K-con One

My wife – K – was on the other side of the room on her Apple laptop, grousing about the state of the world. News about Trump, COVID-19 (and something about lying), and his supporters triggered an angry explosion. “I’m tired of this. I have no sympathy for any of them today.”

I looked over at her. “So what K-con are you in?”

“K-con?”

“Yes, it’s like DEFCON, you know, defense conditions that the United States employs. DEFCON 1 is the highest state of military readiness.”

Yes, she knew about them. I was in Air Force command and control for twenty years. She’d heard me talk about LERTCONs, DEFCONs, EMERGCONs too many times.

“Would K-con 5 be my normal level?” she asked.

“No, K-con 5 would be when you — “

Realizing I was walking myself into a trap, I stopped. I’d been about to suggest that K-con 5 would be when she was happy and easy-going. I’d been about to observe that she usually stayed in K-con 4, or maybe higher. Anyone who’s been married for over forty-five years, like us, knows that the other has moods. Hell, most people discover this about their partner in the first year, if not the first month, after marriage.

She realized what was happening. Her eyebrows went up, her warm brown eyes grew big, and a grin split her face.

Looking around, I jumped up. “What was that noise? I better go see.”

I hurried out of the room to the sound of her laughter. Yes, I’m a coward, but I’m no fool. If she’s in K-con 1, those nukes are armed and ready to fly.

Let her target someone else.

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