Aesthete & Amateur: No Man’s Land
Heavy Writer has a tough time. In his quest for an enriching life, he may have more than he can handle. Sometimes, he must sacrifice the long-term for the short-term when handling an art-addicted, over-spending partner. As he learns about the aesthetic aspects of virtual life, he embarks upon negotiating the business side.
No Man’s Land by Heavy Writer
It’s been a while since my last story but sometimes events are coming faster than I can write about. …
I was having a drink on the porch, looking at the grass growing back in the yard after I did such a great job cleaning the scenery of that megalomaniac sculpture my art-addicted wife, Eleanor, bought with our life-savings. I expected her to arrive, and I felt ready to fight her wrath when she realized the sculpture was gone and all the paintings in the house are gone too.
Life always takes you by surprise no matter how prepared you think you are! Ele did come home, and with the speed of a lightning bolt, dropped her luggage in the hall and dragged me to another art gallery scheduled for review. She didn’t notice that a three-story tall sculpture was missing from our yard, but she DID notice a greasy stain on my jeans jacket collar! I waved my hands in front her eyes to make sure she isn’t blind. She glared at me over her glasses saying: “Is this supposed to be a joke?”
I smiled at her and didn’t answer. We did the gallery tour as usual, and I was the model of patience this time. She was happy with my performance and when we finished the job, she remembered that we haven’t seen each other for couple weeks. She gave me a kiss and said she missed me… I smiled at her again and wisely kept silent.
On the way home, we stopped for a drink, and she made me listen all about the art convention she had just returned from. I bore with that only because the bartender made such a darn good martini mix.
When in a good mood, Ele is always generous, and she offered to pay for the drinks with her credit card, but the card wasn’t accepted by the terminal. It should have been my first warning of what was to come, but I just laughed, thinking it is a system malfunction. I paid the drinks with cash since I don’t have a platinum credit card like she does.
Home, we discovered there isn’t such a thing like system malfunction. It turned out that Ele had spent more money than we had. The bank had sent over a couple of guys in suits to make an inventory of all of our valuable assets. They were halfway done when we arrived, and they started to interrogate us about other belongings we own, under county sherif supervision!
Ele started to cry, and was spared to answer questions, which was the smartest thing she could do. I had to deal with the two suits myself, and answered all their questions with best replies that crossed my mind which were: “I don’t know sir! I have no idea sir! I don’t recall about that sir!” Etc. Which was true, considering that I saw their list of what Ele had bought for the first time.
At some point, they asked about a new boat, which lit up a green lightbulb in my head! Of course, I told them my boat was sunk by accident in the city bay, and we were still awaiting the insurance money on that one. I am not sure where they got another boat from, but it appeared Eleanor was up to more than I thought.
Finally, at midnight they left but told us we needed to leave the house within three days and that we were not allowed to take any of the assets they had on the list, which they left with us. Those sharks listed everything—even the pearl earrings and necklace Ele wore that night.
Once the suits left, I went in kitchen, made some muddy coffee, and placed the sniffling Ele under interrogation myself, since her tears couldn’t fool me at all. It turned out every painting or work of art she bought was on bank credit, and one painting was the guarantee for the credit to buy the next painting, and so on, and so on.
Eleanor had built up so many debts that we wouldn’t be able to pay them back in ten lifetimes of hard work! But, still, we were fortunate to live in the 21st century because in the Middle Ages, we would have been thrown in jail for such an offense.
Also, that boat mentioned on the list was not the one sitting on the bottom of the bay. It turned out Ele purchased a big sailing boat for me because she felt guilty for sinking my old rusted one. Did I mention that she is generous when she is in good mood? I kissed her, told her to not worry, and sent her to bed.
When alone, I left the house. While I walked around and looked for a cab at that late hour to take me to my garage, I considered seriously getting a divorce for first time in my life. So Ele was lucky I found a cab fast, got back in action, I forgot all about divorce. …
At the garage, I considered all those crates I packed up containing her painting collection to teach her a lesson. She still didn’t realize I had done this, and was so distracted by the suits that she didn’t focus on the now-blank walls. So, I loaded the well-packed crates into the back of my pickup truck, feeling proud that I had such foresight, even if done for a different reason.
I then drove the loaded truck home, and parked a couple blocks away.
At 6 am, I woke Ele and asked her to pack luggage for a long trip which she accomplished, crying again of course! Once all essentials were in suitcases, we put Muddy on a leash, and we left the comfortable house for the chilly autumn morning.
I lugged the suitcases for a couple blocks while she followed me in her high heels. When we found the truck all packed with the art she didn’t know I had, I counted the crates and all were intact. With the suitcases and Muddy loaded in the back, as I started the engine, I asked my morose wife: “Where is that boat you bought?”
That got her attention. “Ohh the boat is by the island. I wanted to surprise you, and I thought you would have found it by now.”
“You mean that yacht is ours?!? I saw that one parked there, but thought someone invaded my privacy.”
I could tell she was beginning to catch on to the facts when she cried: “But that boat is not really ours if the bank will repossess it too, Heavy! What are we going to do now!?!”
I chuckled and answered with a bitter smile: “I don’t know what YOU will do dear, but I’m going to sail around the world!”
With my last couple thousand cash dollars, I stocked up on provisions for a couple weeks, and we raised sails at sunrise with no particular destination. Once in international waters, I felt relieved and free— but trapped in no man’s land with the woman sunning on the deck— the beautiful blond who had ruined me—and a fortune in art below deck that was worth more than she paid for it. —Heavy Writer
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Liane Sebastian wears an editor’s hat, designer’s coat, and artist’s shoes.
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