zenobia williams, a woman wearing a blue t-shirt, was watching television.
it was happy hour, and she was drinking a glass of wine.
it had long been her habit to indulge herself in this way.
her husband, porter, did not approve but kept his own counsel.
porter was out on the highway, selling used automobiles.
it was tuesday, and wednesday would be the same.
zenobia heard a car pull into the driveway.
she had not been expecting anybody.
the doorbell rang.
zenobia left her seat on the couch, happy to be curious.
she did not expect the caller to be a serial killer.
she would have been quite unprepared for such an eventuality.
she did not recognize the person she beheld on opening the door.
he looked like a quiet type, wearing a heavy sweatshirt the color of quails eggs.
don’t you recognize me? he asked zenobia after she had stared at him for three seconds.
he looks a little bit like jonathon, zenobia thought, but did not say aloud.
jonathon had been her husband in her younger days.
but he had apparently been devoured by a strange sea creature off the coast of the indian ocean many years previously.
you may have seen the story on the news, or read about it in the newspapers.
it had been a bit of a story back in the day, although believed a hoax by many.
eventually zenobia had collected a little bit of money from an insurance company.
she herself had been the subject of jokes in the more scurrilous reaches of the media.
who winkingly professed to regard her as responsible in some way for jonathon’s fate.
jonathon’s body had never been recovered.
i am afraid i do not know you ,sir, zenobia told the man in the quails egg colored sweatshirt.
i guessed you might think that, the man responded with a deep sigh.
his sigh sounded a bit like the one that had annoyed her from jonathon.
excuse me, i do not wish to be rude, but who exactly are you? zenobia persisted.
oh, what is the use! the man cried. i never should have come here!
zenobia was amused - this was a welcome change of pace from the game show she had been watching.
darn it, zenobia - i am jonathon, your long lost husband who supposedly perished in the indian ocean twenty-three years ago!
i see you have done your due diligence, sir - i believe that is the phrase - it was exactly twenty-three years ago last friday.
perhaps i should have written before coming.
maybe you would like a drink, or a cup of tea or coffee ? you look a bit tired.
you act like this is some sort of joke.
would you like the drink or tea of coffee or not?
i fear i am imposing on your generous, though skeptical, nature.
please, come in. i won’t bite you.
the door closed behind the man with the quails egg colored sweatshirt.
no one could ever establish exactly the time he left the house.
a tree stood beside the house.
it was a pear tree, but did not produce that many pears.
gray clouds floated by from time to time.
nobody knew or cared what went on inside the house.
some people thought the house had a sad air about it.
the man calling himself jonathon rogers had thought long and hard about approaching it.
finally he just did.
his motives may never be known.