An Uncomfortable Dinner Table Conversation

The flap in the press about Alexis Wright the KZQ (Kennebunk Zumba Queen) the notorious zumba instructor and prostitute whose 150 Johns are running scared now that their names are being released, reminds me of a joke.

There’s an elderly couple sitting down to dinner in their Miami high-rise. The husband seems a bit down, and when his wife inquires, he confesses that business isn’t so good lately, and he’s worried about their having enough money to see them through their old age. “We’re going to be fine,” the wife says, and leads him to the window. “See that building over there?” He nods. “Well, we own it. And see that shopping mall over there? We own that, too. Why, we even own this building we’re living in.”

“What do you mean?” the husband inquires. His wife smiles. “From the beginning of our marriage,” she says, “every we time we made love, I put $10 in the cookie jar. When enough had built up, I invested it in property. Well, we’ve been married fifty years, and this is the result.”

“Amazing,” her husband replies, “Miriam, I should have given you all my business.”

As police begin releasing the names of the KZQ’s customers, people are discussing which prominent men are on the list, and whether prostitution should be legal. Some of her clients have gone to court to block release of their names. A client identified as John Doe 1 argued to the court:

“I am a disabled person,” he said in the paperwork. “I am a productive member of society, I have children, and my family and reputation will be irreparably harmed if my name is revealed pursuant to the so-called ‘list.’”

When I read that, I just hope he’s not on disability, taking money from our pockets just like the KZQ.

Now that the first batch of names have been released, the light-hearted part of me is imagining a range of responses.

I’m imagining the husband who comes home to an entire suite of new living room furniture. “What’s this?” he says. His wife just smiles demurely, waggles her hips in a few rumba moves, and goes back to cooking dinner. Or the wife who has simply left cruise tickets for one on the dining room table. The cruise she’s been dreaming of for years, but there hasn’t been enough money. If there’s money enough for Alexis, there’s money enough for this.

Or the husband who has the experience one of my neighbors did about twenty years ago. His imported German wife had evidently had enough of his controlling nature. He came home to find, as he drove into the neighborhood, his entire wardrobe spread out on bushes and trees, his shoes dangling from branches, not even his socks and his underwear were spared. And his wife had left the country.

I’m imagining the resourceful wife who has immediately ordered up a “Square” and enabled herself to do charges on her cell phone. Now foreplay isn’t cuddling or kisses, it’s the swiping of a credit card into her “mad money” account.

I imagine a cabal of 150 wives and girlfriends adopting Aristophanes’ approach, in Lysistrata, in which the women get together and withhold sex from the men. They wanted the men to stop a war. These women may want a whole raft of things. But it’s likely there’s one thing most of them would like stopped. Or maybe not?

Yes, I’m having fun with this.

As the next 130 names come out, the story may get old. For now, as with so many of the criminal cases that make riveting news, the interest for writers is always imagining the story behind the story.

We’ve often written here about imagination. About how the truth is stranger than fiction and about how we draw inspiration for our stories from events in the real world. A revelation like this is like a stone thrown into a still pond. It will cause ripples that will spread far. Once it’s thrown, the stone, and its effects, cannot be called back. Right now, I’m imagining 150 conversations about bad behavior, and the ways that people will deal with it.

I’m imagining conversations. Scenes. Events. Conflict and confrontation.  I’m imagining some of the creative approaches to discussing infidelity. To handling an interpersonal crisis. The shock of discovering a trusted person is not who he seems. That one has trusted a liar. The shift in world view that comes with such damaging revelations. And I’m imagining a range of responses.

All this is the stuff of a good novel. I write crime stories; my books are about people who break the social compact and allow themselves to commit bad acts. I write about how people get at the truth, why people lie, how they react when they’re caught in lies. I write about the lies that people tell themselves, and the lies they tell to others. I write about imperfect characters. Human characters. The way that people fool themselves, as well as others. About redemption, and resolution, and healing, as well as about justice.

So even though, when my mother told me to mind my own business, she meant I should ignore all of this, as a crime writer, I can’t.

And for those of you whose mothers were more liberal, here’s a rap song about Alexis:

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4 Responses to An Uncomfortable Dinner Table Conversation

  1. Deanna says:

    It’s about time that the female didn’t take all the punishment. Now that men are starting to see some maybe it will be legal and regulated!

  2. Joyce Lovelace says:

    Upon hearing this news story, I thought about bringing back the stocks and public humiliation in the town square, but it wouldn’t be their hands and head clamped by wood and steel. Perhaps a mandatory examination for testicular cancer with a device similar to those used for mammograms
    The stories of revengeful shopping are cute but only somewhat. More truth is found in the lines; “The shock of discovering a trusted person is not who he seems. That one has trusted a liar.
    That pain and shock go on for years, and eats away at the what you thought was the reality of an entire life.
    Perhaps it would be well to contemplate what it feels like to be Mrs. Spitzer, or Clinton or Edwards. Does the ‘hiking the Appalachian Trail’ joke go as well if you look at it from the wive’s or children’s or even the grandchildren’s perspective?

  3. Lea Wait says:

    One story that has received wide coverage in Maine is the group composed of parents, teachers and guidance counselors in the school in Kennebunk whohabe organized to try to prevent what they see as probable teasing and bullying of students whose relatives whose names will be on “the list.” Victims? Absolutely.

  4. MCWriTers says:

    Joyce…and Lea…the implications for family, and the lasting sense of pain and betrayal, are what I was working my way toward. It is this that’s the stuff of story–the kind of story that captures the emotion of people’s journeys, and not simply the action.

    I wonder if the reverberations will make others think twice before taking the chance on inflicting lasting pain on people they care about.


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