300-word story: A man goes to incredible lengths to win the affection of his wife.
Michael and Fiona met in the library when they were eighteen. He was studying classical poetry whilst her focus was business. He was into online gaming, she was sporty; he preferred a quiet pint in the local pub, she was an all-night dancer. Despite these differences, they instantly clicked and began a relationship that would last far beyond their youth.
As time passed, Fiona became increasingly ambitious. With this came much higher standards in all aspects of life: promotions at work, a stronger credit rating, respect among her peers and regular international travel were perpetually on her to-do list. Michael, on the other hand, found happiness far more easily. All he needed was his wife by his side, sharing moments that lacked any form of glamour but which meant the world to him. Fiona considered this sweet at first but soon demanded more, and so, eager to please, Michael obeyed without question.
Working tirelessly, within a decade he had surpassed her salary, perfected their home, and secured a lifestyle that was equal parts success and luxury, and yet for Fiona it was never enough. No matter how hard Michael tried, he simply couldn't gain her approval. Crestfallen and bemused, he racked his brain for a solution until one day, out of the blue, it materialised.
It took many years and almost killed him but his efforts paid off. After calling in favours, coming close to bankruptcy and sustaining severe injuries, he achieved the impossible. Michael had plucked the Earth’s natural satellite from the sky and attached it to a tree branch. Finally, after all this time, he could give his wife the moon on a stick.
Presented with the astonishing gift, Fiona considered it without emotion. She looked at it, then at Michael, and frowned.
"You call that a stick?"
Copyright © 2020 Rich Sutherland
Image: Drew Tilk