"You know you're completely fucking nuts. Right?"
"Listen! It makes perfect sense."
"You fly off to Vegas. Stay till your money runs out. I cover your work, and baby sit your wife. Is that correct?"
"No! You've got it all wrong! She'll take care of YOU."
"You really think I can't take care of myself?"
"It's not like that. I know how many hours you work, how little time you have for yourself. Fast food and bar pickups ain't healthy man. You need someone to food shop. Someone to cook and clean and pick up after you. Someone to keep you company and warm your bed."
"That's the craziest part! You want me to sleep with your wife."
"For those two weeks she'll be your wife. Look, she's new to this country. Doesn't know anyone. Has no one to rely on if she has problems. You are the only one I can trust to treat her well, not take advantage of her, or hurt and abuse her. Can you do this for me?"
"OK. But only if she agrees with this shit."
"She does what she's told. Anything you want. Anytime you want. Just return her in the same condition you get her."
I had to work with Ronny. I did not have to like him. I didn't trust the slimey weasel out of my sight. Rumors said, after only two months, he was already taking her to wife swapping parties, and trading her for favors. I don't know what her life in the old country was like, but a mail order bride deal with the asshole had to be a big mistake. "OK. She can take her vacation with me."
She sat as far from me as was possible while still inside my truck. I had offered to put her cheap suitcase in back, but she wasn't having it. She kept it on her lap, clutched to her chest. She was a tall girl, athletic rather than slim. Her breasts weren't large, but too big for the tank top she wore. She wore too much, of the wrong makeup. Her hair was a skanky artificial yellow, badly cut. Her clothes were from the slut rack at Wal*Mart.
"Sasha, I'm taking you to meet Beth. She's a friend from church, and my landlady. She'll stay with you today while I'm at work, help you get settled. She'll show you around, help you find what you need while you stay with me. She even knows someone who speaks Russian."
"Not Russian," she spat, "Ukrainian, from the Crimea."
That was the longest sentence I'd heard from her. "I'm sorry. That's a big difference right now. Is that why you came to this country?"
"Yes," she said. We were back to one word conversations.
Beth was good people. Her mom was a WWII displaced person, so she had the experience Sasha needed. At first, I didn't recognise the young lady standing beside her. She wore a navy blue knee-length skirt, with a crisp pale blue oxford blouse. Lustrous russet hair framed a pretty face. Makeup, if any were applied, highlighted rather than obscured her features. The garish red was gone from her lips and nails.
"Beth, could you introduce me to this lovely young woman?"
She used her best Mother voice, " Robert. This is Sasha. She has not had a good life. You had best be kind and gentle with her." The "or else" was unspoken but implied.
"Yes Mom. Would you like to join us for supper?"
"Not tonight. You take her someplace nice."
"Maam, Yes Maam. Sasha, where would you like to go? Sorry, better question, what would you like to eat?"
"Home, we used to eat lots food from the sea. Haven't seen any here. Would be alright?"