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Hate Mail


Popular advice columnist Susie Q was totally unprepared for the flood of hate mail she received following her answer to the letter about a cheating husband.  It seemed like every woman who had ever been scorned had written to attack her for defending the man.  They seemed to be exceptionally angry with the part where she suggested that maybe the man's wife wasn't doing all she could at home to keep him interested and faithful. 

This wasn't the first time readers had taken offense to one of Susie's columns, she knew that you were never going to please everyone when it came to giving advice.  Criticism was just part of the job and she'd developed pretty thick skin over the years.  But this time was different,  she'd apparently hit a nerve with a lot of angry women out there, and they were demanding that the editor drop her column.

The  publisher was concerned; the last thing they needed was another decline in newspaper readership, it was already a struggle to survive as more and more folks got their dose of daily news from the web.  He informed Susie Q that she needed to write an apology withdrawing her advice as being an outdated and unfounded perspective.

Susie struggled with the apology and found she just couldn't do it. The issue ran far deeper than folks at the newspaper knew.  For five years now she'd been convincing herself that her relationship with Bob was ok because, from everything he'd told her, his wife was a misery to him, always tired and cranky and demanding him to help out, and never showing him any desire at night.  Susie Q fired up Bob's passion, providing him with the attention and comfort he said he didn't get at home.  She believed that one day he was going to tire of that nagging woman and divorce her, and then he would be hers.

After too many drinks that evening, Susie decided to do a drive-by of Bob's house, just to reassure herself that there was someone who needed her and believed in her. As she drove quietly down the street she could see that the curtains were open and the light of many candles illuminated the darkened room.  Then she saw Bob wrapped up in his wife's arms in an obviously intimate embrace. He looked anything but miserable.  She watched just long enough to assure herself that he was an active participant in this little love scene, then she drove home in a zombie-like state.  Everything he had told her had been a lie, and that lie had been the foundation for her response in the column.  She was wrong, she knew it now,  the evidence was plain to see. 

The following day Susie Q failed to show up at her job with the newspaper.  When they hadn't heard from her by mid-afternoon and calls to her cellphone went unanswered, the editor drove out to her house to check on her.   Susie's car was in the driveway, but she didn't answer the the bell.  Trying the doorknob, he was surprised to find it unlocked.  He walked into the foyer calling her name and was stunned to discover Susie's lifeless body on the floor with a bullet wound in her heart and a gun lying nearby.

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I'm linking up with Sunday Scribblings where the prompt this week is "flood".

34 comments:

  1. Nice story...As the victim of two cheating lying wives who just wanted more it has a bit of a sting...however cheating lying warped minded people are never worth a bullet...in their head or mine.

    Currently very happy with #3...Mrs. Cranky

    cranky old man

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    1. LOL,sounds a bit like me - forevermore blessed with #4, the first three are lucky I didn't believe in guns in the house back then, they might not have fared well ;-)

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  2. An amazing story ... well written !!!

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  3. You write with such authority...each time I visit i find variety in your subjects and voice..what I love most is your style..so measured..beautifully crafted..which makes for a story that lasts far beyond leaving your page..Jae

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    1. Wow, thank you Jae, you made my day with this comment! Fiction is a new adventure for me, I often feel that my tales are too ordinary and trite. It surprises and pleases me that folks find them good reading. :-)

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  4. Susie Q clearly made a mistake in writing about her personal experiences in an agony column. Keeping hold on life not losing it however is important to atone for mistakes made. A great write.

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    1. You are absolutely right Old Egg, Susie Q lost her objectivity which resulted in faulty advice. No matter how we feel about an issue personally, it is important to try to keep an open mind to the realities of the situation. Susie was devastated because she failed to do just that. Nothing is ever resolved by ending one's life, it just leaves more unanswered requestions for the onees left behind to deal with.

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  5. You neglected to mention that Suzy Q was quite a slow-witted woman on several counts. (1) I would have camped outside his house long before she did, complete with binoculars and earphones. (2) not worth a bullet, I wouldn't have bothered killing him OR myself.

    Perfect story reminiscent of the old love story magazines my mom used to read in the 50's.

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    1. I think it's safe to say that she was fairly naive, Lotta Joy, having been with him for five years, and not suspecting by now that he had no plans to leave his wife!I agree he wasn't worth her spending the rest of her life in jail ending it altogether. Though it might have felt rewarding to strategically maim him! ;-) And yes, this is very much in line with those old romance stories!

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  6. I liked your story, but I just couldn't let any of my characters kill themselves over a MAN....

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    1. Hehehe, Kay, I have to agree with that, no person, no matter how bad, is worth the price of your life. I think part of Susie's issue was her humiliation at having dispensed advice that proved totally wrong. Shame is a hard thing to face up to, however I might have come back to write a retraction column that used the two-timing jerk as her star witness!

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  7. There are never winners in unfaithfulness.

    Well written piece. I enjoyed it.

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    1. Absolutely true Jeff, this is one of those games where everyone loses, even the wife who probably isn't aware that her husband is being unfaithful, but is still at risk.

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  8. Holy crap, Ms. Two Shoes! That was a-mazing. My heart quickened but I forced myself to slow down & read the story. After she saw him in the window in obvious love w/his wife, I knew it wouldn't be good. Nice, quick short story! :-)

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    1. In the "olden days" prior to so many "tv therapists" folks read the advice columnists regularly, and their opinion was most often held as gospel, Tracey. I often wondered if their personal lives were as carefully handled as the advice they gave out. In this particular case, as is so often true, the public image of Miss Suzy Q was far more sanitized than her private life. I'm glad you enjoyed the story! :-)

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  9. Very well written, I thought it was a true story all the way through to the end

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    1. Thank you Lynda, this scenario, or at least similar ones, play out in life every day. There will always be cheating soundrels and lonley women or men who are are desperate to believe them. Hopefully most don't end in such tragedy.

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  10. I thought you were commenting on a story until I was halfway through. I'd have been interested to read the original letter and advice column.

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    1. Hi Monkey! Long time no see! I've been doing more short fiction such as this lately. Kinda fun to play with! You've given me an idea, maybe I'll have to do a letter sometime soon and open it up for reader responses. :-)

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    2. Sorry, I have been a bad blog reader lately.

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    3. Not a bad blog reader, just a very busy one. Now get over there and post something new for me to read!!!

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  11. Sad Story .
    For a moment I thought it was true and got so so scared !

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    1. It was sad Nimue, Suzy didn't want to see the reality of the situation and ended up devastated when reality hit.

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  12. Wow! I raced through so curious for the ending! Poor woman! Bad choices all the way around.

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    1. So true Robyn, she lost her perspective somewhere along the way, and then in the end she lost hope, tragic.

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  13. I enjoyed this. Although the situation with Bob is not an uncommon one, it was the pin to Suzy’s particular psychological balloon. Well done : )

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    1. So very true, she was placing her whole wellbeing on her relationship with Bob, and was unable to comprehend a life that didn't include him. I wish that was less common in real life, seems to be a familiar theme.

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  14. I LOVE THIS!!!! You really stepped out of the box on this one. Amazing story the characters so true to life, and yes too many think death is the only way out, me I would seek revenge by annoymously letting the wife know then watch him squirm like the worm he is. No that's not true if you've read any of mine you know I kill them off . Wonderfully written!

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    1. Thanks Len!!! Sadly, as we know, many wives do know or at least suspect if their husband is being unfaithful, but prefer to live in denial or look the other way, rather than lose what they have, even if at best that is a pretense. Real men understand the concept of faithfulness.

      I havw to admit that I rather enjoy killing off characters too, I'm sure that a psychologist would have fun with that! ;-)

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  15. hmmm reality bites hard.... it all seemed so innocent a story in a way.... loved it though sad that she felt no alternative... giving oneself away has a price that sometimes is more than we can imagine,,, miss pie

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    1. You are right Miss Pie, every choice we make comes with a price to pay for what we gain, in this case she bought a lie, and was unable to reconcile herself to that.

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  16. Wow...well written. The stuff of life, Josie. You do it well.

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    1. Thanks McGuffy Ann! I guess I have been around the block enough times in life to know some of the back alley stories. :-)

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)