“Well, I made it,” Lisa said. “I’m here.”
It was not a pleasant jaunt; hundreds of miles off the highway, through urban decay and dreary suburbs, by overgrown pastures and subsidized farmland, past the last lone burg so small skeeters didn’t even bother with it. The pavement petered out to dirt, formed through hollows and glens and the rest of Nature’s whatnots.
“Privy’s out back,” I said. “Or you want a drink?”
“No,” Lisa said, while holding up my latest manuscript.
“A real paper turner, huh?” I said.
“Rita, it’s…it’s hard to find the right works.”
"Speechless is good. We’ll need a blurb.”
“It’s God awful. It’s the absolute worst thing I’ve ever read.”
“What say you?”
“I’m sorry. It’s how I feel.”
“I’ll do a rewrite.”
“No, I don’t want to see any other drafts.”
“Sit, please,” I said. “We need to talk this out.”
“I don’t want to sit. I want to be going.”
“You take a bunch of time to drive out here and then just go ten seconds later?”
Lisa expelled some air. “I also wanted to tell you Rita that I’m not going to be your agent anymore. I’m dropping you as my client.”
I was stunned—like a sucker punch in the face.
“The way you treat women in here.” Raising the manuscript. “It’s revolting.”
“But it’s just fiction, Lisa. Pretend.”
“Rita, I see the bruises on your face,” my agent said.
I was hoping they wouldn’t show. Time is supposed to be a great healer for ordinary folks, but the clock ran slow sometimes—especially out here.
“I write what I know, Lisa,” I said.
“That’s all too clear now.”
I bent down to pick up the baby, but my sides hurt. I was still peeing blood.
“You need help,” Lisa said.
“I can handle it.” I bet I sounded like battered women everywhere.
“Leave him before it’s too late.” Lisa dropped the manuscript on the closest chair. She headed for the door. “You know, Rita, you only have that one hit. And it was an e-book.”
Then one of those things that had gone missing—my four star hubby—sauntered in from his weekend away. He looked mean and raw, like he had been on a bender.
“Wha’s goin’ on in ‘ere?” he said.
“I’m letting your wife go,” Lisa said. “I’m tired of the misogynistic tripe.”
Lisa didn’t see his fist coming—heck, I never did anymore—and she took my hubby’s fat knuckles across her chin. She fell hard onto the cluttered floor, just missing the baby.
My husband grabbed Lisa by her long shiny mane and leaned his weight towards the door, dragging her, no doubt, towards the woodshed where he kept the sharper tools.
“You stupid bitch,” he said.
Thing was, following my husband outside, I wasn’t sure who he was referring to.
Phil Beloin, aka philbeloinjr.blogspot.com, lives in New England. Check out the first chapter to his novel, The Big Bad, on his blog. Or search through the book on Amazon.