A male Manx walked across the living room carpet. Its balls swept the floor, like a hairy door knocker.

“It’s about that time,” Suzanne said.

“What happened to Marilyn, Priscilla, and Melinda?” Billie asked.

“They’re getting massaged by Brandon. Apparently, he’s from Brazil. Their emojis are obscene.”

“Where do they get that done?” Sharon asked.

“At the male strip mall—I mean mini, but it’s huge,” Suzanne coughed.

There was knocking on the front door. It cracked open, and three women without a thought between them were deep in superficial chit-chat.

Gregson tried a psychic trick, to go somewhere else in his mind, but it didn’t work.

Suddenly, his brain was filled with descriptions of Brandon’s walnut-shaped ass and strong hands. If men engage in locker room talk, women do it at book club.

He reached for a whiskey sample and drank it down, but it didn’t help.

Dan didn’t know what to do, so he just sat down in the circle, and cowered in his aluminum chair.

It was then, that the books came out. Everybody had one, and guess whose name was on the cover?

“I’d like to introduce to you, our male writer for the evening,” Suzanne said.

The women were like bumble-bees who had spotted a flower (maybe not a beautiful one, but it had nectar, social status, artistic pain, the smell of the suffering artist—bad BO).

“Dan is a published author,” Suzanne said.

Suddenly, Gregson was shunted to the side, while the pack of rabid readers descended on the man of letters, like he was a dead carcass in the desert.

“You have such soft hands,” Melinda said. “I can tell they’ve never done manual labor before. They’re perfect for touching a woman—in all the right places—you’ve already touched my heart, but maybe, you’d like to touch something else.”

Dan’s eyes were totally dilatated.

Gregson couldn’t tell if it was total fear or lust—probably, a little bit of both.

Suzanne introduced Dan a bit more. “He was an actual police officer.”

“A cop with the sensitivity of an artist,” Marilyn said. “Lovely.” There were three hands on Dan at all times.

Gregson didn’t like to be pawed at, but he could tell Dan was enjoying the female touch.

“Should we start with Chapter 1?” Melinda asked.

“I don’t see why not. But first, let’s ask Dan how he plans a mystery,” Suzanne suggested.

Dan was on the spot.

“I just start with what I want to happen. Then, I put it in a logical order. Then…”

Before Dan bored them to death, a blond babe walked into the room, wearing satin pajamas and a white tank-top.

“This is my daughter,” Suzanne said. “Teressa is studying to be a doctor.”

Gregson stood at attention. “Are you going to be a general practitioner?” Gregson asked.

“I’m studying the male anatomy right now. I haven’t decided.”

Was she looking at his pants? Oh well, it happened all the time, Gregson thought.

The doorbell rang.

“That must be Betty,” Suzanne suggested. “And about time. She’s always late. Betty is normally our group leader and not me.”

In walked a timid Jewish lady, full of brash confidence.

She looked at everyone with superiority and smiled. “Has our author arrived?” She asked.

“He’s right here.”

“Well, this is good news…”

Meanwhile, Gregson was curious where Teressa went. Probably, back to her bedroom, he thought. Maybe, I could volunteer my anatomy, for academic reasons, but how do I get out of this group?

Gregson farted. It was instinct. He hardly had to think about it.

“Oh—I think it was the Hors D’oeuvres. Where’s your restroom?” Gregson asked.

“Down the hall and to your right,” Suzanne said.

Gregson got up, and made a beeline to take care of business.

There were fields of flowers framed on the red walls. Gregson thought of himself as a bee. He needed to pollinate her.

“I’ll just check my appearance in the mirror. My hair is thinning—.” Gregson pulled a comb out of his pocket. He could barely hear Betty, leading the group…

“We are going to enact the first murder from Dan’s new book,” Betty said.

“That’s not a good idea,” Gregson muttered.


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