Fran almost dropped the phone. "Ma, really? That's your advice?"
"Of course! How do you think your dad and I have stayed married for 49 years? He made a very sexy Charlton Heston to my Dr. Zira. You know, Planet of the Apes. It was great because I never had to shave my legs."
"The best part is he would play hard to get saying things like 'keep your hands off me, you damn, dirty ape'. Boy did that lubricate my engine."
"Ma, I'm hanging up. I have things to do. Like slit my wrists."
"You know, Franny, that's always been your problem. You're too uptight. Live a little, dear. Well, I gotta go. I have an Aunt Bee costume waiting for me."
Fran stood in the kitchen and thought about what her mother said. Maybe she was right. Maybe that was what was wrong with her marriage of late, why Mark was falling asleep early and working on the weekends. She looked at the clock. Mark would be home soon. She had very little time to prepare.
After changing into her costume, Fran shut all the lights and waited. Within a few minutes, she heard Mark's keys in the door.
"What the heck," Mark said, almost tripping over the front-entry table which was now in the center of the hall.
"Play it, Sam." Fran was sitting at the table with a drink.
"Oh my God, Fran are you drunk?"
"I'll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum."
Mark turned on all the lights. "What is with that get up? Seriously, you're scaring me." Fran was wearing Mark's trenchcoat which was two sizes too big for her and an old furry hat of her dead aunt's that she found in the attic.
She pulled a piece of paper from her coat. Her lips moved as she read the words to herself. Fran walked up to Mark and put her hand on his arm. " I wasn't sure you were the same. Let's see, the last time we met..." Her voice trailed off unnaturally long at the end as she looked at Mark in anticipation.
He just stared at her in silent disbelief, so she handed him the paper. "This is your part. See right here, you're Rick. Read where it says 'was La Belle Aurore,' that's your line." She leaned her cheek against his chest for effect.
Mark backed away, repulsed. "Oh gross, your head smells of mothballs and cigarettes."
Fran ripped off the hat and threw it to the ground stomping on it in frustration. "I knew this was a bad idea. Why do I listen to my mother?" She continued to stomp until the hat looked like roadkill.
Mark started laughing. "Your mother put you up to this? Wow. Maybe it's time we start researching those assisted living places after all."
"It's not funny, Mark. I was trying to mix things up to get you interested again."
"By wearing a stinky hat?"
"No, by role playing. I didn't have a lot of time and it's the first thing I thought of. Boy, was that awful." It was Fran who was now laughing.
Mark walked over to his wife and grabbed the belt of her coat, pulling her toward him. "You know what they say, when at first you don't succeed, try again."
"What do you have in mind?"
As Mark leaned in to kiss Fran's neck, he got a whiff of her hair. "How about I'll be Richard Gere to your Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman'."
"You naughty boy. Which scene should we start with?"
"Definitely the one where she washes her hair in the bathtub. Definitely."