When I first saw Ken, I nearly dropped my teeth. He was the best looking guy I'd ever seen. I knew I had just hit the jackpot, considering the freaks with fantasies I had heard about on San Diego Craigslist.

Moments before, I'd been shaking in my shoes. We'd been emailing for nine days, but hadn't exchanged photos. My heart was hooked via the Internet connection. I didn't think his looks mattered. But as the time for meeting approached, I had visions of a hunch back with yellow teeth. Suddenly, I had serious doubts...

All worries flew out the car window the minute I laid eyes on him. "You're so handsome!" I raved as if I were some muddled fool. He handed me a box. It contained a porcelain dog. He had remembered my passion for pooches.

Upon entering the Marie Callender's on 13th Avenue, my high heel stuck in the door jamb sending me flying across the waiting area, shoeless. Ken graciously bent down and dislodged my shoe, then slipped it on my foot. For a moment, I was Cinderella.

He was way out of my league. He was tall and trim with brown jewels for irises. When he gazed down at me, I felt like the most beautiful queen on earth. I couldn't get enough. Who would have guessed that this would happen to a middle-aged mom from Escondido? I considered him a blessing.

After lunch, I figured he'd say a polite "good-bye" and send me on my way. I was shocked when he said that I was a great looking lady and that he'd like to see me again. How many pudgy, 48-year-old women get offers like this? Before I knew it, he grabbed me and started plying me with kisses. We embraced with such passion, the senior citizens had to nose dive around us to get to their early bird specials.

"Can I really be doing this?" I thought. I was the type to attend church every Sunday and just one week earlier, I had been elected president of the P.T.A.

A few days later, we talked on the phone. We toyed with the idea of having lunch again, but quickly filed it under "Who are we kidding?" We nervously agreed to meet at The Best Value Inn on Center City Parkway.

I wasn't sure I could go through with it, but once I got there, it was full-speed ahead. We spent hours making rapturous love.

He emailed a couple of weeks later, wanting to get together again. I emailed back that I'd be delighted and headed over to The Best Value Inn. Two hours went by and he didn't show. I had forgotten my cell phone at home and had to go all the way back to use the phone. When I called him, he said he was still at home, waiting for my reply. It came up as we talked. It was our first experience with the freaky delays that can take place over the Net. We both felt screwed, but not in the way we had hoped.

By the fall of 2007, the real estate market plunged, which was painful for Ken since he was a real estate agent in San Marcos. Neither one of us had the money for The Best Value Inn, so I suggested he come to my house. I was so enthusiastic, I bought a new bed, one with a curvy headboard like Cleopatra would sleep in. I bought fresh linens, cleaned the house and couldn't wait for him to get there.

He arrived at 9 a.m. We embraced for awhile and then started kissing. When we moved to the bedroom, we both were beyond ready. He looked in my eyes, I looked in his. He moved his hands down my body, telling me I looked sexy. We undressed and hit the satin sheets. We were about to have the time of our lives when my husband walked in and...

Comments

magicsfive May 7, 2009 @ 5:53 p.m.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? TMI, mindy.

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thestoryteller May 12, 2009 @ 11:13 a.m.

so the literary critic has to resort to playing the race card. I happen to be hispanic, so you lose on that one.

Refried: i didn't call everyone losers and i didn't say Josh didn't know his business. I am sure he dos, just as I'm sure Ernie does, if you've even figured out who Ernie is.

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magicsfive May 7, 2009 @ 10:46 p.m.

lol whatever you say. i just wouldn't post my "information" for the world to see. but, congrats on your win. you must be VERY proud.

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magicsfive May 7, 2009 @ 11:58 p.m.

alrighty then...keep up the uh, good work!

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David Dodd May 8, 2009 @ midnight

Hope it was worth it, Mindy.

By the way, you were very rude to SD.

Karma has a way of coming back and biting one on the ass. Hope you can avoid it.

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magicsfive May 11, 2009 @ 9:49 p.m.

...i mean, you were way harder on us to begin with.

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SDaniels May 12, 2009 @ 12:27 a.m.

I agree, let's all drop it. I will grit my teeth and not comment on the insanely racist comment "beans."

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David Dodd May 12, 2009 @ 12:37 a.m.

Suz, you are the very definition of "awesome".

I swear, your picture is right there in my dictionary :)

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David Dodd May 8, 2009 @ 12:02 p.m.

I am the last person you would want as a spiritual advisor, Mindy. I have a difficult time coming to terms with adultery, especially if it takes place in your own home. It isn't up to me to judge you, thankfully, but I certainly felt immediately sorry for your husband/ex-husband. And then I felt sorry for your children. My initial reaction wasn't that you had written a brilliant story, worthy of winning a prize, but of sadness. I assume that was the reaction you went for when you posted the story.

Initially, I defended you. I feel silly for doing that now, mainly because of your lack of humility. If you truly consider yourself to be a writer, you wouldn't have suggested that someone sell cars, instead. I don't keep a blog here to win prizes. I keep a blog here because I love Baja and I love San Diego and I love writing. I would write regardless of whether or not I got paid. Most writers would. When the Reader sends me a check, I feel lucky and thankful. You come off as feeling as though you deserve it.

I am guessing that you haven't been writing for very long - both from your style, and from your approach, and from how you treat people who, potentially, could become fans of your work. I'll give you some advice, take it or don't: honey catches more flies than vinegar. Treat people kindly, even if you perceive that they aren't treating you kindly. If you really want to become a writer, you'll need to rely on that a lot more than winning a contest.

Humility is the souls way of controlling the mind's ego.

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David Dodd May 8, 2009 @ 1:23 p.m.

"It's arrogant of you FOUR to think you know more about good writing than the editor does."

You might want to ask Ernie to edit your comments. I like Ernie just fine, I don't care whom he chooses to win the blog thing. Obviously, this is very important to you. Ernie can choose to never again publish anything I write in the Reader; that's up to him. If he does continue to publish my stuff, then that's great too.

"It beats the hell out of writing crap that goes nowhere so I'm reduced to acting superior over those who win."

Am I to presume that I write crap that goes nowhere? You're making friends fast, Mindy. Neither you, nor the Reader, know where I've been published, and for now, it will remain that way. I just write. And I really enjoy good writing, and good people. I'm beginning to think that, while you might someday have a shot at the former (stranger things have happened), you're a long way from arriving at the latter.

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SDaniels May 8, 2009 @ 6:13 p.m.

Mindy wrote:

"Btw, it was rude of her to say that the winning entries were clunkers, just because hers isn't one of them."

Just caught your comment on the home page, Mindy. To clarify my position: I am a literary critic, with over 5 years in a doctoral program, and around 15 years of intensive study in the humanities, and reading good literature, as well as writing criticism. In my--yes, unabashedly educated opinion--there have been some mighty careless clunkers chosen in this contest. I did not pick on any piece in particular (including yours), and do not take great pains to apply the critic's pen. When I do, however, it means there is something worth picking apart.

Lit crit is sometimes harsh, sometimes complimentary, but exists to further our knowledge of what language can do, as well as celebrate good writing. The fact remains that the criteria for this contest has been ambiguous at best, and I was trying to get a little more information from an inside perspective. Jealous? Far from it, doll.

"It beats the hell out of writing crap that goes nowhere so I'm reduced to acting superior over those who win."

Mindy, you are not a good actor, and it doesn't take a trained critic to see this. You lash out, and you use pseudonymous initials to backtrack, rather than owning your mistake. Frankly, I do not care what you consider to be writing that "goes nowhere," and I seriously doubt refried or any fine writer in this publication cares either.

I do find your cynical and irreverent attitude about what "sells" to be shortsighted and sad. Watch out, or it will limit the scope and soul of your writing even further than it already has.

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Josh Board May 11, 2009 @ 12:48 a.m.

Hey...how did I get dragged into this? I read the piece above, and enjoyed it. I do agree about the other comments regarding what wins the contest. Sometimes it baffles me. My mom called me one day screaming, because some guy wrote a story and she just kept saying "How the hell does this have anything to do with the city in which he lives?" I just laughed. I mean, hey...she sometimes calls me and says "Your last party you wrote about in Crasher kinda bored me." Happy Mothers Day, mommy dearest!

I did find something odd about refriedgringo being so harsh. He seems to think you attract more honey and all that jazz. Yet, I've seen him post on another writers site, and doesn't give that writer the same criticism he's giving Mindy, when that writer does very similar stories. I'm not sure why that is.

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David Dodd May 11, 2009 @ 1 a.m.

Josh,

I'm not criticizing Mindy's story, nor her winning the blogging thing, simply her attitude toward others in a particular incident. If you have some sort of a problem with ME in particular, you should probably just address it with ME rather than in someone elses blog. I keep one here, you know (if not, I am surprised).

I don't have a problem with you at all, but if you're developing some sort of a problem with me, then the best thing to do is to get it out in the open IN MY OR YOUR WEBLOG and not involve other people.

Peace,

Dave

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SDaniels May 11, 2009 @ 1:26 a.m.

Hi "Mindy"

Clearly, you want to get nasty.

"Mindy" wrote: Sdaniels: A literary critic, huh? Didn't Josh say you were teacher? A jack of all trades... As far as I can tell, you're nothing but a Reader groupie."

Takes one to know one, eh "Mindy/thestoryteller/C/C.V./Ken"?

Nice to know you've been following my career--or at least my posts, desultorily searching for ammunition of some kind. Yes, a Jill of a few trades. In case you haven't heard, they are all related. It is par for the course to be a critic, a writer, and an instructor. Your point?

Give me something real to sink my teeth into, "thestoryteller" Ken doolll...

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magicsfive May 11, 2009 @ 9:49 p.m.

mindy...what are you talking about????? i never said anything about a beef with you because u announced yourself the winner...what difference does it make who finds out and when? i even commended you for doing something i didn't have the guts to do, and i still do. all i said was the piece i read at first probably wasn't the winner, or something like that. i never had a problem with it until you made a remark about maybe someone - and i don't know who- should maybe sell cars for a living. i don't even know why that was said. that was what got the ball rolling...look back.

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David Dodd May 11, 2009 @ 10:14 p.m.

Josh, to clear up the confusion, me, "refried beans" (Mindy, you really need to grow up) defended Mindy when someone else became upset that she announced that she won the blog contest thing. Others came in and commented. Mindy then suggested that it was all sour grapes, and that one of the people that commented should sell cars rather than write. That's when I saw the error of my ways in defending Mindy.

She's now resorted to calling everyone else losers.

Mindy, Josh understands this business, it's pretty obvious by everything I've read by him and from when I've heard him on air. You, on the other hand, are missing the point. There comes a time when you drop it. Apparently, you haven't learned that quite yet.

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jmbekrub May 27, 2009 @ 12:18 p.m.

um...ok, great job winning!!! I guess Ken was worth it.

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hellooothere June 4, 2009 @ 4:21 p.m.

Hey Mindy, aside from your baffling arrogance, which has been pretty well enumerated here, why don't I be more specific as to why this piece does not justify your rudeness. Now, to be clear, I don't make it a habit of criticizing other people's work, but you're just so uppity, I can't resist.

Lets start with the cheap device... who uses ellipses?... hacks, thats who. You set up a story, which had potential, sort of, and then abruptly plopped a rather predictable ending in our collective laps. There's no real emotion here, no challenging or probing of human relationships. The most difficult part of the story is the part you didn't write. This is akin to the "and then I woke up, and it was all a dream!" device. I remember it well from when I was teaching creative fiction, the sophomore class, not the seniors.

Secondly, cliches. Let me count the ways:

I love how when you met the man who cuckolded your unfortunate (or maybe fortunate?) husband, you said you were "shaking in my (your) shoes". What a novel turn of phrase! Let me ask you, do you need to drop down a size? There shouldn't be that much wiggle room in a well fitted pair of kicks.

Then, and I loved this part, you related how you felt like Cinderella. What a clever cultural touchstone! And quite unexpected, what with the guy putting your shoe on and all.

Also, so descriptive when you said you were "full speed ahead." Its like I can feel the Starship Enterprise blasting off!

But perhaps the most sparkling bit of prose in the whole piece was the part when you said you "hit the satin sheets." I mean if you had said you "hit the sheets", that would have been kind of hackneyed, but throwing "satin" in there was a stroke of genius.

All in all, a magnificently mediocre piece of writing. You did win though, and I have to say that I liked the piece when I read it, in the same way that sometimes, the dollar menu at Micky D's just hits the spot. You're not Don DeLillo just yet, so ease up with the criticism of others.

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David Dodd June 6, 2009 @ 9:32 p.m.

hellooothere: Get off of her already. She took her lumps. I hate seeing someone kicked around, can we stop with the negativity? When someone writes, I think that the best thing a reader can do is to explore two choices: Say nothing, or say something positive. Just, enough already.

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David Dodd June 7, 2009 @ 7:55 p.m.

hellooothere: Sorry, you were correct. Mindy has taken to sending me insulting messages now. Carry on, and forget my previous comment!

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magicsfive June 7, 2009 @ 9:09 p.m.

you have GOT to be kidding me. WHY?????

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BB1111 June 26, 2009 @ 5:05 p.m.

I dont find much writing or creativity involved here at all.... a winner??? Wow unbelievable.... This life story sounds extremely the same as one of mine. All I can say is I know this Prince of Cinderella's but more recently and ....

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magicsfive June 29, 2009 @ 12:16 p.m.

mindy with you i sense a pattern, that if someone doesn't agree with you you turn completely against them. i am not meaning this in an unkind way. you have a lovely myspace page dedicated to your love for animals. you should direct some of that love to people who have repeatedly defended you instead of slamming them. this is, of course, my two cents. i don't even know what that comment toward lallaw is supposed to mean, but i'm sure it was derogatory. she is a great writer.

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