn’t mention”

                                   “now’d be a good time”

“I have a stash”

                                   “?”

“$$”

                                   “??”

“She doesn’t know about”

                                   “how much?”

“Not on this”

                                   “how much?”

“1 1/2”

                                   “1 ½ what”

“Million”

“Hello?”

                                   “dollars?”

“Yes”

                                   “that’s a lot”

“Happy?”

                                   “surprised”

“We’re free, we can go anywhere”

                                   “where?”

“Wherever you want”

                                   “no, the stash”

“Buried. Through my acct”

                                   “she has no idea?”

“Zero”

                                   “where’d it come from?”

“Speaking eng and pub royalties”

                                   “how could she not know?”

“I handle things”

                                   “what about Emma?”

“Why’re we going over this
again?”

                                   “i need to hear it again”

“Joint custody”

“Okay?”

                                   “ok”

“You still good with that?”

                                  “just could be a little
weird”

“Are you changing your mind?”

“no. just processing”

“Just?”

                                   “it’s getting real”

“I told you”

                                   “ok”

“Still love me?”

                                   “u have no idea”

“You don’t seem like you”

                                   “sorry. long night. alone”

“I can come over now–ask Jen
to take Emma?”

                                   “might have to”

“Ok, I’ll hit you back.
Should go and deal”

                                “there is one thing that
u should prob think about
tho”

“What?”

                                   “nvrmnd, it’s too crazy”

“Tell me”

“Hello?”

“u brush her off like she’s a
simpleton, but i bet jen
isn’t a stupid woman. what if
she suspected u were f’ing ur
teaching asst and so she went
into ur contacts and replaced
ur teaching asst’s phone #
with her phone # — just to
see what would happen.”

“see if like most people u
just use names and click –
marie, for instance. which
would mean today, this
entire time, u really been
talkin to jen and not, marie,
the teaching asst u been f’ing.”

“so now she, jen, not only
knows ur cheatin but, eureka,
she, jen, knows about ur
secret stash. which would
def screw up ur big plan.
at least toss a big monkey
fuckery wrench into it.”

“it’s amazing how people can
go through life acting like
someone they’re not.
then again, people are so rarely
who they say they are. u know?”

“and u can delete this convo
like u usually do, but she,
jen, would still have it.”

“i mean, c’mon, think about it
… how crazy would that be?”

                                   🤪😰

 “hello?”

                                   …

                                   “u there?”

Shark in dark blue waters
Photo by Viktor Jakovlev on Unsplash

##


Bill Bruce
Bill Bruce spent two-and-a-half decades in a New York advertising agency before refocusing his time and passion on longer format storytelling and directing. He currently lives with his family in the Northeast United States working on a film and a collection of short stories while playing as much hockey as time will allow.

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