Read: He Said, She Said

30 August 2021 | James Porteous | Clipper Media

Meet the burlesque dancer in New Orleans, the young woman in the American South fearful of religious commitment, and the young people looking for love in all the wrong places at a speed dating session at the local high school.

And many other souls, both lost and found. 

He Said, She Said is an engaging, often humorous collection of tales of faith, love, life, and sometimes even redemption. 

In this new work of fiction, the author draws compelling inspiration from a lifetime of daily observations and also his experiences working as a freelance writer and as a visual researcher for two major television networks. 

James is also the author of two novels, The Fake Empire and The Last Record Album.

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Excerpt from He Said, She Said

(Bitter) Sweet Revenge

Amy (not her real name) is in the middle of a long, messy divorce and realized, too late, that she had given her husband the upper hand in every way imaginable. She has enlisted the help of Sticky, a common criminal, to help her break into her home in order to steal some of her treasures. 

* * *

Sticky: Do you have the entry code?

Amy: Of course I do. I live there.

Sticky: You used to live there.

Amy: Okay, I used to live there. 

Sticky: Just asking. We need to be in and out as quickly as possible. 

Amy: This isn’t an ‘Ocean’s’ movie, you know. 

Sticky: Exactly. We need to be in and out as quickly as possible. 

Amy: Slow down, for christ sake. We have all night.

Sticky: It is just that–

Amy: Say it again and I will jam my keys in your eyes. 

Sticky: Just sayin’.

Amy: Stop saying.

Sticky: Listen, everyone is nervous workin’ on their first job. You are in good hands. 

Fuck. This guy is a Class A idiot. She sure can pick them. Her girlfriend told her to go pro but she thought why spend all the money when she could get a car-and-drive nitwit for the cost of a bottle of Canadian Club. You get what you pay for. Isn’t that what they say? Fine. They are knee deep now. Get it done, pay him off and get the fuck out of the city. 

Amy: You are right. I could not do this without you.

Sticky: Exactly, babe. Chill. We’ll do this up proper and then head to Denny’s for an all-day. Right as rain.

Okay, so it will cost her a bottle of Canadian Club and an all-day breakfast. $20 max. She will get a fortune for the jewelry. She is not greedy but it is hers and she is not going to get anything else out of this fool-marriage. 

Sticky: You okay?

Amy: Yeah, sure. Just thinking about my new life. 

Sticky: You mean our new life, babe.

Amy: Yes, our new life, babe.

Sticky: So Mexico. I have been a few times. Well, the border cities. The brothels, mostly to be honest. I’ll warn you, babe, it is not the same as America. You know that but I’m just saying, I seen it first-hand and it is… different. And I don’t mean just the language. You speak Mexican?

Amy: No.

Sticky: No worries. We can find a translator. Pennies a day. Street grub, hotel room, we’re all set. Live on a few bucks a day if we are careful. 

Amy: Of course. 

Sticky: You have a fence lined up?

Amy: You mean the border wall?

Sticky: No silly. Someone to handle your jewelry. 

Amy: I thought I would just sell it.

Sticky: We could. If you don’t mind going to jail. Hubby will tell the cops he was robbed. No one will touch the goods. 

Fuck again. Idiot is probably right. She hadn’t thought of that. She just thought it belonged to her and she was going to take it back. Okay, okay. She will take enough cash to get out of the country. She can find a fence and sell the jewelry later. 

Amy: Well, I will leave that in your capable hands. 

Sticky: Right as rain.

Amy: Okay, next left and then the next left after that. 

Sticky: Wow. Some neighborhood, babe. You done well.

Amy: I almost did well. If not for the prenup. Fucker screwed me.

Sticky: Now you are gonna screw him. Circle of life. 

So they have gone from Ocean’s to The Lion King. Honestly, she should lock him in the fucking house, steal his car and head straight to Mexico. Brothels and all. 

Amy: Okay. Number 3065. Pull up a bit. Under that tree. Away from streetlight. 

Sticky: I know all that, babe. 

Amy: Okay. Let’s go. 

Sticky: Quick and dirty. What? I didn’t say what I said before, did I?

They quietly walk back down the street. There is one streetlight but they avoid that and the rest of the street is dark. It is 3:30 AM. No one is even awake. Not in this neighborhood. Beauty sleep and all that.

Amy: Okay. Here we go. 

Sticky: Punch in the code, babe. 

Amy: I will punch in the code. 

Sticky: Steady on. 

She punches in the code. 190087. Done. She hits enter. Red light. Fuck. Red light. What the fuck does that mean. 

Sticky: Wrong code, babe. Try again.

She tries again. 190087. Red light. Fuck fuck. One more try and it will lock up completely for 10 minutes. Screw it. 190087. It shuts down. Fuck. 

Sticky: Okay, we better roll, babe. Lockdown on this model goes straight to cops.

Amy: Can’t we just wait 10 minutes?

Sticky: If you want to go to jail we can. 

Amy: So that’s it?

Sticky: Looks like. Ex probably changed code.

Amy: Why didn’t you tell me that?

Sticky: He’s your squeeze, not mine. 

Amy: What does that mean?

Sticky: You know him. I figured you thought he was too stupid to change the code. 

Amy: Obviously he wasn’t. So what now?

Sticky: What now. Denny’s I guess. We need to get the fuck out of here.

Amy: I can’t just walk away. 

Sticky: Then don’t. But I’m getting fuck out of here. I’m not going back to jail. 

Amy: Okay. Let’s go.

Sticky: Good plan, babe. No use risking life and limb. Denny’s?

Amy: Sure. 

They walk quickly and quietly to the car. They need to get in and out as quickly as possible. 

Sticky: Man, I always get hungry after a job. Need some java, too. My nerves are all tingly. You ever get that? Like so bad I could not even wind my watch. If I had a watch. I used to. I miss them, really. That flipping over? I wore mine upside down, you know? That was my ‘thing.’ I started that. Did you know that? I did it by mistake one day and it stuck. And then other people started to do it. I should have done -what they call it?- copy something. Is that right? 

She’ll ditch this clown after breakfast and pay someone to break in. It will cut into her profits but better than 0% of nothing. Nothing is easy. Nothing is ever fucking easy anymore. 

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