Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about an affair by Thomas Eggenberger.
Thomas Eggenberger grew up in the States but has spent his adult life overseas. Back in Tokyo after eight years in France, he currently works as a translator.
Thomas rediscovered his love of short stories during the COVID lockdowns. He has also had a short story published at Fiction on the Web, and is currently working on several fantasy novels and sci-fi novelettes.
‘The Tour’ follows a woman reconsidering her relationships as she tries to keep a secret from her husband.
Juliette takes the familiar curve toward home, gliding through the sun-dappled foliage of Alpine foothills in midsummer. She is tonguing the scab of an old thought, a thing left undone. The natural gas inlet pipe for their water heater is electrified – said with many grimaces and much swearing by the man who installed the new unit years ago. She thinks of it often.
It’s dangerous, said the technician, showing her repeatedly and incredulously that he can raise a spark with his screwdriver. He theatrically winced and ejected an ah!as he touched the pipe, and seemed angry at her equanimity. She had lived in the house for many years, apparently always with this danger, and it had not exploded yet. Some idiot has used the pipe as the ground for a socket. You need to have an electrician come at once and fix this. Do you understand?he asked, as she looked on and did not react.It’s very dangerous. Juliette nodded to placate him, lips pursed and brows knit. She offered to turn off the current at the breaker. He waved away the thought in disgust, and he grumbled and shook away stings as he worked.
Today, her reverie is broken by flashing blue lights. She slows to a stop facing the back door of a police sedan. It is settled at a diagonal across the lanes. There is the shoulder of an officer, a newspaper spread-eagled across the dash.
The delay turns Juliette’s mind to the incriminating bouquet and her ticking clock. She takes a deep breath to calm herself. She pulls up the parking brake and rolls down the window. ‘Hey!’ she cries. ‘Hey!’