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The Perfect Marriage
by Michael S. Collins

"Why you late?" Smith barely had time to open the door when the familiar call of his wife hit him with the full force of a bungee jumping crocodile. George Smith wouldn’t say he had an unhappy relationship with his wife. After all, she was bigger than he was. If the marriage was a boxing match, the referee would have halted it in favour of Elaine a few decades prior.

"I was kept busy by business." Almost completely correct - if he explained that he was busy talking to a teenage girl wearing a deceptively short skirt, she would instantly think he was having an affair. Since Elaine Smith was paranoid, George felt it necessary to keep his crazy anecdote to himself. The next words from his wife proved any chance of a quiet rest of his life was George deluding himself.

"You better not be spending time with teenage girls, else I'd be thinking you were having an affair!"

As is normal with sudden bolts from the blue, George Smith had no answer to this. He could honestly state he was not having an affair, but he had seen a teenage girl, therefore by that being the truth, then his wife would know, and so in turn would assume he was having an affair, which he then must have by inference. George opened his mouth to confess his crime, then he realized he was guilty of. He became confused. He looked evasive, an attempt to look nonplussed which came off more as an admission of guilt. 

"I promise you I am not having an affair."

"Coward", Elaine hissed, and snuggled back into her chair.

Elaine had an important job. Whenever a television channel was worried about slipping ratings, they sent Elaine videos of the week’s episodes complete with cheque, tabloid contact details and orders to find anything offensive. Sometimes the offence was obvious: a sex scene or onscreen death. Other times, imagination was needed. Her proudest achievement came when she called outrage on a situation drama featuring the birthday of a sixteen-year-old girl. This was Channel X, so the party degenerated into a crazed girl-on-girl orgy and murders. It wasn’t the murders Elaine found offensive when she complained, or the underlying misogynistic message. Elaine complained that it had shown a birthday party before the watershed, which was offensive to religious minorities who don’t celebrate birthdays! Her wild complaints did what they had been rewarded to do. The aptly named "Birthday-Sugar-Sex-Magic" episode became the highest rated episode in the history of anything, as everyone tuned into see what the fuss was. Including one leading Jehovah's Witness, who tuned into see what this whole birthday lark was about, and found himself unable to ever look at his neighbours ever again.

Elaine was the paid moral minority. A well-paid job she absolutely hated.

Elaine Smith was suspicious that her husband was adulterous. This was not true, but her suspicions were reborn a few hours later when she answered the door to find, standing innocently in the rain, a pretty, drenched teenage girl in a tacky skirt and torn shirt. Elaine looked at the apparition in horror.

"Hello", said the girl, "My name is Maria. Can I speak to George please?"

And Elaine fainted in horror.