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19

Elaine reached back to close the partition between the two halves of the vehicle. Then both of her hands grasped the neckline of her dress. “How would you like the tag ‘attempted rapist’ added to your name? Believable storyline, isn’t it? Girl accuses gigolo of being a limpdick, and he tries to force her to see otherwise.”

Henry opened the door for himself. “You’re a ruthless bitch, Elaine.”

“You’ve made me one, Henry. And the name’s not Elaine; you’re not the only one who uses pseudonyms.”

Henry was poised over the threshold between limousine interior and roadside desert before one of his client’s Manolo Blahniks met his rear end and forced him out.

“Goodbye, Henry.” The door slammed shut behind him.

“Elaine!” Henry was on his feet with arms spread wide as the limousine tore away.

“Elaine!”

All he got for his efforts was shame in a mouthful of dust.

----------------------------------------

“Coffee.”

“Sugar, you look like you’ve been to Hell and back,” Rosie the waitress declared as she reached for a cup.

“I’m still in it.” Henry eased himself onto the stool before the counter, ignoring the crowd’s stares at his tuxedo torn and coated with dirt.

“Do you take checks?” Henry asked as the cup was placed before him.

“Sure don’t, Hon.” Rosie reached beneath the counter for a paper cup. “Tell you what: it’s on the house. Go on home and get yourself cleaned up.”

“Home.” Henry laughed at his repetition of the word and accepted the cup of coffee without an expression of gratitude.

As Henry headed for the front door of the diner, he overheard a newsanchor talking from an overhead television. “...breaking news: a twenty-four-year-old former White House intern is under investigation by independent counsel Kenneth Starr for allegedly lying in an affidavit in which she denied that she had had sexual relations with President Clinton. The FBI reportedly has tapes of the former intern describing both her affair with Clinton and efforts to cover it up--”

Henry let the glass front door of the diner slam shut on the newsanchor, and savored the crunch of hard gravel beneath his feet as he walked towards the sun setting over the unused gas pumps.

He was not alone.

s.t.u.d. by W.R. Hammons:

1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ 6/ 7/ 8/ 9/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 13/ 14/ 15/ 16/ 17/ 18/ 19

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