He was having sex with his wife which meant they were fighting. It meant they were on their way to fighting I mean. At least if it went like it usually did they would have sex for a few weeks and then not talk much after that and then a few weeks after that, one would threaten to leave and then he’d cheat and she would probably cheat and then it would start back at the beginning. Right now, they were at the tail end of the fucking and the silence was on the horizon. He could actually hear it coming, he would be looking up at the ceiling of his too-nice condo that they bought because they were certain it would work and the whole thing looked Norwegian or something, it looked sparce and harsh and Scandinavian and sharp and the ceiling, the one he looked up at from bed while she chewed her fingernails and stared for another hour at her phone, the ceiling looked and it sounded and it smelled like the silence coming and that made him smile just a little.
The last time he cheated, just 3 weeks ago in the rotation, was with his director of comms. On paper it was probably the riskiest one he could’ve picked but also that was probably why he did it. Rasmus. That was his name, the one he cheated with, the director of communications in a company with revenue larger than west Africa’s combined GDP. It almost made him laugh, picking Rasmus. How easy it was made him want to fire him but he couldn’t now, and he wouldn’t have before either. Rasmus repulsed him a little, he had seen him eat, he had met his kids, he had watched him sweat in meetings. No one would believe it, he thought after, not before. No one would know though, which took some wind from the sails. It was a nice few weeks though, it was harder and more exciting, and louder than it had been; bigger feeling. It felt like a first time but with someone who didn’t know what was going on.
When it ended it was nothing. The easiest way to end something like that is to make them end it. That was something he had learned over and over again. Sour the deal and make them walk. He needed to make Rasmus feel stupid. He needed to back him into a corner and make him lash out with some emotion and then he needed to back up and let Rasmus hear his own words echoing off the room’s walls, listen to how empty it was and how small he was and how little any of it mattered. That’s what he planned and he executed it precisely. He knew he was a week away at most from fucking his wife. He waited until Rasmus was smiling, when he thought it was going the best way it could be, and then he used a few words to get his thumbs under the ribs and back up as if nothing had happened and he watched Rasmus’s face compute and decide if it was too much and it didn’t look like it would be so he used one more sentence to put it over the edge and he did it while looking at the door, almost reaching for the handle, as if saying he had other things that should be getting done, saying Rasmus was not worth the air in the room, and that was enough, he was in the corner and he didn’t think quite hard enough, not hard enough for a director of comms, not hard enough for someone with a wife and kids and a team of over a hundred and, if he had spent a minute to think, all of the leverage. But he had to beat the hand reaching for the door so he deleveraged and didn’t realize until later that night when his wife was talking to him about her job or the house or the kids but before that, before the hand reached the door but after he had deleveraged he saw in the glass’s reflection his boss’s boss’s face smile a little and Rasmus knew what had already been laid out and that he had fallen out of a window that they didn’t want to push him out of.
His wife was biting her nails and she asked if they were good and he looked at the ceiling some more and said they were great and he heard the silence and he thought about the contacts in his phone, scrolling through in his head, deciding who would be next and how’d they’d handle being put in the corner.