Home > Love May Fail(5)

Love May Fail(5)
Matthew Quick

“I’ll take care of you, moneywise. Don’t worry. You know I’m not a bad guy like that.”

“I’m not a whore, Ken. Thank you very much.”

“So you’re not mad at me? We’re still pals.”

Pals.

Unbelievable.

After watching him fuck a teenager, I’m supposed to tend to his fragile emotions.

I look at Khaleesi, who has the covers pulled up to her nose, hiding. She’s watching us with wide-eyed Kewpie-doll interest, like we’re some live soap opera.

The Middle-Aged and the Pathetic.

The Betrayal of our Guys.

Portia Kane Is An Aging Fucking Idiot.

“I’m actually happy, Ken. For the first time in years. I’m happy. Fuck you for cheating on me. Again. But thank you too.” I wave to Khaleesi and say, “Thanks and fuck you, as well.”

She nods, but looks confused.

“E.T. phone home,” I say once more, using the voice, pointing my index finger at Ken’s nose.

He squints at me, cocks his head to the side. “You weren’t really going to shoot me, were you, baby? Not after all we’ve been through. We’ve had some good times together. You and me. We’ll always love each other deep down. Admit it. Right?”

I actually believe he cares about the answer—that it’s important for him to think I still love him in some sort of dependent, subservient-daughter way, and always will.

Forever.

He wants to be my emotional pimp—the owner of my heart.

I decide to kill his memory, no matter how long it takes.

Obliterate Ken Humes.

Delete him.

Recover from a decade of dependency.

I deserve better.

And better shouldn’t be all that hard to get when you’ve started at the absolute bottom of all men.

“Good-bye, Ken.” I slap his little dank pecker and testicles hard with the bone of my open palm. “Low-five.”

He doubles over and calls me a fucking bitch before dropping to his knees.

I think I hear Khaleesi squeal with fake delight, like she’s suddenly riding on the back of a jet ski, her naked arms around the sculpted abs of an NFL player—an image I’ve actually seen on a TV commercial for a best-selling brand of underarm deodorant.

This is the world we live in.

Khaleesi’s playing her role again.

Girls like this really exist, I think. They really do. Men like Ken can’t get enough of the facade. And I’ve played this game for too long.

“Fuck this life,” I say. “Fuck it. Fuck you, Ken Humes. Fuck everything!”

And then I’m gone.

CHAPTER 2

“I shouldn’t have dropped out of college,” I say to my regular driver, Alfonzo. I’m in the backseat of the town car. I’m sipping directly from a little one-serving bottle of Riesling. He’s in his standard black suit and skinny tie, gripping the wheel with his smooth and steady almond-colored hands, acting statue-stoic as always. “Do you know how hard it is for a woman without a college degree to support herself?”

“I don’t know anything about college. And I know even less about women, Ms. Kane,” Alfonzo says, keeping his eyes on the road. “I stick to driving.”

I guzzle the rest of my tiny bottle. “I couldn’t keep my grade point average high enough to maintain my scholarship. I had a four-point-oh in my literature and writing classes, but the stupid other required classes outside my major—I mean, why did I need to take chemistry again in college? Memorize the periodic table? I’d rather carve out my right eyeball with a box cutter. I wanted to be a writer, not a scientist. And they were going to kick me out. Me! I was hovering around a three-point-three average while working twenty hours a week at the food court too—mopping floors, frying food, creepy twice-my-age janitor Old Man Victor constantly hitting on me, saying perverted things like ‘I have a leather couch that feels good on the skin.’ I was overcoming so many obstacles, and yet I was the one on academic probation! Why are some people drivers and some people passengers in the town car of life, Alfonzo? Have you solved that riddle?”

“No,” Alfonzo says. “I have not.”

“My freshman roommate was a passenger. She had something like a two-point-five GPA, but it didn’t matter because her daddy was a lawyer who could pay for her ride. Oh, how I hated Casey Raymond! Designer clothes. Expensive makeup. You’ve driven her type a million times. It took her ninety minutes to get ready in the morning. Our dorm room became a beauty salon every time the sun rose. She even had a car. At eighteen! A brand-new Volvo! Can you imagine, Alfonzo?”

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