They laid together naked in the woods, him on his back, her nestled in his shoulder. “So this is fishing, huh?” he asked.
“Yep,” she answered.
“I like this. It gives me ideas. Maybe this fall we could go hunting.”
“I’m up for that.”
“And then after Christmas, we could go skiing. And in the spring we could try some rafting and next summer some horseback riding.”
She grinned. “I’ll organize everything.”
They snuggled and kissed and watched the birds flit in the trees and listened to the rustle of grass along the lake shore.
“What’s the future going to be like?” she asked.
“You mean, after we’re married?”
“Oh, I’ve been thinking about that.” He made an arc in the air with his hand. “First thing, your parents get killed in a car accident.”
“At the same time?”
“No. First your father goes, and then the hearse with his corpse and your mother goes off a cliff.”
She thought about it. “That works for me. What next.”
“Well, next, my brother buys us a lottery ticket, which wins us ten million dollars ... but he’s been carrying the ticket around so long it’s too late for us to collect.”
She nodded. “Believable. And then?”
“Well, I get a job I don’t have to explain to your parents –”
“Because they’re dead.”
“Right. I make a little money, you get a job and get a little money, and then we have fourteen kids.”
“Well, you go menopausal at 38, so we have to stop.”
She counted it out in her head. “That’s an average of about 26.7 days between giving birth and the next conception.”
“That’s how I figured it out too,” he said.
“Crap. You got lucky it wasn’t one kid too many.”
He sighed. “It’s always one kid too many.”
“I’m not sure I’m into this future where I’m visibly pregnant sixty-two per cent of the time,” she said. “How about another future?”
“You want a reboot?”
“Will my parents still be dead?”
“If I’m predicting the future they will be,” he answered.
She tucked in closer to him and kissed his nipple. “Good. Start again.”
“Okay. Hm... okay, you start practicing the clarinet again.”
“I meant to do that.”
“See? We’re already in the future. You’re parents will probably be dead by the time we get back home tomorrow night. Can I go on?”
“As I was saying, you practice ... a LOT. All the time. I start to miss you, and we don’t have any children.”
“Shut-up. You get really good at the clarinet and people start to take notice. You get a gig with an orchestra, and you start getting drunk with the girl violinists and half the time you’re doubling down in Vegas.”
“And what are you doing?”
“Working a steady job. Now, it happens in Vegas that you meet a manager of some kind, and you wind up doing a clarinet duet with Britney Spears and you become world famous and make millions of dollars.”
“I like that. And what do I do with that?”
“You start sleeping around with famous people.”
“Um, Michael Jackson.”
“And, uh, Amy Winehouse.”
“Interesting. And also dead.”
“Okay, Heath Ledger.”
“I’m sensing a pattern here.”
“Well, you’re in an experimental phase, this being the best chance you’ve had to examine your long-held latent necrophiliac tendencies.”
“And my lesbian tendencies also.”
“Obviously. You’re playing the field.”
“And apparently finding my partners there,” she observed.
“With a shovel,” he added. “These are deep relationships you’re having.”
She didn’t miss a beat. “And what are you doing all this time.”
“Suffering. Suffering horribly. I never see you and I’ve lost my job and there doesn’t seem to be any purpose at all.”
“I tell the girls I sleep with about it all the time. They’re very sympathetic.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “But none of them are necrophiliacs and they hold no interest for me.”
“None at all.”
“Well, the cheerleader’s kind of cute, but no, really, just not my type.”
“So I decide I’ve got to have you back. I start stalking the tour you’re on, going from city to city and selling drugs to enable me to overcome the staggering ticket prices. You don’t even remember I exist anymore ...”
“Am I still fucking dead bodies?”
“Sure, whatever you can dig up between giving massive drugs to your roadies in the hopes it will make their hearts stop. Oh, and between times you’re increasing the size of your girl scout uniform collection.”
“I’d never give that up,” she agreed.
“I felt certain of it. Anyway, one night I get lucky and the guard at the stage door is having a heart attack, being your intended lover that night ...”
“He’s good looking?”
“I hardly notice as I’m stepping over his twitching body.”
“Okay, you’re off the hook for that one.”
“I hide around the back stage, making my way to your dressing room door, and when I see you enter, and the three big hirelings you command go off to collect the guard’s recently demised body, I take my chance and burst into your dressing room.”
“And what happens?”
“You panic and reach for the gun you keep on your dresser –”
“For when my lovers aren’t quite dead?”
“Exactly,” he said. “And you shoot me dead with it. And at that moment you realize I’m the perfect man for you, and we live together happily ever after.”
“Good. That’s how I’d like it.”
She laughed, and he laughed, and for awhile they rested.
“Let’s go fishing,” she said. “Actual fishing.”
“Let’s lie right here instead.”
She sat up, and began pulling on his arm. “Come on, it won’t kill you.”
“That’s what you said when I came through the stage door.”
“I was lying then,” she said. “I’m telling the truth now.” She had some success at getting him on his feet.
“Wait!” he said. “I’ve had another vision of the future. You go fishing, and make the beds in the tent and fall asleep.”
She dragged his arm. “Come on, stupid.”
He put a hand to his forehead. “I see myself falling into the lake ... and being eaten by a fish ... except for my boots ...”
She handed him his fishing rod and he took hold of it. “This way.”
His voice could still be heard from the camp and they started towards the lake. “You fall in love with my left boot,” he said.
“Yes. The two of you have four kids together ...”