by Gay Degani
Jennifer, “Jen,” as she preferred to be called, used to meet her neighbor, Howard, in Rocketship Park. They made a game of it. She would be in her jogging clothes, her face glossy with sweat, and he’d be in a three-piece suit, his car parked in the Von’s parking lot down the street. Each would circle the grassy areas, Jen in her cool-down stage, and Howard in his wind-down from a day of selling premium real estate to Chinese students with millionaire parents.
In the deepest, darkest section of the park, set away from the red, white, and blue aluminum spaceship, they would pass each other, eyes locking, private parts galvanizing, and at openings in the high Indian Hawthorne that looped the park, each would duck inside. They came together in a rush, not shedding clothing, but shoving them aside as if cotton, latex, and polyester were amorphous.
What these two did not know was that Howard’s wife, Lisa, and their next door neighbor, Zandra, had been lovers for three years, meeting every Thursday afternoon at the Waverly Motel nor that Jen’s husband, Rafe, was also screwing Zandra.
Zandra’s live-in partner, Bea, was out of the loop, yet extremely suspicious, and confided in Jen that she was certain she was being betrayed. Jen, who had a big heart, put arms around her friend, kissed her away her frown, then kissed her eyes, her neck, between her breasts, and completed the circuit, wondering just what Howard was doing at that very moment.
Gay Degani is the author of a full-length collection of short stories, Rattle of Want (Pure Slush Press, 2015) and a suspense novel, What Came Before (Truth Serum Press, 2016). She’s had four flash pieces nominated for Pushcart consideration and won the 11th Glass Woman Prize. She blogs at Words in Place.