Freudian Slips: Plain View Can Be a Two Way Mirror

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

August 02, 2005

Plain View Can Be a Two Way Mirror

"You can't handle the truth!"
Jack Nicholson to Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men
My neighbor Leanore had been married for twenty nine years until her husband left her for another man. Leanore became suspicious when she found duplicate charges for airlines tickets on a credit card. When she called the credit card company to inquire about a possible billing mistake, the credit card company assured Leanore that her husband does not travel alone. He was a frequent flyer who had a pattern of purchasing tickets in pairs. To prove the point, the credit card company divulged information that her husband recently bought two round trip tickets on US Airlines to the Bahamas.
“The Bahamas?” she decried. “No! Dimitri is away on business in Atlanta.”
Becoming more suspicious at this point, Leanore calls the airline asking about details of the return flight. Saturday 2pm Flight 352 she is told. Leanore calls a family meeting minus the patriarch. The groupthink produces an audacious decision to confront Dimitri at the airport. Like junior private eyes, they tote surveillance equipment in the form of camcorders and digital cameras. Inside the Philadelphia airport terminal, Leanore’s husband comes off a plane escorting a blond bombshell of a man dressed in feminine drag. Makeup alone, they were not traveling light. Even for a few good men, the truth had to hurt the other parties involved.
Every member of the profundity party screams in disbelief. The mother-in-law confusingly shouts, “What is it?” Deragatory remarks incite the combatants. A fracas ensues. Security is called to the scene of the crash. The children see their father not like never before. Leanore wins the booby prize of taking the most pictures of any family vacation. The men leave together in a tizzy. The marriage is sadly declared terminal by the distraught wife inside an airport terminal of all places.
Two years have passed. Divorce forced the sale of the home which netted a cool half million dollars. Leanore’s door is wide open to the public and primed to be gutted on the insides. Leanore gives out Corona beers to anyone stepping though her spacious model home for the Contents of House Sale. She is in the throes of a nervous breakdown secondary to divorce. A week ago, she had trouble opening up a soup can so she walked down the street and asked my wife for assistance. Leanore must soon be out of her house but she does not know where she will live. She plans on going kicking and screaming from the house she loves, the man she loved. Her centerpiece for the Contents of House Sale is her tight-fitting blouse sporting tanned cleavage, overcompensation for insecurity issues I can only imagine.
“Come in.” Leanore greets to my wife and I. “Come in and buy from me what it took me a half century to accumulate.”
The cul de sac fills with walk-up ravenous buyers. U-Haul rental trucks and flatbeds trucks circle like chuck wagons before pulling up to the right house. Her house assumes the life of a fire drill. Everyone is trying to make it out of the house as fast as they can with as much as they can grab. Leonore tells anyone with an ear appendage about her tragic story to the tune of a heartbreaking country and western song. She jokes condescendingly about her husband’s lifestyle choices. She shows pictorial evidence of her husband’s affair in plain view for strangers, neighbors, and family members who have heard this story a hundred times. Leonore bitterly defends that she deserved better out of a life of devotion. Her inability to not let go of her failed marriage is convincing symptomology of an Adjustment Disorder but I have heard this woe before. I have seen her pictures. I refuse to be nothing other than a shopper. Someone else can be her pseudo psychiatrist.
It is an outlandish experience walking around someone’s house pillaging their possessions while getting stone cold drunk. The alcohol conjured up guilt of my participation but not enough to halt my shopping spree. Pass judgment if you will. Leanore sold us a beautiful 9 foot artificial Christmas tree for the price of tinsel. I tried to give Leanore a few extra dollars but she gave me back exact change then offered me another cold beer. I had to make several trips back and forth between the two houses carrying all of the luxuries we bought on clearance. I misplaced my beer twice.
On my way out the front door with four lavish silk flower arrangements in my grubby hands, something caught my eye on the wall by the grand staircase. It caused me emotional pause. Leanore had .25 cents marked on a family picture. It was stitch art of a man, woman, and two children with their last name embroidered underneath. I swallowed hard at the desolation. Memories that were suppose to last a lifetime. Memories that were now an ad hoc antonym and sold for pocket change. Memories of the way they were.

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16 Comments:

Blogger Lost said...

Omg what an awful story. That poor woman. How can he force her to sell everything??? Isn't PA a community property state? I hope that sad lady finds happiness again.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

What a touching story. It had to be incredibly difficult to put a price tag on all those broken dreams.
But what's far more important... did you ever find your beer?

( I hope by now you realize my sick humor and don't hold it against me )

Nicely written post!

7:29 AM  
Blogger Zelda Parker said...

As always another great story Joe!
Sadly your damsel needs to move on with her life (pardon the pun). As we've learned again and again life is too short not to enjoy every moment. There is no time to waste.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Lost,
It's NJ but no matter. Maybe they agreed to split the return on the sale of the communal property. That would be 12.5 cents each on that picture.

Hag,
I embrace your humor. I thought YOU would know that by now. Somehow I knew you would appreciate the beer in the story. The beer represents selfishness in the story.

Zelda,
Damsel needs to get beyond her distress.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Rob Seifert said...

Never lose your beer no matter how good the sale. I lost mine some 10.5 years ago and have yet to find it again. Sometimes our illusions are larger than we think. I feel for your neighbor and her shattered illusions. Life on life's terms is a bitch sometimes.

RCS

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe,

I am sadly disappointed in you. One of life's basic lessons has failed you miserably. You walk out of the house with the items you paid for and left the FREE BEER?!!!

Mike

PS I swear I saw this on the Soprano's once...

4:39 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Mike,
You of all people taught me better than that. Touche!

6:04 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Robert,
I'll drink to that!

6:05 PM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

Sad story, should have been on "America's Funniest Home Videos" or at the very least Springer. I very nearly fell out of my chair when you described the airport scene. I mean, damn. I can honestly say that I feel for the woman, but the family portrait is HER issue and should be seen as such. Life is all about change, if you aren't changing with it, you aren't living.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

lilly,
the airport scene must have sent the Moonies looking for another terminal.

9:27 PM  
Blogger honkeie2 said...

Life is a tragity we must all endure with smiles and jokes. Most ppl will not get the joke and forget the punch line. Its the momments that make us smile I live for and just grin and bare the momments we wish we could just crawl away and die somewhere.
I do feel sorry for her, it sure took him a long time to come to terms with what he is I guess.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

honkeie2,
guess that is where the saying 'grit your teeth and bare it' comes into play.

7:45 PM  
Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

Wonderful story Joe.

11:10 AM  
Blogger LiVEwiRe said...

Exceptional post, definitely wrought with tragedy. Guess saying 'truth is stranger than fiction' is accurate.

8:18 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Ah, "The Love Hang-Over Sale".

Great story; comic and tragic by turns.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

livewire,
life is a livewire and a tightrope.

Pax,
it was comedy within a tragedy.

11:18 AM  

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