Sunburnt

Greta hits rock bottom and trades in her Chardonnay for coffee. She moves to sunny Bombay Beach, Florida where she gets a new apartment in a quaint cottage, a new job and a new lease on life. She spends time at the beach soaking up the sun and reflecting on her past destructive relationships. She meets a mysterious married man Garth, who she keeps bumping into. Greta dates a local musician Jimmy, but after his untimely suicide she must find the cause of his death. She and her girlfriend Kat put on a concert with the help of magnetic club owner Sly and invite superstar Crash to perform all of Jimmy’s music. Will they discover why Jimmy took his own life?

Sly is a dazzling man, living the high life as owner of one of the towns hottest clubs, Voodoo. He has it all, wine, women, a beach house and a sister who has one of Hollywoods’ hottest cooking shows, Elvira! He cannot find love in his life, until he meets Greta. But is it too late to change his ways?


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9. Sunburnt

Chapter 18

 

I don't believe in killing whatever the reason!

John Lennon

 

Garth left Vic and Angelos feeling satisfied. He had thoroughly enjoyed the whole wheat Tagliatelle. His mind went back to the young woman. He was surprised that he had seen her at the restaurant. She was attractive, but he was married. There was no harm in looking though, after all, he wasn’t dead yet, far from it. He still had that schoolboy appeal with women, or so he thought.

 

Tonight was the twins birthday party. He had so much to do. Plus he had a land deal he had to move on, there was an old car lot that just came on the market. He was sure if they tore it down it could be built into a mixed use complex of shops and retails spaces, worth millions of dollars. But today the twins came first, and he sauntered down Atlantic Avenue in search of some gifts.

 

He walked into Gigi, a swanky jewelry store on the Avenue. Behind the counter was a small stocky man with a heavy Russian accent. He looked up from behind the counter with his eyepiece on.

 

“Hello good sir, can I help you today good man?”

 

Garth smiled at the accent. “Yes, indeed. I am looking for some gifts for my girls.”

The man beamed. “Ah yes, we have many beautiful things here…Let me show this piece here.” He said.

 

He pulled out a blue sapphire and diamond ring from the counter. Garret inspected it. The man then also showed him another ring, a band of diamonds and rubies. “Do you like this sir? It is very beautiful, no?”he asked, wiping sweat from his hairy brow.

 

Garth nodded his head. “What’s the damage?

 

The man smiled an at once serious but devilish smile. “For you….$3500.00. Garth considered it. “How about $3300?” the man thought about it. “Yes, we can do this”. Good! Deal negotiated. “Can you wrap it up for me?” Garth asked.

 

“Yes, yes, of course good sir, I can wrap for you. I have beautiful gold paper from Russia and I will put in a special box, box from Russia.”

 

“Excellent. Sold then.” Ah, the twins would be pleased. And Joanna too.

 

Tonights party was important for the girls, being their sweet sixteen. So many of their friends would attend and their parents, the caterers were already at the house setting up and Joanna had hired a party planner to help with all the details. Garth thought it all a bit excessive but he said nothing to keep the peace at home.

 

The Blackberry was ringing again…It was Joanne. “Hi honey!” he said. “Are you coming home soon?” she asked. “Yes, I’m on my way, just did some shopping….” “Great! Wait until you see the house, you’ll hardly recognize the place.” He smiled to himself. “I’m on my way.”

 

He pulled in the driveway and walked into the massive foyer. The place was in total chaos with florists, caterers, helpers, dogs, kids all scrambling around. Joanne kissed him on the cheek. She was radiant.

 

“Tonight will be perfect. I guarantee.” He smiled at her.

“I have no doubt honey, it will be great.”

 

He walked upstairs to his study and put the gifts in the drawer. He sat back and thought about his life. He had it all, the perfect wife, the perfect home, great kids, successful business. Why did his mind keep wandering back to that mysterious woman? He pushed the thought from his mind. Better keep sex out of this equation before he got himself into trouble, for now at least…..Better to perfect his golf swing.

 

 

 

Chapter 19

 

Men are so willing to respect anything that bores them.

Marilyn Monroe

 

The party went off perfectly. The twins were identically dressed in matching cocktail dresses by Lilly Pulizter. They had their hair done and manicures and pedicures and looked shiny new. Mom was resplendent in a silk sheath, with stiletto heels clicking on the marble floors. The twins friends showed up, all young people from a variety of walks of life, yet they all seemed so nice and so friendly and so young. And they were, some were as young as thirteen.  Garth felt old.

 

The caterers served up coconut chicken with mango papaya salsa and mini beef empanadas and the DJ played old classics like “Love To Love You Baby” by Donna Summer, which the kids grooved to.

 

Garth served punch from a large bowl. His daughters hung around, looking excited.

“What do you think of the party Dad?”asked Gabriella. “I love it. It’s pretty groovy.”he beamed.

“Oh Dad, you are so square.” She suddenly heard a loud splashing noise.

 “Oh my gosh, someone fell in the pool!” and she scampered off outside to the pool where one of the boys had fallen in.

 

Garth remembered his parties growing up back East. His parents had bee moderately affluent, they had always given him the best they could afford. But it was he who had made his own fortune and he wanted his girls to be strong and learn how to make their own money. Nothing was going to be handed to them on a silver platter. He felt it was the only way for them to learn the ways of the world. But he did enjoy spoiling them now and again.

 

Joanne came out of the kitchen and steeped by his side. “We’re ready to bring out the cake now.” The DJ cued that it was time for the cake and a server brought out a giant cake with sparklers on it. They sang “Happy Birthday” and the twins blew out the candles. Garret snapped some pictures with his camera. He had the bag with the gifts in it and gave each daughter her little bag.

 

“Oh Daddy!!” Gabriella beamed, “Thank you!” “I love you Dad!!!” said Gwen. The girls were estatic when they unveiled their rings.

Joanne was surprised. “Oh dear! That’s quite a gift!!” She whispered to him.

He looked at her. “What can I say? I love my girls…”

 

The dancing went on until nearly midnight. Slowly the kids seemed to get tired, and slowly left. They said their goodbyes and texted each other on the way out the door. Garret stood at the door with his arm around Joanne. The last of them left and he and Joanne gave each other a kiss.

 

“It was a wonderful party hon…” He smiled at her. “Think we should go upstairs and have our own party?” She smiled. “I’ll get some champagne..” Garth walked into the kitchen and pulled out a bottle of Dom Perignon from the fridge. Life was sweet. Or so it seemed.

 

 

Chapter 20

 

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

Buddha

 

I awoke to the sound of my alarm clock. Why was it ringing on a Saturday? I pushed the buzzer down and hid back under the covers. I was having the best dream, one of those dreams that don’t make any sense but are still intriguing dreams about getting married in a Tuscany Villa. My hair was braided up in a big chignon and was wearing a long white gown and veil. My husband to be was a rugged looking guy, very masculine and was carrying me up the steps of the villa. I had flowers in my hand and there was a river flowing outside the villa that was purple with flowers floating in it and white horses and zebras running alongside it.

 

I tried hard to get back into the dream but it had vanished. Drat! Now I would have to get up and face reality today. Saturday. Oh yes! Saturday was the Greenmarket in Delray. I got out of bed and peered out the window.  Sunshine as always. I guess that’s why they called it The Sunshine State.

 

I stepped into the hot shower, feeling the hot water splash all over me and soaped off with some new body wash I had bought. It was a pomgranite scent, very fruity smelling. I loved my bathroom in this old house. It had a giant mirror framed in white wood and a tub and some shelves for books and knick-knacks. There was an old tin chest where I stored my towels and a big round sink with flowers painted on it and dainty faucets.

 

I threw on some old clothes, jeans and a T-shirt and headed off towards the Greenmarket. The Greenmarket was in downtown Bombay beach. There were local vendors there with all kinds of cool stands, everything from fruits and vegetables to oils and foods to try.

 

As I approached the market I could hear the music playing from the band. It sounded likes blues. As I got closer I could see it was the famed Little JR

singing, a local blues legend. He was a weathered black man, rumored to be from Mississipi. When he sang you could feel it in your bones. There was a  guitar player there, playing an old black Strat, a drummer and an organ player, all blending together to make a cool blues sensation. I stopped for awhile and listened to Muddy Waters tunes and some Robert Johnson and some R&B songs. I reached into my bag and pulled out a ten dollar bill and stuck in their tip bucket. Little JR smiled at me and said, “Thank you much!”

 

I wandered around awhile and looked at some arts and crafts, there were some interesting plates and mugs and pictures from local artists. I bought a ceramic dish for my room. On a pole there was a poster stapled to it, it was announcing the opening of a new club called Voodoo tonight. I studied the poster for a minute, then moved on.

 

Somewhere, very faintly I heard one of Jimmys’ songs. It was…It was Suicide playing. I looked around to see where it was coming from and saw a young homeless guy on the ground with a boom box.

 

“Hey…Where did you get that music?’ I asked him.

 

He shrugged. “A guy gave it to me. I sold him some shit” He said. “Why?” I shook my head. “Never mind. He was a friend of mine that’s all.”

 

A twang of pain hit me as I thought of Jimmy again. I wondered how his parents were coping with his senseless death. Too many young people died from drugs. It just was not fair. Then my thoughts turned to Debbie. I quickly dialed Kat on my cell phone.

 

“Kat….It’s me…Wake up…” I waited.

She finally answered a sleepy “Hello?

“Kat, it’s me, Greta….

“What are you doing up so early? She asked sleepily. “I’m here, at the Greenmarket. Listen….There’s a big party tonight at Voodoo. We have to go.”

Kat replied sleepily, “Alright, I’ll talk to you later, like after two, alright?” and hung up the phone.

 

Voodoo was the newest club in town and for sure Debbie would be there, making the music scene.  I passed  by “A Taste of Africa” and bought myself a chicken shish ka bob, now this was living.

 

 

Chapter 21

 

Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.

Niccolo Machiavelli

 

 

Garth drove into Fort Lauderdale Airport slowly, obeying the speed limit. Joanne was beside him, checking her lipstick in a gold compact mirror.

 

“Now honey, I want you to eat well while I’m gone. I left everything frozen in the freezer in little baggies. Meatloaf, cabbage, chicken cutlets.”

Garth nodded.

 

“I’ll be fine dear.”

 

She finished inspecting her lipstick. “Call me at Mothers, my flight gets in around two this afternoon.”

 

Garth nodded, “Yes dear.”

 

He pulled over, outside American Airlines terminal and popped the trunk. He got out to unload her bag. She stood on the sidewalk waiting. He hugged her, carefully avoiding the freshly laid lipstick.

 

“Bye sweetheart. I’ll miss you.” He hugged her tightly.

 

“Bye hon. Be good….Don’t let the girls stay up too late.” She warned.

 

He smiled. “I won’t. Now get in there and check in. I will call you.” He pulled away from the curb and she waved at him. A portly baggage man took her bags and loaded them on a truck.

 

Garth exited the terminal and drove down Federal highway pulling into Golden Banana Lounge. It was a swanky gentleman’s club. He needed a drink.

 

He walked in the door, the smell of stale cigarettes and booze hitting him in the gut. It was dark inside, with plush carpeting and disco balls everywhere. Up on stage was an exotic dancer doing the nasty to Micheal Jacksons “Beat It”. A skanky waitress came over, flirting with him. “Hi  there good looking. You from out of town?” He smiled politely. “Yes, I am. I’m on my way to Chicago” He lied. “What can I get for ya?’ she asked coyly. “I’ll have a Scotch on the rocks.” He said. “Make it a double.”

 

A dark haired dancer came over and gyrated around him.

“Hi sugar. You want a private dance?” She was about thirty, with huge breasts popping out of a black lace bra. He pushed his face into her bosom.

 

“Yes, I want a lap dance.” He moaned.

 

“It’s forty dollars”, she said seductively. 

 

He reached for his wallet and pulled out two twenty dollar bills. He tucked the money in her bra and she began to work him hard, rubbing her ass into his crotch. Garth closed his eyes and lay back in his chair. He felt her behind, two giant globes of flesh squeezing the life out of him. He drank his Scotch quickly and motioned for another one.

 

After the lap dance was over Garth split the joint, in the Escalade. He was mildly drunk and felt free. He suddenly remembered that he had a golf date at three. He dialed Cliff’s number.

 

“Are we still on buddy?” He asked.

“Yeah, we’re on dude. You sound funny… Are you alright? You sound buzzed” Cliff noted.

“Oh yeah bud, just dropped the wife off at the airport.” Garth smiled. “Good, see you at Sherwood.” Cliff said.

 

Garth drove back to Delray and pulled into the driveway. The twins were on their way to the beach. He stopped the car. The twins were half naked in skimpy bikinis.

“Where are you two going dressed like that?” The twins stopped in their tracks.

“We’re going to the beach Dad. This is what people wear. It’s called bathing suits. Duh….You are so square Dad.” Said Gabriella stubbornly.

Garth smiled, fixing his hair up. “Ok kids, I’m going golfing. I’ll see you later for dinner. Be home by six.”he said.

 The twins smiled and walked on.

 

Upstairs Garth showered and shaved, getting clean again. He laid out his golf clothes on the bed, green Nike shirt, white Nike hat, white pants and golf shoes. He felt slightly guilty at his minor indiscretion, but felt relieved nonetheless, as if a weight had been pulled off his shoulders. It felt good to be free, and he would enjoy his time alone.

 

 

 

Chapter 22

 

More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.

Napoleon Hill

 

 

The hot afternoon sun shone down on the 1st hole of Sherwood Country Club. Garth and Cliff rolled by houses that dotted the manicured greens as they rode by in their golf cart.

 

“Beautiful day for golf.” Noted Cliff. “Yes, it certainly is.” agreed Garth. Cliff hit the first shot into the sun, the ball landing just feet from the hole. “Well done.” said Garth.

 

Garth hit his ball, pounding his Nike driver into the ground. His game was on today, he felt good. “I think it’s a birdy.” Noted Cliff. Garth smiled. He was going to kick some ass today. The day was starting off right. The rode around the golf course, darting around on pathway among tall pine trees that dribbled prickly pine cones in small piles on the ground.

 

“I’ve been meaning to tell you about a deal I’ve got coming up, something you might be interested in. “ Garth said.

“Oh yeah?” Cliff said. “Clue me in brother, don’t keep me in the dark. Illuminate me.”

Garth drove the cart down the cart path, speeding along. “Well, its still a bit sketchy….There’s an estate in Palm Beach which my company manages. I have some investors that are thinking of turning it into a sort of boutique hotel.”

 

Cliff was intruiged. “Hmmmmn. Sounds interesting.”

 

Cliff got out of the cart at the 4th hole and weighed his drive options. “Think I’ll use a nine. How much do you need from me?” Cliff asked. Garths answer was swift and sharp as a knifepoint.

“About 2 million. You’ll get a good return on your money, maybe even double it if the thing goes corporate.”

 

Cliff nodded. “I’ll think about it. Thanks for the tip.”

 

Garth hit his next shot. It was a clean hit, about 200 yards from the pin. ”Damn it…”Garth said.  Cliff nodded. “Not bad…..Not bad at all.”

 

Some golfers drove by in their golf cart. “We’re going ahead of you”, they called out.  “Screw them.” said Cliff. “They’re from Germany anyhow. Let’s move on.”

 

They drove forward. Garth had a good feeling about the deal. He would meet with Sol, the South African investor next week to review the project.

 

He explained further.” The “Chateau” as it was nicknamed, was a compound in Palm Beach once owned by the famed movie star Priscilla Barker. Priscilla was a Hollywood darling back from the days of silent screen and before color. She was a throwback to the Charlie Chaplin era, where her once beautiful face graced the screens of many films in her days.

 

Her Daddy had been a railroad tycoon and bought the mansion for her. Then she was implicated in a scandalous love affair with a married big wig film mogul that ended her illustrious career. She was banned from Hollywood and shunned by the public. She retreated to the mansion and became a recluse, shutting herself in for years and years. As she grew older she rarely ever ventured out of the Chateau.

 

Her daily life according to sources was to have breakfast in bed, get her hair coiffed and then spend the day playing with her massive doll collection. She loved designer clothing and had couture designers in Paris make outfits for her dolls.

 

Priscilla died in 2001 at the age of 86 and the mansion was boarded up and left to stand alone until Sol took a liking to it and purchased it for forty million dollars.”

 

The day was perfect and Garth could feel the hot sun beating down on his face. Drops of sweat formed and he began to perspire. Hole # 6,  par 4. Garth placed his tee in the ground and practiced his swing with his Nike driver. He hit the ball with a resounding thwack and it flew towards the green with hurtling speed.

 

“I would seriously consider coming aboard on this one. “ he alluded to Cliff. “I’m in.” Said Cliff.

 

 

Chapter 23

 

What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce.

Mark Twain

 

I drove up Atlantic Avenue in search of the new Club. Droves of people were out tonight, the sidewalk teeming with well dressed fashion plates on display for the endless stream of cars crawling up the Avenue.

 

“What’s the name of this place again?” asked Kat. “Voodoo.” I said. They both looked at a group of guys walking by.

 

“Do you think she’ll be there?” Kat asked. “Definitely”. I said. “This bitch lives to make the scene, she wouldn’t miss opening night. ”I hope you’re right.” said Kat.

 

We parked the car by the train tracks and headed over to the Club. The Club was an old warehouse, right off Atlantic Avenue. The façade was littered with posters of up and coming acts and the entrance was crowded with wannabes waiting at the door. Two burly bouncers pulled people inside. They walked up and the heavy metal doors opened.

 

”Welcome to Voodoo Ladies.” He said

 

We stepped inside the wall of sound coming from the main stage. The interior space was cavernous and two long bars flanked each side of the room. The place was packed. We made our way over to one of the bars. Kat and I stood staring at the laser lights and giant screens.

 

A velvety thick voice crooned behind us.

“Marvelous evening.”

I turned around and suddenly came face to face by the electrifying presence of club owner Daryl “Sly” Wishbone. He was six foot tall with long black hair, heavy eyelashes, muscular build and overall seductive persona. I felt weak as though I had been struck by lightening. There was something at once familiar about him, as if he has visited me in a dream. I couldn’t place it.

 

Daryl or “Sly” as he was known was used to this reaction from women, particularily new women who knew nothing about him.

 

“Welcome to Voodoo ladies….I’m Sly.”

 

He extended his hand. There was a black metal bracelet on one wrist and a turquoise ring on the other hand. Greta reached out for his hand and shook it. It was firm and strong.

“I’m Greta and this is my friend Kat.”

He smiled, his teeth flashed white- white- white in the laser lights. “Welcome, let me show you around.”

 

They followed him from room to room, past the VIP lounge and into the studios where recordings could take place. The place was an odd jumble of spaces.  He poked his head into an office.

“This is my office, my cave, where you’ll find me most days. “ He said. ”I just bought this place last year, loved it. I’m from LA but I love it here in Florida. I had personal reasons for leaving LA. It was complicated but you don’t need to know that shit.”

I wondered what he meant by complicated, sounded like women problems.

 

Kat whispered “Jimmy would love this place.” I nodded. He would. He would have loved it all, the stage, the lights, the sound.

 

“This is where I book most of my acts.”he said.

 I smiled. “Its so beautiful..”

Kat gushed. “Its awesome”. 

Sly kept of moving. “Let’s get you ladies some drinks.”

 

We stood at the bar and Sly ordered us some drinks. “I got to take care of business ladies, but I’ll see you later, alright?” he smiled again, the dazzling whiteness of his teeth nearly knocking me out.

 

A band came on and played. The guitar player reminded me of Jimmy. He was young and good looking and he had his whole life ahead of him. It hadn’t been snuffed out like Jimmys’. Kat nudged me, “Look, she’s here.” I turned around to see Debbie standing in a group of people talking and laughing. She was wearing a tight mini-dress, boots and her long hair was just past her shoulders, long and straight.

 

“Whore.” Said Kat.

“Take it easy…”I said….”We don’t have any facts yet.”

“How are we going to get her to talk?” Kat asked.

“Just let me do the talking.” I said.

 

We slowly inched our way over to her group and mingled in. I smiled at Debbie. She had this sort of defensive look about her.

“Hi, I’m Greta.” I said.  She tossed her hair back.

“Do I know you?” she asked.

“I believe we had a friend in common….” I said slowly. “Oh really? Who?” She asked…

I went in for the kill. “Jimmy” I said.

 

Her eyes opened wide. “You knew Jimmy?”

“We were good friends of his.” Kat finally interjected.

“Jimmy and I were engaged.” Debbie said proudly. “That is….That is until he died.”

 

“Yes, we are so sorry. It’s a tragedy.”I said.

 

“I did all I could do for him, you know…I did my best. But Jimmy wanted more. Oh, why am I telling you this. I don’t even know you.” She was getting huffy.

 

I interjected. “Do you know how he died?”

 I boldly asked.

“None of your business. Sorry. I don’t want to talk about this to you anymore, it’s ruining my night. Later…….Really, it was a pleasure meeting you.” She turned around to ignore us.

 

Bang!  We were given the old heave ho! She was very defensive about Jimmy.

“No doubt she knew something.” I whispered to Kat. “This is useless.”

Kat nodded her head. “I’m getting tired.”

 

We drank up the rest of our drinks. “Think I’ll call it a night. You need a ride home?” I asked.’

 

Kat shook her head. “No, I’ll walk, its just a block or tow. Call me tomorrow.”

 

“Alright. Hey, we tried right?”

 

“Right, we tried. It’s not over yet.” She waved goodbye. I watched her walk down the block.

 

 

Chapter 24

 

Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.

William Shakespeare

 

Garth opened up the Sub-Zero refridgerator and pulled out three New York Strip steaks. He loved to grill and was damn good at it. A little salt and pepper, a little marinade and voila, a perfect meal.

 

The twins were up in their rooms listening to music or texting or doing whatever kids did today. Back in his day it was the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, they were his vices. Those were the good old days, not like today, he thought. Sure he did some pot and smoked some funny cigarettes, but that was about it. Kids today lived in a cyberworld and all had to look like anorexic supermodels.

 

Garth finished spicing up the steals and settled back into his easy chair in front of the TV. His team was playing today, the Pittsburgh Steelers. He tried to take his mind off business for a change and just enjoy the day. Joanne was still away so why not relax? He had no one around to nag him. His wife often accused him of being a workaholic. He had so many deals. He loved them, he lived for them.

 

Garth got up to fix another Captain Morgan rum and coke and opened the sliding door to the pool area. He heated up the grill. The pool was perfect, too bad he rarely swam in it anymore. He rarely enjoyed his toys these days.

 

The girls came down to join him, “Dad, I want my steak well done. ” Said Gabriella. “Me too” said Gwen

“I’m cooking mine rare, how that grab ya?’ he said jokingly. “Oh Dad, that’s gross! said Gwen.

 

“Go in and make some salad, girls.“  Steaks’ll be done in five minutes. “ They went inside. He was lucky, he thought, that they were good kids. No drugs, no alcohol, just a few boys came around every now and then, but he scared them off with his interrogating demeanor. Who could stand up to him? Not some pimply faced fifteen year old. He liked to place fear in a mans heart. He ruled at board meetings, why give a little fucker a break?

 

The dinner went off smoothly and the girls retreated back to their rooms. It was Saturday night. He glanced at his watch. 11:15. He decided to take a short ride up to The Avenue and see what was happening.

 

Garth backed out of the driveway in his yellow Corvette. It was his sporting car, his cruising convertible. He cranked up Yanni on the CD player.

 

He rode along the ocean to Atlantic Avenue and cruised up the street. The night was still young and a lot of young party goers were out, making noise and being seen.

 

He turned the corner at the railroad tracks and saw a lot of commotion around a new club. He cruised by slowly. “Nice car old man.” A kid yelled at him. Indeed. Then he saw her, coming down the steps. It was the girl. Greta. The  girl from the beach and the restaurant. He waved at her.

 

Greta looked up and saw a man in a yellow car waving at her. It was him. The preppy man. Garth. She smiled and waved back. She went down the step and stopped by the passenger side of the car.

 

“Hi there.” Garth said. “I thought that was you.”

“Yes, just checking out this new place…It’s very nice. Are you going in?” I asked.

“Me? Oh hell no. I am not shall we say, a club goer or much of a partier. I was just out for a drive on this very lovely evening.”

 

She smiled. She noticed his wedding band on his hand. He noticed her noticing. “My wife is out of town.”

 

“A ha!” I said. He blushed…“It’s not what you think….Would you care to have a cup of coffee with me?” he said. I was surprised.

 

Why not, I thought, what harm would an innocent cup of coffee do?

 

“Sure.”I said.  He smiled. “Hop in.”

 

We drove to a quieter town for our cup of joe. I thought that maybe he did this to be more discreet since he was married and that his wife was out of town. Probably but that was OK with me.

 

We stopped at a little bakery in Lake Worth. There were etchings of blues greats on the walls. Muddy Waters, BB King….. I ordered a café latte and he ordered a cappuccino. We talked a bit. I liked him, he was so decent and so safe. He seemed secure in who he was. Of course, I didn’t know much about him, but just plain liked him. He was married though, and I didn’t want to get involved. Maybe we could be friends. It seemed safe enough.

 

Garth looked at Greta. She was an obviously beautiful girl, smart, pretty, creative. What was she doing on her own? Didn’t some guy want to snatch her up and get married? What was wrong with men these days? Maybe she was just a tad too independent and too assertive for them. Little dweebs. Jackasses.

 

He better be careful here, he thought. If he got caught having coffee with a strange girl at midnight on a  Saturday night there would be hell to pay with Joanne. He couldn’t exactly explain this as a business meeting.

 

I listened carefully while Garth told me about his business ventures and about himself. Then it was my turn to talk. I had to pick my words carefully as I navigated through my meaningless relationships with losers and my somewhat squalid existence. This guy sounded like a heavyweight and I didn’t want to scare him totally away by coming off as this needy person who only picked losers. It was true. I had never really sought after money from men, I always picked out the artist, the needy that needed me.

 

Here sitting in front of me was a man worth millions and millions. What was he doing with me on a Saturday night?

 

His wife was out of town, maybe he was just looking for a quickie. Well, I was definitely not getting involved with this man. No way. I would be history faster than a bowl of cheerios. Rich men were just spoiled little boys once they got the candy they desired.

 

No, I might play this out awhile and see what develops. My brain told me to take it easy, my heart said too involved but my stomach said go for it so I ordered a piece of strawberry cheesecake, just to be on the safe side. Men could be the enemy calories couldn’t be.

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