Note to the readership:
I have noticed, in recent times, that many commenters have criticized the undeniable truth that I mostly use similar—they are never exactly the same—themes and plot lines in my stories. Hmm, guilty. Not apologetic at all, but definitely guilty. Why do I do it? Simple, I like the theme. The ideas are not all original either, and any number of LIT and SOL authors follow the same script. That said...
I have also noted that some of my most virulent detractors still never fail to read my stuff. I am still waiting for anyone—I mean anyone—to tell me why. Since none have so dared, I am left to conclude that they, my detractors, don't know why, and/or that they secretly love my stuff and can't get enough of it. I find this curious.
I am always writing, and if it matters, I am about to seriously launch into a new genre—romance—which I tested the waters with in Beauty and the Beast some little time back. Interesting result with that one. The score was high and the comments and letters were almost universally favorable (score 4.38; 19 letters; and 14 comments); but, that said, the downloads for B&B were the lowest I have ever had per any story that I have written (currently 9,700 after five months). John and Chloe, my latest LW formulaic story, after just eight hours, reads out at: 3.62, 23 comments, and 9,000 downloads). Makes one wonder.
So, while I am about to makes some pretty major changes on the one hand; I will still be doing the LW stuff as well. I just hope that those out there who hate me keep reading. Though, I would, at some point, sure like to know why. I bettin' it'd be a kick.
My best to all, especially to those who threaten, cajole, and insult me.
My name is Michael Metcalf Longden, no relation to the famous jockey—well, that I know of. The gods hate me. No, that's not a misprint, not a typo, not a mistake of any kind; and, I do mean that they hate me, and I mean they "all" hate me, all of the Olympian gods. Evidence? Oh I have evidence. Boy, do I ever have evidence.
It had been a long day at the plant, but at least it was a TGIF situation. I work for WESTCO mfg. I do electrical installations. WESTCO fabricates houses believe it or not, and they are selling like hotcakes. And why not? They go for half the price of brick and mortar places and they are just as durable and good. But, it can be hard work, especially if schedules are not being met, and that is exactly what's been going on these last weeks.
I came in through the back door, and collapsed onto the couch hoping to get a little TLC from the little woman. What I got instead rocked my ship for damn sure.
"You look tired, Mike. You okay?" she said.
"I am, and yes," I said, responding to her concerns.
"Mike, can we talk? Would that be all right?' she said. I had the feeling that this was not going to be one of those conversations that made my day, but I nodded in the affirmative.
"Sure, I guess so," I said.
"Mike, I want a divorce?" she said. Suddenly I was no longer tired, well I was, but I was also alert as hell!
"What the fuck?" I said.
"It isn't working for us, Mike. You know it. I know it. Hell, half of our friends know it," she said. "I still love you on some level; I do. But, I can't go on anymore; It's like were just free-floating, aimlessly, from day to day, with no end in sight.
"Who the hell is this 'we' that says it isn't working for us, and what do you mean by that, Florence Longden, nee Bromley? I've never given you any reason to think, that I thought, our marriage wasn't working! Is something going on here that I've been missing, Flo? Is there!" I said.
"Mike, it isn't working. There's no spark there anymore. You're always working at the plant. I'm always working at the salon, mister Fielding's. We're just aging with no real future worth looking forward to. Mike, I think it's time for us to end it, for both our sakes," she said.
"You've got a lover, don't you, Flo. Tell me straight, that's it isn't it Flo. Good lookin' woman like you. Sure you do," I said. "Who is he, Flo? Who!" I said. She bridled at my rising tone of voice.
"It doesn't matter, and it doesn't alter the fact that our marriage is dead and has been for a long time," she said.
"Who is it Flo? Who's been fucking mama bear in my bed?" I said. I could see her gathering herself; she was about to go on the offensive.
"It's Mark Fielding. But, I was thinking about this long before I hooked up with Mark.
"Look, I'm not going to be asking for anything. Mark will be taking care of me. You can have the house and everything in it. I only ask that you make this as easy as possible for us, and not make any waves. I'm concerned about the children and their reactions. I am trying to not hurt you anymore than is necessary, Mike. I know this is a surprise. But frankly, Mike, you've just got to man up and deal with it.
"You're young enough to find yourself another woman, Mike. Do it, and get on with your life; and, let me and Mark get on with ours. Okay?" she said. I was fuming and bitter and angry and all kinds of—well—jealous.
"Deal with it? Man up? Well, fuck you, you cheating whore!" I grabbed my coat as I stalked out and away from the only woman I have ever loved.
I wanted to kill the both of them. Here we were at our common age of forty-three looking to be starting over. And our kids, Nell and Christina, off at college and graduating soon: Nell this year and Christina next. What were they going to be saying? Whatever it was, it wasn't going to be nice. Either they'd back her, or they'd back me; and either way there was going to be conflict. I was at the stage of life where I was wanting to travel some with my wife, have some fun—well deserved fun in my opinion—but now the rug had been pulled out from under me, and I was flat on my ass with no woman to share my—our—dreams with. And yes, we'd had dreams Flo and I. Well, cancel those!
I needed a drink real bad. Sinbad's would do just fine; they liked me there; better than my wife did apparently.
"Yeah, Jimmy, I need one and I need it bad. A double: some of that blue label Smirnoff," I added.
"You look down, kinda desperate, guy. Problems at home?" he said
"You could say that. Marriage just cratered. I'm here on a mission. A mission to forget. Think you can facilitate my aims here, good buddy?" I said.
"That's what I do best," he said. "He pointed to a picture of himself behind the bar with a tag under it that spelled it out: The Great Facilitator. He'd gotten the idea from former President Reagan's unofficial title of The Great Communicator; well, that's what he told everybody.
The night dragged on, and after a very short time I was just draggin'.
"Last call," he said. I'd been sitting there except for potty breaks for the past five hours. It was 1:00AM. "You okay to drive? I can call you a cab."
"Yeah, I'm okay, Jimmy. It's only a couple of miles to my place. I'll be okay," I said. He looked dubious, but he didn't push it. I appreciated that. Well, I did until five minutes later.
"Get out of the car, sir," said the uniform. I looked at him through what I knew were tear streaked eyes. Yeah, yeah, I'd been cryin' so shoot me in the ass.
I got out. "You been drinkin', sir?" he said. I decided to be straight with him. I'd read somewhere that lyin' to the cops was a sure fire way to piss 'em off.
"Yes sir, some," I said. He did the breathalyzer thing with me. I'd never done that one before. Shouldn't have done it this time; well, what choice would I have had anyway. He didn't cuff me, but he did put me in the back of his cruiser. I asked him about my car. He assured me it would be taken care of. It was only a week later that I discovered what he meant by "taken care of." It cost me five hundred; that on top of the $1,100 fine and seventy-two hours in the slam. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
I sat cooling my heels in the station along with half a dozen other perps waiting for someone to lock us up. The woman across from me was a nano-thread from breaking loose with the tears. Hell, I could relate; I'd been cryin' off and on half the night.
"You okay, girl?" I said. As if I could have done anything to help her out regardless. She ignored me, well, at first she ignored me. I just nodded when I realized she wasn't going to respond.
"No, I'm not all right," she said, finally. "They busted me, and the family will without a doubt soon be disowning me, and I have no money, and no one to call. So no, I'm fucked and have no hope. All right!" she said.
"What's your name? I said, not unkindly. I offered her my hanky; it was the only thing they hadn't taken away from me.
"Mildred Lake," she said. "Profession? Prostitute. Actually this was my first day on the job. Two guys screwed me, rather badly. Made myself a couple of hundred. The third one was a cop," she said. "Oh, and surprise-surprise, they confiscated all my money."
"Bad day for me too," I said. "Anyway, wish you luck."
"Yeah, well same to you," she said.
The big uniform came for us and we were transported to the lockup. I was informed about my arraignment and told I could ask for a lawyer or just take my chances with the judge. I opted for the latter. So far I'd done everything wrong and my latest decision just continued the tradition. I didn't see the woman, the Prostie, after the door slammed on the van that transported us. I wondered what happened to her.
.... There is more of this story ...