The Minstrel

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51


Russell Frawley had a hangover, and a bad one, at that, He’d yelled at his client in front of a jury. He threatened to fire his law assistant Jonathan. He puked his guts out twice in just the last hour and even Coke was refusing to stay in his stomach. And to top it all off, he missed Addie. He needed a beer badly.

She left him. After two weeks of non stop sex, she left him. She hadn’t been there when he woke up today, and she had left no way for him to get in touch with her. He was totally bummed out by the situation, and to get through this lousy day spent the whole time reminiscing about his time with her. About how they ordered room service and had breakfast in bed together. About how making love to her made him think of nothing else but her. About how they would talk endlessly about anything and everything, everything but each other. He did not know where she came from, and she refused to tell him why she was on the streets, but Frawley knew in his gut that this was no ordinary street girl. She was no bimbo. She had guts. Unlike some other women he knew.

Joan knew something was up. Actually, she’d be stupid if she didn’t because he hadn’t been home in a week, but even though Joan had been really smart in college, she could act like an airhead. Shit could be happening right under her nose and she would insist that she didn’t know what was going on. Frawley figured it was some kind of survival mechanism especially since their son died. She really fell apart after that. Frawley wouldn’t have minded if she hadn’t blamed every problem, including Quentin’s death on him. By this time in life, she had turned into a complete martyr. The world had wronged her, so she was out for revenge, although all she did was sit and nurse her scotch all day. It was too much for him to deal with. Besides, after all the accusations he got about having an affair, he might as well go out and have one. A man could only take so much.

So now here he was, sitting in his office feeling like he did during the days of Woodstock (the real one in ’69, thank you). Maybe worse than that. At least then, there was peace, love and real music. Now, the music was noise, people shook hands in peace then bombed each others’ families, and though there was plenty of lust there was no love anywhere. Hopefully there would be with him and Addie. If he ever found her again.

He was startled out of his reverie by Jonathan knocking on the door along with a chipper hello. He was too happy for Russell to deal with, especially today. Happy people never cheered him up. They made him want to scream. Like his wife, except she wasn’t happy. He supposed happy people and unhappy people annoyed him. He just liked normal people.

“Yes?” he barked more sharply than intended.

“Your wife is here,” Jonathan informed him pleasantly.

Speaking of the devil. Shit. Hell was ready to break loose. And of all days, on the Hangover Supreme Day. He grunted.

“Should I say you’re in?” Jonathan inquired.

It would do no good for him to say no. She’d break through the windows now that Jonathan knocked on the door- not that it was his fault, it was his job to knock on his door. It wasn’t Jonathan’s fault that he was too happy on the day that he was totally shitfaced. Or that he was too happy to begin with. “Sure, let her in,” he complied. Maybe he should have stayed in court. He could have asked for continuances all day and hung out drinking coffee in the cafeteria.

Well, hardly a second had passed when the door to his office was flung open. He could smell the alcohol a mile away. “Where have you been?” Joan demanded. “Do you still live in our house, or have you taken up residence elsewhere?”

This was going to be fun, real fun. “Joan, can’t this be discussed elsewhere?” he asked in his best lawyer voice. “In case you haven’t noticed, this is my place of work. It is not an appropriate arena for marital spats.”

“Marital spats?” Joan demanded loudly. Frawley hastily closed his office door. No use getting more embarrassed than he had to here. Joan didn’t miss a beat. ” Do you call it a ‘marital spat’ when a wife wants to know where the hell her husband has been sleeping for the last week and a half?”

“I have been home several times during this time. If you weren’t passed out maybe you could have spoken to me then, right?”

“Are you going to sit here and evade my questions all afternoon? I don’t have time for this. Answer me instead of arguing about the location of the fight.”

“I am commenting about the location of the fight,” Frawley started slowly, as though speaking to a retarded, or nowadays, mentally challenged child, “because my employee is sitting right outside the door. He can here every little word that you are saying. I would prefer not to look bad in front of my employee because if I do, he will quit, and I will spend all of my time filing papers instead of winning those big cases that bring in your fur coats. Besides, it is hard to be the authority figure when the employee thinks that the boss is a big buffoon.”

“Aw, poor baby. Can’t get no respect. Well, listen sweetie, you want respect, then you come home and sleep with your wife. I feel like an unwanted hag.”

That’s because you are, Frawley thought. But he was willing to be political. After all, he hadn’t gotten this much power with the DA just on his good looks. “All right, honey, I’ll come home tonight.” He patted her head like she was an unwashed sheepdog.

Joan threw her arms around him. “I love you Russell,” she exclaimed.

“I love you too, Joan,” he lied. He pried her loose of him. She continued to hold his hands.

“I don’t want to lose you, Russell,” she proclaimed.

“I don’t want to lose you either.” That was the truth. It would cost him too much money.

She was back in his arms, sobbing loud enough to block out the sound of traffic four floors down. Her uncombed hair hung like knotted string about them. His mind drifted to Addie and how beautiful she was, and how he wished he was with her. He was still a young man, probably with at least another thirty good years ahead of him. And he didn’t want to spend it with Joan.

Joan was staring into his face. Frawley wondered if she had read his mind. He shrugged off the thought. If she had, so what. She was too stupid to do anything about it. The tears were still streaming down her face. If it had been Addie, he would have wiped them away. But it wasn’t. It was Joan.

“Why can’t things be like they used to?” bemoaned Joan. Frawley heard this argument before. It made him tired to have to endure it yet again.

“Things always change, hon. Nothing stays the same.” He always said that. It was like second nature for him.

“But do you still love me? Why do I have to be alone so much?” She was breaking down completely, beginning to collapse in his embrace. It made Frawley angry. Needless hysteria always enraged him. He was so angry that he wanted to hit her, which made him even more angry. To lose control over a woman was not in his agenda. He forced himself to speak slowly.

“Because that is how it has to be. If you love me, you’ll understand that. You wouldn’t demand so much from me and you would be more reasonable once you realize we can’t go back to hippie sweethearts. Our son has died. I have responsibilities. You remember when the therapist said that change is inevitable, right?”

Joan reluctantly nodded.

“Good. Then you will understand that you must forget about silly worries like does my husband love me and why does he stay out so much and worry about more important things. Like, when was the last time you cleaned the house?”

“Last week,” Joan sniffed.

“Now, see? You’re long overdue on that priority. I thing it’s time for you to worry about that. Agreed?”


“All right. Why don’t you go home and take care of that chore like a good person would.” Ugh, he disgusted her. The smell of her unwashed body mixed with the alcohol made him want to gag. Tonight would be one hell of a long night.

He started short, right up into the eyes of death. Even in her drunken stupor, evil emitted from her eyes, scorching into him. Frawley, once aware of her, was unfazed. She would forget all about this in the morning, he conceded to himself. Everything would be as it was.

“You’re going to be home tonight.” It was posed as a statement to him, not a question.

“I know, I know. I’ll call off my clients’ conferences. But don’t complain when we can’t afford your Gucci handbags and your Home Shopping sprees,” he called of as Joan sauntered out of his office. His assistant Jonathan looking between him and the departing Joan as Frawley closed the door as he closed the door of his office again.

“What are you looking at?” he barked at Jonathan, who sighed as he started to dial the telephone. That kid has an attitude problem, Frawley thought angrily. No respect for authority. He’d never get as far in life as Frawley had with that attitude.

Whew, that had been a close call, he congratulated himself as he sank into his reclining chair. His gift of logic was what saved him yet again. He would survive on his own resources. With all the power he had, he would survive all that challenged him.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51