Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Mario V. Farina
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“Will you be my wife for a day, Judy,” Walter Watkins asked?
“What kind of stupid question is that,” she responded with a tone engraved with a measure of anger? “You know I’m married! You know I love Ed! Have you suddenly lost your mind? And your sense of decorum?”
“Oh, Judy,” he hastened. I didn’t mean to upset you! I’m sorry to be calling so late. Let me explain!
“This had better be good,” she responded!
“The company I work for has a policy of recognizing people. Somehow, it became my turn. Mr. Morgan, my supervisor, told me today I was being honored tomorrow as being, Husband of the Month. I’m not married, as you know, but I don’t want to miss out on this. There may be some sort of prejudice to men who are not married, and it may hurt my opportunities to advance if I admit that I’m not married. What I’m asking you to do is pretend to be my wife for only the time I’m being celebrated. It would be a sort of playacting for you, and it may even be fun.”
“How couldn’t they know you’re not married,” Judy asked? “Surely, your personnel record shows it.”
“Lee Thorne, the person who makes these assignments, is not known for having a full set of brain cells in his head. He makes a lot of mistakes like this, but he is the owner’s son-in-law.”
“But, why me. Aren’t there a lot of women you could call upon for the same thing?”
“They’d say, no. Judy, we’ve known each other since childhood. You probably understand me as well as you do your husband. You know that I have no subversive reason for asking this. I don’t think Ed would mind.”
“Ed likes you. You may be right on that point. But there may be someone there who recognizes me, and would realize that I was faking.”
“You could use your auburn wig,” said Walter. “It will change your appearance dramatically!”
“I know I shouldn’t!”
“I feel I should not be doing this,” said Judy. “All right, but you’ll owe me one!”
“Probably more than one. You know where the company is. It’s in the main conference room. Dress beautiful!”
“See you.” They hung up.
There were already a dozen people in the conference room when Walter, accompanied by Judy, entered the room. There was a round of applause.
Judy was wearing a white lace dress that could have substituted for a wedding gown. Rather than her hair being fiery red, it was light brown. All eyes were turned toward her.
A middle-aged man, excessively round at the stomach, short of stature, balding, rushed to greet them. “Hello Walter, welcome! We’ll be starting the festivities as soon as more people arrive!”
Walter turned to Judy and said, “this is Mr. Morgan, my supervisor.” Then facing him, he introduced Judy with, “Mr. Morgan, this . . . is, this is Judy, my wife!”
Mr. Morgan smiled broadly. “I knew Walter had good judgment,” he commented, “but I did not know exactly how good. If he will allow me to say so, you are a beautiful woman, Mrs. Watkins!”
“That’s very nice of you to say that, Mr. Morgan. Walter has often spoken about you, all good!”
“I can’t get over how lovely, you are,” Mr. Morgan muttered.
“Just ordinary,” she responded.
“I’m sure we’ll be seeing a great deal more of you as time goes on,” he stated. “My wife, Marjorie and I will probably be inviting you to dinner at our home from time to time.”
Judy was not able to hide a slight look of dismay as she heard those words. Inwardly, she was beginning to wonder how long this charade would last.
The room filled. Soon there were about thirty people in attendance. Mr. Morgan stood behind the podium, and spoke loudly. Ladies and gentlemen, today we honor Walter Watkins as Husband of the Month. I’m sure, if I had been more alert as to his wife, I would have given her the title of Wife of the Month!” He paused. There was great applause.
Walter’s countenance took on an appearance of confusion, as did Judy’s. He had not expected this turn of events.
After the ceremonies had been completed, Walter was given the rest of the day off, and he took Judy to her home.
“What do you think about what Mr. Morgan said,” she asked when they arrived at her home and parked?
“Obviously, he became instantly infatuated with you,” Walter responded!
“I’ll be going in now,” said Judy. “This better be the end of my acting career. I’m going to tell Ed everything went fine, but I won’t embellish it. But, my conscience may not let me restrict it to this.”
“I’m sure everything will be OK,” observed Walter. “Any requests for dinner at his home, will be made to my phone. If it happens I’ll make plausible excuses.”
The next day was a Saturday and the beginning of the weekend. On Monday, Mr. Morgan approached Walter and said, “I talked to Marjorie. We’d love to have you over for dinner Wednesday evening. Will you able to make it?”
“Judy will not be home during the day today. I’ll ask her this evening.”
“Fine! Fine!” Mr. Morgan said.
That evening, after work, when Walter arrived at his apartment, Judy and Ed were waiting for him at the door.
“Walter, we need to talk,” Ed said. “Shall we go inside.”
“By all means,” said Walter. “I think I know what you want to talk about.”
The three individuals had just barely sat in the living room, when the phone rang. Walter picked up, listened for a moment, then handed the phone to Judy, saying, “Mr. Morgan wants to speak to you.”
She took the receiver from Walter’s hand with a bewildered look on her face. “Hello,” she said. She listened for a long time. Finally, she exclaimed, “Mr. Morgan, I’m very honored to have you say those things. What you are offering is overwhelming, but I do love my husband very much. What you believe you saw is not accurate. My husband and I are not on the verge of anything. As a matter of fact, Walter is not my husband at all. He is not even married. What you saw between him and me was pure playacting. I don’t know how this will affect his career with you, but, for my part, what you are saying is very flattering but I cannot accept any of it. I apologize for my part in having deceived you and ask your forgiveness. Goodbye.” She hung up.
The three in the room were silent as they stared at each other.
The phone rang. Walter answered. He handed the headset to Judy. “It’s Harold Miller. He wants to talk to you!”
“Hello Harold,” Judy spoke apprehensively. She listened for a while, then said, “I hate to interrupt you, Harold. Yes, it was me hiding behind the wig. No, Ed and I are not having problems. I’m not married to Walter. It was all an act, like in a play!”
She listened again. Her face turned pink, then a blazing red. “You want what, for a day? I will not do that,” she yelled. “How dare you ask me that!” The crackling of the voice on the other end of the line could be heard in the room.
“Stop hollering, Harold,” she demanded!
There were more cracking sounds.
“Harold, you listen, Judy shouted. Listen good! The answer to your insulting suggestion is no! No! A thousand times no!” She slammed the receiver down hard.
She turned to Walter and quietly said, “I love you like a brother, but I should have said no to you, too.” To Ed, she said, “And, I’m sorry to have imposed this on someone who didn’t deserve it! Come on, sweetheart. Let’s go home.”