Thanks to Dave T for his tireless efforts to edit my tales into something readable (despite my changes after he is done). Any and all errors are mine.
"Forgive your Enemies, but remember the Bastards names" -Famous Political Saying
"I cannot help what my feelings are!" I snapped, as steam came out of my ears.
My friend Shelly just smirked as she cleaned off some glasses before wiping down the bar top, like the stereotypical bartender she was.
We were in Shelly's bar, "The Jim", named after her deceased husband. His running joke was the customers could honestly say they were at 'The Jim', or going to 'The Jim'. It was a little corner establishment Shelly and Jim had bought and fought to keep solvent. The hours had driven Shelly's husband into an early grave. Shelly had used the life insurance money to pay off most of the loan, and turned her grief into keeping the bar as a tribute to her late husband.
"OK Barb," Shelly said while refilling my wine glass. "Let me see if I got this right. You are not pissed that your husband Dean slept with someone else. You are pissed off at who the girl is?"
I took a sip of my drink before answering. "Do you blame me Shelly? Have you seen HER?"
'Her', the lady in question was named Marge. An overweight, chain smoking, loudmouth, bottle redhead. Marge worked as a that middle level manager in some useless redundant government agency, whose job was creating paperwork for another useless redundant government agency.
Shelly put some more glasses into the sink. "You do realize Barb that this encounter between Marge and Dean, was long before you and Dean ever met."
I looked around the bar, it was pretty empty, save some guys playing pool in the back room. "Who cares Shelly, I mean seriously, look at me."
I got off the barstool and did a twirl, showing of my four times a week yoga class body before sitting down, "And compare this body to that ... uhg ... her." I said, making a face as a mental image of Marge crossed my mind. "It is just not ... normal."
Shelly threw a towel over her shoulder. "Normal is a setting on the dryer. So your hubby Dean traded up by marrying you. I do not understand why that bothers you?"
"What if it wasn't him that traded up?" I asked "I found out Marge and Dean were together for over a year. What if Marge broke up with Dean? That means I would be settling for a Marge reject. That makes me want to hurl!"
"Barb, again, WHO CARES. One person's trash is another person's treasure. Marge's loss is your gain, yada, yada, yada."
"Easy for you to say Shelly. You do not have to have sex with a man who stuck his pickle into Marge's pickle barrel for over a year."
Shelly leaned on the bar with a grin on her face. "Maybe Marge had a few bedroom tricks that kept Dean coming back. Maybe you girls should get together and swap 'recipes'?"
I almost gagged on my drink. "I will have you know that no one who was in my 'kitchen', EVER went away anything but fully satisfied, and certainly were always hungry for more!"
Shelly just raised her eyebrows.
I looked around before answering. "I may not be some vestal virgin, but I am not some dirty gutter slut either!"
Shelly laughed and clapped me on the shoulder. "Sex is only dirty if done right."
I knew my face was bright red as I shook off Shelly. "Please, this is serious! I am not happy about this!"
Shelly shook her head. "Sex, the thing that takes the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble."
I ignored her remark as I ran a finger around the rim of my glass "It just seems so hard to see the future with Dean, when his past with that skank Marge is in his history."
Shelly shook her head at me. "Barb you ever hear the expression. 'The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.'"
She then got a somber look on her face. "We have known each other since grade school, been thru a lot. But remember what my grandmother used to tell us. 'Happiness is simple. Someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.'"
Now, I smiled at the memory of that old lady. "Yeah, but wasn't she also the one who said 'Marriage is between a man, and a women who is not too picky' ".
We both laughed a little when I felt a presence to my left. Suddenly Dean plopped down on the barstool next to me. He had a bag from the hardware store in his left hand.
"Hi Beautiful" Dean said, giving me a kiss.
Shelly made a face. "I thought you were talking to me."
Dean grinned and easily pulled himself up and over the bar, doing a modified full gainer, landing behind Shelly. He immediately began smothering her neck with sloppy kisses.
"Showoff" I said, sipping my drink with a smile, while silently admiring my husband's acrobatics.
Shelly pretended to fight off his advances. "What do you expect from an old Olympic gymnast."
Dean grabbed the bar rail and vaulted back across the bar into the seat next to me. "Ah, you ladies are too kind. But we all know I had to drop out before the end of Olympic Team tryouts, and that was a long, long time ago."
"You did not have to drop out." Shelly finished, "You chose to drop out to help your parents."
"Tomato, tamato." Dean said. "Same thing, I was never on the Olympic team." He then lifted my wine glass. "The house white?"
Shelly pulled the bottle from under the bar, showing the label to Dean before refilling my glass. "Wine is like duct tape for women, it fixes everything."
Dean grinned as he put his arm around me.
"Ugh!" I exclaimed pushing him away. "You smell like sawdust, go clean up before you get me all woody."
Dean rolled off the barstool, but not before giving me a tickle. "Speaking of 'woody' don't forget tonight's date night."
"What are you guys doing?" Shelly asked.
I rolled my eyes. "Watching a DVD."
Dean held up his finger. "Not just any DVD. Tonight is classic movie night, with the director's cut of 'The Wizard of Oz'. The ultimate chick action flick, where two women fight to the death over a pair of shoes."
I shoved him toward the men's room. "Fine Paul Bunyan, now please go wash off some of that timber before woodland creatures come in looking for a place to nest."
There was only the clicking sound of the pool balls in the background as I saw Shelly linger on Dean's sleek figure while he walked to the other side of the building. As Dean moved out of sight Shelly snapped her towel at me. "Goddammit Barb, you should be sending Marge thank you letters every Christmas for cutting Dean loose, instead of worrying about some ancient history those two had before you were even on the scene."
"He is not perfect you know." I countered defensively. "I can't count how many times Dean leaves the toilet seat up, and besides being Marge's cast off, the man has a cat as a pet. What kind of man has a cat as a pet?"
Shelly gave me an odd look. "What is wrong with a pet? I wish I was half the person my dog thinks I am."
I ignored her. "And who names their cat 'Tom'? Come on!"
Shelly was astounded "You don't like Tom the cat? I love that big black cat! He is biggest damn cat I ever saw, like a mini panther. Yet that crazy cat Tom has the personality of a dog."
"Wonderful" I spat. "Dean and Tom have been together forever. Maybe Tom the cat can teach Dean to get a real job. Dean hasn't had a steady job in the five years we have been married. He has never put his business degree to work."
Shelly gave me a strange look. "You are kidding, right? People from other countries send their wooden antiques to Dean for restoration."
"Ah, sure, but it is embarrassing at our office parties when Dean says he whittles wood. I hate the impression that he is like some hillbilly lumberjack. He could be on the fast track and halfway to upper management by now if he wanted. But No, Dean wants to stay home and play in the garage."
"Barb, I have seen Deans' garage. It is workshop better equipped than most woodworking TV shows."
"It's my garage." I snapped. "Part of Grandpas house he left me when my parents died."
"Didn't Dean completely redo all the wood floors in the house?"
"Plus all the moldings and entrances."
"And the front porch, steps and trim?"
"Not to mention the fireplace" Shelly said, as she reached down under the bar and pulled out a magazine, plopping a glossy full double page spread in front of me.
"Barb isn't that you on the curved staircase that Dean rebuilt from scratch in 'National Home magazine'?"
"OK, OK Shelly, but I was the one who had to put up with all the dust."
"Oh Boo hoo, and now your home is in the County Historic Registry. Before Dean you were getting letters from city code enforcement."
"Well if Dean had taken any of the offers he had out of school we could have been making big money and paid someone to do that kind of work. You don't know what it is like to have only one steady income ... just MINE. It is not a situation that leaves me too happy."
Shelly rolled her eyes "I think Groucho Marx once said, 'What good is happiness? It can't buy money.'"
I took another drink of my wine. "Seriously Shelly, having Dean being Marge's reject along with his limited earning is not exactly the key to my happiness."
.... There is more of this story ...