25. An awkward dinner party

“I’ll do anything to help,” I told Ashley, and unfortunately, I meant it.  I couldn’t stand to see her crying.

Ashley had obviously thought a lot about what I could do.

“You could take out a student loan for five grand.  I’ll pay you back.”

She was asking destitute me, who made $700 per month, to help pay back her wealthy father?  Then I made one of my worst mistakes ever–I agreed, and I agreed without an I.O.U. that I would be paid back.  I didn’t want to do it, but I felt guilty about staying with her for weeks.

This mistake I had made was right up there with the time a director offered to have my play produced in the Edinburgh play festival in Scotland, if only I changed the ending.  I would not compromise my artistic integrity.  So I didn’t get to go to Scotland, which I regret to this day.

Ashley was careless, like Tom and Daisy in the Great Gatsby.  She used the women who worked for her to pick up her dry cleaning and do her bidding.  I considered this an abuse of her power, and anti-feminist.

Ashley had dinner parties every weekend.

“Karen, how do you cook corn?”  Ashley didn’t cook.

“I’ll do it, ” I said.  “You put it in a pot of boiling water, after you husk it.”

“How long do you cook it for?”

“About three minutes or so.”

“How do you know if it’s done?”

“You just know.  That’s cooking.” I said.

One of Ashley’s guests had a baby with too much water in his brain.  I watched as he repeatedly banged his forehead against the coffee table.

“Isn’t he hurting himself?”  I asked the mother.

“That’s how he learns.” She said.  That baby was me, repeatedly banging my head into obstacles, taking a long time to learn.

At the dinner table, Ashley was telling everyone how wonderful the new corporate credit card was.

One of her women “slaves” pointed out that the card had limits.

“Oh. I didn’t know that. I use it all the time.”

“Have you been buying clothing with it?”  The slave asked, nervously.

“Well, only work clothes.”

“That’s against the rules.”

“Oh, whoops!” Ashley laughed, but everyone was silent.  Apparently everyone knew about Ashley’s shopaholic ways.

In the middle of the dinner party, one of the slave’s husbands, who was drunk, said, “I don’t like the way you use my wife.”  Everyone was stunned silent once again.

“You make her buy drugs for you,” he said.  “I don’t want you exploiting my wife, making her do illegal things, anymore.  I’ll report you to the police if you try that again.”

Mike stiffened.  “I think you’re drunk.  I think it’s time for you to leave.”

“Is the pot for her, or for you, Doctor?”

“Get out of my house.”

The next day, Ashley was upset.  “I can’t  believe Patrick attacked me last night, in front of everyone.”  I wanted to point out that perhaps she shouldn’t use her staff like that.  But I just listened to her deflect blame.


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