The Bench

The Bench

The Bench

I see many different derrieres each day and they all have a story. Sometimes the only part of the story I receive is what they had to eat last. My job is not always easy as I sit here dealing with the elements nature brings to me and the tushes that bring a hefty weight to my world.

Christine’s tush started out small but over time it expanded as did her life. When she first came here to sit she would cry. Her husband was an abusive sort but as time moved on so did she. Her life expanded to include a good man, step-children, and grandchildren. Within this menagerie of life, she also included rescue dogs to weave their wags into her family’s lives.

Katty’s tush has not expanded yet her life is full with a good husband and her propensity for Weinheimer dogs. For some reason, Katty prefers male dogs. They lift their legs and leave pee-mail for the next dog to read. This is not to say that Katty did not sit here and shed tears. Her grief was palatable when her sweet Easy passed over the rainbow bridge. My steady frame held her grief.

Monica’s was the last tush in this park that I held. Hers did a yo-yo of small to big back to small. She seemed to always be in a flux, from one relationship to another. Each one would bring tears than joy the last one brought more of a burden than I could hold. It was a hot summer evening Monica came and sat down heavily. Not that her tush was large this was one of those times it was small but as she worked on the half gallon of ice cream I could tell there was going to be an expansion. The parking lot is not far from where I am. A truck pulled up, Monica looked up from her grieving remnants of ice cream. I could feel the fear tense in her body. She did not move just sat holding the carton of ice cream so tightly that it started to ooze down the front of her shirt and dripped onto me. I hate when that happens it draws ants. A male’s voice called out some derisive words. Monica still did not move. I wanted to tell her to get behind me I would shield her. It was too late, the shots rang out one hit Monica one hit me. Blood mixed with the ice cream dripped down the seat and then down my leg. I wish I could have shielded her.

The police came and dug the bullet out of me; paramedics covered Monica head to toe. I wish I could tell them about the truck and the man with the gun but all I have is shoulders which hold the burdens of all who sit. The park attendant was kind enough to hose me off but the one thing he could not clean away was the loss of a soul on my watch. I will never know if the man that took Monica’s last breath away from this earth was caught but I was glad to hear I was going to be retired.

I was glad to be moved from the park when the park did a cleanup to update the grounds. I retired to a nice back yard at Christine’s house. She wanted me there to hold whatever came to her family. Thus far I have held Christine as she sipped wine.I let Christine’s dog Wilma sit on me while she was mending from surgery and her granddaughter Madison who is learning about life in her grandmother’s garden. I know one day I will hold her son as he grieves the loss of his mother but right now it is love and joy that I will hold until I am needed for more.

Ice Storm Chapter 2 Friends with Benefits

Ice Storm Chapter 2

Friends with Benefits

 

Esther and I have been seeing each other for a couple of months now. Stan and I have become friends. I laughed when Stan met Hans Krause. On the last Friday of the month, Hans Krause takes over the kitchen. He makes the best Chinese food I have ever eaten. Before moving into this facility Hans owned a Chinese restaurant. All his customers were surprised when they met Hans. By his name, you picture a burly blue eyed German man but what you see is a slight built oriental.  When I asked him if his father was of German descent he said “No. When I came to this country I stood in line at immigration, when it was my turn the gentleman asked me what my name was I said: “Sam Ting” he wrote down Hans Krause. The fellow before me was named Hans Krause. I did not notice the error till I got home. I did not want to stand in line to correct the mistake, I kept the name.”

Tonight Esther and I are going to a movie matinee then an early dinner. The movie was a romantic comedy called “How to lose a guy in 10 days” I was not fond of the movie but Esther was taken with Matthew McConaughey.

I walked Esther to her room once. I call it a date even though she pays her own way. I was surprised when Esther invited me in.

“Henry, please come in and stay for a while,” Esther said

I sat on an overstuffed plaid love seat. Esther went to her refrigerator and came over to where I was sitting with an aerosol can of whipped cream. She sat next to me and said: “This is my greatest weakness. Have you ever been pleasured with whipped cream?” She asked

I said no as I was taking off my pants and shirt. She disrobed and told me to sit down. She sprayed the whipped cream on me and began to remove it gently ever so gently. Oh my, it was wonderful. She had me nuzzle and nibble her while her head was tilted back she slowly ate the remainder of the whipped cream until there was only air left which she also sucked in.

After we showered and dressed I said: “I really like this friend’s with benefits.”

Esther laughed while she walked me to the door. There was no kissing goodbye but our eyes met and we both knew we cared deeply for each other. Once I arrived at my room I realized I never got a look at the tattoo. I made a mental promise to take a look next time.

I waited the next morning for Esther to come to breakfast. Stan came to the table I told him he was welcome to join us. Stan just stared at me and finally said: “Henry, you haven’t heard what happened last night?”

“No? What happened last night?”

“Esther was found dead in her room. This morning I heard the autopsy showed she drowned. They call it dry drowning. There was whip cream in her lungs of all things.” Stan said

I just sat there with tears running down my cheeks. I was speechless and crushed. Just then we heard a commotion in the foyer. Men with jackets that said ICE on the front and back came through the doors. The administrator said: “Hans Krause is in his room”

One man said: “We want to also speak to Henry Gruber.”

A knot tightened in my stomach wondering what they wanted with Hans and me. The administrator pointed in my direction and said: “That is Henry Gruber.”

By then another man had Hans Krause in cuffs. The man who seemed to be in charge said: “Un-cuff him that cannot be the Hans Krause we are looking for. How in the world did you get that name, Mr. Krause?”

Hans went through his story the man said: “Let me suggest you change your name to Sam Ting.”

I am too old to run so I sat in my seat and decided to take what’s coming to me like a man.

“Mr. Gruber? Do you have any identification on you such as a passport or driver’s license?” the man asked

“I have my identification in my room. If you would like to follow me I will get them for you.” I said

I knew what they were after and was hoping they were not through so I could move to another facility. Unfortunately for me once they read my Brazilian passport they knew they had the real Hans Krause. They arrested me for war crimes.

Stan visited me in prison once. I asked him to do me a huge favor, while he is at the funeral find out what is tattooed on Esther’s wrist. He sent a card and said: “The tattoo said “Kid Rock”

 

 

Ice Storm Chapter 1

Ice Storm Chapter 1

Living

 

“Hello Stan, welcome to the Bridge community. You will like it here there are so many things to do. They have a movie matinée daily right before dinner. There are therapy dogs that come to visit each week, also chapel on Thursday, hair stylist for cuts and a shave, someone comes in to read to you if you have problems seeing. “Henry Gruber said

Stan answered: “Thanks, Henry. How long have you been here?”

“My daughter dumped me here 5 years ago. She married a man that I do not approve of. This was her way to distance herself from her horrible father. I actually like it here I was bored living at her house.” Henry said

“That is awful what some families do to their elders. Karma will happen to the evil that men and women do. We are called to care for children and the elderly.” Stan remarked

“You are so right Stan I like the way you think. We will get along just fine. Are you interested in meeting some of the ladies I will point out to you which ones to stay away from?” Henry replied

“I haven’t met a woman I wanted to stay away from. They are my Achilles tendon. Definitely my weak spot.” Stan said

Just then Margie stepped into the dining room wearing a light pink dress; she had a white purse and wore white cotton gloves.

Henry said: “Now there is one that you will take out for a meal and a movie but she will not reciprocate any of your advances.”

 

Stan said: Oh Henry, don’t tell me you tried something on the first date?”

“Of course I spent $30 dollars on that woman. We went to the Ponderosa for lunch I rented a video and even bought her daisy’s to put in a vase. I expect something for my money. Don’t you?” Henry said

Stan laughed and said: “Actually I like the challenge of a girl who knows her worth. I had enough bimbos in my time I am ready for a challenge.”

I enjoyed my conversation with Stan. At first, I was disappointed in his response to my approach to women, but once I thought about it, he may be on to something. I will mull it over and see if I can have more success in between the sheets.

There is a woman that I have been eyeing lately she has copper hair, long limbs and she wears wispy dresses all the time. I noticed a small tattoo on her wrist but have not gotten a close enough look to see what it says. She always wears a large watch or bracelet over it. When she is walking around outside I noticed she hums a little tune. She seems content with herself and her life, so I think I will try Stan’s approach.

The following afternoon I noticed the woman I wanted to meet. I strolled up next to her and introduced myself: “Hello my name is Henry Gruber. Do you mind if I walk with you?”

Her smile was soft and gentle as was her voice: “Hello my name is Esther Shapiro. Yes, you may walk with me I would love the company.”

We walked quietly for a few moments. I started to feel increasingly comfortable with her. We started to chat about the facility, movies, kids, family, and the lousy food in the cafeteria.

I ask her if she had any plans for dinner, she said no. I said I was considering ordering Chinese food and have them deliver it. She agreed to have dinner with me if we could go Dutch.

I said: “I have no problem with you paying for your own food I tend to be cheap.”

Esther laughed and said: “I do not date I would like to have dinner with you as a friend.”

For some reason that seemed okay with me, having dinner with a friend.

Maybe Stan did have an influence on me. I am not sure I like it but what the heck, it’s never too late to make changes, self-improvement is a good thing no matter what age.

We met in the dining room to have our dinner. Several of the residents stopped by wondering what we were eating. By the time we were done eating others were sitting with their orders of Chinese food, pizza and some were eating the mystery meatloaf served in the dining room.

Esther agreed to meet me for breakfast the next morning. The cooks at the facility did a good breakfast it is hard to screw up eggs or oatmeal for that matter. Esther had oatmeal and a banana with coffee; I had one egg over hard, 3 rashers of bacon toast and a coffee.

“Henry, do you eat eggs and bacon every morning?” Esther asked

“No, sometimes I swap the bacon for link sausage or have the cook do a ham and cheese omelet. I have never had a weight problem nor high cholesterol.” I said

She nodded politely but I could tell she was not in favor of such a breakfast. It finally dawned on me her last name being Shapiro she may eat Kosher.

“Esther? Does what I eat offend you?” I asked

“Oh my no Henry, I am sorry if I gave you such an impression. My husband died of heart disease it makes me sensitive to such breakfast choices.” Esther said

After breakfast, Esther and I went for a walk. I reached for her hand and was pleasantly surprised she did not pull it away. We arrived at the park sat on a bench. We watched people in the park and made a game of guessing what the person does for a living, if they are married, have kids. Joggers approached with the clapping of their shoes on the path, huff and breath sound as they pass and the clapping becomes distant as they disappear from view.

All and all a very nice start to a friendship. I hope it leads to more.

 

 

Don’t move the Furniture Chapter 7

Don’t Move the Furniture
Chapter 7 Sybil

Sybil called Elizabeth every day, I presumed it was just to converse and feel connected. A month into our marriage Elizabeth asked me, “Morty I am concerned about Sybil. She doesn’t seem happy. Her husband Charles works a lot of hours which leaves Sybil home alone with the kids. It seems as though she is raising the kids alone. I want to help somehow; I get this dark feeling something is not right.”

I said: “It can be pretty dicey to meddle into someone else’s marriage but maybe a girl day and have a chat over lunch.”

Glad you said that. It is exactly what I was thinking; you just confirmed how I should go about this.” Said Elizabeth

Since Sybil could not get a babysitter I volunteered. I found it funny no one was concerned about leaving the kids with me. They probably would have been had they spoken to Connor first before saying yes.

I know I will have to keep them away from those special brownies; I am sure we can find something fun to do. All elders love when children come for a visit.

Sybil arrived with Jeff and Matilda. The introductions were made and once Sybil and Elizabeth left Jeff spoke up and said; “I am the oldest so I should say what we should do today.”

I looked him directly in the eyes and said: “You must not know all your numbers. I am the oldest and I will say what we will do today.”

Matilda laughed and punched her brother and said: “Mom told you he wasn’t any push over see you should have listened.”

Of course the conversation melted into the shut up one up- man-ship.

I put a stop to it by saying: “Shut up both of you mutts!”

Jeff scowled at me and said: “Were not dogs!”

I said: “You do what I say. If I tell you to bark then you better bark.”

Matilda said: “You can’t make us bark!”

I laughed and said: “Oh I have my ways by the time I am done with you; you will be chasing your tails and barking.”

By the looks on their faces they were convinced I was crazy enough to do just about anything.

Now that we had the pecking order established we started out for the activities center.

As soon as we walked in the door there was a round of awes and oh’s, aren’t they cute. Neither Jeff nor Matilda was impressed with the attention until I took them into the exercise room. They each took turns on the machines until they got bored. Jeff was the first one to say he was hungry. I took them to the dining room, sat them at a table and walked over to the kitchen and asked Mark if he could give us some soup and grilled cheese. I like this facility they are so accommodating, especially when there are children involved.

We finished lunch; I then took them over to the gaming room where we could watch a card game. Jeff said he was good at poker, he sat down at a table and asked if there was anyone who wanted to play a game of poker. Two guys sat down and the game began. By the time they were done each man gave all their nickels to Jeff. I patted Jeff on the back and congratulated him. To my surprise he shared his winnings with his sister. Later I found out it was hush money since Sybil did not want him playing poker.

I called Elizabeth to ask how much longer they would be, she said probably an hour. I told her no problem I could find one more thing to keep them occupied.

I took the kids into the gathering room where everyone goes just to kick back and chat. I said to them; “I am going into the library to see if there is a book I could read to you. Your mom and Aunt Elizabeth will be back in an hour. They both nodded their heads as I walked away. It took me longer than I thought it would. By the time I got back Jeff and Matilda were on the floor playing with something. At first I had no idea what they were playing with until Mel walked over and said: “They looked bored so I figured they would have fun playing with some of the toys I had in a box.”

The first thought that came to mind was “Oh Shit.”

Just then Lucy came around the corner with a plate full of brownies. I put up my hand and said: “Lucy you will not corrupt these kids.”

Lucy laughed and said: “OH, Morty these are kid recipe brownies.”

I answered: “Okay I was just making sure since I am their step grandfather now.”

Lucy also had single cartons of milk to go with the brownies. I patted her on the back and said: “I bet you are the best grandma around.”

Lucy said: “Oh thank you Morty that means so much to me.”

Just as the kids finished their brownies and milk I received a text from Elizabeth saying they were home. On the way back to the condo my gut when in a knot when both kids started to chatter up a storm about their dad and how he likes to keep secrets. I knew I was in trouble so I asked what kind of secrets. Jeff said: “The one about the lady who stopped by our table at Chucky Cheese and asked directions to dad’s office because she said she must be in the wrong spot since the man taking care of her file was not at his office like he said he would be.”

My first thought was, I am going to kick his fathers ass.

We walked in the door Jeff was still chattering. I stopped listening 5 minutes ago. Sybil spoke up and asked: “What did you do to my kids?”

I shrugged and said, “ Lucy said they were Children recipe brownies.”

Elizabeth bust out laughing. Jeff finally shut up and laid on the floor and went to sleep. Matilda was snoring on the sofa.

Sybil said: “I thought your Daughter in law Kay Lee was joking. You really are a pain in the ass.”

I handed Sybil Connor’s business card and said: “Jeff and Matilda was chatty on the way back here. I believe you may need some legal counsel.”

Sybil looked at the card and then back at me and said: “Aunt Liz already gave me a card thank you I have an appointment in 15 minutes. Hope you do not mind having the kids for a little while longer?’

No I don’t mind looks like they will be sleeping off the brownies.” I answered

Before I leave what was Jeff going on about vibrating toys?” Sybil asked

I shrugged looked over at Elizabeth whose eyes were wide as saucers. I said in my defense, “I went to the library to find a book to read the kids by the time I came back to the gathering room the kids were on the floor with the toys and Mel came over said he thought they looked bored. Would you explain to Sybil while I go out and get myself some beer?”

Elizabeth answered:” Sure but next time bring something home for me while Mel is not looking.”

I laughed headed out the door and I was relieved to hear both the girls laughing. Once Sybil divorced her husband Jeff and Matilda spent a few days a week with us while their mother was working. I was surprised I started to enjoy having those Mutts around. We now have this thing we do anytime someone says something we don’t like we start to bark.

 

 

 

Don’t Move the Furniture Chapter 6

Don’t Move the Furniture

Chapter 6 Reality check

Connor had the best solution to the Sybil problem, he drew up a living trust for Elizabeth, and he added the stipulation that if anyone of the kids raised a fuss as to how the estate would be distributed they would be immediately disinherited.

Kay Lee is a gem she loved the fact that Elizabeth and I were married and she couldn’t wait to meet Sybil. Kay Lee has a dark mischievous side which I adore. The kids arrived all at once. The normal introductions were made and the first one to speak up was Clay he shook my hand and said, “Glad to meet you, my aunt, Elizabeth tells me you’ve swept her off her feet.”

I laughed and said, “She has that backward.”

Clay smiled giving my hand another shake. Nice guy, I think we will be just fine together. Next Estelle came over gave me a hug and said she was glad I was part of her Aunts life. Now I am wondering what Sybil would say. She did not say a word nor did she even acknowledge my existence. I walked up to her gave her a hug and said, “Nice to meet you, Sybil.” She did not exactly scowl but she did tense up.

I watched how she interacted with her brother and sister. She went over to Elizabeth and whispered something in her ear. Elizabeth gave her a rocking hug wrapping her arms around her as though she was an injured child. That is when it dawned on me this was not about the inheritance this was about her feeling as though she is losing her aunt. I asked everyone if they want something to drink help themselves, I gave the full list of refreshments available. The grandkids already had their juice boxes. My son Connor grabbed a beer, as did Kay Lee. Estelle poured herself an ice tea, Clay grabbed a beer and I poured and handed a glass of wine to Elizabeth and Sybil. Sybil finally made eye contact which gave me the opportunity to say, “Sybil, I am the sort of man that is good at sharing. You are not losing your Aunt you are gaining a crazy old fart.”

Her eyes widened with surprise I heard everyone else laugh. Sybil started to cry as she wrapped her arms around Elizabeth.

Clay blurted out, “Oh for heaven’s sake is that why you have been such a pain in the ass?”

Sybil spoke through her sobs, “Mom’s gone all I have is Aunt Elizabeth.”

Kay Lee went over to Sybil placed her arms around her and said, “I could really use your help with the old fart.”

Sybil laughed and blew her nose. She came over to me and gave me a hug then said, “Give me any trouble old fart and I will kick your ass!”

Another round of laughter Connor asked everyone to sit down around the dining table because he needed to talk to everyone. The kids were watching a video so the adults did as they were asked.

Connor went through the living trust he set up for Elizabeth explaining each detail. Once everyone was done with questions they seemed to be happy with the results. Sybil said to Elizabeth, “Aunt Elizabeth you do know it was never about the money? I just did not want to lose you.”

Elizabeth said: “You have not lost me you have gained an Uncle.”

No one picked up on that right away. Finally, Estelle said, “Wait! Gained an Uncle?”

I said, “Yes we were married last week. I promise it was not a shotgun wedding.”

Once it finally registered what happened another round of greetings went around the table. This time it was more amiable.

The meal went splendidly, we said our goodbyes as each of the family members left. I turned to my wife picked her up and took her to bed.

The next morning I asked Elizabeth why the spouses did not come with the kids. She said she had asked Clay and he said they felt this was more of an immediate family issue, besides the spouses begged off not wanting to get in the middle of a feud.

I was glad Sybil came to terms with my relationship with her aunt. I am glad to have more grandchildren to spoil given the chance I will teach each one how to be a pain in the ass.

 

Don’t Move the Furniture Chapter 5

Don’t Move the Furniture

Chapter 5 Meeting the family

Elizabeth and I went out to breakfast. She started to tell me of the chaos it caused when she told her nieces and nephew she was seriously seeing someone. Her niece Sybil (which by her description was aptly named)

Sybil picked up Elizabeth and was the first to go off on her about getting into a relationship at her age. Sybil gave her all the cliche reasons why she shouldn’t get involved. 1.after your money 2. do not really know him 3. you will regret not enjoying singleness 4. should play the field. 5 repeated #1

I Told Elizabeth, Sybil was in it for the money she is worried about her inheritance and how dare you to risk it all.

Elizabeth nodded in agreement. The nieces and nephew and their spouses were in Sybil’s backyard when they started to argue among themselves. It bothered Elizabeth that upon Sybil hearing about the relationship she quickly called the rest of the clan to tell them they needed to have an intervention. She told her brother and sister they should get babysitters this needs to be adults only.

While Sybil’s brother Clay and sister Estelle were arguing among themselves one of Sybil’s neighbors came over to see what the commotion was. Janice the neighbor whispered to Elizabeth ‘Would you like me to drive you home?’

Elizabeth readily said yes. Sybil was upset that her other siblings did not agree with her assessment. They believe their aunt should live her life to the fullest.

I said ‘So there is hope that this will calm down. Not that Sybil will come to her senses but if she gets into my face I will set her straight.’

Elizabeth said ‘I know I can count on you no matter what I say to that girl, she never listened to me’

Elizabeth explained she wanted to give the kids a couple of weeks before she invited them over for a meal. She will make the stipulation that if they do not bring the kids they need not come.

I love the woman’s spunk so I suggested “Elizabeth, let’s have a bit of fun with them. I have a friend who is a real estate agent. I could borrow one of his for sale signs and place it in front of your place.”

She smiled and said ‘ I am ahead of you Morty. I am wondering what you would think of me moving in here. I like where your place is set off to the side and have woods off the deck. Gilbert my neighbor was talking with his friend John about friends of his wanting to move here but there were no units available. I told Gilbert that mine might be available fully furnished.’

I leaned back and said ‘I love the idea and would like to up the ante. Let’s get married. Not tell anyone. Then spring it on your family at the dinner. Also, I would like to invite Connor and Kay Lee as well as the grands. I will give Connor heads up on the whole ordeal. This would be one way to once and for all put Sybil in her place.’

Elizabeth took a breath and said ‘I will give Gilbert a call. You let Connor know. After I have moved in we can set the date and time.’

I said ‘First things first let’s go to city hall and tie the knot.’

She agreed, she went home changed into a beautiful beige silky dress, pinned her hair up added a little jewelry and makeup. Stunning she is stunning.

When we arrived home at our place I did my best to do the groom thing. I unlocked the door picked her up in my arms to carry her over the threshold. I nearly dropped her but we made it through the door laughing like two little kids.

After we disrobed and sealed the deal with an under the sheets meal, we showered and began to make the phone calls. I told Connor about Sybil and her siblings. Then told him Elizabeth and I were married. He laughed and said ‘Oh Gawd Dad you are a pain in the ass, did you not consider a prenuptial agreement?’

I told him no, I believe I am a good judge of character also with the irrevocable living trust I believe the inheritance was set. Maybe that is needed to put Sybil’s mind at ease but first I want to have my fun with her.

 

Don’t Move the Furniture Chapter 4

Don’t Move the Furniture

Chapter 4 While she is gone

 

I know the adage ‘while the cat’s away the mice will play’. In this case, I plan on being an absolute gentleman. I do not want to ruin things between Elizabeth and I. Since we have been seeing each other I have not kept up with what is going on with Paula. Nor Mel for that matter I wonder if Martha and Mel have been up to more antics?

I did not see Elizabeth off the next morning her niece was picking her up. She said she would use the three days to slowly let the family know about our relationship. Elizabeth then planned on having the immediate family over for a meal and introductions.

I decided first to call Rick and get an update on him and Paula I waited till what I thought was a respectable time to call 8 am. The phone rang a woman’s voice answered I asked for Rick. Rick came to the phone “Yah what can I do for you?”

I said, “Hey Rick I guess I am calling at a bad time?”

Rick said, “Hold on.”

In a few moments, he came back on the line and said “That was Paula who answered I needed to say goodbye to her. She is late for work.”

Smiling to myself I said, “I did not recognize her voice hope she didn’t recognize mine as well?”

Rick laughed and said:  “She thought it was someone from my work.”

I said “Good. So I am assuming things are going well between the two of you?”

Rick said “I do not kiss and tell but I will say this I owe you a thank you. Paula is intelligent and interesting. Nothing like many of the bubble heads around here. She is a bit headstrong but that is no problem.”

I told Rick I was glad to hear it. After our conversation, I had coffee and some breakfast. While I was cleaning up after breakfast my phone rang it was Elizabeth she was crying “I told my niece Sybil that I was seeing someone and she had the audacity to say to me ‘Oh Aunt Liz your too old for that sort of thing.’ I let her have it with both barrels and told her in no uncertain terms to ‘Buck up buttercup’ the rest of the ride was done in silence. I am only calling you because I needed to vent before I go downstairs and listen to the rest of the choir.”

I cannot believe I said, “I love you Elizabeth and if you want me to come there to be your back up you know I will at a moment’s notice.”

My heart hammered in my head hoping she wasn’t going to pull away. I was pleasantly gifted with “I love you too Morty how silly of us not coming right out and saying it yesterday. It is so immature of us isn’t it?”

I laughed and said we need some of the immaturity to have fun so let’s not grow up too soon. I heard someone calling her name. Elizabeth hung up I grabbed another coffee and headed out to the activities building hoping there was something going on that would keep me out of trouble.

As I walked through the door I could hear banter over a card game going on. Pinochle between the girls and the guys. I decided to sit off to the side hoping to glean some juicy gossip about Mel and Martha. It did not take long when John spoke up “Hey Morty did you hear that Mel and Martha went on a cruise? They got in some kind of trouble and they were told at the second port they needed to find another way home or stay in their cabin the rest of the way.”

 

I smiled and said “Really? What were those to love birds up too?”

 

John said “They were trying to get other couples to wife swap, even the young couples. I guess the young couples were the ones that made the fuss. The way I heard it some of the older couples were game for the game.”

Lily was shaking her head “In this day and age the diseases you can pick up with that sort of behavior.”

 

John laughed and said “Mel can barely pick up what he needs for the game how in the world would he pick up a disease? Plus with all the Ben Gay and lubricant I do not think much could get passed the rest of the wrinkles.”

 

We all started to laugh I looked over to the observation window and noticed Paula standing there giving me the signal she wanted to talk to me.

 

I walked out hearing Lily tell John to behave himself and not be crude.

 

‘Hey, Paula how have you been?” I said

 

‘Actually pretty good can you keep something to yourself?’

 

‘Sure what’s up?’

 

‘I want to thank you for introducing me to your friend Rick. I also want to know what you know about him.’

 

I told her all the gory details of the three people in my life which passed within days of each other and what a vital role Rick had played in the events and subsequent days following, Rick became a very close friend of the family.

Paula seemed to like what she heard. She then asked a question I was not sure I should be honest when I answer. “Did you bring Rick here for me to meet?”

 

I took a moment to ponder how I would go about telling her. I did not want it to sound like what it was, a set up by both me and Rick.

‘I had feelings for you that I knew you would not reciprocate and being the controlling old fart I am I figured I would see to it you met men I would approve of.’

I started to sweat hoping she would take it in the manner I meant it.

 

She looked at me ‘Morty if you were 10 years younger there would be no holding me back. Your grand gesture is a bit chauvinist. But knowing who you are the gesture does not offend me. All I ask is that you no longer meddle in my personal life.’

 

I told her I would not as long as she sticks with Rick. Beyond that, I make no promises. She laughed asked about Elizabeth and I. I gave her the short version not embellishing on our embellishments if you know what I mean?

It was my turn to ask a question “What is going on with Mel and Martha? I hear they were about to be kicked off a cruise liner for indecent proposals?’

Paula rolled her eyes and said ‘Because of privacy issues all I can say is their vacation was cut short. They are flying back”

 

I nodded and wondered if they would also be restrained on the plane for trying out the mile high club.

After talking to Paula I wandered around lost for what to do with myself. I felt this way when my wife passed. I told myself I would never feel this way again. Yet alas here I am befuddled by this thing called love. Hoping she will find an excuse to come home early.

I am considering calling her to give her pointers as to how to start a fight leaving them believing they did something wrong and giving her a reason to call me for a ride home.

Yet I know she loves those kids even when they are being donkeys.

 

As I was walking back to my place the thought occurred to me. I need to rent an old video and invite people in for some nostalgia. I could order some pizza, chicken wings. Have a beer, wine, and mixed drinks. If I get stinking drunk I will sleep for a couple of

days by then Elizabeth will be home. I stopped by the fountain halfway between my place and the activities building. There are benches there to sit and enjoy the roses I guess. I sat down made a few calls. Some of those I invited are from the facility others from my old neighborhood. All in all 8 people said yes. Now onto the video store for Casablanca. Everyone voted for that movie.

 

Everyone was to arrive at 6 pm we would eat, drink, and mingle then at 8 pm the movie starts. Some brought lawn chairs other large pillows for the floor. We had a lot of laughs as we joked about old times. My new friends talking to my old friends hoping to find out things they could use against me. What they found out was that I was respectable and boring when I was married. I did not turn the corner until I was left to my own devices.

 

As it turned out we not only had the items delivered from the pizzeria, there was a smorgasbord of potluck items. I lost track of who all showed up. This is very reminiscent of what happened to me in high school, a simple invite to a few close friends brought out the entire school. No matter I am having fun drinking beer and eating myself silly. Still wishing Elizabeth was here she would have had fun as well.

 

I looked at the clock it is now midnight. I am feeling light headed and need to take a walk to clear my head. Being that all my company is adults I can leave them alone for a

moment, I hope. The thought of Karma did occur to me. Had it not been for Elizabeth coming into my life, I would have come up with some shenanigans.

My intent was to sit by the fountain. I stood looking at the fountain and without hesitation, I decided to disrobe to my skivvies and sit in the fountain hoping to clear my head. Not sure how long I sat there with my eyes closed when I heard a familiar voice say “Can I join you?” Opening my eyes I thought it was an apparition. Elizabeth was standing with a grin on her face eating a brownie. She at least kept her clothes on. I tapped the water as if it were the sofa. Elizabeth stepped in as she shoved half the brownie in her mouth. I asked where she got the brownies she told me “at your party one of the residents brought two batches to share. I must say they are pleasant”

I laughed out loud and said “That is Lucy’s specialty. I wondered why my head felt fuzzy.”

Elizabeth leaned on me. We were enjoying the coolness of the water spraying over us when a flashlight was stuck in our faces. A man in uniform said “Okay kids the party is

over. Get out of the fountain. If you are the guy who is having the party I want to advise

you to tell your guests to go home. No one should drive, calling a cab would be the best bet.”

 

I laughed again looked over at Elizabeth she was giving him the finger. I said, “Excuse her rudeness officer she has never eaten a brownie before.”

He said “This one time I will let it go as long as you take my advice. By the way don’t you think you are too old for this sort of behavior?”

I said “Obviously not and son I hope in your golden years you will not be either. Also, hope that if you are caught not acting your age a kind fellow will give you good advice.”

To his credit, he laughed.

I got out helping Elizabeth step out of the fountain. I put my long sleeve shirt around her and did not bother putting my dry clothes on. We walked back to my place hand in hand. By the time we arrived the party was already dispersing. There were three cabs out front with gray-haired Q-tips climbing in the back seat.

 

I was pleasantly surprised my place wasn’t trashed. Much of it was cleaned up. There were dishes in the sink and no one was sleeping in Papa bears bed.

I dried off. Gave Elizabeth one of my shirts we climbed into bed. I decided to wait till morning to ask her why she was home so early.

I was the first one up bright and early, 9 am. I was feeling foggy but no hangover which I actually deserve a hangover. It must have been the cold water from the fountain.

Smiling to myself I started the coffee. The thought did occur to me that it may be too soon to ask Elizabeth to marry me. Seeing her climbing into the fountain to be with me just caused my sentimentality to surge. What did I do to deserve another special woman in my life? I really thought I lost all hope of being in love again. This time around the love is different. Elizabeth is fun, Marie was warm and maternal. Marie was a great housekeeper, mom, and wife. I am not even sure how to explain the difference to myself.

I heard Elizabeth start the shower, I pulled her clothes out of the drier brought them into the bedroom, made the bed, laid her clothes out. I went back to the kitchen to fetch us both a cup of coffee. By the time I returned to the bedroom Elizabeth was pulling her top

I was smiling ear to ear as I handed her a cup of coffee I said “Good morning beautiful. You do not know how pleased I was to see you were home.” Then I blurted it out “Elizabeth will you marry me?”

My heart started to pound in my chest. Damn what did I say, why didn’t I wait?

She took the coffee step towards me, kissed me and said “Not yet big boy.”

She added, “You have to meet the family first, not that they would be invited.”

I smiled and realized the answer was actually yes.

Don’t Move the Furniture Chapter 3

Don’t Move the Furniture

Chapter 3 Monday Madness

As I walked into my kitchen on Monday I started to take stock of everything that happened since Marie passed 2 years ago.

Day of the funeral my daughter Connie was so distraught she had an asthma attack. They could not revive her. We buried her next to her mother 3 days later. Brent, Connie’s finance was so distraught at the funeral he screamed obscenities at God. Left the cemetery. The police report stated there was alcohol involved when he hit the tree. We buried him next to Connie 3 days later.

My son Connor was a bulwark of faith and strength. He got that trait from his mother. Marie had a way about her, which calmed the retarded teenager in me. Early in our marriage, she watched me wind myself up about something as trivial as the yapping neighbors dog. Before I had a chance to plot the little rat canines death Marie had me planning what color to paint the kitchen or what tree to plant near the azaleas.

I am not good on my own. I will admit I am a better man due to Marie’s gentle and kind heart. Proof that I am not 100% rehabilitated my latest Neanderthal adolescent acting out.

I realized this morning I have feelings for Paula. Realistically being nearly 20 years her senior would not be good, for her. What I can do is set her up with someone I believe is good enough for her. Being she is independent in thought and deed my planning and execution will have to be stealth

Any of Connor’s associates are out of the question, unlike Connor they are ambulance chasing minions.

Rick Nagel would be my choice. X navy seal, paramedic. Manly enough to go toe to toe with Paula. Heart of gold. Good friend to our family. He took care of Connie and did his best to save her. Also was with us when we were informed about Brent’s accident.

With Rick I will be straight about my intentions, to be sure he would be interested. I picked up the phone chatted with Rick, we made arrangements to meet for coffee so I could give him the low down on Paula.

We sat chatting for awhile. Rick is good at what he does I had no idea I talked for an hour about myself, how I was doing, my antics, Paula when I finished I sat staring across at Rick and said: “You son of a bitch you got me doing the whining little bastard routine.”

Rick laughed and said “Really? And you do not feel any better?

I nodded and said, “I do it did help sort out a few more compartments in my baggage.”

After paying we agreed the best approach is for Rick to accompany me to the activities building on the premise that I was showing him around.

We walked in the front door and I burst out laughing. Someone had moved all the furniture. Paula was standing with her hands on her hips turned her head to look at me. I raised my hands in surrender and said: “I didn’t do it I have an alibi.”

Rick played along “I can only attest to the last 4 hours.”

She smiled nodded looked directly at Rick, he did his handsome grin. Paula walked over for introductions. Her hand was out to Rick as she introduced herself. Rick did his part and held the hand for a count. Now that is out of the way I asked Paula “Do we have any suspects?”

She looked at me and said “Copycat in all areas of your escapades.”

I raised my eyebrow and said, “Excuse me?”

Paula had a twinkle in her eyes but kept a straight face “Seems Mel decided to date one of your X conquests Martha. Seems she is a bit of an exhibitionist now that you showed her the initial thrill.”

Oh, I smiled thinking I could show Paula the same thrill and said: “How can you be so sure it was Mel and Martha?”

Paula said “Because at Breakfast the whole place was in a twitter about what they saw on their way to the dining area. Martha without even a blush proudly said ‘Instead of criticizing you should all try it!’ Mel swaggered in leaned over and gave Martha a wet kiss.”

I shook my head and burst out laughing. I never figured Mel had it in him. Guess I was wrong about Martha as well. Rick did not show much of what he was thinking. He stood quietly and listened to the banter back and forth between Paula and I. Finally he broke his silence and said: “Maybe this facility needs a designated activities room for adult entertainment.”

Paula and I both laughed I said: “Oh what could go wrong?”

Paula still laughing said “Oh the liability when one of the women get pregnant.”

We all stood laughing when one of the residents came up with a stern look on her face and said “You all are a disgrace. This is not a laughing matter. This needs to be dealt with I am offended by this behavior!”

I leaned over gave Lucy a peck on the cheek and said “Oh sweetheart I remember those brownies you baked for me. Do not stand there being spiritually superior.”

Well, that put an end to her complaints. Paula looked at me and said “And on top of everything else do I have a dealer in this place? I feel as though this is a frat house for heaven’s sake.”

I said “Well I could give you the low down on who has all the sex toys. Mel used to sell them for a living he still has connections. When we set up that special activities room make sure there is a trapeze, handcuffs and such.”

That comment just made her spin on her heels and walk away.

I looked at Rick and said “Sorry I screwed that up I had hoped the conversation would go a little longer.”

Rick said “No problem I will take it from here. I already got the go ahead.”

I know the question was written on my face Rick laughed, shrugged and walked towards Paula. I stood back looking on. Rick leaned over said something quietly to her, she smiled and nodded her head. Rick turned walked up to me gave me a goodbye handshake and took his leave. I stood there dumbfounded.

Now what to do with the rest of the afternoon. I think I should go ask Lucy to bake me some brownies. I could keep her entertained while the brownies were in the oven.

As I was walking out the door in the direction of Lucy’s condo I was confronted by this very elegant looking woman about my age and height for that matter. She had white hair, tanned skin that should have more wrinkles. Eyes the color of the sky. The sight of her made my knees weak. The heck with Lucy I have to find out who this ravishing creature is. I strolled up to her with my best George Hamilton swagger and smile. Reached out my hand to introduce myself. She looked directly at me and said “No introductions needed your famous around here amongst the female residents. I will not shake that hand because I can only guess where it has been tickling. My name is Elizabeth Compton. Don’t you dare call me Liz or any variation.”

I stood there smiling looking directly at her and said “I assure you before and after I dine I always wash my hands”

She actually laughed and said, “Yes you are living up to your reputation as a scoundrel.”

We both just stood there for a moment before I came to my sense’s “May I take you to The Melting Pot Bistro in town for lunch?”

What time would you be picking me up?”

How about right now?”

Oh, my I am not at all presentable for lunch at a Bistro.”

Darlin you are the most ravishing woman I set eyes on. You are more than presentable.”

With that, I put my arm out for her to hold and escorted her to my car. Suave right?

Opening the door of my car, after she settled in I gently closed it walked around the front of the car so she can get a good look at my ever handsome being. I sat down, put my seat belt on put the key in the ignition and said: “How long have you been at Pleasant Ridge?”

She answered “Just little over a week. Moved in after my house sold I decided I did not need to live in a big house with a big backyard all by myself. My husband of 40 years passed away 2 years ago. It took me awhile to let go of the place. It was my dream house. My dream died so it was time for me to leave.”

That sent tears to my eyes I had felt the same way when Marie passed. Just like my dream died. I told Elizabeth what I was thinking. We drove in silence to the Bistro. Now I was hoping we could get back to the congenial conversation after that.

I wasn’t disappointed. Once we were seated the owner of the establishment came over She is also the chef. She told us the specials and asked if we would like wine she then suggested two that would go with what we ordered. After she left the table I looked at Elizabeth she was sipping her wine with such precise delicate moves I said “You really are stunning, and no I do not say that to all the women. I have only said it to one in my life.”

She smiled a sweet sincere smile and said “Thank you it is so kind of you to say. You don’t remind me anything of my husband Joe.”

I laughed out loud and said, “Good because my ego could not take comparisons.”

That made her laugh as well. This Monday is going much better than I expected. After a glass of wine each our meals came. She ordered Shrimp in garlic sauce over penne noodles, I ordered the prime rib sandwich with a salad.

We chatted about ourselves between bites. I learn they had no children. She adopted dogs, trained them and used them as therapy dogs. Her husband was a Veterinarian and a Vietnam vet. I told her what I did and how people naturally assume I am an attorney and how I use it to put people off their game. She said her husband would have liked me. That statement left me wondering if she was ready for a relationship. Once I laid eyes on her I knew I was ready.

After a few times out together, breakfast, lunch, dinner some meals I grilled. Elizabeth asked me just as we were settling in to watch a video we rented. Picture this; she was standing in front of me, the remote in my hand. Looking down at me she asked, “What is wrong with me?”

I was astonished beyond reason. It is rare I have been left wordless. This should be marked on the calendar I did not have any satirical come back. I said, “Nothing is!?”

She pressed her knees against mine and said “The other women in this facility said you were a hound, baying after whatever was under a skirt. Yet you have not made any move in that direction. I am not an exhibitionist I like to keep my crazy private.”

Well, you have to know what all my parts thought about that as I was mulling this over in my mind. I said, “what do you have in mind I was wanting a long term relationship, not a one-night stand.”

She said, “If you do not want to be compared to my first then you will need to get creative.”

By the time she was done saying that in what seemed like one move she had my belt off pants and underwear down around my ankles. Lifted her dress enough to straddle me. Put go juice on me and sat down with pleasure. I am here to accommodate.

We finally disrobed to the bone of nakedness. I turned on the stereo we danced literally cheek to cheek, hip to hip, and the full frontal Monty. From there we danced the dance of demons, not angels. Oh, what a night was a lyric we both sang when we were finished.

After pulling our clothes back on Elizabeth told Me she was going out of town for a few days to visit family.

Morty asked, “Would you like me to drive you?”

Elizabeth said “No. Soon you will meet my family. I have not told them about us yet. I wanted to first decide what we are?”

Morty said, “I hope we are an item.”

Elizabeth said, “ I believe we are and can be more.”

Morty said, “Good then we are on the same page.”

Elizabeth went for her purse and Marty said: “Aren’t you staying?”

Elizabeth answered “I need to sleep in my own bed so I can be rested for the trip. I will be gone for 3 days do you think you can behave till I get back?”

I laughed and said I would give it my best shot.

 

 

Don’t Move the Furniture Chapter 2

Don’t Move the furniture

Chapter 2 The company picnic

I agreed to go with Paula to the company picnic. The main reason for my accepting the invitation was curiosity. Why is this 55-year-old businesswoman asking a 70-year-old retired Architect out? When I arrived to pick her up she was in a soft flowing yellow sundress, with strappy sandals and wide brim straw hat. Yes, I notice things like that Marie modeled for catalogs she would put an outfit on, twirl around describing the outfit as they do in the catalog. We were easily entertained. This woman is boggling my mind. One minute I think of her as Neo Woman next thing you know she looks feminine and wispy.

After I closed her door, set myself down on the driver’s seat I turned to Paula and asked: “Paula I want to know straight up why on Gods green earth did you ask me to this function?”

Even though you wrote a great letter Corporate gave me the choice of quitting or being fired. I chose to quit because it looks better on my resume. I decided to poke at the hierarchy with our presence.”

I laughed so hard Paula’s icy veneer gave way and she joined in. Wiping tears from my eyes I said “Well you know what I say? Thanks for including me and game on!”

Turning to me she asked “How do you want to play this? I bow to your expertise.”

Smiling I said “Well you sure know how to puff a guy up. Well if we walk hand in hand it may add fire to the flames which may look badly on your resume.”

She nodded while I continued “Play it easy as if we belonged there. Stay long enough that the right people take notice. Leave everyone with a good feeling and a lingering question. ‘What the heck were they doing here?’ That should pretty much sum up a response from the Corporate jerks.”

Nodding again she said “I like it. Will do.”

Okay, Paula afterward may I suggest where to have lunch? I am thinking Anabel’s we can sit on the porch sip margaritas, enjoy the surrounding and nibble on a great lunch.”

She loved the idea which left me wondering if there were more motive than just sticking it to the man. Paula is not my type but a ride around the block is not out of the question as far as I am concerned. I guess I need to play it easy as well.

Parking the car I took a moment before getting out of the car to take in the lay of the land. I wanted to know how many families and how many singles. This will help me determine the dynamics of the group. I got out slowly a few heads turned. I stretched and slowly walked over to open the door for Paula. She had a slight grin on her face. Not all who are attending this function will know who I am. I did notice one woman I had seen before in Paula’s office. Paula slowly emerged from the car stepped away from the door ever so slowly. As I closed the door she smiled and waved at someone. They waved back. I did not hold Paula’s hand but I did the gentile move by placing my hand slightly on the small of her back. Yet keeping my distance. This move old timers would consider a dance direction move. The guy is letting the girl know which direction he wants to walk. I want the Corporate jerks to think I am in control. I whispered looking forward explaining what I was doing. Paula’s response was “Good to know” She whispered where she wanted to go and that is where we went. Sitting at a picnic table under a tall expansive oak was a guy with Dockers on, white knit collarless shirt holding a beer. Across from him were two children I guess the ages to be 10 and 13. There was a woman standing at a table nearby looked in our direction and her countenance changed exponentially when she saw Paula. That look I have seen before pure unadulterated jealous rage. My first thought was Paula is poking at the guy she had been Poking. Oh, what a bad girl. This old guy is going to give her a scathing lecture about cheating.

Paula started to make the introductions as the man stood up. “Morty this I Jack Larson, the sweet woman standing at his side is his wife Marisa.”

Nice touch I thought that changed the look on Marisa’s face slightly. Paula walked over and gave Marisa a hug whispered something in Marisa’s ear. Whatever Paula whispered put tears in Marisa’s eyes. All the while I made small talk with Jack about the weather and who won the last baseball game. Paula came over to me and said: “Morty I want you to meet John and his wife Jean.” As we walked toward the couple John visibly stiffened. Jean was more cordial, plastering a plastic smile on her face hand extended.

Jean was the first to speak with a slight southern genteel accent “Oh Paula how wonderful I am so glad you could make it dear.”

Paula genuinely smiled walked up and gave Jean a hug whispered something into Jean’s ear which changed the genteel smile to a glaring sneer. After which she turned to John made introductions all the while keeping eye contact. If Paula was a man one would say they were readying for a cockfight. John’s jaw was clenched while he pushed a smile and shook my hand. He then turned to Paula and whispered loud enough for me to hear “Hope you did not do any more damage to Marisa.”

That gave me pause. Paula whispered back “No sir, I apologized and told her I did not know that Jack was married. I added I hope she could find it in her heart to forgive me.”

I then spoke up “What is it about men, that need to stray and lie about it? They should man up so it can be to consenting adults. Instead of leaving 2 victims and his honor is still intact?”

This received a shocked but not angry look from John. Jean, on the other hand, did a harrumph and walked away.

I weighed in again to get John’s pulse “I am sure Simmons’s corporate discharge their valued employees for indiscretions do they?”

John blinked, stood mute for a couple of beats “Yes they do. In fact when certain information comes their way they reconsider the discharge.”

By golly, she was not fired because of my bad behavior she was fired because Jean did not like finding out that an employee was doing the nasty. I wonder why Jack did not get the boot also. Again I weighed in “I am going to say this straight up man to man. Your wife may have convinced you this was the right thing to do. My guess is because of her insecurities believing Paula may one day come after her husband. With that said clearly this is discrimination dismissing the female and not the male also. I am sure it will be rectified. That is if Paula wants her job back. I am also sure it will include a little bonus and a raise.”

John stepped back I can tell he was miffed at my forwardness, also cautious. My guess is he may think I am an attorney and not a retired architect. No one would know what I did for a living unless I tell them, on the application, I placed the word Privacy in the blank as well in the space when asked what was my income. I figure it is no one’s business. From that, he may assert I am an attorney. I did it just to see if they would put up with it.

Jean came back over to join us. I am sure out of pure curiosity and the need to control. I was glad to see John was going to man up.

Paula, would you consider coming back to Pleasant Ridge? Before you answer I would like to offer you wages lost and a bonus of $500.”

Jean gasped started to say something, John quickly turned to her and said “Darling new information has come to my attention. I am doing this as an apologetic gesture.”

Jean couldn’t take it she said “We do not owe her an apology for her unprofessional behavior. She assaulted this man.”

I turned to her and said, “I was not assaulted it was foreplay if you must know.” Paula bust out laughing and said, “Oh Morty behave.”

I was surprised to see John laughing he said “Oh I so understand now what was happening in the community room. Hey, Morty do you play golf?”

I said, “Sorry no I am more of an armchair football and baseball player.”

John nodded and said “Well then I have season tickets for all home games with either sport. I will give you a call and you and I will have to go.”

Jean was beside herself. John moved over to Jean putting his arm around her. Leaned over and kissed her on the top of the head. He then whispered just enough for us to hear. “I would never stray darling and Paula is not a cougar.”

Jean looked up at her husband with a mixture of anger and hurt. Paula and I excused ourselves while walking away to give the couple privacy.

I was surprised I did not see Paula’s sidekick. “Hey Paula where is your sidekick, isn’t she coming?”

Paula said “Sherry was upset they let me go I think she is boycotting. Morty that was brilliant on your part. Tell me what type of an attorney are you?”

I smiled and simply said “Architect.” She busts out laughing “This is more fun than I thought it was going to be.”

I smiled and slowed our pace down with a slight tug to Paula’s arm. She turned to me “Paula when I figured out what was going on, primarily by the look on Marisa’s face when you walked up. I was going to give you a scathing lecture. What you said to Marisa changed my mind. I will say this, it is never a good idea to play at work.”

She nodded “I know. I work so many hours it is hard to find companionship. Morty, it is not okay for me to play at work with the customers either.”

I laughed “Duly noted. We can be friends and I promise to do my best to behave.”

We started walking again back to the car she said “I know you will try but let me give you advice. You will be leaving behind carnage with these women who hope their night in shining armor has finally arrived. Or those who believe they got a second chance.”

I was stunned. I never took into consideration that I may be doing more harm than good. Leaning over to open the car door a woman approached us. At first, I did not realize it was Marisa she called out “Hold on you two. I want to have a word with Paula.”

I had a nervous feeling in my gut. This could go two different ways. Amiable or she has a weapon. I turned and slightly put myself between Paula and Marisa.

Marisa smiled “I come in peace. You want to search me for weapons. Please! I think it will be the beginning of payback.”

I laughed and said, “Actually counseling or a lawyer is what I would advise.”

Marisa laughed “Are you available?”

I was not going to let on “Retired but I can refer you to an excellent attorney. My son as a matter of fact.” I pulled his card out of my wallet and handed it to Marisa. She thanked me, hugged Paula and thanked her as well.

The trip home was congenial sharing bits and pieces of our past as friends, not prospective lovers. Her husband of 2 years passed away in a car accident he was drunk ran off an embankment. I told her of Martha’s struggle with ovarian cancer. I found myself spouting all sorts of proud dad bravado about my son Connor. I have 2 grandchildren a girl named Madison a boy named Shane. Madison is the oldest now 6 Shane is 4. Both brilliant of course. Paula is a good listener and she laughs at all the right jokes.

I keep telling my ego back off she is too young for you. I like her tenacity. I especially appreciate how she went toe to toe with me.

Paula said “Your an old fashion guy at heart Morty.”

How do you know that?”

The way you talk about your son and his wife. You like the fact that Janice is a stay at home mom.”

I understand that many moms do not have that luxury. I believe whenever it is possible the mom should be home raising the kids. If not mom Grandma, sister and such.”

Paula nodded “I wanted kids but after Mike passed I could not even think of falling in love again. Mike and I were great together but his drinking would eventually come between us. I never expected it to end like it did.”

I sighed “You never found someone that you could love?”

She grimaced “I thought I did but as it turns out he was married to Marisa.”

My turn to nod “Well darn and I am too old for you. But seriously Paula don’t stop trying.”

She laughed and said, “Like you Humpty pumpty?”

I did have to laugh. I know I deserved it. I was acting like an adolescent. Funny how people act out their frustrations in different ways. Mine was to run from one rabbit hole to another. I was Alex in Wonderland.

I slowly pulled into her driveway and thanked her for a nice afternoon. I got out after telling her to stay put till I opened the door. To her credit, she sat there waiting.

I opened the door and she slid slowly out of the car stood up looked me straight in the eye and kissed me like no other. Yikes, I was hoping my appreciation wasn’t showing.

Once our lips unlocked she smiled and said “Now that I got that off my bucket list, when we see each other on Monday we are going back to business as usual. Except for your escapades I hope.”

Laughing I said “I will give it my best shot. What are the odds I can remove something from my bucket list?”

Her smile was wicked “Slim to none.”

I smiled back and said, “I will take my chances at slim.”

Don’t Move the Furniture Chapter 1

Don’t Move the Furniture

Chapter 1

I moved here because of the insistence of my kids. I have to give them credit; it is not a nursing home nor is it an assisted living. They call it senior living center. The rules I have problems with. I have always had problems with rules especially decorum. So when push comes to shove I screw with people any chance I get. For example, the first day here, after Connor left I went to the clubhouse. It was well laid out with furniture, lamps, media center, big screen TV. The rooms were large and sectioned off by well-framed windowed walls. Everything is organized by what I would call an uptight feminist they called the administrator. There are chairs and wingback loveseats. I felt it could be better utilized in different areas.

Consider being in a comfortable chair near a window wall watching a well-built woman on a treadmill or better yet a stair master. I did not place them conspicuously, only changed the wall and angle they were on. Next day they were moved back.

I heard the Neo woman (administrator) say something to her associate asking if she knew who keeps moving the furniture. This associate whom now I refer to as Neo’s Sidekick, said she did not know who did it. I guess it must bother the Neo woman because she put up a sign stating she did not want the furniture moved. I laughed at the sign and decided I would really have fun.

I put a nanny cam in the flower arrangement, cameras pointing in several directions. It had a live feed so I could sit in my room watching them blow a gasket. Neo Woman came out seen the furniture not only moved but standing end on end with a sign saying “If you do not like this wait till you see what I will do next” Ha! I was married for 40 years there is no woman that can tell me what to do and what not to do. When I am told what not to do everything in my testosterone says: “Game on!”

While all this was going on I set a date with one of the gals. I like that she is 5 years younger than I am. At 70 years old a 65-year-old looks like young citrus

I first took Martha for a ride on the Chief. Not what you think; it is a call and rides a bus for the community. We went into town for lunch then walked in the park. When we were in the park she said: “Morty, I need to go to the bathroom but I hate public bathrooms, you can get all kinds of diseases if you even touch a handle, never mind sitting on the seat.”

Martha you can sit on the edge of a picnic table and take a piss.”

Morty, I could not do that in public!”

Martha! We will pick one secluded; I will stand with my back to you and watch for any passerby’s.”

She agreed and just to mess with her when she was in midstream I said: “Martha someone is coming.”

Morty, I cannot stop, now I will be arrested for indecent exposure!”

My laugh gave it away. Hey, it worked well the danger turned her on. The next thing she said was “Morty! I thought you were Jewish! You’re not circumcised!”

Martha, my mom loved the name my dad said you should never cut on a boys privates it will stunt the growth and his manhood.”

Martha and I had a few interludes one of which her daughter walked in on. Not sure why she thought it was unseemly to find her mom and myself in the activities room participating in an activity. What is the room for anyways? Her biggest beef was the window. She screeched something along the lines of “Did he move the furniture so others could watch?”

I yelled back “Hey it’s what gets her off calm down and get some excitement for yourself!”

So the Neo woman called my family in and suggested they find another retirement community for me. My son said, “We will talk to his doctors he may have some issues that can be dealt with.” I said nothing, he is my son. I am hoping he is screwing with the Neo Woman. Then again he may be screwing with me. Oh, I would be proud if he were screwing with me. He is bright but not bright enough to win.

My son did make an appointment for a checkup just to appease the Neo Woman. I am fit as a fiddle, body, and mind. This gave me a magical thought of how to screw with the Neo Woman.

After my appointment, I went into the workout room. I was on the treadmill when I heard the Neo Woman’s voice. She was berating her sidekick. Saying something along the lines that she is responsible for the activities and keeping the seniors busy so they do not get bored and participate in unsophisticated activities. When I heard that I laughed out loud and said “Darlin you need to get laid, come on over here and join me. I will show you what real men do well.”

Neo Sidekick whispered, “I thought they put him on meds.”

Neo Woman said, “Maybe they need to up the dose.”

Obviously, Neo Woman has not been to her office yet. I’ll know when she has. There will be no way she will be able to prove it was me.

When the scream came, there was much swearing. I stepped off the treadmill and said to Neo’s Sidekick “That is not sophisticated speech she is using.”

Neo Sidekick said, “What did you do?”

I shrugged, eyebrows raised “Me nothing whatever do you mean?”

She walked away in a huff towards the office just as Neo Woman stormed full speed ahead out of the office towards me. What happened next took me by surprised and turned me on all at the same time. She has a great right hook. There were gasps, some cheering from a jilted lady or two. Martha came over asking if I were all right and if she should call the police. I said “Martha, maybe just some ice and a cup of coffee.”

We meandered over to Martha’s place I could hear Neo Woman justifying her behavior sputtering out the horror of finding porn on her home screen. Here I thought she was an animal lover.

Once in Martha’s Condo, she placed ice on my eye and herself on my lap. Yes, indeed I am feeling better already.

Later that day my son called asking me if I put the porn on Neo Woman’s home screen. My defense was that I do not know that much about computers plus her password is something that protects such a thing. I told my son maybe she forgot to erase it before going home last night and she needed an escape goat. So unless one of the jilted ladies spews the fact she taught me more than sideswiping sex I am in the clear. I started the rumor that Mel might have done it because he did not get the book that Neo Woman had promised him.

Mel was walking around like a rooster pretending to be offended at the mere suggestion he did it. Mel loves the attention and he probably like’s the idea people believe he is maniacal enough to do such a thing, when in fact, he is an unimaginative wimp.

My son had called said he was stopping by after work. Knowing what it was about I made a trip to the store to get a beer and snacks figuring we could kick back while I faced the music. This time I know I went a bit too far, I can’t actually apologize it would let on that it was me. I will not press charges and speak to her superiors on her behalf explaining my arriving at the facility took adjusting for both of us. Being a rebellious sort, to begin with, which did not make the transition easy for either of us. I drafted a letter sent it out wanting a signature from whoever took possession of the letter. I kept a copy for my son and sent a copy to Neo Woman. Her name is actually Paula; she really is not a bad sort just a bit high strung.

I also sent Neo Woman flowers with a card that said “Sorry for being such a hard case” Signed it your personal furniture mover Morty.

My son arrived not looking all that pleased with the world. With a beer in hand as I opened the door, I handed it to him. He tipped it back finishing it nearly with one gulp, then reached for the other.

Connor, are you sleeping over?”

He looked at me and I knew it was not all about me. My stomach ached hoping I was not the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Dad, I will be taking you up on the offer, if nothing else to keep an eye on you for at least 24 hours. Kay Lee has gone to her sisters.Her sister Morgan just got the news she has late stage ovarian cancer, inoperable due to the size and location. Dad, could you please give me your word not to be yourself for some time. I know you miss mom. I know that is why you are being such an imbecile but really, consider giving me a break okay?” Connor asked

I give you my word Connor,” I said

We sat down each in a recliner. I put 3 beers on ice set it next to Connor, then parked myself next to him. I told him about the letter, gave him his copy also told him of the flowers. I had to add for comic relief that I should ask Paula out on a date, she may be acting out because she is jealous.

Connor, as I had hoped tipped his head back and laughed.

Connor and I spent a guy weekend playing pool hanging out. He suggested I get a cribbage game going. I liked the idea but wondered if there are enough women who may be interested. Girls against girls and in time whittle the group down to play girls against guys. I had decided first thing Monday morning I would get on it. Unbeknownst to me Connor already started a list by talking to those watching us play pool. He also rallied enough players on Saturday we could start 2 groups of guys and gals on Wednesday. Paula came out to thank me for the flowers and letter also said Wednesday is blocked between 1 pm and 3 pm for cribbage. I nodded realizing Connor took care of that. I cannot take all the credit only 1/8th the credit for the type of man he turned out to be. Marie was a great mom and wife.

Something was different about Paula she seemed more human even after Connor left. Or maybe it is because I was not running around moving furniture or trying to nail any female willing.

I do not regret my behavior it was fun just like being in college except I did not have to worry about getting any of my conquests pregnant.

Our first Wednesday Cribbage group was amiable, even fun with their easy humor and jesting back and forth. I eyed the gal table wondering if any of them would be fun to play with. As I was doing the pros and cons of each one Paula came in to kibitz with each of us. What is she up to? Is she purposefully messing with my head?

After the game, all who participated helped break down the card tables folded the chairs. I was chatting with Mel who was now going to be a co-organizer of the games. He has a head for organizing, he was an administrator with a company who made personal amorous products. That is the nicest way to put it. Here I was thinking he was a bean counter instead I found out he made the beans jump and say whoopee! We were quietly discussing the difference between a personal vibrator and a vibrator called U-tuber. I may consider buying one or both as a play toy for my personal harem. Slowly but surely Neo Woman came over smiling and looking quite fetching. She nodded toward me suggesting she needed to speak with me privately. I excused myself and walked over to where Paula was standing.

What can I do for you, Paula?”

Morty, I got to thinking about your peace offering and extending yourself to my superiors. I was wondering if you would like to be my guest at the annual company picnic. I do not plan on staying long. Just to make an appearance. Afterward, we could stop and get a bite to eat.

My brain was working overtime. She is asking me out. What the heck is she up to?