Somewhere between slumber and consciousness, Hank heard sobs. Recognizing the cries of his wife, Hank groaned to a seated position and leaned back against the headboard. An eerie orange glow hovered just inside the master bath doorway. Without warning, brilliant light flooded the room and Hank squinted into the direction of the orange haze. Leaning against the doorframe, Trudy, his wife, sported a new flaming hairdo. Black streams snaked from her puffy red eyes and flimsy facial tissues did little to staunch the flow. Trudy stumbled to the bed and collapsed into Hank’s arms, wailing.
“Oh, Honey, what happened,” Hank asked, swallowing back a yawn.
“”Don’t patronize me, Hank,” she moaned. “Can’t you see my hair?”
Biting his tongue, Hank refused to reply that her hair looked like something gone terribly wrong at a nuclear reactor. Instead he soothed, “So, your hair didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to? It's really not that bad.”
Trudy stood up, sticking a finger in her husband’s face. “Have I had any aspirations to join the circus, Hank? Have I?”
Hank stared into the frenzied raccoon-like eyes of his beloved, shaking his head.
“I have a business presentation tomorrow afternoon, and I’m going in looking like Carrot Top!”
Hank chuckled. “If that’s the case, shouldn’t your hair be green?”
“Oooooohhhhhh, men!” Trudy stomped into the bathroom, slamming the door.
Hank slid out from under the blankets and found his wife crumpled against the tub. “I’m sorry, dear. I’m not being very considerate.” Hank sat beside his wife, drawing her close.
“That’s what I get for trying to save money,” she mumbled.
“You mean you wished you would have gone to the beauty parlor?”
“Salon,” she corrected. “No,” she shook her head. “I’ve done this before. All I wanted to do was hide some gray and give some pop to my auburn curls. In my frugality, I chose a cheaper brand this time.”
“Where’d you get it?”
“At Everything’s a Dollar.”
Hank’s eyes grew wide as saucers, but spoke calmly. “You only spent a dollar on your hair color?”
Trudy dabbed at brimming tears blurring her vision. “No, less than that. I found the kit in the half-off bin.”
Laughing, Hank pulled Trudy to her feet. “Honey, it’s going to be all right.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have to stand up in front of a few hundred people looking like Linus’ Great Pumpkin.”
“No, it really is going to be ok.” Hank stooped and grabbed the empty hair-coloring box off the top of the trash. “See, read the fine print.”
Trudy squinted. “I can’t see it. Let me get my gla….”
“No, let me read it to you. Warning: Color may not match your hair’s current shade. To remove coloring, wash hair three times.”
“You mean I’m not stuck this way,” his wife asked, hopeful.
“But how did you know?”
Hank smiled. “When I saw the box in the trash, I remembered buying this for the kids at Halloween. This is what the clerk recommended for a short-term change.”
Trudy drew her husband’s face close and kissed him. “So, all I have to do is wash my hair three times and it’s gone.”
“If you’re lucky,” Hank teased. “How about waiting until morning? I’ve secretly wanted a night light for several years.”
She jabbed her husband playfully. “Ok, you big lug.”
Trudy bounced into bed; Hank padded out the door and down the hall.
“Honey, where are you going?”
Hank poked his head back in the door, smiling. “To get my sunglasses.”
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