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The Broken Vase (Approx 500 wds) Jenkins awoke at 6:15, climbed noiselessly out of his side of the bed and went through his unvarying morning routine in the bathroom. After dressing, he had his usual breakfast of orange juice, toast and coffee. As always, the thought that his beautiful wife would be there when he returned from the office gave him a satisfied feeling, like warming his hands at a fire after coming in from the cold. It occurred to him that the kitchen, usually so neat, looked messy, the sink filled with dishes and the floor dirty, but before he could think about it a car horn sounded and he went out quickly, making sure the front door was locked, and joined his car pool going to work. Jenkins had been assistant head of his department for the past five years. His superiors considered him the perfect number two man. He was sober, careful, cautious, capable and utterly dependable. He always arrived early at the office and took his lunch at his desk. He didn’t mingle socially with his co-workers and kept his business life separate from his home life. Collins, Jenkin’s department head, the only person in the company who’d met Jenkin’s wife, had always wondered about their marriage. The only plausible explanation had come from a business associate who’d heard that Jenkins had once worked for her father and, as his accountant, had saved him from going bankrupt. That day Collins insisted that Jenkins join a few of them at lunch in a nearby restaurant. They were celebrating somebody’s birthday. They ordered a bottle of wine and the lunch became noisy, with jokes and laughter. Collins, as he always did, asked after Jenkins’ wife. At that moment, Jenkins knocked over an empty wine glass, which shattered on the hard floor. “Are you all right?” asked Collins. “Yes,” said Jenkins, bending over and carefully picking up the pieces of broken glass, which he then placed on a clean napkin. Sitting upright again, he said, “My wife’s fine. Just fine.” At the end of the workday, Jenkins, still feeling the effects of the wine, was glad to get home. After the large lunch, he wasn’t hungry and the kitchen, with the dirty dishes in the sink, discouraged any attempt to find food. He sat in the living room, watching some mindless television program. He must have dozed off, or perhaps it was the wine, because he suddenly saw with perfect clarity a beautiful vase being held aloft in two slender hands. The hands then loosened their grip and the vase fell, shattering into a thousand shining bits. Jenkins shut his eyes, then opened them again. The television was still on. He turned it off, went into the bathroom, brushed his teeth, hung up his clothes, and lay down carefully on one side of the bed, feeling with his hand the empty space on the other side where his beautiful wife used to be. The End

Date Written: May 20, 2006
Author: mgreen100
Average Vote:

05/22/2006 qualcomm: total ripoff of the now-classic jeffrey [sic*] was

* geoffrey
05/22/2006 TheBuyer: Jenkins wakes up too early for this short to be funny.
05/24/2006 scoop: Alright author, enough already. The suspese is killing me. Whose birthday were they celebrating at the restaurant!?