The thing is, the more they learn about My Husband, the less they feel they know anything about him. They know that he is married, first of all. His husband’s name is, as far as they know, “My Husband” (or as they refer to him, “My Husband’s Husband”). They know he is probably Russian, or somewhere of Slavic origin, because even though Nancy is getting her degree in linguistics at Reed, no one can really pinpoint his accent perfectly. They know his husband--My Husband’s Husband--travels a lot for work, and when he’s home he still works six days a week.
No one knows what he does for a living, though. Micah asked once during one afternoon shift, to which My Husband had responded, “oh, I’m retired,” with a wave of his hand and big smile.
“But you’re like, thirty,” Micah had said, amazed.
“Thirty?” My Husband repeated, looking shocked. Then he smiled even wider, and the temperature of the room within a ten foot radius of him went up roughly twenty degrees with the sheer brilliance of it. “Oh, you’re so kind, Micah.”
They’ve all checked his I.D. multiple times. None of them can remember his name. No one can remember the year he was born. Those who check again--”But you know me!” “Oh, just policy, Liquor Control Board came through earlier”--forget within seconds. He is simply My Husband. Where he’s from, what he does, and everything else outside of that remains a mystery.
But they all have their theories.
- My Husband is actually a Mail Order Husband
“You’re saying that because he’s Russian,” Georgina says as they decouple the kegs in back after close. My Husband came in at three, sat at the bar for two hours, had two pints and a schooner (“How? How does his body look like that when he drinks what I can only assume is a six pack a day?” Micah had asked, patting at his own beer gut), complained about My Husband’s Husband being away in Osaka on “business,” and showed everyone pictures of the fire pit they were getting installed in their backyard that looked straight out of a Sunset Magazine spread.
“To be fair, we’re not sure if he’s Russian,” Margot replies. “But what do we know about him? He dresses well. His husband travels internationally, frequently, on business-- ” She makes air quotes, “--he doesn’t work, because he says he’s retired, which suggests so many things.”
“I’m not having this conversation with you,” Georgina says, pushing past her out of the walk-in to go count the till.
“And he like, really loves his husband. Like, almost too much, you know? What if it’s a cry for help. What if he thought he would have a better life in this country if he married this wealthy client--”
“Oh my God,” Georgina says. “Oh my God!”
“I’m just saying,” Margot replies.
“Are we really so jaded with the idea of love and marriage that we can’t accept that My Husband and My Husband’s Husband are really in love and happy together?” Georgina asks.
“Yes,” Margot replies. “No one is that happy. No one talks about their significant other like that! When was the last time you heard me talk about Tyler like that?”
“Didn’t you and Tyler break up?”
“No! We live together! It’s clearly a cry for help,” Margot says.
- He’s in a Witness Protection Program from the Russian Mafia
“Again, this is all coming across vaguely racist,” Georgina says, as they watch My Husband sit outside at one of the long benches with a pilsner, and Our Dog curled up at his ankles. Our Dog apparently just came from the groomer’s and was so good today, she got an extra treat. Georgina keeps a small jar of treats behind the bar too, and everyone had stood at the counter and watched as My Husband leaned down to feed Our Dog one, and see her gently lick it out of his hand.
“It would just make sense, like, what if he just can’t remember My Husband’s Husband’s fake name?” Aaron suggests. “It’s all part of a cover. What if they met and My Husband was in the Russian mafia, and My Husband’s Husband was in the Yakuza--”
“--and they ran away together,” Aaron finishes. “I don’t know, I think it’s actually kind of romantic. Anyway, My Husband’s Husband travels away on business --” he also uses air quotes, “--which means he’s still doing undercover work for the government in return for their protection. My Husband’s Husband could be risking his life right now, all so they can have a future together. Also, the retirement would totally make sense in this context. What if My Husband is just really bad at living undercover?”
“Are we talking about My Husband?” Micah asks, coming out of the kitchen and into the bar. “Margot put down a hundred on him being a mail order husband.”
“Yeah, I was just saying that I think he’s actually former-Russian mafia living in a witness protection program with his husband, a double agent with the Yakuza,” Aaron explains. Outside, My Husband takes a thick, well-worn soft cover novel from his hemp Saturday Market tote and thumbs to a middle, dog-eared page.
“I’m firing both of you,” Georgina says.
Micah hums thoughtfully. Eventually, he says, “I mean, I think you’re close, Aaron. But not quite.”
“Oh my God,” Georgina says. “I’m firing everyone who works in this stupid bar.”
Micah ignores her. “I think--”
- My Husband and My Husband’s Husband Are Actually Spies
“They met on a job, fell in love. My Husband’s Husband was supposed to kill My Husband, but couldn’t. They faked his death and escaped to where no one would ever find them: Portland, Oregon.”
“Whoa,” Aaron says.
“It would explain why Nancy can’t place his accent, why we don’t know anyone’s names, why My Husband says he’s retired even though he’s like, thirty, and also why he can put away roughly a growler of beer in a sitting without getting drunk or gaining any weight,” Micah continues. “Trust me, it’s kept me up at night.”
“Also, it would explain their incredible love story,” Layla says, swooning behind them, letting the beer foam over the rim of the pint glass she’s pouring as she looks past them to My Husband on the patio.
“Incredible love story? Are you holding out on us, Layla?” Micah asks, folding his arms over his stained apron. “What do you know that we don’t know?”
“Nothing! I mean--you just listen to how he talks about My Husband’s Husband, it’s--I don’t care what Margot thinks, they’re clearly in love. Or at least My Husband is in love. The way he talks about My Husband’s Husband, the way he scrolls through pictures he’s taken when My Husband’s Husband wasn’t looking. He had this cute one of My Husband’s Husband the other day after he got home from Lake Placid and was wiped out from jet lag. He always says My Husband’s Husband is the most beautiful when he thinks no one is looking.”
A silence settles over the bar, and everyone who isn’t looking at My Husband turns and does so. My Husband, still outside, doesn’t notice and simply turns a page of his book.
“You don’t think,” Micah says.
“But what if,” Aaron says.
- My Husband is a Stalker
“No,” Georgina says. “No, no, no, no. He’s one of our best customers.”
“But what if,” Aaron says.
“No,” Georgina says. “I refuse.”
- My Husband is an Elder God
On the bar’s thirtieth anniversary, My Husband shows up and buys the entire bar a round.
“Are we celebrating?” he asks, shouting over the noise of the bar after a beer. “I’m celebrating too!”
“Oh?” asks everyone who can hear, leaning in his direction.
“Yes!” he says. “My Husband is bringing Our Son home!”
“Our son?” Georgina repeats, mid-card swipe, closing out another customer. The machine beeps angrily at her under her hand. “Are you adopting?”
“If only! Our Son has already flown the coop. He’s nearly twenty,” My Husband says, looking momentarily misty-eyed and even more fond than ever. “But they’ll both be home tomorrow. Another round for everyone!”
The bar cheers. My Husband pays in cash, like always, taking a roll of hundreds neatly tucked into a metal clip out of his pocket.
“Mafia,” Aaron mouths, hiding his face behind a silver shaker.
“Spies,” Micah mouths back, where he’s carrying a tray of dirty dishes back to the kitchen.
My Husband leaves the bar in a good mood, drunker than anyone has ever seen him, having made a handful of new friends who he showed off several pictures of My Husband’s Husband and Our Dog to. He was even able to pull up a few pictures of Our Son, who was indeed an adult.
“He can’t be human,” Nancy says, draping herself over the bar after last call. The place is mostly empty now, save for a few regulars. “How is he old enough to have a twenty-year-old son? He has to be immortal. An elder God.”
“An elder God who drinks shitty IPAs?” a regular, Meg, says. She’s sat next to My Husband several times and been on the front line with the rest of them, looking at pictures of The Bouquet I Got My Husband When He Got Home From Taipei, and My Husband The Other Day At The Market, and The Fried Squid Skewers My Husband Learned How To Make From His Mother That We Made On Our $25,000 Grill This Weekend. Meg thinks My Husband wears too much cologne and has terrible taste in beer, and she isn’t exactly wrong
“Oh my God, he does drink Ninkasi,” Georgina says. “The Sumerian Goddess of Beer. It makes sense. No--no, it doesn’t, he isn’t. Stop getting into my head, you guys. I hate this. I hate all of you. You’re all fired.”
“You can’t fire me,” Meg says. “I just drink here.”
“Whatever,” Georgina says. “I don’t care who or what he is. He spent what I make in a month in an hour tonight. I don’t care if he’s twenty-one or twenty-one thousand, as long as he’s legal, he’s allowed here whenever he likes.”
+1 My Husband is Victor Nikiforov
“You followed him home,” Georgina says. “Aaron, what the fuck.”
“He lives in the neighborhood! He was walking Our Dog--whose name is Makkachin, by the way.”
“Wait, hold up, was that a new detail?” Margot asks, almost stumbling past them with a tray of drinks at the words Our Dog.
“Aaron followed My Husband home after his shift yesterday,” Georgina says. “Aaron is about to be looking for a new job for scaring away one of our best customers.”
“It was fine!” Aaron protests. “Look--the story gets weirder. He totally noticed me and called me out.”
“That doesn’t sound fine,” Georgina says, while Micah appears behind them both and asks, “is it because he’s a spy?”
“No, he’s just--not as dumb as I think we think he is. Also, he’s very friendly. Also, also, he invited me to his house for dinner. To meet his husband.”
Everyone gasps, like the air is being sucked out of the bar.
“You met,” Margot says, “My Husband’s Husband?”
“His name is Yuuri Katsuki,” Aaron says. Margot has to set the tray down. Micah is biting his fist. Georgina, despite herself, slams her hand down on the counter and grips it so hard her knuckles are white. “And the reason he travels so much is because he’s a professional figure skater.”
“Are you sure that’s not just the story they told you? The story they were told to tell you?” Micah asks. Aaron shakes his head.
“No, there were… so many trophies. Like, a lot. Like, an entire room. Because they’re both--My Husband was also a professional figure skater. Like, the best in the world. Or something. So is Our Son. He used to train with them? I don’t know. It all got a little blurry. It was too much. My Husband’s name is Victor, by the way. And he’s definitely Russian. He poured me an entire glass of vodka with lemon for garnish while Yuuri made pizzas in their outdoor pizza oven.”
“Oh my God,” Georgina says, for what is probably the millionth time.
“Anyway, we’re all invited to their house for dinner on Sunday,” Aaron says. “Yuuri wants to make us all dinner for having to put up with his husband all the time. He says he’s sorry.”
“So, you’re saying there’s still a small chance that they could really be spies,” Micah says.
“What I’m saying is that we should probably go,” Aaron says. “Just to make sure.”