Triplets Win Lottery (a serial story)

Part one…

The sand dunes blurred in the wind. From her vantage point at the window Maribeth could understand the weather pattern of the entire Eastern seashore. She could see miles of Atlantic Ocean — some large parallelograms were dark, some ruffled with whitecaps, some flat, and all of them seamed together like patches of farmland viewed from an airplane.

Will, Maribeth’s ex-husband, would arrive soon and ahead of the heavy rain. He’d pull his car into the carport — she could picture it arriving — and he’d get out of the car like an astronaut struggling free of a reentry pod, and stomp up the stairs from the basement into the kitchen/living room/dining area, where she’d be waiting on the sand-colored couch, overweight, with her feet tucked under her butt, the very picture of a despised ex-wife. “See? You gave up on our shared dream of youth and sex!”

It did not happen how she predicted, though. Instead, the rain came suddenly and Will had yet to show up. She looked out the window, but could hardly make out anything but wet blur. She worried. The phone rang. She answered it fast.

It was Will. He sounded strange.

“Not going to make it,” he said.

“Um, OK…” she said. She waited a bit for an explanation, more talk, but he was silent — still on the line, she could hear by wind in the receiver, but not talking. “Well what, are you all right?”

“Listen,” he said, “I’m not going to make it. We’ll talk on the phone later. I’ll call you next week.” And then he hung up, as if he were in a Jason Bourne movie.

OMG, she thought. She called him back. It rang three times and then a woman picked up, saying only, “Hey,” in a very muscular way. Was the woman actually trying to sound like Will?

“Put Will on, please,” Maribeth said. She walked to the fridge and pulled out the white wine, poured herself a glass.

“Will who?” the woman with the put-on deep voice asked.

“Will Davis,” Maribeth said firmly.

“Just a second, let me see if anyone answers to that,” the woman answered. Maribeth laughed. There were background noises — muffled talk, the clatter of the phone being dropped, rustle of paper or cloth close up, gusts of wind or mouth-breathing sounding like bad radio reception. The woman came back on.

“He doesn’t want to talk to you right now. He says call the girls and they’ll fill you in.”

“What?” Maribeth felt outrage well up in her like water filling a ditch.

“Call the girls.” And for the second time in three minutes, she was hung up on. She threw the phone hard into the far sofa pillow. Her wine sloshed. She hadn’t spoken to any of the girls in five years, not once.

Read the next installment!