Two rather conservatively attired young men who look to be in their early thirties are sitting at the bar consuming their second beers on the evening. One of them, Albert, looks rather happy-go-lucky, while the other one, Nigel, has quite a serious look upon his face, not in keeping with his being in a bar. This expression causes Albert to speak with a trademark smile:
“Why so glum, chum? You don’t look like your usual self. Problems at home, constipation?. Your wife giving you a hard time?”
This was followed by a light jab to the upper arm. This worked no magic on Nigel.
“Nigel, it’s Friday night. We’ve finished our work for the week, and we are in a bar drinking beer. You should be happy. Why aren’t you?”
After a few drawn-put seconds of silence, Nigel speaks:
“There is something I saw last week that I think you should know, but I hate to tell you what it was. That’s my problem. And I don’t know what I should do about it.”
“Just tell me Nigel. You don’t have to be shy with me. We have been friends since our high school days. You can say anything to me. I won’t say a word to embarrass you with our friends, no matter what it is.
Then Nigel delivers the fateful message to his friend, in a semi-whispered volume and a somewhat apologetic tone..
“Here it is. Albert, I think that your wife Audrey is cheating on you. I saw her with another man the other night.”
There is momentary silence, then Albert declares in a loud voice that can be heard by the patrons throughout the bar, perhaps even in the bathroom..
"Why are you saying this to me? Are you jealous that my wife is much more beautiful, and is ten times as sexy as your boat-footed, rake-bodied, skinny-lipped, dumpy-faced, mop-haired hag of a wife? I have never heard such nonsense in my life. Is your sex life that bad that you have to insult a friend who is much better off in that aspect of marriage than you will ever be?
With a louder voice than before, but still not nearly as loud as Albert’s, Nigel replies.
“No Albert, we have been friends way too long for me to try to pull a nasty stunt like that on you. I know what I saw, and that was Brenda with another man, and it was obvious to anyone’s eyes that they were very interested in each other physically. I’m just telling you what I saw. I’m not making this up.”
“That’s so untrue. Are you trying to get back at me for something that you think that I did that hurt your ever so sensitive feelings? You have embarrassed me in front of everyone in the bar, moron. I won’t want to come to this place ever again. And that’s all because of you. Some friend you turned out to be.”
Nigel replies again, with a slightly louder voice than he had used before, but still much quieter than the voice that Albert used..
“Look Albert. You are the one with the raised voice. You are the one who drew everyone’s attention to our previously quiet conversation.”
Albert then bangs his glass of beer on the table, spilling most of its frothy contents on Nigel’s lap. Then he declared, untruthfully:
“Look, you guys that are listening in on our private conversation. This big brave boy just wet himself, he is that afraid of what I might do to him. And just so you know. This guy here has no children. I think that’s because he and his wife stopped having sex years ago. It is the double-homely effect.”
Some of the people in the bar begin laughing, others are just sit stunned at what is going on in their usually friendly and peaceful Friday night refuge. The bartender just shakes his head, rarely ever hearing anything like this in his bar. He worries that he will have to separate the two of them if the argument becomes a fist-fight. He hasn’t done that in years.
Nigel reaches out with his right hand to the left arm of the person he thought was his best friend. Albert slaps it away like it was a spider about to bite him.
Then, at about the same time, the two men stand up. It looks to the others in the bar that they are about to witness a fight. Some of them turn their chairs to watch what they expect to see. Others just shake their heads.
They both walk over to the bar, at about the same pace but clearly separate, and pay for their beers. As they were about to go out the door, Albert faces Nigel and asks
“What did you actually see anyway? I’d like to know.”
“It was weird. Audrey was dressed up fancy and a little over the top tasteless – big, big hat, two maybe three necklaces, a white fluffy dress with lots of bows and very high heels. The guy looked very unsuited to being beside her. He wore a dark hoodie that covered most of his head, tattoos of snakes across his forearms, pants worn way too low and sandals with socks, with socks man. He looked more like he was her pimp or dealer than anyone that she would be on an actual date with.”
Albert breathes out with a sound as loud as a voice.
“Nigel, you moron. That was the two of us, Audrey and I, not her and some stranger. We were going to a ‘Come as You Aren’t Party.” We won the prize for the most unlikely clothes. I would never wear sandals with socks.”
He then rolls up his sleeves, and Nigel sees that there are no tattoos on his forearms, just bare skin.
“I painted on those snakes for effect. Come on buddy. Let’s go back and have a couple of more beers. I will tell you, and our audience, all about that night. That way everyone will know that there was no cheating on a spouse going on.
And I apologize to you man.. You were concerned about me, your old friend, not making anything up just to give me a hard time. I shouldn’t have shot the messenger. But I will buy you some shots to make up for what I said.