Barry, You’re Hurting Me

An excerpt from the first Jesse Donovan mystery That She Is Made of Truth which you really should read.

That She is Made of Truth

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies
— William Shakespeare

I should have listened to the bard.
— Jesse Donovan

After their 5th anniversary, he smiled less and stopped laughing.

After their 6th anniversary, he started talking less.

After their 7th anniversary, he started drinking.

After their 8th anniversary, he started coming home with lipstick on his collar and perfume that wasn’t hers lingering as he stomped through the living room and up to bed.

On their 9th anniversary, at what had become an annual torture session, he swore at their server and stormed from the restaurant.

She threw a handful of $20 bills on the table and ran after him.

“What’s going on, Barry?”

“People are stupid. I don’t have to put up with that.”

“She didn’t do anything.”

“She brought veal and I ordered steak.”

“You talked about steak, but you ordered the veal.”

He turned, slowly, like one of the animatronic creatures at Disneyland.

“What did you say?”

She leaned back, just a little. She wet her lips. The valet was watching them now.

“Look at me. What did you say?”

She reached for his hand. “Barry—”

His other hand came up and slapped her. Hard. Hard enough to knock her glasses off.

“You don’t call me a liar. Nobody calls me a liar.”

She stepped back, hands crossed on her upper body, palms pressed against herself, fingertips near her shoulders.

She wasn’t crying.

“Is something wrong?” The valet hadn’t stepped closer, but he had one hand on a telephone at his little kiosk.

“Stay out of this.”

“Ma’am?”

Barry turned, not slowly, not animatronic. Spun around and took a step toward the valet.

“Shut up and mind your own business.”

The valet lifted the phone.

Barry took one more step and hit him in the side of the head. He fell against the wooden valet stand and he and the stand fell into the gutter.

Turning without a glance down at the valet, Barry took two steps back to her and grabbed her arm, pulling her toward the parked cars.

“I can find my own car.”

“Barry, you’re hurting me.”

He stopped. Didn’t turn, just stopped.

“This is not hurting you. If I were hurting you you’d know it.”

Her scream made Barry flinch and let go. Three men bounded from the restaurant’s front door.

“Let go of her!”

“What’s going on here?”

“Ma’am, do you need help?”

Without even a glance at her, Barry plowed through the line of cars sliding by, horns blasting, little chirps from the tires as brake pedals were shoved down.

Her tears washed him away as he melted into the darkness at the back of the parking lot.

She didn’t see him again for 14 years.


Real mess, huh?

Find out who and why in That She Is Made of Truth.

2 thoughts on “Barry, You’re Hurting Me

  1. I haven’t read this one yet because I have a million books to read and not enough time… But I can’t wait to read it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *