Roger Newcombe was a nasty, mean-spirited man; his only companions were his little Welsh corgi Magpie and his wheelchair. Roger had no family or friends; over the years he had alienated everyone who ever cared a whit about him. Even the postman fell victim to his bitter tongue and resorted to delivering the mail as quickly as possible, his hat pulled down low over his eyes. 

The only things Roger had plenty of were bad memories and schemes.

It wasn’t always like that for Roger. True, he was a plain-looking man, never handsome, but he was a trusting soul and kindhearted. Roger felt out of place at his parent’s extravagant dinner parties and never wanted to attend but as the only heir of the richest man in the county, it was his obligation to make an appearance.

That’s when he saw the alluring Loretta Spencer, a new serving girl with a tiny waist, long legs and shocking auburn hair. Roger was smitten at first glance but was too shy to stare let alone talk to Loretta.

Kindness and a trusting nature went only so far and the young single women who came in contact with Roger were not attracted to him. Only Loretta paid him any attention with a barely perceptible wink of an eye and a shy but innately sensual smile. One fortuitous day Roger happened upon Loretta preparing the table for dinner; the two struck up a conversation which developed into a flirtatious friendship which in turn blossomed into a romance. Roger’s parents were livid about the relationship but Loretta encouraged Roger to be a man and speak up for himself and their newfound love. His parents were too stunned by Roger’s sudden display of courage to respond.

No one was more surprised than Roger. He had always been resigned to life as a lonely bachelor; now he’d fallen madly in love with a servant in his parent’s employ and he didn’t care who knew. He was enthralled by Loretta’s bewitching ways, intoxicated by her erotic education in lovemaking. Roger could not believe someone as beautiful, beguiling and seductive as Loretta could love him in return. They were married within a year and went on a grand honeymoon to Wales. Upon their return, they settled into the Newcombe’s lavish estate. 

Roger accepted a job in his father’s company, sitting in his office all day doing very little and making a great deal of money which Loretta freely spent. She was a happy and pampered wife. Her relationship with Roger’s parents was estranged and she saw them only at dinner but being married to Roger made all her dreams come true.

That peaceful scenario was suddenly shattered when Roger’s parents were killed in a plane crash while on vacation. Roger was devastated by the loss of his mother and father but that was not the end of the shocking news for Roger and Loretta.

At the reading of Mr. and Mrs. Newcombe’s wills, Roger was struck dumb when he learned his mother’s last wish was for their home to be renovated into a rehabilitation facility for children with disabilities. In his father’s will, a new president was named for the company; it was Jonathan Whittaker, the current vice president. Roger was spitefully and embarrassingly overlooked, being left only an insignificant amount of money. 

As the only heir, Roger fully expected to be left the Newcombe fortune and named president of the company. He didn’t really want the job – just the prestige that came with it. He could delegate his key employees to do all the work while he sat back and watched the company flourish. Now he and Loretta had no home and very little cash. Roger deeply regretted giving Loretta free rein to his money, buying so many expensive and unnecessary items. He loved her and was blinded by her charms. He was also too proud to try to return or sell the items to recoup his losses.

Loretta, being as smart and clever as she was beautiful, wasted no time setting her sights on Jonathan Whittaker, the new president of the company. Like a tigress on the prowl she hunted him down, dazzling him with her seductive ways. She finessed her way into his head, whirled her way into his heart and squirmed herself into his bed. Loretta convinced Jonathan to relieve Roger of his position at the company which he did immediately. While Roger was out of the house one afternoon, Loretta stealthily cleared out what little money he had stashed away in his safe and quickly served him with divorce papers. As soon as she was free of Roger, Loretta would marry Jonathan and she would once again be the wife of a wealthy man.

Roger was reeling; he could not believe how his life had completely fallen apart. His parents were dead, the only home he knew was no longer his, he had no job, no money and no wife. In a desperate plea to Jonathan Whittaker, Roger asked for and was granted a pension from the company – just enough to get by each month. He begged his father’s lawyer to intercede on his behalf and was given permission to live in the small annex house next to the Newcombe estate. Roger felt there wasn’t much more that could go wrong in his life.

He was mistaken. 

One day as Roger was entering the annex house, he looked over at his old family home and saw Loretta pass by one of the upstairs windows. “What was she doing there?” Roger wondered. He went to the house to confront her; Loretta was packing the last of her things when Roger showed up. After a heated conversation Loretta brusquely walked by Roger, her suitcase smacking him in the back of his knee. Roger lost his footing and fell down the stairs. Loretta slowly walked down the stairs, looked at Roger not knowing or caring if he was dead or alive, and stepped over him. She calmly walked to the front door and left the house, closing the door behind her.

The next day Roger was found lying at the foot of the stairs; he was alive but he was paralyzed from the waist down. Now Roger Newcombe felt nothing in his heart but bitterness, anger and resentment. All he did was sit in his wheelchair by the window of the annex house with Magpie on his lap. With every stroke of the little dog’s soft fur, Roger thought “Someone will pay.”

That was the only thing that kept him from losing his mind.

NAR © 2022


Parish, New York – a sleepy little town about 20 miles from Oswego, just about kissing Lake Ontario. The place I once called home.I was born in Parish and lived there until it became too small for me or maybe I just got too damn disillusioned.

I was the only child of Ron and Betty Cooper. Dad never said he was disappointed that I was a girl but I knew he really wanted a son. Mom named me Carly Grace. Dad never called me Carly; I was always ‘Carl’ to him. I didn’t mind too much but mom always said it was a heartless thing for him to do – a constant reminder that she couldn’t give him a son.

We lived in a tiny house in the middle of nowhere. Dad would sleep most of the day and go to work after dinner. He was a bartender at Floyd’s Place in the town of Mexico, about seven miles from Parish. College kids from Oswego would bring their dates to Floyd’s Place; it was a dive but dad did a good job keeping their tankards full all night.

I remember having to be very quiet during the day so dad could sleep. Mom kept me busy in the kitchen; she was a terrific baker and taught me how to make homemade bread.

Both my parents were heavy smokers. Even when mom was baking she’d have a Marlboro dangling from her lips. Well, mom got cancer and softly, peacefully passed away the night before I turned 13; to this day the smell of freshly baked bread reminds me of her.

It wasn’t long before dad hooked up with Paulette Garrison, a nurse who’d stop by the bar every night after her shift. Dad started staying at Paulette’s place in Mexico and by the time I was fifteen I was pretty much living on my own.

Memorial Day weekend rolled around and dad brought Paulette back to our house. I was looking forward to a cook-out and fireworks but dad and Paulette only came out of the bedroom for beer and cigarettes. That Saturday night I packed a few things in mom’s old suitcase, took her address book, whatever money I could find and softly left my home in Parish.

When I arrived at Grand Central Station, I called mom’s cousin Rita in The Bronx. She didn’t hesitate for a second, taking me into her home and caring for me like I was her own daughter. She also gave me a job in her bakery on Arthur Avenue. When Rita retired she put me in charge and I eventually became the owner.

Nine years went by when I got a call out of the blue. It was Paulette letting me know my dad had died – three weeks ago! There was certainly no love lost between us but I felt I should drive up to say farewell.

I stood at my father’s grave feeling nothing but the cold wind stinging my face. Softly I turned and left Parish behind me forever.

NAR © 2021

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Linda has asked us to use the word “home” as a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb.