by Alan Berger
We told and tell people we met in Church.
At St. Patrick’s Cathedral yet.
That would be a falsehood, but she liked saying it. She called herself “A romantic embellisher”.
We met within sighting distance of St. Pat’s on 5th Ave while she was walking her big dog and her little boy.
It was a massive German Shepard and I love German Shepherds’ and this was the kind you see old guys with the look of money in their eighties and nineties walking around Manhattan so nobody would dare fuck with them.
We gave each other a look that said it was alright to turn the look into sound.
“Can I pet the pretty doggie”? I requested.
“Go right ahead”, she said back.
I thought I caught the dog laughing, but I have a giant imagination and reasoned it was because animals love me so much.
One of my ex-wives said whenever I got near animals it reminded her of Snow-White walking in the woods and the creatures of the forest threw her a love parade.
She said a lot of things but that’s neither here or not there anymore.
When I went to pet “The pretty doggie”. He lunged for my throat faster than Trump reaches for Viagra.
She pulled him back just in time to save my life. I felt immediately she had plenty of practice.
She said something in German to “The pretty doggie”. And I became Snow-White again as “Rutger”, “The pretty doggie”, licked my hand like it was a lollipop.
One thing led to another as they do sometimes when you back into something that has a lot in common with the expression, “Nothing is more undeniable than an idea whose time has come”.
She had been divorced about the same I was and of course, true to all divorce stories, her ex was a real prick who doesn’t even visit his kid.
The four of us started a real good thing and since I never had kids, hers became mine. I got “Rutger” thrown in too.
I told her at the beginning that I didn’t have a lot of money and she said she had enough for the four of us. “Just don’t cheat or beat me”, she negotiated and said that would be fine and on and on we went.
I moved in with them after the end of my wait and see six- month period and of course kept my job as a non-profit writer-Uber driver.
I came home one night, and she was crying along with the other two and all I could think of was a breast cancer diagnosis. But what they were crying about was far worse.
It seems she got a call from her ex-husband who demanded 10,000 dollars or he would take the kid away and she believed him big time.
Her check book was by her side with a check for ten thousand dollars and no change already made out to the, “Prick from Hell”, as she reminded me of her affection toward her son’s father.
I told her that if she paid him, it would only be the beginning of “The gravy train”, that would never run out of steam.
She agreed but said it would be worth it.
Then I agreed but added that there might be another way to go down this crooked and winding road.
Her ex-husband was supposed to come over the next afternoon and pick up check number one.
I told her that would be fine. I’ll be here.
When the “Prick” showed up right on time she smiled and let him in, then, I introduced myself to him and we shook hands.
We all heard the toilet flush and the kid comes out in a sailor suite and hat that I had bought for him.
He was carrying a little play like suitcase and blowing his nose liked I coached him.
I told dad that we didn’t have any money because I gambled mine and hers away and what was left over I bought drugs with and by the way, here is a list of the medications the little tyke is going to need for the rest of his life and that I hoped he had good medical insurance.
He said that he left flowers in his car to give to his past love and would be right back to get the kid.
We never saw or heard from him again.
There are many ways to skin a cat and, once in a while, one of them works.