By Lionel Roy
For: Bangari Fiction: I Am Archibald, Scribe of S-tan
Sheila slept well and long into the day. She could take it easy, she wasn’t working tonight and had nothing to do except moon around her flat like a lovesick teenager. We were grown adults, for goodness sake… she thought. But something about the way he looked at her, how he somehow wanted to prove himself to her, excusing the look of terror on his face when they were on the slingshot, and how he kissed her, like his life depended on it, caused her insides to do somersaults and her knees to turn to jelly. Her phone burst into life and she picked it up.
“Is this Ms. Sheila King?” a slightly matronly voice that she didn’t recognize enquired.
“Who wants to know?” She asked, puzzled.
“It’s Mrs. Dee Langford of St. Benedict‘s” Then she got it. Old Mrs. Dealer. The nickname came from her habit of getting anything from napkins to pizza at a knockdown price. She was famous for it.
“Hi there. How can I help?” Sheila asked cheerfully.
“I know this is very short notice but I didn’t know who else to call…” She trailed off, leaving her in suspense.“The self-defense class we run in the church basement is missing its teacher…and I know you put your name down for volunteer work for the church so I was wondering if you have a little time, if you could come down and teach the 5-12 year olds?”
She thought about it. She awoke full of energy, needed the practice, and could use the fresh air.
“Sure. I’ve actually subbed for that class a couple times before. I like it.”
Sounding relieved, she said, “You are, literally, a lifesaver!” using the word ‘literally’ in a way that annoyed Sheila.
“I’m glad to help.”
As soon as she sat the kids down for the opening stretches, it felt like she had never been away. Her body didn’t let her down and the kids seemed to love being here. She thought of Jem through the entire flexibility portion of the class. The kids were surprisingly well behaved, so her thoughts were her own, for now. There was something about him, she thought. He wanted to protect me, that much was true, but it was something more than that. It was as if he didn’t want me too reliant on him. There were walls there that only time would remove. She came up from her stretch, and turned to see that Tami, and adorable ten year old with the most eager smile to go with twinkling, intelligent brown eyes, needed some coaching. Sheila sensed a tenacity in her that with good will in her heart, yet a chip on her shoulder, would get her into, but more importantly, out of many jams.
“Tami, don’t just stretch to the middle, go to each side, like this…” Sheila said while demonstrating.
“I was going like that Miss King, you just weren’t looking when I did it like that.”
“Okay Sweetie, good job then!” She decided to take, in turn, correction from Tami, spending a full two minutes in the next flexibility exercise, minding her own business –and God’s. Sheila prayed.
Lord, is this Fortuitous? Divine? Only You know. Either way, since our paths met not a day has gone by without him entering my thought life. As hard as I tried to keep him out (for safety measures) he’s taken up residence in my heart. There is so much about this man that draws me in and attracts me to him. Our shared Faith, our mutual love for You, is #1. That is where it all begins and ultimately ends. With you, God. He is a hottie though! Very easy on the eyes. A beautiful smile with eyes to match… and a body that makes me ache for pleasure. He’s fit and healthy and it shows. Very attractive. But that’s the dessert. (You know I want to start with the desert…) Father, forgive me. Give me, us, strength…um..to keep from offending You, from breaking your rules. Okay, forget dessert, let’s get to the main course –including the vegetables which we all know sometimes taste yucky and are hard to swallow –but they’re good for you! He challenges me, Lord, and I like that! He incites in me a strong desire to explore new ways of thinking, seeing and being. Granted, I sometimes struggle with his delivery much like I struggle eating brussels sprouts –but the end result is the same: Growth. He feeds my soul leaving me with a drive to want to better myself. He’s intelligent, witty, creative, energetic, very funny and a bit of a bad boy. His laugh is contagious. His kisses intoxicating. (More dessert…mmmm) And that all elusive heart of his. How I’m longing to take a peek inside. I know he’s loving, caring, compassionate, romantic, giving, kind –But more often than not, I belive he is much like me in that he has the armed guards at the gate. –Protecting the gems inside…Lord, help us reveal ourselves to each other, our true selves. Amen.
Upon arriving home from the class, while thinking she would Give old Mrs. Dealer a good deal and let her put her on the schedule for two days a week through the summer, she sensed something was different. She could tell as soon as she cracked open the door of her flat. Sheila’s heart lurched. Someone has been in here! She thought. I’ve been burgled, I’m sure of it. She continued to open the door cautiously expecting a scene of chaos. Instead, everything was as she left it except for the flowers on the coffee table, with a note. She quickly closed the door behind her, locked it, and walked over and picked up the note:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I know I sound funny
But I’m thinking of you
Just then the doorbell rang. She rushed to it and opened the door, smiling, expecting her new flame… Instead of Jem, Richard was standing there. The smile died on her lips.
“What can I do for you?” She asked, facetiously
“Did you get my flowers?” He asked trying to look past her shoulder, as she effectively blocked the door. She was not much shorter than he was. Her heart sank to her toes.
“Yeah. How did you get into my flat?” She silently fumed.
“Your Mum let me have your key.” He winked, and waved a key at her. That was for emergencies. Wait till I get my hands on her! She thought.
“Can I have it back?”
“Can I come in? he asked.
“No.” She stood resolutely at her door.
“Then…” he made to put the key away. She made a grab for it but he was a nanosecond too quick for her. “Now, now…” he wagged a stubby finger from side to side.
“I’m not letting you in Richard, just stop being childish and give me my key!” This time as she reached for it, he grabbed her wrist and twisted it slightly so she couldn’t move without hurting herself. He then pushed her backwards, into her flat until her calves were against the coffee table.
“Let’s talk Leila, please…” He let go, and sat down, spreading himself on her cream-colored leather couch. He tossed the key onto the table next to the flowers.
“What do you want?” She asked. Out of the corner of her eye she could see movement on her landing. The door was still half open.
“Like I said, to talk…about us”
“There is no us, we are over –or didn’t you get the memo? Sure you did, you ended it!” She said trying to focus on him.
“Okay, so I made a mistake, everyone makes mistakes” he said, adjusting his posture to a more upright position.
“Yes they do….mine was sticking with your crummy, cheating ass longer than I should have” He actually had the grace to look ashamed.
“Yes, well…” he started.
“She worth it was she? Sara? Ana? Whatever?” She asked.
“Yes, in that she made me realize you were the one that I wanted all along.” He replied, quite sincerely.
“You have just realized this now?” She said incredulously.
“Look, I said I am sorry, what else do you want me to do?” He pleaded, his voice hardening.
“Leave me alone…starting now” She said edging herself nearer the key.
“Can’t do that” he said ominously.
“Because…You don’t tell me what to do!” He shouted, jumping up from the sofa. She made a grab for the key and made it safe.
“Get out Richard or I will call the cops!” She commanded as she took long strides toward the phone. She saw Jem sneak in, with his finger to his lips, indicating to her to not let Richard know he was standing a few feet behind him, ready to take him out.
“No you won’t ’cause you love me.” He said quietly.
“No Richard, I don’t love you, not any more.” She didn’t realize that Richard was unstable and dangerous at the moment. His training enabled him to act casually laid back, even though inside himself, he was pacing like a caged animal.
“You’re just saying that to test my love for you.” He said suddenly, psychotically cheerful.
“No Richard, I don’t love you anymore, I haven’t loved you for a long time.” It finally sunk in and he broke down. His shoulders shook a bit from the effort of trying to contain his emotion. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Jem looking on bemused and angry. He was standing just inside the door, tense, ready to spring into action. “Richard, please leave…”
“He better be worth it!” He said suddenly grabbing her wrist again.
“Get your hands off her!” Jem shouted at the back of Richard’s head, startling him. He immediately let go and spun around. “So it’s this guy, I guess,” he said smirking, as he looked at Jem, sizing him up.
“Leave now. You heard her.” Jem demanded, as he opened the door completely, and gestured toward the outside with his thumb.
Richard slowly lumbered out the door in a locked stare with Jem.
“Hey. Hey.” Jem’s voice soothed her. She allowed herself to be wrapped in his strong masculine warmth.
“I’m so glad you’re here” she whispered.
His voice shook with anger as he said “I was ready to take him out.” She shook her head.
“Doesn’t work with him. He’s crazy. I mean I’m no specialist but…it’s best to talk him down” Silence, calm, reassuring silence suddenly surrounded them, as if it came up from behind, much like Jem surrounded Sheila. He held her close, so close. She could feel his heart beating against her back. She felt protected, and she liked it.
Jem guided her to the couch. She plopped down on it like her legs had just instantly lost their ability to support her. She looked like she wanted to cry, and he was proud of her for holding it back and not giving Crazy Dick –his new name for Richard –the satisfaction. Jem was still fuming. He was tempted to go on about how close the guy came to a pistol whipping, but he didn’t want to condescend. After all, he thought, she did a stellar job at handling the situation herself and he didn’t regret not interfering, and just standing guard.
Jem knelt by the couch, marriage proposal position, and held her hand, not in the romantic boyfriend-girlfriend way. Instead, he took the same grip he would use if they were about to arm wrestle. “You handled yourself well,” he reassured her, as he stared at her, realizing why poor Crazy Dick was sparking out so bad: He lost himself a beauty here, he thought, as he felt a pang of pity for him. “C’mon, lay back” he instructed as he scooped up her legs in his right arm and lifted them onto the couch. He unlaced her sneakers and slipped them off. “Can I get you a drink or something?”
“No thanks Hon, I’m okay” she replied, now with her eyes closed and her hands on her face, her fingers caressing her closed eyes. Jem took his place on the opposite end of the couch, lifting her legs again and setting her feet on his lap as he sat down. Her pink sweats were pulled up to her knees, revealing the toned calves of a figure skater, or, well, a dancer. Starting behind the knee, he squeezed and released the muscle, working his way down to the ankle.
“Hmmm” she moaned, now smiling a little, but still not opening her eyes.
“Feel Good?” he asked, rhetorically, as he stifled the questions that he actually wanted answers to, like: Is he going to continue to be a problem and why the hell would your mother give him a key to your apartment? However, the task at hand was to help the woman decompress. Getting into that stuff would be counter productive. He slipped an index finger into the ankle of her no-show cotton sock and stripped it off. He started to massage the arch of her foot with his two thumbs. This broadened her smile. He began to think his mission was accomplished before he even started the other leg.
“You starting to feel better now Sheila?”
“Yes. Thanks Jem, you’re sweet. You know, I can’t believe my mother would give him the –
“Shhh,” he interrupted. “Don’t even think about it right now. It’s over. You can ask her later when you’re not worked up. I’m sure when you tell her what happened she is going to feel terrible about it. I’m sure your Mum would never want to do anything to put you in danger.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“I’ll bet she would go to the ends of the earth to make sure you didn’t do anything to put yourself in danger. You’re Dad too.” By her lack of a response he could tell she knew where he was going with this. Jem continued “You’re a smart girl Sheila. But you’re not in a line of work that is paying you for your brains. I feel like I can get away with saying that, because, neither am I. Most of the reason roofing, or fishing –or stripping pays the big bucks, is all about occupational hazard. I can fall off a roof and break my neck, or fall overboard and get eaten by sharks. You could get attacked by a rapist or a killer, never mind an ex-boyfriend.
“Well I like what I do and I’m not going to–”
“I know, I know,” he interrupted her for the second time. She was going on in a defensive, almost bratty tone, but one of his pet peeves is being interrupted when he’s speaking. Here he just did it to her twice. He made a mental note to knock it off. “I like what I do too. I’ve had jobs where I’ve just worked with my brain. I was a mortgage loan officer for a couple years. Sitting at a desk all day in front of a computer with a phone glued to the ear can give a guy a stiff neck and a limp –” He interrupted himself on that one. He was starting to learn that Sheila was a girl who although appreciated his sense of humor, didn’t like him to use shock-jock language. “–Well, you know. I’ve been on top of a roof, shirt off, all tan, holding a nail gun and flexing my arms and pecs a little, while women drive by. They don’t whistle and throw money or anything, but just a good long glance, or a big smile can be an ego booster. I can imagine how it must feel for you. I’m not bugging you to stop. I’m just asking you to be safe”
“I look out for my safety. I really do.” She said convincingly, as he started working on the other leg.
“Yeah? Like how?”
“Well first off, I don’t get drunk or do any drugs like a lot of the other girls do. I keep a clear head and I stay in control”
“Excellent! What else?”
“I read faces and body language pretty well, and have gotten to where I can pick out a guy who is going to try to touch me, and I stay away. Funny -it usually gets them to throw more money on the stage!”
“Then you spank yourself on the ass and say ‘you can’t have the mango.’” Jem said, snapping his fingers, trying, but not succeeding in doing a decent impression.
“You know, Chris Kattan from Saturday Night Live? It’s an American sketch comedy show like BBC’s old Monty Python…Really funny –about twenty five percent of the time.”
“Oh yeah, I’ve seen it. Not that sketch though.”
“So, what else do you do?” He asked, getting her to continue, because he liked what he was hearing. I might have underestimated her he thought as he squeezed the heel of her other foot and ran his thumb up and down the arch.
“Well, some things that I don’t do: Lap dances, and the disgusting stuff that a bunch of the other girls do in the private rooms… usually just for drugs. They don’t often get a lot of extra money. They would be better off just making another on-stage appearance. Some of them get pretty roughed up sometimes before one of the bouncers can get in there to help.”
“The bouncers are really your security lifeline, huh?”
“Yes, definitely. That’s another reason I don’t drive. It’s harder to be followed, and I’m not alone if I get on the bus or get a ride with one of the bouncers.”
“Right. Makes sense…They hiring?”
“The bus company?” She joked, pretending not to understand that he meant Club Fantasy. He chuckled.
“No, Club Fantasy”
“Ohhh” she said feigning sudden understanding. “You wanna strip?”
“No, I want to do lap dances for drugs only!” Now stop busting my bollards, or I’m gonna stop rubbing your feet!”
“Okay, okay” she said as she laughed playfully. “Don’t stop!”
Jem continued for a few more minutes (as commanded) and then got up, snatching the note that Crazy Dick wrote off the table. “His poetry sucks, even if he was twelve.” He commented snidely while reading not much further than roses are red. He tossed it back on the coffee table, and hovered over her face with his, waiting for her to sense him so close, then move her hands, still covering her face, and open her eyes. When she did, he kissed her like it was his only purpose in life.
“Ya think?” she said sarcastically, as soon as their passionate kiss broke off. He sat up, on the edge of the couch with his right thigh pressed against her side, he put his right hand on her stomach while the other rested on his knee “Here’s one for you” he said, as he hoped to remember all the words. “I wrote it after I got divorced from Wifey I and she ran here to Florida with my babies, not letting me see them for years…Ya ready?”
“Yes, I want to hear it” she said matter-of-factly.
People cheat and people lie.
They’ll step on the tears that they’ve made you cry.
Then they’ll kill to have what they threw away.
Still, it will be Okay.
They took my kids away.
Their names were Hope and Dream.
I can see them starving in the cold desert sun.
The Dragon’s song is sung.
I woke from a nightmare asking “why would she lie?”
The darkness replied “I’ll bet she knows why.”
Sometimes you think you have to die.
Still, it might be Okay.
I need to be there by your side,
but I can’t because of Hate.
But Hate can’t hope so Hate won’t stay.
Then it might be Okay.
Now the only thing that I have left,
was made priceless by all I’ve lost.
My love and anger carry me away,
to where it will be Okay.
It is all Okay.
Hope will light the way.
“That was nice; sad, but hopeful too.” She said.
“Like a broken Hallelujah?”
“Do you like that song?” She answered, with a question.
“Yeah, a lot. I’ll play it for you, I had plans to serenade you…As long as you promise to sing along.”
“You got it, Jem!– But I’m no Alexandra Burke.”
“You know the part of the song that says ‘Love is not a victory march’?” Jem asked.
“I think so. It’s a favourite song, but I don’t know all the words.
“Yeah, well I think that kinda describes where I go wrong when it comes to love.”
“Like, how?” She asked, wanting to hear all he would tell.
“When I was married, I sported my wedding band like a status symbol. Like an Officer wears his ‘rank,’ or a Priest wears his Roman collar. I was so proud to be married, and ‘pride’ isn’t always a good thing, right?”
“Pride goeth before the fall.”
“…goeth before the fall.” They said in unison, a sure sign that they were beginning to develop into a full-fledged couple.
“Next time, I want to feel like it’s more of a blessing, or even a privilege. Ya know? More like something I was given than something that I achieved. That’s why even though no one would slap me in handcuffs for having sex –”
“I might…during sex!” Sheila chimed in with perfect timing and quick wit, causing an involuntary laugh to burst out of Jem…while he wondered if she was partly serious.
“…Anyhoo, I think it is a good idea to treat it like a privilege that I’m not entitled to right now, so when I am allowed again, it will really feel like a privilege, so I won’t take for granted.”
“That makes sense.” She responded while thinking that his morals seemed too good to be true. I’m going to have to point my bullshit detector at some of this guy’s philosophies. If they stand up to further scrutiny, I may have stumbled upon a rare find.
“So what do you want to do?” He asked, his voice breaking through her doubtful thoughts.
“Well…we could eat, watch a movie here, then….” She let the word hang suggestively in the air. He looked at her and made a mock grab at her waist. She pushed his hands away shrieking, “not that Buster! Don’t say one thing and do another. That will not fly with me!” Sheila giggled, belying the fact that she meant every word. Jeremy was well aware, just the same.
“Well you should be careful where you let something hang!” Jem responded, defending himself as he joined her in laughing.
“Okay Mr. J.” She said in a childish voice, fluttering her eyelashes at him. She was thrilled, being this free, flirtatious and naughty without having someone tell her she was a sinner, doomed to the pit of hell and eternal damnation –Yet, it was equally liberating to hold tight to her sexual virtue without being called a prude, or a weird, sexually dysfunctional bore. She thought, who would have thought that dating would be this fun, or even possible, without…that other stuff?
Jem got up, opened the fridge and looked inside. “Holy cannoli it looks like a freakin’ slaughterhouse in here!” He exclaimed. Steak strips, ground beef, three different kinds of sausage, not counting the pepperoni, some chicken and a small piece of roast that he deduced must be goat. Not just because his Nigerian friends from Providence liked their goat meat, but also because without some of that on the shelf, every animal on Noah’s Ark wouldn’t be represented in this fridge. He slid open a crisper drawer, expecting to find some ground giraffe, yet not surprised to find bologna and some sliced ham and bacon. Hey what’s this? Some cheese? Wow, he thought, besides milk and butter, here’s the one edible animal product in here that some furry creature didn’t have to give up the ghost for. The only plant matter was made up of a few onions, and one lonely apple that looked like it sat for a month wondering if that pretty girl whose face it saw a few brief times a day ever heard the old saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. The only carbs in the fridge were contained in a couple good sized hoagie rolls. So that was her secret to a knock-out body he thought…She was on the old Atkins diet.
Okay, so the girl is a die-hard carnivore. He thought as he started slicing an onion. As they caramelized in a small frying pan, the way his Mom taught him, he started frying the steak in butter the way Grandma Golden did it for his kids. Grandma was Wifey II’s grandmother and lived next door to them with her husband. Now there’s the girl I should have married! He thought to himself jokingly. He used to tease Wifey II about running off with her, just to know what it felt like to get the kind of treatment Grandpa Golden got. He got his bread buttered and his steak cut into bite-sized pieces before he sat down to his meals sharply at 4:00 PM. He regurgitated if he ate his meals any later, any earlier would throw off his sugar control, and they couldn’t have that. One time, Wifey II actually did butter Jem’s bread, then said “look, I’m just like Gramma Golden.” Jem responded with the famous quote used to squash Vice President, Dan Quale. ‘I know Gramma Golden. Gramma Golden is a very good friend of mine. Believe me, Wifey, you are no Gramma golden.” Wifey II was not amused.
Jem thought back to when he became a vegetarian. He had just discovered Wifey I cheating, for a second time. This was almost five years after the first time he caught her cheating on him. After seeing how it crushed him, she promised she would never do it again. What a fool I was for giving her a second chance. Never again. That’s a deal-breaker, period. Jem thought. He was only nineteen, and a newly-wed the first time it happened. Almost everyone he went to with his heart wrenching problem gave him the same advice: “She’s young, she’s sorry, let it slide. No big deal.” Some, even a professional counselor, put a little more of a creative twist on it: “Why don’t you consider an open marriage?” No doubt these pecker-heads wanted to get into her pants themselves –Jem’s too.
That’s the one thing he hated about the military. Just about everyone was a swinger and a perv it seemed to him. Like his Dad always used to say: “Don’t shit where you eat” Dogs have the sense not to do it. Most people in small towns had the same sense. But in the Navy, people moved their dining rooms every twenty four months or so. Many of them took advantage of that to do some pretty disgusting things sexually, knowing they could just walk away from it, never to return to it, like a dog to his own vomit.
He remembered sitting in front of the ship’s Master at Arms, a clunky, 1950’s style steel desk separating them. Jem was prepared to be in big trouble. His reaction to finding out that he had spent a night or two laying in someone else’s wet spot, made him physically sick, and even more so emotionally. He felt, if he could imagine it, raped; sexually assaulted, to use a term that means the same thing, but is a little easier on the ears. She was the only girl he was ever with at that time. Of course, until now, she had him believing that likewise, he was also her one and only. That was beyond special to him…the poor, sentimental dope!
This fine spring morning, while it was tied to a dock on a little Mediterranean island, Jem found himself under the helo deck of the Submarine repair ship he was stationed on, in the Master Chief’s office –anxiously awaiting his fate. He had snuck into his shipmates’ apartment the night before. Hearing their voices, along with his wife’s voice, he knew she was there with them. As he walked down a long pantry hallway, he glanced into the dish strainer, and saw a bread knife the size of a Roman short sword. I, Archibald, telepathically, screamed at the top of my lungs, “Jeremy! Avenge this horrible alienation of affection. Win back that which was stolen from you. Kill the fuckers!” His quiet steps halted, and he slowly reached for the knife. My soul was paralyzed with excitement, as I believed my commands were heard loud and clear, and they were about to be obeyed. Frozen in space and time, in the heat of the moment, I began to pray.
Eldest and Master, I offer you my kid’s rage. I offer all the blood he is soon to shed, in the name of his own pride, to Your Glory. Help me drain his empathy to the last drop, and stoke the flames of his righteous anger, and scorn, that he may carry out this sacrifice to you. Let it be done!
I quickly retreated from the presence of my Master, anxious to close the deal, and confident that I would be able to do just that, in this moment when the will of S-tan, my own will, and poor, scorned Jeremy’s blood-thirst for revenge were in perfect alignment for the ultimate Satanic Sacrament: Murder. Jeremy’s hand suddenly stopped, inches from touching the knife. “Kill them!” I screamed once more, desperately attempting to keep his right hand moving in the right direction. He had no desire to kill her. That was no problem. Her punishment would be watching her lovers die, at the hand of the husband she betrayed. He would feel no remorse. She would bear all the guilt. Adrenaline made him deaf to his own conscience. This chemical substance produces fear and anger in the hearts of man, both emotions making them homocidal, or, suicidal –it’s the same thing. It had diluted the last bit of oxytocin coursing through his veins, to barely trace amounts. Oxytocin is the hormone that cultivates, in human beings, feelings of empathy for each other. So now, with it drained –there would be no mercy in him.
Yet, his hand would not move. “What’s stopping you?! Kill the men!” I desperately screamed into his soul, one last time, as he turned and began to re-commence stalking his enemies, no longer intending to murder them. Military brainwashing prevailed. They were good at training young, passionate people, to kill…But, only those others whom they were ordered to kill. Centuries of war craft, had conditioned humans to do this. They could be trained so that with about as much compunction, would even throw themselves on the sword when ordered. It was this same military mentality; military order, rules, law –that prevented these young warriors from taking any lives they were not commanded to take. Jem thought, I guess the fuckers get to live –but only because it’s illegal to kill them.
“Petty Officer Fort, did you see what you did to those two boatswains mates? The Master Chief Diver asked sternly.
“Not lately Master Chief” Jem replied. He remembered after he pummeled them, they each ran into other rooms and locked the doors. “Well, one of ‘em has an arm in a sling, and both of them barely have a spot on their faces that isn’t purple and swollen. Oh, and you busted Seaman Sardelli’s eardrum.” Good! Jem thought, but didn’t dare say it, although he was sure that his satisfaction with this news showed in his eyes. He quickly looked away.
“I spoke to them both. They told me why you attacked them. Do you know what I told them?”
“No Master Chief, what?”
“I said ‘you go to Petty Officer Fort, and you both thank him for not killing you assholes.’” The Master Chief finally cracked a grin, then asked “So, Fort, you think you might want to apply for diver?”
“I’ve been thinking about it.”
“Good. Your scores in the last PT were outstanding, and you came in second on the ship’s Iron Man contest, right? The dive test will be a cinch for you”
“Okay, I’ll definitely do it Master Chief, Thanks.”
“Good” He said. They were both smiling now, Jem, with relief. The Master at Arms, with pride –he didn’t like boatswains mates or adulterers. Adultery was against military law. Jem thought it should be that way in the civilian world too. Then with his last words before dismissing the young husband, he predicted the future. It came true the same week that Jem would begin his sixteen year long Daniel fast. The Master Chief leaned forward, with his elbow on his desk while pointing his finger at Jem, and told him, “once your wife plays the old spank and tickle with another guy, behind your back, while you’re on the job, no matter what she says, mark my words, she will do it again. Lose her now or you’ll regret it later.”
When she did it again, just like Master Chief predicted, five years, and two adorable babies later, Jem went into a tailspin. His life was out of control. The only thing he had any control over is what he ate. For therapy, and as a form of fasting, he cut out meat. It helped, and he stuck to it for the next sixteen years. He liked that it showed some mercy toward animals. He also liked that it was good for his health. He didn’t like some of the categories it put him in. He wasn’t an animal rights fanatic. He wasn’t an artsy, effeminate guy. He didn’t like that it made people assume that he was making a statement that they were sinning by eating meat. He doesn’t like general categories in general.
Wifey II busted his chops about it; she could find any reason to pick on the kid. He thought, life was about to change. The feeling like, I had to die, that I felt the first time I got the shit end of the adultery stick, the second time, and the third and worse time of all, was subsiding. I think I’m really about to come alive. That gorgeous, brontosaurus-burger-eating cavewoman to whom I am about to serve this steak and cheese sandwich, smothered in onions…she was a big reason for this revival, bless her heart. He sat down. He took a big bite, chewed, while a small stream of liquified animal fat ran down from the corner of his mouth, and swallowed. He smiled at Sheila with his mouth full of his second bite. He wouldn’t say a word about it. Hmm, not bad, he thought. Guess I’m off my diet!
- I Am Archibald Scribe of S-tan: Preface (bangaricontentgallery.com)
- I Am Archibald, Scribe of S-tan: Chapter 1 (bangaricontentgallery.com)
- I Am Archibald, Scribe of S-tan: Chapter 2 (bangaricontentgallery.com)
- I Am Archibald, Scribe of S-tan: Chapter 4 (bangaricontentgallery.com)
- St Catherine of Sienna (sdiamondheart.wordpress.com)