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Cory was poor. His parents had recently divorced. He lived with his dad. His dad only made $9 an hour. Cory had four other siblings. Rent was expensive. Electricity was expensive. Water was expensive. Everything was expensive. Cory was so hungry. He decided to steal. He knew it was bad, but he was poor.
He saw a delicious-looking apple. He looked around him. No one was looking at him. It was safe to steal. He put the apple in his pocket. He walked towards the store's exit. A moment later, he walked back to the apple section. He put the apple back. He did not want to be a bad person. Stealing was wrong.
Jill and Dan have been married for ten years. Jill loves Dan, but she hates his snoring. It is so loud and disgusting. Oftentimes, his snoring wakes her up, and she can't go back to sleep. One night, Dan's snoring was so loud, Jill decided to sleep on the couch. She slept well on the couch.
The next morning, Jill's son, Timmy, saw her sleeping on the couch. He thought that she had a fight with his dad. "Mommy, are you and dad getting a divorce?" Timmy asked. Jill laughed and hugged Timmy. "No, Timmy, your dad just snores a lot!" Timmy asked if she snored. Jill wasn't sure.
Later Jill asked Dan if she snored. "Yeah, it sounds like a cat meowing," Dad said. "Is that a bad thing?" Jill asked. "Well… it's kind of annoying, but I deal with it," Dan said.
Jill was embarrassed that she snored. She went to the doctor to see if she could do anything about it. The doctor gave her a few tips but said that there was no medicine or cure for snoring. Jill went back home disappointed. "All this time I thought you were the annoying snorer, but I guess I am, too," Jill said. "Hey, that's what makes us perfect together!" Dan said.
Harold and Darlene are getting a divorce. They have been married for ten years. They both felt that they married each other too young. Harold felt like he had changed a lot since then. When he was 23, he was ambitious, competitive, and sometimes even harsh. He had plans to be a CEO. Now, he was more relaxed. He was okay with not having a high-paying job.
Darlene wanted the 23-year-old version of Harold. She was ambitious too, and wanted to be a power couple. A power couple is a couple where both partners are successful. Darlene was not okay with Harold only being an accountant.
Harold and Darlene hate each other now. They can barely talk to each other. They have one daughter together. Her name is Christina. Christina is sad that her parents are splitting apart. She does not know who she will be living with. Usually the mother gets full custody of the child. If Christina stays with her dad, she will be living in a smaller house, but she does not mind. She is closer to her dad. They get along better. If Christina stays with her mom, she could spend more money because Darlene is rich. Christina is not that close to her mom though. Her mom does not show love often.
Harold and Darlene decided that Christina should still see both of them. Harold asked Darlene if she was considering another husband. Darlene said she eventually wanted to get married again. Harold wished her good luck.
Deborah was angry at her son. Her son didn't listen to her. Her son was 16 years old. Her son thought he knew everything. Her son yelled at Deborah. He told her he didn't have to do anything. He didn't have to listen to her. He didn't have to go to school. He didn't have to do his homework. He didn't have to study. He was 16. He could do anything he wanted to do. What could Deborah do? She wasn't married. She was divorced. She could not control her son. He would listen to his father. But his father was not there. His father lived in another city.
Beth was a famous singer and a famous actress. Everyone wanted her autograph. Everyone took pictures of her. She was 26 years old. She had a great body. She was slim and pretty. She was also divorced. She had one child. His name was Charley. He was six years old. A movie actor loved Beth. William was fat and old, but he was rich and smart. He asked Beth out to dinner. She went to dinner with him. They had dinner many times. Then he invited her to his private island. She took Charley with her. They stayed on the island for almost a year. William asked Beth to marry him. They got married on his island. Then she returned to Hollywood to make a new movie. Nobody in Hollywood recognized her at first. "Do I know you?" everyone asked. They didn't recognize Beth because she had gained about 80 pounds. People said she was too fat. They said she wasn't pretty anymore. She said she didn't care. "My husband is fat, and he likes me fat," she said. "If you don't like me fat, I don't care. I will go back to my island and eat all I want. I don't need Hollywood. I have a husband and a son who love me. What more could a woman want?
Jill answered the phone. It was Jack.
Jill, will you marry me next week?
Jack repeated his question.
Of course not," she replied. She wondered why he was asking her that question. They had already agreed that when people get married, they immediately start to take each other for granted. They don't do the "little things" like opening the car door or holding hands. They get too comfortable. They treat their partner like an old shoe. And eventually, they get bored with each other and get divorced.
We already agreed that we don't want to get married because we don't want to get divorced.
Jack agreed. But he argued that they were special. They were different from other couples. They loved each other too much to end up in a divorce.
Yes, that may be true. But still, why next week? Why can't we think about it for another year or two?
Because I had two dreams the last two nights. In both dreams, you left me for another man. In fact, you left me for two different men. I want to get married now so I don't have these dreams anymore.
Hmm. What did these men look like?
Maria had to buy food for herself and her son. Divorced for ten years, she was used to doing the shopping for her son. He was a junior in high school, which meant that he would be entering college in two years. Then she would be shopping only for herself. She felt sad when she thought of this. She hoped that he would attend the local junior college and then transfer to a university. That way he could continue to live at home for another two years. She loved him, and dreaded the day that he would no longer be her daily company.
Maria drove to Costco, a chain store that sold food in bulk packages. By selling in bulk only, the store helps its customers save money. She parked far from the entrance. That meant a longer walk, but also a faster exit from the parking lot. She grabbed one of the big shopping carts outside and pushed it into the store. Her purse stayed tightly hung over her shoulder. Surprisingly, the store wasn't too crowded.
In the produce section, she examined nine packages of seedless green grapes before she found one that she liked. She carefully selected some bananas, apples, and other fruit. But she couldn't find her son's favorite brand of tangerines. On the way home, she planned to stop at another market or two until she found them.
Abigail and Jeremy got divorced about 10 years ago. Abigail did not want to see a lawyer, worried that it might turn ugly. So she talked to Jeremy, who agreed that it was a good idea to not use lawyers. He said not to worry, he would take care of her. She said she wasn't looking for a free ride—she could take care of herself. But, Jeremy insisted, he would help her out, then or whenever she needed money. It was the least he could do for her, since she was not taking 50 percent of his income and property.
So, Jeremy gave her $10,000 before they got divorced, because Abigail said that would be all she would need to finish getting her master's degree and start teaching. And that was it. For the next 10 years after getting her degree, Abigail worked as a teacher. She liked her job and the people she worked with. Unfortunately, a tornado wiped out the entire school and half the town. Many teachers got laid off. Abigail spent a month visiting family and friends, but then had to find a new job.
She decided to change careers. To do so, she needed to go back to school for two years. Her tuition and living expenses would cost her $25,000. She called Jeremy. She and Jeremy had remained friendly over the years.
Jeremy, I need a big favor," she said over the phone.
Sure, Abi, you name it," Jeremy replied agreeably. Jeremy had a great job and a good life. She told him that she had been laid off, and she needed $25,000 for a degree and a new career. The friendliness left Jeremy's voice. She reminded him of his promise ten years ago to help her out whenever she needed it.
Yeah, Abi, but that was ten years ago. That's history now, right? Have you tried your local bank?
Senator Earl Adams recently admitted that he had been having sex with prostitutes. He claimed, however, that he actually wasn't having sex with them; he was just talking to them. But he did admit that he wore diapers during "some" of those conversations. When the senator got wind that a newspaper was going to reveal his shortcomings, he called a news conference. Apparently, he figured that by "confessing" instead of "getting caught," he would be forgiven faster. The senator announced that God would forgive him because He understands that senators need to relieve their stress somehow.
In a 1998 magazine interview, his wife said that Adams was as faithful as a puppy dog. She added, however, that if she ever did catch him cheating, she would divorce him. In 1999, Adams told CNN that President Clinton should resign because of his affair with Monica—he was "unfit" to remain in public office after his "shameful behavior.
Senator Adams, however, said he would remain in office. To resign would be to let down the people who had voted for him. His wife announced that she loved him and would stand by her man.
The US Senate contains 100 of the most powerful men in the United States. They are elected because of their integrity, intelligence, and leadership. Yet here is a senator who regularly cheats on his wife, who doesn't realize that an escort service keeps phone records, and who dresses in baby clothes. The man is a joke, but he will have the last laugh—when the good people of California reelect him!
Wally asked Anita how her daughter Heather was doing. Heather had always been a dutiful, loving daughter. She got married about 10 years ago, at the age of 23. It was the first marriage for her and her husband Ben. They had two kids. Everything seemed fine, even though Heather was the only one working. Ben had gotten laid off two years ago. He was still looking for work.
They were fortunate because Heather's grandma loved her to death. She had bought a house for Heather as a wedding gift, so Ben and Heather had no mortgage to pay. Not one penny. Grandma asked only that Heather call her twice a month. Recently, grandma had asked Anita what was wrong with Heather. Anita said she didn't understand—nothing was wrong. "Then why hasn't she called?" grandma asked. Anita said she would talk to Heather.
She left several messages, but Heather didn't call back. Anita drove over to the house. Ben was home, taking care of the kids.
Where's Heather?" Anita asked.
She went to the beach," Ben told her.
Without you and the kids?" Ben was reluctant to talk, but he did. Heather had started smoking again. Even worse, she had found a boyfriend. She had met this guy at work, and things got out of hand. Ben didn't know what to do. If he filed for divorce, he might be out on the street with two kids to support. If he didn't get a divorce, he had to live with the humiliation of being supported by a wife who was cheating on him.
Jenny was hot for Roger. They were both nurses, and they were both married—to someone else. Jenny knew that the feeling was mutual; Roger had that sparkle in his eye whenever he saw her. He often grabbed Jenny's hand and pulled her aside to talk to her privately about something that was quite unimportant. They frequently gave each other shoulder massages. It was only a matter of time, Jenny figured.
You'd better be careful," Carol said. "You don't think anyone has noticed the two of you? It's not like you're being very secretive." Carol was Jenny's coworker and best friend.
Well, we don't have anything to be secretive about," Jenny replied. "We're not doing anything, so we don't have to be careful about anything.
Who are you kidding? You've told me plenty of times how hot you think Roger is. What are you going to do when he gets tired of just flirting? You won't be able to resist. And then, the fun will be over sooner than you think. You could both end up getting divorced. And then, even if you married each other, how could you trust each other, since both of you would be cheaters?
Jenny told Carol that her imagination was out of control. Nothing was going to happen. Just then, Carol saw Roger walking toward them. He quietly came up behind Jenny and gave her a big, tight hug. Jenny grinned broadly. Carol rolled her eyes and walked away.
Bo Jackson was sitting in his favorite chair, drinking a beer, and watching a football game. At halftime, a car commercial featured a few hundred helium balloons floating skyward. I could do that, Bo thought. I could strap a bunch of balloons to my lawn chair and float up into the sky.
He told his wife. She asked him how many beers he'd had. He told her that he wasn't joking. What was the problem, he asked. Blow up a bunch of balloons, tie them to his chair, and away he goes. How was he going to steer, she asked. The wind would steer him, he said. How would he know where he was going to land? When he saw a nice landing spot, he'd just shoot holes in the balloons with his BB pistol, he said. He told her not to be so negative.
He went online and found out what wind patterns were in Oregon that time of the year. He called up his friend Duke, who was a pilot. In a few days, Bo had it all figured out. He called up a balloon store and ordered 50 balloons and a few helium tanks to fill up the balloons. His 6-year-old son asked if he could go with him. His wife promised to divorce him if he actually went through with this.
Ida came to America four years ago. Her main reason for coming was to give her 13-year-old son the best education possible. But also, she did not want Perry to meet the wrong kind of people and end up using drugs or joining a gang, or both.
Divorced shortly after Perry's birth, Ida had been a successful entrepreneur in her home country. She had saved a lot of money for their new life in America. Or so she had thought. But two failed business ventures in America had been costly. Had either succeeded, she would have been well off. The second failure was especially painful, because she had known it would leave her with little money.
Her poor English was her downfall. American business people were not patient; they did not want to waste their time trying to figure out what she was trying to say. Equally bad, she couldn't understand their rapid English. She had sadly underestimated how long it would take her to become proficient in English.
Now she was almost broke. Her boyfriend didn't make enough money to support Ida and Perry. She had to go to work. A business executive in her homeland, Ida would try to find work as a waitress in America. "You'll be lucky to make $8 an hour," her boyfriend Tony groused. "What kind of an income is that?
Yes, but you're forgetting about the tips. That's where the big money is," she said, laughing. "I'm not upset about working as a waitress. Any work is honorable. I took my chances, and they didn't pan out. Now I have to go to work to pay the bills.
Well, I don't like it," Tony said.
Wednesday night, Howard asked Glenn if he wanted to go fishing and girl-watching that weekend at Santa Fe Lake. "We'll leave Friday morning and return late Sunday night," he said. Glenn said he had to clean out his garage, so Howard went by himself.
Howard had also planned to lie around the hotel pool, soak up the sun, read a good book, and look at pretty women in their bathing suits. His own apartment didn't have a pool, so whenever he traveled, he always liked to stay at a place with a pool. But when he arrived at the hotel about noon, he saw that there were no pretty girls at the pool. There were no girls at all. There was nobody at the pool, because the pool was empty. It was being repaired all that week. The staff had "forgotten" to tell Howard this little detail.
Howard called Glenn late Friday night.
How was the fishing?" Glenn asked.
Didn't see any, didn't catch any," replied Howard.
Well, did you catch any women?
No. And don't even ask how many beauties I saw at the pool. I didn't go to any bars. But I did go to a Mongolian all-you-can-eat place and had a good dinner. I think one of the waitresses liked me. She asked me if I wanted extra ketchup.
Well, I hope you said yes. Any time a woman asks you if you want extra anything, that's female code. It means they like you.
I said no. There was a whole bottle right in front of me.
Well, you blew it. I don't know when you're going to learn to pick up on those signals. Next time I'll go with you and show you all the tricks.
If you knew all the tricks, you wouldn't be divorced three times.
A woman decorating her Christmas tree Monday was shot in her left arm when a bullet went through her living room window. Police said the incident occurred about 5:00 p.m. A .22 caliber shell casing was found across the street from the victim's home. Police did not find a weapon in the vicinity.
Mrs. Wilma Johnson was treated at a local hospital and allowed to go home. A hospital spokesman said she should recover nicely. She is in her late 50s, divorced, and living with Bob, the older of her two adult sons. Bob wasn't home at the time of the shooting.
Police will patrol the area more frequently as a result of this shooting. They don't know if the shooting was intentional or accidental. They are asking the public to help if they know anything. They interviewed the neighbors. One neighbor said he heard a gunshot, but in this neighborhood, he said, he was used to hearing gunshots.
The police also questioned Mrs. Johnson's ex-husband, Joe, who lives three blocks away. Joe said if he was going to shoot at his ex-wife, he'd make sure he shot her in her butt. "That's a target you could hit from a mile away," he laughed. Despite such remarks, the police spokesperson said Joe is not a suspect at this time.
Lois Castle, 58, committed suicide at home with a revolver yesterday. Two police officers heard a single gunshot as they were about to knock on her front door. They were at her house to arrest her for the 1970 murder of her young stepdaughter. Castle apparently realized that she was going to be arrested. Only a month earlier she had been interviewed by detectives about Dorothy's death 35 years ago.
In 1970, Castle told police that the girl had fallen out of a tree she was climbing and hit her head on a rock. But Dorothy's natural father, Dwayne, who was married to Castle at the time, thought his wife was lying. "She said she would hurt me if I bother her again," Dorothy had told her father earlier.
Your little girl is making up stories about me. I try to love her, but she rejects me," Castle told Dwayne.
An autopsy was inconclusive, and the death was ruled accidental. Dwayne divorced Castle shortly thereafter.
But the case was reopened recently when a playmate of Dorothy's came forward. Beverly Lisenby, also seven at that time, said she was about to knock on the door of Dorothy's house that fateful day. But instead of knocking, she listened quietly as she heard Dorothy screaming for help and Castle telling her to shut up. Beverly listened until it was silent inside, then ran back home. She was so shaken by the event that she had told no one in all these years.
The coroner dug up Dorothy's body and did a second autopsy. Using new crime-solving tools, he determined that Dorothy had been struck in the skull several times by a rock the size of a baseball.
The police are now trying to locate Dwayne to tell him the good news.
Jodie liked her apartment. She had a beautiful view to the south. A nearby tree was home to two squirrels. She liked to watch them. So did her cat. Mrs. Neely owned the apartment building. She was an old lady who spoke with a thick Norwegian accent.
Jodie and Mrs. Neely got along very well. Mrs. Neely said that Jodie reminded her of her daughter, who had died in a car crash years ago. Mrs. Neely was a widow. She kept busy by volunteering at the local library and senior center. An excellent baker, she often brought bread and pastries to Jodie.
You're trying to make me fat," laughed Jodie one day. "How will I ever find a boyfriend?
I still can't believe that Prince Charming hasn't found you," said Mrs. Neely. "Maybe you're just too pretty and too smart for the young men around here.
Jodie was going to graduate school at night. She had a day job as a teacher's assistant in the fourth grade. She loved teaching kids. The principal had already told her that a full-time teaching job was hers after she got her master's degree.
Aren't there any nice boys in your graduate classes, Jodie?" Mrs. Neely asked.
There are some," said Jodie. "But they're either married, or have a girlfriend, or are too focused on getting their degree. And don't forget, I have to concentrate on graduating, so I really shouldn't be dating anyway.
Well, that's just a shame," said Mrs. Neely. "You're too pretty to be alone. But don't worry. You keep doing your homework, and I'll be on the lookout for you." She winked at Jodie. Jodie smiled. She loved Mrs. Neely.
Mrs. Neely died not long after that conversation. She had a stroke while mixing some batter for cookies. An ambulance took her to the hospital, where she died a day later.
Her son Ned was Mrs. Neely's sole heir. Ned had been married and divorced three times. None of his wives had anything nice to say about him. Ned didn't care. He was looking for Wife Number Four.
Ned introduced himself to Jodie right after Mrs. Neely's funeral on Saturday. He knew about Jodie because Mrs. Neely had told him about her. Ned said he was afraid that he might have to double her rent. Also, no pets were allowed in the building. "You'll have to take your cat to the pound," he said.
In that case," she said, "I'm moving out.
I was joking, of course. You're very pretty," said Ned.
Thank you," said Jodie.
Come to dinner with me at Chez Maison tonight and we can discuss your apartment and your cat." Ned had an air of confidence that Jodie found mildly attractive.
That might be nice," she found herself saying. Ned told her he would pick her up at 8 and left. Jodie wondered if she was doing the right thing. She didn't even know this guy. Oh well, she thought, it would be nice to eat at a fancy restaurant for a change.
She picked up some cat food on her way home.
It was 10 p.m. Fritz said good night to his wife. She was watching TV. He went to bed. Tomorrow was a big day. It was his last day of work. Thirty years with the federal government. Thirty years of flying out of town for weeks on end. Thirty years of interviews, meetings, and heavy briefcases. Tomorrow it would all be over. Not that he didn't like it. He had enjoyed his career.
Fritz felt blessed. His father had had a tough life as an unskilled laborer. Whenever Fritz was a bit discouraged or upset, he thought about his overworked and underpaid father. He thanked God for his own good life, and for the fact that he had been able to make his dad's last years comfortable.
His two children were married and had their own careers. His wife Paige kept busy with, among other things, her bridge club. She had tried to get him interested in bridge, but without success. Fritz was content with his own Friday night poker group.
Friday morning, he went to work for the very last time. Those who knew him well would miss him. Fritz was a genuinely nice guy. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. Some people might have thought he was a little dull, but he was intelligent, a hard worker, and a team player. He had taken only three weeks of sick leave in 30 years.
A small group took him out to lunch. When he returned from lunch, the whole office gathered around for cake, ice cream, a farewell card, and a few short speeches. They presented him with various going-away gifts, including a big, paperback US atlas. It listed all the motels, campgrounds, national parks, tourist spots, and other information to help guide a leisurely traveler throughout the good old USA. He had told his friends that he and Paige were going to spend a couple of years visiting all the places that he never had gotten to explore while there on business. As a final gift, his supervisor told him to take the rest of the day off.
Paige's car wasn't in the driveway when he got home. She was probably shopping for some traveling clothes. Maybe she was out arranging a dinner at a restaurant that evening for just the two of them. That would be nice.
But something was wrong. When he hung up his jacket, he saw that the bedroom closet was half empty. Paige's clothes were gone. Her shoes were not on the closet floor. Confused, he looked around the bedroom.
He saw an envelope on the lamp stand. Inside it were two pieces of paper. One notified him of a divorce proceeding. The other was a hand-written note from Paige. "I'm so sorry," it began. She said that her lawyer had told her to wait until today. If she had sought divorce a year earlier, like her boyfriend had suggested, she would not have been able to qualify for 50 percent of Fritz's pension. She hoped that he would find it in his heart to forgive her. She felt terrible about this, she wrote, because "you've been so good to me. But I can't ignore my own heart.
Fritz sat immobile on the edge of the bed. Her note was in his hand; her words were burning in his brain.
Maybe an hour later, the phone rang. He picked it up on the fifth ring. It was Bob, wondering if Fritz was going to play poker later that night.