Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #329

Kent, left: “My darling, you seem troubled.”

Mae, right: “Well, I suppose there’s something I should tell you, but I don’t think you’ll like it.”

Kent: “You know I love you eternally. There’s nothing you can say that will make me unhappy.”

Mae: “It’s just that… well, you were away so long with that war thing, and I got lonely, and… things happened.”

Kent: “Whatever does that mean, my sunshine?”

Mae: “It means that your sunshine cast her rays on another man.”

Kent: “I don’t understand. Did you do something with a flashlight?”

Mae: “Well, that’s one way to put it.”

Kent: “So you helped someone find their way home?”

Mae: “That’s another way to put it. But I’m not sure if you’re following me.”

Kent: “Are you going somewhere?”

Mae: “No, I’ve already been there. I need you to listen to me. It’s a wretched tale, but it must be told. I was at the barn dance, on the refreshment committee, and I was serving punch. And being that near the punch bowl all night, I perhaps sampled more than I should have. So when this swarthy gentleman walked into the room, with biceps that made me tingle, I was perhaps a bit too enthusiastic about my attention to his arms. And his swarthiness. And the fact that you were overseas.”

Kent: “Always thinking of me, aren’t you, my pet.”

Mae: “Well, not always. He asked me to join him back at his hotel. And I agreed.”

Kent: “Is this where the flashlight comes in? Was he the one you helped home?”

Mae: “Oh, I did more than help. Before I knew it, I was doing something with his flashlight, very similar to what you are doing now with your hand.”

Kent: “My hand? Oh, you mean this pumping action? That’s just a reflex memory from shoving powder into the artillery guns. I sometimes find myself doing this in the middle of the night.”

Mae: “I found myself doing it as well. And a few other things. Then the gun went off. And now… now, I’m with child.”

Kent: “You adopted children? Whatever for?”

Mae: “No, I’m going to have a child. Because I was intoxicated by punch and biceps and a bad decision.”

Kent: “Are you saying that you’re pregnant? How can that be? I’ve been overseas for two years.”

Mae, stunned at the unending imbecility and no longer interested in softening the blow: “How in the world are you able to dress yourself in the morning?”

Previously published, slight changes made. In an interesting twist, Mae eventually gave birth to a boy that she named Punch, with the delivery occurring on the same day that Kent married a woman from Pawhuska, Oklahoma named Judy. Kent didn’t make that connection, either…

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