Funny Happy Fiction

My husband, Daryl, and his peculiar behavior had been a growing concern, and these feelings I had about him lingered, refusing to dissipate. Unexplainable incidents disrupted our daily routine, leaving me perplexed and disoriented.

I had a headache. No, it was a muscle ache. It was both. It was neither. He was the cause of it. And you know what? I would get nowhere if I tried to figure out why he changed.

“You don’t cook your spaghetti anymore!” I accused him one night.

“We eat out too much,” was his reply.

“No, we don’t! Name the last time.”

Daryl’s obsession with the latest cell phone was becoming more apparent. I often found him hunched over the couch, engrossed in his device, his fingers flickering with rapid movements. This starkly contrasted with our shared responsibilities, with me managing our budget and keeping track of our expenses. That was why I knew when we last ate out. My budget met his lack of attention, a win for me, right?

You’d think. But then maybe I didn’t. Think hard enough about it. I tried again.

“What’s with your sudden fascination with the color yellow?” I asked again the following evening. It was my night to Netflix—enough of the military documentaries or having to watch “Goodfellas” for the seventeenth time.


“Yellow. You’re looking at buying a new car. All the models you were building on your cell had the more expensive optional color yellow.”

“Which cars are you referring to?”

“I don’t know! You tell me!”

“Ford Focus can come in bisque,” he replied.

“Bisk? What is that!”

“Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin. Its color is essentially a shade of ochre. However, it is a toss-up between artist pigments, really. I couldn’t quite nail it down: Carbé Othello has a pastel pencil called “Gold Ochre,” which is really quite close. But I think it's between that and Grumbacher’s light ochre. I should write an email to Ford to find out what manufacturer does their pigments—”

“Stop!” I could feel that headache coming on.

“The Toyota Corolla can come in a golden buff, which is quite interesting. Its shade is between Conté’s Ochre Doré and Girault’s Gomme Gutte. But I would need an artist’s opinion on that. It also depends upon the medium that is used. Am I boring you?”

“You’ve also started putting mustard on everything,” I continued.

“Mustard has no calories and is way healthier than mayonnaise, margarine, or butter.”

“OK, but you just bought a new case cover for your self phone, and it is yellow.”

“Self-phone?” He sighed.

I started getting angry. He’s sitting cross-legged on our couch, staring at it. “Yeah, I’ll call it that. Because you never stop using it, even when I talk to you!”

“Well, for one thing, the case is amber in color, not yellow, and I can hear you clearly whatever I’m looking at.”


I suppose I could tolerate these mild eccentricities if they didn’t affect me excessively. I have a few quirks of my own that I’m not particularly proud of. But when he takes his weirdness out on me, that is when I draw a line.

We do get out sometimes, but lately, everything has taken forever. He’s constantly scribbling on his cell and correcting me.

“Our neighbor’s grass is so high!” I complained when we were piling into our new bisque Focus. “I feel like making a complaint to the city.”

He craned his neck to look and snapped a photo with his phone. "I respectfully disagree," he said softly. “Firstly, this purported lawn could more accurately be described as a naturalistic or low-input eco-system. These types are widely favored for their reduced maintenance requirements, minimal environmental impact, and support for greater biodiversity.”

I started the car and then made the mistake of reopening my mouth. “But these same people let their dog poop everywhere!”

His eyes lit up. “Ah yes, the perfect fertilizer!”

“You’ve got to be shitting me!”

“I’d hate to poop on your parade, but sadly, no. I’m perfectly serious.”


We arrive at the grocery store. Of course, we have to go to the budget grocery store even though we both make decent money in our jobs—the one with garish ads with pee yellow borders and oversized black print.

He’s immediately attracted to all the sales. I usually go for quality, but for him, it's price, price, price. He especially likes nice round numbers—no $4.99 or $1.99. Five dollars mesmerizes him. I come back from picking up romaine, carrots, and kale, and he’s filled our cart with no-name pee yellow tins of canned potatoes, peas, and mushrooms.

I start putting all those tins back on the shelves. “You’ve really gone too far!” I exclaim. “Is it the color? Pee yellow?”

“It's more a classic pale gold. Sennelier does a fine series of pastels with pale gold as their anchor color, though I stand to be corrected because I have only started to research this.”

I look at the sign above the tumble bunker with these tins. “What’s the attraction, Daryl? These cans of dirt-cheap food are five for five dollars. Is it the color or the price that attracts you?”

“Would it be better if it was just one item from a different part of the store for five dollars? I’d like that better.”

“Five dollars?” I say absently. That headache was back. Was this the beginning of dementia? Do people begin that journey in this way? I wondered.

“Honey, I’m starting to get really worried about you. We can be done now and head back home. We’ve only got a short list.” He suddenly got so excited I worried that other people might notice.

“Short List! I’d love a short list!”


The doctor that met with us was very kind and supportive. He recommended lots of rest and a timed locker for the self-phone. Daryl was kind enough to give us his full attention, but I could see that there was way more going on under the hood, so to speak than even the doctor could pick up on.

Daryl appeared to be memorizing everything in the room. I could see his mouth moving ever so slightly, pronouncing keywords like I used to do in grade three when my teacher told us to take snapshots with our eyes and think hard about what we saw until we could remember every little detail. Thirty years later, I remember so well how Sissy stuck her tongue out at me…

We’re back in the car. I feel a little more up to speed, having figured out what was happening.

“That doctor was in his late forties, wasn’t he? He had brown hair, was unshaven, and appeared a little rumbly.” There. Two could play at this game.

“Rumply is inexact,” Daryl replied. “I would say that his eyes held the key to knowledge far beyond our capacity to comprehend, with hair that stores a miasma of anecdotal comprehension, leading to his runaway diagnosis bordering upon psychosis.”

“Care to elaborate?” I sniggered, barely able to contain myself. “No, don’t! Heavens!”


The self-phone was in the time lock box, and he appeared to be relaxing for once.

We were in the backyard, the sun playing hide-and-seek with the clouds. Our neighbors were barbecuing. They would probably be inviting us to join them. I had a bottle of wine in the fridge, all prepped and ready, just in case.

Ah, the slower life without self-phones! My cell was in that box, too. Solidarity. We would get through this together.

Daryl goes down to the basement, which is annoying. I call after him.

“Daryl, your drink is getting warm!”

I couldn’t tell if he could hear me. Houses these days are so paper mâché thin. But he reappeared with a large rectangular box that reminded me of my college days.

Then he opens it up. My old Olivetti typewriter!

“I thought I threw that thing out ages ago!”

“Apparently, you didn’t,” he replied.

“So, I thought we were supposed to relax and take things easier. What do you need that old thing for?”

Daryl sighed. I thought I saw a tear in his eyes. He seemed at a loss for words, too. I leaned over towards him. For once, here was some real honest emotion!

“Go on, honey, you can tell me,” I said.

“I’m all for taking it easy,” he stammered. “But to give up my writing? That’s too much!”

I pretended to understand as he started clattering away on that mechanical keyboard which made a thin reedy sound when the type slugs hit the ink ribbon.

Curious. But so much like life. Life lived in the shadow of words. He had to slug it out like any ink-stained wretch in the search for just the right understanding.

You can’t win them all.

June 04, 2024 04:55

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Trudy Jas
19:30 Jun 08, 2024

I wanted to strangle Daryl. :-)


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09:44 Jun 07, 2024

This is funny in a worrying way. With those headaches it was hard to tell who had something wrong. Daryl or his wife. Daryl was obviously filling his mind with that much from his online viewings, he'd become an advertisement for all that he had watched. An expert about everything. Time out from his device - doctor's orders. A good idea. I didn't know there are so many shades of yellow!


Joe Smallwood
17:41 Jun 07, 2024

I didn't think that there was anything wrong with the MC but thanks for noticing.


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