Chapter 1: Pauper
“Ma’am. A Benefactor has shown interest in you.”
Benefactor. It was just another word for potential Sponsor. The word “potential” was misleading, of course. Showing interest in me indicated that my contract was already purchased. I was claimed.
“Just me? You know I have Shirley,” I asked, wary about such “Benefactors.”
“That’s the information I have.” Mary, The volunteer I was talking to, was matronly and must have been in her sixties or seventies. Her voice was completely impersonal, especially considering what she was telling me. I guess it was some sort of coping mechanism. She wouldn’t condone or implore. She was just relaying the news, and doing nothing to actually consider the news she was relaying.
“Who is he? I mean, I take it that my Benefactor’s a ‘he.’”
“It is a male, and you know that we cannot divulge personal information on Benefactors.”
I sighed. This was the part I dreaded. I signed up for the WfD in order to get out from the mountain of debt I owed and also to acquire shelter for myself and Shirley, my six year old daughter. Having a daughter got me to the front of the line for accommodations. I had also hoped it would prevent me from being claimed, but that didn’t seem to faze the person that claimed me.
It didn’t help that one of the mandatory parts of the contracts were nude pictures of me in the “eight standard poses:” full frontal, front squatting, left side, right side, back standing, back bending forward, back bending forward with spread ass cheeks, and even one “bottom view” which was a picture taken from my feet looking toward my hips while I was on an examination table with my feet in stirrups. These pictures were a normal part of the contracts, made legal about fifteen years earlier due to lobbying from the now-legalized sex industry, as they provided over eighty percent of the sponsorships that purchased contracts.
These so-called “Benefactors” were usually the from the seedier side of society, legal, but not the kind of place one actually goes to find work.
The news I just got told me a Sponsor claimed me. I owed millions, plus whatever the expenses for the tiny apartment and food I received. In return, I would become a virtual slave to this unknown person or company for a period of time based on the amount I owed with no option to leave. I didn’t have any right to refuse; I already signed the contract, and the charity had every right to sell it as they saw fit. That usually meant to the first person showing interest, but sometimes there were rumors of bidding wars, especially if the contracted person was young, female, good looking, and unattached.
I recalled a recent bribery scandal regarding Senator Roberta Fronk from Nevada. She was not only removed from office, but her family found themselves in criminal court thanks to PCP-enacted legislation that punished public servants that were shown not to be acting in their interests of their constituents. This meant she and her family needed to pay back the millions of dollars she took under the table, as well as every dollar she earned as a Senator--and to that was added a triple damages award. Since this was more than the Senator’s family had, all their assets were seized, and they ended up in the WfD program, with a delay only for the ex-senator who instead would first spend ten years in prison. Soon after, a record bidding war resulted in a Hollywood studio purchasing the contract of Nola Fronk, the senator’s sixteen year old daughter. It was said that her contract sold for four times the actual value. (And no, the extra money was not able to pay her parents’ contracts.)
At the time of my insolvency, I didn’t have much of a choice. I needed a place for Shirley to stay, and giving her up for foster care or adoption was not an option for me. I tried my mother’s house, but found the place had been sold and the property split up into a half dozen new houses, all of which were now occupied. On the streets in the city, I might find a box to call my own, but that would draw the attention of some unsavory characters such as pimps or pushers. More importantly, the street was no place for an infant. I had no idea how to live off the land, and that also wasn’t the life for a child. I needed a place for us, and the WfD was the only choice.
I knew what I was getting into. I filed with the tax court, had them do a complete audit of my finances, accepted the requirements, and pre-signed the contract for payment of my bankruptcy and room and board from the charity assigned to my case. In return, the charity would let me find work as potential Sponsors perused the contracts available, including mine. That was precisely how the WfD program worked.
Since most sponsorships came from the sex industry, my plan was based on the idea that a woman with a child would not be as sought after as a woman without. I also kept myself dowdy looking, preferring the baggy clothes available donated by thrift shops. I tried not to call attention to myself, and always brought Shirley with me in tow. Of course, that wouldn’t keep people from seeing the explicit pictures I was required to take, but there was hope. In fact, for four years, this strategy actually worked. I think I was the person that was staying at the shelter the longest that wasn’t an NSSA case.
Finding work was difficult. I never got my degree, which was in History. Even the most menial jobs available preferred dealing with Sponsored cases. A WfD charity case may call in sick to avoid work, look for other jobs, steal, show up drunk, or just not show up. There was no such risk with sponsored employees.
I did get a babysitting job at one point and received some money from that, and most went toward my contract’s totals. The job only lasted about eight months before they didn’t need me anymore. Although I got nice references from them, nobody else ever hired me. It was a seller’s market.
Now, at the middle of my fifth year, my luck ran out. Somebody claimed me. That meant I would have work, but the job would no longer be my own choice and I would not have any right to refuse.
Once a person is claimed, they are under close supervision by the charity until such time as they are delivered to their Sponsor. This replaces the “ankle bracelets” (monitors injected somewhere in the calf area of the foot) that non-claimed WfD people were required to wear. Unemployed people would not be able to go very far outside a certain radius, with exceptions made for job interviews. The entire idea behind the bracelets and the supervision was to prevent runaways that would spend time in the system and then run off to another state or wherever to start anew at a different shelter. They were also for people who had the best of intentions but got cold feet when a Sponsor made the claim. Running was getting harder and harder, and I never heard about any successful runaways in all the time I spent at the shelter. Not that the shelter would be advertising that it might be possible to run out on the contract. That would leave the charity with nothing to show for the now worthless contract, although I also heard rumors of bounty hunters that were specially trained to track these runaways...
Luckily, my “escorts” were two older ladies that worked for the charity. Their names were Sarah and Holly, and the same as all the other charity workers, never told me their last names. They would be with me during the period before I was delivered to my Sponsor, working in alternating six-hour shifts. They effectively moved into my apartment and helped me pack the small amount of belongings Shirley and I managed to accumulate over the past four years. They would also supervise Shirley when I went to the clinic to get collared.
Yeah, that was the latest thing: the collar. You can put air quotes around it. The “collar.” It wasn’t really a collar, though. However, I guess it duplicated the idea of a slave’s collar. In actuality, it was something they injected into your neck. That’s as much as anybody really knew, at least anybody that I knew. It is supposed to either influence behavior or correct misbehavior ... or both. I wasn’t sure how it worked, but the talk was that it somehow attached to your spinal cord, brain stem, or whatever. It either controlled your thoughts or actions, communicated instructions, or maybe it worked on a reward/punishment idea. Nobody I ever talked to was ever claimed, so it was all guessing. Advertisements on the comms and holos never offered any details. They only used the words such as “humane” and “efficient.” That would be nice if they were describing a mouse trap, but when it involved humans, it seemed to me to be a bit ... out there.
The collar was the reason most jobs preferred sponsored cases.
Once I was collared, I would no longer need to have the charity workers looking over every detail of my life. In some ways, I would be grateful, since once I was claimed, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom or take a shower without the escorts watching me closely! Somehow, once the collar was applied, it enforced compliance to the terms of my contract, and escorting wouldn’t be as rigid afterward, a mere formality in fact.
Before I was escorted to the clinic to get my collar, Sarah actually took me to a bar to get a couple of drinks.
“This is your last moments as a free person, Jess,” she told me. “I’ve found that a drink or two can help ease some of the worries you are currently having. I can only allow you to have up to two drinks because there will be surgery involved, but you can make them doubles if you want.” She turned to the bartender. “Charge her drinks to the charity young man.” Sarah then left me alone, although she was still watching from a few tables away, affording me some privacy--more privacy than I was afforded since the moment I was informed that I was claimed.
I made a vow against alcohol since before I entered the WfD program. No money and the lo-jack on my calf kept me within a short perimeter of the shelter before an alarm sounded an alert. I think they actually set the location of the shelter so that there weren’t any night clubs or bars nearby. Such a shame, because a lot of women in the shelter knew bars to be a source of free drinks (and occasionally food). Just smile at a guy, and pretend to listen to him. Bingo! Since this wasn’t a way to earn money, I didn’t play that game, although I did think of it a few times when I was at the shelter. However, I got drunk the last time I saw my ex, and made a vow never to drink again. Up until now, I lived up to that vow, mostly due to poverty, but a vow was a vow.
This was different. Sarah was right. These were my last moments of being a free woman. Soon, I would be working in the sex industry. I was a shy person, and the idea of performing sex with somebody not of my choosing was abhorrent to me. I figured a drink or two right now was a perfectly good exception to my vow. It wasn’t lack of will power. I was simply scared shitless.
My normal drink was wine way back when. The only thing I refused to drink would be Champagne, but this wasn’t a Champagne occasion. A couple of glasses of wine weren’t going to do anything for the nervousness I was experiencing in advance of getting collared. I asked the bartender for something fruity and strong, and he made me a Mai Tai. It wasn’t bad, and it was actually stronger than I anticipated.
The bar wasn’t crowded, so the bartender spoke to me once I started my first drink “I’ve seen Sarah come in here before. She’s a tea-totaller, but still buys you girls drinks. You’ve been claimed, huh?”
I nodded my head. It wasn’t something to be ashamed of.
“So, today’s the big day?”
“I put an extra shot of Gran Marnier in there in addition to the double rum. You seem pretty calm and collected compared to some of the girls I’ve seen, but I can bet I know what’s going through your mind right now.”
“Yeah. I hoped that a woman with a child would be less likely to get a Sponsor.” That was the official name for the unknown male that paid up my contract. The word “Benefactor” seemed to me to be an ironic term, as the only person that normally benefited in such a relationship was the guy with the money.
“Well, some people enjoy MILFs,” the bartender said. He hurriedly added, “I don’t mean that in a disparaging way.”
I knew the acronym. “Mothers I’d Like to Fuck.” It was a age old expression describing people my age with children and good looks. It could be taken as a compliment or an insult. Somehow, I didn’t think the bartender was insulting me.
“Yeah. It’s a bitch all right.”
The bartender smiled. “Well, I hope things work out for you. Remember that all contracts have an end date, and after that your so-called Sponsor is responsible for paying you a living wage as a pension. You could also get a Waldo.”
If you have been living in a cave, Waldo was a reference to a popular holo from a few years back. It involved a Sponsor named Waldo that sponsored a pretty woman named Lisa in the WfD program. He surprised his charge by putting her into an expensive Ivy League school, having her get a degree, and then helping her find a job. She was able to work and eventually paid him back. At the end, the two married. It was a movie they played back at the shelter on movie nights more than any other movie.
“I doubt a Waldo would be sending me to get a collar,” I mused, as I finished the last of my drink.
“Perhaps not, but you never know what you’ll get. Hope for the best, and maybe life will surprise you. Another?”
The bartender mixed another drink for me. It seemed even stronger this time.
“Anyway, you are entitled to see the contract before you get collared. Not that you can do anything about it, but you can find the expiration date. That’s when you are supposed to start receiving your pension. The date is important! Some people don’t think about it, and end up working the rest of their lives, unaware that they’re really free. Be smart!”
“I will,” I said. “Oh, I really needed that one.”
“I can’t offer you another. Sarah is watching you like a hawk.”
“Like she has been since I was claimed. I’ve gotten a bit used to it, though. Soon, it won’t matter.”
“She also probably has somebody waiting at the back entrance in case you make a run for it. I saw a nice girl get caught a few months ago. It wasn’t pretty.”
I didn’t even consider a back door. I was grateful that the guy told me about that, because I was sometimes prone to coming up with an idea such as running without thinking ahead of time. Now I knew that the back door wasn’t a good idea. I knew I was strong for my gender, but a person trained to catch runaways would still be able to subdue me.
Nodding at the bartender, I finished my drink. “Thank you. I really needed this.”
“Well, it was nice meeting you...” He left the end of the sentence dangling.
“Jess. Jess Sterling.” I went back to using my maiden name once I found I was broke. I didn’t want to be associated with my ex. It wasn’t my legal name any more, since I didn’t have the money to get it legally changed back. The bartender, for one, didn’t seem the type to go checking my ID.
“Anthony. Tony to my friends.”
“It was nice meeting you, too, Tony.”
“Come visit me here when your contract expires. I’ll buy you a drink.”
“I’ll try to remember.”
Sarah came up to the bar and led me outside.
At the hospital, I asked Sarah if I would be allowed to see my contract before the procedure. She seemed a bit surprised, but she nodded. She pulled out her portacomm and asked for somebody to deliver me my papers.
I looked over the contract. It was all legal mumbo-jumbo, but there was a definite end date. Five years! Shirley would be eleven. I’d be free and able to enjoy her teen years! I did the math on the money I knew I owed, and figured that whoever paid my contract fee and got only five years was either stupid or misguided. I also noticed an abbreviation on the contract “PA” referring to my job. I didn’t see any definition for that, so I asked Sarah, and she pulled out a portacomm and said “Personal Assistant” or “Production Assistant” and that she sent a query to check. The former didn’t seem to be a sex industry job, although the latter seemed to be a non-actress job in holos.
Sarah must have gotten a haptic signal from her portacomm, because she looked at it. “Here it is. Personal Assistant. It’s listed as a housekeeping job. Both you and your daughter will be living on site for the duration of your contract.”
Sarah said, “That information is redacted. You have no need to know at this time.”
That figured. At least it didn’t sound like soap work. I felt a bit better. Of course, I’d have to arrange Shirley’s schooling, as she was supposed to start first grade soon. Then register at a clinic for medical needs. Well, I was moving out of the shelter and its limited services.
When they actually brought me into the operating room to get collared, it didn’t seem to be that big a deal. One minute, I was lying in a bed as an anesthesiologist gave me an injection, and the next thing I remember, I was awake and Sarah was nowhere to be seen.
“I see you’re awake.”
I turned to see a nurse at the other side of my bed. “Yes. Is it ... finished?”
“Yes. Your Microservus Principis Unit has been installed.”
“Micro Serve ... what?”
“Microservus Principis Unit. MPU for short, popularly known as the collar.”
“I don’t feel any different.”
The nurse nodded. “You shouldn’t feel anything different. Besides, it isn’t activated yet. It doesn’t need maintenance, as it draws its current from your body’s normal neural transmitters. There’s a ten-year warranty on the unit itself, and free updates on the software. You’ll probably get about five software upgrades throughout its lifetime, but that happens automatically. That is, without surgery.”
“What happens when my contract expires in five years?”
“Well, the software will automatically shut down at the expiration of your contract. It’s a basic part of the emancipation process along with enfranchisement. Afterward, it has no effect. You could have it removed if you prefer. Some do, actually. The cost isn’t that high.”
“I see.” I was going to have that thing removed the day of my emancipation! “You said it wasn’t activated yet?”
“The implant takes a few hours to meld with your neurons. However, there are basics that are already in service. If you were to run, for instance, your voluntary nervous systems would be disabled. You wouldn’t get five feet outside the building.”
“Now, we are going to have you here for twenty-four hours for observation and calibration. During that time, the collar will activate, and various tests will be performed. You may feel some odd sensations during that time. Just find me or another nurse if anything really odd happens and explain exactly what you are feeling. Sometimes, these things need some careful fine-tuning.”
It was three o’clock in the afternoon when the collar activated. I know, because I felt a minor shock. I pressed the button and the nurse came right in.
“Is there anything wrong?”
“I felt a bit of a shock all over my body. Maybe something is wrong?”
The nurse smiled. “No. That just means your device was activated. You shouldn’t feel that again. Was it painful?”
“No. Just surprising.”
“Are you still feeling the shock?”
“No. It was a tingle. I was looking at the clock and then I felt it. More than a tingle, but not really painful.”
“That’s confirmation. It should be working fine. Just let me know if you feel anything else particularly strange.”
There was an old fashioned television in my room, the kind that plays viddies, and I put it on. There were only three channels, and there was no connection to the Uniweb for a choice of viddies. On one channel a video version of Waldo and Lisa was playing. I didn’t want to see a story about true love overcoming a Sponsorship, so I changed to another station, and it was playing one of the old Star Trek viddies from the twentieth century. The third channel was showing some stupid soap opera story with a woman being plowed by a guy that was dressed as a plumber or repairman, but I didn’t have any desire to watch pornography.
I remember reading in history class about how the Victimless Crime Act legalized all sorts of industries that used to be mostly underground. With sex for money being allowed, porn actresses soon found themselves employed in Hollywood for the various video networks for their popularity as they were used to acting in sex scenes. Similarly, Hollywood actresses found themselves being requested to do more and more intimate scenes as well, further blurring the lines of distinction. Soap operas in particular went from implied sex to actual coitus (and more!) onscreen. They essentially replaced the old dark porn industry with mainstream and better funded operations with better production values. Free for all, you just had to put up with commercials or be a subscriber. To me, it was still porn.
As I watched James Kirk make out with some alien female without either removing their clothes, I found myself wondering about my Sponsor. All I knew was that he was a male. Even his name was redacted from the copy of the contract that I read.
After a few moments, I started to feel a bit of a sexual excitement. It didn’t have anything to do with any character on screen. It was just a random sexual feeling, and it was starting to get stronger.
Once again, I pushed the call button, and a different nurse came in. “Is there anything wrong?”
“No. I’m just feeling ... a bit strange.”
“Strange in what way?”
It was embarrassing to tell a strange woman that I was starting to feel a strong sexual arousal. “Um ... I don’t know ... desire?”
“OK. Let me know if the feeling persists. I’ll be back in a moment.”
Just as she closed the door, the feeling went away. Completely and without a trace!
A few minutes later, the nurse returned. “Are you still feeling that ... desire?”
“No. It just disappeared. Like that!” I snapped my fingers to explain.
“All right. It’s probably the MPU. I’ve checked with the staff and they said that they’re still working on the calibrations, although they’re still on track. What you felt was probably a bit of feedback.”
“That was some feedback,” I muttered.
The nurse smiled and told me to tell her if anything else strange happened.
Nothing else happened, or at least, nothing that I was aware of. I do know that at various times during the day, random images and scenes would spring into my mind. My daughter. A yellow flower. My ex-husband. A teacher of mine in high school. A lovely Asian woman that told me she loved me. The house I used to live in. A barn I don’t recall ever seeing before. People from college. I chalked these up to my apprehensions over my situation allowing my mind to drift and never mentioned anything to anybody.
At eleven in the morning the next day, a government worker came to my room and handed me my disenfranchisement papers. I would no longer be a normal citizen until I became emancipated. That would be in five years, I figured, or less if my Sponsor received his value from my work and emancipated me early. I signed everything, my final act as a free woman.
At noon, Sarah arrived with Shirley. “It’s time for you to meet your Sponsor.”
I was presently dressed in the clothes that were left for me. It was a simple black dress. The cut was a bit shorter than I liked, but it fit me, and most notably it was new. I’m not talking “shelter new,” which meant second hand stuff. This was really new and in the current fashion. New wasn’t something I got much of. Shirley was wearing a yellow dress, one that made her look even more cute than she always was, and in her hair she wore a matching yellow bow. When I put my dress on earlier I noticed that it made me look voluptuous and accented my narrow waist, a look I was avoiding for the past few years. My strategy was to avoid being selected for my looks, although somebody still wanted me, Shirley and all. I knew it was probably those damned “eight standard poses” I was made to endure years ago.
As we left, the nursing staff waved good-bye.
Sarah put us in the car and told it to drive us to an address. This was going to be our new home for the next five years. I wished there was some time to speak privately with my daughter, but it was not meant to be.
The car parked in a driveway of a very large house and Sarah told us to go to the front door and ring the bell.
I did so, and the car drove away.
I thought about running, right then and there. But the nurse’s warning about running, along with the fact that I felt I should give the new job a chance, made me decide not to run.
After a minute, I rang the bell a second time.
The door opened.
My heart dropped when I saw who it was. It couldn’t be... !
“DADDY!” Shirley yelled happily.
I was aghast! There was no fucking way that my ex-husband, who divorced me and left me penniless and without any child support, could be my Sponsor! This was the same guy who disappeared and left no trace of himself for me to sue. This was the vilest man that ever walked the face of this earth. He was going to be my Sponsor?
“Jess, it’s so wonderful to see you!” Bob said, giving me a smile I knew was completely malevolent. “And Shirley, my how you’ve grown!”
Shirley ran into her father’s arms, only knowing him as “Daddy,” even after he wasn’t in our lives for four of her six years. Of course she knew it was him. A copy of his picture was prominent on her comm, a memento she never wanted to discard. I never had the heart to erase it from her comm and tell her to get on with her life. She was still too young...
The monster picked up his daughter. “It’s been too long, darling, but we’ll be seeing a lot of each other. Right, Mommy?”
I glared at the man. I wanted to kill him.
All the time Bob was married with me, he was having affairs with other women, including people he worked with. If what I heard was true, he was fucking a coworker the night before we married! If I wasn’t pregnant when I found out about his affairs, I would have left him right then and there.
As it was, he left me when Shirley was eighteen months old. He took all his things, and then went to Nevada and got a no-fault divorce, somehow managing to forge my agreement enough to satisfy the divorce court there. I didn’t mind no longer being married to him, but the laws in that state didn’t allow for any kind of alimony, child support, or anything of the kind. As it was called, “no-fault” meant that no party admitted doing anything wrong, and it was up to each of us to figure out how to divvy up our belongings.
Except the bastard already divvied everything up, leaving me with nothing but bills!
The last place I ever heard about him was when I received my official copy of the divorce decree, and noticed it was from Nevada. He never used any credit service or our bank accounts after that. The debit services just happened to have been drained just prior to his leaving, and the credit cards were close to their maximum already. I knew he owned other accounts, but he never told me where to find them. I was listed as his sole beneficiary in his insurance policies, but he canceled them. Having bills to pay and no means to pay them meant we lost the house, and I was forced to sell most of the possessions he left me just for food. Then it was the street or the WfD program...
“Don’t Mommy me, you miserable son of a...”
With just that one word from him, no further words came out of my mouth. It felt weird. My mouth was moving, but not a single sound came out except air.
“As you see, it really works.” He turned to my daughter and said, “Have you ever seen Mommy so quiet?”
Bob turned to me and said, “You, report to the bedroom. I’m going to get Shirley set up in her new bedroom. Then we’re going to have a heart to heart...”
I stood there, refusing to budge. I didn’t want to set one foot into that house.
Then I looked at Shirley, hugging her father as he held her. She was apparently waiting for me to do something. I still couldn’t speak.
I noticed my feet wanted to move.
No! Not one foot inside that house! Not with this monster!
My feet REALLY wanted to move.
I can beat this! I cannot let this man that once got me drunk and anally raped me have any kind of control over me, contract or not! He surely ignored our marriage contract, I can just as well ignore the WfD contract...
Except my feet REALLY, REALLY wanted to move inside.
I couldn’t understand what was happening to me ... Fuck! The collar! Somehow, it was making me obey this monster!
That’s right! I remember thinking about my ex-husband for a moment last night, and that was something I never really wanted to think about. Just as soon as the image entered my mind, it left. Was the collar doing something to associate the image of my husband with ... obedience?
My feet were getting restless. Without my knowing it, I already moved a step indoors. I tried to step back outside, but my legs wouldn’t obey me. In fact, I spent all my effort attempting to step backward when I realized that I somehow already ended up completely inside the door.
Bob laughed at me and turned to Shirley. “Isn’t Mommy funny? She looks as if she’s trying to dance! One, two ... cha cha cha!”
“Mommy’s funny!” Shirley agreed, laughing.
Don’t you know what a monster this guy that is holding you is? I couldn’t utter a word, and my feet were now moving me past him.
It is mentally exhausting trying to fight your own body, your own mind. My body seemed to have endless stamina. I didn’t seem to have very much.
I found myself walking further and further into the house, away from the person I loved most in the world and who was being held by the person I truly detested.
Somehow, my traitorous feet knew where his bedroom was.
Inside the bedroom, I fumed silently, still under the “QUIET” order that I could not disobey. The more I tried, the more I wanted to give up trying.
How could I have let this happen to me?
Actually, there was no way I could have avoided it. Due to privacy laws, nobody was required or probably even allowed to tell me the name of the person I was being sold to. I didn’t have a need to know; my contract was with the WfD program, and it was their specific right to sell it to whomever they wanted, usually to the person paying the most money. I wasn’t sure how it worked; I imagined it was some sort of silent auction with a minimum bid set to allow the charity and government to recoup their investment in me.
I wasn’t sure of Bob’s motive. After all, he divorced me. He didn’t want me. What benefit would he get?
I thought back to the last time I saw him. It was the same day I finally got the nerve to stand up to him and confront him with my knowledge of all the floozies he was with, even during my pregnancy. I decided that at eighteen months, Shirley was old enough. I was given the name of a highly recommended lawyer, which gave me the advantage. I was going to get a divorce, I told him. I knew about all his affairs.
The shit didn’t even deny it. “Maybe you’re just too inadequate to keep me interested. You only stayed as long as you have because you couldn’t be without my cock!” He actually said that!
I was livid. I answered his suggestion about his cock and said that such tiny things don’t even enter into my consideration. I called him every name in the book. I said things I was always afraid to say, and it felt good to get them off my chest.
Bob listened to my tirade, and he started to get a concerned look on his face. He let me finish venting, and then he said in a voice so soft that I needed to strain to hear it. “You’re serious, aren’t you? Wow! I never knew you hated me so much. It’s just that sometimes, you make me crazy, but I really shouldn’t have said that to you. You’re much better than that, and you don’t deserve what I said.”
What? I stopped yelling. “What are you saying?”
“I’m sorry for criticizing you. I know my words were just mean,” he said, giving me the same romantic looks he gave me before we were married. “Those other girls ... they were meaningless. You’re the one I married! Let me make it up to you. Let me take you out. I’ll show that I can change.”
Although I promised myself I wouldn’t give any more chances, I decided one more couldn’t hurt. Let him take me out. Let him prove he was the man I married. If he failed, at least I could say I tried.
We went to Max’s. Maximilian’s was the formal name, and it was definitely formal. Prices started at around $1,800 a person and only went up from there. I was wearing my best dress, and he wore one of his more expensive suits.
Bob pulled out all the stops. Even a bottle of Dom Perignon ... or was it two? The bill was astronomical, but he insisted that I was worth it. He said all those sweet things he used to say to me before Shirley was even an embryo.
I was a bit tipsy when I got home, but he helped me inside, holding me ever so gently. This was even a better man than I fell in love with. He even dressed me for bed.
Then I passed out.
I awoke with a terrible need to shit, but the light was on in the bathroom. Bob wasn’t in bed, so I thought he was using the toilet. My head was throbbing. I needed water, and my whole crotch was sore. After a few minutes, I called out, “Honey, are you in the bathroom?”
“Honey?” I repeated, a bit louder. I didn’t want to disturb Shirley.
Still no answer.
I got up, and realized I was much more sore than I thought. I was walking funny, but I managed to get to the bathroom.
It was empty, except for a note that read, “You’re even a terrible ass fuck!”
Even in my drunken state, I realized what happened. I swore as the source of the pain I was feeling began to make sense. I waddled to Shirley’s room, and she was still sleeping. The BMW was gone from the driveway. That’s when I noticed that some stuff was missing. Stuff Bob cared about. Stuff that was worth more than a few bucks.
His dressers still contained some of his clothes, but all his expensive suits and loafers were missing from his closet.
I figured he wanted to blow off steam. He’s done that before. Take a trip somewhere, and come back feeling better.
Fine. When he comes back, I’ll have divorce papers waiting for him. I made an appointment for the next Monday to see the lawyer. I held on to the note in the bathroom to show how nasty he could be!
The next day, I was in the grocery store and my debit got declined. It was a debit service for a bank account with plenty of money, so I figured it was a glitch. I tried a different service, a credit service, and it worked.
When I called the bank, I found that $354,500 was withdrawn the day before and the bank account closed. My husband was able to do that despite the fact I thought it was a joint account. It was explained to me that it was originally his account before we got married, and it turned out he never really made me a joint owner. He just allowed me to co-sign checks in my name and use the debit service. I then checked our other bank accounts, and they were all empty or closed. Our safe deposit key was missing...
It dawned on me that Bob already started the work I should have done.
Then the courier arrived with an official looking envelope. My copy of the “No-Fault Divorce” from Reno. Fait accompli!
There were bills to pay and no money! He was the one with the big job. I was a newly divorced mother with no way to take care of things. Our insurance policies were all canceled, so I was no longer his beneficiary. I’d never get my hands on his accounts now. There was still one policy, one my mother took out on me before I got married. That was a term life insurance, and it already expired, although I don’t remember getting the letter to extend it.
Knowing there weren’t too many alternatives for me, I tried everything I could think of. I tried to find a job, but my credit rating was reduced to rubble. The asshole didn’t pay the last five months of our mortgage, making me already in arrears when I tried to renegotiate the loan! He was also a co-signer and not present. In fact, they were already starting foreclosure proceedings! With such a bad credit rating, nobody would even hire me for menial work.
I tried borrowing from friends. I tried to get legal advice.
In the end, I ended up with the decision of the streets or the WfD.
Now I found myself back, full circle, with the asshole that ruined me!