Opening Sequence…

From their booth near the back of the room, Julia was staring blankly in the general direction of the stage. Musicians were scurrying about like ants, plugging in chords and fiddling with mic stands. In the periphery, hipster guys and pixie gals were pouring in from the street to squat at the choicest upfront tables. With a full tray and a busy expression, a server sporting Warby Parker frames and pink hair was ducking in and out of the frenetic malay. She was doing her best.

In the midst of a comically familiar third marriage—one which she had quietly enrolled in hospice—Julia found herself midway though a date with her first ex-husband. The irony of this moment was not lost on her. But the dinner she’d just eaten, the G&T she was rimming with her right index finger, and the show she was about to suffer, would be. She hadn’t been expecting to be wined or dined; she was desperate for what came afterward.

Who cheats on their future ex-husband with one from the ash bin? she wondered. She felt like a despicable unicorn—loathsome and unique. She downed her remaining drink, called for another, and perished the thought in lieu of hopes for sturdy, possibly violent, encore fuck. As she glanced over at Gary’s excited expression at the prospect of seeing his buddies take the stage, she knew she’d have to wait until the band finished their’s.

Excerpt from All the Men Stayed, the forthcoming serial from Blake Charles Donley

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