• It must be 10:49 pm ET
  • The temperature outside must be 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • She must have no un-answered emails from Justin H.
  • All the laundry must be done.
  • Our cat, Mrs. Fussbudget, must be napping in her window nook.
  • The ringer volume on my girlfriend’s phone must be all the way down, so neither she nor Mrs. Fussbudget is distracted by a late-night call from Justin H.
  • It must be Thursday.
  • Each of us must be well into our third Moscow Mule.
  • The lighting in the room must be dim, like a cave in which the only light is from a desperate woman’s smartphone as she smiles at another innuendo-rich text from Justin H.
  • We must both be caught up on our podcasts, especially Pod Save the World.
  • Her Vishuddha chakra and her Brahmarandhra chakra must be aligned.
  • Justin H. must have gotten her into the mood with his erotic and well-written text messages, because of course she found someone who graduated from the freaking Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
  • All the dishes must be washed, dried and put away.
  • Each of us must have had a shower in the past three hours.
  • She must not currently be having sex with Justin H.
  • A glass of filtered water must rest on each of our side tables.
  • We must both be in the same room.
  • Justin H. must not be in the same room; we tried that once, and my participation was not prioritized.
  • My girlfriend must convince herself that I’m someone else.
  • To that end, I must wear a ski mask
  • Our Nikon COOLPIX P1000 16.7 Digital Camera must be on its tripod in the corner of the bedroom, angled to optimize her “good side” in case we want to watch again later with or without Justin H.
  • A roll of Scott Choose-a-Sheet Paper Towels must rest arms-reach from the bed
  • We must both have just rinsed our mouths with Listerine Total Care Stain Remover Anti-cavity Mouthwash Fresh Mint
  • We must embrace the spirit of sexual experimentation and openness preached by Justin H. in his weekly Facebook Live video
  • We must agree on a safe word
  • To distinguish it from other safe words, it must contain a capital letter and a number
  • The safe word cannot be “God,” “Justin,” or anything I say
  • Our speakers must emit a binaural beats frequency
  • She must wear thick eyeliner like Ally Sheedy’s character in Breakfast Club
  • She must apologize for her months-long affair with Justin H. Does she think I can’t tell when someone’s having sex in the garage on top of my new Subaru Outback with Justin H. while I’m supposedly out with my friends playing poker but am actually spying on her through the military-grade night-vision goggles I borrowed from Leo Fredericks, the police chief? Is that what she thinks?
  • I must be wearing that blue button-down shirt she loves.
  • She must be wearing that ombre-tipped faux fur robe and the grey good-girl thigh-high stockings I got her. Wait, were those from me?
  • Justin H. must be eliminated from this earth, his body scraping alongside a thousand fiery rock outcroppings upon his descent into hell. I hope that murder-for-hire I organized on the deep web is real.
  • Eight yards of sturdy rope must be looped over the headboard.
  • That creepy red lightbulb she suspended from the ceiling must be on.
  • The guy I found through that murder-for-hire chat room must do as good a job luring Justin H. into that alleyway, making it look like an accident and disposing of his body as he did cashing out the bitcoin I sent him.
  • It must be a leap year.

And now a quick joke...

My dad saw a sign that said “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here,” so he sped up.