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Adventure Romance Funny

Elaine said, “I hate to tell you this…”

Greg looked up from his newspaper. “What?”

“Oh, never mind.”

“Elaine, what?”

“I don’t want to fight.”

“Who’s fighting? Talk.”

“We’re… in a rut.”

“We are?” He reached for her.

“Greg, our hamster wheel...” He stared. “It rattles and spins but never goes anywhere.”

“Uhm, Honey, if it rolled away, you’d lose the hamster…”

Elaine rolled her eyes. “Never mind…”

“No, what’s this about?”

“We’re too comfortable.”

“You want discomfort?”

“We used to have adventures. I don’t want to watch the clock until quitting time.”

“Oh…”

“What you want to do today?”

Greg paused. “It’s Saturday.” She nodded. “The usual. Nice, safe and predictable…”

“Know how many times we’ve watched reruns of ‘Friends’?”

“But it’s so funny.”

 “You just proved my point.”

“Which was?”

She left the room. He shook his head and returned to the sports page.

Elaine and Greg were happy and still in love. But the spark of their lives had sunk into being a heating pad, stuck on ‘low.’

Greg searched the house and discovered Elaine sitting on the patio.

“Found you... Want lunch?”

She perked up. “Sure. The usual?”

“Or mix it up with fast food Mexican instead of fast food burgers?”

“Ole!”

“Leaving in five.”

While eating, Greg pulled out a folded paper.

“I thought about your hamster wheel.” She looked surprised. “But I have a question.”

“Shoot…”

“This hamster wheel… Is it fixable? Does it need replacing?”

“Whoa…! What are you talking about?”

“That’s what I’m asking...”

“Greg, we are irreplaceable. If that’s what you’re asking. We aren’t broken.”

“But you said…”

“Right. My analogy went off the rails. Instead of ‘broken…’ how about it needs tweaking?”

“Lubrication?”

“A tune up…”

“From ‘A’ minor to ‘A’ plus…?”

“As mixed metaphors go… but yes.”

He played 'air drums' and moved to an imaginary song. “Like in bed? Buda-boom, boom, buda-pshhh… shoop, shoop…”

Elaine drew a finger across her throat. “Not exactly.” He stopped moving. “I’m thinking more of outside entertainments.”

“Gone stale?”

“Same ol, same ol…”

Greg leaned back at the epiphany. “Oh, that’s what you mean by ‘mixing it up’…”

“I mean, we don’t have to go bungee jumping, but…”

He held up the paper. “That’s on my bucket list...”

“What else?”

“…We can mix and match, your list and mine...”

“Like?”

He unfolded the paper and read. “One… go to a baseball game. Two… bungee jumping. Three… horseback riding. Four… make a bucket list. Five… watch a drive-in movie…”

She set her jaw. “It’s a beginning. Making a bucket list is on your bucket list?”

He shrugged.

“They still have drive-ins?”

“They’re back.”

She leaned in. “Do I have veto power?”

“Of course. It’s not a dictatorship. We each get two vetoes.”

“Only two?”

“How many you want?”

“Uhm… four?”

“Four! Elaine, you said…”

“I know. But we want a team effort. Right?”

“In a perfect world…”

“How about in reality?”

“Which one is the keeper?”

“I’ll get back to you. But, if you’re planning a bungee jump, finish your bucket list first. Don’t want to leave unfinished business…”

Greg wrote, ‘Six… Put affairs in order.’

 Elaine continued. “…And don’t stop at five.”

“If I come up with a hundred, you still want four vetoes?”

“Out of a hundred? Eighty-five… ninety?”

Greg balked. “You know this works both ways, right?”

She looked down. “Right… Look Greg, I want to stretch. Keep things fresh.”

“I like our routine, but, okay… Clue me. What inspires you?”

“Drum roll… Now I’m on the spot. We could… watch a sunset? Explore new places? Day trips? Museums? Bowling?”

“I could bowl.”

“That’s it?”

“Others are kind of vague…”

“Go up the coast. Hit a flea market. Ride a carousel. Beach picnic…”

“Next weekend?” Elaine nodded. “Up the coast. Let’s do it.”

~

Greg and Elaine headed north early Saturday morning. They planned to stop for lunch above Ventura. Spend the afternoon exploring Santa Barbara and return that evening.

They didn’t expect a million other Los Angelinos to make the same trip. The freeway became a parking lot before they left LA County. Two hours out, they exited, hoping for a shortcut. Except everyone in Southern California was waiting at the next light.

They spent the time inventing dialogue for other drivers, and sang duets of their favorites. Their progress could be gauged by car lengths. Greg won the debate on whether peddle boats or Flintstone’s cars would be faster.

They lunched at a fast-food joint. It had great fries. But they never saw the ocean, nor got far as Ventura. On paper, their ten-hour journey was a bust. They had fun anyway and riffed about it for years after.

Once their course was set, the debate stopped. They acted as one. For weeks, the happy couple worked through their list.

Early on, they watched a sunset. Greg called it, “Longest running show on earth.” He vetoed star gazing because “Werewolves...” He qualified that saying, “If it were the Northern Lights, I’d be there. But stars…? I know, the Milky Way… blah, blah… Can’t hold a candle to other galaxies.”

Their vetoes said a lot. Elaine said, “I want to do things, not sit watching other people do things.” They scratched all sports events.

They visited the County Museum of Art. A guard stopped them from doing rude things to statues for photo ops. The gift shop made their day. Elaine bought two journals. She challenged Greg to describe their adventures. Elaine wrote in hers for a few weeks, each entry shorter than the others.

Greg’s motto for the gift shop was, “T-shirts are forever.” He bought five.

Outside the museum, they ate at their first food truck. Greg said, “Just like a sidewalk café, without tables, chairs and snooty waiters.”

Elaine said, “My mom warned me, ‘never eat food off the street.’” The food was good.

Not every adventure was successful. The yard sale disappointed Elaine. She said, “We have better junk at home.” Greg agreed.

Later, they decided going bowling and ice skating in one weekend was too much. Though neither sustained injuries, their intake of pain-killers sky-rocketed. Who knew they had so many unused muscles? They insisted it was fun to go once. After that, their most strenuous activity became striking activities from the list. Hiking, zip-lining, golf, fishing and other physical activities were deemed ‘too expensive.’

Elaine planned a flower garden and drafted Greg for the excavation. He felt it was too much work for something inedible. She insisted he’d run out of vetoes.

By the time any flowers blossomed, their thirst for adventure was sated. They discussed having friends over for a game night and BBQ. They decided scheduling was too difficult. Never happened.

In August, they went to see Glazed, Greg’s favorite singer, perform at the Hollywood Bowl. He’d been a fan since high school. A must see, Glazed was ending his fourth and final farewell tour. The couple made the effort despite their aversion to crowds and parking lots. Greg wore the souvenir ‘Get Glazed’ t-shirt he bought at his first concert.

Driving home, Greg said, “I’m glad that’s over.”

“You didn’t like it? I thought he was great.”

“No. Of course. I’ve seen him play three or four times. Glazed is my man. I mean our summer adventure experiment. Doing nothing for a while looks adventuresome to me.” Hopeful, he looked at Elaine.

Elaine nodded. “You’re right, Greg. Need rest from all the fun. Looking forward to hanging out, watching TV, eating at favorite restaurants. Yay! For normal!”

Greg cheered. “Hey Baby!” They high fived. “I thought this summer would never end.”

They kissed.

He came to a stop light. Elaine touched his arm. He saw her serious look.

“I’m worried, Greg.”

“What’s up?”

“What if we lost the remote?”

His eyes widened. Adrenaline surged through his veins. But her laughter triggered his. He pulled over so they could laugh together. They ended in a tight embrace.

April 05, 2023 23:54

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9 comments

Juliet. B.
16:49 Apr 13, 2023

I absolutely love the story! I love dialogue, I love how it's so funny! And it definitely gave some ideas! I also loved how it was clean. I really loved it!

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John K Adams
19:44 Apr 13, 2023

Juliet, I love your comments! I've rarely received such a rave review on a story. I will read yours and hope you will read, and love, all of mine. Thanks!

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Amanda Lieser
02:49 Jul 22, 2023

Hi John, Oh, how wonderful to take a moment and see a happy matrimony I think that it’s very easy for us to fall into the trap of greeting conflict within matrimony because it’s such an intimate relationship, but I appreciate it that this couple manage to find a way to come together. That conversation could’ve gone much worse, and I loved that each partner truly valued each other’s souls. Nice work!!

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John K Adams
13:18 Jul 22, 2023

Thanks again, Amanda. Yes, as most traditional vows declare, 'to have and to hold' not '...to hold down...' Fun to write. Like happy endings.

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F.O. Morier
08:11 Apr 13, 2023

I love the dialogue! Beautiful! Funny! Great job!

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John K Adams
14:04 Apr 13, 2023

Thank, F.O., for reading and commenting. Love your bio.

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F.O. Morier
18:58 Apr 13, 2023

Thank you. Have a great weekend ahead!

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Francis Daisy
12:00 Apr 07, 2023

Romantic and inspiring. I loved both characters and their humor!

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Delbert Griffith
10:25 Apr 07, 2023

A really fun tale with good dialogue and a fitting end, John. I especially liked the veto power and the rationalizations that each employed. Their personalities came through quite well. We got a good look at each person's character through showing and not telling. Masterful job, my friend. Cheers!

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