CHEATED

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Chapter 4. STICKY

The kids and I were quite a team. Home, school and career were moving along smoothly. I did not have much hope that I would find the man of my dreams and future husband stuck in a small town in nowhere New Jersey. But the kids were growing up and once Annie got her driver’s license she ran the errands, helped with pick up and drop off for her siblings, and became quite independent. I began to have a lot more time on my own, and I knew that very soon I would be able to sell the house and move to an apartment in New York City. NYC is where I believed I was destined to live and more likely to find a husband.

Meanwhile, I kept working to expand Sparklers public relations agency. Time passed, the business grew, my name was well known in the world of PR among the real estate developers. The house was full of interesting characters popping in, though most of them were ex-lovers or friends-with-benefits and good for entertainment purposes only.

Sticky Mickey showed up regularly at my kitchen table with new business ideas looking for free PR, and maybe a little dessert on the side. He was good looking, well groomed, always tanned and had a great sense of humor. The girls nicknamed him Sticky Mickey because his hands had a way of attaching themselves to female body parts with each greeting, farewell, or anytime in between. I knew the name suited him because he had a lovely long stick.

One afternoon he handed me some cellophane packages that might hang on a hook in a novelty store. Inside each package was a braided hemp string, and the artist’s rendering showed it looped around a girl’s ankle, across the top of her foot and around her big toe. There was a bead or flower on the toe, and it looked like she was wearing a sandal when actually she was barefoot. Mickey was convinced it would be a hit with the teenage beach crowd if only he could mass produce, package, and market it.

“Come on, Lor, help me out here. What should I call it?”

I was good at this part, coming up with catchy names and headlines. “How about Savvy Sandals?”

“That’s it! You’re beautiful. Savvy Sandals. We’re going to make a million with this one.”

Just then Susan and a girlfriend walked in, home from the beach.

“Susie, come in here and try this on,” Mickey called to her.

“Not if you call me Susie I won’t.” She tossed back at him as she walked past, his adhesive-like finger tips grazing her thigh. After some coaxing, Susan’s girlfriend put them on and pranced around the kitchen, succumbing to Mickey’s charms despite Susan’s reticence. I was pretty sure most of his deals were shady, but we had fun over the summer promoting this latest scheme. Savvy Sandals? Remember them? No? That’s because Mickey was a dreamer and a tasty treat during a dry spell, but not good for much else.

The other man in attendance that summer was Willy Typewriter. It wasn’t his real name, but that’s what the ladies in the office nicknamed him because he had a little business fixing office equipment. We got to know each other because he visited Sparklers regularly to fix the copier and flirt with the ladies. Willy was always dressed in a business suit. He was soft spoken and had a scholarly manner. He usually showed up about 4pm, and got the copier to stop spilling purple ink across every page in time to join me for a drink after work. He was divorced and had a couple kids, but always seemed to have plenty of time to be of service in the most delightful way.

When the hot real estate selling season ended, the screwdrivers, margaritas and gin Rickeys were swapped for cool weather potions. The builders checked their stats and counted their profits from summer sales. Still no husband material in sight, but my work geared up to publicize holiday home buying season, and I looked forward to the magical winter festivals and parties that brought potential and opportunity.

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