"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sea of Gullible Hearts

"You sexy", she say. "So tan. Tan berry sexy on man."

Handing him his folded laundry, she thinks their relationship is solidified. She greases the customer and counts her cash drawer, but he is not one to be counted on. Sue has no idea he will leave his laundry AND the bill. Her small Asian hands have handled that which is intimate with his skin. And yet...and yet...he is completely unknown. He doesn't give a shit about Sue, or The Fluff & Fold. He uses sexy as a decoy. Women and men are shooting blanks at a false target. Sue has an earthquake in her forecast and only the dog trembles.

He gives notice via e-mail. He stands on the shore with his bourbon in hand, "sexy tan" and Burberry shades. One pedicured toe draws body parts in the sand, and with the other he shoves this ship out to sea with barely a backward glance at the crew he once led. They had vowed to invest in his life and did....helped him rent a home, helped him with the subterranean layers of business, threw birthday parties and wedding showers.

And when it trickles down,
as all lies finally do,
and words start falling foreign on shaking heads
(finding their purchase on ears most shattered in their hearing)
they watch in silent incredulity,
unsure of how to stand face to face with the retreating backside of a fraud.

So they stare at each other,   red mouths bobbing
like wooden buoys on an undulating sea of recycled people,
taking on water
through the portholes of gullible hearts.

and it comes as no surprise to anyone really
that they've been taken for a ride,
only that it ended so soon.

(My boss was open with his hedonism. He made no bones about the fact that he would throw you under the bus if it would save himself. The photos of his children, were diversions among his office things. They simply drained his paycheck. Yes...he said that. We knew. We KNEW...but he was so engaging. Funny. Cheeky. I wanted to bottle him for dissection. So up front one moment, and the next he was passing out lies like soup to the homeless. Somehow we lapped it up. He left us on a Monday without warning. We are still finding all he swept under the rug.)


  1. This is really well done. The writing pulled me along, word by word, image by image.

  2. Sea of Gullible Hearts indeed, I think I am drowning.

  3. How well you control the outpouring of words of such outrageous acts. How well we want to see good and ignore the little obvious voices telling us this person is too good to be true. You are not the first one this has happened to.

  4. I have no idea what to say.


    beautifully written Hon. MP

  6. It's the vowing to invest that makes this a tragedy. We learn, ww, we learn.

    Are you in a writing group, where you can read outloud? I wish you were mine! You can write


  7. knowing the self is so elusive and some people don't even want to know self, but instead would rather bury it. and so how could you know him? how can we know anyone?

    when you say, he left you, how did he leave you? i'm not sure.


  8. "taking on water
    through the portholes of gullible hearts." This gave me actual chills...and then when I read your description, it fit even better. We never "KNOW" do we, until we actually feel the results?

  9. Akeith - Writing as well as you do, I consider that a wonderful compliment. Thank you.

    Anthony - If I could just remove a few words of yours..."How well you control outrageous acts" would be a nice magical power. You are right. We ignor the little signs we shouldn't have.

    KJ - Read OUTLOUD? Did you say OUT. LOUD. ??? Oh hell no. Read my own stuff out loud? Ha. When hell freezes over. (but then it already has on occasion.) No, I am not in a writing group. I have never read my writing out loud. But I might. Just for you though. I'll work on it. I'm really not much of an actress, and I think it takes some of that.

    Erin - Our company is sinking fast into the yawing mouth of our large pocketed competition. My boss was brought on board to turn things around. We believed in him. We thought he had it handled. He said he did. He set wheels in motion and we followed like a convoy. Then he disappeared...and nothing was as it seemed.

    Liza - Well put. We don't KNOW until we FEEL the effect of what we didn't know. Ah...but now we know it so damn personally, yes?

  10. Annie, you write so beautifully. No matter the subject, it just flows from your fingers. Your metaphors delight and astound me. Love you!! xo

    My favorite line: "So up front one moment, and the next he was passing out lies like soup to the homeless. Somehow we lapped it up. He left us on a Monday without warning. We are still finding all he swept under the rug."

  11. i'm so intrigued by all you left unsaid. the specifics. sounds like he had the makings of the greatest of villains. too bad those guys are only great in movies and books. in real life they're just assholes.

  12. it's a weird, disjointed feeling when someone in our circle turns out to be different than he or she presented themselves. yeah, there's things to discover afterward, and a misrepresentation like that is quite serious.

  13. Marion - We always like the same lines :) We're such buds!

    Krista - You've got a way with words girlfriend! Yes...just assholes.

    Ed - The thing was, he was totally upfront about being a hedonistic jerk. We all knew we meant nothing. But we bought into some of it...the business stuff at least. It's strange. I guess we should have known that one vessel cannot be completely dark, or light. There is the outside. There is the interior. From one angle we cannot see both.

  14. ww, i NEVER read outloud until i walked into a weekend writing group, my first ever, and we wrote for an hours and then read what we wrote (you could decline but no one did.)

    MAGIC! it was orgasmic in it's own creative passionate way. to get only good feedback from reading is a double orgasm (ha, whatever that means, i didn't say 'second'!)

    writing groups have been a wonderful wonderful thing for me. i asked because i know your writing would bring swoons and color.


  15. wow. Intriguing. I think we are all a little bit taken by these kinds of people. Maybe it's their confidence. Their lack of apologies. Great and wonderful writing my friend.

  16. How come most of the time you forget to respond to mine? I think it's cause you know I know what you'd say, :)

  17. charm fades fast, yet so engaging as to pull pretty white curtains over the hollow facade
    of some men [or women]
    I wonder is a laugh or pseudo honesty from
    sort of good looking men, is that the only
    price of admission we need to be sucked in?

    sad to hear this WW - so many people will have
    to start over because of this charlatan - who
    everyone seemed to know as such.

  18. Karen - Well, for now...I'll take your word for it. Sounds like a root canal to me :)

    Tabitha - Confidence played a big part in our acceptance. I know that for a fact. Dead on.

    Lorraine - So sorry sweetie. I think sometime I easily scroll through yours because there is no avatar. But yes, you named him and the capitol letters fit :)

    Shauna - I love that word, Charlatan. It sounds old fashioned...but he was so not!

  19. I may hire you to write my whatchacallits, algorithms. No, allegories. Crap, what's that word, like metaphors but starts with an A.

    Analogy, that's the word, thank you Merriam-Webster thesaurus.

    I may hire you to write my analogies.

    Loved her earthquake line. You do under-sexy sideways slaps so well, just a glimpse of pink flesh and back behind the curtain.

    - Eric

  20. Eric - that's cuz I'm not really sexy, just skirting around it. What was that I once said???? Here, I will quote myself..."Never been much into sexy. It's such a cheap outfit and such an expensive attitude." - me

    Thanks Eric.

  21. yeah, there's certainly a balancing act of some sort that goes on. i don't have a clue how it works. we all seem to be infused with an idea that we are right. not all the time and in all instances. but then again, i've gone through times where i questioned everything i did.
    in business, there's a different 'buying into' than personal stuff. or is there? business exploits power on a financial as well as emotional level. we all basically agree to get screwed the moment we accept or resort to a paycheck. that's my experience.
    and then there were times i would have worked for free and i might have literally laughed on my way to the bank.

  22. Ed - When you figure out how to work for free and still laugh your way to the bank, please share the recipe. We could market the damn thing on ebay and continue to rake in the dough :)

    Love this: "we all basically agree to get screwed the moment we accept or resort to a paycheck"

  23. A lot different than silent lucidity.

  24. f-ing brilliant!

  25. I swear, you grow more powerful as a writer before our very eyes.

  26. Hi Wine. When I asked my readers yesterday what other blogs I should follow, Eric W. Trant suggested yours.

    Now I'm glad he did.

    So here I am, following your blog. Nice to meet you!

    As to your post, wow. I thought this was just some great flash fiction at first, but this was your real boss? Sounds like a fascinating character.

  27. Zeba - Thanks for reading!

    Travis - I'm not as silent as I used to be!

    Unga - Thank you for the explative. It matched the emotion of the piece :)

    Jonas - Before your very eyes I am becoming. Just what, I am not sure.

    Matthew - Awww, that was sweet of Eric. Fascinating is exactly the word for my boss (besides asshole). I wanted to be a fly on the wall wherever he was, just to record. I'll come by and visit your place, if you have a place, soon!


Thank you for listening.