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While happily married, there is some strain between Tom Benecke and his wife as Tom has spent an inordinate amount of time on a project. In the exposition of "Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets," he is desperately trying to finish, for the completed project will be worth a considerable sum of money. So, instead of accompanying her to the movie, he arranges to catch up with her later. When Tom asks his wife if she minds going alone, she simply replies, "No." But her voice is "muffled," indicating that there is probably disappointment and some resentment on her part. As Tom hears his wife pull her coat from the closet, reminding him that she is going by herself, he thinks: "guilty conscience."
He walked to the front-door closet to help her on with her coat. He kissed her then and, for an instant, holding her close, smelling the perfume she had used, he was tempted to go with her; it was not actually true that he had to work tonight, though he very much wanted to. This was his own project, unannounced as yet in his office, and it could be postponed.
But, Tom is eager to make a name for himself, so he neglects his personal life. Of course, the later terror that enters his everyday world teaches him to value the important things in life; namely, his personal relationships, especially the one with his loving wife.
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