Love in the Suburbs #1
by D.E. Haggerty
Genre: Romantic Comedy
“Now, young man.” I chuckle. Bert is not young by anyone’s measure except Grandma’s. Based on his receding hairline and the white tinting his beard, I’m guessing he’s somewhere in his late thirties if not older. “What’s this about you having a girlfriend?”
Bert, who just stuffed a huge portion of pork chop into his mouth, chokes but holds his hand up when Grandma stands and pulls her arm back as if to whack him on the back. He takes a drink of water and manages to swallow his food. “My grandmother Alma doesn’t approve of my relationship.”
“Why not?” Grandma asks as she sits down. “Are you a homosexual? Do you need me to talk to Alma? She should know better in this day and age than to discriminate against you gays.”
Bert starts choking all over again. This time on mere air. When he gets control of himself, he shakes his head. “Um, no. I’m not gay. I have a girlfriend,” he explains making sure to emphasize ‘girl’.
“Why doesn’t she approve of your relationship?” I ask before Grandma can start on some other inane theory.
“My girlfriend is in prison.”
My eyes widen at his answer. I can honestly admit of the dozen scenarios running through my head – drug dealer, too young, single mother – ‘girlfriend in prison’ never entered the realm of possibilities. “What’s she in for?” His lips turn down at my question. “What? Is it not proper etiquette to ask?” Like I care. I will find out what crimes his girlfriend committed.
He shrugs. “I guess I can tell you as you’ll probably never meet Shayla. She was arrested for intent to distribute drugs.”
My mouth gapes open. “Your girlfriend is a drug dealer?”
Bert’s eyes narrow on me. “No, she is not. She has a problem with addiction for which she’s being treated.”
Sure, she’s not. “Does she get treatment in prison?”
“She’s going to NA.”
I nod. NA is better than nothing I guess, although I wouldn’t be surprised if she was ordered to attend NA as part of her sentence. Wow. These blind dates are making me cynical. I take a bite of pork chop as I consider my next question. “How did you two meet?”
“Like online dating before she went to prison or…” I trail off when I see him shaking his head.
“No, I met her on this website for dating prisoners.” There’s a website for dating prisoners? People, who are not in prison purposefully choose to find a prisoner to date? Fascinating. I have to find this website. Maybe his girlfriend is still listed on there.
“But you have met her in person, right?”
“Of course.” Bert smiles. “I drive down to the prison about once a month to visit her.”
I lean forward and whisper. “Can you like touch each other and kiss and stuff when you visit?” Is it rude to ask someone if they can have sex with their prisoner girlfriend at the dinner table? I sneak a peek at Grandma whose mouth is hanging open as she stares at Bert. Okay, probably not best to ask about sex then.
Bert’s face goes nuclear red. Even the tips of his ears are red. It’s kind of adorable. “Not really. But she’s out soon…” The implication is clear. He can’t wait to do the horizontal mumbo jumbo with his prisoner girlfriend.
Grandma clears her throat and stops any further questions of which I have about a gazillion. I’ve never met anyone who dated a prisoner before. I don’t think I even know anyone who’s been to jail, let alone prison. I’m intrigued.
“What about in the meantime?” Grandma asks.
“In the meantime? What do you mean?” Bert asks, but I have a sneaking suspicion where Grandma is going with this line of inquiry and I don’t like it one bit.
“Don’t you need some female companionship since your girl is … um …. unavailable?”
Oh my god! Is my grandma trying to pimp me out?
At Arm’s Length
Love in the Suburbs #2
Love in the Suburbs #3