Fatal Blow cover

Becky Miller assumed she was in no way responsible for the fact that her husband had chosen to nuke their marriage vows by jumping into the sack with a cocktail waitress who was dumber than a box of rocks.

It was true, of course, that Becky had cut him off almost completely from the marital privileges he assumed to be rightfully his. But as she saw it, Walter had no one but himself to blame for that either. Through the fifteen years they’d been together, Becky worked hard and sacrificed a great deal to maintain the body that had driven her husband to distraction in the early days of their courtship and marriage. Walter, on the other hand, rarely ever met a drink, a dessert, or an appetizer that didn’t seem to have his name on it.

Like clockwork, twice a year, on January second and on July twenty-fourth (his birthday being the twenty-third), Walter vowed to start a new diet and get back to the gym. And like clockwork, twice a year, by January ninth and July thirtieth, his new regimen lay in tatters.

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It was as though he’d exhausted his lifetime’s allotment of self-discipline, fighting to stay in shape so that he could play point guard for Arizona State. Walter had started for the Sun Devils in his junior and senior years and Becky still remembered the rush she felt the first time she ever saw him naked. She was twenty-two that night; Walter was twenty-three. He had the body of a god, she’d thought. But fifteen years and eighty-five pounds later, Walter could have served as the stunt double for the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and Becky could barely stand to look at him naked, let alone think about making love with him.

When Walter whined because they never had sex any more, Becky was brutally frank about the matter. She promised that she’d start having sex with him again when he made a genuine and sustained effort to get back into shape, and that she’d do so enthusiastically once he actually got there. But until then she told him not even to think about it.

Becky’s ultimatum did not stop her husband from complaining about the situation or from occasionally begging her to relent. But neither did it inspire him to push his flabby ass away from the dinner table and back to the gym. And then one night in March, it occurred to Becky that Walter had finally stopped bitching about the subject altogether.

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She assumed that he’d probably gotten tired of being repeatedly rejected. Or perhaps his deteriorating physical condition finally left him with no libido to worry about. Whatever the case, Becky stopped thinking about the issue until a Thursday night late in April, when she walked into Walter’s study and noticed that he’d gone down to the kitchen without logging out of his e-mail account.

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