Harry Mortimer got ready for work as quietly as possible.

He tiptoed to the bathroom, used a standard razor, in place of an electric one, for fear the buzzing would be too loud. He brushed his teeth.

He skipped the shower and rolled on some extra deodorant and added a spritz of cologne to hide yesterday’s menagerie of smells.

When he was done, he walked downstairs and was surprised to see his wife. Elaine Mortimer. She was in the kitchen, sitting at the table, waiting for him. Her lips pressed together into a thin streak.

Harry sighed.

“You told me you wouldn’t do it,” Elaine said. “You looked me in the eye and swore on your life.”

“Who told you?” Harry asked.

“That’s not the point,” she said. “You promised.”

Harry walked by her and grabbed two frozen waffles from the freezer.

“Have you had breakfast?” Harry asked.

“I’m not hungry,” Elaine replied.

Harry put his waffles in the toaster and joined his wife at the table.

“You’re right,” Harry said. “I did promise. But I shouldn’t have.”

Harry took his wife’s hand. He kissed it and held it under his chin.

“You know I have no control over my work,” Harry continued. “I have a boss like everyone else. She makes the decisions for me.”

“Can’t you talk to her?” Elaine said with a crack in her voice. “Tell her you don’t feel comfortable with this job. Say you want to do something else.”

A teardrop ran down Elaine’s cheek. Harry reached out and wiped it away.

“I’ve tried,” Harry said. “But once she gets an idea in her head, she doesn’t give up. You know how she is, very stubborn.”

The waffles popped from the toaster. Harry got up and put them on a plate and drizzled maple syrup on top.

“She’s a sick woman,” Elaine said.

“That may be,” Harry replied. “but she’s still my boss, and you can’t argue with Mother Nature.”

“But all those people,” Elaine said. “how many people will die?”

Harry rejoined her at the table and started cutting his waffles into small pieces with the edge of his fork. He smothered them in maple syrup.

“Hard to say,” Harry mumbled, chewing his waffles. He swallowed a mouthful. “Depends how many people are there when the bridge collapses.”

Elaine gasped and wiped her nose with her sleeve. “It’ll be rush hour,” she said. “That’s hundreds of people.”

“Could be,” Harry said. “could be more.”

He brought a fork to his wife’s mouth. The maple syrup was dribbling. He spun the fork around to keep the syrup from reaching the table.

“Have some,” Harry said.

“I’m not hungry.”

“Please. For me.”

Elaine wiped her face and took a bite. She chewed slowly.

“Hey, you still love me, don’t you?” Harry asked.

Elaine nodded, still chewing.

“Don’t regret marrying me?” he continued.

Elaine swallowed. “Not yet,” she said with a weak smile.

Harry laughed. “You haven’t lost your wit.”

He finished eating the waffles and cleaned his face with a napkin.

“So, tell me,” Harry said. “Who told you? Was it Bill? Frank?”

“Nobody told me,” Elaine replied. “I sensed it.”

Harry grinned. “That’s what makes us a great couple. You can tell when I’m lying.”

Harry left the table. He turned on the faucet and squirted some dish soap onto a sponge. He began washing his plate and fork in the sink.

“Who will fix it?” Elaine asked.

“Fix what, Honey?”

“The bridge. Who’s gonna fix it after it’s destroyed?”

“I don’t know,” Harry replied. “Not my jurisdiction.” Harry turned off the water and put the plate and fork into the draining board. “The city, I guess.”

“Maybe you can work for them. You know, fix things.”

Harry dried his hands. “Darling, I have a job, and it’s a good one.” He chuckled. “You act as though I’m the one blowing up the bridge—I’m not. No one is. It’s an old bridge. I’ll just be there to pick up the pieces.”

“You’re right,” Elaine said. “I’m being selfish.”

Harry kissed his wife on the lips and hugged her tightly. “No,” Harry said. “You’re compassionate. That’s why I fell in love with you.”

“I love you too.”

Harry let go of her and kissed her forehead. He checked his watch.

“My God,” he said. “I’m gonna be late.”

He left the kitchen and went to the front door. He put on his boots, reached into the closet and threw on his black cloak.

Elaine got up from the table and watched him get ready from the hallway. She liked the way he looked in that cloak.

“Can you promise me one thing?” Elaine asked. “and I want you to actually keep this one.”

“Anything,” Harry said.

“When you come home, I don’t want to hear about your day. I don’t want to know how everything went. Just for tonight, I want to pretend my husband has a normal, boring job.”

“Deal,” Harry said.

Elaine walked to her husband, wrapped her arms around his hooded neck, and gave him a big kiss.

“Thank you,” she said.

Elaine reached into the closet and pulled out her husband’s scythe. She handed it to him and whispered in his ear.

“Go get ’em, tiger.”