Sample Essay
"Grifters"
From The Your Problem Now Club:
Wickedly Funny Stories on Divorce and Midlife Dating
   
     There are basically two types of women: Those that are extremely attracted to police officers and those that have an aversion to them. I am a card-carrying member of the latter group, so you can imagine my horror when I realized that I actually liked a police captain that I had recently met. I mean really liked one. And since he liked breasts and I had two… he definitely liked me as well.

     From the beginning, it was very clear that our mutual attraction had no future whatsoever. I was sure that with the all the time that the police academy must spend warning young officers away from needy damsels in distress, this guy would know better than to try and come in for a landing on my strip.
     
     My friend Nicholas disagreed and was appalled at my naiveté. Nicholas said that he is absolutely certain that the police academies of this country have no such warning classes because taking advantage of vulnerable women is one of the perks of a cop’s job. He went on to say that everyone knows that police officers are notorious pussy hounds, much worse than rock stars or evangelists. In fact, Nicholas is positive that every Law Enforcement Human Resources Department has pamphlets that they secretly distribute to their recruits on how to get the most awesome sex out of damaged and wounded women.
     
     Nick claims that this is not an urban legend and insists that his brother Larry had one of these booklets on his kitchen table when he first joined the Police Department twenty-five years ago. Nick says that he knows that Larry definitely read the book because it was a major part of the “unofficial” police academy curriculum.
     
     There may be more than a bit of truth to Nick’s story because Larry the Lawman has been getting more than his fair share of sex for years. His record, as far as any one of us can keep track, is six blowjobs by four different women in one week. Nicholas hates him.
     
     I’m not sure it is entirely the cop thing though. I know Larry and he is very tall, very handsome and very rich. It is also rumored that he is hung like a horse. Nicholas hates him. Did I say that already?
     
     Anyway, from where I was standing, my favorite cop was causing me a lot of trouble as I couldn’t keep my mind on anything else. How could I possibly be attracted to a police officer? And a Captain yet. What the hell was the matter with me?
     
     This flew in the face of everything that I thought I knew about myself. I began to wonder if I had had a mini stroke. Or maybe I had contracted mad cow disease. Something was clearly inducing dementia and I was terrified.
     
     Trying to kill this unholy, police officer attraction, I searched frantically for this guy’s faults and believe me, there were a few…
     
     First of all, despite the Officer Sensitive crap, which he displayed like hashish at a Moroccan open-air market, I could tell that he had a hot little temper in him, so I should have been running like hell. But no, I was positive that this would make him good in bed and I spent more time than I care to admit wondering what he was like at the moment of orgasm.
     
     One night I woke up with a start because I actually felt him thrust into my body. Horrified that I was now dreaming about him, I made an appointment to see a neurologist and asked for a CT scan. I was hoping that the discovery of a small, yet excisable tumor would explain this madness.
     
     This cop was bad news for me and in my lucid moments I recognized this and kept warning myself away.
     
     For example, I knew for sure that this guy was a control freak and since I have a doctorate in manipulation, this clearly would cause us difficulty. I definitely could see power struggles the size of atomic mushrooms in our nonexistent future. I really should have put a cap on this nonsense, but no, because I was so messed up, I began to look forward to the great make-up sex we would be having someday.
     
     Are you starting to see my problem here? I could find plenty of faults with him, but I kept turning them into sexual attributes.
     
     The one fault that even I was not gifted enough to turn into a sexual plus, and only because I am not bi-sexual, was the fact that I was very certain that he already had a girlfriend. Her existence didn’t bother me, the fact that he never mentioned her bothered me.
     
     This could have meant that she didn’t know that she was in an open relationship or it could have meant that he thought that the two of us were so stupid that we wouldn’t discover one another.
     
     Me: “Are you married?”
     
     Him: “Nope. I’m divorced.” But, I have been living with a woman for ten years…
     
     Although he never technically lied, he clearly was able to reframe the big picture better than I ever could and trust me, that’s a powerful skill level. I grudgingly had to bow to a master and behind his back I started referring to him as Officer Yoda.
     
     Yet, in order for him to be my friend, I needed to get to the bottom of this “girlfriend” business. I was afraid that she would end up being some perky little nurse named Tiffany, which of course I wouldn’t be able to live with. It would be much better if he were sleeping with someone like Anne Rice, but I didn’t really think that would end up being the case.
     
     I decided to see how long he could keep up the, “I’m divorced” line of bullshit. I was actually having some fun with this, bringing him to the edge of entrapment with questions like, “What is dating like for a man in his fifties?” but then, as he started to sweat and fall into a protective fugue state, I would pull it back and brightly ask something else like, “Hey… how ’bout them Bears?!”
     
     The stress he endured avoiding the girlfriend issue was enormous and I’m quite sure that after our breakfasts together, he was exhausted. In fact, I am sure of it because a few times when he started to drift off over his bacon and eggs, I had to smack the table and yell, “Hey, Officer Friendly, am I boring you?”
     
     Poor thing had no idea that my mind fuck skills were excellent, much more powerful than any reframing act.
     
     After about four months of this fun, there was a lunch meeting of the minds. My ex-husband would have called it a meeting of the coven, but that was just because, compared to me and my friends, he was still at the, “Oooh! Fire! Ahhh…” level of intelligence.
     
     Greg was so afraid of our mysterious brain power, that if we had been living in Salem a couple of hundred years ago, he most certainly would have succeeded in convincing his little stone church that no one in the village would be safe until all of us were burned at the stake.
     
     During a lull in our attempts to talk over one another, I told the other members of The Star Chamber that I had met a police officer that I really liked. This statement was enough to stop conversation as I don’t really like all that many people, and now I liked a cop? My words were immensely interesting to the pontificators, kind of like a mother announcing that a sibling was on the way.
     
     After a few moments of awkward silence, Pamela shrugged it off and said that it would go no further. She insisted that that once he saw me in action, well, he would certainly disappear.
     
     When I told them that I was in full gear the night I met him, you could have heard a pin drop. Pam narrowed her eyes and wanted to know what I meant by, “full gear.” She asked if there was yelling and intimidation on my part.
     
     I told her there was intense discussion.
     
     Suspicious, Nicholas chimed in, “Did you threaten to report his department to the Attorney General’s Office?”
     
     My thoughts drifted and in my mind’s eye I saw Officer Yoda on the night that I first met him. The startled way he put both of his hands in front of his face, palms out as if fending off an attack, while he pleaded, “Wait… wait…” The way he backed into his chair and dropped on his ass like he had been hit with a ton of bricks. Ah, memories of when life was simpler, and I knew who the enemy was…
     
     Nicholas threw a slice of ham at my head, “Hey, pay attention. Did you or did you not threaten to report his department to the Attorney General’s Office?”
     
     Startled by the lunchmeat attack, I was momentarily confused enough to tell the truth, so I answered, “Of course I did.”
     
     Worried, Pamela asked, “This is the cop you’ve been meeting for breakfast?”
     
     I shrugged.  “Yeah.”
     
     At this point, all eyes turned to my oldest son for confirmation. Chris threw up his hands in bewilderment and said, “I don’t get it either. He calls her, she calls him, they meet for breakfast. Honestly, it’s like one of the Hardy Boys meets Pulp Fiction.
     
     Strangely on the defensive I shot out, “He’s not exactly one of the Hardy Boys you know, he is a son of a bitch in his own right.”
     
     I went on to list his better stunts, some of which included charts, graphs and invitations to the media.
     
     They both stopped breathing and then one of them, I’m not sure who, whispered, “Jesus God have mercy, they made one of her with male parts.”
     
     Always on the lookout for signs of the arrival of the Antichrist, Nicholas, in deference to horror movies, made the sign of the cross while asking me if, when I had my tubes tied several years back, was I sure that it was permanent?
     
     I snapped at them, “It’s not like that. He works out and he rides a snow mobile and skies and hang-glides. The last thing that I need after twenty-five years with Greg is another Little Lord Fauntleroy regarding health and fitness.”
     
     Pamela, to be perfectly honest, did not like my last romantic partner at all, so she sarcastically asked, “So, he’s not a big fat Twinkie snarfing pig like Robert was?”
     
     I glared at her. She glared back. I answered her with my jaw clenched, “No, he is not. He’s exactly the opposite. He looks like a young Ben Kingsley.”
     
     As soon as I said that, I knew I had made a mistake. I keep these people around me for a reason, they’re smart and they rarely miss a trick.
     
     Pamela jumped up off the couch, pointing her finger first at me and then at Nicholas, “She’s boring as hell. Robert was an aberration in the boyfriend line. Every man that she’s dated, with the exception of that Hostess Ding Dong, was dark, compact and low to the ground. Ben Kingsley? Ben Kingsley… he played Gandhi, didn’t he?”
     
     Upon a nod of confirmation from Chris, she started shrieking, “I knew it… I knew it… just a friend my ass, this one is the next man in. I’ll bet you, I will bet you…”
     
     My daughter, who witnessed the entire conversation, started asking who Gandhi was. Chris, a bit distracted by the spectacle of Pamela and Nicholas, who were now doing their version of an ancient fertility dance, which, because they were both card carrying WASPs, ended up looking like a grotesque minuet, briefly turned to his sister and absent mindedly threw out that it was the guy in the diaper from India.
     
     Out of the corner of my eye I could see Abby scrolling through the mental images stored in her head and when she got to the picture of Gandhi, she shrieked, “Eeeww, that’s what he looks like? MOM!”
     
     Elliott, at ten, was seriously alarmed at the prospect of a stepfather in a diaper and began to cry.  Ever since his teacher had told him that his name meant “son of the law” he had been pinning his hopes on a new policeman dad with a shiny badge and a gun. But now, the poor thing had to deal with this tragic disappointment. His crazy mother liked a cop, but apparently one in a diaper.  Nothing ever went his way…
     
     After ordering Abby and Elliott to their rooms, I turned to the two twirling assholes in the living room and said, “Just so you know, my foot is going to go right up the ass of the first one of you ignorant fucks to remove an article of clothing.”
     
     With my arms folded across my chest, I just watched the two of them as Pamela began unbuttoning her blouse and Nicholas slipped his belt off...
     
     “That’s enough.” I shrieked. “He’s a goddamn cop… I cannot date a goddamn cop!” Everything came to a dead halt and I realized that I had actually stomped my foot like a small child.
     
     Pamela, shocked at my outburst, spat out, “So what if he is a cop?”
     
     “I have issues with cops.”
     
     “What’s the big deal with what he does for a living?
     
     I ignored her question. “He has a girlfriend Pamela.”
     
     Gasping, Pam made a little bouncing dip with her knees and scanned my ceiling and walls as if she were hearing evil voices.
     
     Finally, she let me have it, “Who the hell do you think you’re talking to? Sister Agnes from St. Joseph’s Church?”
     
     When I didn’t respond she went on, “I am not new here. The fact that he has a girlfriend means nothing to you. It’s a minor blip on the radar screen…”
     
     I interrupted her. “I do not date cops. If I were going to date a cop, I would date Mitch or Phil. They do not have pseudo wives.”
     
     Startled, Pamela looked at Nicholas, “Who the hell are Mitch and Phil and why am I asking this question? How come I don’t know about these men?”
     
     Nicholas shifted on the sofa, “She’s trying to distract you Pamela. These guys are not even in the picture. They’d like to be, but she only wants the one she can’t have. Come on, you know how this goes, you have a vagina.”
     
     Assholes. Now for sure I would never date any man that was a cop. I looked at both of them, “Let’s go, the movie starts in half an hour.”
     
     No one moved. Finally, Pamela growled, “Knock the shit off. Cop or no cop, I say he’ll be in your bed by Halloween.”
     
     “Not going to happen Pam, I don’t do cops.” I may think about doing cops…
     
     Pamela, not one to miss an opportunity to make money, started calling for a sex pool, which is of course like an office football pool, only they would be betting on when I would be actually sleeping with Officer Yoda.
     
     Pamela threw a twenty-dollar bill on the table, “Halloween.”
     
     Nicholas reached for his wallet and started to say Thanksgiving but stopped. He looked me over, “How much do you weigh?”
     
     “None of your fucking business. How much do you weigh?”
     
     Nicholas stared at my body for a moment and then announced, “You’ll need to lose some weight.  You won’t sleep with him right now. I’ll say… Christmas or even New Year’s.”
     
     Nick dropped his twenty on top of Pam’s and then, since Chris was a grown-up now, he invited him to join the pool. Chris hesitated for just a moment and then in his only overt act of betrayal since his conception, he also opened his wallet and threw a twenty on the table.
     
     Nicholas smiled, “And the kid grows up…”
     
     I grabbed Chris’s arm, “Et tu, Brute?”
     
     “I’m sorry, but this is easy money, I say St. Patrick’s Day.”
     
     Nick’s hand slammed down on the pile of money, “Why so far away? What do you know that the rest of us don’t?”
     
     Chris gently took the bills out from under Nick’s palm. Counting them out, he put each one carefully in his wallet before saying, “Yoda retires March first. By Shamrock Day… he’ll no longer be a cop.”
     
     Nicholas stood up and got his keys while he grumbled, “Goddamn Grifters.”
The Your Problem Now Club
is now available on Amazon!
Click Here to Buy