Gospel

One Million Stories 2015

 Her name is Letitia and she lives in the City — New York. She teaches creative writing at
Columbia and writes stories for Cosmo, Redbook and the like. She will make me the villain in one of her
stories. Remember. I am not the villain.

Don't believe everything that you read.

I live in the suburbs — Connecticut— and got her name through friends of friends and called her one
Sunday evening. My story is gospel. She will write that I answered her ad in the Village Voice Personals.
That will be a lie also. I don't even read the personals. Ask anyone who knows me. I'm not the kind of
guy who would or could do such a thing. Besides, I don't know what all those abbreviations stand for,
and no one ever tells the truth in those ads. You don't know what kind of person you will wind up with.

Letitia and I made a date for the following Friday. I took a train into the city and a cab to her apartment.  
As the cab approached her apartment I had the cabby stop at a florist shop. With the meter still
running, I ran in and picked out a beautiful bunch of red tulips. I'm that way.  Old fashioned you might
say. Flowers on the first date kind of guy.

Letitia will say that when she got home from work that afternoon there were red tulips lining the walk
outside her apartment house, and when we left for the restaurant she noticed the tulips on one side
were gone.  

Absurd!  That's like calling me a thief.  Just not my style. Ask anyone.  Anyone but Letitia that is. It is not
my style but she is so convincing — people will believe her. I should have kept the receipt for the tulips
— but who would have thought?

This is exactly the kind of thing to expect.  She would blow minor things all out of proportion.  
Forewarned is forearmed.  

We went to a Japanese/Tex-Mex restaurant, NIPPON THE RANGE that Letitia selected. East Side
Yuppie she said. A high tech place with TV screens all around showing soundless westerns and New
Age music blaring. Letitia will say we were passing by this place en route to a quiet romantic little
French cafe she knew and I, being fascinated by the scene, suggested we try it. Hogwash! I hate New
Age music. Check my CDs.  

It's not really a big deal but this is part of her pattern. Lie about the small things and the big lies will be
more believable. Style. It's all a matter of style.

She will write that I asked her to do the ordering because I'd never been to a Japanese/Tex-Mex
restaurant before. Hah! Believe that and I've got a bridge to sell you. I may be from Connecticut, but
I've been around!  Letitia will say that I wanted to experience all of the house specialties. I almost
believe it when she explains it in her own fashion. All she really did was look at the right side of the
menu and point to the highest priced items. That's how she ordered always.  It became her pattern.  
Once we went to a very posh restaurant, only the men's menus had prices, and she couldn't order. It
threw her off stride.   

Letitia will say that at NIPPON THE RANGE I kept ordering wine until she was looped.  That's not my
style. I don't need the 90 proof advantage. The truth is the truth. Pure and simple. Give this woman a
couple of bottles of sake and she has no inhibitions whatsoever.

I know that she will write that I hung all over her like a cheap suit on the way back to her apartment.  Not
true. Really. I took her hand. That's my style. Not PDA (public displays of affection).  I'm a hand-holder
or an arm-taker, what's wrong with that?  Paw her?  C'mon. Not me. You must realize that by now. I've
never been a PDA guy. Just check with my old girlfriends. They will gladly tell you that strong affection
was never my forte.

"I don't usually do this on the first date," she said, pulling me into her lobby.  "But I feel something
special."  Oh, how many times have we heard that line?  I tried to beg off to catch my train. She will
swear to it, and it will have that ring of truth, that I beseeched her to let me crash on the couch so I
didn't have to take the train and get back to Connecticut at three or four a.m.  

I found myself upstairs in her apartment looking out over Central Park and wondering if there was an
unused bench for the night when she called me into the bedroom.  Still with my coat on, I walked in and
found her lying naked on her back with her arms outstretched, and the chopsticks gripped in her mouth
like a rose stem. I was just too weary to resist. That is exactly how the situation occurred.  I know she will
tell her story better and embellish it more; but hear me and hear me good.   This is what the camera
would have captured had it been there.

Yes, her version is infinitely more amusing but you buy that and you probably believe that Nixon was
framed. I've heard her tell this before.

"He just wanted to sleep on the couch, he said.  I can get up at six and be at work by nine; otherwise I
get into Connecticut at three or four in the morning.  Well.  He seemed nice enough except that he was
a little loose with his hands. I left him standing with a blanket and pillow for the couch and went to the
bathroom and when I returned he was lying stark naked on my dining room table holding his privates
with the chopsticks he swiped from the restaurant. "Sushi anyone?" he said with a leer. I was so taken
by surprise and tired of fending him off that I just turned and went into my bedroom.  He followed and
stayed.  Yes. We both missed work the next day."

See what I mean. Interesting but bogus. She doesn't even have a dining room table. She has this little
two-seater dinette table that is so short my legs would dangle over the edge and onto the back of the
chair knocking the plant off the sill. If you listen carefully she hangs herself every time.

There is no truth, and I mean no truth to her allegations that I invited her to Connecticut for a romantic
weekend only to hand her a file full of my short stories for critique. I don't show my stories around. Ask
my friends.  Some will even be surprised that I write.  She asked to see my work.  Pleaded, as it were.
The least she could do for my hospitality, she said.  I love reading new authors she said.  She
practically begged.

I had to run out on a work emergency for a couple of hours so I told her that if she still wanted to see
the stories I'd leave them on my desk. Her allegations that I left to play tennis and dropped the stack of
stories in her lap on my way out are beyond belief.  I just happened to be lounging around the house in
white shorts and shirt when the emergency call came in. What should I have done?  Change?  It was an
emergency after all. See how she twists the facts and makes them so believable.

We alternated weekends in New York and Connecticut and she conned me more than once into
attending cocktail parties with other writers and editors and the like.  I know that she will write that I
coerced her into taking me to these functions. Me!  Push to go to a cocktail party!  I'm the last guy on
the planet that would do that. She will write that I always asked who the other guests were and insisted
we go if someone was to be there who could be helpful to a fledgling writer.  Another one of her half-
truths. I did ask for some names.  Of course. I just wanted to be able to speak intelligently and I thought
if I could read up on their latest work it would help. After all, this was for Letitia's benefit not mine. I
never once brought a story to these parties.  Okay, afterwards I sent stories, but only to those editors
that said, “We're always looking for new and fresh talent."  I can't tell you how many times I heard that at
these parties.

Letitia's story will say that I ended things when she finished critiquing all of my work and I didn't need
her any more. Rubbish! I never showed her all my work so how could she have critiqued it all?  
I finally ended this disastrous affair as it started — in a restaurant. I am not the kind of guy to burn his
bridges so I spoke softly and thanked her for an interesting few months. She threw a tantrum and the
sushi. Embarrassed, I just walked out of the restaurant.

Letitia will write that I took the coward's way out and left a message on her answering machine ending
the affair. She will say that I didn't have the guts to face her. I can see her story now. She will write that I
spent almost five minutes listing the reasons for ending our affair. She will say that she returned my call
and yelled at me for my cowardice and promised to make me sorry I ever met her and soon the world
would know. Watch the magazines she yelled!  You'll be reading about yourself!  

What did I tell you?  Lies!  Lies!  And more lies!  

Letitia's answering machine only takes thirty second messages and I would have had to call back ten
times to list all of the reasons, point by point, for breaking up.    

C'mon. You figure it out.

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