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by Elizabeth Marchand
JENN -- This was the definition of insanity; repeating the same behavior, time after time, while irrationally expecting a different outcome. Too bad it didn’t matter. Insane or not, this was her life. Jenn leaned against the headboard, wondering for what seemed like the billionth time, why she kept doing this. He rolled over and gave her thigh a squeeze before stumbling into the bathroom. “Can we hook up again tonight, Jenn?” he yelled. ‘Damn! What the heck was his name again? For some reason Jenn, a reasonably intelligent person, had a short in the area of the brain where names were stored. In instances like these, it could prove more than embarrassing. What the hell. She had no intention of seeing him again anyways. “No Jack, I have to work late tonight; maybe another time.” He wandered back into the bedroom, toothbrush dangling from his hand, toothpaste foaming around his mouth. “Well, first of all, it’s Jason, and I thought you said you worked in a bank. Since when do they have evening hours?” ‘Shoot!’ She really had to work on her story. Jenn never gave these guys her true work, or address, or phone number for that matter. If she wanted to see them again, which she never did, she would find them. Jenn had to work out the details of her lie, so she didn’t keep getting tripped up this way. It seemed that by now, she should be more adept at this whole lying thing.
Elizabeth Marchand 2 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words Jenn swung her legs over the edge of the bed, turning her back to him. “I work in the Commercial department, it isn’t uncommon for us to do loan processing in the evening.” She had no idea if that was true or not, but it sounded good. She just needed to buy herself enough time to get dressed and get out of here. She grabbed for her bra and sweater, which were mixed in with the pile of detritus on the side of the bed. ‘God this guy was a slob.’ “It’s just that I thought we had a great time last night and I thought you might want to do it again - but then, I thought you knew my name, so what do I know?” “I’m sorry about that Jason. It’s kind of early. I’m still a little groggy.” “Early! It’s ten o’clock.” “Yeah, I know, but I’m not a morning person. I’m not usually fully awake until noon or so.” “Boy, your customers must love you.” “On that note, smartass, I’ll say goodbye.” Jenn hastily pulled her straight blond hair through an elastic band, leaving numerous ends shooting out in every direction. She grabbed her keys off the couch as she tossed a “see ya” over her shoulder. “But when will I see you again?” he asked. “You have my numbers, just give me a call. We’ll plan something.
Things were so much easier ten years ago. Now, sex had become a chore.
When you’re 17 and the star running back of you high school football team, getting laid is no problem at all. Now, ten years and 90 lbs. later, working as a small town cop, pussy was not so plentiful.
Elizabeth Marchand 3 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words Jason wondered where he had screwed up this time. “I don’t know Kyle, maybe you have the right idea. Marriage has its flaws, but at least you know you’ll get laid every night.” “Yeah right. Tell me again what planet you live on.” Kyle cracked another beer and raised his legs onto the porch rail that Jason had been promising to fix for the last three years. “You mean that you and Kyra don’t get busy at least once a day?” “Lately......, I’m lucky if it’s once a week.” “No shit! That’s worse than my average.” “It’s different after you’re married. For the first year things are hot and heavy, then stuff gets in the way. Don’t forget, it’s been eight years for us. Maybe things would have been different if I hadn’t gotten hurt. Kyra certainly wasn’t happy about going back to work, and I wasn’t happy about being laid up. You know. We both wanted the traditional family; me bringing home the paycheck and her raising a house full of kids.” Jason belched and crumpled his can, tossing it over the railing into a growing pile of empties. “That was a shitty break, no doubt about it.” He grimaced and belched again. God! He couldn’t even hold his beer anymore. At 27 Jason’s rugged good looks were muted by the extra padding of flesh, but his hair was still as full and blond as ever, and his eyes just as blue. Maybe that was why he was attracted to Jenn. Minus the extra pounds, Jenn had the same Nordic good looks that he saw in the mirror every morning. Why the hell couldn’t he get her out of his mind? “She couldn’t even remember my name, and the phone number she gave me was for a pizza joint!”
Elizabeth Marchand 4 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words “It’s probably for the best.” Kyle said. “What do you care? You got laid didn’t you?” “Sure, but from what you said I’m still doing better in that department than you are, although with those stats you’re not too hard to beat.” Kyle laughed. “Believe it or not, I don’t want it as much anymore. I beg off as much as Kyra does.” “No way! Not mister rough and ready, anyplace, anytime Kirkland. You were the Super Stud of the class of ‘87” “Not anymore. I guess maybe I grew up,” Kyle said, unconvincingly “Or maybe you’re just growing old. Should I call you gramps?” “Think what you want, but you’ll see if you ever get married. It just changes things.” Kyle pelted his empty, hitting Jason in the chest. “Are you going to put those steaks on or what? If I don’t get some food in me soon, I’ll have to stop drinking.” “Oh well! We wouldn’t want that now, would we? I’ll grab the steaks. You check the grill.”
He tripped up the back stairs, slamming his head into the wooden screen
door. ‘Shiiiiiit, shhhhh - don’t want to wake Kyra up,’ he muttered to himself as he manhandled his key into the lock. After 20 seconds Kyle realized the problem. He was trying to force the Chevy’s ignition key into the door lock, with only limited success. Okay, maybe he’d gone one or two beers over his limit, but he was home now. All he had to do was get upstairs and into bed without waking Kyra up.
Elizabeth Marchand 5 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words Kyle stepped on a shoe that was lying in the middle of the floor, wrenching his back. ‘Dammit’, he groaned through clenched teeth. From all appearances, Kyle was an incredibly fit 28 year old. Beer drinking and the recent forced inactivity had failed to relax his taut abdominal muscles. His shoulders and biceps continued to display the sculpted physique that was the product of years of quarry work. It was so cosmically unfair; that this body, which looked so capable of moving mountains, should betray him so completely. Five years ago, Kyle’s body had told him, in no uncertain terms, that it was tired of throwing around 100 lb. slabs of granite. The ultimate rebellion came when he blew three discs in his back. For almost a year, he’d divided his time between bed rest and physical therapy, while watching his workers’ compensation insurance run out. Ultimately, the doctor had rendered his final decree. If Kyle was fond of walking, he would have to find a career where the heaviest thing he could lift would be a phone book. That was kind of a tall order for someone who had spent his life using his brawn rather than his brain. So far, it was an order he had been unable to fill. He moved more cautiously, looking for any other, pain inflicting, land mines. Kyle went back and took his shoes off in the mudroom. Five years of nagging had accomplished that much. If nothing else, Kyra should be happy about that. ‘God, how had things gotten so screwed up?’ Kyra had been so much fun in the beginning; adventurous, energetic and up for anything, no matter how crazy. Being with her was like being with one of the guys, with the added benefit of unlimited sex. That bubble had burst pretty quickly. Now, after eight years together, he was living with a scaled down version of her mother. An involuntary
Elizabeth Marchand 6 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words shudder raced up his spine at the very thought of it. Kyra had morphed into her mother’s clone. The transformation was not a pleasant one. Nora Blakely was an embittered, shrewish woman. Nora’s one true joy in life seemed to be in creating a hell on earth for her husband Byron. Apparently enough was never enough for Kyra’s mother, who needed little or no provocation to turn nagging into an Olympic event. Sadly for Byron, Nora’s gold medal standing in this event was unchallenged. A picture of Byron’s thin, bent frame flooded Kyle’s mind as he wondered if this would be him in 20 years. Kyle made his way up the stairs with one hand on the wall and the other on the banister. If the ground didn’t stop wobbling under foot, he was gonna hurl. That would be a real crowd pleaser he thought, smiling to himself. The smile was quickly replaced by a grimace, as Kyle thought of what retribution would be in store for such a transgression. Yelling, pouting, the silent treatment and sex, Kyra would use her full arsenal. Kyle had embellished a little for Jason’s sake. Sex once a week was when things were going well. Things hadn’t been ‘going well’, for a long time. Catching him coming in drunk like this could easily mean a month long dry spell. That was okay with Kyle. Tonight had been worth it. After all, lately the sex had not been anything to write home about. They used to have mind-blowing sex. Now things were different. When Kyra did relent, she did little more than just lay there until he was finished. Kyle had seen packages of ground beef that were livelier than Kyra on these occasions. He paused at the bedroom door, listening for Kyra’s breathing. It sounded regular enough. Hopefully she was asleep. Quietly shedding layers of clothes as he crossed the room, Kyle ended up beside the bed in his boxers and socks. Moving the blankets aside,
Elizabeth Marchand 7 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words he sat on the edge of the bed and discarded thoughts of taking off his socks. Bending over to perform such a task in his current condition could have disastrous results. He eased himself down, gingerly raising one leg and then the other into bed. Hugging the edge of the mattress, he struggled against any movement that would disturb the current calm. Little by little he allowed his muscles to relax. “So, it seems like somebody had a good time,” Kyra said from the darkness. ‘Crap! All that effort for nothing.’ “How long have you been awake?” “I haven’t been to sleep. How could I? I was too busy wondering if you were wrapped around a tree somewhere. Would it have killed you to call?” And so it began. Kyle got up to use the bathroom - if he had to endure this, he wouldn’t do it with a full bladder.
She handed the customer his change, and turned back to Beth. “I never
thought I would say this, but I think I am starting to hate him.” “Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?” said Beth. “After all, he’s not the first guy to come home drunk. It’s hardly a unique problem.” “Oh, it’s not just that. I wish it was. It seems like it’s everything. I hate the way he chews his food, and that he picks his teeth afterwards. I despise the way he belches and passes gas when we’re in bed, and how he laughs as though he’s just told a hilarious one liner. I’m sick to death of cleaning up after him, and begging endlessly for him to do something, anything around the house. Most of all I’m tired of watching him continue to act like a 17 year old.”
Elizabeth Marchand 8 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words “I don’t know Kyle all that well, but on the few occasions I have seen him, he hasn’t struck me as being overly immature. Lets face it; in general the male population doesn’t set the bar too high on that score.” “So I’m just supposed to accept it. I can’t! I’m living with it day after day, and it’s driving me crazy!” “Have you tried talking to him about it?” “I’d get more response from this paper weight. Take last night for example. He came home after 2:00 am, stinking drunk. It was almost funny, listening to him in that condition, trying not to wake me up.” “It sounds like he was trying to be thoughtful.” “Thoughtful would have been a phone call at 11:00 pm, (when he said he’d be home).Then, at least I’d have known he was alright. Instead, he lets me worry for three hours about where he is and if he’s okay.” “Why didn’t you go out with him? It was Friday night, after all.” “Kyle’s idea of a great night out consists of us going to one of his buddy’s houses. I get to sit around for hours watching them work on cars or play cards while smoking and sucking down one beer after another. In the unlikely event that we actually go ‘somewhere’, it’s to some blood and guts movie or a sports bar. Not my idea of fun.” “Why don’t you insist that he take you somewhere you want to go once in awhile?” “It isn’t worth it. Last year he took me out for dinner and dancing on my birthday, but he made it clear that his heart wasn’t in it. He said he wanted to surprise me, so he just piled me into the car and off we went. It was a fiasco. I was dressed in a ratty old pair
Elizabeth Marchand 9 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words of jeans because I had been working in the garden. Kyle hadn’t bothered to make reservations at the restaurant, so we ended up going to Denny’s. I was so uncomfortable about being underdressed for the nightclub, that I asked him to just take me home. He was more than willing to comply.” “Well, that does sound pretty bad. I don’t know what to say.” “And then there’s the sex. I really used to enjoy sex with Kyle. But that was when he used to put some effort into it. These days I get more satisfaction from my shower massage.” “Is it really that bad?” “It’s worse. Foreplay is a forgotten word in our house. Kyle’s idea of getting me in the mood is 15 minutes of the porn channel. Once he’s ready, he flops on me with a glazed look in his eyes and five minutes later, it’s over, for him anyways. Within minutes, he’s fast asleep. I usually spend the rest of the night, tossing and turning, with a pillow wrapped around my head to muffle his snores.” “Ouch. That is rough.” “Well, I just don’t know how much more I can take. I truly believe in my wedding vows, but I don’t know if I can resign myself to spending the rest of my life in hell.”
BETH -- ‘Could this day get any worse?’ “What the hell were you trying to do?” he yelled through the glass. Beth should know better than to ask herself rhetorical questions that she didn’t want the answers to. This day promised to be a real bottom feeder. She rolled the driver’s
Elizabeth Marchand 10 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words side window down an inch. “I’m so sorry, it was totally my fault, I was rushing to work, and I guess I got distracted.” “Yeah, yeah, save the sob story. I have a meeting in 20 minutes.” Beth stepped out of the car, fishing in her bag for her license. “Is there a lot of damage?” “Are you kidding? I just picked this up from the dealership two weeks ago. It’s a custom paint job. Do you have any idea what a custom paint job on a new Beamer costs? Probably more than your annual salary.” Beth stood there looking despondently at the scratch that ran along the right side of the otherwise pristine car. She had been daydreaming when she pulled out to pass. When she heard the screech of metal on metal, she had panicked and sped up in an attempt to extricate herself from the mess. Beth looked down at the bumper of her 15 year old clunker. With the exception of the black paint transfer from his vehicle, there was no damage to her car at all. ‘Figures!’ She opened the passenger door and shuffled through the crammed contents of her glove box. “Here we go,” she yelled as she pried open the compact ball that was her registration. “C’mon already. I thought I made it clear that I don’t have all day for this.” “Sorry, I had to find my registration. Here it is.” “I’m impressed, an ‘89 Ford; the perfect demolition car. But why the heck did you have to pick me as your victim?” he sneered. “I said I was sorry.” “Yeah, right. You seem to make a habit of that.”
Elizabeth Marchand 11 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words “I’m sorry, I mean... Oh, never mind. Do you have everything you need?” “I guess so, except for the name of your insurance company.” “Oh, right, it’s Liberty, no wait a minute, I think I switched to INCO last year, or maybe it was two years ago.” “No problem, just take your time. I’m only losing about a thousand dollars a minute here, but I’m really enjoying the witty banter, so don’t rush on my account.” Beth hurried back to her car to find her insurance card. She pawed through the debris that had fallen out of the glove box and intermingled with the clutter that had fallen from her front seat when she stopped short. ‘Thank God! Finally!’ “I’ve got it!” “Yippee! I’ll notify the parade committee.” ‘This guy was a real jerk. Well, it was almost over.’ He handed her insurance card back to her. “Don’t you want my information?” he asked. “The accident was totally my fault. I’m not contesting it.” “Fine, but your insurance company may still want my information.” “Okay.” Beth took his paperwork. License, registration and insurance card, all in a neat sleeve, and all laminated for God’s sake! She took a closer look at his license. This guy even looked good in his driver’s license photo. Beth flipped over her registration and started writing. “I don’t think you’re supposed to write on that.” “Oh well, too late now.” She didn’t care, they could cite her, fine her, throw her in jail; she just wanted to get out of here. Now! “Finished,” Beth handed Brad Trenton his paperwork and their fingers touched. A shiver raced up her arm. She really looked at him
Elizabeth Marchand 12 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words for the first time. Waves of jet black hair lightly brushed the collar of his shirt. He had deep brown eyes and a smooth mocha complexion that could either be a by-product of his ethnicity or hours in a tanning bed. Beth couldn’t tell which. No question about it, this guy was very easy on the eyes. His finely tailored suit certainly did justice to the slender waist and broad shoulders. Beth gave her head a brisk shake. It was precisely this kind of daydreaming that had gotten her into this mess. Besides, this guy way a bonafide prick. “Well, I guess we’re finished here. Sorry again for the inconvenience.” “Sure, just do me a favor. Give me a five minute head start,” he said. “I want to put some distance between us before you get back behind the wheel.” Beth headed back to her car, cheeks flaming red with embarrassment. ‘What a jerk.’ She sat down and leaned back against the headrest. It was going to be a very long day. She had just finished her shift at the E street house. In an hour, she was scheduled to work a five hour shift at her telemarketing job. How was it possible to work three jobs and still be knee deep in debt? Beth tilted the rearview mirror. She examined her brown lack-luster hair and sunken hazel eyes. Her tired visage stared back at her, silently asking her; ‘how much longer?’
BRAD -- “Here is her information. The accident was at the corner of Curtis and Broad.” “You know, you’re supposed to call us from the scene of the accident. At this point all I can do is file a report. If she decides to contest any of this it will just come down to a big ‘ole ‘he said, she said.’” Jason grabbed a sheet of paper off of a tall stack and started writing.
Elizabeth Marchand 13 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words “I know, but I don’t think she’ll contest it. She seemed pretty ditzy, but honest enough,” Brad said. “Famous last words,” Jason chuckled. “Well, I was already late for a big meeting. If I had waited any longer, it would have cost me ten times the price of the new paint job.” Jason let out a prolonged whistle. “What the heck do you do?” “Corporate reorganizations.” “I guess you mean takeovers. Sounds pretty lucrative.” “It can be. If you do it right,” Brad said. “Ahhhhh..., there’s always a catch.” Brad finished filling out the form in silence. What the heck was he doing in this backwater burg? Who in their right mind moves from New York to Connecticut without any coercion involved? Talk about a giant step backwards. “I’m not very familiar with this area, is there anything to do here at night?” he asked. “Where are you from?” “New York City.” “Oh, hell, you ain’t gonna find anything around here to compare with N.Y. night life. But hey, I’m getting together with a buddy of mine tonight. You’re welcome to come along.” “Okay, sure. I’ve got nothing to lose.” “That’s the attitude,” Jason said. “I get off duty at 7:30 pm. How about you meet us back here then?”
Elizabeth Marchand 14 The Little Insanity – Commercial Fiction – 102,700 words “Sounds fine, do I need to bring anything; cowboy hat, spurs, six shooter?” “Better watch it,” Jason warned. “Not everyone is going to appreciate your sense of humor.” “I’ll try to tone it down,” Brad said. “Are we all set here with this paperwork?” “Looks like. I’ll see you back here at 7:30 pm.”
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