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Three Men Sitting In A Room

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Three Men Sitting In A Room

Three men sitting in a room, the shutters are low, a bare light bulb hanging from a green ceiling. Bereft of furniture except the chairs they sit on, a stocky man stands by the shutters, his body in silhouette. His face is turned towards them, his baritone voice smooth as he asks the man in the middle to tell his story.

"Why don’t you tell us why you’re here Brian?" He doesn’t look at Brian; instead he separates two shutters and looks outside, at the people taking lunch on the wooden benches.

"I don’t feel like it" Brian mutters.

"Go on Brian, we want to hear, it’s a good story and we’ve got an hour to spare" Joe slips further down in his chair, his fingers constantly rubbing the prayer beads in his left hand. The beads are smooth and so worn, to be almost paper thin. Joe’s lips move as he counts them slowly.

"May as well, I got nothing to do till after lunch, and it beats doing nothing" This, a growling rumble from Harry on Brian’s left.

Brian rubs under his nose, tired of telling the same old story, but not willing to argue that a new one should be told. Instead he relaxes his hands upon the chairs arms, his thumbs making small circles upon the wood.

"It was the year of the big storms, you remember? The trees were so bent they almost touched the ground, and the sidewalks were so flooded you felt as if you were swimming rather than walking on em. I had just made the biggest deal of my life, and it was real late, cos the firm threw a party to celebrate my success. I’d had a few drinks, you know how it is, so I left my car and started walking looking for a cab. Course, in that weather, on that night could I find one? Easier to find a nun on her way home from a night of orgies."

"Hey Brian you never told THAT story before, tell us about the nun, sounds good!" Joe stopped rubbing his beads, leaning forward in expectation.

"It’s my story you sick son of a mule, and I ain’t telling no story about no nun I ain’t never met! So shut up and listen" Brian scowled at Joe until he sat back, then giving a satisfied grunt he continued.

"Well there I was, water up to my knees, my best shoes ruined. The streets were empty, and a lot of drivers had just upped and left their cars right there in the middle of the road. No point in trying to park them I guess, roads flooded as they were. Anyhow it took me nigh on three hours to make it to my house on Elm Grove, and I can tell you, most of those Elms were down on the ground, every which way, branches smashed into parked cars and over MY lawn if you please! Well that put a pall on things, but I was still high on my day, and well, lawns can be fixed. (Unlike those Elms) Took me near ten minutes to get up my path to the front door, then I find that the missus has forgotten to even lock the blasted thing. I keep telling her, lock the door, you never know who will try and chance their luck. Does she listen? Well does she?"

Brian’s two companions shake their head’s; they know only too well how a wife never listens.

"Jabber, jabber, jabber, never listen, nope, just rattle on like they were fully charged batteries with nothing to say." Joe shakes his head, thumps the arm of his chair and puffs out his cheeks.

"Let the man tell his story choir boy!" Harry gives Joe a shove and shushes him.

"Well I walk into the house and its flooded right up to the third stair; I’m calling my wife and walking up the stairs when I hear a noise from our bedroom. My wife is talking on the phone, to her mother, and she’s saying Brian this and Brian that, and I’m thinking, well that’s rich coming from her! Now you know I made a good deal at work, but what I never said was how much I made."

"How much Brian?" Both Joe and Harry ask in unison.

"A cool five million, and two of that is all mine! There she is, moaning away that she don’t have the latest remote do it all TV, no fur coat, just her fake mink and that’s all ratty and moth eaten. ‘Brian never buys me flowers, he never even says happy anniversary, and the last time he bought me jewellery was my wedding ring and THAT’S only 9 carat gold! Why Betty Sottle across the street showed me her 25th wedding anniversary gift from her husband and guess what it was mother, it was a platinum bracelet with emeralds all around. I counted 25 of em, one for each year of marriage she said' Brian snorts loudly and spits in his hanky taking on a coughing fit.

"Betty Sottle is something to look at, all leg and boobs. Damn it, if I were her husband I’d buy her twenty platinum bracelets; her old man says she’s a devil in the sack and I believe him! Well it was a sight to behold I can tell you, the wife in her pink frilly nightdress down to her toes, hair in rollers and some disgusting green beauty treatment plastered on her face. That won’t do you no good I says to her, you're too darn ugly naturally for it to work a miracle. Anyhow, we have an argument and she throws her pillow at me sobbing about how much she has had to put up with all these years. How all her friends feel sorry for her and she’s tired of being the poor relation. I’m pulling my tie off and she throws a wad of paperwork at me and demands that I sign the papers RIGHT there and then."

"Oh that’s cold man, real cold!" Harry gasps.

"That’s what I think at first, but then I read em, and guess what she demands as settlement. And I quote: My client Mrs. Mary Mullins demands the house and its contents, the car and the dog. In addition to this, she demands all monies in the joint bank account up to the date of signing this divorce agreement. She’s so stupid she can’t even get a decent lawyer!"

Brain chokes with laughter and his two companions join him. Wiping the tears from his face, Brian continues to finish his story, a big grin on his face.

"So I don’t say a thing, I pick up a pen and sign that damn divorce paper and make her sign it too. See, the money from the big deal, it ain’t going to be in my account till end of the month, so what do I care if she wants the crappy house, or the dog. I can buy myself new ones and SHE won’t have a penny of it! So now I’m sitting here in this health spa, got me any woman I want for the taking, a Rolex and a wardrobe full of designer suits." Wheezing with laughter he slaps his chair and bends forwards, Joe and Harry look on with wide grins.

" I love that story every time you tell it Brian, my god, I wish I could do that to my missus, just ONCE!" Joe rubs his prayer beads and slouches even further into his chair


The man at the window turns towards them, his sad expression hidden from view.

"That’s not how it really was Brian. You had just been fired and came home to hear your wife complaining on the phone to her mother about you. You took off your tie, and strangled her with it. Isn’t that what really happened?"

Brian looks at the man with narrowed eyes; he takes in the white coat, manicured nails holding a clipboard, and stethoscope around his neck.

"You're always trying to change it, that’s your version of the story, not mine. I never said it that way, ever." Standing up Brian walks to the door, his back stiff in anger. "Come on Harry, it’s lunch time"

Three Men Sitting In A Room © QSW

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