From the Short Story "Zero"


      . . . he drove home and put his car in the garage.
One lamp was burning in the kitchen in the otherwise darkened house, but he knew that Emily was still awake. As soon as he opened the kitchen door he knew she was awake. . . . from her to him came a hostile greeting. . . .
     "You want to tell me where you went to?"
     "You mean after the meeting?"
     "There was no meeting. Phil Irwin called to say it was called off."
     "Yes, I found that out when I got there . . . so we went over to the Elks and had a few beers. Jack Showers, Ed McGraney."
     "Always Jack Showers and Ed McGraney," she said.
     "They're on the athletic committee."
     "And you never see them any other time. I never see them at all. . . . You don't tell me anything but lies. You never went near the Elks tonight."
     "I can prove it." . . . .
     "Listen to me, Dick. I know there's something funny going on, and I'm going to find out what it is. I'm not going to let you make a fool of me. Whoever it is, it isn't one of my friends because I keep tabs on them. Norma, Elaine. Especially Norma. But it couldn't be her, because when I was checking up on you and I found out she has another boy friend. But whoever it is, you might as well prepare yourself. I'm going to make trouble."
     "Make trouble for yourself. That's what you're doing right now. And keep you voice down or you'll wake the kids."
     "Oh, isn't that rich? You showing consideration for the kids. I like that, all right. It's all right to make a fool out of me and go whoring around, but we mustn't wake the kids. That's rich, that is. Go on up and wake them. Tell them where you were tonight, with some whore."
     He slapped her. "Shut up," he said.
     She drew away from him. "Don't you do that again, don't you ever do that again. I'll kill you first, Dick. I swear I will.
     "Go ahead, you'd be doing me a favor," he said.
Dick had just been with Eva Novack, back from the hospital after having had an abortion, at his expense, and she was hitting him up for more money until she got back on her feet.

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