Some Stains Don’t Wash Away

Patong beach, Phuket Province, Thailand.

Patong beach, Phuket Province, Thailand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than twenty years later I am lying in the dark holding the phone in my hand listening to your voice- wondering how you found my number and why you called.

My heart is pounding and my mouth is dry. I feel like my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth.

I am in trouble and I need your help. They’re back.

And then the other memories hit me like a torrent of water and I remember why I had to walk away from the woman I planned to marry.

Twenty-five years ago the boys and I graduated from college and decided to travel around the world.

We started in London and gradually made our way through Europe and hopscotched around a couple of continents flipping between Asia and Africa.

The plan was to follow our hearts and go wherever they took us, regardless of whether it made sense. Logic was for school and since we were out of school we ignored it. Took a freighter one direction and then hopped on a plane in the reverse two days later.

Time was meaningless and so was money.

That was because of my friend The Duke. His real name was Chadwick, but he preferred to be called Chad.

It is a tossup as to whether he hated being called The Duke more than he disliked being called Chadwick.

The Duke came from old money. He grew up on a monstrous estate and lived a life out of a movie. His graduation gift was control of a trust worth in excess of $100 million.

So money wasn’t a problem and neither was time. The only real problem we had was that we were young dumb and stupid,

Took a trip to city in Thailand called Phuket only because it looked to us like it was pronounced Fuck It.

Our time in Fuck It was punctuated with lots of moments that should have gotten us arrested. Somehow the members of the great fraternity of young, dumb, and stupid managed to avoid those particular problems.

Things didn’t get crazy until we were in Paris. It had to be Paris. I didn’t like the city, didn’t want to be there and would have happily skipped it.

But Young, Dumb and Stupid was overruled by the power of the penis. Yep, young horny men met girls and got dumber, or maybe I should spell it dumberer because it was really bad.

I still have the letter that started it all. A handwritten note with flowing cursive letters and heart dotted Is sent by the girl who Chadwick swore would be his.

If the jerk hadn’t been thinking with his dick he might still be here to help me figure out what to do now.

This letter is a stain that I want to wash away, but I can’t. I had just begun to believe that maybe it was over but now I see I was wrong.


This was a prompt for Write On Edge. A stand-alone scene, fiction or memoir, in 500 words or less, involving a handwritten letter. It is fiction.

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  1. Wisper July 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Oo. Who was the girl and what was in that letter??? I love how you left it hanging and yet I want to know!!!!

  2. shelton keys dunning July 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Love this! Small concrit: “I feel like my tongue is stuck to the top of my roof.” This conjures an image of someone with their tongue stuck to the top of their house, like after licking a lightpole in winter causes your tongue to freeze to it. Also “We started in London and gradually made our way through Europe and hop
    scotched around a couple of continents flipping between Asia and Africa.” implies that there are several continents between Africa and Asia. If you revisit this for something later, try something like: “We started in London, hop-scotched our way through the European countries, and bounced between Asia and Africa like we were stuck on pogo-sticks.” I love how you set up the “crazy” and then said it wasn’t “crazy” until Paris. (Which by the way, I’d mention heading back to Europe first to make it cleaner, like by way of pot-smoking Amsterdam or something, since Paris isn’t in Asia.)Like the take on the prompt. It was a fun read. Well done!

    • TheJackB July 28, 2012 at 8:37 am

      shelton keys dunning Hey Shelton,Ok, I fixed the line about the tongue and roof. That is a good catch and it makes more sense now. Thank you. I have always wondered if anyone really gets their tongue stuck to things in winter or if that is a an urban legend.I grew up in LA so snow stories are pretty limited.I like the pogo sticks, it is a good image and works well with it.

  3. Kathleen Basi July 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    This is a very strong voice, and as all good prompt responses, raises a ton of questions. 🙂 I also like the rambling voice. The only thing I was actually confused about was whose voice was on the line, and how she was connected to the Trust Fund friend. I think you’re hinting at an answer to that at the end, but I’d like to have it a little clearer.

    • TheJackB July 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

      @Kathleen Basi That is solid feedback. As the writer it was clear to me, but it really needs to be clear to the reader. Those connections are a bit vague.

  4. Carrie Rogo July 27, 2012 at 10:17 am

    so many questions from this. Was it the woman calling him? Was The Duke calling (or is he dead? I wasn’t sure)I enjoyed the rambling nature of this piece.

    • TheJackB July 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

      Carrie Rogo Hi Carrie. I wasn’t sure if the rambling would lend take away from the story or help bring readers in. The goal was to make it a personal narrative that would make it easier to identify with the narrator.

  5. patricialynne07 July 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Nice job. Made me wonder who this woman was that is causing him so much anguish.

  6. JohnFalchetto July 27, 2012 at 4:42 am

    @Mark_Harai Yo! Still in the big city?

  7. Katie July 27, 2012 at 4:37 am

    An intriguing start to a story I would like to know more about.  I wonder who was on the phone and how the letter from the girl, relates to the girl your character walked away from.. We need more.

    • TheJackB July 28, 2012 at 8:22 am

      @Katie Thank you Katie. I really need to focus on trying to add more details on these short tales so that we can answer some of those questions. I don’t think we can flesh it out completely, but that is ok. It is fun to try.

  8. Harleena Singh July 27, 2012 at 1:42 am

    I guess all of us have something of the kind hidden under our belts from years gone by. It gets all the more interesting to think and read about such letters much later in life, more so because we really don’t think the way we used to when we were younger and weren’t as mature and grown up as now, which makes all the difference.Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • TheJackB July 28, 2012 at 8:22 am

      Harleena Singh Old letters are fun to read. They are like “ancient blogs” that contain snapshots of the lives we used to lead. When you read them you get to see who we used to be.

  9. jane1 July 27, 2012 at 12:47 am

    intrigued and want to know more! visiting from 8 at the linkup xx

  10. Denise July 27, 2012 at 12:47 am

    I liked this, I truly did.  My only ‘thing’ is the contents of the letter.  I was hooked on what was written and raced through the piece looking for the answer to who was after the writer.  That wasn’t revealed.  I reread the piece and skipped the line where you transcribe the letter and I was better able to focus on your post-graduation trip.  It kinda made it better.  Thanks for a great piece!

    • TheJackB July 28, 2012 at 1:57 am

      @Denise Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it. I am still wrestling with the shorter word count of these prompts. I need to work hard to fine tune things so that I don’t cause the sort of confusion you mentioned. Thank you for the feedback.

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