For better or Worse by Francisco Hernández

Artist: Afremov, Leonid (Ringing Kiss) Taken from

He’d been working for nearly ten hours on a project that would set him apart from his peers. Besides, it would give Global Shares the edge in the financial world, one step ahead of its competitors. Michael turned off the lights, then sharply pulled the doorknob behind him, shifting it from right to left to ensure safety. He then left the office.

The night was young, and rather cool. The city was full of life: bright lights shimmered from every direction, the streets were busy, and the resounding sound of music seemed too tempting to ignore. He felt frisky. Indifference quickly blurred whatever thought of home he had. Barbara had a girl’s night and Julie had a sleepover.

The music no longer seemed to be travelling aimlessly but, rather, enticingly led him down several blocks. Michael stopped abruptly as he turned a corner, and looking into the half-lit room he entered, pausing midway for a few seconds before finding his way to the counter. A few empty glances were enough to make him feel at ease. “A beer please,” he ordered the bartender.

Michael paid no attention to the crowd dancing in the middle of the room, but his body twitched from time to time begging for the kind pleasure so often inflicted by music. A feeling of emptiness soon took over, and any attempt he made to think of life outside the building was erased by the glee of the moment and the revolving strobe-lights. From the corner of his left eye he could sense an overpowering presence. He slowly turned, his eyes meeting the feminine silhouette over his shoulder intently staring at him with provocative invitation. Michael studied the figure from crown to heels as he tried to force himself to evoke thoughts of his wife Barbara.

Two bodies, forcing themselves through the crowd, exited the club and got into a vehicle parked in a dark alley, emerging an hour later. As the woman lit the cigarette Michael held to his mouth, a faint shimmer from his ring finger caught his attention. Michael took a long sorb, held his breath for a few seconds, slowly released the smoke, then shoved his hand into his pocket and walked home.


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