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Photo Op | Audio**Read By Harriet Whitbread
By Lee Hammerschmidt
Lee Hammerschmidt is a Graphic Designer/Writer/Songwriter/Troubadour who lives on the fringe of Portland, Oregon. He has a long way to go. A former Obituary/Engagement/Wedding Announcement writer, his work has appeared in Gumshoe Review, Page 47, Short-Story.Me and more. Check out the hit parade on YouTube!
       "Wow, it looks like I really need to get back to my Pilates class," Lucida said, glancing at the stack of photos in front of her. "Some more cardio would be good, too."
       She took another sip of her cosmopolitan, and shuffled through the rest of the photos, all of them shots of her and a much younger man in flagrante delicto.
       "I don't know," the younger woman across the table said frostily. "It looks like you had no problem keeping up in the sexual gymnastics department. In fact, your stamina looks pretty good." She took a drink of her own cocktail, an icy glare coming over the rim of the glass at the older woman.
       "Bookman does good work," Lucida said, tossing the photos back. "But I thought you took him off the case, said you couldn't afford him anymore. Arno was being cautious lately and you were tapped out."
       "I DID take him off! Two weeks ago! But these came in the mail yesterday. No return address. Any ideas what happened here?"
       "Why Cambria, you can't believe I had anything to do with these? Really!"
       "Well you obviously had SOMETHING to do with it! From the looks of things you weren't exactly a passive participant!"
        Lucida finished her drink and caught the waiter's eye.
       "Another round, ladies?"
       "We're going to need a lot of rounds," Cambria snapped. The waiter scurried off to fill their order. "Especially you," she said glaring at Lucida. "With all the women Arno's been carrying on with, you're going to need all the antiseptics you can get. A full body de-lousing wouldn't hurt either!"
       "Oh, c'mon, it wasn't THAT bad. Believe me, I took the proper precautions. But let's get back to these photos. This solves all of you problems now, doesn't it? It's the conclusive proof of adultery you needed. Grounds for divorce and a whopping financial settlement. You're free of that cad and set for life."
       "Yeah, I'm free and rich. But where did these photos come from? And who took them?"
       "I told you, Bookman does good work. I just took the liberty of keeping him on for you. At my expense, of course."
       Cambria looked at her in shock, speechless. The waiter returned with their drinks. No sooner had hers hit the table when she picked it up, downed it in three gulps, placed it back on his tray and sent him off for another.
       "Easy," Lucida said. "This is an emotional time. You really need to pace yourself."
       Cambria took a deep breath and tried to regain her composure. After a minute, she looked back at the older woman and spoke.
       "Let me get this straight. YOU hired my investigator to take photos of YOU having sex with MY husband?"
       "Of course. I knew how desperate you were to get out of that sham of a marriage to that philandering lout. I know Bookman is expensive. That's why he's the best. I just did what I could to speed things along. You know I love you and I'd do anything for you."
       Cambria sat there silently for a moment shaking her head. "Wow, I guess you would, you really would.. Thank you, Mom."
       "You're welcome, Honey."
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