An Adult Education

I couldn’t make this work until inspiration hit me.  Something sentimental?  No, too boring — and nobody likes being bored.  Something paranormal?  No, we’ll probably get enough of those this week.  Something at work I heard about?  Ah!  I leaped out of bed to write this.

Normally, I don’t post links at the end of a story, but Chairwoman Rochelle of FF Central strongly suggested it … and she was right.  It is  a news story from my station that inspired this.  You’ll get to see the people I work with AND, for those of you overseas, see how we do the local news!  Welcome to my world.

Rochelle Wisoff-“Fields and Streams” heads up the Friday Fictioneers and invites you to join in.

Erin Leary, thank you for this most BEAUTIFUL photo.  I WANT so much to be there on a cool morning!



Mike leaned on the fence in the quiet country fog.  Laura approached him, put her arm around his waist, nuzzled his shoulder.  “Whatcha thinkin’ about?”

He mustered his courage.  “Laura, this has been going on for two semesters and … since you’re almost graduated …”

She stiffened up. “You’re in love with me, aren’t you?”

He nodded. “I’ll admit, this wasn’t in our agreement, but …”

“Mike, don’t screw up a good thing.  I am graduating this spring, OK?”

“You could do worse.”  He handed her a check with zeroes and his signature at the bottom.  Her next semester bought and paid for.








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113 Responses to An Adult Education

  1. Yikes! Great ending, and a complex topic outside the western world…and maybe in it too!

  2. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Kent,

    I think you may have tapped the mother lode. Every time you write a story adapted from real life you end up with a real winner. This was tight, layered, and true to life. I enjoyed the companion video, too. Keep it up.



  3. wmqcolby says:

    Wow, Doug, thank-you EVER so much! Highest compliments coming from you. I will endeavor to continue the tradition and press on.

  4. Honie Briggs says:

    Excellent story, Doug. Katherine Doyle, the main character in my book, got “caught up and bought up” in a similar way. Very well done!

  5. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    Wow, Kent — fantastic tale. The two distinct voices were very clearly of different ages. Well done.

  6. Sandra says:

    Whilst I shouldn’t like this, this ‘bought and paid for’ thing, I couldn’t help liking both characters. Good writing Kent. Tight and convincing.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Sandra. I didn’t know if there was anything to the characters, but, hey, I’ll take it!
      BTW, was it the theme of the story or the phrase “bought and paid for” you didn’t like? I’m always on the look out for stuff like that.

  7. Kent, excellent story and thanks for including the video. I’m not going to get involved in a discussion of the practice, although you can probably guess my thoughts, but you told the story very well. It’s all well and good to say you’ll both keep your distance, but that isn’t always going to work. In this case, the result was benign, but I imagine sometimes it could turn ugly. Just one small thing, “spring”, much as we love it, doesn’t merit a capital letter. 🙂


    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Janet! Yes, I’m sure we could fill volumes about this.
      Now, as for spring, thanks for pointing this stuff out because I have become very unsure of these things over the years. What about directions like north and south? I always thought they were capitalized. Again, thanks for pointing out things. I need them BAD!!

      • None of those are capitalized. Sometimes seasons are in poetry, but generally not. Proper names (people, countries, streets, cities) are. Mom and Dad are when used as a name such as “Mom went to the store”, but not in “my mom and dad.” If you talk about the war between the North and South, caps, (or, as called in the South, the War of Northern Aggression), but otherwise not. Clear as mud?


    • wmqcolby says:

      Got it! And thank-you. I am a stickler for getting it right.

  8. I feel sick to the stomach.. and that’s why I really like that my tax money goes to free tuition.. those vile men can at least look elsewhere for their babes…

    • wmqcolby says:

      A lot of those men, I found out in the news story were mostly guys that owned their own businesses, BUT — some were actual teachers and PROFESSORS! THAT made me about croak.

  9. I’d like to think she surprises us all and turns him down. That’s not going to happen is it?

    • wmqcolby says:

      Probably not. If the character is true to the situation (meaning that this is all she is doing it for — especially the way I saw the news story) it won’t end very happily.

  10. elmowrites says:

    Interesting look at a real situation, Kent. I know girls who are doing this in the UK and I’m sure there are plenty of situations where it turns ugly, uncomplicated, whatever. One question: the “cheque with zeroes” – has he given her a blank cheque? Or do you just mean it had lots of zeroes? I’m probably just being dumb, but I didn’t get this bit – although I got that he was standing by their arrangement, at least for now.

    • wmqcolby says:

      No, you’re not being dumb. In fact, when I looked at that, i thought maybe it should have been re-worded with a “number followed by zeroes”. Good call on that, Jen! I’ll rewrite it. And thanks for your wonderful comments!

  11. Ew. I mean, good characterization and all, but ew.

  12. I have to admit, I had to read it more than once to figure out what was going on…but an interesting use of the fence!

    • wmqcolby says:

      Yeah, it might be a little lost on some people. No worries, though. That’s probably another reason Rochelle suggested the link. Might even need a rewrite.

  13. K.Z. says:

    you’re at your best when you write about real life stuff Kent.. no embellishments, just plain reality, that punch at the end, wonderful.

  14. A touchy subject but done with a bit of class.

  15. Dear Q,

    As always truth trumps fiction every time.

    Fun story!



    • wmqcolby says:

      Yes, it was, although, Mark Twain said he didn’t like truth to get in the way of a good story. Maybe that’s why he got out of journalism. Then again …

  16. subroto says:

    Ah! Topical story just when a sugar granddaddy is in the news these days 😉

  17. Kent, Good story and interesting video. I don’t know but it seemed it was an open secret when a professor where I went to college favored the female students. It could be that it’s not as secrative as the people involved think. There are too many eyes, ears and cell phones out there. It would be especially risky if they go out to bars, etc. It could also open the door to bribery. Well done. 🙂 —Susan

    • wmqcolby says:

      You know, you bring up an interesting point, that “open secret” thing. You’re right. Too many eyes and ears out there. It was much easier back in the day, but still difficult since we had no knowledge of what lay ahead for us technologically. Bigger risks, bigger rewards.

  18. Wow! I didn’t see it coming until she said, “… don’t screw up a good thing. I’m graduating this Spring, OK?”
    Perfectly paced dialogue and action. I feel sorry for the sugar daddy, even though he’s a creep.
    (P.S. I’d never heard of such things until I watched the show in the link you provided. It’s prostitution, no matter how someone justifies it. People will go to enormous lengths to pretend to themselves that they are different from the run-of-the mill person “out there.” It’s sad. Justifications are a trap.)

    • wmqcolby says:

      I had originally said, “Don’t push it, Mike.” Rochelle gave me the “screw up a good thing” line. States it better.

      As for the news story, Macradee pointed out that some guys are just looking for someone too talk to. Now, if someone’s looking for conversation or companionship and wants to pay for the privilege, that’s one thing. It’s another thing when they’re married to someone else and conducting this rather “innocent” activity in secret. Yes, I have a problem with that.

      You are correct, too, about the justifications being a trap. Doing what’s right in our own eyes is not good.

      Great comments and thanks for reading!

  19. Nice written and well delivered. The story is especially strong once it moves past the scene setter at the beginning. My only slight criticism would be “Laura approached him, put her arm around his waist, nuzzled his shoulder.”. I’ve re-read this line about 5 times now and for some reason, the flow doesn’t seem quite right. Could just be me though.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Hmmm. Good point. Yes, I wanted to convey the relationship between the two using that line. Maybe it COULD use a re-do. When stuff like this comes along, I let it sit for several weeks or months, then see how it stands. Thanks for pointing that out, Weltchy!

  20. maru clavier says:

    Interesting the story and the comments… ‘there are always two sides in a coin’ as an old man I know says.

  21. Ha, pretty neat little story, although I found the dialogues to be a little disjointed and bumpy. maybe my whole opinion pivots on the fact that ” I am graduating” isn’t “I’m graduating.”

  22. draliman says:

    A damning indictment of the modern world! The poor chap has got himself in a bit deep, falling in love with her and everything. I hope that when she graduates he doesn’t follow her like a lost puppy.

  23. Wow! Kent, this was really compelling. The story hit a home run, and the video was something entirely new to me! I thought I was pretty aware of what’s going on out there, but this Seeking Arrangements actually surprised me. Thanks for sharing your world. Both the story and the video rocked!

    • wmqcolby says:

      Yeah, that news story really hits where it hurts, ya know. We were kind of feeling that way ourselves when we saw the story at work.
      Dawn, thank-you VERY much for your wonderful comments!

      • I get that education is impossible for some, but it’s sad to me that waiting tables no longer pays the bills. I worked 3 jobs… Sure, a Sugar Daddy would have been easier, but at what cost? I wonder how many of these young women consider that. Or, is it empowering to them, to take charge in this way? Maybe I’m getting old…. And comments: sincere and true. You’re welcome. 😉

    • wmqcolby says:

      You’re spot on it, Dawn. Spot on it.

  24. Jan Brown says:

    Good story ! It stands onbits own quite nicely , but Rochelle was correct ; the news story adds yet another layer of background and context. It brings to mind a “Law and Order SVU” episode about a murdered sugar baby. Ironically, her favorite sugar daddy and, of course, murder suspect , was himself an internet entrepreneur. His daughter (about the same age as his sugar baby–ewww) turned out to be the murderer.

  25. I wonder what they’re like as people. Interesting story.

  26. elappleby says:

    thought provoking story this week. I watched your link too – and have to say this sounded like prostitution. If someone is paid for a service by someone else, it’s a job not a relationship as far as I can see. But maybe I’m just too logical!

    • wmqcolby says:

      It is what it is, but as far as I’m concerned, you’re right. It IS a job.
      Working in the media, the same thing.
      Oh, wait a minute …

  27. What an eye opener! Well, maybe not. Sugar Daddies have been part of society forever. I wish I could have opened the link at the end, but we’ve lost flash player for some reason. The title of your piece is . . .well . . . PERFECT. Thanks for the education.

  28. That was a great story, with all kinds of layered emotions and motivations. I’d hate to be in his position, living out a fantasy that she actually likes him.

  29. rgayer55 says:

    I guess you and I are too old to get a Sugar Mama? Not sure I want to rub the bunions anyway.

  30. I liked the story….interesting twist! 🙂

  31. atrm61 says:

    Well,these kind of people always end up in a mess and I guess they deserve it!Cannot imagine what it must be like to sell your “affections” for a college education-what kind of education would that be?Loved where you took us with the prompt Kent-excellent portrayal in just 100 words and the video link at the end added to it 🙂

  32. Taygibay says:

    Strange one! I had to check the news reel to catch it fully. Not enough of a perv by nature I guess? But having done so, the title struck me as the best part on the otherwise linear subject.
    Good, weird but good, Tay.

  33. Beats dinner at the nicest steak house!

  34. Amy Reese says:

    Well done, Kent. Such an interesting read! You never know what lurks in the mist. I’d say this is quite manipulative, but I’m sure she’s on the fence. It’s hard to refuse money when you are in a desperate position.

  35. ContactRida says:

    great story! of course he will be dumped after graduation, unless she wants her Masters;) this whole cash for sex is so boringly old but sex sells and the media laps it up like a thirsty puppy. how bout they talk about wives who say, “Harold, clean the gutters and “l’ll do that thing you love so much.” guess no one likes having a light shined on their arrangements…

    • wmqcolby says:

      I guess not, CR. But, I’m confident it’ll get so boring then when someone does something “old fashioned” again, it’ll be brand spanking new and people will do it again.

      Thanks for reading and for your comments!

  36. Dee says:

    Great story Kent, well written, believable dialogue, I loved this.
    There’s education and then there’s education!!!

  37. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Kent, Great story and I heard it on TV. Well written and it is so sad that is how some girls get money for college. – Me? I worked at Welch’s Grape Juice Plant in Springdale, Arkansas for 2 summers. I like my way better. But, you nailed the story! Good job! Nan 🙂

  38. Anita says:

    Lovely positive story. Education is taken care of 🙂

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Anita, although, I wonder if paying for tuition in exchange for illicit company would be a positive thing. 🙂

      • Anita says:

        I took it as a positive story as I felt they were in love & would marry. Being the optimistic person I am, I made up a story in my head that he was paying for her education as she had financial problems and as they were going to be a couple after studies, it made sense to help 🙂
        Oops, I now realize that your story is different from what I thought! Agree, even I don’t support illicit company…

      • wmqcolby says:

        Well, I’ll tell you. I’m all for optimism and if you saw it that way, I can’t say I blame you. There really is not enough information there to warrant NOT having a sweet love story. But when she says, “Mike, don’t screw up a good thing.” then we realize it all too differently. But thanks for the insight, anyway.

  39. Shandra says:

    Very astute look into the all-too-real-world. Well done.

  40. sandraconner says:

    Yep, in this REAL world of ours it’s usually all about money: those that have it, pay — and those that don’t have it, pay an even bigger price.

  41. Sarah Ann says:

    So well told. Great dialogue and those directions (him mustering, her stiffening) make the scene so vivid. Is there a threat in his last comment though – about her doing worse? Quite chilling.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Rochelle was responsible for that line, actually. It met the best criteria for strength, although no threat was intended. More of a resignation, I suppose.

  42. lindarigsbee says:

    ooooh. I wasn’t expecting THAT! Great job!

  43. Sun says:

    captivating story and the link at the end . . . sounds like your student character is nothing but a high class companion and the sugar daddy – a selfish jerk especially if married! very realistic scene.

  44. colehturner says:

    I really enjoyed this and could picture it in my mind easily. My only question was, did he hand her a blank check?

  45. MythRider says:

    Here is an unexpected ending. Good job.

  46. MrBinks says:

    Writing from something you know or have experienced always results in something great. Good work.

  47. A story that left me thinking – I love it!
    On first reading, I felt more sympathy for the man. The student seemed to be the cold, calculating one in the situation. But after watching the link and reading the story again, I wasn’t so sure. The man had her in his grasp, giving the ‘arrangement’ a darker, more manipulative twist. As the saying goes, ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune.’

    • wmqcolby says:

      Ah, very good observation, Siobhan! The “paying the piper his due” theme works well here.
      Now, I couldn’t have written it in first person, it was just too juicy an idea to have only one person’s POV. The man probably HAS fallen in love with her, however, SHE might be in denial or in a “what-have-I-gotten-myself-into” type of situation. Since I didn’t give really any details about them as individuals, it’s essentially up for grabs.
      Thanks for reading and your fine comments! 🙂

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