My mom was murdered by a used-car salesman.

If my mom were telling you this story, it would be a comedy. She would twist her heartbreak into dark tendrils of humor until you were on the floor laughing. But she’s dead, so I will try to do it justice.

My mom died under mysterious circumstances but she was not murdered. In retrospect, her death fell at the end of a long line of clues, as well documented as any stack of stolen credit card receipts shoved in a dresser drawer could hope to be.

My mom liked creeps and I suspect that she knew a lot of them. Three creeps in particular she knew intimately. She married one at nineteen, my sister’s dad, and she had a run-in with one at 35 that left her with me. She found the worst of her creeps in a phone-sex chat room in early 2002. She was 64 and ten years older than him – you can do the math.

Mike was an on-again, off-again used-car salesman. He’d sell you a used car whether you wanted one or not. He’d sell you a used car if you asked him about the weather and he’d sell you a used car on your birthday. He sold used cars so well that he went to jail for it several times, the last time just weeks after he married my mom in 2003.

My mom waited patiently for his return a year later. I won’t tell you about how I paid her rent and her expenses while he was in prison. It’s beside the point how much I worried that Mike the used-car salesman would return, or worse, that he wouldn’t.

Mike the used-car salesman returned shortly before my Bubbie died. He timed his reappearance well, and made off with my Bubbie’s life savings, an act that revealed his great ingenuity and patience. He spent his treasure trove on scummy motel rooms and gifts for younger, hotter finds from the sex chat room.

In 2006, my mom fell on the grass while she was walking their Yorkie. She waited hours on the ground for Mike to return from the used-car lot cum scummy motel room. My mom died a few days later in a crummy hospital ICU, her organs shutting down because of drug complications. My mom was not murdered by a used-car salesman, but she may as well have been.

In a cruel twist of fate like most twists of fate are, Mike the used-car salesman died two months later in my mom’s bed of all places. When I got there, I found all of his receipts and bank statements stuffed in a drawer and I had to laugh.


A revision of last week’s Yeah Write essay. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Obed, I do think this post is a lot cleaner now.

13 thoughts on “Encore

  1. Sigh. I hate it when someone has terrible taste in men, but you can’t make them see it. Especially when that someone is a relative. I think laughter and a shake of the head is probably the best way to handle it.

  2. There is so much pain in this tale and I feel so deeply for you and for your mother. May she rest in peace.

    1. Trust me when I say my mom would want you to laugh. Don’t feel sorry for me, just take the darkest, most awful thing that’s ever happened to you and try to find the humor in it.

      1. I can find humor in a lot of things, but not always. I’m glad you’re okay with this because I think this might have adverse affects on me.

        1. Do you mean my post(s) will have adverse effects on you, or if you had been in the situation it would have had adverse effects on you? Either way, I’m sorry. I just hope reading my blog isn’t hurting you.

          1. No, no. I mean that had that happened to me, I probably wouldn’t have handled it well. It just seems like such a sad tragedy, but you seem to have made peace with it and I’m grateful for that.

  3. Lord have mercy, I don’t even have words.

    You have been through it. And then some.

    And manage to give it grace and aesthetic beauty.

    I’m all over your blog tonight, looking for clues to write the challenge. And finding none.
    But really loving your blog.

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