I send a return email to Will, or rather, Slipway. I think of him that way now as a sign of scorn.
The 25th is fine. I’ll be out of town, returning in the evening, so please take your things out by then. See you in court.
Although I dress for work on the 25th, I’ve taken the day off as a personal day, one of three we’re allotted each year—rare, therefore precious, and not to be squandered.
I park my car down the street from our house where Slipway won’t notice me, but I’ll be able to spot him. I have to wait a couple of hours and have listened over and over to a CD of the Eighteen Greatest Revenge Songs, including “Mistreated” by Deep Purple, “Your Time Is Gonna Come” by Led Zeppelin, and “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette. Just for good measure, I’ve listened to Fats Domino and Louis Armstrong rendering, “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You!” I’ve mastered most of the lyrics and am fighting nausea when an unfamiliar black van pulls onto our driveway. I slide down lower in my seat, lifting my binoculars to watch Slipway emerge from the driver’s side. I watch the passenger side for movement and am rewarded when pert, pretty little Tammi bounces out and joins Slipway as he unlocks the garage door.
I force myself to wait, hoping I’m giving them enough time to slither their way to the bedroom and begin happily fornicating on our bed. I dial my neighbor, Lydia, who has agreed to be my co-conspirator after hearing my story. Apparently, her husband ran off with his secretary last year, and she has embarked on a vendetta against philanderers.
“Lydia, it’s Emily. They’ve just gone into the house. You can see the van in the driveway. Call the cops and tell them there’s a home invasion.”
Moments later, lights flashing, two cop cars careen around the corner, screeching to a halt at the bottom of the driveway. Cops dash toward the front door and the open garage, disappearing out of view. I wait, my heart racing. Minutes pass and I begin to worry. Should I just drive away rather than risk being found here? What’s taking them so long?
Just as I’m about to start my engine, the cops come out of the garage with slightly disheveled Slipway and his moll, Tammi, in tow, protesting loudly. A couple of neighbors have come out of their houses and are watching from across the street. Lydia is not among them.
Good girl, I think, no reason to get more involved than necessary.
Slipway is protesting, sputtering, and exclaiming, but Tammi outdoes him, screaming, swearing, and kicking at the cops, who have had enough. They usher the two miscreants into the back of the patrol car, wait for a truck to tow away the black van, check to ensure the property is secured, and satisfied with a good day’s work, drive away.
Within minutes, I receive a voice message on my mobile phone, informing me that my house has been broken into and burglars were routed in the act of cleaning it out. The caller asks me to contact the precinct upon receiving this voice message.
First, I call a locksmith and arrange to meet him at the house. By the time I return the call to the police, the locksmith has completed his work, and Sergeant Flynn of Precinct 191 is chagrined to report that the capture and detainment of burglars at my home was a mistake, based on misinformation. In fact, one of the detainees turned out to be one Will Slipway, my husband. The sergeant offers his profuse apologies.
“These things can happen, I’m sure. I’m just grateful to know the Brookline Police are on the job . . . Where is Mr. Slipway now, do you know?”
“Ma’am, he said something about returning to his hotel. His companion was a little distraught.”
I’ll bet she was.
*Chapter 43 in the novel, The Emancipation of Emily Rosenbloom, to be published in Fall 2019.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elinor Gale has been a writer, observer of human nature, and lover of the English language since childhood. An inveterate eavesdropper, she has woven her curiosity about human behavior into her work as writing teacher, editor and creator of humorous yet poignant fiction and poetry. She holds a BA in English from Smith College and an MS in Counseling from Northeastern University. Her essays, poetry and articles have been published in print and online. Elinor moved to the Bay Area from New England over 20 years ago and still marvels at flowers and green grass in February.