Last weekend I bought a box of old slides at a yard sale for fifty cents. I don’t own a projector so I have to hold them up to the light to see what they depict. Judging by the clothes and hairstyles, they’re from the mid-60s. A young couple traveling in Europe.
….I love finding artifacts like this. I name the man Bob and the woman, Melissa. Bob’s hair is long. He has Star Trek sideburns. Melissa is blond and attractive. In most of the shots she’s wearing black capri pants and a red sleeveless top. They seem to be having fun but do not clown around for the camera. They pose with stiff, formal deportment.
….Here are Bob and Melissa by the Eiffel Tower. Bob and Melissa next to a wax statue of Stan Laurel. Here they are at the Colosseum in Rome, smiling, squinting into the sun.
….I wonder who took the pictures. It’s the kind of mystery that nettles me so I decide a guy named Gary is holding the camera. Gary is an old school chum of Bob’s. Bob and Melissa are on their honeymoon, touring France, Italy and Spain. Gary tags along but doesn’t feel like a third wheel. He’s close to the couple. The three are novice swingers. Bob, Melissa and Gary stay in the same hotel room, sleep in the same bed.
….At first Melissa has nervous concerns and Bob has to work to convince her to give the unusual arrangement a try. It’ll be fun to consummate their marriage with an additional person, he tells her. Spice things up. Explore and experiment.
….When they ask him, Gary is immediately intrigued. He’s been attracted to Melissa for years.
….At first the strange situation feels awkward but eventually they relax and get comfortable with each other. Wine helps. Bob feels a tug of jealousy seeing Melissa and Gary together but he squelches it with relative ease.
….The final slide is a blurry shot of the three of them standing in front of an ornate fountain. Their faces are smears, unrecognizable. Could this be the mysterious Gary standing between Bob and Melissa? I’ll never know.
….And neither will you.
Hank Kirton lives in New England. He has worked as a cook for over fifteen years. His most recent book is called, Everything Dissolves published by Horror Sleaze Trash. It’s a collection of flash fiction. He lives alone.