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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 92 - Dumb Paper Clips

It had been three days since Harry and Ethel had spoken to each other. Yes, he came home at 5 p.m. every day and nodded at her. She prepared dinner and served it to him. He even said goodnight to the kids. But he and Ethel? Well, it was like this.

That evening Harry had arrived home late, maybe 6 p.m., not that late by most standards but late in Ethel’s estimation. When he walked into the living room and shut the door behind him, she said, “Where have you been?”

“Working late,” he said.

“So I see. Why?”

“Just some extra work that came in late. I’m tired. What’s for dinner?”

Ethel stared at him a moment, frowned and stalked back to the kitchen. He sat down at the table. She served him dinner. He said, “Thank you.” She nodded.

Later that night he asked what television show she wanted to watch. She shrugged her shoulders. He said, “Okay, we’ll watch this one.” She said nothing.

The next morning when he left for work, she said nothing again.

Harry was puzzled all day and when he got home that night, she again said nothing to him.

And that’s how it went until this very moment, when he finally decided to get to the bottom of her silence. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

She shook her head and walked away into the kitchen. He remembered back to her last words before the silence began. Something about that late night at work. Was that what this was all about? Some silly question that he didn’t answer correctly? His answer was rather inconclusive, he thought. But the whole matter was silly.

But then so was the silence. He walked into the kitchen. “Paper clips,” he said.

She glanced up, a surprised look in her eyes. She opened her mouth partly.

“Paper clips,” he said. “When I was late, it was all about paper clips.”

She stared at him, waiting, as if she wanted more.

“The boss ran out of paper clips,” he said. “I had to go to the store to get more before the crowd arrived the next morning.”

She shrugged her shoulders.

“That’s all there was to it,” he said. “Dumb paper clips.”

She smiled. “What program do you want to watch tonight?” she asked.

“The usual,” Harry said. He smiled.

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