by Henry G. Miller
I remember Lynn from college in Boston. We were both from Chicago and we both had big student loans. We became pals. She was fun but there was always something mysterious about her. Good-looking and always coming on. Maybe that’s why I liked being with her.
Yet she always kept me at a distance. We were almost close. Well if I’m going to tell the story, I have to tell it all. We did have sex but only oral sex. I asked her one night, “Why don’t we go all the way?” She said, “No, no it’s too important. It’s too dear.” I never heard anybody say that about sex. Today sex is almost obligatory after a few dates. Promiscuity is in and sincerity is kind of rare. She was unusual, no doubt about it. And although she was always coming on, there was something sad in her. Sometimes I’d catch a tear in her eye. I learned something about her when I met her mother. It’s true. If you want to know a woman, really know her, meet the mother.
The mother. A very bitter woman. The father, I heard, was a guy that went bankrupt and killed himself. I actually heard the mother say to Lynn, “You dress like a whore.” To say that to an only child.
No doubt, Lynn dressed to provoke. Her skirts were always tight. Men looked and she liked it. But she was in the Drama Department and I figured actresses like attention. I kind of liked it.
I tried to be a friend to Lynn. She needed a friend. Her mother was some influence, saying things like, “Money is your best friend.” What a thing to say to your daughter.
Anyway, Lynn dropped me. She dropped me for this guy, Roger. In a sense, I didn’t blame her. He had movie star looks. He was on the tennis team. President of the class. But it hurt. I sort of got over it. You know, the younger you are the more these things hurt. But I got over it and that was that.
* * * *
It so happened we both came to New York, like a lot of young people, to find fame and fortune. I was going to write the great American something or other and she was going to be an actress or a waitress, whatever young actresses do these days in New York. I tried not to think of her anymore.
* * * *
That is until one day when I was reading one of the tabloids. There on page five, who do I see, but Lynn. She’s with that guy Marisconi, the one that owns all the garages. Then another day I see a picture of her with Billy Ritz, the new hot movie director. I say to myself, “Hey, little Lynn is moving up in the world.”
I said to myself, “Forgot about her.” I did forget about her. It hurt, but I forgot about her. I was excited because one of my plays was under consideration by the producer Jerry Phillips. He’s an obnoxious guy, but at least he’s a real producer. I didn’t like him but he had money. He made it in shoes. Now he’s in culture so he does plays. A really nasty guy. There are some people, my grandmother always used to say, put on this earth to torment other people. Jerry was one of them. What a foul mouth on him. He couldn’t say a word unless it rhymed with “uck.” And I just don’t mean the “f” word. I mean everybody was a schmuck. Or nothing in life is good except getting a buck. He fought with everybody, his wife or whoever his partner of the moment was. But there was one soft spot Jerry had. He loved his two sons. His twin sons. He was a guy about 65 but he had these 12-year-old twin sons. And all he talked about was his wonderful boys. He was one of those people that drove you crazy talking about their children. They were both going to be neurosurgeons or presidents or something. They were his soft spot.
* * * *
One day, I had to go to Jerry’s office to meet with him and his lawyer, Peter Stone. Jerry got the lawyer he deserved because Peter was just as mean as Jerry. We talked but Jerry wasn’t quite ready to commit, although I could see he was interested. We made a date to talk more. As I’m leaving the office with Jerry in front of me, who do I see working there? Lynn!
She says, “Let’s go down for coffee.” I caught her looking at this guy, Jerry, like it was more than just a job she was working for. Sort of that flirty look of hers which I knew so well.
We had coffee. She was dressed gorgeously. Showing a bit as usual. Hair beautifully coifed. She looks like money. She tells me she’s living in the east 70s near Madison Avenue. Two bedrooms. I said, “Rent-controlled?”
“Where you getting the money?”
“Oh, I make my way.”
“You better watch this guy, Jerry. He eats people for breakfast.”
“Oh, don’t worry about me.”
Well, we went our separate ways and that was that. Once again, I forgot about her.
* * * *
Then I got a call sometime later from Jerry’s lawyer, Peter. “Come on in. We want to see you.” I go up to see him. “Jerry loves your play.” With that unsubtle bribery, I knew something was up.
“Jerry wants you to be a witness. Did you see that little notice in the paper?”
I had seen something in the paper about a shoe manufacturer turned producer being sued for sexual coercion. I put it together. It was Jerry, but now I realize it’s a lawsuit Lynn is bringing. The lawyer wants me to be a witness. “Why are you asking me?”
“Oh, she bragged a lot about all her conquests and your name came up. We want you to be a witness. This is just one promiscuous broad. Sex for money, that’s her game.”
I didn’t like that and I let him know it. “That isn’t true. She might flirt a little. But she’s not like that. I would be very surprised…” This guy, Peter, stops me.
“Listen, kid, when it comes to sex, never be surprised. And a woman today who brings a lawsuit in Manhattan can get more money if the wrong guy touches her leg than she could get if she loses her leg in an automobile accident. It’s the ‘in’ lawsuit. That’s what’s going on in our society. Where there’s sex, can money be far behind?”
I told him I wouldn’t be part of it. I didn’t believe she was doing anything like that. That was the end of that. Maybe I had a doubt, but I wouldn’t tell him.
* * * *
Some months later, I was walking on 46th Street on Restaurant Row, and who comes out of Joe Allen’s, where all the actors hang out, but my friend, Lynn. Very drunk. Very happy. “Hello, hello, the drink’s on me. It’s nightcap time.” She takes me across the street, to a nice place, not inexpensive. In we go. She’s talking too loud. “I’m rich. I’m happy. I got the money out of that sixty-five-year-old bastard. I did it to him. He has a lot of money. I’m just a socialist at heart. Share the wealth. He still has a load of money leftover. He didn’t want to have sex at first, but I got him, I seduced him, I gave him the kind of sex he’ll never forget. I gave him sex till his eyes popped out of his head. Only oral sex. I never go all the way. You know that. We had a little lawsuit. What a lawsuit. I had videos. I had tapes. I told him I’ll have a private showing for his kids, those twin boys he’s always talking about. I knew he couldn’t stand the publicity. And you know what? He paid the money.”
“You know,” she says to me, “we always were good friends. You’re really genuine, not like the others. We ought to get together.”
“Lynn, that’s very nice of you, but I’m seeing someone else,” I lied. I wasn’t seeing anyone else. And I was feeling lonely. But no.
I walked away. I never saw her again. It’s funny what makes us the way we are. Everything shapes us. What a thing to say, “Money is your best friend.” Like pebbles in the water. You never know where the ripples will stop.
Category: Short Story, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing