MY BLOND ROOTS ARE BACK

be a stripper

Poor Mr. Adorable; once again I plan on laying the blame for my extreme blondness directly at his feet. You would think that after fourteen months of dating, the helium might be escaping his balloon, but no. He just gets more adorable, funnier, and downright intriguing as time passes, which keeps me in a perpetual state of dizzy blondness. I can’t think straight, wear mismatched shoes, and leave my flat with half my unruly hair straightened and the remainder looking like an electrocuted puddy cat. Or maybe I should blame this morning’s misadventure on Cam Newton? So many men, so much blame to mete out.

After previously residing in North Carolina for 17 years, it was necessary for my survival to become a Carolina Panthers fan. Then Cam’s brashness, swagger, and ridiculous talent hit my radar screen like a lovebug on a bumper. I was one hooked fan and saw a glimpse of heaven when my beloved boys were headed to Santa Clara. All those years of loyalty were about to pay off…not. By halftime I was in shocked disbelief and by the end of the 3rd quarter I was bereft. Bed and vats of cabernet would be my consolation prizes.

Waking at 5am to Mr. Adorable’s alarm, I decided to shoulder on and not exercise my Kervorkian cola option, though suicide certainly seemed like a reasonable reaction to my disappointment. Instead, I took my red, swollen-eyed self down to my dark, underground parking garage to head to my perfect part-time job as a church secretary (I know, I know, insert uproarious laughter here, but I love it!) and knew I was screwed the moment I pressed the remote to unlock my car. I clearly remembered arriving home in the rain on Saturday, completely distracted by my date that night, what I would wear, the art festival we were attending on Sunday and where we might have lunch. This handsome man scrambles my brain like potato chips in a juke box. Exiting my tiny car in the very dark garage, I turned on my interior light to make sure I had collected all my stuff and completely forgot to turn it back off. All I could think was that at least I had purchased jumper cables last year when this fate first befell me and Mr. Adorable on a dark and deserted beach. But, they were in my car, which I now couldn’t unlock. Aapis Crappis.

I decided to try my resort’s doorman prior to calling AAA, as today was, OF COURSE, the very day that a brand new pastor was starting at our church. Awesome first impression to be two hours late for the new minister dude. Oscar, our doorman, very sweetly inquired if I remembered that in the days prior to technology we actually inserted a metal key into one’s door lock to gain entrance. A jump box was located and soon my day proceeded, but not before 3 building employees gathered guffawing around my vehicle and had to hear the story of how I had not only left my light on for 36 hours, but had apparently forgotten the concept of locks and keys, as well. Surely the world needs more smart-mouth doormen possessing advanced college degrees?

For all you young sprockets who firmly believe life is over at 50, I can assure you there are many more important numbers that truly matter. Having, in your 60’s, the amped up hormones of a 14-year-old, the possible dementia of a 90-year-old, and the will and desire to live until you’re 85 simply because you are having such an amazing life!

 

 

 

THE TRUST MONKEY

trust monkeyWhen I moved to Paradise, Somewhere In This World, last spring, I stumbled upon a genie in a bottle in my new home. Three wishes, he assured me, were so outre, so yesterday. Modern times required that the wish list be condensed into one bold desire…only one. So I wished for a wonderful mate, a man so special and unique I knew he could not exist on this earth plane. I went so far as to draw up a detailed laundry list for this impossible man, one with more than two dozen requirements. I knew this extreme pickiness would insure that I would never find him and therefore never be forced to open myself up to yet another betrayal. Clever girl, I congratulated myself. No SOB is ever going to fool me again.

Smugly secure in the notion that my diligent genie couldn’t possibly fulfill my single wish, imagine my surprise when this very man opened the door to his home to me one night in early December. Just like that…karma… universal benevolence… finally my turn? The word gobsmacked flits through my consciousness.

Which leads me to wonder…did my visualization of my future and the surety of what I desired manifest this person? Was it the work of my loyal genie? Or is it simply his turn and my turn? Our time to be happy and secure in the knowingness that this time, finally, for both of us, there might be no betrayal, no misplaced trust? But then…HE appeared, my Trust Monkey, attempting to wreck it all.

Cynicism and mistrust never entered my vocabulary until November 2005, when my husband of 18 years committed suicide, leaving behind a trail of devastation and horror that took seven years to clean up. My son, who was twelve at the time, is only now, at age 21, starting to emerge from the epic nightmare that was his Dad’s suicide. We survived my husband’s mistress and his leaving us $90k in debt. I knew my trust was broken, and yet, when pure evil entered our lives in 2007, I willingly and guilelessly opened our home and bank accounts to Satan himself.

What followed was a stint in a battered women’s shelter and living in terror for over two years. Now, Satan has my inheritance and lives in my dream home. At least once a week I practice a fun visual exercise. I imagine The Monster, in his perpetual state of drunkenness, falling through the glass shower doors of my master bath  and bleeding out on the white tiles over the course of three days. No one gives a damn about him, so no one would check on him. What a lovely shiver of joy this image brings me!

Then there was The Gift Horse, who signed his endless love notes to me “From the Last Man You’ll Ever Love”. Only when we were safely broken up and I lived 16 hours away, did two friends come forward with a litany of lies and deception that he had told me. Guess my picker is not working too well; I will need to take it into the dealership for a tune up, no doubt.

I’ve searched high and low at my local library for a primer on how to learn to trust again, after three consecutive betrayals. It is so unfair to paint someone new with the brush used by past liars. I know this, yet that Trust Monkey continues to pop up, whispering incendiary and divisive little nothings in my ear.

These are the earliest days of a fledgling relationship, which are tricky enough to negotiate, without a meddling Trust Monkey determined to undermine us. Therefore I’ve decided that darn monkey must be polished off, once and for all. Haven’t landed on how exactly to go about it though. I have an extreme aversion to guns, so shooting him is out. Stabbing him to death would leave blood spatter all over my white leather furniture. I thought of locking him in my trunk and leaving him there to perish, until I remembered my vehicle doesn’t have a trunk. My Trust Monkey has some trust issues of his own and refuses to ingest anything prepared by my hand, so poisoning is not an option.

Then, lightening quick, the solution to my vexing problem appeared as I was reading through some of my past blogs. Jimmy Tightlips! He has mob connections and must know hit men. Now that my plan of extinction for my Trust Monkey is it place, I think Valentine’s Day lends itself perfectly to the deed.

Must sign off now. Have to pick out a black dress to wear to Trust Monkey’s funeral, then prepare for my Valentine’s date with Mr. Adorable. It will be a refreshing change of pace to be just the two of us, without that meddling monkey along for the ride.

Feature image courtesy of http://www.kaboodle.com

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Prepper

Lord knows, dating over 60 certainly has a rhythm and motion all its own. The rhythm of a walker tap-tapping across the linoleum floor of the senior center and the fashion forwardness of Mr. wearing his pants hitched up just south of his man boobs. So, when my wonderful hippie friend Mentah excitedly told me about my “Perfect match” I was only reluctantly game.

The restaurant my “date” had chosen was closed for the off season, so when the only car beside my own pulled up in the deserted parking lot, I knew this must be the fella in question. Only, what the hell was he driving? Mon dieu, a grandpa car; a Cadillac Seville, mostly driven by 60-year-old dental hygienists who cheerfully wear lit reindeer sweaters to demonstrate their Christmas spirit. Then Mr. Ancient steps out of the Babe Mobile wearing (you can’t make this stuff up kids!) jeans, a yellow short sleeved shirt with…wait for it…an ascot! Now, I really like Mentah, so I opted for my best Girl Scout can-do attitude and realized that at least he was fit and trim, so…I decided this would be the quickest  blind date in recorded history; a margarita and an app, then I’d make like Road Runner, or was it Speedy Gonzalez?

A funny thing happened on the way to my speedy retreat however…we had 1807 things in common, odd things. We are both obsessed with healthy, conscious eating, both meditate one hour a day, with the same Holosync method. Both practice yoga and have zero faith in traditional modern medicine and Big Pharm. He is a holistic doctor, which had me at hello. We both belonged to the exact same five religions growing up. Common sense insisted I go out with him a few more times, even though there was absolutely no chemistry. With each date, he grew slightly more appealing, but there was still no danger that my lack of sparks might burn down a restaurant any time soon.

So, when I had an unexpected day off work, and he invited me to come see his waterfront home and make me dinner, it don’t seem as painful as a gunshot wound to the eye. Then, when he invited me to bring my beloved puppy Reggae so that she and his dog Daisy could meet, I thought that was really sweet. ROAD TRIP!

The puppies fell in love at first sight and were soon sharing spaghetti & meatballs whilst watching “Lady and the Tramp”. lady and the trampSooo sweet, until the good doctor offered to give me a tour of his new home. By the third room, the hair was standing up on my arms; there was an assault rifle propped up in the corner of every single room except the kitchen. Not even concealed, just right out there for anyone to see. He must have noticed my look of horror, because he proudly said, “Oh, those aren’t what they look like. They’re all part of this…my Doomsday plan.” At which point he revealed a heavy concrete door that lead into a bunker. A bunker filled with all manner of horrifying things…flack jackets, ammo, hand grenades, and a three-month supply of food, water, and batteries. He excitedly told me his survivalist plan for outwitting “It“, whatever the hell “It” is. ISIS, ebola, ET, a black bear population explosion, the eminent resurrection of Joan Rivers?

My paleness and lack of conversation while he was “cooking” dinner where not lost on him, as he went to great lengths to explain why I would be so safe with him when “It” happened. While I watched him prepare our dinner, which turned out to be 20-30 raw veggies on a plate with coconut oil drizzled over them, I tried to make sense of how this seemingly gentle man with these holistic, spiritual world views could reconcile having an armory of destruction in his home. Dinner revealed that the good doctor took his healthy eating three steps over the canyon rim for my tastes. Turns out that he was a  bit more than the vegetarian he’d let on. He is a vegan and a raw foods advocate, who doesn’t eat cooked food. He’d just been masquerading on our dates to appear more acceptably mainstream in order to lure animal-eating, ranch-raised little ol me over to his vegan ways.

Suffice it to say, Reggae and I stopped at a restaurant on the way home that evening for some real food involving mucho protein. I ignored Dr.’s calls for five days, then received a text simply asking, “No contact equals no interest?” That was a challenge that required a phone call. I told him that if this mysterious  “IT” should occur, I certainly had no desire to survive it. I’ve had a huge and rich life, and have no desire to hang on a few additional months whilst sleeping on a tree  branch and eating yak dung for survival.

Dr. simply couldn’t wrap his brain around this lack of gratitude. “I thought you’d appreciate that I want to protect you and take care of you in times of danger! Don’t be a beautiful ostrich with your head in the sand about what will soon happen to this world.”

Two months later, Dr. is still scratching his head over my attitude. I suppose if ISIS shows up at my door next week and beheads me I may have regrets….NEXT

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift Horse

Gift-HorseMy oracle, that wisest of the wise, otherwise known as Mom, always warned me in hushed tones to “Never look a gift horse in the mouth”. She never did elaborate, as if it was all self-evident and no further advice was required.

Heck yeah I’ll look it in the mouth; I work for a dentist! First words out of my mouth, after that initial “How do you do?” are usually “Open wide”. Just kind of goes with the territory, n’est pas?

But now, after 50+ years of her dire warning ringing in my ears, I can say with surety that I totally understand it all, two years after Cupid wheeling that Gift Horse right into my friend’s kitchen.

Although Gift Horse and I had been passing acquaintances through mutual friends for over ten years, I doubt we would have recognized one another on the street. Yet one holiday weekend, at our friends’ home, suddenly Cupid and his meddling band of cousins were circling that kitchen, pouring wine and clapping tiny little hands and shooting arrows. The Gift Horse was long divorced and I was up to my armpits in the midst of my own divorce from the Monster.

For almost two years I became the most spoiled, pampered woman on the planet. Armloads of flowers every week, love letters, emails, notes left in my purse and on my gas tank, signed “From the Last Man You’ll Ever Love”. My car was detailed every Sunday, inside and out. I couldn’t lift a finger to do housework. The Gift Horse was an amazingly skilled cook and I was never allowed to open any door in his presence. This man walks through life with the grace and confidence of a panther. He made everything he touched look effortless.

So why, you might reasonably ask, would any woman in her right mind begin to feel restless and in need of a sea change so vast it still takes my breathe away?

The move from the Carolina coast to a city hours away from a beach was probably not my finest idea, but it was an idea that had been hatched six months prior to Cupid shooting his arrows towards me. Moving near the Gift Horse was a fluke and a coincidence. After one year, though, the novelty of city life began to wear thin and I became antsy and unhappy. It began to dawn on me that a land-locked, inland life in a cold and grey climate was not the future I had envisioned for myself. The joy was ebbing out of my life.

Almost overnight I decided to revisit a 30-year-old dream of living in the tropics. In a nano-second, possessions were sold or packed and my paradise was found. Here I am, in a brand spanking new life. I have coffee every morning with the ibis, cranes, and flamingos, under the monkey pod tree, overlooking azure blue water. I am fit, tanned, and happier than I’ve been in many years.

For the first time in my life, at age 61, I put MY desires and dreams before a man or relationship. I realized that if I didn’t create my utopia now it would probably never happen.

I will also tell you that my Mama was dead wrong. You CAN look a Gift Horse in the mouth, and even kiss it, and nothing tragic will befall you. I realize my Gift Horse was a lovely distraction sent by a benevolent Universe. A soothing salve to ease me through the final chapter of the Monster. My Gift Horse was a lovely break from my Monster madness, an interlude filled with love and laughter. And I believe that love, once created, is never wasted. It doesn’t dissipate when a relationship ends. It may morph and shape shift, but it can never die. Love once created, always lives on somewhere.

I just pray that Cupid isn’t super pissed at me for foiling his best laid plans and doesn’t hold it against me in the future!

Feature image courtesy of http://www.parklandsgolfclub.co.uk

Sweet Tarts, a French Kiss, and the Nickel Pickle

sweet tartsOnce upon a time, those three silly things could transport me to paradise.

Once upon a time, the little girl that I was couldn’t wait to be all grown up and on her own out in the wondrous universe. A universe without parents and their arcane rules and values. One without bedtimes or restrictions. I couldn’t wait to catapult into the picture-perfect adult world I knew awaited me.

Today I would gladly mortgage my only son in order to crawl back to the safety and security of my childhood world. I want to curl into a fetal position and retreat into a womb of innocence and dreams not yet crushed and hearts still unbroken.

I am envious of friends who have been married to the same person for years, friends who think their lives are boring and dull compared to mine. “You’ve had such an exciting life, and been through so much. You really should write about it, though no one would believe so much could happen to one person.” What I would give for twenty years of boring and dull. Boring would be my new black, my Nirvana.

As I sit amongst the flotsam and jetsam of yet another failed marriage, I question whether this really is some sort of lesson plan I laid out for myself before being thrust down the birth canal. Are all these painful experiences in love and relationships some curriculum I decided I must acquire to round out my soul? To fill in areas of spirit that were lacking in past lifetimes? If so, I demand that the cosmic powers that be better damn well hand me a doctorate, or three, post-haste.

What a tragic waste when two hearts, once so full of joy and optimism, discover that love has morphed into fear, affection into wariness, and desire into revulsion.

I’ve been dissecting past relationships and old boyfriends, examining them under the microscope of time and experience. This led me to remember my first boyfriend, Ted Ince. I was twelve years old and Ted became my boyfriend for one reason only. He was taller than my lanky 5’8″. Forty-seven years later, I’m not convinced my criteria for selecting a mate has become any more discriminating.

In the tiny Texas border town we lived in at the time, there was one movie theatre and it belonged to all the hormonally amped up teenagers for the Saturday matinée. Admission was one quarter, add a pack of Sweet Tarts for a dime, a giant dill pickle you plucked for yourself from an oak barrel for one shiny nickel, and a cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper and paradise was yours for the low, low price of 65¢. Throw in a stolen French kiss with the Ted’ster, and while it might not have been  “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights”, it was close enough for this young girl.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have chosen a life with the Ted’ster, or the Panamanian boy I was going to marry when I was fourteen. I could have saved myself the pyrotechnics and thrills of new relationships and shuttered hearts. But with that road not taken, there will never be a way of knowing for certain. And if The Gods of Karma insist on me returning here for yet another lifetime, I will have only one demand. I must be happily married to the love of my life and celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary.

I will now take a moment to congratulate myself on BLOG POST 100, despite the implosion of my world as I know it, the start-up of a business, an insane new job, and racing the clock to complete two books. Perhaps lost love is my jet fuel, the accelerant I need to blaze through my Vida Loca.

 

This is a repost of a blog from 2 1/2 years ago, when my life was unrecognizable from what it is today. I’ve been spending a lot of time recently pondering relationships, probably due to that meddling boy Cupid paying me a visit…once again. Can’t write, can’t think, can’t function. Can only smile…..

GPS for the Soul #60

Something oddly familiar happened at the library the other day. I was looking through a selection of books by Debbie Macomber, who writes women’s fiction as cozy and comforting as your favorite Polartec robe on a snowy January day, when I spied two books that were clearly misfiled. Both were by psychic Sylvia Browne. I pulled them out and opened one at random and began to read.

“Here’s a simple analogy. Think of our lifetimes on earth as a school year, and summer vacations as The Other Side. Isn’t it silly to imagine that after every summer vacation, we’d show up for a new school year a completely different person, having had none of the benefit of classes and experiences from the year before so that we’re just perpetually starting from scratch on our first day every fall? We’d never get out of kindergarten if that were true, nor would we recognize any of our friends and classmates or, for that matter, ourselves. What possible progress could our spirits make, and how could our souls contain so much cumulative knowledge, if that described God’s intention for us?”

“Instead, we’re the same unique spirits throughout eternity, advancing our way through this tough school on earth and the blissful, sacred education at Home. We repeat courses we find more difficult. We ourselves decide when we’re ready to tackle more advanced work on earth and when we’re ready to graduate and concentrate exclusively on our postgraduate studies on The Other Side. And never, ever, do we forfeit our history, our infinite wealth of experience, or the original identity that is our birthright.”

I checked out both books and devoured them over two days. There was little that was new to me, or surprising, but the material was a reminder of how long my soul has been shuttered and closed for business. I spent too many years in a marriage to a soulless spawn of Satan, who, in the end, became so  inhabited by demons and insanity and anti-depressants, that he did the only noble  thing he’d probably ever done in his miserable 58 years on earth; he swallowed a self-imploding bullet from a .22. In the dark years leading up to his foregone conclusion, and in the tsunami of shit that he left behind for me to deal with, I lost sight of myself, of my spirit. There were days so overflowing with the bitter bile of hatred for this monster, and the knowledge of the horror he’d left behind for his 12-year-old son and me to deal with, that I had no time, attention, or energy for contemplating anything more esoteric than what might be on our dinner plates and how many dollars were left in the bank until payday.

But now that I’m in a far more peaceful place, where all reminders and consequences of life with The Monster have been buried at sea, I can finally allow myself the luxury of giving my spirit a wee peak at the sun. I can remember who I used to be, and when I start to miss her, realize that’s she’s been right here beside me the entire time. I just forgot about her.

When I was six years old, my mother enrolled me in Catholic school, and it wasn’t long before I formed a very bad opinion of organized religion. There were many times when I felt wiser than some of the stupid, posturing adults surrounding me. The nuns tried very hard to beat Satan out of me when I started writing with my left hand. In addition to the beatings, which went on through second grade,  I was subjected to hours of proselytizing in the Mother Superior’s office about what a very bad child I was for writing this way. Well, I didn’t buy that crap then, and the older I got, the bigger a crock it all seemed. So, after trying on cloaks of being  Methodist and  Baptist, and finally, Unitarian, I ultimately just threw up my hands and cried ‘Uncle”. None of them felt right or true, so I decided I would form my own internal religion and follow it as my spiritual path.

This philosophy-forming started shortly after I married Jack, when we lived close to the grand, opulent NYC library on Fifth Avenue. Time after time, I would be randomly wandering through the stacks , when a certain book would seem to come flying off the shelves and land at my feet. Because it seemed I must, I would check it out and take it home to read. I was introduced to so many “New Age” concepts that I’d never been exposed to before. Karma, reincarnation, spirit guides. I embraced the idea that this earth is our hell, not some flaming charcoal pit located just south of our Jimmy Choos. It all rang true, and suddenly many things made sense. I touched on the ‘earth as school‘ concept in my “Is Scottie the Hottie a Karma Chameleon” post last month.

How many times have you been introduced to someone, only to have that electric shock of recognition, yet you have never met them before, not in this lifetime anyway? Ever found it odd when a new acquaintance seems to adore you at first meeting, like they’ve been hanging with you for lifetimes? What about that soul mate concept? I tinkle on that idea, but let’s take it one step further. Maybe you have that insanely strong urge to be with that person NOT because they’re your soul mate, but because the two of you have some pressingly important karma to work out this time around? Perhaps the two of you made a pact before sluicing down the old birth canal that you would hook up for a little remedial education?

This whole line of thinking gives me some hope that the 18 years with The Monster weren’t all for naught. Perhaps a karmic debt was being paid off, or maybe I just needed the lesson of knowing what it was like to rebuild an imploded life, one based on lies, criminality, and deceit?  So many possibilities to ponder, so little time!

I’m cutting myself off now; I’m trying to discipline myself to LESS than 1000 words in these verbose posts. I am discovering that the trickiest part of writing a novel isn’t the writing; it’s the editing!

The Sperminator…A Cure for Naughty Husbands #54

I’m about to be rich, seriously, filthy, dirty, fabulously R.I.C.H!! In addition to my impending wealth, I will be performing a huge public service, solving a big social problem, and facilitating the happiness of wives everywhere. Yes, kiddos, I’m THAT good!

What is this ode to universal goodness I’ve invented? At this moment, until my patent is granted, I’m calling this little miracle device Sperminator, the CockLock. This is how this caper will go down. Every couple presenting for a marriage license will receive one CockLock for the groom, and two keys for the bride (an heir and a spare, of course!). Following the wedding ceremony, and the exchanging of the rings, there will be a short ritual in a private room where the bride will present her new husband with his custom fit CockLock; she and she alone, will have total control over the key. Our bride can unlock the device at her whim, when it pleases her, and also for hygienic necessities. Under NO circumcisions circumstances is the groom allowed access to the key. The Sperminator will come in nude only, with sizes ranging from Needle Dick, the Bug Fucker, right on up to Jumbotron, sized in honor of Baseball Bat Boy. Being a realist, I don’t foresee many men walking up to the pharmacy counter and declaring that they need  Needle Dick, the Bug Fucker size, so I have built-in a select sizing device that a wife can adjust to her husband’s reality, not to his ego.

Just think of all the families that will remain intact, and marriages that will not implode because some silly boy (sometimes Govenators named Arnie) decided 10-20 minutes of fresh poon was worth risking it all. They’d have no reason to lie to their wives, and sneak around like lowly worms. Don’t they realize that at the end of the day, even the new whiff is going to become as ordinary and pedestrian as the poor wife they’re cheating on? I can just imagine the conversation at the family dinner table. “But Alice, if you would just unlock this thing for an hour, I promise I’ll just go stop off at Susie’s for a quick drink and a little nooky to Home Depot and come right back. You know you can trust me, right, sweetheart?”

So, to Mark Sanford, Tiger Woods, Elliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Prince Charles, John Edwards, Donald Trump, Rudy Guliani, Morgan Freeman, Joey Buttafuoco, Jesse James, Jude Law, Hugh Grant, and Charlie Sheen, let me first apologize to all of you for not inventing Sperminator, the CockLock in time to save you from your own little heads. And to my deceased husband, who I like to refer to as the D.A. (Dead Asshole), my deepest thanks for doing the right thing and eating a bullet just a few short hours before your little trollop was revealed. That was probably the most gracious act you showed me in 18 years of marriage.

Now, on to today’s chapter of “Texas Toast”. Two months after the black out and one month following the death of Elvis,  Jack’s brother was in town and invited us out for Mexican food. Other than that, it was your ordinary Tuesday night in NYC. Sometime around 4AM, I woke up and saw Jack standing at the entrance to one of our bedroom closets. “Honey, are you OK?”, I asked him.

“I’m fine, what are you doing in the closet in the dark?”, Jack inquired.

All the blood drained from my body as I realized Jack’s voice had come from behind me. If he was in bed on the other side of me, that left one person too many in our bedroom. Suddenly everything began to happen at once; total pandemonium ensued. The tall, dark figure at the closet door suddenly swung toward the sound of our voices, and in the dimness of moonlight I could see the gun he was holding out in front of him, pointed directly at us. At the same moment, Jack jumped up on the bed, making himself look much larger than his 6’3″ frame, and he started bellowing out in his deep deejay voice, “Who the hell are you and what the f__k are you doing in my house?”. For a moment the entire tableau seemed frozen in time, and I realized we were about to be shot to death. My life did not flash before my eyes, as I’ve heard it so often does, but I experienced the most heart-wrenching sense of sadness and loss. To have finally found Jack and this wonderful life and love, and to lose it all after just four months, seemed so wrong, so random. Surely I stepped into the wrong karmic shoes that morning; this nightmare was most certainly intended for a different recipient.

Image from shutterstock.com

Suddenly there was a blur of motion as the burglar began to run around the foot of the bed to exit the room. We’d just had two of the bedroom walls mirrored in an effort to bring in more light and make it feel larger, and apparently the perp’s gun smashed into them in his frantic attempt to escape. There was the sound of running footsteps and breaking glass, and mostly, my terrified screaming. I had somehow propelled myself to the bedroom’s only window, and was shrieking to any of the other residents who might be awake, “Help us, there’s a man in our house and he has a gun; he’s going to kill us.” I screamed this over and over, so many times, like a demented mantra, that by the time the police arrived, my throat felt bloodied and raw.

When the burglar was out of the bedroom, Jack and I scooted the king size bed in front of the door. We knew the intruder was trapped in our elaborate system of door locks and would be unable to flee. Trapped, we were sure he would try to kill us. Like most city dwellers in Gotham, we had multiple locks on the apartment’s front door, most of which required keys to unlock. We would always carefully lock up each night, and hide the keys away. God knows what could have happened in the event of fire, but I was just thinking of keeping unwanted visitors OUT. We were both crouched down at the foot of the heavy bed, using our body weight as additional leverage to keep the door firmly shut. I knew that I would hear gunshots any minute now. Suddenly, there was the sound of more breaking glass, and male voices calling out, “Police, is anybody in here?”

After the very nice officers peeled me off the bedroom wall, and scoured the entire building for the intruder, we were able to piece together what had occurred. Instead of the man being trapped inside the apartment like we’d thought, he had actually left through the front door. Apparently, in a margarita-induced state following the Mexican restaurant, Jack and I had neglected to go through our usual locking-up routine. We were never exactly sure how the burglar got into the apartment in the first place, as the police crashed through two windows to gain access. Once inside, he had opened the front door, leaving himself an escape route. The whole time I was screaming like a demented banshee, the man was already well out of our building. The superindentent’s wife, Lupe (the entrepenurial candle seller on the night of the black out!) heard screams and happened to look out her peephole at the same moment a tall white man, dressed completely in black, with a ski mask concealing his face, emerged from the basement.

It was all very strange. The burglar had apparently been in the penthouse for quite some time before we were awakened, as he had a pile of loot waiting for him at the front door. My $3,000 Nikon, original Peter Max (of the Campbell’s soup can fame) nudes, and a very expensive sewing machine my parents had just given me for my birthday were all waiting for him to take. He did manage to steal all our cash, and jewelry, including many pieces belonging to my great-grandmother. The police dusted for fingerprints and determined they had been burned off. They felt this was the work of a professional cat burglar, probably someone who had recently been released from prison. We discovered that there is a network, a crime grapevine, in essence. Someone in one of the galleries where we purchased our paintings probably shared addresses and other info with criminals for a cut of their spoils.

Image from wigdahl.net

The strangest thing about this burglary wasn’t this tale, however. What happened for the next three Tuesday nights would defy belief, and I finally was beginning to understand the apartment walls had truly been trying to telegraph a message of danger.  In three weeks time, I would be in major psychological counselling and a terrified wreck of a woman. Stay tuned for the next installment…