John is trying to break up with a private eye and it is not working. But then an inspiration arrives......
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Turning down the ball game, I answered the phone. “Hey man, it’s time to start planning for the party next week.” Detecting the anxiety in my friend John’s voice I glanced at the calendar on the wall over the phone. “John, you’re right. It’s that time of year again and this year we’re going to do the Fourth of July party right.” “Glad to hear it!” I could hear the relief in John’s voice. “Cause last year things kinda got out of hand.” “I know. I know.” I said remembering the naked party crashers in the pool, the mooners on the rooftop, the driveway fight, the police cars, the barf-killed houseplants, the hangover, . Trying to push those memories from my mind, I said, “Put the beer on ice and I’ll be there about the time it’s ready.”
As I drove to John’s house, I thought back on the past few years in which John and I had become close friends and single guys at large in our San Antonio playpen. What was also obvious, at least to his friends, was that while John had a world-class personality, his choice in woman needed substantial improvement. I parked the car and walked through John’s condo community checking out the local talent lounging around the pool.
I strolled through the back gate at John’s condo to find John stretched out in his shade-covered hammock. “Look alert partner! I just saw Peepers sitting in a chair over at the pool. Your little Ms. Dick Tracy is sporting a curly red wig and a big straw hat. I don’t know why she thinks those sunglasses are big enough to hide behind.” “Did she have a newspaper on her lap?” John asked as he swung into a sitting position. “Come to think of it, she did.” “Binoculars,” we said in unison. “Yeah, she’s smart enough to know that the long lens of her surveillance camera would freak out all the loose living singles here in Sodom’s half acre,” John surmised.
As John rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, I grabbed a beer and flopped down in a chair next to the hammock. ”You should have paid more attention to Neal Sedaka,” I suggested. John caught my train of thought. “He was right. Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you’re breaking up with San Antonio’s most famous female private eye.” “Look on the bright side John,” I counseled. “You’re being staked out by the best.”
“There is no bright side. I feel like there’s a sniper out there with crosshairs firmly centered on my chest. We both know that the sniper is more than a few olives short of a Greek salad, emotionally fragile and professionally vindictive.” Somehow, it was comforting to see that John had a handle on his predicament. “In that case you had better do something to finalize this thing with Peepers before she goes off on you,” I said hoping to move John to action. “You’re probably right,” John said as he flopped back into his hammock. “I wonder what she’s got on her mind. What kind of expression does she have on her face?” I could seek John struggling to craft a plan. “She looks like a bulldog chewing a wasp,” I told John as gently as I could. “I was afraid of that,” John lamented.
Obviously lost in thought, he stared up into the canopy of the big live oak tree that dominated and cooled his back yard. We did what all friends do in times of crisis. We drank beer. Guys know that the screw-ups we get into while drinking beer are best resolved the same way.
After the judicious application of beer began to take effect, I watched John’s expression change. A building wave of relief washed over him. Smiling and stretching like a cat, John asked “From where she is sitting, what can she see?” I could see the gyros start to spin up in John’s self defense system. “She’s probably got a direct line of sight to the big picture window in your bedroom, buddy. Why?”
“I’m thinking that it’s time to finally give Pamela “Peepers” Brooks what she really wants. I’ve been trying to be a nice guy about the breakup and it ain’t working. Her problem is that she can’t handle rejection. So it’s my bet that she is out there looking for some small indiscretion on my part that will allow her to break up with me. That way the whole thing is my fault. It’s the female way,” John said as if that was some kind of news to me. “For someone dumb enough to date an armed surveillance expert, I think you’re beginning to see the light,” I said hoping John had a workable plan. “The way I see it, the situation calls for indiscretion, probably the more indiscretion the better. You and I both know that when a major indiscretion is required there is only one woman I can depend on,” John said with a sly smile. “Roberta!”
Roberta was a blow up doll that someone had given John as a gag gift after his divorce. For a while he dressed her up and took her with him to some social events when he needed a date. With John’s natural comedic style and way-too-sincere face, he and Roberta were quite the center of conversation for a while. It wasn’t too long before John got his feet back under him and he exchanged Roberta’s cold plastic for some warm recreational silicone. While I paid the rent on the beer, John headed into the garage. John returned with a cardboard box and set it on the dining table. With the bicycle pump from the box, we inflated Roberta to just the right level of female flexibility. “What’s the plan?” I asked John as he wiped the dust of Roberta’s perfectly proportioned and anatomically correct naked body.
“Well, Peepers has always been insanely jealous of her younger sister, Jaycee. Of course it doesn’t help that where men are concerned, Jaycee is as easy as a TV Guide crossword. Ever since high school, Peepers has had to watch her kid sister cut a large wake of lust on the sea of love. Last month when Jaycee was here at the Cinco de Mayo pool party she left her hat and bathing suite in a beach bag that Peepers had given her as a gift.” “And it’s my guess that you have a blonde wig for Roberta that could pass for Jaycee’s blonde tresses, Right?” I said completing John’s thought. John’s wicked smile was all the confirmation I needed. “When it comes to defining a major indiscretion, you are the master,” I complimented John.
“Before we get too far down this road, let me remind you that Peepers carries a gun, doesn’t she?” “She keeps her gun in her car, but if my plan works, she won’t take the time to get it,” John said with way too little confidence. “In that case, I’ll be leaving. If she’s not packing, then I’ll show up once you’ve got her where you want her. I wouldn’t want to miss the show but, as you know, I am religiously intolerant of insanely jealous armed and enraged woman,” I said with my usual gift for the obvious.
I slipped out the front door of John’s condo as John began dressing Roberta on his dining room table. I casually worked my way around to a place behind Peepers and took a chair in the crowd next to the pool. Peepers, sitting under an umbrella, slowly turned the pages of her newspaper as she kept a professionally surreptitious eye on John’s bedroom window.
After a few minutes the show got under way. Even though it had been a few years since John had worked his magic with Roberta, it was like watching Fred and Ginger at their dance school reunion. John and Roberta had not lost a step. Through the half closed blinds in the darkened room you could see just enough to know that a blonde woman in a big hat, white blouse over a skimpy bathing suite accompanied John as they strolled into his bedroom. After what seemed like some initial embarrassment, John and the mystery woman began some gentle hugging and kissing. Before long, John tossed his guest’s hat onto the shelf in front of the big bedroom picture window as his guest shook out her long blond hair. He then tore open her blouse like a Publisher's Clearing House letter in which he, and some guy named Nelson Willis from Stockton, California, were potential finalists for the ten million dollar prize.
By now I could see that Peepers had given up her attempt to look casual. She took off her sunglasses and leaned forward in her chair. As she raised the binoculars to her eyes, John casually put his guest’s beach bag on the same shelf in front of the picture window. Peepers fought the onset of vertigo as she battled denial. She had almost convinced herself that what she was seeing could not be true when Jaycee’s swimming suit came flying across the bedroom, hit the picture window and fell into a pile on the window shelf. Peepers recoiled as if the bathing suite had hit her in the face, which in a manner of speaking, it had.
Peepers looked paralyzed as she slowly lowered her binoculars. With each breath, her chest heaved like a bulimic after a Thanksgiving dinner. Even in normal times, Peeper’s face was not without a reddish tint. She now looked like a tomato struggling for self-expression. I could see her mouthing an endless stream of obscenities as John’s now naked guest climbed on top of him and began to gyrate wildly. The buxom blonde framed by the picture window thrashed away in reckless abandon. , John wrestled her over and climbed on top showing some of his patented moves. Burning energy like a mosquito in a nudist colony, John took it up another notch. Having weathered the first waves of shock, Peepers recovered her mobility. Her anger rising like a bad sandwich, Peepers bolted from her chair to the pay phone next to the clubhouse bar. I walked to the bar, turned my back to Peepers and listened in.
Breathlessly, John answered the ringing phone. “Hi John, its Peepers. Are you busy?” “Not at all. I’m here in bed watching the game.” John said. “You sure seem breathless for someone just watching a game,” Peepers offered. “It’s an exciting game,” John replied. “I’ll bet it is! Listen John, I am out and about running errands and thought I’d stop by and say hello. That’s ok, isn’t it? “Sure. As long as you remember that you and I are through as a couple. How long before I see your smiling face?” John asked as innocently as he could. “Soon, Real soon,” Peepers said. “Great, I’ll be in the bedroom watching TV. Just let yourself in,” John suggested.
After hanging up the phone, Peepers removed her red wig and fluffed out her long brunette hair. I headed toward her car, ready to warn John if she showed up pissed and packing. As I was leaving, Peepers put her red wig, hat and binoculars in a bag and handed it to the bartender for safe keeping. Mad as a chad-whipped candidate, Peepers made a beeline for John’s condo. With my allergy to hot lead and all, I was glad she did not go to her car first, because I had front row tickets for the show.
Peepers bolted into John’s bedroom with that “Ah ha! I’ve got you!” look as her head seemingly did a 360 as she looked around the room for her sister. There was John in boxer shorts lying serenely on his bed watching TV. “You alone?” she asked. “Do you see anybody else?” John replied off-handedly. “That’s not what I asked!” Peepers shot back with her hands on her hips and glowing red face. John held out his hands palms up and shrugged his shoulders looking around the room as if to say, “I don’t see anybody else, do you?”
Peepers lost it. “Jaycee you naked slut, get out here!” she screeched. “I know you’re here, you bitch! Don’t make me come and find you!” Turning to John she shouted, “How could you? My own sister! If she’s the reason you broke up with me I’ll kill you both! Tell my back-stabbing sister to get her ass out here now!” Peepers demanded.
“Calm down Peepers. I don’t have the foggiest idea of what you are talking about,” John said knowing his denial was just more fuel for the fire. “You liar! Look, there’s Jaycee’s swimming suit, hat and beach bag. Are you trying to deny that you two were right here having sex minutes ago?” “I can’t imagine why you would think that your sister and I were having sex,” John said calmly. “Because I saw you two with my own eyes!” Peepers spat back. “Peepers, you’re just going to have to decide once and for all, are you going to believe me or those lying eyes of yours,” John offered calmly. “I took Jayee’s things out after you said you were coming over. She left them here after the pool party last month and I figured you could return them to her. After all, the bottoms are too small for you and the top’s too big,” John said with as much innocence as he could muster. As Peepers stood there dumbfounded by the insult and the unexpected spin of events, I walked into the room.
“Hi, John. Afternoon Peepers,” I said pleasantly. “The backdoor was unlocked so I let myself in.” “What the hell are you doing here?” Peepers asked, as if I was raining on her already soggy parade. “Sorry to interrupt this little lover’s quarrel, but I’m here to pick up my date for tonight.” I said.
“You and Jaycee?” Peepers asked in total confusion. “No way,” I said. “Jaycee’s a sweet gal and one hot babe, but she’s got one too many gun toting relatives for my taste. Besides, I prefer to date intellectual women and whatever lives behind Jaycee’s beautiful blue eyes is as empty as a Monday morning Church. That’s why I’m here to pick up Roberta.”
Blinking, Peepers said “Roberta?” “Is she ready John?” I asked. Still reeling, Peepers repeated “Roberta? Roberta? Who the hell is Roberta?” Ignoring Peepers, John said, “Let me check.” With that, he rolled off the bed, got down on his knees and pulled Roberta, blonde wig and all out from under the bed.
Before Peepers could fully comprehend what was going on, I asked her, “Hey Peepers, can Roberta borrow that sexy red wig you were wearing a few minutes ago? It will go perfectly with the big straw hat and monster sunglasses that all the dummies are wearing this year.” Peepers just stared and blinked. John and I resisted the temptation to high-five, but just barely.
Peepers’ mouth started moving but no actual words come out. She turned as red as a spring-breaker. Her chest was heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night and she was making deep throaty sounds. The kind a dog makes before it throws up. Wordlessly Peepers headed toward the nearest exit. She completed her slow-motion stagger at the front door where she found voice for one word. Spinning and glaring she shouted, “Asshole!” With satisfying finality, she literally slammed the door shut on her relationship with John.
After a few welcomed moments of silence, I looked over at my happy friend and said, “Well, I thought that went well.” John just smiled. “You know if asshole was not so hard to rhyme, I’m sure Neal would have worked it into the song.” “I, for one, hear that word every time I break up with somebody,” John agreed. “Gotta be a rhyming problem.”