One minute me and Bernie got our attentions on the game, next Bernie says to me, Watch this, man. He snaps his fingers and his old lady, Heidi, who’d been at the dining table reading, raises her head. Hey, baby girl, Bernie says. My buddy here’s been staring at your tits. Nah, man, I say, shaking my head. He’s playing.
Heidi, she frowns and says, Don’t do this, Bernie. He points the neck of his beer bottle her way and says, My buddy says you look good. I feel the blood rushing to my head. Heidi lays her book facedown on the table, weaves her fingers together and stares at them. Bernie says, Get undressed already. Show my buddy the goods. Heidi shakes her head. That’s mean, Bernie. Hurtful.
I empty my bottle and get up, brush my pants off. I should go, I say. Bernie takes hold my shirt sleeve, says, Ever have a secret you feel you can’t live with, man? Heidi starts up, but sits back down. How much longer you gonna torture me, Bernie? she says. I yank free of Bernie’s grip. Knock it off, I say. I didn’t do nothing with her.
Bernie gets on his feet, drives his palms into my chest, shoving me backward. Get the fuck out of my house, he says. I see you man, he says. Who you really are. Heidi screams from across the room, Leave him alone, Bernie. Bernie says, Was I talking to you, bitch!
Look, Bernie, I say. Calm down, man. Take it easy. Bernie shoves me again, Why the fuck are you still here? He grabs my collar. Heidi bolts across the room, pulls Bernie off me, screaming, Bernie, stop.
Then Bernie starts laughing. He swipes at his eyes and keeps laughing. Finally, he drops back onto the sofa. Me and Heidi exchange a quick look. Bernie, still laughing, says, You should see the look on your face, man.