“Touch of Grey’ Chapter 1 “I Will Get By”

I felt I was growing old by the time I reached thirty-five. By then, any music after the 70’s was crap; I had to turn the radio down to see where I was going while driving; and my kids assumed I knew absolutely nothing about how “things are these days”. I knew how things were, I just didn’t like it. I didn’t like the phoniness of life. The carefully crafted picture of life that we all want to present to the world—I wanted to rip it to shreds and show the hidden truth underneath it.

That was near impossible to do though, considering my wife was the mayor of city, three of my kids were something called, internet influencers—while, meanwhile, we paid for the internet. The fourth was a sophomore in high school but he should have been a senior. That, of course, was carefully hidden from the media.

I used to be a teacher before having that one bad day when trying to explain history to a bunch of kids who felt they didn’t need to know anything about “some dead white dudes in wigs”
“I’m not talking about your mama,” I replied,
And that was the end of my lucky number thirteen years of teaching. Truth to be told, the kid I told that to respected me for the rest of the day.
That incident too, was squashed when my wife became mayor. How do I describe her campaign? She ran it like she had the hand of Thatcher, the eyes of Meier and the drive of Hilary: meaning, nothing got in her way.

Including me.

As far as the campaign was concerned, I didn’t exist…and I guess it was okay to be invisible. No paparazzi and no one from CNN or Fox News ever knocked on my door to ask how I felt about how my wife was the breadwinner.

There were nights when I sat on the couch, alone, and wondered if I was bring left behind. I never got to attend the galas and glad-handing parties. There was a calmness to drinking a glass of scotch without bobble-heading to some peon or saying the same catch phrase over and over and over again. At least until the night of August 13th, two election cycles ago.

It was raining and I was driving home when my cell phone rang. I seldom ever answered while driving but it was after ten and maybe it was an emergency…but it could have been someone wanting to discuss my car’s extended warranty. I kind of wished it had been.
“Is this Paul Baker?”
“Speaking.”
“Are you driving, sir?”
“Yes.”
“I need you to listen very carefully to me. After this call, do not answer your phone or observe any form of media.”
“I usually don’t, but since you’re saying not to. Who is this?”
“This is Tony Angeles.”
Tony was a member of my wife’s security team. Twenty-years earlier he could have been a part of the Corleone family. I wanted to call him “the eraser” but that was too on the nose for what he actually did.
“Okay, Tony, can you tell me what I need to not know about.”
“No.”



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This story is 545 words long.