He makes the annual pilgrimage to Florida because that’s where they always went after his mother left.  His father always said, nothing like a little diversion.  When he was ten the diversions were predictable, like Pirates of the Caribbean or Space Mountain.

      At twenty-five, the diversions are complicated and fraught with consequences.  Last year the diversion was Margaret.  This year it’s Filia.  He met her two months ago at an anger-management workshop in Long Island where he discovered they were both English teachers who took Zoloft and had an angry mother archetype and a penchant for foot massage.  She is a handful, mysterious and brunette, and wears handcuff keys around her neck and styles her pubic hair into a devil’s beard.

      They check in to the Contemporary and go upstairs and drop their bags and dump their cell phones on the nightstand.  She sits on the bed and kicks her flip flops across the room.  She shucks off her shorts and is quickly naked and so is he.

      “Chef Mickey’s tomorrow?” she asks, pulling him onto the bed.  He sits opposite, takes her foot in his lap.  The pink zebra toe nails look like jagged wounds.

      “If you want,” he says, working his thumbs against the ball of her foot, sliding down along the arch to the heel, working back up.   “I’m not much of a morning man.” She gives a little gasp, smiles.

      “Why so blue, baby?” she says.

      “No reason,” he says.  “Long drive.  Tired I guess.”  He works his thumbs along her ankle.

  “I want to meet Pluto.  He’s so cute in that chef’s hat with those big droopy ears.”  She takes her free foot and plants it against his groin, starts moving it in slow circles. The massage ends and they lock in furious lovemaking that jingles the silver keys against the side of her neck. After, they shower together and he kisses her shoulders, softly.

      She wants a bath and he draws it for her, wraps a towel around himself and pads out to the bedroom, closing the door behind him.  He hops onto the bed and grabs the remote, flicks on the TV and hears her splash down into the tub.

      Her phone vibrates.  He picks it up.  It’s the calendar.  Disneyworld, it says.  He clicks on their departure date.  Ditch moron, it says.

      Ditch moron.  Ditch moron?  It could be anybody, he tells himself.  Then the anger erupts and he jumps up and kicks open the bathroom door and puts his thumbs on her neck and squeezes until her lips turn blue under the water.

      Or that’s what he would have done before the Zoloft.  He pulls his clothes on instead, retrieves his bag and steals her flip flops and leaves.

      Moron ditched, whore, he texts from the car.

      Later, he burns her flip flops beside the road. 

Robert Meade is a transplanted Bostonian now firmly rooted in Mohegan Lake, in Westchester County, NY, with his wife and three children.  He teaches at Loyola School in Manhattan.  He won the Wordweaving Award for Excellence for his book, Daily Bread:  Seven Days to a Healthier Soul.  A published author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, his recent work has appeared in Angels on Earth magazine and online at Guideposts, Apollo's Lyre, and Bartleby Snopes.  

I began by considering how to make Hamlet relevant to high school students. What would he do if he were alive today?  It occurred to me that he would definitely go to Disneyworld, and what better person to bring along than his girlfriend? The story developed out of that initial insight and I just got out of the way and let it take shape.



Copyright 2009