Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Let's Go On More Dates--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Friday, February 1

     Tom and I loaded a space heater, one that looks like an old fashioned radiator, into my Tahoe. We added a wicker couch and two grocery bags full of JB’s stuff and drove to his house.
     “We just passed Dad’s road,” Tom said. 
     I stopped and backed up.
     “There, turn down there,” Tom said.
     “That little gravel road?”
     I pulled onto the road. Tom hadn't exaggerated about the dilapidated garage. JB appeared on his doorstep, waved, and walked over. JB and I pulled the couch out and set it on his front porch. He began babbling small talk. I turned back to the Tahoe and grabbed the heater.
     “Oh, I’ll take that,” JB said.
     I pushed past him and walked into his house.
     “Where’s your room?” I asked Tom.
     “It’s this one,” Tom said leading the way.
     I set the heater down. “That’s what you’ve been using?” I pointing to a cylinder  heater wedged between two pieces of furniture on the floor.
     “Yeah,” Tom said and winced.
     “Get it out of here. Make sure it’s not in use when you’re here.”
     JB lurked behind us.
     “Well, thanks for bringing Tom and this stuff over,” JB said cheerily.
     I stared at him. One of the bags of stuff I brought contained a birthday card from JB's mother telling him how proud she was of the man he’d become. She said Blake and Tom were sure to grow up to be just like him. There was a card from me saying, “Let’s go on more dates.” He’d been on Ashley Madison when I gave him that. And there was some X-rated junk mail that promised to enlarge his penis.
     “Tom has a lot of homework this weekend,” I said. “Let me know what he does.”
     “Oh, yeah, sure,” JB said.
     I looked at JB a moment longer. I studied him for signs I should have seen. I saw nothing but a gut and jowly cheeks. I hugged Tom, kissed him good-bye, and told him to have a great weekend.
     “Bye, thanks again,” JB called after me.
     I drove to Whole Foods and bought myself portobello mushrooms stuffed with crab, spinach, and artichoke for dinner. As I ate, Blake sent me a text saying JB bought himself an iPad for his birthday.

     “He couldn’t buy a safe space heater for Tom, but he could buy himself an iPad,” I replied.

     “My thoughts exactly,” Blake responded.

     I called Tracy. She said she sent Scott more money because she was afraid he’d do something horrible and die if she didn’t. Then she told him no more.
     “Now my locks are sticking,” Tracy said. “I called the locksmith and he told me the only time locks stick is if someone’s been tampering with them, trying to pick them. I know it’s Scott. He got angry when I told him I wasn’t sending him more money. I think he’s been pulling money out of his retirement fund for drugs. He was a journeyman electrician for years. Oh my God.”

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