Preposterous Predicament

The assignment was to have fun with words beginning with P-R-E. I had fun doing this. Whether or not anyone else will find any fun in it remains to be seen.


Jackie was surprised to see Herman, her husband, in the middle of the living room attempting to touch his toes.

"What, pray tell, are you doing?"

"My preamble," he said, slowly raising himself to the full-upright position, although his stomach remained several inches below his belt. "These are the stretching exercises I do before taking my walk."

"Your walk usually ends up a prebendary."

"I know. I know," Herman said. "There were times when I walked to the bar and bent the elbow for a few days and usually wound up in the gutter. But those days are over. I'm jumping on the wagon."

"If I were you, I'd be careful. As fat as you are, if you jump on, you'll probably put the wagon in a prefixed condition."

"They'll just have to repair it," he said. "Besides, I'm going on a diet and I'll soon be a sight to behold."

"I bet," Jackie said. "I'd love to stay and watch your preamble. But I've got an appointment with the doctor, and I want to be prelate. They get so angry when I'm not on time."

After Jackie left, Herman wandered into the bedroom and looked at himself in the full-length mirror. He wasn't proud of the rotund reflection, but he thought he should have Jackie take a picture of his prefigure. Then, when he got down to a buff one-sixty-five, she could take a picture of his post-diet form. Maybe he could sell his weight-loss secrets and get rich.

A financial windfall would solve many problems. Right now, they had enough money, but with wage freezes, inflation and a balloon mortgage, the future would require some belt tightening beyond that needed to keep Herman's pants up around his soon to be slimmer waist. The pretension was obvious every time Herman and Jackie talked about finances. In a month or two, he was sure they'd have to start making difficult choices, and their fiscal fears and anxieties would dominate thoughts and discussions.

At lunchtime, Herman looked for something healthy in the kitchen. He found some prepared apples, but he didn't like to eat the skins and he didn't want to take the time to remove them. So, he went to his stash of Snicker's bars and devoured seven of them. He would have had more, but he heard Jackie come in.

"So, Mr. I'm on a Diet, who ate all the candy bars?" she asked, sneering at the empty wrappers on the counter.

With no time to prefabricate, Herman had invent a story on the spot.

"Little Johnny from next door came over and I let have a few Snicker's. It made him happy, and it got rid some temptation. I'm serious about this diet, you know."

He could tell Jackie was in a prevent mood. She wanted to tell Herman exactly what she thought of him, to yell, and shout, and scream at him. She managed to hold herself in check, but Herman knew he was just one wrong move from setting off a torrent of vitriol.

Two days later, the stress was too much for Herman. He had always thought he was a presage and would one day be renown for his wisdom. But now he was curled up on the couch in his underwear, sucking his thumb and mumbling endlessly in prediction. Jackie smiled. The doctor, who was also her lover, had told her that when Herman began babbling like a child not yet able to speak clearly, she would have no trouble getting him committed and getting a divorce. The doctor had also said he would marry Jackie. But once Herman was out of the way, he said he'd have to give marriage some thought.

"And when do you think you'll think about it?" she asked.

"I'm really busy right now," the doctor said. "I might be able to preponderate some in a couple weeks. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do any actual thinking for at least six months."

Jackie slammed the phone down. "He might be predeceased now," she thought. "But he won't be for long."

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