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Drama Fiction Friendship

As I slammed my trunk closed, and started walking towards the sidewalk that leads to Marci’s beautiful mansion in Houston’s River Oaks subdivision, I was hurled backwards dropping my Maid kit in tow. One bottle of cleaning liquid went spewing in the direction of the freshly planted flowers along the sidewalk. Attempting to save the flowers, and my spray bottle from releasing the last bit of supply I had on hand, I dropped the rest of the supplies I had cuddled underneath my right arm… into the street. I managed to save the flowers from being poisoned, and prevent a scolding from Marci for damaging the flower bed she’d just planted with her own hands. A skill I have always admired. I love to watch her gardening, so I enjoy working for her when I need the cash. She has quite the green thumb. I enjoy taking pictures of her “work”, as they grow. She always has some sort of project to get done around her house, so it’s been very beneficial for both of us the past few months. 

As I beg the mop head to release its grip from the broken tail light, I realize this will be its last cleaning trip. The strings had become tangled, causing it to snag the protruding plastic of the light cover. I was disheartened as I had to pull the mop string a little harder than I wanted, causing the tail light to scream in agony as I ripped another piece of it from its already brokenshards. At this moment, I’m regretting not taking a picture of the guy’s license plate that hit me from behind. I always have my camera ready to snap any sunset or landscape. I didn’t think fast enough as he went around me as if running from the police. Not having insurance at the moment, I decided Not to bother. 

I release the mop from its stronghold, and placed it up against the new bumper I just repaired before the tail light incident. The customized, engraved bumper was a nice addition to my 17 year old ride. White Pony was in great shape when I bought her for $900 on craigslist 3 years ago. I was blessed to come across GREAT deals on cars throughout my lifetime of possessing a driver’s license. Even when I had a windfall in my advertising business I only spent eleven thousand of the million I made on a Gorgeous, Customized, Sport, Blacked Out, Unmarked Chrysler 300 Hemi! I miss “Him”! My ex- fiancée, Floyd, killed him (totaled it out) one night. Marci LOVED Floyd. She kept encouraging us to marry to the point of being engaged. I should’ve known then that something was wrong with our “friendship”.

She even defended him after knowing his excuse. Totalling it was My Blessing in disguise. His story was “She” (the ex- wife), “had me rush to the Southside to pick my son up, but she took him to Grandma’s instead!?” , sounded convincing. His ex was a bit of a drama queen. Even though she had been remarried for 4 years to a man she cheated on him with, she still wanted to control Floyd. We may have married, and divorced by now, if I had not run into KayKay at the tow yard the next day. KayKay was a supposed ‘ex-girl-friend’. I walked into the tow office, and a cattily dressed girl, was begging the yard driver to help her. She left her wallet in a car of another. She had to get it before the owner showed up. She let him in on her dirty little secret about her ex giving her a ride to work the night before. She, finally, convinced him to escort her to the car by flirting, and promising she would be a gracious waitress at Ladies of the Night Gentleman’s Lounge. As he escorted her out, he kindly let me know he would be back in a few moments. Another wrecker driver arrived, took my insurance card and directed me to my car. As luck would have it, she was in My car searching for Her wallet. I walked to the opposite side of the car to prevent any confrontation, and pressed the unlock button that made the doors react and alarm beep. She retrieved her pouch, and slowly lifted out of the car. She was a cute girl. I didn’t say a word. I just nodded my head, and asked “Do you need to look for anything else before I come across it?” 

She looked Shocked and said, “No Ma’am. It wasn’t like that. I am SO, sorry! It won’t happen again, I promise!”

I replied, “ No, it will not. Have a good day.”

I retrieved my belongings, and decided to leave his stuff in the car. He can drive his own car 10 miles North (not South) of my house and try to make the same offer to a tow driver that KayKay made.

Black Knight was an unexpected, purchase two years prior. My friend, Josh, took me to buy my son’s graduation gift at a car lot he knew. There “he” was, My Black Knight, purring loudly, sounding like a Huge Texas truck when it flies down the freeway to catch everyone’s attention; making more noise than it is catching speed. Black Knight had all the speed to match the noise. The owner of the lot wasn’t planning to sell it, but my negotiating skills impressed him. We made a deal We couldn’t refuse. Same day he purchased a $5,000 advertising package from my business for his sales campaign! So, I, technically, only paid $6,000 for it. 

Marci has always been one to want to match me. I thought it was simply a friendship thing.. It made me uneasy, but I decided to accept it, like having a little sister, although she was 8 years older than I. She bought the same car 2 months after. It Looked the same, but wasn’t a Hemi, or sport package. She even named it the same. She went a step further and had it painted on the back bumper. One outing I was flirting with someone and I mentioned that Black Knight was my boyfriend, as we left he saw Marci get in the marked bumper. Made it look like I was the copy cat. I was a bit sour.

In my production business I gain Free products, tickets, Concerts, Movies, Food, etc. It’s part of our “Back to the Barter System” Campaign. We advertise, they trade equal value gifts. I was happy when Marci saw my new lipstick color I received from a retailer, and the next day when we met for lunch she was wearing it. The same color didn’t accentuate her skin tone. I had a Pink skin tone, and she has an Olive skin tone. I gave her the color scheme the retailer had given me, to show her the matching basics. She seemed offended. I was taken aback and asked why she was upset. She stated “If YOU can wear it I can, too. Are you jealous?” I laughed, shook my head and dismissed the question.

As I start retrieving my supplies out of the street, I see Marci look out her window and watch my struggle. She watches me while sipping coffee from the cup I gave her for Christmas 5 years ago. I wave at her in hopes that she will open the front door by the time I get to the doormat. She doesn’t return the wave. She continues to sip with both hands wrapped around the cup. With both hands full and arms strapped, I approach the Entryway from the long sidewalk. I notice she’s in the flannel pajamas she begged me to buy last year so we could match. I dismiss my brief thought of “why didn’t she come help me?” I am aware of the “why?”, but I attempt to give her mercy. I would rather believe the Best in someone, rather than feeling like a victim to another’s short comings.

As I stepped onto the doormat, I lost sight of Marci by way of the 20 foot pillar that gives the house a Grand Castle Effect. These types of home designs make me think of The Wizard of Oz. The doorbell has this overwhelming announcement from a deep, computerized voice that says “Guest…at… Door” followed by a loud church bell tone. Marci had me tag along for a tour of this house a few months ago. Becky, our mutual realtor,builds the dream that having 6 bedrooms is quaint for an empty nester. She built the vision, “that one day when your three children are older and come visit during the holidays, you won’t have enough room for your other family members that may want to visit during holidays.” She got me with the same type of pitch when I purchased from her 7 years prior.

As Becky guided us through Marci’s then future home, I stated “All that’s missing is a lollipop kid answering the door, and a purple dog in the back yard”. Marci laughed with me. It was just short of being lined in gold, and her income was right at the financial qualification mark. I knew it was Not a smart investment. She JUST paid off her previous house after 20 years of financing and being a widow! I never understood why anyone would want to work that hard to buy something to only sell it again and go back into debt another 20 or 30 years. You’ll be dead before you pay it off! Marci was “just living the dream”, as she says. I paid cash for my house when Becky sold me on the same Dream.

When I bought my home, Marci and I were on hiatus. She would never show for any events I invited her to, except for one. She rode with a friend of mine, Catalina. I met Catalina at a night club. I approached her to be in my magazine. She was an attractive, older woman full of energy. She was doing splits on the floor, tossing her long red hair to the beat of the music. I loved her spunk! The next month or so, Marci was fighting with her boyfriend and asked me to take her to the nightclub. Later in the evening, Marci starts making fun of someone on the dance floor and starts dancing sarcastically. She started swinging her head around like I’ve never seen before, and then says in a little girl voice over the music, “ O look at me! I’m a call girl! I can do the splits. I’ll give you a happy ending!” 

I look at her with a frown, and I asked “Are you alright?” She proceeded to point in the direction towards the DJ. In the middle of the dance floor I see Catalina’s Long red hair swoop over the other dancer’s heads.“ THAT red headed b**HAS to have everyone’s attention. She must be a Wh…!” 

“She is Not!” I said angrily.” And if she was, what did she do to you?”

She yells “Oooooo. You MUST BE her madam, eh!? I KNEW IT! You’re a prostitute! Nobody just HAPPENS to go from broke and living in a hotel to magically buying a BMW without being a criminal!”

I was livid! I left her standing right there. I went and enjoyed the rest of my night out- with Catalina and her friend Katy. Eventually, Marci knew she had no other way home, so she approached us like she was everyone’s best friend, and introduced herself. I never mentioned her antics to Catalina or Katy.

I do wonder why Catalina stopped coming to the events after she brought Marci . I never questioned it. I had a few outings with Marci after, but Catalina stopped showing up anywhere. About a year later, I introduced Marci to Josh. Josh was a good looking man, but he was a player! We hit it off immediately the day we met. When I introduced her she mentioned they’d already met at an outing with Catalina. I was a bit shocked to hear Catalina’s name. I asked how she was doing, and if she had mentioned why she didn’t come around anymore. She replied “O. She said your little magazine wasn’t going to help her in any way, so she didn’t want to waste her time”, while flirting with Josh. He was in player mode, so he didn’t pay attention.

Later that week, Marci asked me what my relation was with Josh. I let her know it was platonic. I warned of his player tendencies, not to fall for him. She was offended again, and hung up on me. She has this rebellious type of personality that whatever you try to help her with, she is determined to prove you wrong. She’ll swear you’re trying to hold her back and you’re being possessed by the devil to stop her from getting what she wants. She has this deep seeded, low self confidence that reveals itself when she has to one up you. Whether it be in story -telling, experience, education, things, whatever it is. I used to think she was like this with everyone, so I felt sorry for her for the past 25 years. Yet, recently, I’ve witnessed this personality flaw has a specific target. 

Josh revealed this information about a year in of his dating Marci. My business was pumping, and I moved into my house. I refused to believe it. I knew her longer than I knew him. I assumed he was attempting to create competition for his attention.

He continued dating her while she disappeared from my sight. I was building my production. I was so busy it didn’t draw my attention. After Josh started working for me, she assumed we were having an affair. She demanded that he quit. She was successful in her demands on a personal level, but he was making more money working for me than he was used to, so he wouldn’t quit. She became more obsessive, and started blowing up his phone while he was in the office, fought him at home, put trackers on his phone, she would pop up at our video tapings with clients! It had become such a disruption to our business I had to fire him. I ended all our relations. 

5 years later, Josh called me to announce their break up. He had married someone else, and called around the holidays. Marci apologized, about a year after Josh. I felt I had to accept her apology since I accepted his. Josh began warning me again. He stated she was Jealous of my position. That she had ALWAYS spoken ill of me. She only came around during my hard times so she can brag about how she helped me, never mentioning that I worked for the money. That she ran my business name through the mud. He said as soon as I regain my status, she will start drama again. I decided to heed this time. I began observing her behavior. I’m rebuilding my production, so I won’t Need to work for her much longer.

I realize I’ve been standing on the doormat that reads “Blessed” for about 2 minutes now. My hands have started to redden around the heavy supply kit, and the mop stick is beginning to slip from under my arm. I back up and look to see her still standing in the window sipping her coffee. I give her a “what’s up” look. She looks at me as if she’s shocked, and lifts her right index finger as she continues to sip to say,”one moment” while keeping both hands wrapped around her Christmas cup. I watch her body language. She places her cup down on her desk, she looks at me, and brushes her hair with her fingers, raises her “one moment” finger again, and walks the opposing direction from the door. 

After 5 minutes, my hands start cramping, and I put the supply kit down. I ring the doorbell. The deep voice announces my presence, and the church bells ring behind him as if the Purple horse carriage is arriving with the Wizard in tow. I step back to look thru the window, no sight of her. I wait another 3 minutes, step back to the window, still nowhere in sight. I push the doorbell again. I see her silhouette as I peep through the Stained glass. It takes about 2 more minutes before she opens the door with wet hair, and gym clothes on. 

She says in her high pitch”What’s with the long face? Good morning!” I don’t even reply. 

About 2 hours later she comes in the room as I’m dusting, and gives me a hug. I return the affection and forgive her. She starts rattling about her new engagement, wedding plans, and how happy she is. As she leaves the room she says, “Candi, I will no longer need your help, I will be using the $200 every 2 weeks for my wedding dress.”

I happily replied, “That’s GREAT, Marci! No worries! I’ll soon be collecting from my production. I will be alright. You just take care of you.”

4 hours later I’m packing my kit... I hear her whisper,”Don’tworry, It’s just my cleaning lady. She knows better than to ask Me any questions”

As I come down the stairs, I see their shadows kissing, and hear their panting breath. When Marci hears my footsteps hit the tile she drags the shadow towards me, and Gidgetly shreaks, “Meet my fiancée! This is Joshua!” 

Josh is shocked to see me, just as much as I am to see him.

Marci says with a big smile,“Joshua this is my Cleaning Lady, Candi”. She said Cleaning Lady. I Agree. Friend is a social title that no longer seems appropriate for our type of relationship.  

August 01, 2022 01:49

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5 comments

Sylvia Courtner
18:50 Aug 15, 2022

I agree with Jessica in that some places in the story felt a bit disconnected, and also with Carl, that some places within the retelling were somewhat confusing. My editing critique would be to check your usage of deep seeded vs. deep seated. However, having said that, the progression and shift of the social friendship into jealousy and suspicion of motives, into the confines and reduction into the "cleaning lady" relationship was an interesting path. It made me sorry for Marci's insecurities and glad Candi didn't confront her about being t...

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Jessica Buford
22:35 Aug 10, 2022

I liked the start of the story, and you have a very interesting character with Marci. Things felt a bit disconnected for me at points.

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Zoe Pollock
21:44 Aug 10, 2022

This story had a pretty good set up and it pulled me in. It was hard to follow and seemed more like a friend recalling something that happened rather than a story. The characters introduced didn’t seem to fit in the overall story. I also agree that breaking it up in paragraphs will help the reader follow better.

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Carl Tengstrom
21:04 Aug 06, 2022

This is an interesting story. However, it is very difficult to follow and there are persons popping up that are not prior introduced. That makes the story a bit confusing. I was also looking for the envy, but could not find it. The story would have won being some paragraphs shorter.

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02:49 Aug 01, 2022

Envy is a hard thing to spot. Envy disguises itself in charming manipulations, competitive friendships, and hides in self serving supporters. It surrounds those who gain favor effortlessly. That’s why celebrities surround themselves with security. People who like them aren’t there to hurt them. It’s those who envy them that they need protecting from. The ones who are often found in their security camp are envious, too! Some are only there to”protect”them to be seen with the celebrity to ride on Their coattail of fame and use it for their own...

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