THE WAGES OF SINEAD
Copyright © E.Naidoo
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media used in this
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I was told by friends that if you cheat on your wife, the appropriate guilt-appeasing flowers are roses. A dozen, long-stemmed.
I stood at the airport with roses – two dozen.
In twenty-five words or less: I was on business, she was available, I was shit-faced, she was stacked, I was flattered, she was relentless in her pursuit and – and this is a big ‘And’ …we were in Vegas.
Been married for six years and my wife could only manage sex once a week. Just thinking about the once-a-week sex made me bitter. She was always tired and I guess I felt conjugally deprived.
How many words so far?
Anyway, my wife was picking me up from the airport and she was bringing along my two beautiful little girls. I was, as can be expected, nervous and anxious and more worried about the guilt showing on my face, than about breaking my marriage vows. Now before you go all harsh and judgmental on me and call me a prick, I’ll tell you this much – I am an arrogant prick. I don’t try to be, I’m just wired that way. Now that you know my ABC, let’s move on, shall we?
Okay, I love my wife, I really do. I only cheated on her because of opportunity. I read somewhere that most men cheat, not because they want to, but because of opportunity that lands on their lap. And last night, opportunity was a sexy, long-haired, blonde called Sinead, who was just about every guy’s fantasy and being the human that I was, I guess I erred – succumbed to temptation.
Did I regret it? Let me think. Honestly? Nope.
Sorry, but I did say honestly. Why didn’t I regret it? I don’t know. Perhaps, it was because …I liked it far too much to be bothered by my conscience, or the lack of it thereof? Told you I was arrogant bastard.
Armed with my guilt-appeasing roses, I waited for Angelina, my wife, who I call Angel, and my two daughters. Whenever I return from business trips, I usually catch a cab back home, but today, I was feeling guilty mainly because, I was guilty; so for the first time since I had kids, I accepted Angel’s offer to pick me up from the airport.
As I waited at the pick-up zone, my mind drifted back to Sinead, my unrestrained, unreserved, uninhibited and lusty partner in crime last night.
Although I showered before she and I parted company this morning, I could still smell her perfume and it added to my uneasiness. I clutched the roses tighter and willed myself to regret my actions.
Problem was, the memories of my weekend of sin weren’t bad. In fact, some of them were darned good. Okay, amazing. So amazing, that they were responsible for the contented smile across my face, which I now struggled to conceal.
Sinead was extremely flexible, amazingly agile and particularly nimble in the sack and I can’t help but think that she would be artistic with a hula hoop, if you know what I mean.
When I first spotted her, I thought she was hot, like all the guys around me thought, I’m sure. Small waist, big ass, big tits, child-bearing lips–what more could a guy ask for? Did I mention that I was human? At first, I must admit, I was just flattered when she paid me attention. Flattered because, there were so many good looking, young guys at the club, yet Sinead, who was by far the hottest chick at the club, had me in her cross-hairs. Me, a
Thirty-five-year-old, overworked attorney, with a receding hairline, slight pot belly, a wife who couldn’t care if she never had sex again for the rest of her life and two kids under the age of four? Hell, not only was I astonished, but I was even grateful that a woman would find me interesting at this stage in my life and pursue me.
Still, when she came onto me, I somehow managed to keep it together and resisted her the first night. Like the gentleman that I was, (I may be an arrogant prick but I’m a true gentleman.) I even walked her to her hotel room. Okay, so I enjoyed her tongue in my mouth when I said goodnight. But I have to tell you, it was hard. Especially, since we were booked in at the same hotel. I kept thinking about her probing tongue, the thrust of her double-DDs against my chest, the way her hips locked with mine…if I wasn’t so plastered, I’m sure I would have been up all night just thinking about it.
The next day, we bumped into her and her friend again and when I introduced her to my work colleagues, one of my bosses immediately invited her and her equally attractive and uninhibited friend for some sailing and water skiing on board a luxurious yacht loaned to us by one of our wealthy, but dishonest clients. FYI, 99 percent of our clients are dishonest.
After a hard day of excessive boozing and topless tanning, we hit the club again for some serious partying and drinking. We were celebrating our win, the coveted Blakeley and Thompson account, worth more than ten million dollars and I, Gabriel Sloan, was the one responsible for that coup. Tonight, I was the star quarterback and I reveled in it, accepting all the congratulatory back slaps and high fives that came my way. An ego rush of gigantic proportion and I loved it.
Sinead never left my side, never asked awkward questions, like if I was married and by the end of the evening, made it clear she was going to fuck me that night, either in or out of my bed. I smiled and tried to tell myself that it wasn’t going to happen but, and that’s a big ‘but’; I was waiting all evening in anticipation. When exactly was it going to take place and dare I hoped it would be out of my bed?
She didn’t actually say when and that was a good thing, ’cause knowing me, I am the type to have chickened out. As cocky as I appear, I was a bit slow when it comes to women. Never had a problem getting them, but I prefer to choose, chase and nail. In that order.
In the past, when women chased me, I more often than not, ran.
Oh, Sinead hinted, implied and touched her way through things. Her stroking and kneading under the table and her firm, bare thigh glued to mine left me a massive hard-on. Her body was warm and wanton and her breath around my earlobe drove me wild. That, coupled with the rush of winning the account and the booze gave me an all-time high.
Don’t misunderstand me; she wasn’t skanky or over the top or like some of bunnies you find at Hef’s. In fact, she was sweet and playful and kittenish and not in the least bit bothered by my wedding ring, which I kept on all the time, I must add. When she suggested we refrain from disclosing personal details about ourselves to each other, it served only to heighten the sexual thrill and I found myself grinning like the jackass I was and nodding vigorously, like one of those toy dogs you find on the back of cars that nod constantly with the motion of the car.
“Just call me Sin,” she said prettily. “Short for Sinead.”
“Just call me drunk,” I evened, “Short for very drunk.”
She laughed. I liked that about her. She laughed all the time.
My wife Angel liked to fuck in the dark or with the lights turned down really low, mainly because I think she had body issues. Boring! Not Sinead, she wanted the lights on when she slowly peeled off her clothes and when she skillfully stroked my erection and made a popsicle out of me. There was so much of tension in my sexual vault after two days of innuendoes that I exploded within three minutes but…. I was back for an encore, I tell you. Was I proud I could deliver!
And she knew her stuff too. “Are you game for Amyl Nitrate?” she whispered, at the height of pleasure.
“Sure,” I huffed. “Bring her in. The more the merrier. ” (Hey, I had been married for six years – how was I supposed to know about Amy Nitrate and stuff.)
She furrowed her pretty brow at me, then smiled at my ignorance and gave me a whiff of it in a tiny vial she got from God knows where. Now, don’t you try this at home folks, ’cause it’s not good for your heart, but it took the word orgasm to a new level and she made me scream.
Something I’ve never done. I screamed like a girl.
As for me pleasing her; I wish I wasn’t so drunk, then maybe I could have really reciprocated, but I did my fair share of ramming at the end, which she seemed to like, ’cause she moaned so loudly, I was worried the entire hotel would think it was some kind of low-keyed fire-drill, even though it really turned me on. Not the soft delicate sighs that Angel lets out when I went down on her, but loud, expressive, out of control cries of unabashed pleasure. A gigantic ego rush for a drunken executive. Actually three times! Yeah, even I was surprised, ’cause, as much as it pains me to admit it, I’m no stud. Not anymore.
Parting was brief and hurried, ’cause both of us had flights to catch. I was tired from lack of sleep, really hung over and in desperate need of some greasy airport food, but there was no time if I wanted to catch my flight.
As I boarded the plane, I thought of Angel for the first time since I was with Sin and felt a little guilty. That’s when I dialed her number and talked to her for a while.
Angel was late picking me up, so I hung around and people-watched. Then, across the road, I spotted Angel and the other two loves of my life; my two beautiful daughters,
two-year-old Sydney and four-year-old Indiana. I smiled and braced myself for the avalanche of hugs and kisses that usually came my way. I was looking forward to holding Angel again and kissing her and making up for all the shit I did last night. As I watched her approach, I realized just how much I loved her. Cheating had nothing to do with my love for her. Anyway, she was never going to find out so…I would just drop it and never think about it again.
Suddenly, I looked to the side and there was Sin, with girlfriend. No wonder I could still smell her perfume, she was just a few feet away from me!
“Heeeey!” she said, smiling prettily and looking as hot as ever in a tight blue, corset-type top and faded jeans that made her ass talk and made me wonder if I could have gone four rounds instead of three.
“Hey,” I mouthed, glancing at Angel, then back at Sin. “What you’re doing here?”
She jerked her lovely head towards the taxis. “Catching a cab.”
She followed my eyes to Angel and my kids. “Your family?”
I nodded sheepishly, suddenly wishing that Angel had dressed a little sexier. She wore a pink cardigan, a light pink top, casual jeans, black pumps and her hair was in a ponytail. Next to Sin, Angel looked frumpy, like a mother of two kids and frankly, I was a little embarrassed.
“Nice,” she said lightly. “Well, here’s my ride. Tata!”
I breathe a sigh of relief that she wasn’t going to clash with Angel.
“Take care,” I said.
“Hope she likes the roses,” she flung over her shoulder as she and her girlfriend got into the cab and rattled off an address to the driver. I watched her fasten her seat belt as she talked to her friend. Then, to my surprise, she looked up at me and motioned me over. I nervously glanced at Angel who was fast approaching, then at Sin, panic enveloping me.
But Sin flexed her index finger at me and I felt somewhat obliged to go to her so I hurried over to the cab window.
“What is it?” I whispered.
She put her painted lips really close to my ear. “You might want to get yourself checked out,” she whispered.
I looked at her in confusion. “Wha …?”
“I…I’m HIV positive.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way,” she said in a sincere voice. “It just happened. I should have told you, but I guess I got carried away. I’m sor …”
“You’re fucking with me, right?” I demanded hoarsely, hoping to God she would smile and tell me to look at the hidden camera ’cause I was being Punked.
She shook her head from side-to-side and I felt like I thought – this is what it feels like when you fall from the top of The Empire State Building.
“H…HIV…?” I stammered my mouth, suddenly dry as the Sahara. That’s not AIDS, right? Shit! I didn’t know much about the virus. I’m a corporate attorney for Christ sakes!
With a grim look, she tugged at her hair and to my absolute horror, her entire hair moved to reveal total baldness! She was wearing a wig. Before I could stop myself, I recoiled in revulsion and disgust.
For a moment, hurt registered in her eyes. Then she rolled up her window and the cab driver drove off.
I should have run after her and demanded she tell more, but I just stood frozen as the car disappeared from sight.
“Daddy! Daddy!” The sound of my daughter’s voices forced me out of my catatonic state.
Forcing myself to smile mechanically, I accepted all their hugs. This distraction afforded me the opportunity to somewhat regain my composure.
Angel walked up to me and hugged me.
“They’re beautiful!” she cried as she took the roses from me. When she tried to kiss me, I jerked my head so that her kiss landed somewhere between my ear and lips. I didn’t want to kiss my darling wife if I had a virus.
“What wrong, Gabe?” she asked, her hazel eyes darting all over my face.
I shook my head and waved dismissively.
“You look pale, honey.” Her frown deepened. “You okay?”
Am I okay? What a question.
I scanned my brain to find something to say. “I…I think I picked up on of those…um…” The shock of everything was too much. My brain froze and I just went blank and looked dumbly at my wife. This was most unusual behavior on my part and Angel was now worried.
She reached up and touched my forehead. “You have a temperature.”
I looked at her in horror. So quickly? Could the virus be attacking me already? Fuck!
It was enough to freak me out. “I do feel really ill, Angel,” I murmured and absentmindedly wiped my forehead.
“Poor baby,” Angel said gently as she took my hand in hers. I immediately shrugged off her hand. There was no way I wanted to contaminate my beautiful and innocent Angel, love of my life and mother of my children by holding her hand.
Startled at my behavior, she stared at me.
“Better not touch,” I said quickly. “I don’t want to give whatever I got to you, baby.”
She nodded understandingly. Did I really say she looked frumpy and plain? I was so wrong. She looked lovely and caring and concerned and… like my wife.
“Probably the water,” she mused. “Kids, give daddy some space. He’s not well today.”
My girls looked at me, disappointment in their eyes.
“No!” I said quickly, when I see their crestfallen faces. I could take care of things later. “At least, let me get my hug, huh?”
“We already gave you hugs daddy,” Indiana said.
“We aldeddy dave you huds,” Sydney echoed.
“Naha!” I said, crouching again. “I didn’t feel anything. If I don’t get a huge hug by the time I count to say…one; I’m gonna cry like a baby. “One…”
Being the darlings that they were, they melted into me and hugged me for dear life, then took turns to look at my eyes to look for signs of tears. I loved them so much.
Angel looked down at us and smiled.
I stood up and hugged her again. “It’s good to be back, sweetie,” I said and kissed her hair. “I love you.”
“I missed you, Gabe,” she said as she rested her head on my chest.
The ride home was a boxed hell and I was struggling to wrap my brain around things, which I desperately needed to do right now. Angel talked non-stop about – I don’t know – I paid no attention to what she was saying.
Finally, I closed my eyes and lay back on my seat and she stopped zipped up.
“I’m sorry, Angel,” I murmured from time-to-time, meaning it.
Unused to seeing me like this, she tried to get me to a doctor, but I refused. All I wanted to do was get out of the car and for a while, go somewhere where I could be alone with my tumultuous thoughts.
My mind drifted back to my fatal rendezvous with Sinead. How could I have missed the wig? Why didn’t I look before I leapt? Now everything about last night, took on a sinister undertone. Did she really fancy me or was I just easy meat? Easy meat I’m sure. Easy and dumb meat for that matter. Was it intentional? Of course! Was she lying? Without a doubt. I could sue the bitch for millions, I reckoned. Yeah, I could. If she had millions.
But why didn’t she have any of those lesions on her skin, like Tom Hanks in Philadelphia? Maybe it’s because, being the dumbass I was; I was too busy looking at her tits and ass and didn’t look at other less important body parts.
Did we use a condom? I recall using them. But I also recall that with all the agility, it did slip out once. Fuck! Sweat dripped down the back of my shirt. How the hell do I tell Angel I cheated on her? How do I tell my wife that I cheated on her and got a deadly virus in the process? Would she believe it was my first time I ever cheated? I hung my head in despair. Gabriel Sloan, what the fuck have you done this time?
Charlie! God, I need to talk to Charlie. He’s my older brother and someone I could talk to. Someone I could trust. Charlie was not as educated as I was, but he always had the answer. My parents died when we were young and Charlie became both mother and father to me, putting me through law school by holding down three jobs. I owe him everything. He’s going to be so disappointed to learn I am dying. Damn, that hurt so much.
The moment we arrived home, I mumbled something about a shower and escaped to the bathroom where I could be alone with my thoughts and even call Charlie.
I stripped, turned on the taps but didn’t enter the shower. Instead, I called Charlie. He answered on the first ring and I came straight to the point. “I need to talk to you, Charlie.”
Maybe it was something in my voice, but he immediately agreed, sounding concerned.
I didn’t want to have to tell Angel I was leaving the house as I had just returned from a business trip and needed to spend time with my family, so we arranged for Charlie to call and ask for me to come over to help out with a problem.
Half an hour later, he called and talked to Angel.
“Gabe!” Angel shouted. “Charlie wants to know if you can come over. Says he needs your help.”
“Not today,” I shouted back. “Tell him I just got home and I want to spend time with you guys.”
Angel walked over, stood in the doorway and looked at me, a worried look on her lovely face.
“What?” I asked.
“Gabe, I think Charlie might need you.”
“But I just got home, Angel. I need to spend time with you guys.”
After staring at me for a few moments, she said, “Go Gabe. He wouldn’t call if he didn’t need you.”
With an exaggerated sigh, I poured myself a drink, took two aspirins, got dressed and left my house.
Charlie, my brother and my anchor, was simply excellent at saying, ‘I told you so’. But, I could be honest with him and I wanted to be, so I braced myself for the long lecture coming my way. He was waiting at a Trevor’s, a local pub, drumming his fingers anxiously on the table and craning his neck around for me. Luckily, he had chosen a secluded booth affording us some privacy.
The moment I saw him, I got all choked up. Everybody has a safe place to fall; Charlie was mine. We looked a lot alike but he was a head taller, with long dark hair he wore in a ponytail. He was pretty buff because he worked out every day. He never wore suits like I did and he usually wore jeans and a T-shirt with something funny written on it. He fixed and built motorbikes for a living.
We hugged then sat down. He scanned my face for clues as to why I needed to talk to him.
“What the fuck you did this time?”
Mechanically, I ordered us drinks, then blurted out the whole damn story.
There was this silence around me – you know the kind you experience in a courtroom as you wait for the jury to say, “Guilty” or “Not guilty” before hell breaks loose? That kind.
Charlie being Charlie, exploded first; then got worried, then went into damage control. “What the fucks wrong with you, you stupid cunt? You have everything you want, everything you wanted and worked for, and you throw it away for some…casual roll in the fucking hay with some drug addict? Huh?”
Then the worried bit: “So…how you feeling? Exactly how high is your temperature? We should go to a doctor and just ask him to check you out, take a blood test or something. It’s the only way to really tell, isn’t it? Is that why you’re losing your hair? Fuck! I can’t believe you’d do this to yourself Gabe. You need to grow up.”
Finally the damage control: “We have to find a way to tell Angel, Gabe. We can’t afford to take chances with her. She’ll get infected.”
“Okay, here’s what we’ll do – we’ll Google it, then handle it.” He touched my shoulder reassuringly. “It will be okay if we act right away. I think.” He sat back and fell silent for a few moments.
I glanced at his worried face and I felt terrible for putting him through this. But in spite of all this, I was surprised he didn’t say, I told you so.
Then he got up and hurried to his truck. He returned with his laptop. Together we researched HIV, AIDS and all the symptoms. Well, he did and I just sat there, drank up and grunted answers to his questions. I couldn’t bear to read about it, hear about it or even think about it. Denial. That, and the fact that I just wasn’t ready to face it or deal with it.
“Shit! You already have the gastric problems,” he exclaimed.
“No! I don’t really have a stomach problem, Charlie. I just said that to Angel to sorta …you know…”
“You don’t? Oh well, yeah, okay then.” Back to researching the virus.
The waitress appeared and Charlie slammed the laptop shut almost dropping the laptop in the process.
The waitress jumped and threw us both a funny look. Probably assumed we were pedophiles pouring over some porn or something. I gave her our order and waited for her to leave before I spoke again.
“It’s probably too early for symptoms,” I said.
‘Yeah, could be.”
‘But I do have a temperature,” I mumbled to myself and the worried looked reappeared on Charlie’s face. I spun around to face him. “Look Charlie, this is bullshit – I don’t have the fucking virus! I know that for a fact.”
“Yeah?” Charlie’s hopeful eyes scanned my face.
“Yeah!” My tone was adamant.
“Well then, that’s great,” Charlie said and shut the laptop. “You’d know if you did, right?”
“Alright then.” He ordered another round, chatted about the weather (which he never did) and some other shit while I zoned out.
Then he looked directly at me. “You’re in denial, right?”
I nodded grimly and we both fell silent. When we finally left the bar and walked outside, Charlie hugged me for a long time and when he released me, I saw something I’d never seen in his eyes for about twenty years – tears. I hugged him again and slapped him on the back, reassuring him that everything was going to be okay, feeling shit about what I was putting him through.
He slapped my harder on my back and said, “Okay.”
“See you,” I said and walked away before he mentioned the I-told-you-so bit.
“I warned you something like this would happen,” he shouted at me and I smiled. There it was! Heavily disguised, but there it was – the, ‘I told you so’.
Charlie, the fucker never disappoints.
Over the next couple of days, Charlie hounded me about taking the test.
“When are you taking the test?”
“Okay.” He hung up.
Then he called the following day. “When are you taking the test?”
“Gabriel, take the goddamn test, will you?”
“Yeah, okay, I will, Charlie.”
Tomorrow never came so he called again.
“Did you take the test?”
“I …eh, well …”
“TAKE THE FUCKING TEST! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”
‘Yeah, yeah, yeah! Jeez Charlie, gimmee a break will you?”
He also badgered me into increasing my life insurance policy before I took the test, but I was worried they would do a blood test and discover it themselves. Although, I was already insurance for more than a million dollars so that wasn’t a real concern of mine.
My real concern- telling Angel. I was terrified she would leave me. I loved her so much and the thought of her not being in my life drove me crazy.
Sin or Sinead – I needed to locate that bitch and beat the crap out of her. Charlie said that I should expect a letter in the post from her, shaking me down for a million dollars.
“Does she know you’re an attorney?”
“Don’t think so?”
“Does she know you have a triple-storey, split-level house on …?”
“Nah. Didn’t talk about all that.”
What if he was right? What if she knew I that was financially well off and she wanted to shake me down? Maybe if I refused, she would threaten to tell Angel and the people at work. The thought of that made me break into a sweat. Sure I can call the FBI and arrest her for blackmail and shit, but I’d lose my job for sure, something I didn’t want to happen. As for Angel, I didn’t want to even think about losing her.
When Sinead first asked me to call her ‘Sin’, it was thrilling and exciting and just thinking about her name, gave me a hard-on. Now, ‘Sin’ was nothing short of sinister and I refused to even utter that word or name. Sinead – I would only refer to her as that. The bitch set me up and needed to pay. I said this to Charlie and he said that she already was.
He was also changing his story. Now he didn’t believe they were going to roll me for my dough. “Misery loves company. That’s why she did it, Gabe.”
Of all the guys in the room that night, she chose me. My ego was inflated then, but now, I felt like the biggest fool – she chose me ’cause she really hated me and wanted to see me dead. I was such a pathetic loser for thinking otherwise.
I avoided any physical contact with Angel over the next few days, for fear I may kiss her or she may think it’s okay to jump me in bed (which she only did once, after watching 9and ½ weeks and I immediately bought her the DVD and had it delivered via express post.) while I was sleeping. In my briefest of research of the virus with Charlie, we discovered that you can get the HIV virus by kissing, simply because you may have an open lesion in your mouth. I wasn’t going to take any chances. I refused to kiss my wife on the mouth. How I missed that!
I also missed having sex with my wife. Yeah, I know I bitched about it being boring and once a week but hey, things had changed now and I would have given anything to hold her soft and naked body in my arms and explore her warm and inviting mouth.
How could I have fucked up so badly? Maybe everybody was right – I needed to grow up.
I was on top of my game at work, and Markham’s and Associates, an exclusive law firm in Los Angeles, acknowledged that by bestowing me with a handsome paycheck at the end of every month and the best office in the building. I was a senior associate and any day now, I was going to make partner.
My secretary was an efficient, twenty-something called Stacy, who I could always count on. We had a great relationship and she made me promise that if I ever left Markham’s I would take her with.
I was a mover and a shaker and was held in high esteem by my peers and society in general.
So far, I had exceeded my targets – my personal goals, my professional goals and my dreams, but I kept going, aiming for the stars – bigger bonuses, bigger shares in Markham’s, more money.
I could only imagine what would happen if the guys at Markham’s discovered I was HIV positive. I would be bounced out of the company in no time, I was sure of that. Hell, let’s face it; if a colleague of mine was HIV positive, chances were I would have been somewhat sympathetic, but deep down, Markham’s decision to let him go; would have got my tacit support.
I was ashamed that I could be that way, but I’m sure a lot of ignorant people like me, would share my sentiment. It was the way things worked in life. Well, before Sinead, that is. I was looking at things really differently now.
Sure, I could file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against them for actually contracting the virus while on a work-related getaway – a workers compensation sort of claim, but what a legacy to leave behind, especially for my kids.
Even though my mind was like Grand Central Station, I dragged my ass to the office and went through the motions. Concentrating was almost impossible and I found myself calling Angel twice in the morning just to chat, confusing her. When I was not taking to Angel, I was staring into space.
Stacy struggled to get me to work. When I wasn’t taking her calls and made her repeat everything, she finally stormed into my office, shut the door and looked at me with her hands on her hips. “Gabriel, you need to take a pill or just go see a doctor or do something.”
“Sure, sure, sure!” I said and tried to get some shit down. But after an hour, I threw down my pen, grabbed my jacket and keys and told her I was going to lunch.
I drove over to Charlie’s for some lunch and a chat. Charlie ran a small, but lucrative motorbike business from his garage. He not only repaired bikes, he also pimped them – souped them up for biker enthusiasts who wanted more than the average ride and he made a decent living out of it. Main thing was – he loved what he was doing. I envied that about him.
He was only five years older than me, but he always acted like he was twenty years older, regaling me with stories of when he was young and how things had changed. I did what I always did during the lecture. I’d roll my eyes and zone out.
He chatted as he worked and having a penchant for motorbikes myself, I found myself helping him a little and getting grease on my thousand-dollar Armani suit. Angel would be pissed at me for that, I was sure.
I got so engrossed in the bikes that I lost track of time and stayed longer than I planned.
When I got back to work, everyone was frantic with worry. Stacy had been trying to call me for hours, but couldn’t reach me because I left my cell phone at the office.
I was getting forgetful recently, I thought, feeling a mild panic.
Turns out I had an appointment with Blakely Thompson that I clean forgot about, even though Stacy reminded me earlier on. Needless to say, they were pissed and talked about taking their business elsewhere. I called and apologized to the client, but frankly, I didn’t give a crap; I had other things on my mind – I may be dying for Christ sakes!
The next day, unable to tolerate the thought of listening to spoilt and demanding clients and their stupid, petty troubles, I just called in sick, pissing off everyone at work even further. I lay around the house feeling numb and miserable and basically slept the day away.
I kept willing myself to get up and take the dreaded test, but I couldn’t do it. Guess was scared. I wasn’t ready to know.
I woke up angry. Angry at my situation, angry at Sin; NO, NOT SIN, IT’S SINEAD! I was furious with Sinead and I still wanted to kill her. Shrewd, conniving, manipulative, calculating…
Then I was mad with Markham and Associates for placing me at the scene of the crime. Didn’t they ply me with alcohol, got me to lower my guard and made me vulnerable to a man-hating bitch? It was their fault.
Most of all, I was suddenly furious with Angel It was all her fault! She had failed in her duties as a wife by not being sexy enough, erotic enough and letting herself go and putting me last on her list and…whatever!
Because of her negligence, I had no choice – I was forced to look outside my marriage. If she had taken the time to dress better and be more alluring and sexy and kittenish and attentive and gave better blow jobs, then perhaps I would not have strayed.
Yep. It was Sinead’s, Markham’s and Angel’s fault. I wasn’t at fault – I was goddamn victim here.
That’s what I told myself. I was cruising for a bruising and I seriously considered engaging in a bar room brawl, something I hadn’t done in more than eight years. I pictured it – I’d walk into a bar, single out a big dude, catch his eye and say, ‘You looking at me?’
‘Yeah, so what?’
I would walk over to the motherfucker and take a swing at him – punch him in his fugly, tattooed mug. Boom! Lights out.
Then his homies would come flying over and I’d slam my fists into them and one-by-one they would go down like skittles. Then I’d stand back, flex my bruised fingers and nod at my success. When I finally staggered out of the bar, I’d be somewhat de-stressed.
But I didn’t brawl. Instead, I acted out by being short, impatient and snappy with Angel, confusing her. She was even more alarmed when I did not go to work, something I rarely did. Convinced that I was seriously ill, she tried hard to be patient with me and talked about me seeing a shrink. But the more patient and understanding she was, the nastier I was towards her. I wanted to hurt her, I wanted to make her sad, I wanted to rattle her cage and make her feel insecure. But once or twice she became tearful and I backed off immediately, hating myself for treating her like that. I loved her and didn’t want to see her cry. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. The last time I cried was when my mom died. I was just five. I’ve never cried since. I was a man, big, strong and virile and highly capable.
I would booze my sadness away like most men do. I wouldn’t cry. Not me. Not Gabriel Sloan, the arrogant prick.
Feeling bad about hurting Angel, I focused my rage on Sinead. The bitch! The whore! The slut! All her sexy bedroom antics now took on a cheap, sleazy undertone. Fucking prostitute! All her dirty talk was no longer a turn-on; it was sordid, filthy and cheap and I suddenly felt like I needed a shower to get rid her sordid flotsam.
She must be laughing her ass off now, I thought. Bitch.
I decided I would torture her before I killed her. Yeah, make her look into my gray eyes as her miserable life ebbed away. Make her last thoughts one of regret for FUCKING with me! I thought about my 9mm in my safe. Maybe I would blow her brains out and get away with it, because of the following; I was an attorney and I knew the law, I would most definitely have an airtight alibi, and I would ensure I had tons of bleach to clean up the crime scene. Maybe I’ll dismember her corpse in the bathtub and toss out body parts as I drove along the desert like I’ve seen on CSI. Easy peasy. (Made a mental note to myself – buy chainsaw, bleach and bullets. Oh and a silencer. Or even a potato.)
And what if I got caught anyway? I wasn’t afraid to die. I would take it like a man and totter along slowly in my leg chains to the gas chamber with my head held high and state in a controlled voice that I had absolutely no regrets about killing Sinead as she deserved to die for destroying my life and robbing me of my family, but that I was sorry for hurting my wife and children and Charlie and Debbie.
Fuck everybody else.
After a while, I began to think about dying. Where would I go when I died? Is there really a place called Hell? Forget heaven – not a chance of me making it there. No way. Not with all the shit I’ve done in the line of duty.
Back to my soul – where do I stand with God? Would he take care of my girls and Angel?
As I thought about things, I realized, I didn’t want to die; I was scared shitless in case I went to hell and …I was going mental.
I’d seen this monastery type church every day as I drove to and from my house. Never in a gazillion years did I plan to enter it and yet, here I was, rather than take an AIDS test, I was attending mass all by myself.
Mass was a new, awkward, believe it or not, scary experience and I couldn’t take it for long. I left after just ten minutes, almost running out of there. Who was I kidding – God was not on my side, he was punishing me. He always did. Took away my parents when I was just five and Charlie was just ten and for years, we were two lost kids trying to survive in an adult world. He forced Charlie to grow up quickly and made him too humble.
He then went on to make me angry and greedy and further crippled me by cursing me low self-esteem. Why would he help me now, huh?
Surreptitiously lighting a cigarette, I stood in the parking lot outside the church and eyed it scornfully. Then I leaned over the bonnet of my car and stared-absentmindedly at …nothing. I did that a lot these days – just stared into space.
“You lost or you just casing the joint to rob the donation box of the thirty dollars that’s in it?” I spun around and looked into the face of a nun.
“I…eh,’ Quickly, I looked around for a place I could kill the cigarette and could find no place other than the floor. Under her watchful eyes, I couldn’t throw it on the floor so I just held it behind my back. ‘No, Sister,” I muttered gloomily and patted my pocket for my car keys, ready to make a run for it.
“Funny, considering you look like shit!”
My neck jerked to look at her. Did I hear correctly? I took notice of her now. She was a nun all right– full habit, but without the piousness of a nun. I had never seen a real life nun before, let alone an African-American, short little one with attitude.
““I…I….”” she mimicked. “Speak up, white boy! How old are you? Nine?”
“Eh…no,” I said quickly, trying not to stammer again. “Thirty-five, Ma’am.” That’s what you call them, right?
“You trying to hot-wire that car?”
“What?!” I cried indignantly. Nun or no nun, she had some nerve! “You have some nerve! Ma’am. First you accuse me of plotting to steal from the donation box, thirty dollars or something like that, then you …you …you mock me because I stammered? Now you accuse me of hot-wiring a car? That’s no way to recruit sinners – eh, peeeople.”
“I did all that? Lemme think. ” She held her chin and looked at the skies. Then she pointed at me with her index finger and said, “That’s sound ’bout correct.”
“Well … I’m offended, I have to tell you.”
She gives me a ‘So-what?’ shrug.
Is she for real, I wondered? Did she know who she was dealing with here? “I am seriously thinking about lodging a complaint against you. A written complaint, I might add.” I scanned her habit for a – I don’t know – a name badge?
“You can write? Oh boy, am I impressed.”
This nun was unbelievable.
“Close your mouth or a fly might go in, white boy.”
I quickly shut my mouth. “Kindly refrain from referring to me as ““white boy””, Ma’am, eh, Sister.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Ah, I finally get it- you’re on your way to a costume party! And you’re going as a nun.”
I laughed mirthlessly. ‘’Cause there ain’t noooo way, you’re a bona fide nun.”
“Yeah, okay, sure, whatever,’ she said in a dismissive voice. “You wanna come to this costume party?” She jerked her head towards the inside of the church.
Suddenly, I was curious. “Sure, why not?”
Silently, I complied, feeling like I was on my way to the school Principal’s office. We entered a room in the corner of the church and to my surprise, she locked the door. Damn, she’s going to call the cops on me, I thought. Tell them that she caught me trying to hot-wire a pastor’s car. Shit!
But she lit up some incense she removed from somewhere in her habit and began waving it around.
Relax Gabe, she’s just a little kooky and besides there’s no phone around, I said to myself.
Incense, I suspected, that was imbued with calming essences to relax me and get me off guard, then finally lure me into revealing my inner most secrets and thereby keeping her employed.
“So, like, what’s that for?” I asked, feeling the need to fill the silence.
“Blaaack magiiiic,” she said, faking an eerie voice.
“Yeah right. Does that like get me to relax and loosen up and like ensnare me into revealing all my deepest, darkest secrets?” I chuckled, haling deeply and waiting for the calmness that was sure to follow.
“Nah, it don’t,” she said crisply, “But this does.”
My eyes bulged when I saw her remove a joint from her habit and light it. That explains the need for the incense. A joint! HOLY COW!
Let’s take stock: A nun, a short, racist one at that, has major attitude and smokes weed? In the church and …she’s offering it me?
What a fucked up dream I was having. Or maybe not. It was hard to tell.
“Great camouflage,” she said, inhaling deeply and holding out the joint to me.
“I’m trying really hard to give up,” I said righteously as I accepted it. Once again, I looked around for cameras. Anyway, it was years since I smoked a joint and I inhaled deeply and relished the surge of calm coursing through me.
“So, why you …why tripping, white boy?” she asked.
I smiled and looked lazily at her, my eyelids heavy, my senses languid. “I ain’t tripping Sister Blister. Everything’s grooooovy now. But I might be HIV positive though.”
She peered at me and we both burst out laughing.
“That so? I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t have figured you out for a fag, man.” She laughed hard and so did I.
““Fag”? That is totally,” I stopped laughing to wipe away a tear, “totally fucked up, Sister Black.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You keep that one then cos, I got me another one here. I ain’t in no mood to get all viiiraled up.”
“Viral …” I shook my head and laughed some more. “I ain’t gay Sister…Black. I got a wife and…and… ch…child…kiiids.”
“Dude, that’s what they all say! she shrieked, holding her sides. “The closet can’t be thaaaat comfortable?”
“I’ve never been in a clo…set sister, except…except to have sex with my boss’s wife ten years ago.”
She laughed some more, then used a part of her habit to dry her eyes. We sat in silence and smile at each other then at nothing.
“What shall I do, Sister Blister?”
“Ask me, I am Moses,” she said smartly and we cracked up again.
“Moses,” I mused. “Hey Sister, you reckon the burning bush…Moses…you know…was that just a whole lot of weed burning? Like say…one giant joint?”
“Well,” she said, appearing to give it some thought, “there was talk of writing on stone during that time. Or was it stoned?” We hooted with laughter again.
When the urge to crack up died, I stopped laughing and told her everything. Every goddamn thing.
“Now you know my ABC…” I said, threatening to crack up again.
She looked at me and suppressed a laugh. “So wait, wait, wait! Lemmee get this …You thought that the skank, whatshername …? You thought she pursuuuued you cos… she liked you?”
I nodded and we howled with laughter.
“Dude, girls like her, they don’t know you so they ain’t liking you. But they know your money. They met your money before and they like the color of your money and thaat’s what they like. If they could help it; they would put your ass in the bank and sleep with your money; you know that?”
“I think you’re a bitch, Sister Black.”
“And I think you’re a racists dying of AIDS. Your ancestors from da Klan by the way?”
“Nah! I just hate everybody equally,” I pointed out then sat up straight, an idea passing though my numb skull. “Got any booze?”
She shook her head apologetically.
I nodded grimly. “I think I’ll lose my wife,” I said in a matter-of-fact voice.
“I think so too,” she deadpanned. “She’d be a fool not to leave your ass. And that Skanknead –she really is a hoe! You sure she wasn’t a dude? “
In spite of my compromised mental state, I did not appreciate that comment. “You’re really mean for a nun, you know dat…that?”
“Guessiam,” she admitted. “But now, I got people to bless. But come back again and I will… comfort you, okay?”
‘“Comfort” me? Like hell you did,” I muttered and staggered out, my eyes bloodshot, my mouth dry and my fingers reeking of cannabis. I went home and for the first time since Sinead, really ate. Devoured everything – cheese, bread, cold meats, left over chicken – everything in the refrigerator and then slept.
END OF SAMPLE CHAPTERS
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