Cabernet Sauvignon
Jimmy Chen

Tad and Alan were both successful business executives with wives and children. They golfed together on the weekends and often had lunch together during the week, as their offices were within a couple of blocks from each other. Carol, Tad's wife, taught ceramics at the community college. Beatrice, Alan's wife, was albino and preferred to be left alone. Tad and Alan's daughters were Kim and Sandy, respectively. Alan had an out-of-date ponytail. This all took place in a suburb fifty minutes from the city.
Brian worked at Whole Foods, usually in the seafood section—but this particular night (the entire shipment went foul) he was asked to man the floor, meaning, his duties would be of an ad hoc customer-relations nature. At 7:12 PM, Tad and Alan perused the reds in the left-hand section of aisle four. "I prefer Pinots," Tad said. "But Zins are so much more peppery," Alan said, and touched Tad's neck. Brian, who knew nothing about wine, happened to be walking through aisle four when he was asked by Tad what were notable regions for Pinots. Brian said he didn't know and apologized. After his shift, Brian took ten bong hits and played Medal of Honor until sunrise.
At 7:44 PM Tad and Alan returned to Alan's house and began disrobing in the foyer. "Is Beatrice home?" Tad asked. "She's at the Albino Resource Group," Alan said into Tad's by-then saliva-covered ear. Sandy, 16, was at a sleepover at a friend's house. The cat, in general, didn't care. Kim was nowhere. If there was to be a night, this would be it.
They ended up buying a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon as a compromise. Neither person was willing to relinquish their own wants. Nobody wanted a compromise, which was in itself the great compromise of love. At 9:33 PM, after two sessions of lovemaking, Tad went home, just twelve minutes before Beatrice arrived home. "How was your workshop dear?" Alan asked. "I've accepted that people will always see me," Beatrice said, "and therefore never truly see me." Alan looked at his wife, who would always be a ghost to him.
When Brian shot the enemy with his sniper rifle, he felt a surge of thrill rush through his chest. The sun was rising, and the more his room became apparent around his screen, the more real the concept of 'Whole Foods' became. Brian looked at his bong, but his bong didn't look back. He pushed the button which pulled the trigger and the head inside the rifle scope became a puff of red. Every night he would fight this way, and every morning he would wake up and go to work, not having all the answers.

Jimmy Chen is the author of Typewriter. He lives in San Francisco.

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