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Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 37 & 38

Chapter 37

After Tracy and Cheryl had been dancing to several slow country songs at the Boot Hill Nightclub, and Cheryl had learned that she could trust Tracy to lead her, some quicker country songs came on, the Bellamy Brothers…

“Redneck girl likes to cruise in daddy’s pickup truck,
And a redneck girl plays her heart when she’s down on her luck,
Living for Friday afternoon,
She’s gonna show one ol’ boy that weekend moon.

 And I pray that someday I will find me a redneck girl
A redneck girl likes to stay out all night long
She makes sweet rock and roll while she listens to the country songs
She’s waiting for that moment of surrender
her hands are callused but her heart is tender

And i pray that someday I will find me a redneck girl
Gimme a, gimme a, gimme a redneck girl
Gimme a, gimme a, gimme a redneck girl”

This song has a quicker hoppy rhythm, and funny romantic lyrics.  Cheryl and Tracy were having a good time, and so were the other couples.

Over at the bar, there were some older rancher and farmer men.  One of them said, “Do you know who that is?” to a man whose family ran the stock yards for many years.  He answered, “Yes, I do.  That boy is the son of those folks who own TnT Oilfield Service up by Belfield.”  Several older men at the bar said, “Oh”, all at once.  This was O.K. with them, they did not mind that somebody whose family was from Belfield had come down to Gillette to have a good time.  The fact that the man who ran the stock yards knew who he was, meant that he was somebody.  The bartender overheard all of this, and made a mental note of it.  It was important to know who the wealthy land owner people were out west, they had a lot of control over towns and businesses.

After one more song, Tracy and Cheryl went and sat down at their table.  More people had arrived at the nighclub, and it was more crowded, and noisier.  It was almost too noisy to have a conversation.  Tracy and Cheryl talked just a little, and Cheryl excused herself to the bathroom.

As Cheryl walked to the bathroom and past the people sitting at the bar, she caught everyone’s  attention.  She stood out because of her attractiveness, and her sophistication.  The older farmer and rancher men at the bar were very impressed with Cheryl’s appearance, but they did not leer at her.  Unfortunately, Cheryl also caught the attention of two white trash men at the bar.

The two white trash men at the bar were from Florida.  It is pretty bad when someone is so low skilled, so unreliable, so untrustworthy, so worthless, that they can not get a job anywhere in Florida with a population of 20 million people, and they have to drive all the way to the oil boom in Gillette or North Dakota to get a job.  These two white trash, for most of their lives, had been kicked out of school, apartments, trailer parks, bars, and nightclubs.  They had nothing, and nothing to lose.

These two white trash men turned their attention to Cheryl.  When Cheryl came back from the bathroom and had to walk past the bar, one of these men called out to her, “Hey, how’s it going?”, like they knew her.  Cheryl looked at them and kept going back to her table.  The old farmer and rancher men at the bar did not like this, nor did the bartender, but none of them said anything to the two white trash men.  The two white trash men got the wrong impression that they could do what they wanted.

Chapter 38

The two white trash men watched Cheryl walk back to her table and sit down with some 20 year old guy who was well dressed.  They looked over the guy that she was with, sizing him up.  He was wearing a white long sleeve dress shirt, they figured he must be some business person or sales person.

Tracy got Cheryl to come dance with him some more.  The happy Zac Brown Band song was playing…

“You know I like my chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I was raised up beneath the shade of a Georgia pine
And that’s home you know
Sweet tea pecan pie and homemade wine
Where the peaches grow
And my house it’s not much to talk about
But it’s filled with love that’s grown in southern ground
And a little bit of chicken fried”

Tracy and Cheryl were having a good time.  This was infuriating to the two white trash men at the bar as they watched the two of them.  They had not been able to pick up any women in a long, long time.  They wanted Cheryl very badly, and they also wanted to beat the fuck out of Tracy.

Right as the song was ending, one of them slammed his beer down on the bar angrily, and headed out on to the dance floor.  The bartender looked up, the old farmer and rancher men took notice of the angry white trash man heading out onto the dance floor straight for Tracy and Cheryl.  One of the old farmers said, “Uh, oh, this ain’t good.”

The white trash man confronted Tracy and Cheryl, “Hey, I’d like a dance. Not with you, with her.  Come on now.”  Cheryl was taken aback and looked shocked.  Tracy said, “No, I don’t think so.”  The white trash man said, “So what you going to do about it punk!”

The white trash man didn’t know it, but he had hit the jackpot as far as fucking with someone in a bar.  Tracy had hated stupid ignorant construction laborers since he was very young.  Tracy’s father had had to have a talk with him about not getting into fights with the employee workers when he was about 12 years old and working with his father and brothers on construction projects.  Since Tracy was about fourteen working in his family’s oilfield service business, he had had to deal with white trash workers.  For the past two years managing the company shop and yard, he had to deal with white trash oil field workers every day.  Tracy hated oil field white trash, especially white trash from the South.

Now, at this moment, a white trash worker from the South was accosting him and his girlfriend, and ruining his date that he had to drive four hours to get to.  Tracy did not hesitate for a second to step forward and smash the white trash in the jaw as hard as he could, the second right hand to the white trash man’s cheek bone was even harder as he had fallen down a little lower and backwards onto a table.  As far as everybody witnessing this was concerned, it was not a matter of whether the white trash man was getting up, it was a matter of whether he was dead or not.  A bystander farmer out on the dance floor quickly checked to see if the man on the ground tangled up in the chairs was dead, and he quickly announced, “I don’t think he’s dead!”  And everybody was relieved temporarily.

Cheryl was in shock.  Tracy asked her if she was O.K., and he said to her come on let’s get your coat, and get out of here.  None of the nightclub staff or the patrons had any hard feelings against Tracy or Cheryl, or any sympathy for the two white trash men.  No one stopped Tracy or Cheryl as they left the nightclub.  A few of the other husband and wife couples began gathering their things to leave too, it was not that they were mad, it was just time to go now, and they didn’t want to be around any police or paramedics.  These people leaving all at once would just help the staff and the remaining patrons to say, that they did not know who it was who hit this guy, and that everybody around what happened had all left.

Out in the parking lot, Cheryl said to Tracy, “I have got to go.  I’ll be O.K., I got a hotel room in town, I want to be alone now.  You need to go now, you need to leave right away.  I will call you later.  Goodbye.”  Cheryl got in her Subaru and left quickly.  Tracy got in his Dodge truck and left quickly.

The white trash man took about fifteen minutes to get re-oriented enough to walk out with his friend.  The nightclub staff did not show any sympathy or any feeling of responsibility for what had happened, and did not say a word to him.  He did not go to the hospital this night, because he did not know that his jaw was broken and that his cheek bone was broken.

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 33 & 34

Chapter 33

Cheryl had left Cheyenne, Wyoming early in the afternoon on Saturday so that she would arrive in Gillette, Wyoming at approximately 3:30 p.m.  She wanted to check into the Arbuckle Lodge in Gillette, and then go and see the Prime Rib Restaurant & Wine Cellar before her date with Tracy.  She wanted to plan ahead the safest place to park her vehicle, and she wanted to see where the restaurant exits were in case she needed to escape from her date.

Cheryl had stopped at Taco Bell on the way to Gillette to get a drink and a couple of burritos.  She did not want to be hungry at dinner.  She wanted to focus on Tracy, and not be distracted by food and being hungry.  Also, she did not want to appear to be a hungry pig on her dinner date.

She checked into the Arbuckle Lodge at 3:30 p.m., everything was fine there.  Then she drove over to the Prime Rib Restaurant & Wine Cellar, just to quickly peak inside.  It was very Wyoming-ish inside, not very cosmopolitan.  Cheryl decided that she would be more comfortable wearing pants to dinner instead of a dress.

Cheryl went back to the hotel.  It was 4:15 p.m.  She might have liked to call one of her friends to let them know how things were going, if she had any friends, but she didn’t.  That is one of the reasons why Cheryl felt that she had to be careful all the time. If something happened to her, no one would know.  If something ever happened to her, the only people who would notice her missing, would be the people at her job, who might try to call her, but none of them knew what was going on in her life.  They wouldn’t know what to think.

Cheryl had learned a long time ago, not to trust other women.  Cheryl was intelligent and attractive, and it seemed to her that other women would sometimes want to be friends with her, but these friendships would never work out.  She would become more and more annoyed by the foolishness of these women friends, and at the same time these women friends would be getting more and more annoyed with Cheryl for being so analytical and disciplined.  Eventually, Cheryl could detect that most of the women that had wanted to be friends with her, actually came to dislike her, and this would come out in sarcastic comments, thinly veiled insults and put downs, undermining, sabotage, and betraying confidences.  With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Cheryl also learned not to trust men her own age.  They typically did not know very much, about anything, though they thought that they did.  Men her own age would put on an act around her, either trying to appear intelligent and considerate, or trying to appear tough and confident.  In just a short while, she would always end up finding out that these men her own age were self-centered, insecure, weak, needy, and immature.

Cheryl felt that her mental and emotional equivalent in a male was always someone that was ten to fifteen years older than her.  The only good relationships that she had, were her work relationships with men that were ten to fifteen years older than her, some of them were married men.  They were dependable.  They were always where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing.  They did their work competently, and they appreciated her work.  They did not make any passes at her, they did not make any lewd comments, they did not pry into her personal life.  They were steady in their temperament.  They did not do anything destructive.  They were providers for their wives and children, they were not selfish.

The last thing in the world that Cheryl would have ever done, considering that she was always so careful, and only ever got along with men that were ten to fifteen years older than her, was go on a date with someone sixteen years younger than herself.

Chapter 34

Tracy had an O.K. drive from Belfield, North Dakota down to Gillette, Wyoming, though it took him a little over four hours.  He used that time to think about everything that he was not supposed to do.  He needed to not do anything that would reveal he was only 20 years old, and that he was not Jewish.  Even though he thought that Cheryl was attractive, that is why he picked her, and that is why he was willing to drive for four hours to meet her, having sex with her was not his goal.  Having sex with her would probably even make it more difficult to get what he wanted.  He wanted to know what Jewish people were like, how they behaved, what they talked about, what things did they do, how did they see things.

As soon as this oil boom was over, and his father would let him leave Belfield, he wanted to move to New York City.  He wanted to enroll in a college and study music, theater, dance, art, and literature.  He wanted to be a composer.  He  wanted to write musicals.  All of the best composers and playwrights were Jewish.  He didn’t know any Jews.  If he could get to know Cheryl, this would help him a great deal he thought.

Tracy arrived in Gillette about half an hour before his dinner date with Cheryl.  He stopped at a convenience store to get a Coke and wait until it was closer to 6:30 p.m.  He knew right where the Prime Rib Restaurant & Wine Cellar was.  He was not about to get there early, go to wait at the bar, and because he would be alone at that point, they would ask him for his ID, which he couldn’t show them because he was only 20.

Tracy arrived at the Prime Rib Restaurant & Wine Cellar right at 6:30 p.m.  Being young and 6′-1″, Tracy walked quickly, he was in the front door and over to the bar where Cheryl was sitting before any nosy hostess got in his way, “Hello Cheryl, I’m Tracy”, he said, as he put out his hand to Cheryl.  There was not any chance for awkwardness, he had moved so fast and been so direct.  Cheryl put her hand in his without any hesitation.  Tracy was very handsome, and nicely dressed.  Cheryl was adorable looking.

The hostess was there with two menus, “Would you like to be seated now?  Right this way.”  Having some sense about these two, the hostess offered to seat them in a booth, where they would have more privacy, which was fine with Tracy and Cheryl.  The hostess mentioned to the waitress, that this appeared to be a first date, and they might not want to be rushed.

It was good luck for Tracy and Cheryl, that their waitress was not an idiot, she did not interrupt them every two minutes to disrupt their conversation.  Dinner was the last and least important thing on their minds.

As Tracy and Cheryl sat across the table from each other, Cheryl thought to herself that it had been a very long time since she had seen a man as handsome as Tracy, and so nicely dressed.  Tracy was thinking to himself, that never in his life before had he seen a woman like this, she was so attractive, healthy, well groomed, professional, and sophisticated.  He began to feel like an imposter, that he was not worthy of her, he was just a kid.

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 27 & 28

Chapter 27

In the morning, after all of the work crews had left the TnT Oilfield Service yard in Belfield, Tracy got out his digital camera and asked the company book keeper and administrative woman, to take a picture of him, sitting behind his desk.  In order to avoid too much suspicion and gossip, Tracy would have to wait until his younger sister got out of school and came to work, to then get her to take his picture out beside his truck.  This would have to take place before any of the work crews began returning to the company yard, he didn’t want them to see this going on.

At work, Tracy began to realize that if he were going to go on a date with that 36 year old woman in Gillette, he would have to look older, more professional, and Jewish.  Tracy did some internet searches to see what 30 year old professional men were wearing in New York City.  There was no time to order something off the internet, have it shipped, and have it not fit right.  He thought that he had better go to Herbergers in the Prairie Hills Mall to see if he could find something.  If not, he would have to drive the 120 miles to Bismarck.

When Tracy got off work at 6:00 p.m., he drove to the Prairie Hills Mall in Dickinson, and parked his truck on the west side, near the Herbergers entrance.  When he walked in, there was Rachel, who he had gone to high school with in Belfield, working at the cosmetics counter.  “Hey Tracy!” she said, “Are you here to buy something to wear at Amber and Cory’s wedding?”  Tracy said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe.”

Rachel had always thought that Tracy was handsome, but he was always serious, and appeared to be in a bad mood.  She had known Tracy ever since first grade.  In elementary school, she had seen that he was O.K. in sports, but in high school, he didn’t play football, basketball, baseball, or do wrestling.  He just went home after school.  She thought that maybe his father had him work after school, and wouldn’t let him play sports.  That is what happened to some kids in Belfeild.

Tracy had always thought that Rachel was pretty.  She was popular, and well liked.  He thought that she was a little silly, and not very serious about anything.  He could not relate to, or understand, people that did not see that there was something wrong with Belfield.  There were only about 1,000 people living around Belfield.  Why would anyone want to stay around Belfield?  He figured that she was one of those people, like Amber and Cory, that would get married right out of high school, have kids, and be stuck here for the rest of their lives.

Chapter 28

Tracy walked all around the men’s department in Herbergers to see what they had before he decided on anything.  He told the sales girl that he did not need any help when she asked, because he knew that her helping, would mean that she would start asking a bunch of questions.  Mostly what he had at home in his closet were western style shirts, mostly with checked or striped patterns, some with bright colors, Carhart jackets, and boots.  He did not want to look like a farmer or rancher on this date.

Tracy picked out two long sleeve, solid color dress shirts, one white, one light blue.  He picked out one very expensive dark grey Pierre Cardin wool coat, and one light grey wool blazer.  A black dress belt, and a brown dress belt.  A pair of black, and a pair of brown business dress shoes.  This was still North Dakota, and Wyoming, he was going to wear jeans.  He paid for everything that he picked out at Herbergers, $1,000, and then drove over to Runnings Farm & Fleet to buy two new pairs of dark blue denim Carhart jeans.  He felt better already.

The sales girl at Herbergers was very impressed at what Tracy had bought and how much money he had spent, like it was nothing.  She went over and talked to Rachel at the cosmetics counter after Tracy had left.  Rachel explained to her that Tracy worked at his father’s company TnT Oilfield Service, and that they probably were making a lot of money.  It did make an impression on Rachel, the things that Tracy was buying, and she wondered what Tracy was up to.  She had seen Tracy leave and get into a new silver Dodge 2500 mega cab 4×4 diesel truck, which she knew cost about $50,000.

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 23 & 24

Chapter 23

Cheryl Rosenfeld was a melancholy person.  Years had passed with her living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, feeling lonely and alone.  She would have liked to have met someone that she was compatible with, but she never did.  Realizing that her life was passing before her eyes, she wanted to try to do more, and make more of an effort to meet someone.  That is why she created a user profile on the internet dating site for Jewish people, JDate.com.

Creating her user profile on JDate.com had initially given Cheryl some hope.  But when she did a search for men in her area, there were very few men, and they were men that she could tell just from looking at their photograph, that she was not interested.  She was even more depressed when these men began sending her messages.  She did not want to communicate with them, or deal with them.

It was a big surprise to her when she checked her messages one morning and she saw the photograph of a very handsome man from Belfield, North Dakota, Tracy Fisher.  He looked like the actor Warren Beaty when he was young, only bigger, 6′-1″, athletic build, never married, no children.  At first, Cheryl thought that this was too good to be true, this must be some gimmick from JDate.com, a fake profile created by them in order to make her not lose interest and remain a member.

Cheryl re-read all of the profile information for the user Tracy Fisher.  There was some discrepancy between what JDate said his age was, 20 years old, and what Tracy wrote about himself in his description, saying that he was 30 years old.  Everything else was very appealing to Cheryl.  She thought there must be something wrong, he is too good looking, maybe that isn’t his real photograph, I bet that isn’t really how he looks.  I wonder why he used his actual first and last name as his user name?

Before Cheryl was going to reply to Tracy Fisher, she was going to try to find as much about him on the internet as she could.

Chapter 24

Cheryl spent about forty minutes before work, and forty-five minutes at lunch, looking up Tracy Fisher, Belfield, North Dakota, on the internet.  On the good side, she was not able to find any record of any criminal activity for Tracy Fisher. But she was not able to find out very much information about Tracy Fisher at all.  There was a construction company owned by Tom Fisher in Belfield, but there were more than several companies owned by the Fishers in Dickinson.  It came to the point that she felt she had just better message Tracy back, and ask him some questions.

That evening when Cheryl got home from work, she sent Tracy a message acknowledging that she had received his message, and that she wanted to know more about him.  She wanted to appear that she was just being civil and polite in asking him about himself, but she actually wanted to catch him in his lies.

If Tracy seemed truthful enough, she would not mind driving the three hours to Gillette, Wyoming to meet him for a date, which is what Tracy had proposed in his very first message to her.  He would have a four hour drive to get there from Belfield, North Dakota.  She wouldn’t mind meeting him far away from where she lived in Cheyenne.  She would not have to be at all concerned about someone she knew witnessing her on a possible fiasco date.  She thought that she would probably get a hotel room so that she would not have to drive back to Cheyenne that night, but she wasn’t going to tell him that.

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 19 & 20

Chapter 19

Rob took a shower and got dressed.  He wanted to eat dinner with his mother and father so that he would not have to buy dinner when he went out this evening.  He put on moderately clean white athletic shoes, close fitting faded jeans, and a close fitting grey t-shirt.  Rob was not tall, he was only 5′-9″, not muscular, thin, weighing about 155 lbs.  Most young men fitting this description would feel the need to compensate for being so ordinary, by working out in the gym every day, wearing expensive clothes, expensive shoes, or jewelry, but Rob did not have to compensate.  Somehow, women were attracted to him without him making any effort at all.

He sat down at the dinner table with his mother and father who were in their early fifties.  They were having chopped steak, macaroni & cheese, and canned green beans.  This meal was typical of what his mother had been preparing for the last 21 years.  His mother asked him if anything exciting happened today at Rob’s work, and Rob replied “no”.  Rob’s father did not look up or say anything.  If anyone ever wanted to know why Rob was so non communicative, they would only have to watch him and his mother and father eating dinner to figure out why.

In his mother and father’s minds, they had never been expecting much from Rob, themselves, or each other.  They were not disappointed in him, or dis-satisfied with him.  They did not spend very much time thinking about him, or worrying about him.

Rob had the routine of starting out at Players Club on the north end of Dickinson at about 6:00 p.m.  Professional women, accountants, bankers, human resources, would leave work at 5:30 p.m. to go to Players Club to have a few drinks before they went home.  The women would be sitting at tables in groups when Rob would walk in and go sit at the bar.  Virtually all of the women would notice him.  Wound up from office work, acting up with their girl friends, and affected by alcohol, within seconds each woman would be planning how to make a pass at Rob.

Even though their table was being served by a waitress, one woman would suddenly need to go to the bar and squeeze beside Rob to grab some cocktail napkins, brushing her breasts or pushing her bottom against him.  Another woman would suddenly have to make a trip to the bathroom and try to get Rob’s attention as she walked by.  Another woman would go to the other side of the bar in front of Rob and be delayed there with some kind of business long enough to get Rob’s attention.  Rob would just look at each of them, and not say anything.  Each of the women were temporarily satisfied they had gotten Rob’s attention.

The advantage of meeting the professional women at Players Club, was that these women usually had their own apartment or house.  Rob was not able to take women home, because he lived with his mother and father.  Another advantage was, they wanted Rob to leave after they got done having sex, they had to get up and go to work in the morning, and they would not be able to sleep soundly with some strange guy that they didn’t know being in their house.  This was fine with Rob, he didn’t want to stay, he would still have time to go to Applebees, or if it was later, the Paragon Bowling Alley.

Chapter 20

Rachel got off work at Herbergers at 9:00 p.m. and drove over to Applebees with several coworkers.  Within a few minutes of being seated, she saw Rob walk in and sit at the bar.  Rachel was a little taken aback, she had not expected to see him, but she was kind of intrigued at how relaxed and self assured he seemed.  Most men his age acted more insecure and frantic.

At first, Rachel was so hoping that Rob wouldn’t see her, and wouldn’t try to come and join her.  After five minutes passed, Rachel  couldn’t understand why Rob hadn’t seen her.  After another five minutes had passed, Rachel was thinking that the least Rob could do, would be to come over and say hello to her.  After another five minutes had passed, Rachel was walking over to the bar to squeeze next to Rob to grab some cocktail napkins, nearly knocking 155 lb Rob off his stool.  Oh, “Hi, Rob, I didn’t see you, she said innocently”, and quickly walked away back to her table.

Rob thought that he had better go try to sit next to her, even though he didn’t want to talk to her and her friends.  Rob picked up his drink from the bar, and slowly and casually walked over to the table with Rachel and her friends.  All four young women did not take their eyes off him as he walked over.  They had all noticed that Rachel had deliberately gone over there to get his attention.  It wasn’t like he was uninvited.

Each of Rachel’s friends had the initial impression that Rob was kind of goofy looking, but he was confident.  He was permitted to sit down beside Rachel.  As they listened to him speak, he didn’t have anything too important or significant to say.  However, as he spoke, one by one, Rachel and each of her friends, became distracted by the scent of some nice perfume, that they hadn’t before noticed that any of them were wearing, and each of them could not figure out where it was coming from.  One by one, they realized it was Rob that smelled like expensive women’s perfume.

As each of the young women realized and suspected that Rob must have recently been entangled with, and had freed himself from some “mystery woman”, their interest in him intensified, and each of them formulated in their own mind how best to find out more about this Rob person.

One of the young ladies was the first to ask, “So Rob, what do you do?”  After Rob replied that he was a driver for United Express, each of Rachel’s friends said to themselves, “Oooohhh.”  Each of Rachel’s friends was thinking, but not saying, “Do you make many deliveries to Rachel’s house?”  Even though Rachel’s friends didn’t say it out loud, Rachel could tell what they were thinking, and Rachel began to turn red in the face.  Her friends began laughing at her.  Rob was thinking, that this wasn’t helping him, and he planned to extricate himself soon, only willing to take a few more questions from the young ladies.  “Rob, where do you live?”  He answered, “Over by Trinity High School.”  “Oh, do you live in those nice town homes on the top of the hill there?”  Rob answered, “No, I live in a house.”  To end their questioning, Rob said that he had to go, and that it was nice meeting all of them.  They all said, “Bye Rob!”

They watched Rob walk out the door, and get into his white Subaru WRX, and drive away.  Now that they each knew approximately where he lived, and what car he drove, this began their hobby of Rob tracking, which they weren’t the only women in Dickinson with this same hobby.

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 17 & 18

Chapter 17

Rachel drove her bright blue Jeep Wrangler on Old Highway 10 to Dickinson.  She had gotten this Jeep in the summer after her junior year in high school.  She had learned to drive using her mother and father’s trucks, but after she could drive O.K., her mother and father wanted her to have her own good reliable vehicle so that she could drive both herself and her sister to school in Belfield.  Her parents made a very large down payment on the Jeep, so that Rachel would be able to afford the monthly payments, and begin establishing a good credit history.

In North Dakota, on some days in the winter, it is 20 degrees below zero degrees Fahrenheit, with high winds, and heavy snow fall, blizzard conditions.  In blizzard conditions, it is hard to tell where the road is, where the edge of pavement is, and it is easy to drive off the road.  If you have four-wheel drive, you can get back on the road and make it to where you are going.  Most people in North Dakota try to have a four-wheel drive vehicle, especially for their wives and daughters.

When the oil boom began in 2006, many rural families were approached by oil company “land men” offering to lease the mineral rights from the family in order to be able to drill an oil well on their property.  Even adjacent land owners who did not actually have an oil well on their property, were legally entitled to a share of the oil well revenue when the oil well began producing.  In many rural areas, an oil well on just one farm property, could mean that the farmer who owned that land, his adjacent neighbors, and each of their adult children, and adult grandchildren, might end up receiving some money when the oil well began producing.  Some of this money was distributed according to specific legal requirements, some through family agreements, and some through the whim of the family patriarch or matriarch.

This oil revenue money that trickled down through the families that had lived and farmed in western North Dakota for many years, was why Rachel, many of the students in Rachel’s high school, and many of the students in other rural high schools, had $20,000 to $30,000 trucks, Jeeps, and SUVs.  It was not the the families were showing off, it was that they wanted their kids to be able to go to and from school, to and from their friends’ homes, safely, without getting stuck, without breaking down, and without mom and dad having to come and get them.

Chapter 18

Rachel arrived at the Prairie Hills Mall in Dickinson shortly before 2:00 p.m. She worked at the cosmetics counter at Herbergers, which is the only upscale department store in the Mall, or Dickinson for that matter.  Any person who is a business professional, or someone who has a wedding to go to, an important event, or a date, can buy any dress clothes that they needed in Herbergers.  From the Montanna border to the west, and from the Wyoming and South Dakota border to the south, Herbergers was the closest, and only store, to buy business and dress clothing, and accessories.

Rachel liked working at the cosmetics counter.  It was fun to her and not difficult.  She saw many of her friends from high school, Belfield, Dickinson, and Dickinson State University.  Often times when she got off work at 9:00 p.m., she would go to Applebees across the street with her friends and coworkers.  If it was Friday night or Saturday night, she and her friends and coworkers might go to El Sombrero across the street, Don Pedros, Players Club, or if it got past midnight Paragon Bowling Alley which stays open 24 hours on the weekend.

Rachel was not usually able to get into the bars in Dickinson because she was still only 20 years old.  In some of the restaurants that she went to with her friends, if her friends were all over 21, and the server did not object when drink orders were placed, she was able to order a mixed drink with her friends.  On weekends, Rachel and her girlfriends always knew about at least several parties going on, whether in Belfield, South Heart, Dickinson, or New England.

This was the most care free time of Rachel’s life.  Her mother and father did not ask her to do anything.  She no longer had the stress of the DSU nursing program.  She did not have to get up in the morning.  Her job was easy and fun, much of work was spent socializing with people who would invite her to go places after work.

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 15 & 16

Chapter 15

Rachel was surprised to see her mother home from work so early, and she was a little rattled that her mother arrived just after Rob had left.  She hadn’t even had a chance to pick the things up in her bed room that had fallen off the wall shelves.

Rachel normally got showered and dressed around 11:00 a.m.  She did not have to be at work at Herbergers department store in the Prairie Hills Mall in Dickinson until 2:00 p.m.  Normally, after she got dressed, picked up her room, and straightened up in the living room, that was when her mother arrived home for lunch.

Rachel’s mother Susan did not ever eat very much at lunch.  It took her about twenty minutes to drive home from the gas company that she worked for in Belfield.  She could only spend twenty to twenty-five minutes at home before she had to drive back to work.  It was just a chance to get away from work.  Rachel’s mother Susan, like many women, did not want to try to stop anywhere in Belfield during lunch because of the oil field workers.

Susan was forty-five years old, and still moderately attractive.  Within two years after the start of the oil boom in 2006, she had had enough of being complimented, approached, and asked out every day by all of the men that came to work in Belfield because of the oil boom.  Susan, like all of the other women in Belfield, had learned that you absolutely avoid going to the convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, banks, and restaurants between 5:00 a.m to 9:00 a.m, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and after 4:30 p.m.  Even if the oil field workers didn’t say anything, they ogled you.

The twenty minutes that Susan had at home, was when she was able to talk to Rachel without her husband John, or her other daughter Christine being around.  It was fine with Susan and her husband that Rachel was working at Herbergers, which paid Rachel enough to make the payments on her Jeep Wrangler and have her own spending money.  Rachel was considerate in bringing home cosmetics and clothing for her mother, and her sister which they both liked.

Since Rachel had quit attending Dickinson State University after completing her second semester last Spring, there was much less drama, chaos, and stressful discussions.  Everything was fairly normal and peaceful at home.  Rachel and her mother Susan had less interesting lives than Christine, who was in her senior year at Belfield High School.

Chapter 16

Rachel had been an O.K. student at Belfield High School.  She was a “B” student, and did not worry or stress over her school work.  She was in Future Farmers of America, and competed in High School rodeo barrel racing.  She was not the most popular girl, but she was well liked.  It came as a surprise to her when she was picked as Home Coming Queen, but not so much to her parents, because Rachel was attractive, good natured, and not really disliked by anyone.

Rachel had thought that she wanted to be a nurse.  It was not that she was driven or compelled to be a nurse, she just thought that it was a respectable profession for women, and that it paid well.  When she first started attending Dickinson State University in the Fall after graduating from high school, she did not take any nursing courses, just general education courses: math, biology, English, western civilization, and Spanish.  She enjoyed going to class, met a lot of people, had a good time, and made “A”s and “B”s.  Her parents were happy, and she was happy.  Her future looked bright.

In Rachel’s second semester at DSU, she enrolled in two nursing classes.  Rachel knew that she needed to do well in her nursing classes because this is what she wanted to do as a profession.  She was alert and attentive in class, but each class made her feel like she had mis-stepped, and was inadequate.  For about one month, she kept her feeling of failure in her nursing classes to herself.  Her mother, father, and sister could see a change in her, she was not herself.  In the second month of her Spring semester, Rachel began talking to her mother about her inability to do well in her nursing classes.  Rachel said that she was paying attention, studying, doing all of her assignments to the best of her ability, but it wasn’t good enough as far as her professors were concerned.

Rachel’s mother and father did not know what to think, they were at a loss, neither of them had attended college.  They thought that their daughter was bright, normal, and was trying hard, they didn’t know what else that she could do.  They asked her how the other girls in her class were doing, Rachel thought that they were all doing better than her.  Her parents suggested to Rachel that she might talk to the other girls in her class to see if they had any suggestions that might help her.

When Rachel started talking to some of the other girls in her nursing class that she liked and thought seemed nice, they told Rachel to her surprise, that they thought she was doing better than they were.  They thought that she was very brave to speak in class or say anything, they were too scared to even speak for fear of looking stupid.  Rachel made friends with several of these girls in her nursing class, they studied together, and went out to eat together at Applebees, King Buffet, and El Sombrero, and kind of had a support group.  They all made it through that Spring semester at DSU making “C”s in nursing, but all four of them decided that nursing was not for them.

Rachel no longer wanted to attend Dickinson State University after that Spring semester, in part because of her negative experience, and in part because she did not know what she wanted to do as a career now.  Her mother and father did not disagree with Rachel’s decision to no longer attend DSU.  They knew that their daughter was trying hard, and they didn’t want to see her upset, depressed, and doubting herself, thinking that she was stupid.  Her mother, father, and sister were relieved when she said that she didn’t want to go to DSU anymore.

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 13 & 14

Chapter 13

Tracy had to remain at the TnT company office until 6:00 p.m. in order to be there if there were any material or equipment deliveries.  After 6:00 p.m., there were still TnT crews working out in the oil field, but it would be the responsibility of each crew to put their trucks in the shop building, and shut and lock the garage doors after themselves.  The last TnT company crew truck might not get back to the company yard until as late as 9 or 10 p.m., so nobody expected anyone in the office to stick around and wait for the last truck to get back.

At 6:00 p.m., Tracy was the last person to leave the TnT company office.  He had a five mile drive to his parents’ house further north of Belfield.  Tracy had lived in this same house ever since he was born.  The house had started out as a very small one-story farm house when it was built in the early 1900s.  It was later added on to at least three different times.  The last time that it was added on to was 2009.  The family business had just had two highly profitable years, and his father Tom, was confident that there would be at least several more good years.  His father just dreamed about it for two years before he finally did it.  A massive two-story addition to the end of the house.  Below was a very large and tall, three-truck garage, up top was four bedrooms, one for each of the kids who were now all in their teens.  His father must have partly conceived this, knowing that he wanted all of the children to stay and work in the family business, and not wanting there to be an excuse for any one of them to leave.

Tracy went up to his room, wanting to block out everything about Belfield, except for the bright red sun set over the grasslands, that he couldn’t help but see through his bedroom window.

Most all of the oil field workers Tracy’s age could not wait to get to the bars in Belfield, South Heart, and Dickinson once they got off of work.  Working out in the barren grasslands all day, they could not wait to get into civilization, to eat, drink, and socialize.  But Tracy had lived here all of his life, he didn’t want to be here anymore.  He did not want to be around loud, boisterous, young construction workers anymore.  He did not care about hunting.  He did not care about mudding, four-wheeling, or snowmobiling.  He just wanted out of here.

Chapter 14

Tracy began looking through the NYU college catalogue that he had recieved that day.  He was reading about the different courses and course descriptions that would lead to a bachelor of arts in theater, music, film, or dance.  He was not dead set on attending NYU, but he wanted to live and go to school in New York City.  To his knowledge, all of the greatest American composers, musicians, playwrights, choreographers, dancers, artists, and writers had lived in New York City.  From what he had read, he believed that the art culture and intellectual culture in New York City was what inspired and fed the creativity of the artists that lived there.  He wanted to be there.  He did not ever think that he would be able to compose great music, become a playwright, direct a musical, anything, without studying and living in New York.

Tracy had enjoyed playing music with his family when he was a kid, but he became more and more frustrated that everyone else in his family was just treating it as a hobby that they could just pick up and put down.  His father Tom did not like, encourage, or enable Tracy to become more involved in artistic things or spend a great deal of time on music lessons.  His father made sure that when Tracy was not in school, or doing his homework, there was his share of farm work to do.

As Tracy got older, he tried to understand why his father was trying to steer him away from anything creative or artistic.  For one thing, it was obvious that his father wanted him to work in the family business, TnT Construction, and later TnT Oil Field Service.  But besides that, was there something else?

Tracy could only speculate that his father never did like pot-smoking, drug using, artistic hippie people.  There were a lot of people his father’s age around Dickinson and Belfield that his father couldn’t stand, and called them “worthless and useless”, and did not want them around when they sometimes came to TnT to put in an application.  Tracy could not help but see the logic in his father’s thinking, that you couldn’t have flaky, unreliable, lazy, people working in the family business.  But here again, Tracy and his father did not see eye-to-eye on this either.

Tracy could not stand working with flaky, unreliable, lazy, stupid people.  Even when Tracy was in his early teens, and working with his father, brothers, and a few construction worker employees, Tracy’s father could see that Tracy was not getting along with the construction workers.  At that time, Tom had to have a talk with Tracy explaining that not everybody was the same, not everybody was like him and his brothers, not everybody was smart, that sometimes they would have people working with them that were not smart, and that he would have to just keep quiet about it and try to get the job done with them.  But as Tracy got older, he was often at odds with the people working at TnT.

Tom began to understand that he had to be careful about what he had Tracy do for TnT.  Rather than tell Tracy he was in charge of installing a cattle guard, he had to tell Tracy to load, deliver, and unload the cattle guard, so and so would run the backhoe and put it in place.  He could not put Tracy in charge, because Tracy was too impatient and critical with the workers, they would likely either walk off the job or there would be a fight.  As Tracy got older, he began to realize this too, and he did not want to be in charge, he did not want to be working for his family business here in Belfield anyway.

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 11 & 12

Chapter 11

Tracy was happy for a brief moment when he saw Rob with United Express turning into the TnT company yard north of Belfield.  Tracy said to himself, “I hope this is my college catalogue from NYU, and not some hardware or pipe fittings.”  When he saw Rob step down from his seat with a small, lightweight package, Tracy was relieved.

Rob brought him brief moments of happiness whenever he delivered his CDs, DVDs, and books.  Tracy could have just as easily, and more cheaply, had these things delivered by regular mail, but he didn’t want to wait.  He took his package from Rob’s outstretched hand, and Rob immediately turned and climbed back into his United Express van and drove away.  Tracy thought to himself, “That guy is kind of strange and peculiar.  I remember one weekend I saw him pulled over off the side of the road using his phone to take a picture of a dead pheasant that had jut been hit by a car.”

Tracy was not going to open the small package that he had just received from United Express, because he didn’t want anyone seeing, commenting on, or picking up his NYU college catalogue.  All of the people in his family were musically talented, they could all play more than one instrument, but none of them had any interest in music beyond Folk and Country.  At home he would be much less likely to be ridiculed for his interests, but at the shop and out in the field, his father and brothers would bring things up in order to get a laugh out of the workers.  Tracy didn’t want to hear any jokes, queries, or comments about him wanting to go to New York from the workers and the people in the office, that the sight of this college catalogue would certainly trigger.

Chapter 12

After all of the packages in Rob’s delivery van had been delivered by 3:00 p.m., he headed back to Dickinson.  Even though the one inch long wood screw that he had forced into the front tire of his delivery van had not caused it to lose much air, he went ahead and squirted the whole can of Fix-a-Flat into the tire.  Rob did not want to have to explain to his supervisor Gary how the tire went flat out in the badlands, but it later held air just fine without needing repair, so he squirted the whole can of Fix-a-Flat into the tire to make it look like it had been leaking air.

Rob arrived back in Dickinson at 3:45 p.m., checked in with his supervisor Gary, did some paper work, and clocked out at 4:00 p.m.  This was about the normal, usual time that Rob clocked out.  He got in his car, a white Subaru WRX, and drove back to his parents’ house in Dickinson where he lived.

In Dickinson, especially once the oil boom started in 2006, most of the local people did not move out of their parents’ home for several years after graduating from High School.  Before the oil boom, there were so few jobs in Dickinson, that young people had a hard time finding and getting a job that would pay enough for them to get a place of their own.  Now that there was an oil boom going on, young people could make a lot more money, but now the cost of an old one-bedroom apartment in Dickinson was $1,500 per month.  Rob was making very good money for someone who was 21 years old, $750 per week with overtime, but he was using this money to make the payments on the $20,000 Subaru WRX that he bought.

Back at his parents’ house, Rob began taking things out of his cargo pants pockets before he took them off to be washed: car keys, pocket knife, change, wallet, aluminum foil, zip-lock bag with pheasant feathers in it, condoms…what’s this?  There was a tear in each of the two remaining condom wrappers. Where did this come from?  Rob thought, “Did that wood screw I had in my pocket tear a hole in these, or was it the quills on the pheasant feathers that did this?”

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 7 & 8

Chapter 7

Rob and Rachel were both sweating and panting, Rob more so than Rachael.  After sitting on the side of Rachel’s bed for less than a minute, Rob pulled his pants up, he hadn’t even taken off his pants or his shoes.  He had learned from experience, that this is the way you do it when you are at work.  Rachel figured as much.

No words were exchanged.  Their breathing returned to closer to normal within a few minutes as they both sat there.  Rob got up and walked out without saying anything or looking back.  Rachel didn’t look out the window after him as he got into his delivery van and drove away.

Rachel wanted to take a shower right away and she did.  She took longer this time.  She thought about different things and paid no attention to time.

As Rob drove away from the house, he tried to collect and straighten himself out.  Seeing if his shoes were tied, making sure his shirt was tucked in and his pants buttoned and zipped.  Looking at his face in the mirror, fixing his shirt collar.  Making sure that he was all in order and not missing anything.  It was not until he reached Highway 85 that he remembered to remove the aluminum foil from the GPS tracking unit under the dashboard of his delivery van.

Chapter 8

Rachel’s mother Susan had to take her lunch break early this day.  Her co-worker had to leave at noon and would be gone for the remainder of the day due to a doctor’s appointment in Bismarck.  Rachel’s mother worked in Belfield for a gas company.  It was about a twenty minute drive home if it wasn’t snowing or raining.  Susan drove south on Highway 85 until she came to where she turned right to head west for about ten miles on an unpaved gravel road.  There were very few houses out that way once you turned off of Highway 85, only about six families.

About five miles from her house, Rachel’s mother passed the United Express delivery van.  Susan saw that the driver was young, about the same age as her daughter.  She had a queer and unsettling feeling about the way the driver looked, and she didn’t know why.

When she arrived home things were quiet.  There was a small cardboard box on the front porch that was addressed to Rachel that the United Express driver must have just delivered.  She entered the front room and could hear that Rachel was taking a shower.  She entered Rachel’s bedroom, her bed was a mess, and she could see that there were items that had been knocked off of their wall shelves.

When Rachel emerged from the bathroom after a few minutes in her robe, her mother called out to her, “I found a package on the front porch for you.  That cat must have gone crazy in your room.”

Rachel was surprised to hear her mother’s voice, and she wondered what she was doing home so early.  At the same time she was processing in her mind that her mother must have passed Rob out on the gravel road, and that she was saying something about him going crazy in her room, though it was awfully nonchalant if she was saying that Rob had just gone crazy in her bedroom.  She said, “What’s that you said mom?”

“I said, that cat must have gone crazy in your room.  There are all kinds of things knocked off of your shelves onto the floor.  I wonder what must have gotten into that cat.”

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 5 & 6

Chapter 5

Rob was able to complete all of his deliveries in Belfield shortly before 10:00 a.m.  It helped that he had something to look forward to.

As he drove southwest from Belfield towards Rachel’s house on the edge of the badlands, cell phone reception became worse and worse.  Rob knew from experience that although the GPS tracking unit installed under the dashboard of his delivery van was working fine, the transmitting signal was barely reaching any cell phone tower the closer he got to the badlands.  Just to make sure that his delivery van tracking unit wouldn’t allow his supervisor Gary to see that he was stopped for too long, Rob reached under the dashboard and wrapped a sheet of aluminum foil around the GPS tracking unit.  In case it became necessary, Rob also had a plan “B”, and a plan “C”, to explain to his supervisor where he had been and why he had been delayed.

Rob had been looking forward to making this delivery to Rachel ever since he had loaded his delivery van this morning.  Unlike some of the other women customers that Rob had sex with, Rachel was younger, she was only twenty, and unmarried.  He had not known her before he started working for United Express.  He had gone to Dickinson High School.  Rachel had gone to High School in Belfield probably.  He thought that from the looks of things where she lived, she was probably into FFA and rodeo, things like that, not what he was into.

The married women that Rob hooked up with, most of them didn’t say a word about birth control, and he didn’t say anything about it either.  Whether they were on the pill, had their tubes tied, were already pregnant, he didn’t care, it was not his problem. They were already married.  But Rob was used to unmarried women his own age making him use a condom.  On work days he carried several condoms in the knee pocket of his black cargo pants.

As Rob got closer and closer to Rachel’s house, he became more and more excited and aroused.  As he drove down the gravel drive way to her house, his heart was beating faster and faster, his thoughts all focused in on one thing.

Chapter 6

Rachel opened the front door with her bath robe partially open, revealing that she was completely nude.  She was intending to be provocative and alluring, but Rob reacted to this like a green light at the drag races.  He dropped her cardboard box package on the front porch without slowing down, grabbed her around her torso and forced her backwards through the front room, making a left turn with her into her bedroom, where he pushed her backward onto her bed.  Rachel had been tripping backwards off-balance all the way to her bedroom, but at least he hadn’t stepped on her bare feet.  When she landed on her back in her own bed, she bounced about a foot in the air, as the headboard and footboard of her cheap old metal bed flexed and squeaked.  This was funny to her and she kind of liked it.  It wasn’t romantic at all, but neither was he, he wasn’t really handsome enough for her to be really into him or deeply in love.

With him, the quicker the better she thought, and he was quick.  She hadn’t even come to a stop yet from bouncing off her mattress before he was climbing on top of her with his pants down.  He was so in hurry that the metal headboard slammed into the wood paneling wall behind her head and knocked several knick knacks and items from her wall shelves.  She thought this was funny and she didn’t care, she liked it.  This bed was some old cheap bed from her childhood that she didn’t care about, those knick knacks and souvenirs on her shelves from her childhood she didn’t care about, she didn’t care about any of this stuff anymore.  His affections were like a voracious attack from an animal, which was what she was expecting and wanting.  The fact that her unwanted belongings continued to fly off her shelves and break on the floor, only pleased her more.

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)

Western North Dakota Romance Novel, Chapters 1 & 2

Chapter 1

Rachel lay on her back in bed, eyes open, with the sun shining down on her from her waist to past the foot of her bed.  She lay under her old worn pale quilt.  It was her second year after graduating from high school, and she loved not having to get up in the morning and go to school anymore.  Her father and mother were both at work, and she had the house to herself, and no one trying to get her to do anything.

Rachel was awake, and expecting a delivery from United Express this morning.  She had ordered something off the internet.  She had ordered many things lately, and she knew almost exactly when the United Express delivery truck would arrive, and who the driver would be.

She looked at her alarm clock to see how much time she had, 9:45 a.m.  She raised her bedroom window closest to the driveway and the front of the house in order to hear the delivery truck as it drove down the long gravel driveway to the house.  She removed her night clothes, and entered the bathroom adjacent to her bedroom and turned on the shower.

She was happy and in a good mood.  Her mother would not return home until 11:30 a.m. at the earliest.  She would not have to hurry.  She finished her shower, unrushed.  She dried off, brushed her teeth, and put on a robe.  10:05 a.m.

Soon she could hear the United Express panel van approaching the house down the long entrance drive.  She began to smile and smirk, but tried to regain control of her face.  She watched the van come to a stop where it usually did, and the young driver, whom she was expecting, step down from his seat at the front walk, her small package in hand.

She adjusted the sash on her robe so that it was loose, and her robe fell open as she walked to the front door.

Chapter 2

Rob had very little regard or enthusiasm for work.  He was sharp, clever, quick, and street smart.  Most of his class mates could not wait to go to work in the oil field once it was clear that there was going to be another boom back in about 2006.  A few of his acquaintances had offered to get him a job working with them, but he was not interested.  Working outside in the oilfield, it was always dirty, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, and dangerous.  United Express was thrilled to get Rob, it was hard to get anybody, everybody else wanted to work in the oil field.

This morning Rob handled and sorted the packages that were assigned to his delivery van and his region.  He smiled to himself as he saw the package addressed to Rachel.  Rob knew that no matter what other packages he had to deliver, he had to make sure that he made this delivery to Rachel between 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., because both her mother and father would be at work.  There was no telling who might be at her house any other times during the day.  He knew that he was always able to come up with some explanation and excuse for why he had deviated from a logical efficient route.  Though his supervisor Gary did not like it, there was not much that could be done about it, it was so difficult to get drivers, and Rob was quick.

When Rob’s delivery van was loaded, and he began leaving the yard this clear Fall morning, he was happy that he had this job.  He was not going to get rained on all day, he was not going to get filthy dirty, he was not going to have to be around stupid, ugly, smelly guys.  There was no one yelling at him, and no one telling him what to do.  He laughed to himself, “And on top of it all, he got laid every day while at work.”

(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons.  The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)