1. Every Friday after school, she drops the kids at their father’s place. Then she puts on her denim halter top and hits the bars. On Saturday morning she wakes up with a hangover, searches for her underpants, then checks the GPS to see where she is, sets a course for the soccer field, picking up a coffee on the way. After the game, she picks up a box of wine and a pregnancy test and goes home to clean up and get ready to go out. The only joy in her weekend comes when the game is called off for some reason. Why she didn’t give up custody when she had the chance… well, she couldn’t give you an answer now. Except maybe that her life has been one bad impulse after another.

  2. Except it contradicts everything we know about the character.

    And what’s worth following about that train wreck of a life anyway?

  3. @ Powers: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

    Much of fiction is about train wrecks. Either the speeding toward, attempting to avoid, the actual smashing, or cleaning up the debris.

  4. Singapore Bill: I also enjoyed it. (But I assume the character’s weekend hookups are with other comic strip regular characters, and I demand names!)

    I’d like to think that back when her standards were high-ish she at least went for, say, Rex Morgan or Mike Doonesbury, but after a while she’s stooped down to the level of threesomes with Mother Goose and Grimm.

  5. @Shrug: They all are kind of blurry, through the haze of booze and pills, none of them relieving the pain she feels deep in side. The only one that can reach her is Ted, from Sally Forth. The bastard calls her every time he can steal away from Sally, but he never stays. He whispers the sweet words she longs to hear, tells her that he wants to leave Sally but he can’t yet, she’ll take him to the cleaners, that it’s not the right time and on and on, one hand stroking her cheek, sweet, light kisses on her lips, as the other hand moves behind her neck, untying the denim halter top. But, soon enough, he’s looking for his other shoe, rushing around. He has to go meet the insurance adjuster, he says. Something about a werewolf statue. She wipes the crust from the corner of her eye, wondering why the tears she feels won’t come. Rooting around on the nightstand among the empty cigarette packs. Searching for comfort she can never seem to find as the door closes behind him.

  6. SBill has created a new genre. Comic Noir. I can hear the piano lightly playing in the background.

  7. That’s not really Noir, John Kowalkowski. Though it could be…

    Shaking one packet after another, she finally found one with a cigarette rattling inside it. She put it between her lips–the lips that still tasted like Ted–and rooted on the nightstand for a light. There it was! A matchbook. She opened it and pulled out a match and struck it. It flared to life. She touched the flame to the tip of her cigarette and sucked the smoke deep into her lungs, then let it out through her nose.

    She was about to toss the matchbook back on the nightstand when she saw the name and number written on the inside in a bold, masculine hand. “Steve” and a number. She remembered Steve. He was a handsome guy with an ugly disposition and a monster in his pants. If the bruises hadn’t been visible she might have called him for a follow-up session, but she didn’t like having to make excuses for the marks to the kids. Or the looks, both pitying and disdainful from the other mothers when she picked the kids up at school.

    Steve had been evasive about he did for a living. Given where they went and the friends of his that she met, Jill figured it wasn’t exactly on the up-and-up.

    The end of the cigarette glowed red as she pulled in another drag, fingering the matchbook, staring at the number inscribed there through the smoke haze.

    Ted was never going to leave Sally. But if she were out of the picture…

    Jill picked up her phone from the nightstand, sucking on the cigarette clutched between her lips, and dialed the number.

    It rang several times and she about lost her nerve and hung up, but then he picked up. “Yeah?”

    She dropped the matchbook on the bed and took the cigarette from her lips with with her free hand. She took a deep breath and put on a smile. “Hi Steve. It’s me, Jill. I just found your number and was wondering if you’d like to get together?”

    “Hey, good to hear from you. Are you able to walk straight yet?”

    Jill squeezed her thighs together, remembering.

    “I know it’s short notice,” she said, “but I’ve got the rest of today and Sunday free. Want to do it again?”

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