Hobbies (Flash Fiction)

Halfway through the living room, Susanne stopped. She slowly turned her head, like an old security camera, and saw her husband sitting with his legs crossed in the middle of the carpet. Around him, surrounding him like a battleground of children’s toys, were books and tools and parts, diagrams that opened up four pages long, and a half-assembled remote-control jeep.

“Honey,” she said, with a tone of apprehension, “What are you doing?”

Bob looked up, confused. “I thought I told you I was going by the hobby shop today?”

Susanne’s body turned to match her head, and her hands landed on her hips. “You did. But I thought that meant you were going to get some things for your train set. You know, your hobby?”

Bob waved his hand and turned open another book. “I’m not too worried about the trains right now. They’re not going anywhere.”

“I know,” Susanne said. “That’s what worries me about the trains. They’re not going anywhere and I can’t fit my car in the garage anymore.”

“Oh, about that,” Bob said. “While I was there I ran into a fella who does some carpentry. He said it’s really easy to make a car port. He even said the lumber and tools ya need aren’t too expensive. Of course, if you’re gonna build something you wanna do it right.”

Susanne felt her heart quicken. “So you’re getting into carpentry now? Is that what those books are for?”

“Oh, no no,” said Bob. “These are books on AC circuits. Ya see,” he said, pointing to the incomplete jeep, “these RC cars are a lot more complicated than you’d realize. It’s really quite fascinating.”

“It is fascinating,” she said. “I never knew putting toys together took such depth of knowledge. Don’t they come with instructions?”

“Pffft,” Bob said with a glare. “Those instructions are for morons. The manufacturers make them simple so you’ll break the damn thing and have to buy more parts. It’s just a way to suck more money out of you. I bought these books to make sure that wouldn’t happen.”

“Huh,” said Susanne. “Where’d you get those books?”

“At the hobby shop. Where else?” Bob shook his head and flipped through a few pages.

Susanne turned around to go back to the den and turned right back when she saw the half-built bird house sitting on the coffee table. “So,” she said, drawing the word out, “I’m going shopping.”

Bob stopped what he was doing and gave her a crossed look. “What do ya mean you’re going shopping?”

Susanne smiled. Bob hated it when she went shopping. “I was thinking of getting a new belt.” She gave the one around her waist a look of disinterest.

Bob’s eyes narrowed as he slowly flipped open another book. “Just don’t get carried away,” he said.

“Oh, I wouldn’t dare,” Susanne said.

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