The Fabulous Chronicles ~ Chapter Nine: "Checking In and Checking Up"

Ken Painter By Ken Painter, 28th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Fictional Narrative

Max checks in with his estranged wife Jan to compare notes regarding their separation and how each other is doing and the misinformation that is being spread regarding them.

The Fabulous Chronicles ~ Chapter Nine: "Checking In and Checking Up"

I waited until after I’d gotten home from the gym after I’d left the school that day before I called Jan. I wanted to make absolutely certain that I’d cooled off first before I said anything, that I didn’t call in the heat of the moment or appeared too worked up even though my insides felt like freshly separated cottage cheese.

Jan picked up on the third ring. “What’s up?” There was a terse edge in her voice.

“Well,” I began hesitantly like wading into shark infested waters, “first of all, just for information’s sake, I came out at school today telling Stan and Hal and Mary Parsons. I’m sure it’ll get around from there like we already discussed.”

“How’d they take it?”

“Stan was shocked, but he seemed quite supportive. Well, Hal and Mary were shocked too, but Hal didn’t seem supportive at all which really bothered me, but that may have been because of the suddenness and because of our closeness, I don’t know. Mary was more judiciously non-committed.”

“You know, it’s kind of strange,” Jan replied, “ some of my responses have been kind of like that. A few of the people I expected to be a little more understanding of . . . how do I put this . . . the uniqueness of our situation seem to be somewhat more hardened in their stance toward it. I don’t know, it’s just weird.”

“Well, don’t give me any names,” I went on, “I don’t want to be to prejudiced toward anyone. However, I do feel it necessary to mention one name to you, Terese Sternbaugh. Ahem . . .” And as I was clearing my throat, Jan began laughing almost to the point of hysteria on the other end of the line, so that I just had to ask, “What’s so funny?”

“Oh, you just can’t imagine,” Jan’s laughter was subsiding, but I could almost see the tears sliding down her cheeks. It would seem that dear Terese is a little bit backward in her perception of what a gay man does or should be, and I had to . . . shall we say . . . educate her somewhat, not that I know what you’re doing and not doing or want to,” Jan repeated this last part in rapid fire succession. “It’s just that I just know you too well to know that there are some things that you would never do gay or not!”

“Okay,” I interrupted, “educate me.”

“Well, we were all having coffee over at Bob Evans a few Saturday mornings ago,” she began, “when I broke the news to a few of the girls, Maribeth, Lisa, Julie, and Terese. Basically, yes, they were all shocked, no one saw it coming, but the craziest response came from Terese when she got to talking about gay men’s behavior, and she started talking out loud about trying to picture you in high-heeled shoes, a form fitting dress, lipstick, and a feather boa!” Jan broke into hysterical laughter again. “The worst part of it was, she was dead serious!”

“You know, Jan,” I replied absolute incredulously at the thought, “what she just described almost to a tee was Jack Lemmon dressed up in drag from the 1959 movie Some Like It Hot.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” she replied laughing again. “Daphne! He and Tony Curtis were on the lam from the Chicago mob because they witnessed the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and they had to dress up as women to get a job with an all-women’s band that was playing in Florida! It’s a comedy classic.”

“And that’s Terese’s idea of what gay men do? Some folks don’t get out much do they?”

Well, she is Catholic you know if that has anything to do with it, and unmarried.”

“Yup, the old spinster schoolmarm,” I replied in jest. “But even their shiny new Pope Francis appears to be way more enlightened than that. I can't imagine it's that. But anyway, she’s the one I was calling about, because I was receiving a lot of back-alley whispering this afternoon all traceable back to Terese and all of it misinformation, and I just had to make sure that you and I are all right. We are all right aren’t we?” I asked this question rather beseechingly, sort of with my hat in my hands.

“If you’re asking if I’m happy about everything, then the answer is ‘no,’” Jan answered somewhat tersely. “But, I’m working on it, Max. It’s just gonna take some time is all. And as far as we go, you and me, we’re okay.” There was a long pause before she asked, "It’s probably none of my business, but do you mind terribly if I ask if you’re dating?”

Wow! I was surprised she asked. “Actually I don’t mind that you asked. I, uh,” and then I stuttered, and Jan giggled on her end, “Well, I want to word this right. I’ve met someone, yes, but no, I can’t say that we’re dating yet, no. It was only one date. We’ll have to see if there’s a second. And since you asked, what about you?”

“Well,” and then Jan hesitated. “Yes and no. We’ve talked on the phone, but we haven’t committed to an actual date yet, but perhaps soon.”

“Good. Good for you,” I replied. And with that we knew it was time for us to wrap up this conversation and move on. Jan promised me she’d try her best to educate Terese somewhat better in their future gatherings, and we shared one last good laugh before hanging up.

I’d no sooner hung up from this conversation then my phone rang.

California. My son, Drake. He’s calling me? That never happens.


Fiction Writing, Fictional Story, Gay, Gay Community, Gay Experience, Gay Men, Gays, Glbt, Lgbt, Narrative, Narrative Writing, Serial, Series

Meet the author

author avatar Ken Painter
Retired Chicago public school teacher. Singer, songwriter, musician, author, & opinionated old curmudgeon. Married to my husband & living in Colorado, USA. Also a father & grandfather.

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