Caretaker or Troublemaker?

mischievousWhen my buddies go radio silent, guess who gets the call? Me. This puts me in a difficult position. There are numerous reasons why my friends don’t want to speak to their women, few of which actually involve me. So, why call me?

Many would say it’s because I’m the responsible type. Others would say that if there’s debauchery, I’m usually either the cause of it or recording it. I’m 53, ladies. I’m no longer that pesky kid who leaves burning wads of dog turds on your front step.

I suppose by writing about this, some of these man-keepers will think twice before making me next-in-line when the call goes straight to voice mail. No skin off my knees. I hate my phone anyway. It’s more rude than convenient. However, I have created a handy guide that helps me respond to the orphaned wives.

When Mrs. Dickhead calls me, if he’s standing right next to me with a blood alcohol level so high that he’s flammable, here are my choices:

  • Don’t answer it.
  • Answer it, and act like I can’t hear anything she’s saying.
  • Answer it, and make an excuse for him, such as he’s changing a flat, dealing with a horrible case of the squirts, or he’s retracing his steps because he thinks he left his phone on the roof of his car.
  • Answer it, and hand it to him.

How I handle the call often depends on how prank-y I’m feeling. Sometimes, I like mayhem. Perhaps, I’m in the fortunate position to return some ball-breakery. I can do that. When asked where he is, my guide gives me the following response options:

  • “Passed out on the floor next to me. Three men are about to pee on him. I’ll text you pictures.”
  • “He’s riding a mechanical horsey in front of the grocery store.”
  • “A ghastly woman just whisked him away by his penis.”
  • “He has been deported.”
  • “He’s closing a drug deal—twelve blue pills for the love of his life. My advice to you is to lube up, Sugar Cup.”

My friends have mixed reactions when wives call me. When asked, I usually admit to being a surrogate lover. They don’t believe me, which is somewhat hurtful. I think it would be a small, yet appropriate act of reciprocation for all the minutes I waste coming up with fresh lies.

There are occasions when a buddy’s daughter will contact me. Depending on her age, I may tone down my silliness, and say:

  • “Daddy’s getting a tattoo.”
  • “He’s at the shelter buying you a puppy.”
  • “He’s right here but he doesn’t want to speak to you because he doesn’t love you anymore.”

Guess that makes me the troublemaker.

Christmas Proposal

proposalA boyfriend-ed girlfriend of mine seemed nervous discussing the coming holiday.

“Think he’s going to be on bended knee in front of thee?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I thought he might propose a few weeks ago for my birthday. I guess when the time is right, he’ll do it.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“Will you say yes?”

“Sure. Wow, then the pressure’s on.”

“Pressure?”

“Yes. Then, I’m going to get married.” (Followed by noticeable fidgeting.)

“Don’t worry, my dear. Everyone needs a marriage or two to figure it out. Might as well get the starter out of the way.”

“You’re so cynical.”

“Right?”

“Well, I’m hoping this is the first and last wedding for me.”

“It can happen. The plane could crash on the way to your honeymoon.”

“…”

“More cynicism. I apologize, and allow me to express my congratulations for your pending nuptials.”

“Thank you, I think.”

I have other thoughts about Christmas proposals:

  • I get the feeling it’s a bit cheap of a man to propose on Christmas, Valentines Day, or birthdays. It seems he’s skating on a present. Legally, though, he should be aware that a ring presented on such a day can be logically interpreted as a gift, therefore, if the commitment implodes (like many do), she’ll have a good case to keep the gift. And, much chagrin will be had by him.
  • It’s a bit showy for my tastes. I realize women in the vicinity will well up, but men (especially the ones with attached women sans rings) will feel added pressure to take the plunge.
  • I’d like to own a jewelry store one month a year.
  • Wouldn’t it be wiser to hand her an x-thousand-dollar gift card, and have her pick out one she actually wants? Sure, each woman I speak to insists there’s special meaning in something he picks out specifically for her. Yet, she must admit it is more likely the person behind the counter is weighing in considerably, without knowing squat-ola about her.
  • With the high quality of manufactured diamonds today, wouldn’t it be wise (and cool) to purchase five different rings with distinct settings? It would be less stressful for both parties, as a lost ring would be an oh-well.

If you’re expecting to be staring down at a quivering mass of masculinity this Christmas, fret not and take my words with grains of hops. It’s basically a 50-50 shot, sort of like playing roulette. Go for it. Practice flitting your fingers toward your gushing girlies, and go shopping for gowns. Try not to think about all the money you’ll spend on the ceremony; it will hurt your brain. Just look forward to a few months of hyper-sex … until you get pregnant. That’s another perilous journey.

To be or not to be … single.

yachtSince my divorce in 2003, I’ve run the serpentine of relationships lasting anywhere from an hour to six months. After ten years, some (the married ones) would see that as a failure, and recommend I seek therapy. To those friends, I offer a bit of advice as well: “Go screw your bored partner.”

Hey, single peeps, aren’t you tired of being seen as unwell–a misfit of sorts? I sure am. The most annoying, passive-aggressive thing people say is, “Why are you single?” This implies you’re a wonderful person with some undisclosed flaw, which acts as mate repellent. The dolt who utters this fails to consider that you may choose to be single. You may not be looking for the ideal mate. In fact, you might believe there is no such thing. You might be so self-satisfied that a full-time mate would deplete you, not complete you.

No married person would admit to believing this. The married person needs that mate because he loves her, and can’t imagine life without her. Well, he can imagine it; he just won’t for very long, because there will be repercussions. He loves his wife, forgoes all other mating options (not because they’re inferior; because he promised to), and flashes his shiny band to the world as a sign of strength. He bathes in praises from his relatives, society, the government, and imaginary beings for doing the right thing.

When confronted by this holier-than-moi beast, I defend my position.

“Convince me. Please list the benefits of being in a committed relationship.”

“Fine. For one, sex.”

“While I admit that sex with a committed partner is usually more fun than masturbation, it rarely is more fun than sex with a new partner for the very first time. Now, there’s a feeling you will never have again.”

“So, sleep around, and get diseases.”

“I can get a disease from someone sneezing next to me. Am I supposed to stop breathing too?”

“OK, what about children?”

“No, thank you.”

“We have strength in numbers. My wife and I work together, pool our resources, and solve our problems as a team.”

“You never disagree on how to solve those problems?”

“Of course we do, but, we’re committed, so we work it out.”

“I compromise with no one.”

“That’s selfish.”

“That’s reality. I solve my problems without needing a scapegoat to blame and resent.”

“Hey, I don’t blame or resent my wife.”

“Well, you don’t, but I’ve heard some others do.”

“You’re going to wind up an angry old man, all by yourself, rotting away in a nursing home.”

“Perhaps. And, I might wind up a content old man, rotting away on a yacht in the Caribbean, drinking spiced rum, and admiring bikini-clad tourists, all while having nobody to disappoint.”

“Sad.”

“Happy.”

“We’re not done with this discussion. I need to check in with the wife. Be right back.”

“Point made.”

Man, you are eye candy.

man waking upBy now, most of us have seen the viral video of a man waking up from sedation, nibbling a cracker, and muttering various complimentary lines to his wife while she videos. (It’s here.) She’s awfully flattered by it, as are the millions of women who watch and go, “Awwwww!”

Well, if it’s something women like, I figure I should head to the streets and try it. Don’t mind if I skip over the whole hernia surgery thing. I’ll just have a tall gin, soda, and lemon to simulate the sedation.

Woman #1:

  • Line: “Did the doctor send you?”
  • Reaction: “What doctor? Jesus, you’re drunk, aren’t you? Where are your keys?”
  • Conclusion: Only use “doctor” in a hospital. Next time, modify the line to match the arena. In church, “Did Jesus send you?” At the gym, “Did Jane Fonda send you?” At Starbucks, “Did Juan Valdez send you?”

Woman #2:

  • Line: “Man, you are eye candy.”
  • Reaction: “Thank you, and welcome to the eighties, Falco.”
  • Conclusion: Perhaps a bit outdated, indeed. Candy is reserved for Candy Crush. Better to refer to a woman as Boner Propellant.

Woman #3:

  • Line: “You may be the prettiest woman I have ever seen.”
  • Reaction: “Oh, is that intended to be a panty-peeler? Give it up, Pops.”
  • Conclusion: Women prefer absolutes. “You are …” would have been much more effective.

Woman #4:

  • Line: “Are you a model?”
  • Reaction: “Are you a comedian? I look like a fucking model to you? Really?”
  • Conclusion: It wasn’t a woman. Long-haired surfer dudes don’t want to be models.

Woman #5:

  • Line: “You’re my wife?”
  • Reaction: “Yes, I’m your wife. I need to pay your tab. Give me five-hundred dollars.”
  • Conclusion: Women don’t want that title unless it comes with diamonds and a credit line.

Woman #6:

  • Line: “Holy shit. Dang. Man. Have we kissed yet?”
  • Reaction: “No, and we’re not going to, you creeper.”
  • Conclusion: Always better to oil the pistons before starting the engine. Wine first, then kiss.

Woman #7:

  • Line: “It’s hard, baby, it’s hard. Do we call each other baby?”
  • Reaction: “Stand down, soldier.”
  • Conclusion: Better to specify exactly what is hard, and if it’s your penis, better to tuck and ignore it.

Woman #8:

  • Line: “Oh my god, I hit the jackpot!”
  • Reaction: “Yes, you won the go-home-and-screw-your-fist prize.”
  • Conclusion: Only use this line at a convenience store, unless the clerk is armed.

Woman #9:

  • Line:”Whoa, your teeth are perfect. Turn around.”
  • Reaction: A swift kick to the groin.
  • Conclusion: Wear a cup.

The bottom line is, only deploy lines like these if you are actually married to the person on the receiving end.

Common sense is not so common.

equality(quote by Voltaire)

Seems most arguments recently have been derailed by the term “slippery slope.” For instance, some argue that if same sex marriage were supported, it would be dangerous move down a slippery slope. These slidiots use this “logic” to suggest man might then decide to marry out of species. (Must admit I’ve had my eye on a sexy otter.) Worse yet, man may decide to marry inanimate objects such as a soufflé. Frightening, unless blueberry. I would marry bacon, if I could. I love bacon. *sigh*

“What will happen when everyone decides to marry same sex? That would be the end of human species.”

Would it? Doubtful. Women would still have children. Impregnation would certainly be less enjoyable for most, but no less possible. Men would become less useful. Their numbers would be drastically reduced, and urinals will be converted into planters. The species would be just fine.

This is where we sure could use some divine intervention. God should part the clouds, and set us straight (or gay, or both).

“Hey, dickheads. Stop wasting time with this nonsense. It’s a fucking preference. If a man prefers a man, why does that affect you any more than a man who prefers his martini shaken? If a woman prefers a woman, what man could argue with her logic? Men are ghastly. I should know. Yet, we are pretty handy with weed whackers and plagues (my specialty). So, case settled. Whoever wants to get married, gets married, as long as both parties are entering the union voluntarily and with a blood alcohol saturation under .10 when they sign the license. This means more parties, more lovely legs of bridesmaids, and more ways to figure out who your true friends are (based on gift selection). Sure, there are drawbacks, but we can get past the candy-coated almonds, can’t we? Suck on them; don’t chew them or you’ll break a crown. Yes, I know you’re tired of hearing Bob Seger and KC. Few gay weddings will have those. Get hip with Tegan and Sara, while Uncle Joe marries his plumber, Francis. I have two words for you, friends: open bar. Right? I know! What’s better than an open bar? One with twin, topless, lesbian bartenders and Black Bushmills, perhaps. I’m tired of being called upon only when people are dying or fucking. I want to attend more weddings. So, Supreme Court, while you can’t hurry love, you certainly can facilitate it by doubling everyone’s marital options. Oh, and while you’re wasting time telling people who to love, your planet is melting. You might want to check on it, or start building another ark. I suggest you avoid Carnival Cruise Lines for that, unless you want a shitty trip. Carry on.”

If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you’d best teach it to dance.

puppet(quote by George Bernard Shaw)

The same applies to your spouse. You don’t really want to get rid of him, do you? He’s a decent fellow. Sure, he has some flaws. Who doesn’t? Luckily, you’ve learned how he operates. Being a man, as well as former spouse, I must admit to dancing on the end of strings occasionally. Although my strings are long gone, I watch lovely puppeteers make their men move. Last night one worded it masterfully, as she devised a plan to join the next girls’ night out.

“I’ll fuck my way there.”

“Fascinating.”

“Plus, I’m a bit horny anyway.”

“And, I’m a bit intrigued.”

“Oh, come on. We do the same with pets and children, don’t we? Dangle the reward to get what we want.”

“Woof. Or, do you prefer paw language? One stomp means yes; two means my foot itches.”

“I’ll just do another shot of tequila, then go home and fuck his brains out. Then, while he fades into post-coital bliss, I’ll seek permission to hang out with the ladies tomorrow night.”

“Sounds like you may have used this strategy more than once.”

“Numerous times. You’d be surprised what a blowjob gets me.”

“Would I?”

“He’s putty in my hands, he’s well aware of it, and he has no complaints.”

“Have you considered the possibility that he may be perfectly fine with you going out, even without his glazed wiener?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you could go home tonight and simply express your desire to join the ladies tomorrow. He probably doesn’t mind, but he might furrow his brow, knowing resistance will lower your panties.”

“That’s manipulative.”

“Hello, Miss Pot. Meet Mr. Kettle.”

“It’s easier to just screw him into submission. That way I get something out of it too.”

“Ah, marital bliss. I miss it. Here I sit–the stiff wooden fellow in the corner of her toy closet. Nobody wants to make me dance.”

“Aw. Don’t pout. I’m sure some puppet master will come along and yank you.”

“Yippie!”

Sexual currency is quite precious, but frequently devalued when presented to the woman. Sad.

“Honey, how about I give you a good beefin’, then you let me join my bros for UFC fight night this weekend?”

“How about you fix the garage door, paint Josh’s room, hire a new gardener, and then I’ll consider it?”

“I’ll throw in a ten-minute foot rub.”

“You’re picking up dinner from PF Chang’s, and folding the laundry. Oh, and don’t forget to pick Josh up from soccer at six.”

“Have I told you lately how much I love you?”

“Yes, Mr. Stewart, you have.”

“I think we should go shopping tonight. How about a few laps around the outlets? I hear BCBG is having a sale.”

“Now we’re talking. Tell you what–we can turn this into an exercise of efficiency. You pick up dinner and Josh while I go shopping. We’ll eat, I’ll model my new blouse, and allow you to make love to me. If you ring my bell, you’ll be free to go.”

“Deal. Wait. How much does that new blouse cost?”

“Three blowjobs, plus tax.”

“Done.”

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

cubalibre(quote by Lao-tzu)

What are you? Yes, of course, I know you’re a human, unless you are a Google robot scanning my blog to find something search-worthy. I mean, what are you to other people? Are you a friend? A customer? A lover? A pain in the ass? An entertainer?

I am a drama magnet. I’d rather be a spectator. I could be in a room filled with hundreds of people, and drama will find me. It’s at the point now where my friends expect it, wait for it, and laugh at it when it happens. There must be some psychological profile I fit. Strangers must relate to me as a child relates to a parent when the child wants recognition.

Last night, while holding a skinny pirate, I was suddenly approached by a strange (in many ways) woman. Rarely, am I recognized out and about by people who know the author, not the person. No, normally, in cases like these, it’s someone who has had a relationship with me. While greeting the subject, I scroll through the possibilities, eliminating the most precarious ones, including sexual misadventures. I was confident I never felt this woman from the inside … yet. She was lovely. I was flattered. I should have known better.

“How are you?”

“Fine. And you?”

“OK, I guess. My husband is over there at the bar flirting with those girls, so I thought I’d come over and say hi.”

“Someone told you I’m a divorce attorney?”

“No. I just think you’re cute.”

“Why, thank you. How long have you been married?”

“Almost thirty years.”

“Jesus. Sorry. Does he do this often?”

“Yep, all the time.”

“Have you asked him to stop?”

“Yep.”

“Ready for some unsolicited advice?”

“Shoot.”

“Have some pride, and kick his ass to the curb. Then come see me, and I’ll show you how a gentleman behaves.”

Naturally, her husband caught wind of her straying off-leash. He approached smiling as if nothing were amiss. My Terminator brain kicked in and presented a multiple-choice question to my logic:

  1. He’s going to punch me.
  2. This is yet another SoCal freaky fetish this couple does to spice up their sex life.
  3. He’s about to lie his ass off.

I put down my pirate, just in case. (Alcohol abuse is sad.) I also covered my nuts in case he set his sights on my package. (I throw baseballs. This is a normal reaction when strange things are coming toward you.) Then, I smiled.

“Hey, honey. I used to work with Susan over there. Haven’t seen her in years. Who’s this guy?”

“I don’t know.”

“What?”

“Some cute guy I just met.”

This is where I skedaddle from the marital bliss I once enjoyed, by lisping away.

“Oh, hey, hanthome. I’m Bruth. I love your thirt. Is that Gucci?”

He smiled and dragged his wife away, trying to dig himself out of another rut, while his wife raised an eyebrow. My buddy stood next to me amazed once again by how silliness seems to find me.

Man with pruny stones, sitting in rocker, marries hot chick.

wood“Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood weds woman half his age,” reads the headlines.

Why is this newsworthy?

First, there needs to be a retraction because she’s not half his age and hasn’t been for five years. (Do your math, darling.) Second, what in sacred roadkill’s name is that thing on his head, and does it bite? Third, three words for the bride: laser teeth whitening. Fourth, the expression on the chinless dude in the background says it all.

Most women are disgusted. Most men (over 50) are jealous, yet unsurprised. I’ll bop around the shopping mall and interview some random peeps by showing them the picture and asking for their reactions.

Interviewee #1: Female, 25, attractive.

  • “Ew, gross.”

Interviewee #2: Male, 30, Asian, high cheekbones, bowlegged.

  • “Hey, sexy lady. Oopsie, old man style.”

Interviewee #3: Female, 49 (again), leathery.

  • “He’s a dirty old man, and she is a money-grubbing whore.”

Interviewee #4: Male, 60, resting on a bench.

  • “Is that the guy from Rush or Journey? Rock on. Wait. Hand me my cheaters. Hey, I’d tap that.”

Interviewee #5: Female, 6 months, wearing silly knit hat and and one shoe.

  • “Dah dah poo pooh. [Gurgle noises.]”

Interviewee #6: Male, 17, high hair and low jeans.

  • “Hu-huh. Rad, dude. Does he surf?”

Interviewee #7: Female, 84, confused.

  • “I’d never marry a man 168 years old, even if he could play the drums.”

Interviewee #8: Dog, gender unknown and I’m not checking, tied outside Starbucks.

  • “This is clearly a case of a smart woman trading her pride for saggy man-boobs, yachts, and long lines of cocaine.”

Interviewee #9: Female, 21, clerk at True Religion.

  • “You’re not going to like the way you look, and neither will any woman who sees you wearing brightly stitched skinny jeans. Now, please leave.”

Interviewee #10: Male, 55, riding a Segway while wearing a ridiculous helmet.

  • “A young woman in line at the pretzel shop just smiled at me. I have bunions and a salty boner.”

Well, I didn’t get the insight I was hoping for. Guess I’ll need to do my own analysis. When a woman half my age hands me her vagina, I rarely ask her to marry me. In fact, I usually respond with the following ten statements:

  1. What type of medication are you on?
  2. I’m too old for you. Please save yourself for a young man who deserves to have his ego annihilated. Mine has already been reduced to ashes.
  3. Does it come in a smaller size?
  4. Who is it you think I am?
  5. How many minutes are left before you vomit up those lemon drops you’ve been chugging?
  6. Is your father an NRA member?
  7. You should reconsider if biting my pillow for the next five years is worth your citizenship.
  8. Have you considered LASIK surgery?
  9. Is your mother single?
  10. I apologize in advance for needing to stretch before we get busy, and a long nap afterward.

Don’t be hating on my man Wood, or any of my mature brothers. A firm cock ain’t worth much if it lives with its mother and carries only prepaid credit cards. Woodie’s conquest just goes to show you that you can’t always get what you want … but if you try sometimes, and pull out your wallet, yes, you can.

Thinking about getting engaged this Christmas? Snap out of it.

cakeI’m not anti-marriage–not even anti-gay-marriage or anti-pet-marriage. If you want to commit to something for the rest of your life, how about eating chocolate? Showering? Breathing? Unfortunately, you are blinded by momentary bliss. You won’t listen to me. You’ll stand at that Tiffany’s counter and order the $20,000 noose.

I’ve been married. I know. It wasn’t awful, but neither was that wide-collared nylon shirt I wore in the late 70s. So, why would I campaign against such? Because they don’t work. Sure, there will be a honeymoon phase with many an orgasm. Do you honestly think that will last until the days of parallel plots? It won’t. In between, you get to deal with all sorts of annoyances including things left where you don’t want them and the desire to penetrate or be penetrated by someone else.

We’re biologically programmed to desire variety. This fucks with us.

Try to think of something you have that you only want one of and will never want another. You can’t. What’s that you say? A penis? Oh, bullshit. I have one, and I can think of a few instances where a spare would come in handy. There are also times when I’d like a different one, which would inspire a phrase I’ve never heard: “You want me to put that massive thing where? Impossible.”

If your woman is pressuring you to take that step “or else,” agree, have sex with her, then leave. There are other women who will have sex with you without demanding Princess Cut Kryptonite. True, some of them will be older, less attractive, or married. Still, it’s like that mid-morning candy bar–it gets you past the urge to do something silly.

By this point, married readers are ticked. They’re similar to that friend who insists you try the latest DVD exercise series, invest in a penny stock, or test drive a Kia. Misery loves commiseration. If you are a happily married person, congratulations. I bet it won’t last. Don’t be angry. It’s a free country, and I can place my bets as I like. The odds are in my favor.

Sometimes I’m accused of being a bitter recluse who is destined to die in wrinkled clothing and be eaten by his cats. Right. You know what won’t cause my death? Stress from:

  • Snoring bed-mates.
  • Being caught masturbating.
  • Toilet paper issues, including shortages, wrong-direction installation, and balled up wads of … “Fuck, I didn’t want to see that. Couldn’t you flush it?”
  • Annoying offspring carrying none of my genetic wonderfulness.
  • Credit card statement shock caused by line items regarding various salon procedures.
  • Nosy in-laws.
  • A bathroom counter overtaken by lotions.
  • My being enlisted as the home’s chief technology officer who must give daily lessons on such complicated things as “How to Record a Program without Erasing All Previously Recorded Programs.”
  • Having to say no to once-in-a-lifetime, legendary vagina, which just happened to throw itself at me because the fucking planets aligned or she thought I was a rich someone else.

Tell that overly-medicated pusher behind the counter you’re not interested. Leave immediately. Go buy some foot lotion, an electric blanket, or, if you’re feeling extra generous, a Coach bag.

Doctor O: Beth – Session Eight

I met her; I almost love her. There’s a connection with Janice that my predecessors recognize but could never define beyond instinctual. Guess our DNA must mesh. This isn’t anything I want or need at this point in my life. The kicker? Her husband’s uncle–the divorce attorney–is someone I’m all too familiar with (Matt Landry), and the hate between us runs deep. The women I attempt to rescue often get dragged under by this beast as he exclusively defends scumbag, deadbeat husbands.

I’m not sure how much of my history with Landry or my actual relationship status I’ll share with Janice. Women share everything. Beth would feast on the news. This is a treacherous road, but I’d love nothing more than to rescue Janice for my pleasure while delivering a grand “fuck you” to Landry.

“Gee, doc, you seem to be glowing. Are you pregnant?”

“Very funny.”

“How was your get-together with Miss Janice?”

“Fine, and we’re not going to speak any further on that matter.”

“Suit yourself. She says you’re a great kisser. I knew it.”

“Beth, …”

“I know. Fine. What you wanna talk about?”

“Did you have any dates this week?”

“Mm, hmm.”

“One? Two?”

“Four.”

“Four?”

“Yep. I actually had two in one night. How ya like me now?”

“Any keepers?”

DOCTOR’S NOTE: My cell phone is vibrating in my pocket. Third time in the last five minutes.

“Oh, I’m definitely keepin’ one around, maybe two.”

“Well, that’s not bad–two out of four.”

“I know. I gotta tell you about this one guy, though. Man, what a trip! I met him for coffee, we chatted, and he was nice enough so we exchanged numbers. Guess what the fool sent me less than an hour after he got my number?”

“A proposal?”

“Almost. A naked picture of his silly ass. He had these tight underwear on and I could see his package … shit, let me go get my phone, and I’ll show ya.”

“That’s OK. I’ve seen a few packages in my time. Tell me about the keeper.”

“Bartender. He has no hair on his body at all. At first it was strange, but I got used to it. Lord, was he lovin’ my girls, if you know what I mean. He had this thing where he wanted me to hold them together while he got busy.”

“You enjoyed that too?”

“Sure, whatever gets it hard. He has a great one–got this banana bend in it, so it hits me just the right way.”

“Can you see yourself dating him?”

“Dating? Hell, no. He just texts me late-night, when his shift is done. I unlock the door and wait for him to come have his chocolate.”

“So, you’re just going to be sex buddies.”

“Yep. Works for me.”

DOCTOR’S NOTE: Now, someone’s knocking.

“I’m sorry. Let me see who this is.”

Ronnie is at the door and he insists we talk immediately. It’s not like him to barge in on me. I tell him to give me a minute.

“Beth, it seems I have a bit of an emergency to deal with. Would you mind if we cut this session short? I won’t charge you for this one.”

“You OK, doc?”

“I’m fine. A friend needs my help.”

“Ah, no problem, darling. I’ll see you next week.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

Ronnie enters, agitated.

“Dude, you can’t interrupt a session.”

“Was that John’s wife?”

“Yes, why?”

“Great timing. Seems our suspicions about our friend in blue were justified.”

“He took the money?”

“Yep.”

“How’d you find out?”

“He took a little trip to the casino yesterday. Blew it all on poker, a one-hour companion, and a bottle of Maker’s Mark which accompanied him into a guardrail.”

“Shit.”

“Here’s the kicker: His fellow five-o from one town over are not big fans of our local boys. They cuffed him, tossed him in the back of the squad car, and then searched his SUV. Guess what they found.”

“Drugs?”

“Worse.”

“His gun?”

“Worse.”

“What, Ronnie?”

“A driver’s license.”

“So?”

“Not his license–the license of one recent suicide victim.”

“Fuck.”

“Exactly.”

“You think he’s going to talk?”

“Rick’s a smart guy and a good liar. My bet is he either clams up or comes up with something. Let’s hope they buy it, because if my name comes up in this, it won’t end well for him.”

“Is he still locked up?”

“No, he got out this morning. I’m going to pay him a visit next. Just wanted to check with you first to see if you have any ideas.”

“He got the fucking money, that should be enough. I can’t believe he would take us down.”

“Like I said, that’s not going to happen. He’ll be swimming off the same fucking bridge.”

“Jesus, Ronnie. This was supposed to be so easy. Beth’s husband triggers the trap, pays the price, and goes away quietly.”

“Well, he went away with a splash, and our greedy friend blew all the fucking money.”

“Any chance it wasn’t John’s money?”

“The pit boss said he was betting five hundred a hand.”

“You should go see him and find out where his head’s at. Maybe now that he’s caught, he’ll take the hit.”

“He’s going to have to explain why he has John’s license.”

“What if he says he found it at the jump site? When he called me from there, he said he told the chief he was investigating the scene.”

“I guess that could work.”

“Straighten his ass out–obviously, nowhere around me.”

“Oh, I will.”

Diagnosis: I need to screen my partners better. Having a badge in play is key. I’ll payroll another. Meanwhile, if I’m implicated, I’m fucked. The smart thing to do would be never see Beth or Janice again.

Treatment: I need a strong drink and a long vacation with a certain woman.

Doctor O: Beth – Session Seven

My colleagues told me it was inevitable. It’s all a matter of how the therapist deals with it once it happens. It won’t matter if the therapist is married or pretending; eventually, hormones will override logic.

“Hello, Doctor O, this is my friend Janice.”

DOCTOR’S NOTE: Janice is late 30s and absolutely stunning. This isn’t good.

“Janice, it’s a pleasure. Come on in and have a seat. Guess you’ll have to share the couch. You both realize this is very unconventional, right?”

“It’s not a problem, doc. I told Janice how wonderful you are. She’s a little shy so you’re going to have to pry a bit. Ain’t that right, Janice?”

“Well, I’ve never been to therapy,” added Janice.

“All right. Janice, tell me about your situation.”

“It’s similar to Beth’s–I mean, the way hers was. We’ve been married going on ten years and the romance is pretty much gone. He had an affair a few years back, and I can’t seem to get past it.”

“So, you haven’t forgiven him.”

“I have, but it’s always there in the back of my mind. I don’t trust him.”

“Can’t trust any of them,” Beth interrupts.

“Beth, behave. Janice, how were things leading up to his affair?”

“Not the best. We went through four years of infertility treatments and that seemed to take its toll.”

“Yes, it typically does. So, you never had children?”

“No. Turns out I’m pre-menopausal. We spent a small fortune on all the procedures.”

“Did you consider adoption?”

“Not really. You know, doc, I’m not the typical woman who feels incomplete if she can’t bear children. It’s just not meant to be for me, and that’s OK. My husband, Roy, was looking forward to parenthood. Me, not so much. I love my sleep, and I’d just as soon keep my flat belly.”

“Amen to that. Not that I’ll ever have a flat belly,” adds Beth.

“So, in the midst of trying to make a baby, you lost the romance.”

“Yep.”

“Nothing worth saving there?”

“Nope. That’s the problem, though–he won’t leave. He insists we stay together and I can’t talk any sense into him. It’s like Beth’s situation. I have a successful business, and Roy doesn’t want to walk away from it.”

“That’s where you come in, doc,” Beth insists. “You need to make Roy go away.”

“Jesus, Beth.”

“Serious. I mean, you don’t gotta kill him, but he needs to go.”

“Are you insane? Beth, I’m not in the sniper business. John committed suicide.”

“I know, darling. I’m just teasing you.”

“It’s not funny.”

“Can’t you just scare him off?”

“No, Beth. Janice, I don’t know what she has told you, but I don’t employ any strong-arm tactics. I’m just here to advise and guide you free from a relationship you’re sure you want to leave.”

“Good, because I’m positive; I want to leave,” Janice reassures.

“OK. Have you spoken to an attorney?”

“Yes. Nothing there. I make more money than he does, and Roy’s uncle is the best divorce attorney in the county.”

“I’m tellin’ you, doc …”

“Beth, stop it. Janice, is he still having an affair?”

“I have no idea.”

“Let’s get together–just the two of us–next week and talk about this. I have investigators available. I need to know what I’m dealing with before I can help you. OK, Janice?”

“Fair enough.”

“Now, can you do me a favor and let me have a few minutes alone with Beth?”

“Sure, I’ll wait out here. You two behave yourselves.”

“Don’t be jealous, girlfriend. I’ll make sure there’s some leftovers for you,” Beth teases.

“Janice, it was a pleasure. I look forward to seeing you next week. Here’s my card.”

“Can’t wait.”

DOCTOR’S NOTE: Beth is giving me that look.

“What were you thinking, Beth?”

“Huh?”

“You told Janice I would have her husband whacked?”

“I did no such thing. I just said you’re an expert and rescuing deprived wives.”

“You can’t even kid about that. I don’t need people snooping around here suspecting I’m up to no good.”

“I know that. Stop being paranoid. I was just teasing. I did see the way you looked at her though.”

“You didn’t see anything.”

“Mm, hmm. If you say so.”

“Beth, …”

“She pretty, huh?”

“Yes, she’s pretty. And pretty married, as am I.”

“So? Maybe you both on the way out, and you can like run the beach into each other’s arms.”

“I’m going to help her, not sleep with her.”

“Bet you do.”

“Bet I do what?”

“Both.”

“Beth, … ugh! You’re remind me of my sister. She was always teasing me.”

“Ha! Maybe I’m channeling her. Yep, I can feel her now. She says you should tear open Janice’s blouse and make sweet love to her right on this here sofa.”

“You’re too much. Enough about Janice. What’s new with you?”

“Nothin’. I’m good. I got my dating profile up. Man, there are some tasty young men with big black woman fetishes. Did you know about that?”

“No, I wasn’t aware.”

“Yep. Bet they can’t handle all this, but I’m gonna give a few test drives. Why not?”

“You haven’t found any men on the site who might be more appropriate?”

“Sure I did. First, I want to have fun. Those other guys can wait. I’m gonna cage me a few of them cubs.”

“If that’s what you’re feeling, go right ahead.”

“Yep. I’ll report back next week. I’ll have some juicy stories, I hope. Meeting one tonight, in fact. You and me can exchange sexy tales.”

“I’m not hooking up with a patient, Beth.”

“She ain’t your patient yet. Maybe you should keep it that way. If she don’t pay you, all is fair.”

“Beth, I’m married. If I fool around with her, not only would it cost me my career and marriage, it would make me just like the husbands you two can’t stand.”

“I’d give you a pass. You cute. Plus, you don’t want no babies, right? You two’d be perfect.”

“Stop it. Now, get out of here, and quit the crazy talk.”

“Fine. It don’t matter, ’cause she gonna tell me everything anyway.”

“Go!”

Diagnosis: Beth actually does remind me of my sister in a strange way. I miss her so much. Still, I need to make sure Beth doesn’t go overboard with the young men, and stops the silly talk about getting rid of Janice’s husband.

Treatment: Have Ronnie run a file on Roy. When Janice calls–can’t believe I’m going to do this–meet her … not here.

Doctor O: Beth – Session Six

Fortunately, the coroner ruled it a suicide, but I still have my doubts. Ronnie insists Rick took the money and tossed John’s sorry ass off the bridge. My hands are tied. I need Rick. I’ll consider the money an investment, if he took it.

Beth seems to have calmed down. Time heals and brings about more logical thinking.

“How did you react to the coroner’s report, Beth?”

“Before we get started here, I do want to apologize.”

“It’s OK. No harm here. I understand your suspicions, but I hope you realize I’m not the sort of animal who would do something like that.”

“Guess I never realized how far gone John was. They found crack in his system.”

“Sorry to hear that, but I’m not surprised.”

“Worse part of this is we get nothing from his life insurance. Guess it don’t cover suicide. Sucks for the boys mostly. I wouldn’t want that money anyway.”

“Any news on the money you gave John?”

“Nah, I’m sure he paid off his bookie. I ain’t about to go snooping around them sorts. I’m just movin’ on.”

“Good.”

“I was surprised at all the people who showed up at his service. For being such a loser, he sure had lots of friends. The girl he was messin’ with at my place up and quit. Said she didn’t feel right working there no more. Shame. She was a good worker. Told her I didn’t care none about her and John, but she insisted.”

“How is business?”

“All good. Lots of regulars stopped in and offered condolences.”

“So, what are your next steps?”

“My boys are packing his shit up, so I don’t have to deal with that. I don’t know. It might look kinda bad for me to start seeing other men so soon.”

“Whenever you’re ready. Don’t worry about what people think. You’re entitled to move on.”

“I know. So, I was wondering–what got you into this business anyway?”

“Why? You thinking about changing careers?”

“Oh, hell no.”

“Because, I’d trade with you in a heartbeat.”

“Can you cook?”

“Nope, but I can hire someone to cook.”

“Come on, doc, help me get my mind off this nonsense. How’d you get into this?”

“I like to help people.”

“Certain kinds of people, it seems. You like to help women.”

“Well, sure. Guess I don’t respect men as much. I seem to connect with women.”

“Why do you think that is, doc?”

“Maybe because I was so close to my mother and sister.”

“Was?”

“Yes. They’re both gone.”

“I’m sorry. Mind if I ask what happened?”

“My mother lost a battle with breast cancer and my sister was killed by a drunk driver–her husband.”

“Jesus.”

“It was years ago, Beth, but I think about them every day.”

“I’m sure they’re both proud of you–smiling down from heaven.”

“Thank you.”

“What about your father? You close to him?”

“Not so much. He’s in a senior facility, rotting away like he should.”

“Damn, that’s cold. What’d he do?”

“Once my mother was diagnosed, he left. I was all she had left. I watched her suffer and disintegrate. He’s a coward.”

“Men.”

“Right?”

“I appreciate your sharing, doc.”

“I don’t usually do that, Beth. It’s best for me to keep my personal life outside of these walls.”

“I understand, but this helps me understand why you’re so motivated to help us ladies.”

“Good. Let’s get back to you now. How do you plan on meeting men?”

“Janice says I should do that online dating thing. I don’t know. I hear half the guys on there are lying and the other half are just out to get laid.”

“I’ve heard it’s a numbers game. It’s worth trying. It will get you out meeting more people. Sure you’ll come across a few clunkers. No big deal. Keep your standards high and your expectations low, and you might enjoy it.”

“It would be nice to meet new people, anyway. Heck, maybe I’ll hand out dinner coupons. I can use it as promotion for my restaurant.”

“There you go. You need help filling out your dating profile?”

“Damn, you do that too?”

“Well, I can give you some pointers.”

“Shoot.”

“Have some professional pictures taken, be honest when describing yourself, and keep it short because most men don’t read anything past the first sentence anyway.”

“Lazy asses.”

“We’re visual beasts, my dear. If I’m attracted to you, I can deal with all kinds of personality quirks. If I’m not attracted to you, nothing you write is going to change it.”

“What if I write that I make a killer lasagna, enjoy waking up my man with a good-morning blow job, and I have courtside seats for the Lakers?”

“Damn.”

“I just got pretty, huh?”

“Beth, you’re pretty without all that.”

“I know. I’m gonna work all I got, doc. I ain’t dealin’ with any shit like I did with John. My next man is gonna support me, and I’m gonna rock his world.”

“I like that attitude. Maybe you should put that in your online dating profile.”

“Thought you said men don’t read. I’m just puttin’ up a pic of my cleavage. That should do it.”

“You’re funny.”

“So, I was thinking–how about I bring my friend Janice in here with me next week? We can pick your brain, and you can give us a two-for-one special.”

“I don’t know …”

“Come on, doc. She goin’ through similar shit. I’m sure you can help her.”

“Fine. Why not? Bring her with you next week.”

“I appreciate it.”

“So, your homework this week is to get your online profile ready. I’d like to review it. You OK with that?”

“Sure thing. Don’t you be winkin’ at me; we can’t be mixin’ business and pleasure, you know.”

“All right. If you insist. I’ll see you next week.”

“Thank you.”

Diagnosis: She’s healing and loosening up again. I don’t like sharing my personal life, but it’s an effective way to build trust.

Treatment: Insist she begins dating. Women sometimes open up further when a friend is close by. I’m OK with her bringing Janice. She might become a new client.

Doctor O: Beth – Session Five

It’s time for damage control. I prefer to be paving my patient’s road toward newfound love, but I often find myself filling in potholes. I can’t do it all myself, that’s why enlist the help of valuable players as I strategize. I’m a great coach. It also helps to be a good liar.

“Beth, I’m so sorry to hear about John. That’s horrible. How are you doing?”

“Why do I get the feeling you heard about this long before I did?”

“What do you mean?”

“Are you going to sit there and tell me you didn’t have a hand in this?”

“How could I? It was a suicide.”

“They haven’t determined that yet.”

“I thought you said he jumped off a bridge with the money.”

“Maybe he was pushed.”

“Beth …”

“And, what money?”

“They recovered the money, right?”

“Who?”

“The police, I assume–whoever fished him out of the river.”

“There was no money, doc.”

“Where is it?”

“I assume John used it to pay whoever was threatening him. Eh, hem.”

“Beth, I hope you don’t think I had anything to do with this. I never met John, and I was nowhere near the river when he jumped. I was having dinner at Duke’s around plenty of witnesses.”

“So, his bookie killed him and took the money, right? How much was your cut?”

“Beth, I don’t …”

“He didn’t have to fucking die! What kind of animal are you? He was a shitty person, but he’s still the father of my children.”

“I had nothing to do with this. The timing was just coincidental.”

“Man, what kind of fool do you take me for? I can’t even go to the authorities about this because they’re gonna think I hired you to kill him. This is some fucked up shit right here. You’re a hit man and a therapist. They oughta make an HBO show about you.”

“That’s crazy talk, Beth.”

“OK, if you weren’t there, who did it?”

“He jumped. Look, I have some contacts downtown. I’ll try to get more information. Maybe the money floated away or sank.”

“I ain’t worried about the goddamn money. Don’t you dare say I’m better off now, because this just ain’t right. Rest of my life I gotta live with the thought that I had a hand in this.”

“You didn’t. I have people who can find out what happened. Maybe his bookie was involved. Who knows? Are they doing an autopsy?”

“Yep, we had to postpone the funeral. Bet they find your fingerprints. How you gonna explain that?”

“I wasn’t there, Beth. I had nothing to do with this. Stay calm and wait for the autopsy reports. I think you’re overreacting.”

“Overreacting? I tell you my life would be better without him, and two weeks later he’s floating face down on the river. Maybe I should go to the police before they come to me.”

“And do what? There’s no way to implicate me.”

“… without implicating myself, right?”

“It was a suicide. Let these paranoid thoughts go and move on.”

“I don’t know what to believe anymore. I just want to make food and find a man who won’t take advantage of me. I’m starting to think the second half of that is impossible.”

“It’s not impossible. You’re a fine woman with so much to offer. Once they finish the investigation, you’ll be OK.”

“How am I going to explain the fact that he signed over his share of the restaurant and the fifty-thousand dollars I gave him? They’re not gonna think something’s fishy?”

“Tell the truth. He came to you needing money, you offered a way for him to get it, and it was all signed and witnessed. It wasn’t like he was forced to do anything.”

“Except jump off a damn bridge.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I don’t even want to walk into my business. It feels dirty now.”

“If you don’t go about business-as-usual, you’re going to spiral down into depression. I know you loved John and certainly didn’t want anything like this to happen to him. He was an unstable man. He drank heavily, and mixed with dangerous people. He got himself into some trouble, which you tried to help him out of by giving him money. He couldn’t handle the pressure and snapped.”

“Jesus.”

“For your own sake, get rid of these crazy thoughts that either of us are to blame. John did this to himself. You’re not responsible. I’m not responsible. Nobody wanted it to happen this way, but he is totally out of your life now. You can either begin building the life you deserve or wallow in unjustified guilt.”

“This shit is gonna drive me to drink. Our sons are flying in this weekend for the services. I don’t know how I can even face them.”

“You’ll be fine, Beth. Once you hear from the coroner, you’ll see that your suspicions aren’t justified.”

“Let’s hope.”

“I’m going to prescribe something to calm your nerves. Get this filled and follow the instructions. You’ll be fine. Call me the minute you hear from the coroner, OK?”

“Fine. Doc, I like you, and I really hope you’re telling me the truth here.”

“I am. I promise. Go get some rest. I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Bye.”

Diagnosis: As expected, she’s distraught and suspicious. If there’s an investigation I may be exposed. I need to find out where the money went. Could Rick or Ronnie have taken the money and thrown him off the bridge? I trust these guys, but people do funny things when there’s large sums of money involved. I need to bring them both in to get to the bottom of this. Rick said he saw the money floating next to John. Can’t imagine he’d be so greedy. Ronnie would probably kill him–badge or no badge.

Treatment: Stay on top of this and make sure Beth keeps quiet. Have Rick check on coroner. Crucial that this comes out as a suicide. May need to call in more favors. I’m losing leverage with some of my teammates. Not good.

Doctor O: Beth – Session Four

Have you ever noticed that sometimes, when you put yourself out there with all the right intentions–trying to help people who genuinely deserve help–strange forces work against you? Often, the hand extended to rescue the victim is slippery. Occasionally, it triggers an avalanche.

Beth files for divorce and gets the papers from the attorney that would allow John to sell his interest in the restaurant to her. Naturally, when she presents the papers, he foolishly remains indignant and spiteful. Pity.

The set up is simple: Beth’s husband, like most men, is easily led around by his penis. The plan is infallible: Place lovely bait near John, wait for him to bite, trap the rat by his tail, and keep him squirming until he can buy himself free by letting go of Beth’s restaurant.

My teammates in this little exercise include Ronnie, who knows how to follow without being seen, and twist an arm, when necessary. In blue, I have my friend Rick–guns and badges are mighty persuaders. The bait is Claire, a young prostitute, who owes Rick a favor.

John frequents one of the seedier establishments in town, and all it takes is a smile from Claire to bring him sniffing. It amazes me that men don’t suspect anything when women out of their league approach them. The blind ego foolishly assumes the attention is well-deserved.

In minutes, John buys her a drink and falls into our trap. Claire flirts; she’s a pro. A few drinks later, they’re in his Cadillac behind the club, sparking a pipe. Rick and Ronnie stand by. John slides over to the passenger seat. Claire straddles him. As soon as her panties hit the floor mat, my men make their move.

John’s fucked.

Claire is only seventeen (twenty-two, actually, but seventeen is a more useful number). She’s intoxicated, and what’s that scent? Ah, contraband. This won’t end well for John … unless, that is, he comes up with, say, fifty-thousand reasons for my men to look the other way.

“What’s that? Oh, no way to get that kind of money, John? Tsk, tsk. Statutory rape, solicitation, possession, drugging a minor–hope you like metal toilets, buddy. Ah, I see. You have an idea, do you? Get the money from the wife? My, my. There’s a wife involved? Well, that’s not good. I doubt she’ll be signing any checks when she finds out about our young friend here. Tell you what, pal, we’ll hang onto your driver’s license and give you 48 hours to come up with the funds. Meanwhile, we’ll deliver missy back to her parents, and hope her father doesn’t find out what this bad man did to his little girl. That would be tragic. Gosh, let’s hope he doesn’t have a shotgun. Good thing he doesn’t know where to find you. Oh, that’s right, it says right here on your license where to find you. We’ll try to keep that secret between us, for now.”

Worked like a charm.

John crawled back to Beth begging for the money. She did as I told, and required him to sign the business over. They made two stops: one to the notary to have his signature witnessed, the next to the bank to get him the money. John’s a decent liar. He told Beth he needed the money to pay a gambling debt. Beth, I’m sure, suspected I was behind it all. She didn’t care. Whatever got him away from her baby is worth it, especially if she never knew the details.

John contacted Rick and met him on the river overpass. A few hours later I got the call.

“Doc, we have a problem.”

“Did he show?”

“Yep.”

“With the money?”

“Yep.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“He jumped.”

“What?”

“He jumped off the bridge with the fucking money.”

“Shit.”

“They’re fishing him out as we speak.”

“Dead?”

“Oh, very much so. He was whacked out of his mind when he showed up–crying and ranting. I should have shot him. Would have saved his sorry ass.”

“Where’s the money?”

“Floating down there right next to him. No way for me to get my hands on it.”

“That’s OK. I’m sure they’ll figure out where it came from and return it. Have they notified Beth?”

“No. They’re pulling his body out now. They don’t have an ID yet. What should we do?”

“Jesus. Just play your role calmly. Don’t worry about the money. I’ll take care of it.”

“I know, man. Did you know this guy was so unstable?”

“Never met him.”

“You’re going to have some damage control to do when you see Beth.”

“I’m not sure how she’ll react to this. She pretty much hates him.”

“Isn’t she going to suspect you had a hand in this?”

“No doubt.”

“She’ll probably think you tossed him off the bridge.”

“Nah, I’m covered. There will be no signs of struggle and I’m sitting here at Duke’s with plenty of witnesses. Did anyone see you two speaking?”

“I don’t think so. A few cars drove by, but it’s dark up here. I told the chief I’m investigating the jump site. It’s a clear suicide.”

“All right. Do your thing. I’ll wait for Beth’s call and act surprised when she tells me.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Diagnosis: Sucks losing the money, but at least it will go back to Beth and she’ll be free. I actually feel sorry for that scumbag John.

Treatment: All depends on Beth’s reaction and how suspicious she is of my involvement.

Doctor O: Beth – Session Three

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “give a man enough rope and he’ll eventually hang himself with it.” It’s true. Men especially seem to grow brasher as they stray and get away with it. To trap one, all that’s required is scattered bait and watchful eyes. Beth’s husband is one hungry rat about to be trapped.

“Hey, Beth, nice to see you.”

“Nice to see you, too. Guess what?”

“What?”

“I did my homework and spoke with the attorney.”

“Excellent.”

“Yeah, not so much. He says I’m basically fucked. I either sell my half to John or convince him to sell it and split the profits. Either way, I lose what I’ve built. He said I should cut bait and open another restaurant. Man, he has no idea what it takes. I can’t start over again.”

“I figured that was what the attorney would advise.”

“You know I can’t do that.”

“Yes, I know. Is there any other way you can think of to get John to sell his half to you? Don’t you have any leverage at all with him?”

“Nope. He’s a loser, but a slimy one at that. I save my share and he spends his, then he has the nerve to ask me for more. I say, ‘At least pick up a bar rag or something. Make yourself useful.’ No chance. The most he ever does is answer the phone. Probably his damn bookie callin’ anyway.”

“Does he borrow money from anyone else that you know of?”

“Nope. Just to be clear, he ain’t borrowin’ anything, because borrowin’ assumes there’s repayment. He has no intention of payin’ me back.”

“OK. We need to create a situation where he needs money desperately. Then, he’ll have to come to you for it. That’s when you make it contingent upon the money being payment for his half of the restaurant.”

“What kind of situation we talkin’ about?”

“He has a knack for getting in trouble, then getting out of it. We need him to get into that kind of trouble that only money can get him out of.”

“I probably don’t want to know, do I?”

“You don’t. Just remember, when he comes asking you for money, that’s when you make your move.”

“If you say so.”

“Now, let’s talk more about you.”

“My favorite part–sexy time!”

“Beth, do you think you’ll ever fall in love again?”

“Of course I will.”

“Yet, you never speak of romance when we talk about relationships.”

“That shit’s overrated.”

“Really?”

“If I got a healthy sex life with my man, I don’t need him to be bringin’ me flowers.”

“What about when you’re not having sex? Don’t you want someone funny and fun to hang out with?”

“Sure, I do.”

“You can take long walks, travel, go to the movies, …”

“Yep, all that stuff is fine as long as I’m gettin’ in on.”

“Beth, it has been so long since you dated. I don’t want you ripping the clothes of the next man before the sorbet hits the table. You know?”

“Thought you men like aggressive women.”

“Most of us say that and, yes, sometimes it’s nice to be with a hungry woman. Fact is, most of the time, a woman like that disqualifies herself from any relationship beyond a physical one.”

“What do you mean?”

“The first thing a guy thinks when a woman is super-aggressive is that she does it with lots of men. That’s fine, but we don’t want to know. If you’re awesome in the sack, we appreciate it as long as we never meet your trainers.”

“Got ya.”

“So, when you find the man you want to keep around for more than one night, you need to dial it down.”

“I can do that. But, once we’re start fuckin’ …”

“Yep, have at it. Just try not to scare him away.”

“Oh, I have other ways to keep my man happy.”

“Yeah, I know. You’ve certainly kept me happy. That pulled pork sandwich I had last week nearly had me in tears.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Tell me a little about your friends.”

“Which ones? You lookin’ to have me set you up?”

“No, thank you. I’m married.”

“Shame.”

“Your close friends–what are they like?”

“Tammi manages for me. We hang out after closing sometimes. She’s a doll. Skinny white bitch. And, you should see what she eats. Lord. Must be the yoga. She’s always tryin’ to get me to take classes with her. That ain’t happenin’.”

“Is she single?”

“Nah, married. Just had a baby. Cute as can be.”

“Anyone else?”

“Janice is a chef down at Woody’s. We hang out sometimes. Usually, we run into each other at Starbucks. It’s nice having someone to commiserate with.”

“About the business?”

“Yeah, and our deadweight husbands. She’s been tryin’ to leave her man for three years now. Caught him cheating. Similar shit, you know. Only good thing is he works, so he ain’t hangin’ around her store much. Heck, maybe I’ll give her your number. You could probably help her.”

“I appreciate referrals, Beth. As long as you two don’t commiserate about me.”

“Nah, you good.”

“We’re running out of time today. Have your attorney draw up the papers for John to sign over his interest. Present them to John. I’m sure he’ll refuse. Later, when John comes begging for money, pull out those papers again; you’ll hear a different tune.”

“One can only hope.”

“Hang in there.”

“Thank you, Doctor O.”

Diagnosis: Love this woman. She’ll be free soon. I’ll keep my eye on her by visiting her restaurant often.

Treatment: Ronnie has the set-up in place. Need to contact Rick and call in a favor from my man in blue.