Believe It, by Christopher T. Werkman
I and the public know
What all school children learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
–W. H. Auden
Paige first saw Tanner at the tennis club. Average height. Muscular, but not overly. Quick with a smile. Always appeared posed, as though he was modeling whatever he wore. One of those swarthy men whose neatly trimmed onyx beard and generous carpet of body hair made him appear even darker. Tanner. She giggled when she made the connection. The body hair, she wasn’t so sure about; yet she found herself harboring fantasies of how her pale would look against his toasty-brown.
Paige was interested in Tanner’s relationship status, but hoped to keep her curiosity on the low.
“They make a strange couple,” Paige casually allowed, when Tanner and his mixed-doubles partner walked into the club’s 40/Love Lounge one Saturday evening. She dipped a pita chip into some tasty hummus and waited to hear what her three friends would volunteer. The four of them just finished playing a few sets and were enjoying some wine and munchies.
“Millie and Tanner aren’t a couple,” Shay said. She barked a laugh. “Lyudmila,” she added in a hushed voice, putting her hands on the table like she was going to push away from it. “Lyudmila Beckmann. Came over from Germany with her husband ten or fifteen years ago. He’s some kind of engineer.”
“Does he ever come around?” Paige said.
“He doesn’t play,” Trudy, one of Paige’s closest friends, answered. Trudy and Paige were often mistaken for sisters. At twenty-six, Paige was a good five years younger than Trudy and when someone mentioned their Nordic resemblance, Paige always referred to Trudy as her prettier sister, never older. Trudy wrinkled her nose. “Look how much larger than Tanner she is.”
Paige thought Millie was butch. Swung her arms like an athlete when she walked—a male athlete. She wasn’t unattractive, but her face was wide with a strong square jaw. Her coffee with cream hair only brushed her neck, but she always played wearing a headband. And man, could she rifle a tennis ball.
“She doesn’t have a backhand,” Paige offered. She took a finishing sip of her Chablis, waved to Caitlin, the bargirl, and held up her empty goblet. “I drew her for singles in play-with-the-pro last week and hit it at her right or left, she just switches hands and pounds it back at you.”
Paige watched them walk to a table. Each pulled out their own chair, and sat across from each other, Tanner constantly camera-ready. Nothing in their body language led her to believe they were anything but friends. Playing partners. She did notice that Millie’s ruddy complexion was close in shade to Tanner’s.
Paige went to the club to practice early one Tuesday, several hours before she would meet a client to show her a property. At 6:45, there were some people hitting the weights and jogging on treadmills in the exercise room, but Paige had the courts to herself. She dialed the ball machine to seventy miles an hour and positioned it so she could take serves. She alternated between low cross-court returns and high deep lobs. She just hit a beautiful one that skimmed the rafters and dropped onto the far-side baseline when she heard a voice behind her and startled.
“I’m sorry,” Tanner said, smiling broadly while holding up his hands as though he was stopping traffic. “You were so into hitting and I didn’t know how to approach.” His teeth looked almost luminous against his dark complexion and manicured beard. His eyes danced like those of a happy child. “That was a terrific lob off such a fast serve.”
The ball machine continued firing balls at seven-second intervals. One rocketed into the service square and bounced against Paige’s fanny. She could feel her face go hot with a blush. The butt ball was apparently the last one in the hopper. The machine dropped to an idle.
“Thanks,” Paige said, rubbing the spot where her skin still stung. She flicked her head toward the spot where the lob landed. “I want to play more mixed dubs, and a lot of men come to the net when they hit a hot serve. Lobbing it over their head is effective, but it takes practice.”
“That’s actually why I came down here.” Only then it registered that Tanner wasn’t carrying a racket. “I wanted to ask you if you’d like to play in the mixed dubs tournament Saturday night.”
“You’re not playing with Millie?”
He rocked his weight onto his right leg and dropped his left hand into his pocket as though he was displaying the warm-ups he wore. “She sprained her ankle last night. She texted me this morning and said, no-go.”
Paige fought to hide her excitement. Tanner and Millie usually won the tournaments they entered. Of all the women in the club he could choose, Tanner selected Paige. Not only that, a win with Tanner would cement her position as a player with cred.
“I’d love to fill in.” She fired off her best smile and used her racket head to roll a ball against her shoe, flicking it into the air with a quick toe-kick. She caught the ball on her racket, bouncing it a couple times. “I’m so flattered. I hope I don’t let you down.”
Tanner grinned. “Mill said you play strong.” He put his cupped hand to his mouth and leaned in as though sharing a secret. “She recommended you. We tossed a few names around, but she said I should ask you first.”
Paige was surprised. She tried being friendly when she played Millie in singles, yet the woman barely spoke. But as Paige well knew, liking someone and respecting their game are two different things. Millie won that day, but Paige made her sweat for it. She was disappointed Tanner wasn’t who chose her, however.
“Well, I’d love to play.” Paige grabbed a hamper and began picking up the balls scattered on the court. “Do you want to hit it around before Saturday?”
Tanner nudged balls toward Paige with his foot. “I could shake loose from the office for the Friday morning play-with-the-pro. Think you could make it? Give us some dubs time together to learn each other’s moves.”
She held up her palm for a five-slap and Tanner clapped it.
“See you Friday,” Paige said.
“Believe it,” Tanner replied.
Paige and Tanner won their way into the championship match. Paige thought it was over when the other team, a 40-something man and wife who’d mastered the art of intermediate-speed placement shots interspersed with blistering-fast hero slams, took the match into a third set tie breaker. Paige and Tanner were one point from losing when Tanner walked up to Paige and said, “You’re not Millie.”
Paige thought her knees would buckle.
Tanner smiled. “So don’t try to play like her. You have a sweet game. Just play it.” Then he put his hand on her shoulder and pulled her close. She looked into his eyes and it was like staring into high beams. “We lose this, the world’s not gonna end, you know? Relax and have fun. Believe it.”
Tanner was serving to their male opponent. Paige started for her place at the net, but Tanner took her arm and guided her back to the baseline.
“I’m tryng to serve to his backhand, but stay back here in case I miss and he gets hold of this one.”
Paige felt a lot less tense. It was amazing how just a few words from Tanner allowed her to relax. She wasn’t Millie. She was Paige. And she was ready to take this guy’s return. But it never came. Tanner curled a fast serve into the guy’s left hip, jamming him up so he couldn’t put a stroke on the ball. He tried to block it back, but it hit the net. They were tied, but had to win by two.
Tanner’s first serve to the woman was long. “Second,” he called, tossing the ball up again, then slamming it hard to her backhand. It hit the corner of the service square and her racket never came close to catching it. Up one.
Now Paige would receive serve from the male opponent. He could put some heat on it, and he had the control needed to get it to her backhand. She ran what Tanner told her through her mind again as she walked to the baseline. Play your game, she thought.
Tanner walked up, staring as intently as an ER doctor. “Tense?” he asked.
“Not too.” She winked. “Just playing my game.”
Tanner spun his racket on his finger like a gunslinger. “Relax your tongue.”
“Just before he serves, let your tongue go limp. Your whole body will relax and it’ll seem like you have forever to hit the return.” He let his spinning racket cartwheel into the air, grabbed the grip and banged the strings against his palm. “Believe it.”
Relax your tongue? Paige never heard that before. What the hell, she figured. When the guy made his toss, she let her tongue fall into her lower jaw and watched the ball. When he hit it, she flashed on the way the balls came at her from the ball machine. He followed his serve to the net, and it seemed to Paige that she had more time than she needed to position her racket and put up a deep lob. It was the first one she’d thrown that match and it caught both the man and his wife by surprise. By the time they turned to chase it, the ball dropped just inside the baseline for a winner. Match point. Paige and Tanner high-fived, then embraced.
Several weeks and a couple dates later, Paige walked through Tanner’s house the first time, like Dorothy in Emerald City. Colors. Textures. More tile than a Roman bath. Vaulted ceilings. A screened-in hot tub overlooking the river below. A billiard room. A stainless steel and granite kitchen. Turned out Tanner was a gourmet cook. He also had a closet the size of an average bedroom, with all his clothing arranged by color and occasion. And his bedroom. A sixty-inch flat screen with a remote control curtain to cover it when it wasn’t in use. A custom-built bed that looked like a throne with a mattress. Carpet so sumptuous, Paige felt like she should wear snow shoes to keep from disappearing into it. Sliding glass doors opened onto a deck that overlooked the water. His speedboat bobbing at the dock. His motorcycle and his Cadillac CTS-V coupe in the garage.
Paige wasn’t easy and she made that fact plain from the start. As alluring as Tanner was on so many levels, Paige told him an invitation to his home wasn’t going to be rewarded with a roll on his high thread-count linen sheets. Not the first time. Not for a long time. She took STD’s seriously and if they became intimate, it was going to be exclusive. Tanner looked into her eyes and said, “Believe it.”
Paige believed him. He gave her every reason to. He treated her with respect and never pushed, letting her set the pace at which the relationship progressed. And it did. He loved to treat her to candlelight dinners on the terrace overlooking the river. When cold weather set in, they took tennis trips to Florida. They didn’t play dubs together at the club, however. His partnership with Millie was a “pre-existing condition.” That joke was rooted in the fact that he was in the medical field, an executive with a major pharmaceutical company. But other than tournaments, practice sessions with Millie, and work, Paige and Tanner spent much of their free time together.
Tanner was an incredible lover. Talented, unselfish and inventive. He was a good listener. He asked Paige what she liked or didn’t like, and followed what she told him like a map. What she enjoyed most was that sex with Tanner constantly evolved. As they grew to know each other and develop their intimacy, their lovemaking changed as well. She never felt so free to experiment before. She felt safe with Tanner, and that security allowed her to enjoy sex with him as she never did with any of the men in her past. The sexual part of their relationship never became stale. Every encounter sizzled.
But as with all relationships, it wasn’t perfect. There was an aspect to Tanner that Paige found bewildering. She first discovered it by accident when she was waiting for him to finish dressing to go to a movie. She sat on the bed and looked at the beautiful blown-glass candy dish on Tanner’s night stand. It was always there, but she’d never paid particular attention to it. She lifted the lid, expecting it to be empty, but it wasn’t. She thought they might be breath mints or candy, but when she picked one up, she realized it was Viagra.
“They say they’ll work for women, too,” Tanner said as he came in from his dressing room.
“What?” she said. Even to her, it sounded like she screeched.
Tanner laughed. “For real. Increases the blood flow to the clitoris, just like with a penis. Increased flow, increased sensation,” he added, sounding like a biology prof.
Paige dropped the pill in the dish. “Wow, I’m surprised you have ED issues.” She sucked in a breath. Should she have said that? “You know, not in your thirties, I mean.”
Tanner appeared completely unfazed. He continued to button his sport shirt, and shrugged. “I don’t. Guys who have ED are lucky to have the little blue pill.” He reached out and when she took his hands, he pulled her to her feet. “The ones of us who don’t are even luckier.” He kissed her forehead. “Viagra’s like a supercharger. A free boost when you’re in my line of work.”
Tanner took Paige’s hand and led her into the hallway. At first, she was stunned, but his nonchalance over her discovery washed that away. Recreational Viagra, she thought. I guess there are worse things.
There were. Tanner’s penchant for lifting weights and fitness was coupled to drugs, as well. And as with the Viagra, Tanner never volunteered that information, but when he was carrying a large box in from his garage one day, Paige casually asked him what it was and he didn’t hide anything. “Just some steroids and growth hormones,” he said, as though he was listing grocery items.
“Aren’t those illegal?”
“Ah, in the strictest sense, I guess so.” He put the microwave-sized box on the kitchen island and leaned against the countertop like a car salesman. “But, it’s not like dope or anything. I use them very lightly so I don’t wind up looking like a gorilla,” he said, doing a snorting impression. “Just occasional tune-ups. And some friends use them. I have access to sources that they don’t.” He picked up the box and opened the door to the basement. “No big deal,” he said over his shoulder.
As soon as Paige got home, she was on the internet, gathering as much information she could. Everything she read convinced her that Tanner’s description of what he called “Annies and G-mones” was nowhere close to reality. Diabetes, elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and psychosis were just a few of the negative effects she read about. And the possibility of reduced sexual function made Paige wonder if Tanner’s use of Viagra was truly recreational.
She didn’t sleep very much after she shut the computer down. By the time the night sky began to brighten into dawn, she was more conflicted than ever. She didn’t love Tanner, but she was on her way. Now sirens were wailing in her head and she couldn’t see him the way she once did.
There was so much that was positive about the man. Could she make herself overlook this scary aspect? Could she Carmella Soprano her knowledge of Tanner’s illegal dark side? At least, unlike Tony Soprano, Tanner wasn’t a big ugly womanizer. On the contrary, when she walked into the club or one of the restaurants they frequented, she was proud to be the woman on Tanner Lynch’s arm. All the girls at the club envied her and told her how lucky she was to be dating such an attractive and wealthy man. Every friend she introduced him to immediately liked him. He was warm and engaging; and when Paige talked with him, he always seemed to listen to understand, not merely to prepare an answer.
What she finally decided was to let things ride. She would hold her emotions in check, as best she could, and act as though what she’d learned changed nothing. Eventually, she figured, something would happen to convince her to stay or to leave. Tanner deserved that much. And in Paige’s mind, so did she.
“Why not stay the night?” Tanner asked, one stormy night.
Paige wanted to. A look through the window at the snow blowing off the white mounds skirting Tanner’s driveway was enough to make her want to stay, not withstanding her desire for more time with him.
“Thing is, I have to meet the same couple I took through a house this afternoon for an early-early tomorrow.” She made a gawky face. “Probably wouldn’t impress them much if I showed up in the same clothes.”
“I guess,” he said, as his cell brrr-inged it’s text message tone. He picked it up, looked at the screen and smiled. “Just Mill,” he said, laying it down. “About our next match.” He kissed Paige, handed her coat to her, then texted back.
Usually, she had to argue her way out of his place when he wanted her to stay. This was new, but she was happy he understood. She worried he’d try to get her to stay the night and leave extra early to change at home before her meeting, something she didn’t want to confront on a cold snowy morning.
“I could stay a little longer,” she said, looking at the clock on the stove.
“Truth is,” Tanner said, setting down his phone, “I have some paperwork I really should get into. I was going to put it off, but if you can’t stay the night, I should get it done.” He took her arm and walked with her to the door. “Want some help brushing snow off your car?”
Paige flicked the switch for the outdoor floods. “It isn’t bad. The wind already blew most of it off,” she said, before initiating a long tonguey kiss. “Thanks for dinner,” she whispered, letting her lips brush his as she spoke. “And dessert was spectacular, as always.”
Tanner gently touched her cheek with his fingertips, then opened the door. “Believe it. And we’re meeting at Table 4 Four tomorrow at noon, right?”
Paige nodded, pulled her coat tight around her body and walked out into the frigid wind. When she got to her car, she waved before realizing Tanner wasn’t standing at the door. That’s when she reached into her purse for her keys and remembered she’d tossed them onto the chair she laid her coat on. “Damn,” she huffed, starting back to the house. He usually locked the door and she hated second goodbyes.
She almost knocked, but decided to try the knob, hoping she could sneak in and out without him knowing. The door opened and she heard shower upstairs. Good, she thought. He’ll never hear me. The keys were there, although they’d fallen down between the cushion and the arm bolster. As she hurried to leave, Tanner’s cell brrr-inged again. She froze, waiting to see if he heard it. No interruption in the sound of the coursing water told her he didn’t.
Paige was hit by an overpowering urge to look at the text, something she never did. Couldn’t imagine doing. Privacy. She wanted it. She gave it. But the glowing screen was face up. Three short steps and the words would be legible. She couldn’t stop herself.
WILL P GO 3 WAY? I LL STRAP GOODBAR ON AND FUCK U BOTH. LOL
Paige’s mind went into hyper-drive. What the fuck? Tanner and Millie were tennis partners with a special bond between them, so they made fun. Screwed around, figuratively. Was Millie merely joking with a close friend? Paige wanted to believe that. But Millie didn’t just say dildo. She called it a name only an intimate friend would know. Goodbar. Not only that, friendly jest would allude to more normal sex, not Millie wielding a dildo. Paige read and reread the text. Every time she tried to wrestle up another meaning, Millie’s wording pinned her.
Paige scrolled to look at the first text Millie sent. P STILL THERE?
YES BUT LEAVING. COME GET IT, was Tanner’s reply.
A bullet couldn’t have intensified the white-hot pain that streaked through Paige’s stomach. The chicken cordon bleu Tanner served for dinner began to Vesuvius up her esophagus, but she managed to swallow it back. Her brain whirred like a food processer, anger and heartbreak pureeing into a froth of misery. It was four or five steps from there to the door, and she managed to make her legs work. She opened the door, closing it behind her as noiselessly as she could, made it to her SUV, opened the door and flopped inside. It took her several tries to get the key into the ignition. Can I even drive? she wondered, giving the key a twist. She would. She had to. She jammed the Lexus into gear.
Paige cried out of hurt. She cried out of rage. Sometimes, when she almost stopped crying, she purposely rehashed thoughts that brought more tears. She looked at the clock. She stared out the window at the moon. Flipped her pillow over. Rolled onto one side and the other. No position was comfortable. The sheets felt like sandpaper.
The bastard. The son of a bitch. He lied to her. Exclusive relationship. He swore it. And Paige felt stupid because she never suspected Millie. Lyudmilla. That fucking bitch. That married dykey bitch. Paige tried to imagine the two of them together and she couldn’t. Not Tanner. Not the man who, through occasional comments about women at the club or ones they ran into socially, always made it plain that he was attracted to women like Paige. Athletic, but feminine. Not like Millie.
The worst for Paige was not knowing what she would do. Would she meet him at Table 4 Four and risk a public scene? Should she stop by his place before her showing in the morning and tear into him privately? Either way, since both of them were regulars at the club, she’d see him there. Maybe there would be a blow-up on the courts, or in the 40/Love Lounge. Could she even keep her membership there, constantly seeing Tanner and Millie together?
By the time she drifted off, the only plan she formulated was to go to get a full battery of tests for STD’s. The thought made her retch. She’d taken a shower when she got home from Tanner’s, using the hand-held shower head to douche all of him she could down the drain. She considered another. Instead, she drifted into fitful slumber.
Paige needed to pull herself together. The couple she’d been working with really liked the house she showed them yesterday afternoon, but they were eager to see the one she was showing this morning. Paige doubted they would put an offer in for today’s house because it was a good twenty grand higher than they said they could go. Yesterday’s was right at their price-point. Today’s might spur them to put an offer on yesterday’s house, or best case, make an offer on today’s. Win/win either way, but Paige had to be on her game to score. She studied her face in the bathroom mirror when she finished doing her makeup. Nope, she didn’t look like a woman who’d been crying most of the night.
What she wasn’t certain of was what she was going to do about Tanner. The motherfucker. She’d made the mistake of getting involved with someone firmly rooted in an important aspect of her life, the tennis club. That was all well and good while the relationship thrived, but now it was dead. Paige loved tennis. She loved the girls she played with at the club. There was no way she was leaving it, but Tanner was an influential and pervasive member. What the hell would she do?
On her way to the office, she just began to put her thoughts back on the couple she was going to meet at nine when her cell chimed. She knew it was Tanner, but she checked to be sure. His number was on the screen. Christ. She swiped “ignore” and kept driving. At the next light, she picked up the phone and considered listening to his message. Before she could decide whether or not to do it, the phone chimed a text announcement.
WILL BE LATE TO LUNCH MUST PICK UP A PACKAGE LOVE YOU–T
It was like a bolt of lightning struck Paige. Probably the closest analogy would be the day back in elementary school when she finally realized a number added to nine was one number less than the number added, but with a one in front of it. Whoa! A shipment. The answer to Paige’s problems just pixilated on her iPhone. Hot damn.
She checked the clock on the dash. There was time. She flicked her turn signal and drifted into the left-turn lane. Walmart loomed through her driver’s-side window. Perfect.
The showing with the young couple went better than Paige could have hoped. They liked today’s house better than the one from the day before, and some extra money mysteriously materialized, allowing them to make an offer that was five grand less than the owners were asking, but fifteen higher than the couple claimed they could go. Happened a lot. People low-balled what they could afford to their realtor, and suddenly offered more than they said they could afford. The world was full of liars. But unlike with lying bastard Tanner, in this case the couple’s lie worked in Paige’s favor. Paige was looking at seven per cent of a bigger purchase price if the sellers took the offer. They were eager to move. Paige was certain they would.
She arrived at Table 4 Four half an hour early, got a window seat and ordered a merlot. She glanced around. She didn’t see anyone she knew, but she wouldn’t have been surprised to see a former client or a fellow realtor.
Tanner said he would be late, so she sipped her wine until ten minutes before their original meeting time before she pulled out the pre-paid cell she bought at Walmart. She dialed 911.
Paige was surprised to find herself using a faked-up raspy voice. “In the next fifteen or twenty minutes, a man will pull into Table 4 Four’s parking lot. He will be driving a silver Cadillac CTS-V coupe. License plate is 1 ST SERV. He will be speeding, and his trunk will be full of steroids and growth hormones. So is the basement of his house at 77222 Riverview Trace. He is a dealer.”
The 911 operator’s voice never wavered. “And what is your name, please?”
“Just believe it,” Paige replied.
Paige keyed off and dropped the cell in her purse. She would drop it in a dumpster somewhere, later. She sipped her merlot and readied herself for the show.
Minutes passed. She didn’t see any police, and began to wonder if the dispatcher believed her. Maybe they only took tips seriously if the caller gave a name. Paige couldn’t see the whole parking lot, but she thought she could see enough to know if police moved in. Nothing obvious.
Tension set in and it felt like her traps were pulling her shoulders toward the ceiling. She relaxed her tongue, the technique Tanner taught her. It really worked for her in tennis and it seemed to work now. The pressure in her neck decreased. But what if the police blew off her tip? What would she say to Tanner if he came striding up to the table? What would she do?
Paige saw Tanner pull off Airport Road and accelerate down the service road toward the restaurant. He drove the way he played tennis, fast and hard. He was flying. Then she saw a marked police cruiser come out of a side road. The cop’s light bar came on immediately, and both cars coasted to the curb. Tanner was out of his car and walking toward the cruiser almost before the cop could pull to a stop. Tanner’s arms were splayed, hands turned upwards—the same gesture he used when questioning a call on the tennis court. The cop was out of his car with his hand on his holstered gun, motioning Tanner back into his. Tanner stood his ground and they wound up in an obviously heated exchange. Another police car pulled up behind the first, and that officer exited with a dog. In less than a minute, the dog was barking and straining against his lead, lunging at the Cadillac. Paige watched in fascination as, just like on TV, the first cop pulled a slip of paper and read while the other cop opened the coupe’s trunk. Tanner kept looking toward the restaurant, almost as though he expected Paige to come out and intervene.
“Would you like another merlot, or would you like to see a menu?” the waitress asked.
“No thank you,” Paige said. “My friend just called and she won’t be able to meet me. I think I’ll just pay for the wine and be on my way.” She pointed through the window and widened her eyes. “My goodness,” she said, with faux alarm. “What do you think is going on out there?”
The waitress looked, just as two more marked police cars sped onto the scene.
“Looks like a bust to me,” she said, as one of the uniformed officers led Tanner to a cruiser. “I’ll have to tell my dad. There might be a nice-looking Caddy at the next police auction.” She ended with a giggle.
Paige looked at the waitress. “Really?”
“Oh, yeah. Happened to a guy down the street. They found marijuana in his car when they stopped him for running a light, then they got a warrant and found a big grow operation in his basement. He lost his house and his car.” She nodded. “They can take everything you’ve got, for sure.” She turned and started to walk away. “I’ll ring your tab.”
The car carrying Tanner was pulling away.
“Wait,” Paige said. She pulled a twenty out of her purse and handed it to the waitress. “We’re good on this.”
“But it was just a seven dollar glass,” the waitress said, when she saw the twenty.
Paige patted the waitress’s arm. “You’re excellent at what you do, and I’m pretty sure I just closed a sale on a very expensive house. Enjoy, and if you know anyone in the market to buy or sell, mention my name.” She slipped the smiling girl her business card.
Paige decided passing her card to the waitress would be the last business she would conduct that day. She called in and told the secretary to mark her out-of-office and headed for the club. Paige might work out, take some steam, or she might find someone to hit balls with. While she did that, she would rehearse the way she needed to act when she heard the horrible news about Tanner Lynch. She would appear surprised and brokenhearted. And Millie, the fucking bitch, would have to look for a new mixed dubs partner. She might even look for a new club. That thought put a smile on Paige’s face.
“Believe it,” she said to her reflection in the rear view mirror.
Christopher T, Werkman is a fiction writer and artist. He holds an MA in art education and taught for 30 years at Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio; and for nine years as an adjunct art instructor at the University of Toledo. Christopher has designed covers for three published novels and a short story collection. A native of Ohio, he lives on a few acres outside Haskins, Ohio with his partner, Karen, and too many cats. When he isn’t writing or painting, he enjoys playing too much golf and tennis, and rides his Ninja too fast anytime there is sufficient traction. Werkman has twenty short stories published in literary magazines and in anthologies. Difficult Lies, his first novel, was published in September of 2015 by Rogue Phoenix Press. See more of Christopher at
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Tags: break ups, Christopher T. Werkman, lies, relationships