I was just down at the Post Office sending off a couple of packages when I swore I could recognize the guy behind the counter. I sat there and tried to figure it out the entire time that I was in line. He looked vaguely like my friend Tony, but he was like thirty years too old to be. The name Mike Nelson kept running through my head. Or Matt Nelson or Mark Nelson or something like that. But I couldn’t think of any Mike/Matt/Mark Nelson that I knew even though I did know the name. When I walked up to the counter I saw the name Mark Nielson. At that point I knew that I knew him from somewhere.

Then it hit me. “Did you marry into the Douglas family?”

He looked at me and said, without any intonation, “Yes.”

“I knew that I knew you! I dated Julie for almost five years.”

“Right,” he replied.

“Interesting to meet you way out here,” I said.

“I’ve lived here for ten years,” he told me without an ounce of enthusiasm.

What was funny was that up until I identified myself, he was unusually warm and friendly for a customer service civil servant. He made jokes with the guy before me and with me. But the second I said that I used to date Julie, his face just clammed up.

I can’t figure out if it’s because when I left Julie I became a villain in the Bernard/Douglas household or if it’s because at some point after I left he became a villain. He was a knight in shining armor when he first started dating Julie’s aunt. Julie had just been left by her husband, whom nobody liked, for a younger woman. In came Mark and all was right with the world. Then, at some point everything flipped and they all liked the ex-husband and Mark was the bad guy.

I figured that even if he knew that Julie’s family didn’t like her one bit that we were on similar ground there. An estrangement to bond over!

As soon as I got back to work I IMed Julie and asked what the state of Mark’s marriage with her aunt was. Pretty lousy, it turned out. He still does nothing but drink and smoke when he gets home (one of the reasons I had such trouble placing him was that he looked twenty years older than the last time I saw him seven or so years ago). They sleep in separate rooms.

I guess I can’t blame him for being less than warm to a former would-have-been in-law of a family that he got that kind of marriage from.


Category: Downtown

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2 Responses to The Brotherhood of Villains

  1. Becky says:

    Yeah, you were probably a shocking reminder of his crappy home life and it had nothing to do with “you” personally.

  2. Abel says:

    Let’s hope your mail actually gets delivered.

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