Sample Sunday: Excerpt from the Knights of Passion Series
Brothers Anderson and Griffin Knight and cousin Morgan Knight have an “over the barbecue grill” discussion about women and marriage:
As I flipped the ribs, instead of talking about that day with Phyllis I said to Morgan, “Do you know why Anderson is divorced, why I’m on my way to divorce, but you and Mina have an excellent marriage?”
“No, why?” Morgan asked.
Anderson said, “Yeah, I want to hear this too.”
I said, “Because Mina was married before. For Celia and Phyllis, Anderson and I were their first husbands. See, all this bullshit started with the Brothers Grimm and this dude named Charles Perrault.”
I brushed barbecue sauce on the chicken and let my words marinate in my cousin’s minds. After about a half a minute Morgan said, “Okay Griff, I’ll bite. Explain that.”
I said, “Okay, back in the day the Brothers Grimm and Perrault published stories like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella.”
Anderson started grinning. “This is going to be good,” he said.
“What do those stories have in common?” I asked.
“They’re children’s stories,” Morgan said. “Fairy tales.”
I nodded. “Yeah, they are. And they’re especially appealing to little girls. That’s who parents buy those books and movies for—their little girls. It’s their first exposure to the fairy tale of romantic relationships. After that comes romance novels and chick flicks. But they’re all the same story: The female suffers through some drama. She gets rescued by the handsome prince. They get married. And then what?”
“They live happily ever after,” Anderson said.
I smacked my fork on the grill. “Exactly! That’s what all those stories say, but that’s where all those stories end, with, ‘And they lived happily ever after.’ But what the fuck does that mean? Nobody knows because the story is over. So little girls grow up thinking that all they need to do is get there. All they need to do is find that dude—her Prince Charming—and after that ‘happily ever after’ will be automatic. And when it doesn’t work out that way she thinks it has to be his fault. He must not be the prince she envisioned. After all, she did what she was supposed to do. She got to the wedding.”
Anderson said, “You given this some thought, haven’t you?”
“Damn right,” I said. “And that’s why you’re divorced and I’m on my way to divorce. We made the mistake of marrying women who’d never been married before. But Morgan did the right thing. See, Mina’s first husband was an asshole. She knows he was an asshole. But now she has Morgan, a brother who loves her and works hard and pays the bills and treats her like his queen. Of course every day isn’t perfect for them because life isn’t perfect. But even on those imperfect days Mina is still happy, because she knows what real unhappiness is. So women like Mina who’ve been married before, they appreciate a good brother. They look at him and they remember the asshole they used to be with and they say to themselves, ‘I’m gonna give this man some good pussy tonight because I know what I could be stuck with.’ But see, for a woman who hasn’t been there, she’s still believing in those fairy tales that don’t really have an ending…that undefined ‘happily ever after.’ There’s only one story that tells the true tale.”
“What’s that?” Morgan asked.
I said, “The story that begins with ‘happily ever after.’ The one that starts off with the man and woman already set up in paradise. They’re already in ‘happily ever after.’ You’ve got a man and woman made for each other. They’re in a perfect environment, don’t have to do anything but tend the Garden and love each other. And what happens? I’ll tell you what happens: the same thing that always happens with a woman who doesn’t recognize when she has it good. She’s not satisfied with paradise. She thinks she wants more. So she goes for something she thinks is more and fucks everything up. And that cycle repeats itself for all of us, from the beginning of time to the end. Now I know there are a lot of fucked up men out here—too many—but a man doing the right thing has a hard way to go, usually harder than the assholes who don’t give a damn.”
Anderson cut off my soapbox sermon by saying, “Okay Griff, I hear you talking. But let me ask you something…”
“That cute little sister from next door…Chione?”
“What about her?”
“She ever been married before?”
I shot a glance at Morgan. He took a swig of his beer to let me know he wasn’t in this. Apparently he hadn’t told Anderson that Chi wasn’t into men.
“No, she hasn’t,” I said.
“So you two seem pretty tight,” Anderson said. “And I saw the way you look at her. So if she gave you some play you wouldn’t go for it because she’s never been married?”
“She’s not interested,” I said. Chi wasn’t in the closet but I didn’t want to be the one to tell anybody who didn’t already know that she was gay. I didn’t feel like it was my place to say.
“That’s not what I asked you.”
I grinned at Anderson and said, “Fuck you.”
Anderson grinned back and said, “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
KNIGHTS OF PASSION: GRIFFIN
KNIGHTS OF PASSION: ANDERSON
KNIGHTS OF PASSION: MORGAN & MINA