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Excerpt for The Taming of the Pansy by , available in its entirety at Smashwords





The

Taming

of the

Pansy


Jeremiah

Donaldson

The Taming of the Pansy

Copyright 2018

by Jeremiah Donaldson


Smashwords edition

ISBN: 9780463712955


Cover art created from Unsplash.com pictures by:

Timothy Eberly

jeshoots


All rights reserved. Any resemblance to persons or places is purely a figment of distorted reality caused by the ratrace of consumerism that pervades the polluted air you breath.

Dedicated to these badass women:


Antoinette

Charlene

Joanne

Rose

Sonja

Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Epilogue


Prologue

“How is everyone tonight?” Jennifer rubbed her hands together, looking at those seated around the table.

The chandelier hanging in the center of the room had been dimmed enough for candles to highlight a bust of a suited man that thrust from the tabletop like a miniature Easter Island Moai. Bowls and platters of food were centered along the table with flowers. A bucket of ice with beer sat towards each end. The food had just been brought out and steam rolled into the air towards a gold and white banner that said 'Happy 3rd Anniversary' over their heads.

Ava flicked a pill into her mouth and washed it down with a glass of red wine. “Terrible. I have a headache and I'm dizzy.” Uncombed hair hung over one side of her face and a random ponytail stuck out from the opposite side of her head. Her eyes refused to work in tandem and focused like they were floating underwater.

Jennifer raised an eyebrow. “Could it be the alcohol mixed with whatever the doctor gave you this week?”

Ava topped off her wine and took a swig from a flask. “Maybe. But it's legal, so don't judge me.”

Everyone at the table stared at Ava, judging her, as she chased the liquor with more wine.

The seconds had almost turned into a minute of them watching her swig from each container when Zack jerked his beer high. “Woooo!” He drained it and slammed the bottle down, burping.

His girlfriend smacked him as everyone looked his way.

Zack shrugged. “Someone needed to liven things up.”

Ava's head rolled back and she began snoring with her eyes open.

“Or quiet things down.” Stacy piled fried fish and pasta salad onto her plate until Valerie kicked her leg under the table.

“Don't fuck up your diet.” Valerie pointed at Stacy's plate with her fork. “You have weigh-in next week for the fight. Five extra miles tomorrow on the treadmill to get it off.”

Stacy grinned. “Can't wait until your coaching contract is up and we can get in the ring again.”

Valerie laughed.

Jennifer looked to see if Ava had woken before speaking. “I think it ends about the same time Tim gets out of prison.”

“I bet he won't embezzle from the company again.” Mark opened an energy drink to chase shots.

Zack laughed. “Or he'll be better at it. Wasn't too smart putting that 'hooker' on the company's petty cash card. He didn't even get laid and the cops had the card information within an hour.”

Ava stirred.

Jennifer put a finger to her lips. “Change the subject before she hears us.”

Wesley ran into the room with his sport jacket flapping behind him. “Made it!” It was wrinkled from being worn and sat in all that day. His socks left sweaty prints on the tile.

Jennifer looked at her wristwatch. “You're three and a half minutes late.”

“Goddammit.”

Jennifer blew him a kiss. “Love you anyway.”

Wesley took his jacket off and hung it on the back of a chair before he sat down, pushing his sleeves up. He kissed Jennifer on the cheek before he took a beer from the closest bucket of ice. He popped it open, took a long drink, and started to fill his plate.

Ava opened her eyes and looked at Wesley like a living bobble-head. “Oh, YOU'RE here.” She flopped her head back without another word.

Zack laughed. “Good luck with that one.”

Mark's girlfriend looked around at everyone. “What the hell is her problem?”

Jennifer shrugged. “She blames me for taking the good one.”

Wesley nudged her in the ribs. “You did.”

Jennifer rolled her eyes and took a drink of wine, glancing around the table. “Don't listen to that bullshitter. This is what happened...”

Chapter 1

Ava pulled into the crowded Community College parking lot. It was the first day of the new school year and nearly all her classes had been switched to the specific ones for her future nursing degree. With luck, this year would go as quickly as the last one. There wasn't any reason to think otherwise with her full-time school and part-time work schedule. Especially, if she picked up a few more hours like she'd been thinking about.

She stopped several times to let pedestrians cross while she cruised for a spot, having to park on the outside of the lot, away from the main building. Normally, she would've parked there for the exercise, but she had to still double check her schedule before finding her first class.

Her phone beeped from a message coming through. Jennifer.

Where are you?

Ava looked around for a landmark.

I'm next to the second exit on the right side of the campus.

Be right there.

Ava shielded her phone from the morning sun and looked up her schedule. Algebra was first on the list. Her least favorite subject would be over and done with first thing every morning. Nor was the teacher too bad from what she'd heard around campus. He tended to be forgiving but stern at the same time. People described him as the last person you wanted to disappoint.

Jennifer's baby blue Toyota pulled into the spot next to Ava a second later. Jennifer jumped out like a Jack-in-the-Box. Her shoulder length hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she wore her usual spandex, loose shorts, and workout shoes. Muscles rippled in her slim arms and legs. Ava worked out when she could, but Jennifer lived the life in preparation to be a dietitian.

I ended up with Algebra first thing.” Jennifer stretched, loosening up from her ride.

Mr. Liezpeg?”

Is that how you pronounce it?”

Ava shrugged. “Hell if I know, but I hear he's cool.”

That's what most people say that's had his class. Those that could understand him.” Jennifer twisted from side to side. “Everyone else failed and hates him.”

At least we can trade notes if one of us can't catch something,” Ava said.

Do you still have the recorder you used last semester?”

Ava smiled and patted a jean pocket. “Do you?”

Jennifer opened her car trunk and slipped her backpack over one shoulder. “Of course.”

They giggled as they hurried across the parking lot to find their first class of the day.

***

The halls were full of lost freshmen trying to find their rooms. Nearly all had the same blank look of hopelessness at the scope of their search, heedless of the fact they'd know the place forwards and backwards within a month. At least those who didn't drop out would.

Both women knew from experience that a good part of the people milling about their new Algebra class wouldn't be around by midterms. They'd started to recognize the types more likely to do so: the glassy eyed guy dressed in black with sunglasses pushed up onto his forehead, the talkative woman that spit two and three cuss words out in a row, the boring cheerleader type that played with her makeup and looked bored, the man in a suede suit that stood in the corner afraid to speak, and some would be sleepers.

Jennifer nudged Ava with her elbow. “That clean cut guy is a sleeper.”

Ava followed her eyesight to a tall, slim man dressed in jeans and a tucked in shirt that was buttoned to his neck. His back was straight and he looked around the room as if he knew everyone there. “Him? Why?”

Rich kid, I bet he'll get bored. Probably here for a business major if he can stay away from spending daddy's money.” Jennifer pointed at his bulging back pocket. “Lotta money to spend. Cash or charge?”

I hope not.” Ava smiled. “ Leave, that is. He's cute.”

Go find out his name.” Jennifer inched her hand closer to Ava's back to shove her forward.

No.” Ava nodded towards a chair. “Let's creep and sit close to him.”

Jennifer nodded and put her hand down. “That works.” She started to take a step but halted. “Bet you five bucks he's gone in six weeks, give or take a week.”

Ava thought for a moment, looking at the too expensive of a suit for a student that the man wore. “You're on.”

They laughed and crept closer.

People started to find seats as the final minutes approached, and Ava waited until the man sat before grabbing the desk behind him.

Jennifer sat across the aisle to her left and wasted no time catching the man's eye when he looked at who sat around him. “What's your name?”

The man didn't hesitate. “Tim. What's yours?”

Jennifer,” she pointed with a thumb, “and that's my friend Ava.”

Tim turned in his seat and nodded to her. “Nice to meet you both.”

Ava leaned closer and let her eyes linger on his for a moment before she spoke. “Is this your first year?”

At this school, but not first year of college.” Tim groaned. “I made dad pull me out of private school at the end of last semester.”

Jennifer and Ava chuckled.

Ava touched the arm of Tim's sport jacket. “What are you majoring in to be dressed like that?”

Business.”

Jennifer snorted, cupping a her hand over her mouth.

What's so funny?” Tim grinned.

Ava rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Oh, nothing. Do you live around here?”

Yeah, that's why I wanted out of that other place and closer to home.”

We should hang out sometime.”

Tim smiled for a moment before his eyes dropped. “I'm afraid that I can't.”

Oh, I'm sorry, I should have asked if you had a girlfriend.”

Uh, it's not that.”

Jennifer raised an eyebrow and looked him up and down. “Are you gay?”

Not that either.”

Bi?”

No.”

Impotent?”

Ava whipped her head around to Jennifer. “Really?”

Jennifer shrugged. “It happens with the chemicals in everything.”

Tim sighed. “Nor that.” He rubbed his eyes. “Listen, it's hard to explain, so I'll just say it. My dad is crazy. He signed me into a contract when I was five to groom me to take over his company.”

Ava frowned. “Five? How the hell did he do that?”

Well, he got a lawyer to help him. I get 60% of the company as long as I follow the rules.”

What the hell kind of lawyer would do that?” Ava didn't have to fake the confusion that showed on her face.

My uncle.”

Your family sounds lovely,” Ava said. “But what does that have to do with hanging out?”

The contract says that I can't date in any way, shape, or form until my older brother, Wesley, is taken.”

Jennifer twirled a finger next to her head. “Is he all fucked up?”

Ava's mouth dropped open. “Why don't you ask if he's retarded?”

Jennifer shrugged. “These things are going around with failed abortion attempts, Zika virus, and all that shit.”

Well, he's fucked up.” Tim chewed his lower lip before continuing. “But not like that. See, he only gets 40% of the company, so dad didn't care if he was on his game or not. Plus, he's a bastard and dad hates him.”

Is he mean?”

No, just an overweight bastard that plays video games and drinks all the time. We don't know who his mom is. He was left on the door step with a note telling dad to pull his own plow.”

Jennifer laughed. “What was that all about?”

Tim shrugged. “Dad would only say there was a communication problem.”

Did he say anything else?”

That she was a woman.”

Ava frowned. “Your dad sounds like some man.”

You could say that.” Tim threw his hands in the air. “I know he would.”

Ava looked at Jennifer. “Do you remember that favor you owe me?”

Jennifer crossed her arms and her eyebrows narrowed. “This is a mighty big one to take for the team. I may need some boot.”

The boot is 40% of whatever this company is.”

'Walk Like a Man',” Tim said.

Ava and Jennifer looked at him as one. “Huh?”

Tim rolled his eyes. “It's a blog and Youtube channel about how to be a man. He also does lectures.”

What do you mean 'how to be a man'?” Jennifer typed the name into her phone where she kept notes.

Well, his most popular videos are 'How to never apologize, but sound sincere', 'Manage her money well enough to not spend yours', 'Don't own up when you can give an excuse', and his personal favorite, 'How to make sure your woman gets shit done but stays silent'.”

Jennifer sneered. “Your dad sounds like he's winning like Charlie Sheen.”

Tim shrugged. “Robert Downey Jr. is who Charlie Sheen would be if he were really winning, but I see what you mean.”

Mr. Liezpeg entered the room, taking his place in front of the whiteboard as the remaining students found seats.

Ava snapped her fingers at Jennifer. “Will you do it?”

Jennifer looked at the ceiling for a second, thinking and tapping her fingers on the desk. “Sure, I like a challenge.”

Tim nodded. “I'll set things up and give you directions in the morning.”

Ava smiled. “Sounds good.”

Chapter 2

Jennifer spun the wheel and hit the brake, stopping on a gravel drive that led into a gated property. The road went up a wooded hill to a house barely visible at the top. Rock columns held the gate in place on either side of the road and a black fence encircled the property with columns every dozen yards. A keypad and speaker were mounted on the left side of the entrance next to a red button with paint worn from around it.

She reached out and stabbed the button with her index finger.

Nothing happened.

Jennifer turned to Ava. “Are you sure this is it?”

Ava pointed at the street number intertwined in top of the ornamental gate. “It is, unless he led us on.”

A nasally voice came through the speaker. “Pull on up. Be sure to park in a woman's spot outlined in pink.”

The gate squeaked open ahead of them.

Ava laughed. “Do you think he's serious about the 'woman's spot' thing?”

Jennifer started up the hill. “We'll find out.”

Gravel ended at a paved parking lot surrounded by rock landscaping. The house wasn't free standing as it'd appeared from the road, but was built into the top of the hill. Two stories of tinted glass and steel stuck out of the ground and a detached, three-car garage sat at one end of the pavement. Ten parking spots were painted on the pavement, eight in blue and two in pink. The pink ones were the farthest from the door. Three of the blue ones had expensive sports cars sitting in them. One car had mud up the sides and a smashed front fender that would have cost as much as Jennifer's entire Toyota.

Ava bit her lip. “I guess he was serious about the woman's spot thing.”

I wonder what else he'll be serious about.” Jennifer pulled into one of the pink spots and shut off the engine.

A butler, the person on the speaker with a voice that sounded like it was forced up from his asshole, met them at the door. “You did park in a pink spot? Correct?”

Sure.” Jennifer forced the disgusted look off her face despite the feeling she'd be doing it often in the near future.

The butler stepped aside, pointing at an open doorway on the other side of the living room that led to a dinning room. “Sirs are waiting for you.”

Uh, thanks.” Ava across the floor and was stopped by the butler clearing his throat. She looked at him.

Women are to leave their shoes at the entrance.”

Jennifer glared at him and kicked her shoes off to the right of the door. Ava followed suit and they walked into the living room.

Expensive tiles made the floor bone chilling under their feet despite the fine Oriental rugs that'd been placed in strategic locations. Overstuffed leather furniture was complimented by glass and steel tables. An ultra-thin TV covered one wall with an array of game systems and stereo equipment on stands underneath. Everything looked as if it'd been recently cleaned.

They stepped through the dining room door into a completely different world. The floor and all the furniture were wood with matching trim. A long, rectangular table set with silver and fine porcelain dining ware filled the room. A handful of occupants sat towards one end.

Tim turned from two men in suits showing him something on a phone. “I hope you didn't have any problems finding the place.”

Ava shrugged. “I just have problems believing the place.”

And anything about it,” Jennifer added.

An overweight man with greasy hair looked up from a fork he was spinning on the table. Two empty beer bottles sat in front of him and food hadn't yet been served. “Who're the chicks?” He burped.

This is Ava and Jennifer.” Tim pointed at them in turn, then to the overweight man, and to the more robust of the two men in suits. “And this is my brother Wesley and my dad, Tony. The other guy works for my dad.”

Realization spread over Wesley's face as he looked at Jennifer. “Oh, you're the girl that wants to date me because my dad is famous.”

Tony laughed. “Ignore the bastard, he doesn't know shit.” He paused to smooth down an out of place hair. “I'm not famous, I'm a new god of men. I will be known as the man that reminded men they're men.” He smiled so wide that his eyes almost disappeared. “I created the 'Walk Like a Man' Youtube channel and blog that is the empire I have today.” He thrust the phone in his hand in their direction too fast for them to see what was on the screen. “The newest episode '10 ways to gas-light without her knowing it' has hit ten million views in a week.”

Ava felt her mouth drop open. “That's...um...great.”

The phone in Tony's hand beeped, and he looked at the message that'd come through. “I'll be right back. Another death threat to clear up.” He waved one hand dismissively and rolled his eyes.

Oh, I bet.” Jennifer narrowed her eyes

Tony and the other suited man went into an adjoining room.

Tim waited until they were out of sight before he spoke. “Ignore my dad, he's just old school.”

Ava snorted. “He's old something.”

He's always in and out, so you won't have to put up with him long.” Tim motioned to the table. “Mom will have food out in a minute.”

Ava and Jennifer sat on opposite sides of the table next to Tim and Wesley as a swinging door opened from what had to be the kitchen. A skinny woman with an apron on entered and sat steaming dishes of food down from a tray she carried. She silently left and returned with another tray.

Enjoy,” she said while she walked away for the second time. “I'll have hot water ready for those dishes.”

The door was still swinging when Wesley began shoveling corn, potatoes, steak, and rolls onto his plate until stuff ran off the sides. “Beer!”

Right away, dear,” came the response from the kitchen.

Wesley laughed in glee and rubbed his greasy hands together until the woman returned with a beer and just as quickly disappeared. He popped the cap off on the table edge, drawing Ava and Jennifer's attention to the table cloth in from of him that had a series of semi-circular cuts from previous bottles.

Tim sat back and waited for Ava and Jennifer to get what they wanted. Then he leaned in and picked while whispering, “Mom will keep bringing out piles if you keep eating.”

Wesley paused between gulps of beer and handfuls of food. “No reason to worry 'bout too little. The asshole will make sure she keeps it coming.”

Jennifer nibbled on a roll. “Do you expect your girlfriend to be the same way?”

Wesley shrugged. “I'd be happy with a beer.”

Jennifer nodded. “Fair enough.”

And my game controller brought to me.”

Uh, okay.”

And corn chips and salsa.”

Right.”

My back rubbed.”

You don't do anything.”

My feet rubbed.”

Jennifer glared at him.

My bath drawn to a perfect 105 degrees.”

Jennifer continued to glare.

At least a six-pack a night.”

Jennifer tapped the table.

My game controller plugged in every night once I'm done and all the games I've played put back in their cases.”

Did you want laid by the person doing all that?”

Well, of course.”

Good luck.”

Ava turned from her conversation with Tim and hissed.

Jennifer gritted her teeth. “I meant, would you like to go out sometime?”

You can hang out here so we don't have to come home to fuck.”

Jennifer wrinkled her nose. “That would be a 'pass'.”

What do you suggest?”

Jennifer smiled. “You like to drink, huh?”

Yep.” Wesley grabbed his beer and chugged half of what remained before he burped. “A lot.”

Want to go to the brewery?” Jennifer grinned. “You can have all the beer you want.”

Wesley rubbed his hands together. “Oh, yeah.”

Jennifer's grin spread to the corners of her eyes. “Good. I'm sure you can take time out of your video game playing, bullshit day to do that tomorrow, right?”

Wesley sighed. “I guess, but I'd rather you just hang out here.”

No chance of that.”

They all looked up as Tony and the unnamed, suited man reentered the room. Tony put his phone on the table and sat down. The suited man sat in the spot beside him.

Damned women's rights people. Don't say that, don't do that, we were given equal treatment decades ago, don't wave your dick around at interviews.” Tony laughed. “No one treats women better than I do. Ellen! Beer!”

Yes, dear,” was the reply from the kitchen.

Just ask my wife.” Tony started shoveling food onto his plate. “She'll tell you.”

Ellen slipped into the room, sat a beer down in front of Tony, and disappeared before anyone could reply.

Tony nodded at the swinging door. “See.”

Uh, Dad.” Tim leaned forward and put his elbows on the table. “Wesley is going on a date tomorrow, can I get out of the house, too?”

Tony's eyes widened. “Hell, yeah, boy. You can do whatever you want as long as the bastard is out of the house. Get out there and grab life by the tits!”

Dad, that's a bit...Trump.”

Then rape it to death with a bayonet and drag it down the street in victory!”

And that's too Clinton.”

Tony slammed his fist down on the table, making everyone jump. “Dammit, boy! Get in line with the two party, Capitalist system! Democracy is for Communists!” His phone beeped again. He grabbed it and stood up. “Let's see what pussy ass rights group is bitching now.”

Tony and the suited man left the room again.

Tim turned to Ava and they stared into each others eyes for a moment before he spoke. “Tomorrow then?”

Ava giggled and blushed. “Just let me know when.”

Tim nodded and gave her a thumbs up.

Wesley looked at Jennifer. “We getting drunk tomorrow?”

Jennifer picked at a finger nail. “Well, I don't...”

Ava kicked her leg under the table.

Sure.” Jennifer sneered at Wesley. “Or at least you are.”

Tony and the suited man reentered and sat back down.

Well, the lawsuit over me jerking off in front of the maid is finally settled.” Tony took a drink of beer. “It'll be cheaper to hire a hooker for it next time.”

Everyone, including the unnamed suited man, looked at their plates and started eating without another word.

Chapter 3

The afternoon sun blazed off the road ahead of Jennifer's car, making heat waves dance in the air. The wind blowing in the open windows was as hot as standing outside. Sweat trickled down her butt crack and plastered her shirt to the nylon seat.

I wish you'd told me your air conditioning didn't work. We could've taken my car.” Wesley pulled at the front of his shirt and wiped at the sweat pouring down his forehead.

Jennifer stopped at the last traffic light before turning onto Main Street where afternoon traffic was heavy “I don't ride with people.”

I'm a good driver.” Wesley panted from the exhaust pouring in the windows from cars ahead of them. “I only messed up the fender on my new car.”

Uh, huh.” Jennifer recalled the messed up sports car next to the nice one. She let off the brake and followed the car ahead of her making a right turn. “And how long have you had it?”

Almost three months.”

And you want me to ride with you?”

My last one made it six months.”

Could it be drove that whole time?”

Wesley shrugged. “For most of it.” He glanced behind them.

You keep doing that.”

Wesley looked again at the white Mazda behind them with his three friends in it. “I'm just paranoid of people rear ending me.”

Yeah, me too.”

Wesley forced a smile onto his face.

Jennifer turned onto Mt. Vernon St. and into a large parking lot down from the brewery. They locked the car and started to the sidewalk while the Mazda passed them and parked at the other end.

She purposely walked fast, forcing Wesley to pick up his lumbering pace while he huffed and puffed to keep from being left behind.

Slow down.”

Speed up.”

I'm going to pass out.”

You're supposed to do that after you drink.”

I will then, too.”

They crossed the street and entered the brewery.

***

The occupants of the white Mazda got out of the vehicle after their friend Wesley and Jennifer had reached the sidewalk.

Mark pulled at the bandanna around his head and put his sunglasses on. The teardrops at the corner of each eye could barely be seen. He stepped away from the car, stopping to pull his bellowing pants leg loose from a rusted out place on the door seal.

Your car sucks.” Mark shut the door, making rust fall to the ground.

It can't help that it is what it is,” Adam said.

You could get another one.” Zack's football jersey flapped around him and his basketball hat was turned backwards.

I don't have money for another.”


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