“Resolutions” at The Rumpus

Looking for some old work of mine, I came across a short that got published on The Rumpus.

The link is here:

The Rumpus Readers Report – Resolutions

And my story is the 5th one down.

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Also copied here:

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This is a modern-day Boom Town and the men that are here come to chase the dollars that go flying out of their bank accounts, hundreds of miles away. In this bar, they visit only after stopping in at the hotel, or at their fifth-wheel camper, to change into clean boots and a button-down. They have chosen the classy side of town for, maybe, a steak, but for sure, the beer.

When they choose this bar, where painted artwork hangs on the walls, as long and wide as a pickup bed, and the well liquor is brand-name, they are choosing to feel some of the cash they’ve made. They pay their tabs in hundred-dollar bills. They either brag about their earnings or leave big tips, but rarely both on the same night. They flirt with the waitresses. They watch the few women that are present and compare themselves to the lesser men that brought them in. Then they compare with each other, the wives they have at home, second wives, third wives, or maybe only the ex-wives already long gone.

Each man has the craziest ex-wife. Each man has the most beautiful current wife (or girlfriend). None of these men have seen their wives in weeks. For most of them, it’s been months. There is camaraderie in their collective loneliness. There is commiseration across the distances they share, far away from home. Each man loves his wife the most. Each man has a wife that spends the most of his hard-earned money.

They order another round of Bud Light. Tomorrow, they will go to the dive bar across town and try to keep some of the money in their pockets, instead of leaving it on the bar. Instead of showing off to each other, they will resolve to let their wives show off back home. The wives will show off with frivolous spending on expensive jewelry and clothing and cars and interior decorating. The wives will show off the love their husbands send to them, through a joint checking account.

And the men will wake up in the morning before the sun, heading out to the job site, resolving, this time, to keep the women they have, by making more money this month than they ever have before.

—Natasha Wheeler

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