Divide by Four
“Divide by Four?” Detective Morales looked up from his notes.
“Yeah, that’s our inside joke about Mary Lou and her stories,” Reva said. “I guess it’s not funny now.”
“I don’t get it,” Morales said, his pen still.
“Mary Lou had a gift for hyperbole,” Reva explained. “No matter what she told you, you couldn’t believe half of it, hell, barely a quarter of it. She’d hype up some party or invite us on a trip and make it sound 80 times better than it was.” Reva paused as Morales eyed her without blinking. She continued. “So, whenever she told stories, we’d wink at each other and say, ‘divide by four.’” Reva looked at the unblinking detective and then to the others who remained silent.
Kim piped up. “It was on and on about her sex life, how great it was. You’d be in a middle of a conversation about climate change –”
“—or DCF regulations –”
“— and she’d manage to toss in some outrageous detail.”
The circle of friends remained quiet, waiting for the detective’s next question. He blinked. Twice.
Nora chimed in. “So, she’s going on about how rambunctious the sex is with this new squeeze so don’t disturb her no matter what we hear because,” Nora air quoted, “it’s that thing they do.”
Morales inhaled, his chest muscles straining the closed button on his jacket. “So,” he jotted something in his notepad, “why were you all here the weekend she was planning loud sex?”
Everyone looked at Reva who wondered how she’d become the spokesperson. She stared down the group of women. And with too much neck roll she said, “Not the original plan.”
◊ ◊ ◊
The snippet above is a plucked from my “experimental” writing files. It’s an idea for a novel I had 20 years ago. Who knows if I’ll develop it further (because I have three million others vying for my affection) but the morsel tickles me.
I did write and publish a novel in 2015. It’s called Hush Life.