Chuck Fasst is a concerned author who has become enlightened to the nationwide spread of Narcissism in our world. These are dangerous times.
This is where THE NIGHT begins, Christian Longo's place of employment
Mystery Murder Thriller - Narcissist Killer ... It's All Here
Chapter 4: It is coming - as sure as the tide rolls in
Staying slim and trim for her man wasn’t exactly at the top of her agenda this night. Mary Jo was ready for a good long talk with her man. The past two years had been hellish on her. So much had happened, yet so little had been discussed between the two of them. She had grown weary of this feeling of walking on eggshells when ever she tried to touch on the sensitive subjects with him. She felt that now would be the time at long last. She felt that she might finally be seeing the light at the end of the long, long tunnel. She was really beginning to enjoy bay shore life in the luxury condos at The Landing. Chris had just been promoted to a new position at Freddie’s that would bring him more hours. She was no dummy. She was well acquainted with the financial things, having put in her time at her secretarial jobs long before meeting Chris.
She knew that there was no way in the world that they could afford that condo on what Chris had been earning and she certainly had questions about that. It had not been that long ago that she had been a very competent employee and that contributed much toward a comfortable lifestyle for the both of them. She was thinking she might like to get back out into the workforce and make it all happen again. This would be another sensitive subject with Chris. There was so much to talk about.
Candice was a real sore subject. That little tryst of his, in her very recent, earlier life had left Mary Jo with more heartache than she had ever known. Many were the night that she had wrestled with just the right way to approach the subject to Chris who had remained unusually nonchalant about the whole thing. How could she get it across to him how much he had hurt her and so many others in their families and their business? She wanted to tell him about the lonely nights when she cried. But she knew the answer. She would be accused of being weak and needy.
Again she brought up the subject of open and honest communications, hoping that he wouldn’t squirm around and evade the issue like he always had before. “Chris, how can I make you understand how uneasy I am with what you did? I feel like we had to leave our home and families behind out of the embarrassment and shame over what you did, yet it has never even phased you, it seems. And you were shunned from the flock. I – I don’t understand.”
“What is there to understand Mary Jo? It’s over; it’s all in the past. Why cry over spilt milk? You are always doing that. I have apologized to everyone. I told you that I never even touched her and there has never been anyone since her. I was not even attracted to her. She was just a peripheral friend - it was a spiritual thing. I could not even imagine being with her in that way. Why would I when I have you - the mother of my children. Why can’t we just leave it at that, move on in our new life and put it all behind us? As your husband you should trust and believe in me when I say it is so.” Chris gave her a stern look and continued, “You see, here we are out here trying to have a nice, enjoyable evening, for the first time in a long time and you have to go and spoil it. Do you see why we go out so rarely? In fact finish up that salad. I am embarrassed to remain here. It’s time to go someplace else.”
There are numerous cozy if not quirky establishments at the coast for casual conversation
They headed back across the bridge to the Rogue Ale House in town. During the short drive, Chris made small talk as if everything was just fine. This irritated her to no end. She hated how he always brushed off the serious stuff.
When they arrived, Chris ordered up a couple of wines. “We should have just about enough time to relax with these before the movie,” he said, “let’s make the best of it and enjoy our date and did I tell you how beautiful you look tonight? In fact, let’s have a toast…to everlasting love.”
Mary Jo raised her glass to his and they clinked together. Chris took a good hearty sip and swished it around in his mouth to savor the bouquet of the Pinio Brigio Italian white wine. Mary Jo sat there staring at him then slowly took a drink. “I am all for enjoying our date,” she answered, “after all; I can hardly remember the last time we had a date. But you know, we have plenty more to talk about and this is our time alone. This is our time.”
She was hoping that he would not launch into another round of small talk which more often than not had little to do with what concerned either one of them. She was concerned about what lay ahead and was hoping that Chris could reassure her that things were finally looking up. “You know how uneasy things have been, Chris. I was just hoping that there will be no more surprises and we can raise our family and feel secure that things will be good again.”
“Of course dear,” Chris responded, “you know we have more money coming in. Things are looking up. Things are going to be alright.”
“So you say but will it even be enough?” Mary Jo wondered. She was growing tired of feeding the little ones Top Ramen. “I was really hoping we could throw down roots even long enough to have a pet for the kids.”
“Sweetheart, you know how much I love those kids - uh, and you. I would give my life for them. I would never let anything happen to any of you. I would die first. Those kids mean the world to me. I have told you this before, how many times? What does it take for you to believe me?”
“OK, OK hon, I’m not accusing you of not loving the kids. Please don’t get worked up. I just want what’s best for us all.” She took a sip of wine and thought about all the times Chris had shown up after work with a bottle of expensive wine and imported cheese for himself and packages of Top Ramen for the kids.
“And so do I.” he retorted, “You know what I am capable of. And I will make things right. You know that. We have been there before and we will get there again.”
“Where dear,” Mary Jo quickly answered, “this is what I am afraid of. Where we have been has not been so good. Even the good times… all those trips… are tainted. Those bad checks you wrote, they were other company’s money. Those were Final Touch clients, our suppliers who trusted us. Those vacations we took, we did not deserve them. Chris, the boat and those speedwave thingies and all that. We couldn’t afford any of …”
Sometimes what most needs to be said - is never said
Chris cut her off, “Dear we have to stop this. This is not the place. We have already discussed this. I thought you understood, remember? I explained all of that for the most part. Well, we can cover this later. Right now we have to get. Finish your drink, the movie will be starting soon.” Chris downed his wine and plopped the glass down in the middle of the table.
Mary Jo shoved her glass aside with the backs of her fingers. She didn’t like the stuff anyway and she was almost fuming. He had just flimflammed her again. There would be no use in saying any more. It simply wouldn’t work. It was OK though; she would be back on him soon. There were many more questions to be answered, ones that had been festering for some time. She made a pact with herself that she would continue before this night ended – if it killed her.
They drove the few blocks to the theatre in silence. As they were pulling in Chris said, “You know you should have finished your glass.”
Mary Jo opened her mouth then closed it, deciding to answer him with silence. He was out to get the last word as always. No matter what she said she would be blamed for being wasteful, a spoil sport or what ever else by the time they reached the theatre doors. So, this time he would get the last word as well as the only word. She was not in the mood for it. She didn’t think she was going to enjoy the movie they were about to see.
Chris heaved a sigh of relief once they had stepped inside the theatre. Anything was better than being grilled by Mary Jo. He wasn’t used to that. She hadn’t been on him that hard since she found his Emails to Candy. But he had handled her as always. Most anybody was putty in his hands but her especially because she loved him. Funny thing about love Chris had learned through his years; you get them to love you and you get control of them. Love wasn’t so bad.
Chris was looking forward to the movie. He had always been a real movie buff and he had heard that this one was a good one. He would get to leave his reality behind for two hours and indulge his fantasies. If Mary Jo would just sit quietly through it, everything would be OK.
Soon he was thoroughly enjoying the movie. He was George Clooney, masterminding the greatest ever heist of a casino. He and his crew were busting out of there with millions! He knew he could do it, too, if he were just a little more criminally inclined and if he could put together his own crew.
Look at all he had accomplished so far. There was nothing he couldn’t do with the right tools and the right fools. Other folks might think it would be awfully hard to pull off a caper like that but Chris knew he could do it for real. And that movie was only fiction. Aw but what a life. Everybody respecting him wherever he went, all that money, all those women, traveling anywhere in the world he wanted to go. Someday he would do something really big. He looked every bit as handsome as George Clooney, too.
Maybe he should be an actor; that would be even easier than masterminding a heist and he would probably get richer. All he would have to do is grow a couple days worth of beard, pin his ears back a bit and, uh!
Going to the Movies at the Coast is Big for Coast Dwellers
Mary Jo was tugging on his sleeve, “Chris this movie is awful, the whole thing is about stealing from others. There is nothing at all worthy about that. It glorifies sin.”
“Aw c’mon Mary Jo, not again. It’s just a movie; it’s not like its reality. It’s made for entertainment. Can’t you let it entertain you?”
“Not in the least. What ever happened to good movies? You know – the kind that had socially redeeming value?”
“OK, you’ve made your point. I happen to think it’s a good movie like everybody else in here. If you don’t get it, maybe you could pipe down so you don’t disturb anyone else and I will explain it all later.”
“Oh, right Chris, I didn't say I didn’t understand the darned thing. Go ahead and enjoy your precious movie. I will suffer through it as always.” She had made her point and that was all she intended to do. Most of the time she would say nothing but this night was different. She had always felt he got a little too excited by these kinds of movies, for a man who remained pretty stoic about so many other things she found importance in. She would have rather put up with the wine so she could keep talking than waste good money on this. Oh well, she would indulge him as always. The night was still young. There would be time left. Chris was a night owl and she would be one too.
In the time it took for the movie to finish, Chris had managed to wind himself back into the plot. As they were making their exit, Chris had that look in his eyes again. Mary Jo could tell, it always made her uncomfortable. It always seemed the more larcenous type of movie that brought out that look. It was scary on the one hand but on the other he would remind her of a little kid.
As they returned to the van he was laying out his version of how he would have carried off the heist. “You know with all that trouble they went to with that fire alarm diversion, they could have utilized a smoke bomb with percussion grenade ploy,” Chris rattled on, “and then a low frequency wave diverter would have been imperceptible. It’s so simple. I simply can’t believe these dummies. And then they could have had all their ducks lined up in a row. It would have been like shooting fish in a barrel with a simple articulation of the qua…wha?
Mary Jo had given his arm a frantic tug, “Chris, where is the KIDVAN?” She said in a hushed voice.
“Jumping Jehovah Mary Jo, its right over there. What’s going on with you anyway?”
Mary Jo had taken a chance on a little subterfuge of her own. She was trying a diversion tactic to switch “her dreamer” out of that mode, otherwise he would go on and on from one triviality to the next. She thought if she could shift his focus back on berating her she might steer him back around to what’s important. “Oh of course, there is the van, dear. Good thing I have a gendarme by the arm.”
“Huh, oh yes. I was just saying that these crooks did a lousy job.”
“Oh, I know dear, you could have done better easily. But you know, like you said - it’s only entertainment.”
“Don’t tell me you don’t know what I meant Mary Jo, if I were the movie director, I would have done a much better job.”
“Oh, I know dear, you’re right. You would have done a much better job… Well now, where to now?” Mary Jo was embarking on a new strategy.
“Uh, well back to The Landing.”
“Uh dear, I was thinking about our spot and I was thinking about that nice bottle of wine we picked up earlier.” She felt she was turning into a regular little, Ms. Manipulator. She had been around him long enough that she was learning how to push some of his buttons to get him to do things she wanted. Of course it didn’t always work but this time it did.
Chris gave her a strange look, “Oh sure, OK I guess.”
She had achieved her desired effect. She had caught him off guard and he actually agreed to something she said. She could tell she had confused him a bit. He wasn’t expecting her to give him a come on like that. It’s not what she would usually do. But she was on a mission and she would succeed in shoving some more wine down him. That should loosen him up so he might cough up more details on what she knew he had been holding back. Chris drove them down to their special spot on Bayfront Dr. stopping by the Circle K to pick up some crackers.
When it comes to scenic spots for lovers - the coast is it
Once they had arrived at their viewpoint, it was anything but romantic. It was OK by Mary Jo though - as she was not there for an intimate experience. It was just as well anyhow, as intimacy was something less and less being shared between the two of them. She had long ago exhausted herself trying to get at the reasons why Chris seemed to fear that so. She had come to accept that as part of his fractured personality. Tonight she would settle for some simple explanations, a daunting task in itself.
She started things off with small talk to loosen up his tongue. She talked about Zach who would soon be needing to start school and she mentioned it would be nice if the whole family could go on an excursion, perhaps on a boat ride or something. She so enjoyed watching the boats come and go from their veranda. She loved the view. Their place had really grown on her. She was looking forward to the spring season on the waterfront. She talked about how she missed the fellowship of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and probed him again on how they might be able to inconspicuously get involved with the local Kingdom Hall. She felt it would be spiritually cleansing for the whole family. To her it was a natural progression leaving behind a troubled past and leading toward redemption in the eyes of Jehovah.
Mary Jo certainly was no drinker but she was actually enjoying her glass of wine. One advantage of having a van was that they could comfortably enjoy such a pastime. It seemed to be working quite well for Chris. She decided to gently remind him about the biggest reason for their night out together – to talk about things.
“Well then, I better tell you about The Landing.” Chris was beginning to talk. “There is something coming up.”
“Yes.” Mary Jo had to say something to break the long, lull of silence that followed Chris’s statement. All thoughts of comfort and enjoyment proceeded to flow right out of her head because she knew a bombshell was coming. “Oh no Chris, don’t tell me there are troubles with our new home again.”
“I am afraid so, it’s the same thing. Rent is coming due and we won’t have it.”
Business as usual was highly unusual for Chris
“Oh no, oh no, don’t let this be happening again. Chris you told me it would be different this time. You said everything would be good and this would be the beginning of the brand new life you had envisioned.
“how much can it be? You are getting more hours at work now – I can work.”
“It’s a lot Mary Jo. I haven’t paid them anything.”
“What?” She screamed out, “Why not Chris? You said you paid them plenty. Where did the money go?”
“Uh, I bought stuffed animals for the kids.”
“Chris, Chris what good will stuffed animals do when we have no place to live?”
“Now calm down dear, no reason to get over excited like you do. There are plenty of other places to live.”
“God damn you Chris!” Mary Jo never said those words but she was saying them now, “I won’t let you turn this back on me this time. Again you have done something terribly wrong, not me. You are condemning our whole family in the eyes of Jehovah. You have conned these people too. What kind of scheme did you pull to get us into this place with no money down? No, no I don’t even want to know. We are still on the run. It’s never going to change. Oh Chris, why – why?”
“Don’t cry Mary Jo, you never cry. I’ll fix it like I always do. We can get through this.” Mary Jo’s tears seemed to trigger something in Chris. This was the watershed moment. He proceeded to fill her in on all the sordid details on how he lied to the management at The Landing. He filled in all the details on how he masqueraded as the big time cable company executive in town on a big project, how he told them about the big check that was in the mail to cover an extended stay, how he had neglected to mention he had a family moving in.
“But what then, Chris? You are always so concerned about appearances but you can’t ever seem to think of tomorrow. What do we do when we get kicked out again? You have a job now, we have friends. We were establishing a place for us in this community. But what do we do when the truth comes out? How are you going to use your presentation to get us out of this one?”
“But I will, I will Mary Jo, just like I've done before. Don’t cry, I will take care of everything. You know you can trust me.”
“I can trust you…just like before? That’s just it Chris. I know there is more. There is plenty more to tell. I have been on pins and needles for so long, I can’t remember. I’m so tired Chris. I swear it seems I can’t take any more. Talk to me Chris.”
Chris kept on. Before long, she knew all about the other clients of their cleaning company back home, he had ripped off by counterfeiting their checks and the full story as to why they had to load up and leave their warehouse home in Toledo so quickly. Dark suspicions she had carried for so long were affirmed. They were on borrowed time. Chris was a wanted man. Sooner or later the authorities would catch up with them.
A man walks into a bar. There are 100 people inside
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- On average, how many Narcississts can he expect to be in there
Mary Jo could not stop crying. She knew Chris was finally coming clean at long last. But his words were having such a powerful affect on her, she could hardly stand it. She wanted to keep going but the pressure was too great, like her head was being squeezed in one of those workmen’s vice tools. The glass of wine was not feeling like such a good idea after all. She found herself suddenly missing the comfort of being with her babies. “Chris we must go home now. There is so much going through my head now. I, I guess I just need a little time to digest it all. I know you have more to tell. Chris, look at your eyes. How are mine? We can’t be looking bad to the Thompsons when we get back. Things are going to be bad enough soon enough.”
Narcissism is on the rise. According to a study several years ago - it is at an alarming rate. Epidemic, actually! Of course it is difficult to discern how many there are in any given population. But when it comes to a bar - you can count on 6 out of 100 and probably quite higher! How did you do on the quiz? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. Did anything sound familiar to you in the conversation in this chapter?
Be sure and follow for the next chapter. It will not be for the faint of heart
- Narcissism Epidemic: Why There Are So Many Narcissists Now - US News
An author of 'The Narcissism Epidemic' explores why today's kids—and adults—feel so entitled.
© 2015 Chuck Fasst
Suzie from Carson City on August 01, 2015:
Hmmmmm I actually think they DO see it and have come to "expect" it......thus nonchalantly accept it. (I find even myself now, when encountering one of these lovely creatures, thinking, "Ah yes, here we go, another psycho."......)
Chuck Fasst (author) from Portland, Oregon on August 01, 2015:
Yes, narcissism is spreading throughout the populace like a slow moving wildfire over the years. What makes it so dangerous is the minions cannot see it happening. What is the worse is that they choose not to see it.
Suzie from Carson City on July 31, 2015:
Oh yes....I guessed 6 out of 100 immediately...the first answer. Narcissism IS an epidemic! It frightening. This guy is outrageous!
I love your writing style!