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Authors: J.J. Murray

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BOOK: No Ordinary Love
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“Now let’s meet our twenty-four contestants. . . .”

Where did they
these women? They look like mannequins. You’re too tall for those stilettos, honey. You look like a white stork. And where are your clothes, Miss Thing? It’s Colorado in late December, girl. Wear some fur or something. What’s wrong with the picture? Is the camera jiggling? No, it’s the blonde. She’d give Jell-O a run for its money. The one on the end is already paid. Can you wear any more bling, woman? Like they say, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer . . . while secretly wanting to be rich.

“Now it’s time to meet our man of the hour,” the host said. “Lucky ladies, please give a warm welcome to Mr. Vincent St. John.”

How can they give him a warm welcome? It’s freezing. Are those snowflakes hitting the water? I’d be wearing long johns or leggings at least.

An ancient matronly nurse with bluish hair rolled an equally ancient long-haired, scraggly-bearded man in a wheelchair out to the pool. He wore a fluffy burgundy robe and bright orange house slippers, a thick brown fur blanket covering his legs.

Half of the women immediately pressed their “escape” buttons and clicked their heels around him and into the mansion. One woman shouted, “Oh,
no!” Another shouted, “This is some serious [expletive]! I quit my job for this [expletive]!”

Trina laughed so hard she spilled some of her soup.
Wow! Really? Is this really happening? What did these women expect? It takes time to make money. Mr. St. John really does need a haircut, though. Curly hair down to his shoulders, and that beard looks like a bird’s nest.

Mr. St. John’s head whipped back and forth. “What is happening? Where are they going?”

shivering. What a creepy voice, like that Vincent Price guy from
. He sounds British.

“They have opted out of the show, Mr. St. John,” the host said.

“Already?” Mr. St. John cried. “I haven’t even spoken a word.” He looked up at his nurse, who wore a starched white uniform. “They only saw me with their eyes.”

Poor man, but what did he expect? Those women are surface-dwellers who don’t know how to dress for the mountains of Colorado. Maybe they were getting frostbite or hypothermia. They obviously had brain lock. Look at his mansion, you fools! That could be
house one day!

“It’s time for your medication,” the nurse said.

“Not now, woman,” Mr. St. John said.

“You pay me to take care of you,” the nurse said, wheeling him around. “It is
for your

“Oh, all right.”

The camera panned to catch the reactions of the remaining twelve women as the nurse wheeled Mr. St. John back into the mansion. Two more women left, one saying, “No way am I playing nursemaid to that old fart!”

You’d think that these women would
a dying, unhealthy man like that. He dies, and they get his fortune. Wow, that woman is seriously shivering—no, it’s the blonde jiggling again. She needs a better bra.
She looked closely at the screen.
She needs to
a bra. She couldn’t have been born with those.

The nurse returned Mr. St. John to the pool. “There were twelve here when I went to take my vitamins,” he said.

Ha! He fooled them. He only had to take some vitamins. Hmm. Maybe that was his purpose. He’s weeding them out without actually weeding them out. At the rate they’re escaping, this show may end tonight and he’ll have his future bride. Crazy! Mr. St. John is indeed the man of the
. Not counting commercials, he could have his wife in forty-four minutes. That has to be a television record.

“Hello, ladies,” Mr. St. John said. “Thank you for being here.”

The camera moved from Mr. St. John’s smiling face to the host. “We’ll be right back with more of
Rich Man, Lucky Lady.

During the commercial break, Trina found the Web site for a show called
Second Chances,
described as “a reality TV show where a woman scorned gets a second chance at love with celebrities who are in desperate need of second chances.”

is the show for me. I’ve been scorned, and I’m desperate.

She clicked the APPLY button, found that the deadline was in a week, and began filling out the application.

Name. Address. Telephone number. Birth date. Social Security Number. This is like applying for a job. Oh, the show’s back on....

“Before I get to know you better,” Mr. St. John said. “I have a confession to make.” He pointed behind him. “This is not my mansion. The network thought this would be a majestic, romantic backdrop for this show.”

Three more women left in a huff, one saying “I knew this was a scam!” Another woman said directly to the camera: “That old geezer is probably flat-ass broke!”

Mr. St. John watched them go. Once a large glass door to the mansion shut, he turned and laughed. “Forgive me, ladies. I had to get rid of the, shall we say,
gold diggers.”

“Ha!” Trina shouted. “That was sweet!”
I’ll bet Mr. St. John is in disguise. That was a young man’s laugh. I’ll even bet he’s quite a handsome man under all that hair. That man is crazy like a fox. Only seven left.

“I’ll let you lucky seven in on a little secret,” Mr. St. John said. “My mansion is
bigger than this little cabin. I live in a

He’s not an old, decrepit, sickly millionaire at all. This man knows what he’s doing. He wouldn’t have millions if he was a moron. And he definitely knows American women. I wonder why he wants one. At any rate, he’s cutting to the chase. He’s cutting through the usual reality-TV nonsense and melodrama and getting to the good stuff.

“No one else is leaving?” Mr. St. John smiled. “Good.”

The nurse handed him some folders.

“I took the liberty of doing a little research on each of you, using a very discreet, very thorough group of private investigators,” Mr. St. John said. “I am a busy man, and as you can see, I am running out of time. Since it’s only you seven, let’s jump ahead to a little polygraph test. Any objections?”

Straight to the truth. That’s the way to do it. If I were ever on a show like this, I’d do a little research, too. Foolish me. As if they’d ever want me to be on a show like this. A girl can dream, can’t she? That’s all I have now anyway. Dreams.

She looked into her soup bowl.

Dreams, cold beef stew, and soggy cheddar Goldfish.


nd now the fun begins!
Trina thought.
Polygraph tests aren’t admissible in court, but we believe in them on TV shows like this. How gullible are we?

After technicians seated the first woman, a blonde with dark roots and even darker eyebrows, and attached wires to her fingers, the host said, “Mr. St. John will be questioning our lucky ladies while only Mr. St. John and you at home will know if they are telling the truth or not.”

“May I begin?” Mr. St. John asked.

The technicians nodded.

Mr. St. John rolled up to the blonde and smiled.

I knew he didn’t need that nurse. She’s only a prop. Mr. St. John has some seriously strong-looking forearms.

“You’re Richard P. Johnson of Yonkers, New York,” Mr. St. John said.

“What?” the woman squealed. “I’m Tammy McGhee from Calumet City, Illinois.”

“LIE!” flashed several times onto the screen in big bold white letters.

“Ha!” Trina shouted. “You are so busted.”

“The Social Security number you provided on your application matches up to a Richard P. Johnson of Yonkers, New York,” Mr. St. John said.

“There must be some mistake,” Tammy said. “I don’t look like a Richard, do I?”

“No, you most certainly do not,” Mr. St. John said.

“Thank you, Mr. St. John,” Tammy gushed.

Oh, I hate it when they gush! She was caught in a lie, and she’s trying to gush her way out of it.

Mr. St. John turned to the nurse. “Give me a pen.”

The nurse stepped closer and handed him a gold pen.

“I’ll make the correction, Miss McGhee,” Mr. St. John said.

“I might have messed up a number,” Tammy said.


“It’s okay,” Mr. St. John said. “These mistakes happen. I still found out a great deal about you. My investigators use facial recognition software, Miss McGhee. It is
amazing technology. I watched your face match so many pictures.”

Look at her! She knows what’s coming. Vincent St. John is giving her a moment to escape, and she’s not taking it. What a fool! Press your button, sweetheart.

“These pictures are in color
in black and white,” Mr. St. John said. “Hundreds of them. And do you know where we found most of these pictures?”

“On Facebook?” Tammy asked.

“Strangely, you had
pictures at all on Facebook,” Mr. St. John said. “Not even one selfie. We found these pictures mostly in law enforcement databases.”

Look at her jaw dropping into her cleavage! It’s a good thing she has an ample set of breasts or her jaw might have fallen through her chair, hit the ground, and rolled into the pool!

“You have a number of outstanding warrants, Miss McGhee,” Mr. St. John said. He motioned to two men.

And those men have badges! Oh my goodness! Tammy is about to be arrested on live TV! This
to be a television first!

“These are federal marshals, Miss McGhee,” Mr. St. John said.

“Why are they here?” Tammy asked.

She can’t be that stupid.

“They are here to collect you and bring you to justice,” Mr. St. John said.

The marshals moved around behind her, pulled her to her feet, and handcuffed her.

“There must be some mistake!” Tammy cried.

Yeah, she’s that stupid.

“There is no mistake,” Mr. St. John said. “They’re going to charge you with identity theft, Miss McGhee, if that’s even your real name. But before you go, I need to tell you something. I would never marry a woman who has allegedly committed fifteen felonies by stealing the identities of others. Nor would I ever marry a woman who isn’t content to be herself. Good-bye.” He handed the file to the nurse as the marshals hauled Tammy away.

He received another file from the nurse. “Tonya Thomas. You’re next.”

Technicians attached wires to an overly made-up brunette, her hair immobile, her tan a deep, dark brown. “Hello,” Tonya said.

“Hello,” Mr. St. John said. “Do you want children, Miss Thomas?”

“Oh yes,” Tonya said. “I’ve always wanted to have a little girl.”


Mr. St. John flipped a page in the file. “It seems you already have children. Two daughters.”

“But I don’t!” Tonya cried.


“Wench, I want just one, and you deny having two!” Trina shouted. “Trifling, just trifling.”

Mr. St. John looked at yet another page. “No. It’s right here. It seems you gave them up for adoption. You used an adoption agency twice to ‘sell’ your children.”

“I most certainly did not!”


“Miss Thomas,” Mr. St. John said, “we have the proof right here.”

There is so much paint on her eyes, and now she’s trying to cry it all off. If it were lead-based paint, she’d have more brain damage than she already has. Why do women do that to themselves anyway? Don’t most men want to see a woman’s eyes and not the tin roof over them?

“All right,” Tonya said. “I had two children, but I was very young.”


“How old were you?” Mr. St. John asked.

“I was . . . eighteen.”


“I was desperate.”


“I couldn’t support them.”


“Didn’t you make one hundred thousand dollars from selling your children?” Mr. St. John asked.

“I didn’t sell them for a hundred thousand dollars.”


She probably bought a tanning bed with the money. I’ll bet she sleeps in it every night. She looks like a human football, and her teeth are the laces.

“Please relax, Miss Thomas,” Mr. St. John said. “This is actually your lucky day. A delightful, enchanting young lady saw your picture online at this show’s Web site. She saw a strong resemblance between her and you, so she contacted the show’s producer. The producer mentioned this to me, and—”

“Those records are supposed to be sealed!” Tonya cried.

“Well, the young lady is twenty-one now and wanted to meet her birth mother,” Mr. St. John said. “I didn’t have the heart to deny her.” He looked back at the file. “You wrote in your application that you’re twenty-five. That would make you a medical miracle, Miss Thomas. Did you really have a child when you were four years old?”

“It must be a misprint,” Tonya said.


misprinted it,” Mr. St. John said. “This young lady wants to meet you. Tonight.”

A young woman walked out of the mansion. Though she didn’t have a tan, her resemblance to Tonya was unmistakable.

“Mama?” she said. “Mama, is that really you?” She ran to embrace Tonya from behind. “I am so glad I finally found you!”

“Oh . . . my . . . God,” Tonya whispered.

“Miss Thomas,” Mr. St. John said, “I would never consider a woman who didn’t want her own children, denied having children, and lied about her age. You two have a lot to catch up on. Good-bye, Miss Thomas.”

That poor child! What this must be like for her. The mother who didn’t want me is a football . . .


rina thought that
Rich Man, Lucky Lady
was like the worst of
Maury, Montel,
Jerry Springer
all on one show.
The ratings must be off the charts.

BOOK: No Ordinary Love
8.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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