With that, thank you for reading and your comments are most welcome.)
Good Times, Chapter 1
It's late Saturday morning in the Evans apartment, and Florida, Thelma and Michael are moving quietly about, doing household chores. JJ is finishing up his latest painting, and calls out loudly, "Hey, Maw! Come look at this, it's sure to delight, the newest painting from Kid Dyn-O-Mite!" He claps his hands, big grin in place...
"SSSSSH!" Michael and Thelma admonish in stereo. "Quiet, Junior!" Florida says, barely above a whisper. "Oops, I forgot. Daddy's sleepin' it off," JJ says, with a sheepish look. Florida comes over to admire the painting, and James exits their bedroom, groaning.
Florida has a bit of a smirk on her face, but she attempts to mask it with concern. "Are you still under the weather, honey?" James squints, looking at her. "I feel more like I got caught under a bus, baby." He seats slowly and painfully at the kitchen table, obviously hung over.
"Daddy, did you get drunk last night?" Michael asks, popping up from behind the sofa..he'd been cleaning underneath it with a hand broom and dustpan. Thelma and Florida shoot Michael a look of death...James grunts, a hard look at his son.
"I didn't get drunk. I got...a little tipsy," James explains. "And it was cheap booze, so it makes you FEEL drunk the next day. The last thing I need is the militant midget preachin' to me. I ain't going to apologize for going to Otto's bachelor party. He's the last of my friends to tie the knot."
"Do you want something to eat, honey? You missed breakfast, but I can start on lunch," Florida offers, and James politely declines. "I don't blame you, James," she says, that look of self-righteousness creeping into her eyes and tone again.."You still look a little green around the gills."
James grunts again, and goes into the bedroom to get out of his bathrobe and dressed for the day. He has strange, blurry memories of the night before. Something about doing shots of whiskey with Otto and the gang, and something about the bachelor party stripper. The alcohol dulled his senses but didn't obliterate the truth: In a moment of not thinking, being caught up in the moment, in a testosterone-laden party, James succumbed to temptation with the stripper, in the back room of the bar. She was attracted to his broad shoulders, and he...well, he'd never fully understand his motivations. Sure, he felt a sexual pull toward her. But he loved his wife and family. If not for the drink, this never would have happened.
He feels guilty, but tries to push it from his mind. He'd never strayed before last night. "Please, Lord," he whispers, looking at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, "I'd never mean to hurt Florida. I'll never do it again," he vows.
However, no amount of prayer would keep the truth from coming out. That night would come back to haunt him in about a year, when the stripper caught up with him, to show him his new infant daughter, Lisa...
To be continued.