With Halloween approaching our thoughts in the Gutter turn to love. Love can tempt, and love can corrupt,
but in the corridors of the powerful, love can also terrify.
but in the corridors of the powerful, love can also terrify.
A Good Woman is Hard to Find by Max Sheridan
They say a man will do anything for love. I’ve never been in love, but I’ll tell you what. A man will do just about anything for a woman he’s fucking. When you’ve got your dick in her honey hole and she’s squeezing you tight, she could ask you to shoot her boss, and some of us might do it. Or close to it anyway. Or worse.
I’d just relocated to the DC suburbs from Reno. Thirty-five. Divorced. No kids. Water engineer. Wanted to be closer to my folks but, you know what, I can’t stand my folks—and I was lonely.
I’d rented a house. I’d sit out on the screen porch in the evenings with a six-pack waiting for something to happen, the ceiling fan trying to cut through a humidity I wasn’t used to. When night finally did hit, I might have been the last man on earth. It sure felt like it.
Until I met Jack.
Jack lived in the big Tudor house on the corner. Swimming pool, trampoline, three-door garage. Throw in a beautiful wife, an Irish terrier and a 25-year-old daughter about to tie the knot and Jack had it all. He said he was a defense contractor on Capitol Hill. He’d spent some time in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UAE. Jack had that hard tanned redness you get when you've convinced yourself your life has made you happy—that tight, gleaming carnivore’s grin you knew he wore even to brush his teeth at night. Jack Gorey. Sitting in front of the HP at night watching college girls stuff their throats with cock until their eyeballs popped, I envied him a little.
So Jack saw me out on the porch and invited me across the fence for something stronger. Jack was easy to like, and he made you feel likable. We hit it off right away and that drink became an evening ritual.
This was late June. His daughter’s wedding was in early September. I didn’t realize how nervous the whole thing was making Jack until I asked about the groom one night. The red color went out of Jack’s face and he went back inside to make another pitcher of Martinis.
I waited a while and then Jack’s voice came from over my shoulder, from a place on Jack’s open cedar porch that the inside light didn’t cover. “You have kids and they become your life and then they think they can do anything.”
Jack could handle his drink but there are some evenings when everything comes together in an odd way and you can’t.
He told me the whole sad story of that rotten relationship. The groom had a drinking problem and got violent with Dana, Jack’s daughter. They’d wrapped her ribs up once but she stuck with the story of falling off a horse. The thing was, Jack said, he came from a “good” family. Not a lot of patience, but stand-out genes.
And money, I thought, an inheritance from Dana that would take care of a lot more than a busted rib.
Jack poured our drinks and you’d have thought an actual light had just lit up in his head. The color was back in his face. He put an arm around me and said, “Jim, I think it would be a good idea for you to meet my Dana.”
We didn’t have chemistry like horse dope, but when I finally met Jack’s girl at a pool party that weekend we had something. We could talk pretty easily and her eyes lingered. Dana was just under six feet and when she climbed out of the pool, the water beading on her blue-white skin, everything about her body made you want to be on it.
Every opportunity he had that day, Jack put us together. There was something going on between Jack and Dana, sure, but on Dana’s end it was more tricky to figure out. She was definitely flirting with me, I just didn’t know why. The groom was nowhere to be found.
It went on like this in and out of July. Come August, Dana and I’d been on five good dates and she was giving me pecks on the cheek at the door. We held hands when we went downtown for dinner on the nights the groom was working late. Once, in the car, she left her hand on my thigh and I got hard and she looked over at me and didn’t look away.
It was a doomed relationship that could only end in one place. I had a fairly good idea of when and where, the only thing I didn't know was how badly or why.
* * *
It was Labor Day and Jack and Jack’s wife, Judith, were at the shore. I had an open invitation to use the pool. I used it. And, of course, Dana was there and the groom wasn't.
A strong hard sun had a choke-hold on us for most of the afternoon and evening, forcing us into the pool. At around eight Dana went in for another round of drinks—and didn't come back out. The radar went off in my head a little late. Twenty minutes must have passed before I went inside.
I went up to Dana’s room on the second floor. The blinds were drawn and it was pitch dark inside, but I’d seen enough of the room in the light of day to know that I was in no danger of bumping into any walls. I remembered a reclining chair in a corner of the big, creaking room, and a divan. The bed was a king and Dana was on it.
I was in her tight little box before I’d gotten my swim trunks off. And it was worth it—every inch. Dana had a foul mouth and a slutty technique but I played along.
Up until the point when the recliner moved and Dana jumped and light from the bedside lamp slammed into the darkness, showing Jack Gorey on the chair naked with his cock in his hand. Jack put his meat down and picked up what looked like a .38 automatic from the armrest. He trained it on my chest.
“What are you doing in my house?” he said, standing. “What are you doing to my daughter?”
“Cut the shit, daddy,” Dana said, stepping in between us. “He likes listening to my pussy getting fucked, Jim,” she said to me and put a little .25 in my hand she must have kept in the table by the bed. “Isn’t that sick, Jim? Now shoot the sonofabitch and put him out of his misery and I’m yours.”
“No, Jim,” Jack said. “Put the gun down. It’s just a little misunderstanding. I didn't realize—” His hands went up.
We were all three of us naked. Jack’s dick was about the size of mine. I took a good look at Dana’s pin-up looks, but it wasn’t her pussy or tits I was thinking about, it was the money she’d inherit if Jack was dead—my money if she was my wife. And I shot Jack Gorey in the heart once and waited for him to die.
We’d need to dress Jack back up and move him over to the door so that he could have surprised us, drawn the gun, and gotten shot in self-defense. The bullet hadn't exited so trajectory was moot.
I ran my bride-to-be through my version of events. She bent to close the old man’s eyes and stood with the .38.
She said, “You and daddy were fucking. You had a lover’s spat and you shot daddy accidentally. I assumed otherwise. The .25 is quick and not very messy. I hate to use the .38.”
But I didn't like that version either and my .25 was quicker. The only thing I didn't have was a story that would make sense to anybody but a jailer, and I've already told that one a hundred times.