FRIDAY #FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #32-Betrayed.
The world’s worst luck
Sitting on a chair covered in plastic, I tried to find a Reader’s Disgust that wasn’t produced before 2005. A buzz of laughter from children watching cartoons provided some diversion from the white walls and people whose tasteless clothing came from thrift shops. Then the cartoons stopped, forcing me to ruminate over my life.
I’d lost my 7th job in a row, none of them lasting more than 2 years. I kept wracking my brain over who had betrayed me and what the betrayal was about.
At the age of 32, with 2 divorces, I finally found a man who genuinely loved me. What’s the problem, you might ask? I’m used to loss and betrayal. I just don’t know how to handle normality.
My new boyfriend, a kind man with a gentle smile, had none of the good looks that accompanied the womanizers that plagued me in the past. We met when he started working in stocking and cleanup at my former employment. Such a sweetie! He offered to move in and take care of me until I could find another job.
There’s a place in your mind that screams out at you when life messes with your routines. My boyfriend said I was probably depressed and needed to see a therapist. Two days ago, I had to answer a bunch of true/false questions on an MMPI that took an hour to complete. Then some guy spent 10 minutes with me in a place called triage. After hearing my story, he scheduled me for the first available appointment. When was I finally going to see the therapist?
“Stormy Waters,” The medical assistant announced. As usual, several people giggled.
I followed her to an open door where 2 chairs identical to the implements of torture in the lobby awaited. A woman in her mid 40’s, strands of grey beginning to show through her shoulder length mousey brown hair, pointed to the chair that faced her degrees and said, “Please have a seat.”
Unwilling to stare at the proof of her success for the next 40 minutes, I took the chair that faced a view of the parking lot. Frowning, she tucked her beige pleated skirt under her as she sat.
“My name is Dr. Branch. Tell me about yourself,” she said, as if reading it from a script.
“The day I was born, it rained so hard my parents were stuck in the hospital,” I explained. “When the flooding stopped and the roads were passable, my dad found a hole in the ground where the category 5 tornado pulled our house out by the roots.”
“It says here that you were born June 8, 1984 during one of the worst tornado outbreaks in US history.”
“I have the world’s worst luck,” I sighed. “My first job ended when the place burned down. Then I found a job at The House of 10,000 parts.”
“Isn’t that where that cargo plane crashed?”
“Yep. It was my day off,” I said. “Job 3 was raided by a Swat team…”
“None of this is your fault,” she said, looking above my head at the diplomas on her wall. “Tell me about your personal life.”
“I have this terrific boyfriend. We met at work, then I was fired. They say I shorted the register by $100, but I’m very careful. My boyfriend moved in with me last week. He said he’d pay all the bills until I could find another job. I love his dog, they both love me, and I’ve never been so happy. I don’t know how to handle happy. “
She plastered a fake smile on her face and asked, “Do you have a picture?”
“He doesn’t like pictures, but I took one when he wasn’t looking,” I said, scrolling through my phone to find a man staring at the TV, his Rottweiler next to him. “Here are the 2 loves of my life. My honey is so funny! He insists on coloring a star-shaped bit of white fur on Woofer’s side so he’s all black. That’s the only weird thing about him.”
“Did…did you say…star shaped?” I swear she turned as white as the walls, her hands trembling from her anger. “That is all the time we have for the day.”
It takes 2 busses to travel from the clinic to my small apartment. At first I was thankful the police cars were a block up the street, until 2 officers led my boyfriend out in handcuffs. A 3rd was leading Woofer out behind them.
“Where the hell are you taking my dog?” I asked the officer holding the leash.
“Who are you?”
I gave him my name, relieved he didn’t laugh at it. “This dog is part of an open case. The victim’s sisters insisted that if we found her safe, they’d find her killer. No one expected to find her dog. Did you know your boyfriend had a $500,000 life insurance policy on you and still had $2000 of the money the victim had stored in her safe?”
“There’s a safe in my house?” I asked.
“Be thankful we caught him before you became a victim.”
“Who did he murder?”
“Don’t you read the papers?” I shook my head no. “Some nurse named April Branch. Her sisters May and June have been searching for her killer for the past year. There were no leads until June was shown a picture of her sister’s dog. She specifically asked that you get the $50,000 reward for turning him in.”
“I have the worst luck,” I grumbled, walking toward my apartment.