Divorce Hotel

Divorce Hotel new cover 1-15-15 copy

If love is hell, what does that make divorce?

That is one of life’s great questions for John Germaine, a divorced man who has bought an old bed and breakfast inn and turned it into a refuge for recently divorced men. But faced with a crushing, ongoing alimony payment to his ex-wife, Margaret, an aspiring, yet sadly uninspiring actress, John has reached the end of his tether. And it’s either get Margaret married or take drastic measures. With the assistance of his permanent residents and his new housekeeper, Emily, who just happens to be the ex-wife of Margaret’s new fiance, John puts a plan together to get Margaret off his back, if not out of his life permanently. With a houseful of residents that includes a hygiologist whose mission in life is to make America smell better, a mantologist with a Vegas lounge act, and a political consultant down on his luck, Divorce Hotel comes out swinging on page one and doesn’t let up.

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You could wait for the movie or until someone turns this into a television show, but why bother? Read it now. It’s razor-sharp satire and funny as hell. It might even make you think twice about divorce as an option.

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Chapter 1

John Germaine swayed in the early morning light doing his favorite thing; if doing nothing actually counted as doing something. Buried in his hammock, he closed his eyes hoping the unusual morning silence would coax him back to sleep. But the silence nagged and John turned suspicious. He held a hand up to shield the rising sun and opened one eye. He looked left, then right. Not a sound. He opened the other eye and glanced at his watch. One minute to seven. John closed his eyes hoping for ten more minutes. Thirty seconds later, all hell broke loose.

A leaf blower roared and dozens of birds screeched expletives causing a series of cat meows triggering barks and woofs and owners demands for quiet. A pulsating bass line punctuated by three horn blasts initiated a mother-daughter will not,will too goodbye, followed by a teenage screech and car door slam. The car burned rubber and thunk-a-thunked off. Gears grinded amid banging trash cans and John cursed for once again forgetting pickup day. The trash orchestra crescendo gave way to the next door neighbors.

“Because I didn’t,” a man screamed. “That’s why.”

His wife, also in fine voice, returned the volley. “And why not?”

“Because I was…busy!”

“Yeah, you were busy…at the bar.”

“Jesus Christ. I stopped for one drink after work.”

“You’ve never had one drink in your life. And you were probably with some skank.”

“You’re unbelievable…And she’s not a skank.”

“What? Who’s not a skank?”

“Uh, nothing. What was the question?”

“You son of a bitch.”

“Lower your voice. You’ll wake up the whole goddamned neighborhood.”

“Too late,” John said. He stretched and made a mental note to let his neighbor know he had a vacancy should it come to that. Another noise joined the party. John folded his arms behind his head and listened as the phone rang for a second time. Then a third.

“Answer the friggin thing.”

The ringing continued. John sat up in the hammock and was flipped face-down onto the overgrown grass. He made a mental note to call the gardener and huffed and puffed across the lawn at a pace barely above speed walking. He made another mental note about getting to the gym at least once this decade. He slid the glass door open, entered the kitchen and saw Randolph Tut, GQ resplendent, sitting four feet from the phone reading the newspaper and sipping coffee.

Randolph glanced up from the paper. “Thanks. That was really starting to get on my nerves.”

John glared at Randolph who had already slipped back behind his paper. He took a breath and picked up the phone. “Divorce Hotel.” John’s shook his head in recognition. “Yes, Margaret…yes, Margaret…yes, Margaret.” He held a hand over the mouthpiece and turned to Randolph. “How I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve said…” He removed his hand from the mouthpiece. “Yes, Margaret. I do want to thank you for remembering my birthday the other day. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the alimony check is due.” John poured himself a cup of coffee. “Of course I liked it. It’s every man’s dream to have an autographed picture of his ex-wife. What am I going to do with it? I’m having it made into a dartboard.” John jerked the phone away from his ear.

Randolph put the newspaper down and smiled.

“Margaret, do you remember when I said I do…? Well, I didn’t. Oh, yeah…well, to death do us part to you too.”

John slammed down the phone and sat down. Randolph continued to smile.

“What are you grinning at?”

“Remembering the Alamo?”

“I should have known better than to marry a woman with 666 tattooed on her butt. At least you had the sense to only date her.”

Randolph frowned. “Funny,” he said. “I remember the tattoo, but wasn’t it 999?” Randolph thought for a moment and then shook his head. “Sorry,” he said. “My mistake.”

“Maybe she should have had it underlined so you wouldn’t get confused.” John grabbed the sports section and scanned the first page.

“Hey, I’m sorry. Besides I didn’t even know you, she didn’t even know you when we dated.”

“Well, you were smart. I ended up married to her for seven years.”

Randolph shook his head. “I still don’t know how you managed to hang in there that long.”

“Well, my therapist told me that there’s a very thin line between love and hate. Unfortunately, Margaret was always daring me to step across it.

The phone rang. John shook his head. “I wonder who that could be.” He tossed the sports section on the table and grabbed the phone. “Divorce Hotel….Yes, I sent the check. I’ve told you that four times already. Jesus Christ, Margaret. It’s seven o’clock in the morning. When was the last time you saw a mailman that time of day? I don’t care if you live down the street or not, I mailed it…three days ago…The wrong address? I think I know the address, Margaret. I can see your fucking house from my front porch. Yeah, that’s right. It’s my fault. I must have put the wrong address on it. Let me just check and make sure I’ve got it right…Say, what’s the zip code for Planet Bitch?” John jerked the phone away from his ear. “You too…right back at ya…no, I won’t be sending them Federal Express…I’ll use Pony Express. John slammed the phone and slumped into a chair.

“Pony Express?” Randolph laughed. “Nice touch.”

“Eight grand a month. Some days I think it would be better if she just ran me over with her car and put me out of my misery.”

“That ain’t gonna happen,” Randolph began scanning the business section. “She’d lose her annuity.”

“I just wish she would get remarried.”

Randolph raised an eyebrow. “Glad to see you’re trying to remain optimistic. Completely insane, but still optimistic.”

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Divorce Hotel thumb cover 1-28-15 copy