The Book Man – Chapter One

His name was Luther Malone but everybody called him the book man.  He was an odd little fellow whose salt and pepper hair was balding in the familiar horseshoe pattern and his favorite attire was an almost wornout pair of paint splattered overalls.

He was a friendly man who never failed to offer a smile and throw up a hand when a neighbor was walking or driving by.  Children, riding their bicycles, waved and said “hey book man.”

Every weekend at the crack of dawn, he would get into his old fire engine red Chevy pick-up and begin the hunt for the books he called his treasures. After he went to all the local garage sales, he headed to the thrift stores.

He was even known to dumpster dive behind the Salvation Arm Family Store when it was closed.  His efforts were always rewarded and he would bring back sacks full of books after every outing.

He wasn’t prejudiced when choosing his books.  He didn’t care if they were soft cover or hardback.  He didn’t care if they were penned by a famous writer or a one-book author.  He didn’t care if they were thick or thin.  He didn’t care about any of those things because they were his treasures.

Old man Barnes lived up the street and had a little Jack Russell terrier, named Rufus.  The neighborhood had dubbed him “the little Jack Russell terror” because he was fiercely protective of his master.  For reasons nobody really understood, the only person Rufus would let come anywhere near old man Barnes, was the book man.

One day, old man Barnes on his daily stroll with Rufus, stopped and looked at the bags in the back of Luther’s truck.  He shook his head and said “well, book man.  How many did you bring home today?”  Luther smiled and said “38.”

“That’s a record, isn’t it?” asked old man Barnes.  Luther said “I think it might be.”  Old man Barnes said “I reckon you’ll be busy making more shelves.”

That’s what Luther spent a lot of his time doing.  He wanted to have the entire basement of his house full of shelves from floor to ceiling but those shelves would have to wait this week.

Luther had been a widower for five years.  He had a son named Cole, who was married and had two little girls.  It had been almost two years since Luther had seen them and he had never even met his youngest granddaughter.

There was notable excitement in his voice when he told old man Barnes that Cole and his family were coming for a visit the next weekend.  “I keep the house right neat” he said, “but I’ve got to get the yard prettied up for them.”

He spent the next week pulling weeds and trimming hedges.  He had already chosen the flowers he would pick to adorn the kitchen table and he had gifts for his granddaughters.

The next week, old man Barnes stopped and asked how the visit went. Luther tried to hide his disappointment when he said “well, something came up and they couldn’t make it but Cole said they’d try to get here in a few weeks.”

Luther continued to be ever vigilant in his quest to add to his vast collection of books and he had become quite the expert at building shelves.

He was not one to settle for plain planks held up by brackets.  His shelves boasted beveled edges and a dark mahogany stain, finished with two coats of wax.

Christmas was coming and the weather was turning cold but it was no deterrent for Luther.  There were fewer garage sales but the thrift stores were always filled to the brim with second-hand items, including an ever-present array of his precious treasures.  Thrift stores generally commanded a higher price than garage sales but to the book man, his treasures were worth it.

Once again, a visit from Cole and his family was promised.  Luther hadn’t had a Christmas tree since his wife Ardene had died.  This year though, he went to a tree farm and picked out the most beautiful one he could find.  He got out the old lights and ornaments that had long ago been relegated to a resting place in the attic.

Ardene had carefully wrapped each ornament as if it was priceless.  Luther smiled as he examined each one and as he hung them on the tree, happy memories of days gone by came flooding back.

He wrapped the presents he had picked out for his granddaughters and put a tag on them that read “Merry Christmas.”

To be continued________________

Me And My Broken Back

Yep.  I have broken my back.  I heard it snap and said “oh shit.”

It’s no biggie.  I walked home when I broke my leg the first time.  It kept giving away and it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch but I didn’t care.  I was more afraid of the whipping I was going to get.  I have walked around with pneumonia and (thank the head Holy man) it was caught before I completely drowned.

It has been hurting since I did it but I have an extremely high tolerance for pain so I ignored it.  I’m not a big whiner.  I learned years ago that (a) it wouldn’t do any good and (b) it would make somebody mad and he would yell at me and make me feel even worse.

It’s funny, it didn’t bother me that much the day I did it but….holy cow! When I went to bed, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t even turn over.  As long as I’m up and moving about, I’m fine (except for the constant, nagging throbbing.)  I was even able to mow my lawn.  (I have a riding mower so that wasn’t too bad.)

Consistent with my weird nature, most people find relief when they’re prone…but not me.  That’s the worst.  I can sit and walk with not much trouble but I have to be careful.  I tend to jump up from a chair and it has really impeded my ability to run the neighborhood dogs out of my yard.

I have to be careful if I cough or even worse…sneeze.

I finally went to the doctor because it seemed to be getting worse.  I knew it was inflamed and I have never been one to do the ice/heat thing.  I got the usual questions…why did you wait so long?  Why didn’t you call when you first did it?  Yada, yada, yada.

I refused any pain drugs and I think my doctor wanted to call me an idiot. But, if I was hopped up on drugs, there’s no telling what I might get up to. I might start waxing nostalgic and that’s just not something that’s in my repertoire.

I have taken an aspirin a few times but I couldn’t tell that it did much good.

My doctor wanted me to get a brace to wear but I told her I didn’t need it. She’s the cutest little woman and I think she genuinely cares about her patients but….when I said that, she raised her voice and said “you have a broken back!”

I got the brace and have been trying to wear it but it is ANNOYING.  I figure it will take a few weeks more to heal.  I remember all the times I looked after “somebody” when his back went out.  It’s my turn now but there’s nobody to look after me.  Figures.  Again, no biggie.  I will look after myself. Unlike that somebody, I’m not a big baby who thinks their finger is falling off because they have a hangnail.

It’s actually hurting right now so I think I’ll put that medieval torture device on and see if it helps.

The Entertainer Blogger Award

 

 

Many thanks to Tenacity T. for the nomination. (tenacitydotcom.wordpress.com)

The Rules:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you.

2.  Add these rules to your blog.

3.  Answer all the questions asked.

4.  Display a picture of the award.

5.  Nominate up to 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most of all, entertaining.

Question Asked:

1.  Why did you start to blog?

I have tried to answer this question a few times.  I used to say I started blogging for mental salvation and also at the behest of my youngest daughter who said “don’t sit around and think about what dad did to you, write about it.”  I think now, I started blogging because I decided to stop lying for, covering up for, making excuses for and defending a lying, cheating, worthless maggot.

2.  What is your favorite book?

I have answered this question as well and the answer is always the same.  I don’t have a favorite book because I don’t read books.  I do have a book though, so I guess it would be my favorite.  It is the family bible that belonged to my grandparents.  Alas, the family history pages are blank and how I wish they had been filled in.

3.  What do you dislike the most?

I would say a lack of honor.  That encompasses a wide range of human behavior.  I despise people who have no honor.  I loathe them and I resent their very existence.

4.  What is your favorite food at the mall?

I don’t go to the mall anymore and haven’t in many, many years.  When I did go, my favorite food was a Cinnabon with an extra cup of icing, accompanied by a cup of coffee from Barnies’.

5.  What is your favorite pastime?

I could say writing is my favorite pastime but I detest it.  I really don’t have a favorite pastime.  Maybe breathing?

I nominate everybody who wants to participate.

 

 

The Angel Maker – Chapter Thirteen

Mr. Stark was trying hard to get back into Emberlyns’ good graces.  Every morning, he came into her room and gave her a rose.  She always smiled and thanked him, making sure she played the part of the forgiving, good wife.

Deep down, she was outraged.  Was that rose supposed to heal what he had done to her?  Was that rose supposed to make her forget?  He never failed to offer a rose but he always failed to offer an apology.  He always failed to offer any expression of regret or remorse.

In her mind, he had taken her childs’ life and she intended to take his.

Two weeks later, Mr. Stark was dead, which takes us back to the beginning of the story.

Emberlyn won the battle with Mr. Starks’ children.  Being his wife and therefore, legally the next of kin bears weight under the law.  Suspicions and accusations aren’t a legitimate reason for an autopsy, coupled with virtually no evidence of foul play.  Her wishes to have him cremated were carried out and an elaborate service was planned.  People from near and far attended and expressions of surprise and great sorrow were evident.  Also evident was the absence of his children.

When Mr. Starks’ will was executed, everyone was stunned when it was revealed that he left his entire fortune to Emberlyn.  His children had no chance of contesting, as Mr. Stark had specifically excluded them and left no question about his intentions.  Everything, the mansion in Chestnut Hill, the house in Marthas’ Vineyard and all his holdings were now hers.

She played the perfect grieving widow.  I came to realize that it was pretentious sadness and I knew in my gut that she had murdered Mr. Stark. I just didn’t know how.

I could have tried to push for an analysis of his remains but like I said, there was no proof of foul play.  The coroner had pronounced death due to a heart attack.  His age and propensity to eat a diet rich in red meat and deep-fried foods were certainly contributing factors.

Emberlyn had never told but one person about the fall and how it happened.  That person was Helga.  I had secretly corralled her one day and she reluctantly gave me the details with only one condition.  The condition was that I promise I would never tell Mrs. Stark.  I kept that promise…for a while.

During my last meeting with Mrs. Stark and despite my better judgment, in my mind I was still playing mental videos of us together.  I kept having to remind myself that I was talking to a murderess but I found that I was sympathetic.

Sometimes, existential despair is an understandably powerful motive.  Not a justifiable motive of course, but understandable.

I broke my promise to Helga and told Mrs. Stark that I knew about the baby. She had no reaction, not even surprise.  I looked at her and said “revenge is sweet.  Not legal but sweet and I understand how difficult it must have been.”

She cut cold, fiery eyes toward me and said “do you?  Do you really?”

I felt like a crumb and made my apologies because she was right.  I had no idea how difficult it must have been.

There was a brief silence and I found my mind wandering again, thinking “who wouldn’t want to have a child with this stunning woman?”  I quickly regained my senses and remembered why I was there.  I asked her point blank:

“How did you do it?”

She surprised me when she calmly and without hesitation, said “succinylcholine.”  I knew about that drug.  It was called the perfect murder weapon.  It is almost immediately broken down by the body and leaves no trace.  Modern day techniques can now analyze the enzymes which break it down but with no reason to look for that anomaly, it is indeed the perfect murder weapon.

I asked how she got it.  The only thing she would say was that she had acquired it when she was in the hospital.

“How did you give it to him?” I asked.

“I put some of my sleeping pills in his drink and waited until he fell asleep.” she said.  “I raised his arm and injected him where it wouldn’t be detectable and then I watched him take his last breath.”

She had an almost satisfied look on her face when she said “then I put a rose in his hand.  Somehow, it seemed appropriate.”

She had just admitted to murdering her husband.  I knew that it would be impossible to prove, even with an admission.  The effects of the drug were long since gone and she would most likely not admit guilt to anyone else.

Did I really want her to be punished for killing the man she believed was unrepentantly responsible for the death of her unborn child?  Would it be worth thousands of taxpayers’ dollars and hours and hours of my time to try a case that I knew beyond a reasonable doubt I would not win?  Should I let her get away with murder?  If I did, I would be guilty of obstruction of justice and I had sworn to uphold the law.  Could I live with that?  Those were the questions that I could only answer after searching my conscience.

*************************

Five years later.

While waiting for a confidential informant, I happened to look into a window.  It was a new art gallery that had just opened in an area that was undergoing gentrification.  I had arrived early so I decided to walk in, for no other reason than to escape the chilly weather.

I wasn’t the least bit interested in art.  I didn’t understand some of it and admit that I had little appreciation for most of it.  Scanning the room as if I was a seasoned collector, my focus became fixed on someone in the corner.

My heart skipped a beat when I realized that it was Emberlyn Stark.

Her eyes met mine.

I nodded.

She smiled.

 

Amaiera.

The Angel Maker – Chapter Twelve

A year had gone by and Emberlyn had transformed the house into a grandiose spectacle fit for a king and his queen.  She and Mr. Stark had settled into a life of entertaining celebrities and uppity-ups and being the envy of even their own peers.

She hadn’t been feeling well and under the guise of going shopping, stopped by Dr. Giles’ office.  After an examination, he smiled when he told her there was a reason that she didn’t feel well.

She could hardly contain her excitement as she drove home.  A special dinner was in order she thought, so she asked the cook to prepare Mr. Starks’ favorite meal.

That afternoon, she put on a dress that had always been one of his favorites.  He called it her Sexy Sally dress.  When she walked out of the dressing room, he smiled and said “hmm.  Do we want a new Mercedes?” She smiled and said “no, I wanted to look special for you tonight.”

“But you always look special to me,” he said.  When they got to the top of the grand staircase, she stopped and said  “I have a surprise for you and I hope you’re going to be pleased.”

He smiled and said “I believe I can smell Crown Roast and that’s always a pleasant surprise.”  She said “no.  Well yes, you smell Crown Roast but that’s not the surprise.”

“Well, it must be something special because you have on your Sexy Sally dress,” he said with a wink.  “What ever is it?”

She looked at him and said “we’re going to have a baby.”

For an instant, he stood in stunned silence.  Then in a rage, he raised his arms and screamed “I told you I didn’t want any more children.”  He frightened Emberlyn and when she recoiled, she took a fatal step backward and tumbled down the stairs.

The next morning, she awoke in the hospital.  She urgently rang for the nurse and with desperation in her voice, said “my baby?”  The nurse shook her head and said “no child.  There is no baby anymore.”  Emberlyn asked her to leave the room and began to cry uncontrollably.

Doctor Giles came in later and asked Emberlyn if she could tell him what happened.  She lied when she said “I just lost my balance and fell down the stairs.  I must have had a snootful.”  He looked at her and said “okay, but why did the toxicology report show no alcohol in your system?”  Emberlyn looked down and said “I don’t know but that’s what happened.”

She had bruises and scrapes consistent with a fall but Dr. Giles heard what he thought was a combination of anger and fear in her voice and wasn’t convinced that she just lost her balance.  She would physically recover because she was young and healthy but he wasn’t sure about her mental recovery.  It was clearly evident that she was emotionally destroyed by the loss of her child and he thought her not yet strong enough to hear that there would never be another.

That afternoon, Mr. Stark came to see her and asked how she was feeling. He said nothing about their baby.  When he handed her a rose, she unsuccessfully tried to hide her umbrage and he saw it but ignored it.  He said “when you get home, we’re going to take a trip and you’ll forget all about this unfortunate mishap.”

“This unfortunate mishap?” she said.  She began to cry and said “that’s what you think this was?  An unfortunate mishap?”  He tried to console her but it did no good.  She became hysterical and screamed for him to leave. When the nurse came running into the room, she saw that Emberlyn was emotionally distraught and needed a sedative.  She told Mr. Stark that she believed it was best if he left.

Dr. Giles let her go home the next day and not making eye contact, gave strict instructions that she was to do nothing but rest.  Emberlyn could read Dr. Giles’ face and asked him what he wasn’t telling her.

Reluctantly, he told her that she had suffered too much internal damage to ever carry another child.  He was surprised by her reaction when she smiled and said “thank you doctor.  Is that all?”

Mr. Stark had hired a private nurse and when Emberlyn got home, she requested that her things be moved into another bedroom.

She demurely told Mr. Stark to try to understand that she needed time to heal.  What she didn’t tell him was that he was never going to touch her again.

 

To be continued__________

The Angel Maker – Chapter Eleven

The instant that Emberlyn accepted Mr. Starks’ proposal, he asked her to remove the wedding band she still wore.  “That life is over,” he said.  “Your new life with me is just beginning.  I’m not asking you to dispose of it because I know how much he meant to you but I am asking that you put it away.”

The future was knocking on her door and she knew that she had to leave the past behind.  Later that night, she slowly took off the band and said a final silent goodbye to Fez.  As she put it in a small box, a tear fell.

Mr. Stark announced his retirement and during his over the top send-off party, made another announcement.  He and Emberlyn were getting married.  Jaws dropped and discreet glances were cast but there had been speculation for quite a while that something was going on between them.

A beautiful young girl with virtually no experience had been hired on the spot by the boss himself.  The catty women in the office had always joked that she was providing a tad bit more than just speedy typing but in reality, or “Realty,” she had caught the big fish.

They had a small ceremony with only a few of Mr. Starks’ closest friends as witnesses.  He had asked his children to attend but they refused and were blatantly offensive when giving their reasoning, not to mention showing their outrage when he refused to make her sign a prenuptial agreement.

Emberlyn was no stranger to the effects of May-December romances so their behavior was no surprise.

Marthas’ Vineyard was where they would honeymoon.  Unbeknownst to Emberlyn, Mr. Stark had a grand house, located not far from the famous Kennedy compound.  Even though she had never been fond of water, she was mesmerized by the beauty she saw as they flew over the island in Mr. Starks’ private plane.

He showed his knowledge of the islands’ history when he said “not many modern-day folks know this but for almost two centuries, hereditary deafness was prevalent on the island.  It was due to a recessive genetic mutation, traced back to Kent County, England.  Marthas’ Vineyard Sign Language as it was called, was used by both the hearing and the deaf.  The last person who was born deaf, died in 1952 and with that, so did for the most part, the use of sign language.”

Properly impressed, Emberlyn asked how he knew this.  “I like knowledge,” he said, “and I like to know the history of things I hold dear.”  He knew Emberlyns’ history.  She had told him that she was the bastard child of a prostitute.  She had been worried that it might alter his perception of her but when she told him, he laughed and said “and you think I didn’t know that?  Everyone has at least one skeleton in their closet, including me.”

Just as they were about to land, he turned to her and said “what would you like for a wedding present? Anything your heart desires, will be yours.”

Emberlyn looked at him, smiled and said, “I’d like to have a child.”

His demeanor immediately changed.  He said “I already have children.”

“You do, yes” she said.  “But I don’t.”

He angrily said “that was not part of our bargain.”

“Our bargain?” she asked.  “We have a bargain?  That’s what you call our marriage?”

“Calm down.  You know that’s not what I meant,” he said.  “I thought you would understand that I have already raised a family and I don’t want to raise another one.”

Emberlyn was disappointed but said nothing more.  She was sure she could change his mind.  It would just take a little time.

Later that evening as they dined, Mr. Stark apologized for snapping at her.  “You just completely took me by surprise,” he said.  “I wasn’t expecting that.”

“But you’ll think about it?” asked Emberlyn.

“I didn’t say that,” he said.  “Let’s not ruin dinner and let’s not ruin our honeymoon by talking about this right now.”

Emberlyn capitulated and later admitted to herself that the rest of their time together on the island was glorious but she wanted to get back “home.”  She wanted to put her own personal touch on the house so that it would feel more like hers.  Mr. Stark had already told her that she could decorate as she wished and spare no expense.  The only thing he asked was that his library remain unchanged.

When they returned home, Emberlyn furiously began re-decorating.  She wanted the rooms to be exquisite.  She decorated one of the bedrooms in shabby chic, complete with distressed white furniture and soft, pastel fabrics.  That room was her favorite.

The bedroom that she would share with Mr. Stark was more cosmopolitan inspired.  Clean lines, muted colors and very elegant with little to no fru fru. She didn’t particularly like that style because it looked too sterile but she did it to please him.

 

To be continued_______________

 

 

The Angel Maker – Chapter Ten

The next day, Emberlyn took Mr. Healys’ advice and went to Stark Realty. She timidly walked in and said “My name is Emberlyn Zabinsky.  I understand that Mr. Stark is looking for a secretary.”

The receptionist, with a sort of haughty attitude asked “and what kind of experience do you have?”  Before Emberlyn could answer, Mr. Stark walked out of his office and asked “who’s this?”

The receptionist said “Mr. Stark, Ms. Zabinsky is here to apply for the secretary job.”  Mr. Stark looked at Emberyn and without hesitation said “come on in.”

Inside of a minute, Emberlyn had not only gotten her foot in the door, she had gotten her entire self into the office of the big man himself.  Coleman Stark.

She was hired on the spot.  It was a given that she was soon to be virtually homeless and she explained her situation to Mr. Stark.  He immediately offered to let her stay in one of several condos, used for his numerous out of town visitors.

On the way back to what used to be her home, she couldn’t help but think about the twists and turns her young life had taken.  She had suffered immeasurable grief but there always seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

She was starting to believe in the old adage “every time a door closes, a window opens.”  Twice she had lived like a queen and in the blink of an eye been stripped of her sovereignty only to find another crown waiting.

She decided not to wait for the sale of her former home and immediately moved into the condo.  She wasn’t mean-spirited by any stretch of the imagination but now the “show ready” task would be up to somebody else. After all, she had no stake in the house and hadn’t signed an agreement stating that she would remain until it sold.

After she settled into her new condo, she began her new job.  Mr. Stark wasn’t demanding and was an easy man to work for.  At this point in his life he had made his mark, amassed a fortune and was more or less a figurehead but he was still a prominent leader in the community.

He began to ask Emberlyn to accompany him to various functions and she soon became a fixture in his life.  Just as she had done with Fez, she expertly headed charitable events and became adept at hosting celebratory parties for “million dollar sellers.”  She was a perfect companion and drew high praise from Mr. Starks’ constituents.

Her beauty was not lost on him.  She would be the ideal trophy wife and from the first day she walked into his office, he knew that was exactly what she was going to be.  He would have to give her time to adjust to the loss of her late husband and he knew exactly how to play the sympathetic partner.

After a year, Mr. Stark introduced Emberlyn to his grown children.  To say that they had been unpleasant would be generous.  They made it clear up front, that they thought she was nothing more than an opportunistic trollop.  Their treatment of her angered Mr. Stark and caused a rift between them but he was the patriarch of the family and let them know that their malicious opinions were unwelcome.

Another year went by and Mr. Stark considered that to be an appropriate length of mourning, so he asked Emberlyn to marry him.  Her first reaction was to say “I will never marry again.  I don’t seem to have much luck in that area” but she held her tongue.

Mr. Stark was good to her, treated her with respect and showered her with attention.  He beamed with pride when she was on his arm and included her in every aspect of his life.  Now, he was offering her yet another crown and nobody wore them better.

She was fond of him and could see a possible future but she still silently grieved for Fez.  She had loved Mr. Carrington in her own special way but she knew that nobody would ever be able to hold a candle to Mr. Frederick Eugene Zabinsky.

She also knew that he would have wanted her to find someone who could make her happy.  Believing that Mr. Stark could do that, she accepted his proposal.

 

To be continued_____________

 

 

 

 

The Angel Maker- Chapter Nine

Fez had suffered a massive heart attack.  When the paramedics arrived, they told Emberlyn there was nothing she or anybody else could have done.  Like Mr. Carrington, Fez was now with the angels.

She was not quite twenty-three and once again, a widow.

Getting help from George, Fez’s accountant, she started planning for his funeral.  George had a copy of Fez’s will and hesitantly told Emberlyn that his previous will had never been amended, despite numerous pleas.

“Next week,” was what Fez always said when George mentioned it.  “I’m going to make sure everything is taken care of.  There’s time.”

But time ran out for Fez.  Everything he owned would go to his former wife. His office building, his home and all of his assets would go to her. Emberlyn would be left with only the expense account that he had set up for her.

She wasn’t thinking about that, though.  She was thinking about what kind of burial this wonderful man should have.  George told her that Fez had secured two plots many years ago and the tombstone was already in place. It had his name and the name of his former wife.  Below theirs’ was his beloved daughters’ name.

She asked George whether she should have the tombstone removed and replaced.  “There’s no question that his former wife would most likely not want her final resting place to be beside a man to whom she was no longer married, don’t you suppose?” she asked.

George reminded her that she would not have a say about decisions, up to and including where and how he was buried because not only had Fez never changed his will…he had never changed his medical proxy.  “His former wife can do whatever she wishes.  She might opt to sell the plots, have the tombstone removed and have Fez cremated,” he said.

It was clear that Emberlyn could do nothing but what she could do was contact his former wife to let her know that Fez had died.  At some point she of course, would be reached to receive her inheritance but Emberlyn thought she might want to pay her respects at his service.

Emberlyn made the decision to call his former wife.  A few days later, she and her husband flew into town.  She was cordial but not overly friendly to Emberlyn and made her intentions clear.  Everything would be sold and converted to cash.

That of course would leave Emberlyn homeless, just as she had been when Mr. Carrington died.  Although it was agreed that she could occupy the house until it was sold in exchange for making sure it was show ready, it was implied that she should secure another residence as soon as possible. Accomplishing that was a dim prospect, due to her lack of funds, but Fez’s former wife seemed unsympathetic.

George suggested that she try to find a job.  The only job experience that Emberlyn ever had was as an exotic dancer.  There was every possibility that Mr. Richards would give her a job but dancing for a living was what she had tried to escape and she wasn’t sure she wanted to put herself back into that world.

The next day, the doorbell rang.  Emberlyn answered and a man introduced himself as Dan Healy.  “Mrs. Zabinsky?” he asked.  Emberlyn was somewhat taken aback and said “yes.  Can I help you?”  He said “you called yesterday about having your property appraised but I must say, you sounded much older on the phone.”  Emberlyn said “I believe it was the former Mrs. Zabinsky who called.”

Healy, a little embarrassed, said “beg your pardon, ma’am.  Should I wait and talk to her?”

“No,” Emberlyn said.  “I will be happy to show you around.”  As they walked from room to room, she started thinking.  “I could do this.  Answer a call, meet someone at a house, look around, get them to sign on the dotted line and then collect a big paycheck.  How difficult could that be?”

Not knowing just how the business worked and the education that was required, she casually asked the agent if they needed any help.

“As it happens,” the agent said “the old man is looking for a secretary.” Emberlyn said “oh, I don’t have any skills in that field.”  The agent looked at her and said “I wouldn’t worry too much about that.  He just mainly wants somebody to answer the phone, remind him of appointments and…”
“And what?” asked Emberlyn.  “Look pretty,” he said with a laugh.  “You should call and ask for an interview.”

“Okay,” Emberlyn said.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t catch the agency you are with.”

Healy handed her his business card and said, “Stark Realty.”

 

To be continued_______________

 

The Angel Maker – Chapter Eight

Fez kept his word to his grandmother.  He and Emberlyn arrived in Jerusalem and made the trek to Mt. Zion.  When they found Oskar Shindlers’ grave, Emberlyn was so moved that she began to cry.  “There are so many stones here,” she said, “and each one of them represents such love and respect.”

Fez placed his grandmothers’ stone on the grave and seemed to be memorizing every inch.  Emberlyn was sure he was trying to somehow let his grandmother see it through his eyes as he had promised.   She asked him if he was alright.  He said “he was such an extraordinary man and he’s the reason I’m here.”

Several minutes later, Emberlyn asked Fez if he would take her to the Wailing Wall.  “I want to leave a message,” she said.  “You know that you don’t have to be Jewish to leave one.”  Fez smiled and said “yes, we’ll go.”

Standing in front of one of the holiest of holy places, Emberlyn took Fez’s hand and said “how could anyone look on this and not feel changed?”  She took out a small piece of paper and slipped it into a tiny crack in the stone.

Legend has it that any wishes left at the Wailing Wall will come true and Emberlyn was hoping that hers would.  She didn’t tell Fez her wish and he didn’t ask.

This journey seemed to strengthen their bond even more.  Emberlyn was appreciative of Fez’s heritage and the plight of his people, now considered to be her people, was stirring to her blood.

Fez surprised her with a small Dove of Peace, carved from a Jerusalem stone. It held an olive branch in its mouth and the word shalom was carved into its wing.  It would be something she would always treasure and she held it in her hands on the plane ride back home.

Back in the states, Fez had taken on a difficult case.  He had been hired by Walter Combs, a wealthy local businessman.  Combs’ wife had filed for divorce, citing multiple charges which included serial adultery as well as emotional and physical abuse.  Combs had denied each and every charge and was counter suing, stating that his wife was mentally unstable.

Like any attorney, Fez’s job was to prove the innocence of his client, while simultaneously proving the guilt of his accuser.  Combs had every advantage.  He had position, power and money.  He had removed his wife from all the credit cards, closed the checking account and stopped paying the mortgage on their home.  He had left her almost penniless and at the mercy of whoever was willing or able to help.

It was an ugly divorce and the more Fez talked to his client, the more he knew that all the charges levied by his wife had to be true.  Combs was an arrogant, self-serving, self-important and deceitful man.  More than once he had suggested that Fez help him fabricate evidence but being an honorable man, he refused.

Fez discussed the case with Emberlyn throughout the coming months.  He confided in her that he wished he had never taken Combs on as a client.  It was apparent that the case was taking a toll on him.

One night, Fez seemed particularly anxious.  He told Emberlyn that the next day, Combs’ wife would be put on the witness stand.  He knew that if he did his job, he was going to rip her to shreds and watch her figuratively bleed to death.

That’s exactly what he did.  Combs’ wife was an absolute wreck.  She could hardly answer any questions with credibility and when asked if she had proof of any of her allegations, she hung her head and said “no.”

When Fez finished his cross-examination, Combs patted him on the back and said “way to destroy her.”  Fez looked at him and said “don’t ever put your hands on me again, you maggot.  I despise everything about you.”

Because of Fez’s aggressive attack, Combs was successful.  He was granted the divorce.  The judge awarded very little to his wife and delivered a coup de grâce when he suggested that she seek counsel for her mental illness.

That night, Fez was visibly shaken about the case and Emberlyn could tell. He sarcastically said “I’m such a great attorney.  I just beat the shit out of a poor woman who had already been destroyed by a piece of garbage.” Emberlyn had never heard Fez talk like that before.

Then he looked at her and said “I wish there was something I could do for her.  Maybe I could give her some of the money I made off of that monster husband of hers.”  Emberlyn said “if that’s what you want to do, I think you should.  Maybe you could offer her your apartment until she can get her feet back on the ground.”

Fez looked at her and said “that’s a great idea.  I think I will.  Thank you, dear.”

Emberlyn told Fez that she was going to go upstairs to slip into something more comfortable.  Fez said “I’ll be up in a minute.”

When he didn’t come upstairs, Emberlyn went to check on him.  She knew he was mentally and emotionally exhausted and thought maybe he had fallen asleep in the chair.  As she crept nearer, she realized he wasn’t asleep.

He was dead.

 

To be continued________________

 

Happy Birthday To Me

I went to get a birthday gift
Especially for me.
But couldn’t find a goddamn thing
So I just let it be.

I really don’t need anything
My house is full of stuff.
So why would I want something else
I truly have enough.

I won’t buy love or happiness
Although I know it’s done.
I won’t write checks for company
Or pay for some tramps’ fun.

One more year has come and gone
And it’s just like before.
Get up, get dressed and wonder why
I bother anymore.

It’s just another day for me
It’s been that way for years.
It’ll come and go like Mothers’ Day
No card…no call…no cheers.

Again I’ll tell myself the truth
And once again I’ll see.
It does no good to grieve for things
That aren’t and will not be.

But Michael’s in the bedroom
And Wentworth’s in the den.
And like I said “what we all need
Is our own mannequin!

I gave to me the bestest gift
Although it will be late.
I bought the latest season of
You guessed it…prison break!

On June the twenty-seventh
I’ll get my DVD.
In perfect cadence I will sing
Happy day to me!