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Brent lashes out

Monika Novotny had served divorce papers on husbands dozens of times. But it never failed to astonish her how they reacted. The ones who expected it, just got angry. The ones who didn’t, got enraged. Brent fell into the latter category.

Monika had a lawyer in Florida serve him as he was going into the convention center in Miami the Monday after Thanksgiving. The sun was bright. Brent’s call came to Monika’s office a few moments after the lawyer’s. She wasn’t surprised.

When the light flashed on her phone she pressed the button and said, “Yes?”

“A Mr. Brent Vickers for you, Ms. Novotny,” her assistant said. “And he sounds really mad.”

“Angry, Amy,” Monika corrected her. “He’s not a cow.”

“Yes, sorry,” Amy said. “Shall I put him through?”

“Please,” Monika said. She picked up a pencil, studying the markings along its side.

“Monika Novotny speaking,” she said sweetly.

“Listen you bitch, where do you get off serving me with papers when I’m on the road. And whose idea was this? I’m not getting any divorce and you’d better haul your sweet ass out of my life, you got me?” Brent’s voice was not as out of control as Monika thought it would be, based on Joellen’s description. But then you never knew what went on in a marriage. She had learned that long ago. About a quarter of the wives who came to her from abusers, wanting to get out, eventually went back. Two of them had been murdered by their husbands years after they’d decided against proceeding with divorce. And one had been murdered after she left. Stabbed thirty-eight times, one for each year of her life. Monika had been young. She didn’t realize how dangerous it could be – the time after a woman leaves. Now she treaded carefully, both for her own safety and for the client’s.

“Mr. Vickers, I expect you’re upset. I recommend that you seek counsel as I really cannot discuss any aspects of my client’s case with you or anyone else,” she spoke calmly, calculating that he would hang up.

“You’re telling me to get a lawyer? Listen you better get your … ” here he stumbled for a word … “ass out of my life. I’m not paying for your time and I sure as hell am not paying some other shylock. I know how to handle my own wife. So you’d better just mark this account uncollectable because you’re never going to see a penny from her or from me.” This time he did hang up.

Monika immediately placed a call to Joellen’s cell number and left a message warning her that Brent had been served.

“When he calls, you – and I’m sure he will,” she said, “do not call him back. It’s important that you let me deal with him in these early stages. And you can return home anytime now that he’s been served. But based on the aggressive nature of his call to me, I think we ought to go ahead and take out a restraining order now. So please call me and I’ll tell you how to go about that. I can’t do it for you. You’ll have to come back and go to the police station closest to your home.” She left her number and placed the phone back in its cradle.

Joellen Part 2, Episode Twenty-Five

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