Friday, May 05, 2017

The Reader - Week 18


“Good morning.”

When Jennifer greeted Andy, she had evidently been up for some time. She was still wearing Andy’s sweats, and was making toast and drinking coffee.

“Thanks for helping me out last night,” she said, “I didn’t want to go home alone, after what happened.”

“It’s alright, it was good to have you here, to have someone to take the edge off,” Andy said as he poured his coffee, “What’s up now, for the rest of the week-end, or has your phone high-jacked your life?”

“There’s something you should know about me,” said Jennifer, “About my phone calls.”

“Tell me.”

“When I was going to college, I was a bit, shall we say, wanton. Or, to be more precise, wanting,”  said Jennifer, “I knew what I wanted, and the niceties of dating never held me back, if you get my drift.”

“Do go on.”

“I was living in a bed-sit on Hennepin Avenue—this was before Tom Waits made it fashionable. I had been sleeping with a guy, ‘The Weasel’ is what I called him. My big mistake wasn’t fucking him, it was fucking him twice. Lord, some lessons take a long time to learn.”

“I take it it did not end well,” said Andy, “I’ve got some experience in bad endings.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter how it ends, just that it must end when it goes bad,” said Jennifer, “‘The Weasel’, in addition to his other shortcomings, wasn’t too bright when it came to knowing when he had worn out his welcome to my bed. I knew a theater major, gay, but was just crazy enough to go along with my scheme. I would invite Weasy over to my room, but when he got there my friend and I would act as if we had just ‘done it.’ Needless to say, Weasy wasn’t into ‘sloppy seconds’ and left in a huff. Out of my life, forever, or so I thought. This was thirty years ago. Last week he somehow got my cell number.  He’s been texting me, he wants to be my ‘sugar daddy.’ I haven’t acknowledged him, but he still calls.”

“I’ll take that you aren’t keen on a reunion,” said Andy, “There isn’t an upside?”

“Believe me, even if he was a rich as Trump, he still would be a toad. I have enough issues with self-loathing already.”

“What are you going to do?” said Andy.

“Just ignore him. He might go away.”

“Does he know where you live, Or work?”

“Not yet, although he has my area code. He’ll probably get my car registration, although it is still at last years address,” said Jennifer, “I don’t know, I’d hate to move again. My job is pretty safe, they keep us out of the spotlight there, for legal reasons.”

“Would you like to stay here, for a while?” Andy blurted out, “I mean, I don’t mean… ”

“I don’t know. We aren’t lovers—yet,” Jennifer smiled, “Roomates?”

“Fair enough. I can sleep in the study, it’s got a bed, you can keep your car in the garage, out of sight. I could even drive you to work, in my car, I need to get up earlier, anyway.”

“O.K., let’s try it for a month,” she said, “And a super-big favor, would you pick up some of my clothes at my place? I don’t want to be seen there, at least not yet.”

“I’ll do that. We can Facetime it, so you can tell me what to get. I’ll walk over to the pub and get your car.”

“Thanks, you’re a pal.”

The Reader is serial fiction, published every Friday

By Professor Batty


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