“All is true and all is false in love; love is the only thing about which it is impossible to say anything absurd.”
Sebastien Roch Nicolas Chamfort
Now seems the opportune moment to present The Goods, the first chapter of my first manuscript.
“Following college Frank Avery is comfortable in his bucolic little hometown of Collins. Beth Ann calls, announcing her divorce will be finalized Friday morning…and she is driving the two hours to Collins from the City immediately thereafter.”
Oh,mercy.Not Beth Ann,again.
amantes sunt amentes
Lovers are lunatics.
a novel by Lee DeBourg
Chapter One: vae soli
woe to the solitary men
I answered the phone Sunday evening. The voice was that of Beth Ann.
“Frank, I need directions.”
This was true of most people I had known. They required a blueprint or algorithm to explain how they functioned.
“Did you lose yours?”
“Lose my what?”
“Instructions. Directions explaining how you tick.”
“Frank, I’m in no mood to listen to any of your bullshit. I need directions to find your place in Collins.”
I was stricken with an anxiety attack. “Why?”
“Because I’m coming to visit Friday.”
“Friday morning my divorce will be finalized. I’ve decided to come stay with you for at least the weekend.”
“Partially to begin catching up on my sex life. It’s been absolute hell living with my parents these past eight months while waiting for this damn divorce. My lawyer said you provided very good advice when you suggested I move back with my parents rather than stay with you. He said it helped with the property settlement, what little there’s going to be after six months of marriage. I bought a new bikini to bring this weekend.”
“We’re going to the Big Lake on Saturday. That’s close to you, isn’t it?”
“It’s eighty miles away.”
“Whatever. Are you still working nights?”
“Since that talking head Reagan took office in January I’ve been laid off more than I’ve worked.”
“Are you working or not?”
“I’m going back to work in two weeks.”
“Then I’ll bring copies of my resume. You can help me look for a job in your area. I’ve been working at the local Burger King just to get out of the house and away from Mother. So are you going to give me directions?”
“Are we sure about this?”
Beth let out a vicious sigh. “For the past year since the wedding all everyone has done is cause me grief. Don’t you start in on me too, Frank Avery. I’m driving up Friday immediately after signing the legal papers making me a free woman again. If you don’t provide directions I’ll just come up and start asking questions until I find the road you live on.”
That was exactly what she would do, too. The previous Thanksgiving was the last time I had heard from her, two frantic phone calls asking if she could move in with me though we had not seen each other for eleven months. Her wedding invitation I had discarded.
I provided directions to a restaurant at the closest Interstate exchange. It would take over two hours for her to drive up from the City. After conversation, if I decided to turn her around, it would be easier from that point than from my farmhouse on a back country road.
“It’s been awhile, Beth. May I ask why the interest?”
“You should know why. And you’re the opposite of my husband. You have broad shoulders, big muscles, a hairy chest and you’re not a college professor, though you could be if you ever set your mind to it. Do you have a girlfriend?”
“No one serious.”
“Just like before. Nobody serious, but you have casual girlfriends. I’m driving up to spend the weekend. We’re going to have a long talk. For your information I don’t plan to marry anyone again until I’m at least thirty five, and that especially includes you. You broke my heart once. You won’t have that opportunity again, you rotten bastard.”
While typing this post I have been listening to a CD by Paris Combo, And one by Pink Martini.