100 Days

by aroslav

Copyright© 2015 to Elder Road Books

Drama Story: 2015 Valentine's Day Contest Winner. If at first you don't succeed... Dallas wakes up on Valentines' Day hung over and in bed with the wrong woman. And the day gets worse from there. The question is, can he ever get it right? Or will he forever be stuck reliving Valentines' Day. You might say this is a Do-Over. And over. And over. And... Caution, there are necessarily tragic scenes within this piece, but I try not to dwell on them.

Caution: This Drama Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Fa/Fa   Consensual   Heterosexual   DoOver   Caution   .

I woke with a start when the garbage truck dropped the dumpster behind my townhouse. Oh, my head. I snuggled up against Jane and cupped her breast in my left hand as we spooned together in bed, my hard cock wedged comfortably between her ass cheeks. She moaned a little and turned to kiss me good morning.

Fucking hell! This wasn't Jane.

And the worst day of my life began.

Let me tell you; it really had to go some to get worse than yesterday. I thought that was unbeatable. Oh, it started great. I was on a roll at work and ready to close another sale. I sell systems for analytical accounting. This isn't your everyday laptop computer system. Network, servers, software, training, security. That's what our firm offers. I sell it.

If you've ever tried to sell something to a huge corporation or conglomerate or holding company, you know these guys don't just walk into Best Buy and leave with a new system. Selling them on revamping their entire network so they can run state of the art analysis on markets and competition, making sure they are safe from cyber-attack, and ensuring they're a step ahead of the competition is a long process. It takes about 100 days to make a sale. Once the sale is made, it has to be handled, the network actually designed and configured, everything installed, and employees trained. That takes the balance of a year. At any given time, I've got a client prospecting, one proposing, one closing, one in design, one in installation, and one in implementation.

How can I make a living just selling a system every 100 days? Well, each sale ranges between $2 million and $5 million. I work on commission. Just three percent. That's about $250-300k a year. I get by. It was nearly the middle of February and I was counting down the days until Carlo Bonelli Markets would close on their new system. I was going through contracts all morning, making sure every 'i' was dotted and every 't' was crossed. This was going to be a good one. They'd asked for revisions to the first proposal, but it turned out to be for bigger and more powerful servers so our net was going up.

I'd been beating up on our legal department to make corrections when I had to leave to attend the monthly sales meeting. I yelled at the paralegal that I expected the corrected contracts on my desk when I got my 2:00 p.m. break.

The company has long held that monthly sales meetings were mandatory. You didn't schedule meetings, go on trips, or sleep through a sales meeting. They were slated for the entire afternoon, but we got two breaks to make sure our accounts were okay. I joined the other reps in the war room where they had our usual sandwiches and coffee waiting for us. Mike Herman, the VP of Sales, always launched the meeting while we were chowing down. It was all corporate policy, turning in expense reports, and recognizing a top sale of the month. You have to understand that three and a half sales a year aren't enough to keep a company our size afloat. There are twenty of us out pounding the pavement, so to speak.

"So we think you'll be happy with the new benefits plan for this fiscal year. We're picking up better health coverage and including a club membership at Run-In Fitness on the main floor. Your benefits will include weight management and we're encouraging each of you to take advantage of that. You work long hard hours and you don't take care of yourselves. I want this whole crew in fighting trim. You get healthy and stay healthy. We all live long and prosper." There was a lot of tittering and a few groans. I glanced around me. I'd put on a few pounds myself and could use a daily workout routine. I wondered when I'd work that into my schedule.

"That brings us to this year's compensation package. You'll all be glad to know that we are fixing a new base for you so you never have to worry about going home without a paycheck in those long dry spells." There was a bit of applause and some 'About time' comments. Mike kept going. "We're upping the 401k matching program to five percent up to the limit allowed by the government. This year that can be as much as an extra six grand in your retirement fund. There's a circular that everyone is getting that goes over the usual gobbledy-gook from the government about how much you can put aside pre-tax each year. And you'll be glad to know that even with these increased benefits, we're maintaining a two percent commission rate for all sales, effective immediately."

He made it all sound so much like we were making out like bandits that it took a minute for that to soak in. They were increasing our 401k match by two percent and giving us a health club membership in exchange for a third of our commissions? What the fuck?

"Mike, that's effectively going to knock our compensation down by over twenty percent," I said. "What gives? We signed on for a three percent commission. I'm not interested in a stupid health club membership that costs me a hundred grand a year."

"Your numbers are all wrong, Dallas. Nobody's going to lose a hundred grand a year. Hell, some of these guys aren't even making a hundred a year yet. This is going to give everybody some badly needed support."

"I don't need that kind of support. I need the bucks I've been making. It's what the company agreed to."

That was the beginning of the end. Mike doesn't like to be challenged about anything. Which I did. You sure don't want to tell him to pull his head out of his ass. Which I did. And you never want to give him an ultimatum. Which I did. And you never ever want to question his ancestry. Which I did.

"Pack your shit and get out of my company!" he yelled at me.

"Fuck you!" I responded.

I don't keep personal crap at the office. It's where I work. I don't need pictures and potted plants and posters of the Steelers. I don't use my work computer for personal email or to watch porn. I go to work to make fucking money. I grabbed my jacket and walked out the door.

I was unemployed.

My phone rang as I walked to the bus stop. I hate driving in the city. I looked at the screen hoping it was Jane. Instead I saw it was Emory Wallace, our CEO. I didn't bother to answer. I threw my phone down on the sidewalk as hard as I could. "Fuck you!" I shouted as it shattered. The back popped off and the battery skittered across the sidewalk, right to the feet of a meter cop. He looked at me with his arms folded across his chest. I got down on my knees and picked up the pieces. I grabbed the SIM and the memory card out of the wreckage and tossed the rest in a trashcan. Who needs a phone?

I thought about stopping at Lou's Manhattan Club for a drink, but I didn't want to be close enough to the office that I might run into someone I knew. I got off the bus at Jane's apartment and let myself in. I kept a couple bottles of single malt scotch there and I was going to pour three fingers. Unfortunately, Jane was on swing shift and had just gone to work.

I flopped down in the living room and turned on the tube, automatically going to the Forbes channel to watch the corporate report. I took a long drink of my scotch. It burned so good.

"What are you doing here, Dallas? It's the middle of the day."

Oh God! Suze. She's a dish. Not only does she have a well-endowed shape beneath her coal-black hair, she's downright nice. I've known her as long as I've known Jane. In fact, the two of them have always been roommates and best friends. Jane is a little taller and is a comfortable fit for my six-two frame. Just as stacked and just as nice as her roommate. We used to do everything together. Over time, it became more Jane and me. Oh we still all went out together, but somewhere along the line Jane and I had become a couple and Suze was our friend. A good friend.

"I got fired."

"No shit? How could they do that? You're like their top producer."

"I'm not 'like' the top producer. I am the top producer. Was. They can go to hell."

"I'll join you in one of those," she said. "It must be five o'clock somewhere." She poured herself a scotch and plopped down on the sofa next to me. "I'm really sorry, Dal. Getting laid off really sucks."

"I wasn't laid off. I was summarily fired. To quote: 'Pack your shit and get out of my company.' I just grabbed my jacket and left. They can have my box of Kleenex and bottle of aspirin."

"What happened?" Suze slid over next to me and put an arm around my shoulders. I leaned in against her. She smelled good. In a few minutes she'd coaxed the story out of me. It was replete with as many expletives as I could fabricate. Eventually I'd have to apologize to her for my language, but I was too steamed right now to care. "Did you call Jane? Text her?"

"I ... uh ... broke my phone."

"Dal, you've really got to control your anger. Look what it cost you today. They wanted to take a hundred grand from you, so you threw away three hundred."

"Thanks. That puts it all in perspective."

"I can see there's no use trying to reason with you today. This calls for serious alcohol therapy. Give me a minute to change. Start thinking of where you're planning to take me. But I'll drive," she said, heading for her bedroom.

"Thanks. I took the bus today. Fucking city traffic."

"Fine. We'll head for the country."

Yeah. That would do. About five miles farther out, there was a country bar called The Roadhouse. They might even have some music. I needed music. And more alcohol. And ribs. They have great ribs. And sex. Shit. Jane won't get off till midnight and by then I'll be too blitzed to get it up. Maybe I could get Suze to take me to Foxy's Gentlemen's Club. I've long suspected she appreciated some of the same things in women that I did. She even looked at Jane the same way I did.

We didn't make Foxy's. We did get to The Roadhouse and had a seven course dinner: A rack of ribs and a six-pack. And there was music. Suze dragged me out to do a line-dance and we ended up on the dancefloor for an hour. Then one of those sad country songs started playing. My wife left me, my dog died, and my truck won't start. I was turning to go get another beer when Suze pulled me to her and started swaying to the music. She wrapped both hands around the back of my neck and I put mine on her waist while she did her best to polish my belt-buckle. Something seemed to keep getting in the way.

I don't know what the rest of the music was like. We never changed positions. Well, except that I found my hands somehow down on her ass and her lips plastered against mine with her tongue prospecting for gold. Even with as much as I'd been sweating while we danced, I'd had the equivalent of three scotches, a double Tanqueray martini while we waited to be seated, a six-pack of beer, and a Courvoisier during a break while we were dancing. It was a good thing Suze drove. She was the responsible one. I just leaned my head back in the passenger seat and reached over to put my hand on her leg.

She didn't object.

Oh, Suze of so many fantasies. I got to playing them in my head and stroking up and down her thigh. I don't think she moved her skirt, so I must have managed to get my hand under the hem and started caressing her bare leg.

She didn't object.

When she pulled up in front my house, I leaned over and kissed her. My hand rode farther up her leg and her breathing sped up as I stroked the gusset of her panties.

"Let's get you to bed," she whispered. "You've had a rough day."

We stumbled into the house. I might not be as drunk as I appeared, but I was going to have a sweet hangover in the morning. She helped me to the bathroom and when I just stood there she started the water running in the shower and got me undressed. My cock seemed to be working fine. When she got it uncovered, it started rising for her inspection. I tugged at her little blouse and she helped by unbuttoning it. It slid off her shoulders revealing two beautiful breasts that begged to be sucked. I could never resist a beggar. Suze gasped as my lips closed around her nipple and I flicked it with my tongue.

She didn't object.

She helped me into the shower and then lost her skirt and panties so she could join me, mostly holding me up so I didn't collapse in there. I wanted to fuck her, but I wasn't stable enough on my feet to do it in the shower. Instead, I let her wash me while I played with her tits and interrupted by kissing her. She shut off the water and I brushed my teeth while she toweled us off. She led me into the bedroom and turned back the covers for me to get in. I slid over and pulled on her hand to get her to join me.

She didn't object.

Silence is consent, right? We kissed. I fondled her and she held my cock. She was wet. I rolled on top of her, nudging her legs apart and she guided me into her. It didn't last long but it was breathtaking. She thrust up against me and I emptied myself into her as she whined in my ear and raked my back with her nails.

That orgasm might have been the most intense of my life. When I was drained, I collapsed. I don't even remember slipping out of her.

That was yesterday. Today, my head throbbed. My stomach was boiling over. My cock was rigid and pushing against Suze.

"I'm not quite ready, lover. Kiss me a little like you did last night. I'll moisten up." My lips engaged hers and she moved against me. I played with her nipples and she became more active. That was bad news. Fucking with a hangover is fine in theory but in practice, my stomach was rebelling. I pushed myself away from her and rushed to the bathroom where I emptied what remained in my gut. Then I lay there with dry heaves, hugging the porcelain.

I drank three glasses of water and then stepped into the shower. My hard-on had long gone. I stood under the water wishing I'd never been born. I pissed and heaved up the water I'd drunk. Then I just stood under the water some more. It finally started getting cold and I shut it off. I stared at myself in the mirror, my day's growth of beard looking too hard to shave. My eyes were dark and it looked like I'd burst a vessel when I threw up.

So this is what an unemployed loser looks like.

I grabbed a couple aspirin and drank another glass of water. Slowly. Suze wasn't in the bedroom when I stumbled back there. I grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and pulled them on. I could hear noise in the kitchen and hoped Suze had put coffee on. I walked into the kitchen and stopped to stare. She was wearing one of my t-shirts and it covered her to exactly her crotch. Every time she moved a little, it uncovered her enough that I could see her pussy lips. I appreciated the view, but I needed coffee.

She turned around when she heard me and handed me a cup. Then she tortured me by turning on the blender. When it was mercifully off she poured a red concoction into a tall glass and handed that to me. How the hell did she know where I kept everything?

"Happy Valentine's Day," she said flatly as I sniffed at the glass. V8. Who knew what else? I tipped the glass back and guzzled it down. Tabasco. Lots of it. I gulped more coffee. Suze sat on the opposite side of the kitchen table from me. I hesitated. It felt like her anti-hangover remedy was going to stay down. "We have a problem," she said.

"Oh fuck! Don't tell me you're pregnant."

"That would be rich. Lose your job, get drunk, fuck your girlfriend's best friend, and end up a deadbeat dad, all before noon on Valentine's Day." I stared at her. Was she bitter? She certainly didn't object to fucking her best friend's boyfriend last night. Did she? "Not even thinking about Jane, are you?"

"I'm thinking of nothing else."

"Well, get your thoughts together. She'll be here in a few minutes."

"Shit!" I looked at the clock. It was after ten. That was as early as Jane ever got up when she worked until midnight. And she was headed here. The avenging wronged woman. I was not in the mood.

I heard her key in the lock. I was going to have to have them changed.

"Well, this is a fine Valentine's Day present. My best friend and my boyfriend looking like they just rolled out of bed with each other. What, exactly, should I think about that?"

"Don't even start, Jane," I said. "I lost my job, got drunk, and fucked your roommate. She hasn't told me yet if she might be pregnant. I'm a loser and you are both just as well off to be rid of me." I walked out of the kitchen, jammed my feet in a pair of shoes, and grabbed my jacket. They were still sitting there staring at me. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for this whole fucking life." I walked out.

It was cold and I hadn't worn a heavy enough jacket. No hat and no gloves. And no destination. Great! I'd be frost-bitten before I got anywhere. That was just the start of my rotten V-Day. I had just turned the corner to get to my usual bus stop and saw there was a bit of a crowd there. I usually catch an earlier bus and don't see the shoppers and sightseers. The bus was on its way. I was about ten feet away when a toddler stepped into the street, unnoticed by his mother. Just in time for the bus. Blood spattered on the front of my t-shirt and I turned and heaved.

There was screaming. A lot of it. Some of it was mine. That poor kid. That poor bus driver. That poor mother. And all the rest of us who had seen what happened.

Sirens screamed. Police asked questions. In the middle of it, the young mother grabbed an officer's gun out of his belt and shoved it in her mouth. She went to join her toddler.

When the police were finally done asking questions, I stumbled away. It was after noon. My stomach rumbled and I made it to a trash barrel to heave again. I stopped at a café a few blocks away and ordered coffee.

"What do you want to eat?" I looked at the waitress. She had red puffy eyes and looked at me with disgust.

"Just coffee."

"You're at a table. Food order required." Fuck! I looked at the menu she shoved in front of me.

"Give me that. Joe's Eggs." She was back in a few minutes with a plateful of scrambled eggs with spinach and hamburger. I shoveled half of them down and choked on the coffee. I tossed what cash I had on the table and left. I knew it wasn't enough to cover the bill. I'd come back some other time and make it up to them. That will teach me to leave the house without my wallet.

I sat on a park bench most of the afternoon, shivering as I wondered, against my will, what my clients were going to think when their contracts didn't show up and how much money I was losing on just this one deal. I could have closed it in the next couple days. We were that close.

While I sat there, looking ahead of me, but not really registering anything I could see. A bag-lady wandered by. She was looking in a trashcan to see what might be left when two young thugs grabbed her shopping bags and took off.

Damn it! I'd heard enough screaming for one day. The old lady sank down next to the can and sobbed.

Fuck! You know what they say. I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet. I was such a fucking prick. I deserved everything I got. This old lady?

I went to her, afraid to get too close. I sure didn't need cops questioning me or her accusing me of stealing her bags.

"Can I help you?" I asked softly. "Do you have someplace to go?"

"It was everything I had," she wept. "It wasn't much, but it was everything."

"Let's find you some shelter. Where do you usually go at night?" She pointed down the street and I could see the sign for a mission. "Can I help you up?" She raised her hand and I helped her to her feet. She leaned on me heavily as we made our way to the mission. I didn't really know how these things worked. I figured I could drop her off at the door and escape. It didn't work that way.

"Mildred! What happened to you?"

"They took my bags. They took everything," she wailed.

"Come in here, honey," the matron of the mission said, reaching for her. Mildred went with her, but she didn't let go of my arm. "Who are you?" the matron asked.

"Uh ... Dallas. I just saw her get mugged. I'll be going now." I tried to pry Mildred's fingers off my arm to no avail.

"Nonsense," the matron said. "I'm Alice and you will come in here and have a hot meal, young man. My, you look a mess. Get that jacket and shirt off so I can get them washed. I have another that will fit you. Here. Now, Mildred, let your young hero go so he can get cleaned up for dinner." Mildred reluctantly let go of my arm. I took the offered clothes and walked into the bathroom.

What greeted me in the mirror was a hundred times worse than what I'd seen this morning. This morning I looked like I had a hangover. This evening it looked like I had been in a bloody brawl. Good luck cleaning this jacket and shirt. I exchanged my Boss sports coat and AC/DC t-shirt for a heavy sweatshirt and a shirt that said 'Miller High Life' on it. I made sure my pockets were empty. I guess I didn't really take anything with me this morning. I didn't even have the keys to my townhouse in my pocket. No wallet. No money. I really was an unemployed bum. My eyes were dark with the burst blood vessels from the number of times I'd heaved today. My beard had gone from a morning shadow to neglected hygiene.

I was directed to a seat beside Mildred and she immediately hugged my arm again. She smelled. I hadn't seen showers in the bathroom. Apparently that was beyond the realm of their capability at the mission. There was a long prayer. They passed around some kind of casserole that resembled mac and cheese with bits of something that might have been ground beef in it. I didn't know what it was and didn't take much. As I reached for my plastic fork, I saw that it was resting on a little heart cut out of construction paper. Written on the heart were the words 'Jesus loves you.' After my elegant Valentine's Day dinner of unidentifiable slop and carrot sticks, we had to sit there and listen to Alice preach for a while. I didn't know she was going to preach. She started just talking about how everyone's day had been and then she pointed me out and started talking about the story of the Good Samaritan and that no matter what our circumstances, we could still help others.

I thought about my lost job, my lost loves, my lost self-respect. I thought about the lost lives of that little toddler and his mother. I thought about Mildred's lost bags. And then I thought about the Valentine dinner I'd planned for Jane at Daniel's, our favorite restaurant, and how we'd never go there again. We'd even planned to take Suze with us so she wouldn't be all alone on Valentine's Day. I'd probably ruined their friendship as well.

I saw water drops falling on my paper plate and realized they were coming from my eyes. Of all the things I'd lost, the worst was hope.

I allowed myself to be dragged to a dormitory and stretched out on a cot. I couldn't even think of a better alternative. I just fell asleep.

I woke with a start when the garbage truck dropped the dumpster behind my townhouse. Oh, my head. I snuggled up against Jane and cupped her breast in my left hand as we spooned together in bed, my hard cock wedged comfortably between her ass cheeks. She moaned a little and turned to kiss me good morning.

Fucking hell! This wasn't Jane.

And the worst day of my life began.


I was dazed. I still felt Suze's breast beneath my hand. I still felt my cock wedged in her crack. How did I get here? I'd fallen asleep on a mission cot.

"What day is it?" I asked.

"Thursday, February 14, silly. Happy Valentine's Day."

The disorientation was too much. I felt my drunk coming up and scrambled to the toilet. A dream? It couldn't have been. It was too real. I'd lived yesterday. Today.

I started running water in the shower, drank a couple glasses, and got under the spray. I pissed. I heaved again. I stood there wishing it was all a bad dream. Yesterday. Today. My life.

If anything, the face in the mirror looked worse than yesterday. I was not only looking at an angry, hung-over bastard, but a scared one. I grabbed my jeans and t-shirt and then paused to pull on a wool sweater and socks. I remembered being cold all day.

In the kitchen, Suze with her bare butt peaking from beneath my t-shirt turned and handed me a cup of coffee. I tried to smile at her and she actually chuckled. Not everything was identical to the dream then. She'd already wished me a Happy Valentine's Day. I winced through the blender and took the V8 concoction from her drinking it a little more slowly.

"We have a problem," I said.

"She's on her way over."

"What am I going to do?"

"Tell her you lost your job, got drunk, and fucked her best friend. That would be a good start."

"You're not pregnant now, are you?" I asked.

"This is a fine time to think of that." I heard the front door open.

"Happy Valentine's Day!" Jane called as she walked into the kitchen. "It looks like you started without me."

"I can explain," I started. Fuck! "No. I can't. I'm sorry." That sense of everything being the same but different hit me as I shoved my feet into my shoes and grabbed my jacket. I paused to grab my keys and wallet, too. I learned something.

"Dallas!" Jane called. I closed the door behind me and started off, not knowing where I'd go.

It wasn't until I rounded the corner and saw the crowd at the bus stop that I realized what was happening. I froze and turned my back as I heard the tires squealing on the pavement and the screams that followed. I ran.

A block away I stopped and puked up the red mixture Suze had served me. It burned going down and it burned coming back up. I headed toward a café I knew and had only gone a few steps when I heard a gunshot from the direction of the accident. I turned away from the café and headed toward the freeway. I couldn't take this. I couldn't go through this day again. No one stopped for me. I just kept walking. I don't know how long I walked. I saw the lights of a truckstop and walked toward them.

The special was a stuffed pork chop with the truckers' buffet. I ate. I kept getting refills for my coffee. I sat there for two hours and well into the third. There were a couple other guys there who looked vaguely familiar.

"Why don't you just pay me when you're ready," my waitress said. She pushed the plastic wallet toward me. She'd put it down an hour ago. "You can pay, can't you?" she asked.

"Yeah. Sure," I answered. I got my wallet and removed a hundred dollar bill. "Here. Keep the change." She stared at the bill and at me and at my wallet.


"It's real. Sorry I took so long."

"Anytime. Anytime."

I left the diner, looked out past the pumps toward the highway, and started walking. I was just beyond the pools of light when a car raced up next to me and one of the guys I'd seen in the diner rolled down the window.

"Need a lift?"

"Thanks. I reached for the back door handle and it suddenly swung open, hitting me in the face and knocking me down. The other fellow I'd seen landed on top of me with his knee in my gut. "Get the wallet, Stu. He's loaded," the guy in the car yelled. He grabbed my wallet and then gave me a good kick in the face. I blacked out as the car roared away.

I woke with a start when the garbage truck dropped the dumpster behind my townhouse. Oh, my head. I snuggled up against Jane and cupped her breast in my left hand as we spooned together in bed, my hard cock wedged comfortably between her ass cheeks. She moaned a little and turned to kiss me good morning.

Fucking hell! This wasn't Jane.

And the worst day of my life began.


I knew without asking what day it was. I pushed away from Suze without speaking to her and locked myself in the bathroom. I didn't bother showering. I curled up around the cold toilet and stayed there.

I think I slept some. Someone pounded on the bathroom door.

"Open up, Dal. This will help you," Suze said.

"No it won't." I heaved again.

A couple hours later there was another knock.

"Dal? Come on out now. We need to talk," Jane said.

"No we don't. Go away."

"Dal..." I heard her voice break and a sob but she left me alone. I'd already replayed in my mind what was happening on the street. It made no difference that I wasn't there. I could still feel the boy's blood spatter against me. I heaved again.

It was late in the day. I was still in the bathroom. I knew the sun had gone down but I didn't really know what time it was. I ran a bath. Maybe I could drown myself. Before I stepped into it, I looked in the mirror. Not just angry and hung-over and afraid. Haunted.

I got in the tub and went to sleep.

I woke with a start when the garbage truck dropped the dumpster behind my townhouse. Oh, my head. I snuggled up against Jane and cupped her breast in my left hand as we spooned together in bed, my hard cock wedged comfortably between her ass cheeks. She moaned a little and turned to kiss me good morning.

Fucking hell! This wasn't Jane.

And the worst day of my life began.


Seven times. I was in hell, doomed to repeat this day over and over. Happy Valentine's Day. Fuck.

I stumbled into the bathroom and vomited. It seemed routine now. Every day I'd get up hung-over and vomit in the toilet. I didn't even feel it anymore. I didn't feel the headache. I didn't taste the coffee or the V8 concoction. I didn't say anything. I met Jane as she opened the door. I looked at her with tears in my eyes and pushed past her into the cold.

I hurried my steps toward the bus stop. I could see it coming. I could see the little boy. I ran.

I scooped him up just as he was about to step off the curb. I held him in my arms as the bus rolled to a stop. Not this time. There would be no blood on my clothes this time.

"Help! Bruce! My baby! That man stole my baby!"

I turned to tell her that I wasn't stealing him. I was going to explain how he'd almost stepped off the curb.

I was met with a fist to the mouth and the little boy was snatched from my arms. The fist was only the first. By the time I hit the pavement, I'd been pummeled nearly unconscious. After I was down, I was kicked the rest of the way.

I woke up in pain. I reached to touch my face. My wrist was shackled to the bed.

"All right, who are you and why were you trying to kidnap that baby?" a police officer demanded as he loomed over me.

"Not kidnapping. Saving."

"For who?"

"From the bus. About to step in front of it."

"Yeah, right. We have a dozen witness who say you snatched that little boy right out of his mother's arms."

"Wasn't in her arms. Walking toward the curb."

"So that's your story." He unfastened the cuffs from the bed and ripped my IV tube out of my arm. They hadn't even bothered to undress me in the hospital. He pulled me to my feet and dragged me across the room.


"You don't need shoes where you're going."

Apparently I didn't need my jacket, either. The cold wind bit into me and the pavement stuck to my feet. I was shoved into a squad car and then confined in a cell with half a dozen other men who stank to high heaven.

"I didn't do anything!" I protested for the twentieth time.

"Child molester," the cop said. He turned and walked away. A hand grabbed my shoulder and spun me around to face my cellmates. This wasn't a friendly welcoming committee. They made sure it took a long time to lose consciousness.

I woke with a start when the garbage truck dropped the dumpster behind my townhouse. Oh, my head. I snuggled up against Jane and cupped her breast in my left hand as we spooned together in bed, my hard cock wedged comfortably between her ass cheeks. She moaned a little and turned to kiss me good morning.

Fucking hell! This wasn't Jane.

And the worst day of my life began.


Two weeks. Or was it more? It made no difference. It was still Valentine's Day. I puked, showered, dressed, drank Suze's magic potion. There was nothing for me to say. I pulled on my hat and gloves this time and walked to the door just as Jane opened it. I turned. Suze was right behind me crying. Something snapped.

"I want you both to know that I love you very much," I said. I stepped past Jane and hurried to the bus stop. I saw it coming and rushed. Just as the kid started to step off the curb, I leaned down and shoved him into his mother. I knew the action would kill me. Well, why not die a hero. I didn't really feel the impact of the bus. Too much.

I woke with a start when the garbage truck dropped the dumpster behind my townhouse. Oh, my head. I snuggled up against Jane and cupped her breast in my left hand as we spooned together in bed, my hard cock wedged comfortably between her ass cheeks. She moaned a little and turned to kiss me good morning.

Fucking hell! This wasn't Jane.

And the worst day of my life began.


I can't even die.

I killed myself seven times this week, each time saying that at least I saved the kid. But nothing else changed. I woke up the next morning to an ever more-welcome Suze cuddled against me. I'd have just stayed there, but when I tried, the guilt over letting that little boy and his mother die was so overwhelming that I threw up over and over. If I got out of bed with intent, it seemed my hangover wasn't quite as bad. I still threw up, but I didn't burst all the blood vessels under my eyes when I did it.

Hmm. Seven times this week. My mother used to have a phrase. I'd ask for something like a new bicycle or train set and she'd say, "Not in a month of Sundays." So far I'd had three weeks of Thursdays. It was getting old. Did I want to spend eternity getting up, throwing up, and getting run over by a bus?

There's something about being in sales. You don't make it if you don't keep knocking on the door. If they say 'no, ' then you have to change the question. You just have to get the right question and they'll say 'yes.' I had to get past killing myself to save the kid. Then maybe I could get to step two. Whatever that was.

I took my anti-hangover drink from Suze and guzzled it while I put on my topcoat. Yes, I had a big, heavy, full-length cashmere coat. But top young salesmen never wear a coat like that. It makes you look weak. Today, I didn't care how I looked. I opened the front door just as Jane was getting her key out. I kissed her on the cheek, much to her surprise.

"No matter what you think, hear, or see, I love you," I said. Then I ran for the bus stop.

I'd replayed this scene so many times, I knew exactly where each person was standing and how many steps it took to get to the kid. This time, though, I just stepped in front of him. I felt him bump into the back of my coat as I took a place in front of everyone else at the stop.

"You rude bastard," someone yelled as the bus squealed to a stop.

"Bruce!" the mother yelled. I felt her push against me and turned to see her step in front of the bus and grab her child. He was a determined little cuss, but having to go around me put him six inches in front of where the bus stopped. I got on the bus, flashed my pass and went straight to the back door and got off. The kid was safe. I didn't need to get beaten to a pulp by irate passengers I'd lunged in front of.

Now what?

It was the first time I felt good about myself since this started. I just needed to wait out the day and tomorrow I could focus on putting my life together. I headed for a little café not far away.

As soon as I walked in, I realized where I was. The last time I was here I stiffed the waitress.

The last time. It was today, only it was three weeks ago. My stomach wasn't so riled up this time. There was no blood on my face and clothes. I hadn't just thrown up again. I ordered Joe's Eggs and black coffee. The waitress was pleasant enough but her face looked stressed and her eyes red and puffy. I finished my meal and she brought the check. She stood there waiting. I fished thirty dollars out of my wallet.

"I think last time I was in I might have shorted you," I said. "I hope this will make up for it." She looked at the bills and snarled at me.

"Thanks. Now all I have to do is explain to my five-year-old daughter why her birthday present is three weeks late." She turned on her heel and left me. I swallowed the last of my coffee. That went well.

I went to the park to contemplate my sins. Hell! It wasn't even me who stiffed her in her world. Still, I try to make up for it and she treats me like shit. Nobody gives a rip about what anyone else thinks or feels. Why should I even care?

Take my clients, for example. Mike will just turn my client-load over to some snot-nosed kid—probably Dan—and he'll take the contracts that I had drafted, deliver them to be signed, and collect my three percent of close to five million dollars. He's probably never had a hundred-fifty grand in his life and didn't even need to work for it.

Oh. Sorry, kid. You only get a hundred k for it. They cut your commission. Didn't mean much when it was a third of sixty grand and you'd get that regardless. Now you're losing more than you used to earn in a year. Fuck you. Fuck all of you.

I heard a lady squeal and looked up to see two punks running away with her shopping bags. She sank down against the trashcan and started to sob. Oh hell. Another good deed for me to do. I stood and walked over to her.

"Hello, Mildred," I said. "Let's get you someplace warm and a good meal. I offered her my hand.

"It was everything I had," she wept. "It wasn't much, but it was everything."

"Let's get you over to the mission where you'll be safe and warm tonight."

She gripped my arm like I was one of those airplane seats that turn into a handy flotation device in case of a water landing. I walked with her to the mission. I knew how the place worked this time. I would hand her off to Alice and escape.

"Mildred! What happened to you?"

"They took my bags. They took everything," she wailed.

"Come in here, honey," Alice said, reaching for her. Mildred went with her, but she didn't let go of my arm. "Who are you?" the matron asked.

"Uh ... Dallas. I just saw her get mugged. I'll be going now." I tried to pry Mildred's fingers off my arm to no avail.

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