Perfect Storm
Bev Vines-Haines
Hayward FaultLine Winner

The Good Friday storm rolled across Portland with a fierce howling that reminded Cecily Hawkins of a thousand tortured souls battering their way out of hell. Electrical storms are unusual in the Pacific Northwest. But on this day, thunder shook windows and lightning reflected off downtown buildings.

She sat outside the Thirst Wine Bar and Grill and waited for her ex-husband. Almost ex, she corrected. One more form. One more attempt on his part to walk away with everything. What kind of everything could he want? They'd been married less than five years. Never bought a house. Never had a child. Hard to make a baby when the 'daddy' is meeting young boys in back alleys and getting arrested in Adult Stores.

Helps to be a lawyer, she decided. That story had fallen off the front page and the court dockets as fast as Clark's passion had disappeared on their honeymoon. She watched the rain, blowing in sheets, as the gale swept across the river. Tiny water spouts lifted off the water, were hit by the wind and exploded.

Peculiar. That's exactly how she felt. Twisted. Spinning. Needing to rise but blown to pieces time and time again by Clark's legal manipulation. She had to give him props for his balls. So to speak. He ignored the irony, the hypocrisy and even the crue 'I needed a more genteel woman, someone a little less competitive.'

He'd hung her out to dry on her success. TV anchorwoman never home never feminine never a proper wife. He'd called her a barracuda in the paper. A piranha on TV. A battle ax at his men's club.

She could have fought. Would have. But she was tired. Wanted to get it over with and move on with her life. What good were furniture and IRAs when your soul was in a coma? Let him have his boy toys and old fat judges. She wanted to climb Mt Hood and draw in a deep breath of fresh clean air.

Besides, she did have one little trick left. She watched him maneuver his Beemer into the parking spot on her right. He wore black leather gloves, as usual, to shield his hands from germs. He'd worn white cotton gloves to bed when they married, as well as a mask.

She opened her purse and removed the vial. It contained a gold pen that was packed with germs. Some airborne. Some sticky. Some that would flow out onto his forms and stay with him forever.

She'd had it engraved and she knew he would keep it.

A gift that would keep on giving.


First published: February, 2011
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