Short story: Madness

She wore her madness as lightly as the pale beams of the autumnal moon. What chance did I have? I had no defenses against her. I was a lowly mortal and she some heavenly creature, or forsaken demon from some unfathomable hell. All I knew was she was an otherworldly being, and I was besotted, feeding off her madness, sating some unquenchable thirst, some unknown longing in my soul.

I had lived a life devoid of passion, a life not worth living. I married an unimaginative woman whose only goal was to push out children with assembly line efficiency. One child, a second, and then a third. We started working on our fourth, our sex life as monotonous as our lives. No euphoric release, no joyous climax, only a feeble thrust, a perfunctory kiss, and an almost impotent issue. How we managed even one child, I’ll never know.

This was my life, and I lived it without complaint. I didn’t know better. I didn’t know about the thrill of schoolboy crushes, of the devastation of an unrequited love. I didn’t know that there was more to the human condition than blindly accepting your fate. I didn’t know I had had a choice. I spurned risk for the safety of a certain, easy life.

I wouldn’t know anything until I came home and found her in our bed with another man. Theirs was no feeble attempt of lovemaking. It was raw, it was passionate, it was intense. I could hear her scream as I stepped out from the car. I could smell them as I opened the door, my children listening in. Then again, maybe they were his.

I crossed the threshold into our room, and he looked frightened, but my bride looked back unabashed at being discovered. I sensed she relished making me into a cuckold, impotent and ineffectual, emasculating me so utterly. I confess I didn’t care too much. I didn’t love her. I never did. I left slightly aroused at the sight of such wild and carefree passion. That it was my wife made it even more exciting.

That was my first taste of madness. I left my house almost immediately, listening to the strains of the headboard hitting the wall percussively, listening to my wife moan excitedly, wondering what bastard her brood belonged to. I knew they couldn’t be mine. I was relieved. They didn’t care that I left.

I drove to the nearest bar, a strip club a few miles from the double-wide I had recently called home. I’d return later for my belongings. At the moment I needed to clear my head. I needed something for something had been roused in me, some latent potency that yearned for release. I had considered going back and forcing myself on my wife, maybe trying to join in, I didn’t know. I had no experience in the matter. I needed to sit and consider my options.

I walked into the bar, and it was still early. The afternoon shift was still there, the B and C squad. They were overweight, with visible stretch marks and cesarean scars. Their breasts drooped too much, or a few were too large and too perfect maybe for so ragged a troop of dancers.

Then I saw Diamond walk onto stage, and this beast in my chest roared with approval. Like the others, she was past her prime, pushing forty if not older, but she was feral on stage. A few men paid for her attention, but not enough. I could tell she demanded more in her younger days. Why she hadn’t quit yet, I didn’t know, but I was grateful.

She saw me and winked, but I sat rigid, not knowing what to do. I had never been to a regular bar, much less a strip club. A few of the house regulars laughed at me, a few yelling taunts at me and one gloated happily, but Diamond could sense my desire. She knew I needed her, perhaps before I knew it myself.

She walked off stage and a few minutes later returned and sat beside me, wearing a thin negligee. “I’ll have a drink, if you’re buying,” she winked. I nodded to the bartender who poured her a shot of something and handed it to her. “Salud,” she grinned.

“Cheers,” I stammered, holding up the bottle of beer I was nursing.

“Never seen you here before, Jacob, is that right?”

“How do you know my name?” I asked, shocked that she could possibly know me.

“Did you finally walk in on your wife?” She cocked her head, a sad smile on her aging face.

“You – you know about that?”

“Sugar, we all know. Your wife’s been fucking anyone and everyone for years. Hell, we all been placing bets as to when you would find out. Shit head over there,” she pointed to the guy with the gloating look about him, “just won the bet. Pity. You’re a good looking guy. What’s wrong? Does the plumbing not work?”

“Excuse me?” I stammered again, shocked as she racked her nails down my neck. I gasped as I had never felt such a thing. My nerves screamed and I tensed, not out of fear but out of desire. “Look at you,” she smiled approvingly as she glanced to my crotch. I covered myself clumsily, not wanting her to see my arousal, but ran her nails under my chin and forced me to look at her. “Sugar, it’s okay. You’ve never been properly introduced to a woman, have you?”

“I’ve been with my wife,” I said lamely.

“That bitch ain’t anything but an easy lay,” she laughed, then looked apologetically at my wounded pride. “No offense, but everyone in here has had a go. Even a couple of us girls, but not me. My baby sister went to school with her, and she was just as trashy then. You were just the poor sap she chose to take care of her while she fooled around behind your back.”

“Am I a joke?” I cried, ashamed as my eyes watered.

“Depends,” Diamond replied.

“On what?”

“On what you do now. Do you accept defeat or do you pay her back.”

“Pay her back? How?”

She took my hand and led me to a room in the back. She closed the door and pushed me roughly into the chair. Without warning she pulled off her top and took off her panties and then she danced for me. I shook with fear, but more with anticipation. It was not a sensation I had ever felt, and she knew it.

“Relax, Sugar,” she smiled. “This one’s on the house. You’re a good guy, a hard working guy. She didn’t deserve a man like you. You didn’t deserve a bitch like her.” She leaned in, her breasts pressed against my chest, she whispered into my ear, “Let me help you. I’ll show you what a real woman can do.”

“Uh – okay?”

And she danced for me, and the sight was more erotic and intoxicating than I could ever have imagined. It was sensual in a way that my wife never could have managed. My wife, not yet thirty, never looked as desirable as Diamond. There was something animalistic in the way she moved, a predator toying with her prey before the kill, and I longed to be devoured.

Before anything could happen a sudden knock on the door stopped everything cold. “That’s it for this now. If you want another, you’ll have to pay, but I’ll cut you a break, Sugar. Oh, and by the way, I get off in thirty minutes. I never tell clients when I’m getting off. Meet me at the diner off of 127 if you want to continue this.”

She didn’t say another word but strode out the door. Some guy held the door open for me as I walked out. He gave me an almost imperceptible nod and a wink and I paid for our drinks and left. Thirty minutes later, I waited at the diner Diamond had told me and sipped a cup of weak coffee. She walked in, looking remarkably normal. The cheap makeup was gone, as was the negligee. She looked like a suburban soccer mom wearing capris and a tank top. Only the feral look in her eyes remained.

“I’m glad you’re here. I hope that means you’re ready to embrace the madness.”

“The madness?”

“Sugar, there’s more in you than what you’ve been led to believe. Come on. Let’s go to my place, and I’ll show you wonders your wife never could have imagined. We’ll dance on the grave of your marriage, resurrect your tattered manhood, and I’ll make you a proper man. That’s if you think you can handle me. What do you say?”

I felt as though I were making a pact with the devil. Then again, maybe she was my guardian angel sent to save me from despair. I didn’t know, but I took her proffered hand and she led me out. The next hours of my life were spent in a tangle of limbs, of sensations I had never felt, and a passion that had eclipsed everything I had ever felt.

And her madness fueled the newly kindled fire in my soul, and I became her devoted and willing slave. And when my wife’s eyes came to fall upon me again, she realized her folly. I was everything she had ever wanted, but she had squandered it on a series of cheap flings. Diamond had made me into a proper man. I could never go back to being in an unfeeling life, devoid of everything that made things worthwhile. I had embraced her madness, bathed in her light, and shunned the darkness in which I dwelt for a lifetime.

But nevermore.

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Short Story: On the losing end

The moment she walked in, I knew it was over. I could read the pain on her face, as well as a resigned determination to get what she came to do over with. I expected anger, I expected tears, I especially expected to be yelled at. What I didn’t expect was the bombshell she dropped on me when she sat down.

“I’m pregnant, Dave,” she said coldly, relishing the pain her unexpected news had caused me.

“P – pregnant,” I stammered, trying to grasp what she was saying. “But how? I thought we couldn’t…,” I finished lamely.

“No,” she grinned maliciously, “you couldn’t and I married you anyway. I gave up my right to motherhood for you, and this is how you repay me?”

“Repay you?” I yelled. “You’re pregnant! Who the hell is the father?”

“Who can say?” she teased. “Could be anyone, I suppose. Why does it matter?”

“Because you’re my wife, that’s why,” I yell, pounding the table between us for greater effect.

She looked at me, unfazed by my outburst. I could see contempt in her eyes, but also pity. I could stand the contempt, but why should she feel sorry for me? I wanted to strike back, to beat the woman who betrayed me and made a mockery out of my manhood. She silenced me with one question. “How long were you cheating on me?”

Just like that, the heat of my anger grew cold, and the reason we sat in a sterile conference room became clear once more. I opened my mouth to answer, but no sound escaped my lips. I closed my mouth when I became aware just how ridiculous I appeared, but it was too late. I swallowed and took a deep breath before I gave her an answer. “That was the only time, the time you caught me. What about you? How long have you been…”

“Don’t try to turn this on me,” she hissed angrily. “I caught you over a year ago, sleeping with Dan’s wife” She leaned back and folded her arms as she scrutinized me, making me feel somehow small. “Your best friend from college, and you slept with his wife. What would he think?”

“Please don’t,” I plead, not wanting to hear what I knew was to come. But she surprised me.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on you, for over a year, and I know all your little secrets, you text messages and emails to each other. I had you tailed and I have enough dirt to destroy you, but first I wanted to humiliate you.”

“You want to know how long I’ve been cheating on you? About four months. I waited, you see, to figure out how best to take my revenge on you, and then it hit me. I would get pregnant. Seemed a simple and elegant solution, don’t you thing?”

“That’s cold.”

“What? Don’t you want to hear the best part?” She waited for me to answer, but when I don’t she proceeds all the same. “You know Dan always wanted a kid, right? You know how his bitch of a wife refused to give him one?” I sat there in horror as the cruelty of her revelation ripped into me. “I see you can put two and two together. I told him about your rendezvous with his wife, and at first he didn’t want to have anything to do with my little plan, but I soon had him seeing things my way. By the way, he’s a much better lover than you. Don’t know why Delia’s fooling around with you.”

Without another word, she slides a packet towards me, and I know what is inside. I open to see a Waver of Service. Fill that out and we can get started with the whole divorce proceeding. I’ve already filed. We can let our lawyers hash out all the details, division of property, assets and debts, child support….”

“Child support! For a kid that’s not mine. You’re fucking crazy!”

“Funny thing,” she smirked at my indignant response. “In Texas, the husband is presumed to be the father. You’re my husband, I got pregnant while we are still legally married. In the eyes of the law, you’re going to be a father. Congratulations!”

“Bullshit,” I yell. “You can’t do this. I’ll fight it.”

“I’m sure you will, and I’m sure we may find some middle ground. Or not. Either way, this marriage is over. I hope she way worth it and I hope you two will be happy together.”

Fuming, I sign the waver and hand it back to her. She slides it into a folder and stands up. “I’m sorry it had to come to this. Believe it or not, I still love you and wish I didn’t have to do this, but I refuse to let you do to me what my father did to my mother. I deserve better. Good bye, James.”

In less time than it took to get her from the parking garage, she managed to take control and destroy me. Part of me was impressed and proud, but mostly I hated the bitch because I hate to lose and I lost this round. I’d have to wait and see what my lawyers would have to say, but regardless, this wouldn’t be cheap no matter how quickly and quietly we resolved this.

As I stood up to leave, my phone rang and I noticed Delia calling me. “What’s up?”

“Hey, James,” I heard her say and I could tell that she’d been crying. “Dan confronted me about us, and I can’t do this anymore. I can’t lose him.”

“What are you saying?”

“I had fun but it’s over between us.”

“What? You know he got my wife pregnant.”

“Yes, I know, but you don’t understand. I love him. You were great, but Dan’s the guy I’ve loved since forever. I made a mistake and we’re going to try to work it out. Don’t fight this, James. I won’t give him up. Not for you.” She hung up and I’m left to deal with the reality that I lost not once, but twice. I made a fool out of Dan but he got me back as well. I’m left with nothing but a bitter taste in my mouth.

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