Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael

Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.

I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. He was a rugged fellow with a beat up Chevy and a world of crap in his eyes. We were sitting side by side by the same bar for hours, him drinking doubles, me observing his arm muscles flex and relax as he threw them back one by one. By the time he turned to talk to me we were both well on our way to whiskey heaven with nothing left to lose by confiding in a stranger.

“What’s a pretty young thing like you doing in a place like this?” he choked in his own cheese as he gave me a leery smile through watery eyes.

“Just divorced my wife,” I replied, through what felt like murky swamp water in my throat. He looked me up and down without trying to hide his surprise, perhaps thinking he’d spot an Adam’s apple or a pecker underneath the pantyhose and Chanel shirt. To outsiders we must have looked like quite a pair, the older greaser with his stubble and calloused hands; the slender rich girl with a daddy complex.

“What’s the matter?” I couldn’t help stirring the pot, “You’ve never seen a lesbian before?”

“As a matter of fact,” he retorted, “I’ve seen plenty of lesbians in my day, just none of them looked at me the way you’re looking at me right now.”

A few drinks later we were in the back of his car, my legs around his neck in the back seat, my heels pressed against the roof of his car.

The next morning we were on our way. He didn’t ask any more questions for the time being, probably because we were both nursing hangovers from hell, and I didn’t mind the 80’s rock music or the smell of leather so much. The sun warmed my face as we drove further south, and for a brief moment I forgot all about my wife and the messy life I was leaving behind.

We stopped at a gas station and I withdrew all the cash I had in my savings account. I stuffed my bra with dollar bills and flashed the cashier a brilliant smile. “We’re on our honeymoon.” He grinned at me and looked away. Pig.

Back in the car Dean was cracking open a cold one. I could hear my mother’s voice saying, “a bit early, isn’t it?” but I’d long since ignored her voice in my life and I wasn’t too perturbed to find her butting in when I’d finally found happiness. We shared a six pack for lunch and stopped for dinner at a roadside diner. The money was flowing and the world was good. Dean bought us hamburgers and fries, and we ate the food and each other on the hood of his car as the sun went down.

All the driving and shagging made me think of my honeymoon, and this, in turn, made me drink. I don’t remember how we made it through that first month on the road without crashing, because we were always drunk, and never satisfied. By the time we reached his brother’s house in Atlanta, we were broke, and stank of booze and regret.

Dean’s brother was a hardworking bank clerk in downtown Atlanta. He was young and shy, and could never look a beautiful woman in the eye. He called me “ma’am” and offered me tea in a real tea cup and saucer. James was closer to my age than Dean, and one day when Dean was out in the yard fixing his car, I led James to the bedroom and changed his life amid the Star Wars toys and comic book figurines. I like to think I played a role in helping James grow up, because in the days following our rendezvous he made eye contact with people, and even stood up to Dean when he asked him for money.

Dean, of course, was nobody’s fool, and he discerned from the noticeable change in James’s personality that James had been with a woman. And not just any woman.

Me.

The dyke he picked up in a bar one night and brought with him to meet his family.

I wish he was furious, but to tell the truth, I think he was relieved. He got in his car, waved goodbye, and revved off into the sunset with the five hundred dollars he found in my underwear drawer.

No matter, soon James and I were living a life of nice middle class tea parties and polite conversation among peers. He even convinced me to phone my mother and make amends for all the pain I’ve put her through in the past year. Somehow my mother must have run into Rebecca and told her that I was happy, because one Sunday night while James and I were watching television in his modest lounge, a sexy young wildcat previously known as my conniving wife waltzed up the porch and into our lives.

Poor James didn’t know how to handle this situation. Becks made herself comfortable next to me on the couch, and we spent the entire night catching up on the ins and outs of each other’s lives of the past few months. James reluctantly went to bed around midnight, and left us talking into the wee hours of the morning. The next morning he agreed with a droopy face that she could stay a few nights, and when he went to work, we did some more catching up, in the bedroom, living room, kitchen, and on the dining room table.

Soon we forgot all about the fighting and the abuse of our marriage, and we lived under James’s roof in blissful sin for weeks. James was suspicious, but rather slow to catch on. At night I sated his boyish passions, during the day Becks and I turned the house inside out with our ravenous need for each other.

Then I got pregnant. James was elated, but Becks insisted we get out of there. By now she was getting impatient with sharing me, and the thrill of the secret was wearing thin. She was getting jealous. James and I got home from a doctor’s meeting one afternoon, and she was sitting on the kitchen floor in her underwear, drinking vodka from the bottle, and crying her eyes out.

When she saw us she got up and balanced herself against the counter top. I saw that familiar look in her eyes, it was the same look she had the night she found out about me and the bouncer, the same look she had when she filed for divorce. It was blind hatred mixed with pain and despair.

“Why don’t you tell him who the baby’s other mommy is?” she spat at us from her spot against the counter.

“Becks, you’re drunk,” I tried, “Let’s get you some coffee, okay?”

“No coffee!” She cried. “Tell him! Tell him how you’ve been fucking me in the daytime while he’s away at work!”

James put down the bags on the counter top next to Rebecca, sat down on a chair, and began to cry.

“You see? You call that a man? You refuse to leave him for me?”

“You’re out of control, Becks.” I moved towards the door. “I think you should leave. We’re having a kid now.”

“That kid is half mine!” She was screaming now, and her rage was filling the kitchen quickly. “What about me? I was your wife! You treat everyone like shit, Veronica!” With that she grabbed the big kitchen knife, and made a mad dash across the room towards my stomach. I just stood there, cold with fear and anticipation, when James shot out of his seat and tackled her onto the floor. The knife cut straight through his jugular, and he was still pinning her to the ground as his last breath bubbled through the blood.

I made a run for it. I grabbed his keys from the hook, ran across the lawn toward the blue Toyota, and I didn’t once look back to see if Rebecca was alright or perhaps following me. I left the car at a gas station outside town and boarded a Greyhound to go up north, just in case she did get out of that kitchen and decide to follow me.

And this is where I am now. I can’t give you the exact name of the place, because she might find me, and I have little Jimmy to take care of now. I’m fine, don’t worry about me, I have a job and a friend who helps me raise the baby. I never saw Dean again, and perhaps that is for the best. For now this is all I can tell you. And I’m sorry, Mother, again. Merry Christmas.

Love,

Veronica

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6 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael

    • Thank you! Yeah, I’m not happy with the end, but I got tired. I think I should have left it more open ended. Thanks for liking so many of my posts, I haven’t hit my blogging stride in the new year yet. Cheers!

  1. Thanks. It’s hard to ease into a new blogging year though. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. Good luck! Enjoy the new year!

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