1. Gemstones
  2. The silliest of indie films
  3. Get it at Walmart


In the aftermath of chaos there is silence. Sometimes it’s the silence of thoughtful reflection, but sometimes it’s more a matter of “Oh, damn, how did that happen?”

I think my friend Phil runs into the second kind rather often, usually when his long-suffering spouse hears about his latest fling. Jenny Anders has been with Phil practically forever, and I’m pretty sure she knew about his little foibles before she ever took him on, but once in a while she gets her back up and lets him know that she isn’t pleased with him. Paperweights have been thrown, I know, because I’ve walked into battles more than once. Phil always manages to get around her, though, and after a day or two of not speaking to each other, she lets him move back into her bed and her affections, amid armfuls of pink roses, the occasional showy gemstones, and promises of fidelity. As far as I could ever tell, he means it for that moment.

“I don’t understand it, Paul,” she told me the last time it happened. “I know he loves me, but he just can’t seem to keep his pants zipped.”

She was right on both counts. For as long as I’d known him, Philip Anders had thought Jenny was his sun and moon. And just as long, he’d found other companionship delightful as a sidebar to his life.

Jenny loved him, though. Couldn’t help it, I guess, so she married Phil Anders and all that went with him.

Well, the last time Phil slipped, he made a bad mistake in choosing to dally with the accountant at our nearby Walmart. Unlike Phil’s usual amorous encounters, this one knew of several ways to come up with a profit from the relationship and she was just greedy enough to put them all to use. She was also indiscreet, and not by accident.