The good news and the bad news. Memoirs of a Gigolo Volume Seven is not coming out today. As I make the transition from self-publishing to working with Lori Perkins and her team at Riverdale Ave Books, there will be a delay with the release of the next installment in the adventures of Oliver. BUT!!! As promised – the good news. I will be releasing a series of short Memoirs stories on my blog during the intervening weeks. I’ve been looking for an excuse to dig deeper into the lives of the men and women in Oliver’s life. This is my chance. I do hope you enjoy reading. So although there is no Volume Seven today, I bring you the following: Memoirs of a Gigolo – the Third Wives Club.
Were I an architect of the underworld and the task of designing the perfect purgatory fell to me, I would make it an airport in a snowstorm. There is no place in which time grinds to a halt more completely than an airport in a snowstorm. As the architect of purgatory I would further carve down this small corner of limbo.
Not just any terminal.
A terminal at night.
This place would have the following – one fast food restaurant, an insufficient number of chairs to accommodate the number of people waiting, notice boards that never changed, and uniformed minions that were well practiced at sarcasm and derision. Instead of a proper duty free shopping arcade, a table. One table filled with perfume, booze, fags, and large Toblerone chocolate bars. Whatever was purchased would be bagged, sealed, and waiting at the gate only to be retrieved whilst boarding. I would also randomly allow persons to leave on flights. Not with any regularity or pattern. Just often enough that the damned would never leave out of fear their number might come up the second they left the terminal.
This is my perfect hell.
My voyage of the damned.
I fly with Elizabeth from Los Angeles to London with what should have been a brief stop in Chicago.
I’ve never been to Chicago beyond the airport. I will not judge a city based on its airport. I’m from London. We have Heathrow. Enough said.
My experience probably would have been a lot less traumatizing if I weren’t saddled with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is not an easy traveling companion in the best of circumstances.
She makes Olga look like a seasoned flight attendant with a knack for packing light.
When we arrive in Chicago, we have perhaps ten minutes to get from gate to gate.
This is before we realize we’re about to enter the seventh circle of hell. The inner ring. The one for the blasphemers and the sodomites. By the time we leave Chicago I’ve cursed the holy trinity and fate enough to guarantee my spot. Or maybe I’d belong in the eighth. In the ditch with the panderers, seducers and the flatterers. The shit that has come out of my mouth in the name of both seducing and flattering is worthy of being bathed in excrement or whipped by demons.
I run Elizabeth’s arse through the airport. I nearly abandon her as she clicks along in her stupidly tall shoes.
I told her to change her shoes.
I fucking told her to change her fucking shoes!
What is it with these women and those shoes they insist on wearing? Who is going to see them on an airplane or in an airport that they need to wear these stupidly tall shoes?
Shoes that they cannot run from airplane to airplane wearing?
You’d think they’d learn considering how often we have to do this.
But no – she has to wear stupid shoes. At least I have effectively harassed Olga into dressing for travel in such a way that she is able to wear either boots or shoes that have a manageable heel.
But not Elizabeth.
I finally just pick her up and toss her over a shoulder when I realize we are getting nowhere and have to be somewhere very quickly.
If nothing else I am like Moses parting the Red Sea as I carry the blond woman through O’Hare International Airport.
All make way for me.
The men recognize in my face one of their brothers that has had enough.
The women just think I’m crazy.
When we arrive at the gate, I am confused.
The boarding area is full. Based on my calculations, we should have been lucky to make it to the doors before they were shut tight.
Quickly I check the monitors.
There is nothing indicating our airplane shouldn’t be taxiing down the runway without us on it.
I set Elizabeth down and order her to stay.
Elizabeth has this way about her that makes me wonder if waitresses haven’t spit in our food.
I go to the counter looking for answers.
Delayed. The man behind the desk points at the board behind him with his pen without offering the courtesy of looking up from his monitor.
Delayed. I could throttle him, but I am calm. Elizabeth, who does not listen to me, joins me at the counter.
What is the problem? I think she’s examining at her nails, but it’s hard to tell as she is masked by her sunglasses.
The gate agent looks at Elizabeth. He stares like service people tend to do when Elizabeth comes into their lives. They know a pain in the arse when they see one.
I might have had a chance with the man before Elizabeth crossed his path. That’s gone.
Go sit and wait for the announcement like everyone else. You’ll get your seat assignment when you’re boarded.
Go and sit and wait for the announcement like everyone else. We’ll get your seat assignment when he calls us.
Elizabeth snaps her fingers.
Oliver. Give the man our tickets. Clearly he doesn’t know who we are.We are first class passengers. Not in steerage.
(I should have left her scrawny arse back at the other gate. I should have.)
Give the man our tickets. (A fingernail taps the counter) The flight is listed as boarding on the monitors. She just ran at least a mile for no reason.
Actually, darling, I ran. You complained that I was jostling you too much.
(The gate agent has had enough of Elizabeth at this point) Go and sit and wait for the announcement like everyone else. You’ll get your seat assignment when you’re boarded.
(But Elizabeth is just getting started) This is ridiculous! What is wrong with you people? She slams her angry fist against the counter. She demands service. She demands justice.
(A small smile touched the corners of the gate agent’s mouth) Does he need to call security? (He grinned like a guard in a Soviet era gulag.) He suggests she goes away, sits down and remains quiet, or else.
Or else what? (Elizabeth growled at the man.)
(He gestured to her to lean in and we both did.) Three words. No. Fly. List.
He can’t do that. She has rights.
Try him. He may not get us permanently grounded, but he can make our lives very inconvenient for at least twelve to twenty-four hours. This isn’t his only delayed flight today, and she, princess, is not the only person that has been inconvenienced. Now, go away and don’t bother him. When we’re ready to board, get in line like a good little sheep. Until then, go find a place to sit
(It was like watching a standoff in a Clint Eastwood western)
How much longer?
Listen for the announcement.
She needs to get home. She has a very important thing coming up that she cannot miss.
Oh!!! (the gate agent sighed – there was danger in that sigh) He didn’t realize. Hold on just a second. (He lifted up the phone from behind the desk.) Hi there! (he spoke into the phone.) Is this God? Hi God! This is Dwayne at O’Hare. (He paused for a moment.) No really I’m fantastic. Thanks so much for asking. Look, I have this lady here that really needs to get to London for a thing. Not just any thing, but a really important thing that she can’t miss. You see the snow is causing all sorts of problems. (He paused again.) Sure God, I can hold. (He put his hand over the mouth piece.) I’m holding for God. He’s going to see if he can do anything about the weather just for you princess.
At that moment I understood how normally sane people could commit murder.
Elizabeth is paralyzed by a mixture of anger and outrage.
Fortunately I am capable of recognizing that, although this man might be a petty underling, he still had the power to make my life a hell merely by being associated with Elizabeth.
Go go. (The Gate Agent shooed us away with his flapping hands.) Go go. Off with you.
Elizabeth very nearly started mouthing off again. I grab her with an arm around the waist. I pull her away from the gate.
Has she lost her mind?
He was impertinent.She will be writing a very firmly worded letter when we are home.
Could she please just stop being such a pain in the ass?
It’s not like I’m exactly a treasure.
(This is what happens after traveling together for nearly three weeks.)
It is late in Chicago.
We are in a terminal that is under construction.
There is a single fast food restaurant.
There is no bar.There is a bar, but it’s closed. It’s being refurbished. A sign asks me for my patience.
What kind of airport terminal has no bar?
I walk to a window.
Large flakes of swirling snow fill the sky.
Elizabeth is at my shoulder.
Do I think the snow has anything to do with the delay?
I stare at her through our reflections in the glass.
Could be. I check my watch. I check the boards. It’s after ten. We were sat on the tarmac in Los Angeles longer than I realized we were. Elizabeth has pissed off the Gate Agent. He will be of no help on principle.
I’m starving. Is she hungry?
Has her supply of celery sticks and apple slices run out? (I’m being a bit bitchy at this moment – I can’t abide a woman that starves herself in the name of squeezing an already bony arse into a smaller size).
I suggest we go and find somewhere that is open and serving food.
There is a bitter irony in that the only place that is open and has food is a fast food restaurant owned by my former fiancée and her father. There is irony in this the depths of which I haven’t even begun to plunge as I order the food I know from inside experience to be the safest. I order only deep fried foods. That which has been plunged in scalding oil is probably the least likely to be contaminated. Nothing could get me to touch a salad in one of these places. The threat of colitis is far too great.
We don’t get a seat. The seats are already taken up by people that are clearly entrenched. They have laptops open and papers spread before them. These people aren’t going anywhere.
I try to explain to Elizabeth that she will not find a table to be empty simply by standing around. Besides, there are many other people standing around. If anyone moves from a table, the rest of the people will be on them like vultures on carrion.
She gives me the sigh, hair toss, tongue click, combo all of the girls have mastered.
She’ll get us a table.
We walk past a table as the two men who are sitting at it look like they just might be ready to leave. In an hour or so. They have papers and laptops open. They are wearing ties. Who the hell wears a tie at this hour when they are clearly stuck in an airport?
Elizabeth gives them a smile. This is all she has to do. There was a time when it would have worked on me too. So I don’t judge them too harshly.
They happily offer to let her join them. They aren’t expecting me. There are two open chairs.
She sits down.
I sit down.
Then they give me a look like they could pummel me.
I don’t care.
I have a bucket of freshly fried chicken parts and a gallon of coleslaw. I know I should have passed on the coleslaw, but part of me just loves to live dangerously.
I introduce myself as Elizabeth’s brother. Suddenly I’m okay. They can flirt without fear of the retribution of an angry lover.
I’m allowed to gnaw at my chicken in peace. I can even read my book. Every once in a while I shake the bucket of fried chicken parts under Elizabeth’s nose. She politely declines my offer to take a wing each time it is made.
It turns out the two are consultants.
I’ve never really been able to get my head around what a consultant does other than make a lot of money telling people how to run their businesses.
My former fiancée would have been able to explain this one. She routinely hired and fired consultants. This was one of those things she enjoyed doing when feeling peevish.
The two have very good jobs. Very good jobs indeed.
They went to fancy schools.
They drive German cars.
They know baseball players and politicians.
They’ll be in London.
Elizabeth only needs to choose and either one of them would be happy to spend a small fortune on her.
She offers each of them her number. But it’s not her number. It’s the Matchmaker’s number. The one that she takes bookings through. They’ll each be in for a shock if either of them decide to call that number. As far as they can tell, she’s my lovely sister Victoria, an art student and occasional model.
They leave us when they both realize that to linger would be to blow their chance with the lovely “Victoria”.
Why did she give them the Matchmaker’s number?
Because she always gives men that are interested in spending time with her the Matchmaker’s phone number. The Matchmaker always clears first time clients.
Here’s my thought, take it or leave it, but they actually seemed nice.
They did seem nice.
Why not actually go on a date with one of them? I mean if we’re being totally honest, either of them would probably be a pretty decent man to hook up with. Okay fine they were a couple of twats about the money and the cars, but clearly they’re decent earners.
She agrees. But they’re just not right.
(This is when I should have gone back to my book, but yet did not.)
If they’re not right, then who is right?
Someday they’ll be ideal. But that’ll take a while.
I’m a pretty good judge of age. I’d say they’re both mid-twenties. Clearly they take care of themselves. What more could she want?
They’re both single.
Yes. They’re both single. A good characteristic to have when one is embarking on a romantic relationship.
She’d never be a first wife.
She’d never be a first wife. Both of them, nice as they are, haven’t been through their first wives yet.
(Why do I need to know more? Why can’t I just let some of these statements flow past me and out into the universe?)
First wives? Is there something wrong with being a first wife?
Everything! (she laughs at me like a simple child) There is nothing good about being a first wife.
I… Why not just tell me what’s wrong about being a first wife. Because I’m sort of dying to know.
Well – the first wife is the one that has to do all of the hard work. The first wife is the one that has to put up with all of the bullshit. The first wife is the one that has to push out the kids. The first wife has to raise the kids on her own while the man is off making the first pot of money. The first wife is the one that has to make casseroles and budgets and pretend she doesn’t know when he’s fucking someone younger and prettier that hasn’t gone fat in the hips birthing his babies. The first wife is the one that breaks him in.
I get the idea.
When the first wife is all broken down and gray with saggy tits and wrinkles from those years of having to worry about mortgage payments and that kind of bullshit, the man trades her in for the second wife.
That’s a bit harsh.
She didn’t make the world. She just tries to live in it.
So she’d like to be a second wife?
God no! No one in their right mind would want to be a second wife. That’s worse than being a first wife.
Pray do tell me how.
The second wife has to deal with being that bitch that usurped mummy’s place. Worse than that, the second wife is always a younger version of the first wife. Always. Guaranteed. The second wife is just a way station on the way to the third wife. Honestly, the second wife is the human equivalent of buying a ridiculously expensive sports car.
Is she saying that a second wife is the response to a mid-life crisis?
Exactly. She couldn’t have put it any better. Which is why she longs to be a third wife.
Okay. Interesting. Not fourth?
No. Never fourth. The fourth wife is just one among many. The man with a fourth wife has learned he can replace them easily when he gets bored.
Dare we use the car analogy again?
We can. The car analogy works. Third wife is the best wife to be. By the time the third wife comes along, he’s already had two very messy, probably fairly painful and ruinously expensive, divorces. Wife three is the oasis in the desert of love he’s been looking for. The third wife gets him. She’s still young, beautiful, fit, and fun. The third wife appreciates his money and all the work it took to get it.
And she’ll happily spend it.
Of course. Best of all, there is no stress in being a third wife. By the time the third wife rolls into town, the kids are raised and have their own lives. The man has achieved the success the first wife worked so hard to help facilitate. He’s over the first marriage thanks to the second wife. He has time to travel, enjoy life, and appreciate the third wife.
Which is why she wants to be a third wife.
Clearly I’ve been drinking Elizabeth’s Kool-Aid for a bit too long, because, for reasons I don’t want to understand, all of this sort of makes sense to me. She has a point. She’s also in the right business if she wants to be a third wife.
Can I ask one question?
What if she meets a man, a great man who was kind and good, who would love her to be his first and only wife?
Does he have a lot of money?
Then definitely no.
Is money the number one factor that motivates her?
She stares at me. Her head cocked to one side.
At least she’s honest.
She’s right. She’s absolutely right. I’m a hypocrite. At least she’s honest. I hope she finds a wealthy man and becomes the best third wife there ever was.
It’s going to be hard to top Melania Trump, but a girl can try.