Hi folks, This one is partially true and partially fiction. The guy who wrecked his Mustang and went into a depression about it is absolutely true. I met him at this year's dream cruise. Coming to Mustang Alley and seeing all of the ponies was part of his therapy. I did let him know that I'd be taking a lot of liberties with his story. But there were some things that were too great to leave out. One of thse is his real life, uber supportive, uber beautiful wife Saraya. I had to throw her into the mix. The rest of it is pure fiction. I'd also like to thank Barney-R for coralling my grammatical and spelling wildness. Maybe someday, I'll leave it alone when he changes all of my buts to howevers. And by now most f you know that I've never met a comma I didn't like. Enjoy, and drop me a line complaining about it if you don't like it. Readers, start your Engines. SS06
My name is Vee. Okay, that's not actually my name; it's just what most of my friends call me. My actual name is Irving Raymond Dallbinger. As I was growing up my parents called me Irvy. My friends shortened it to Vee. I liked it. Vee sounds a lot tougher than Irvy. And it's less nerdy than Irv.
As I sit here my life flashes in front of my eyes. My right foot spikes downwards revving my car's engine. Seven hundred horsepower responds and an absolutely hellish sound erupts from the three inch tips of the Gibson Performance side exhaust system I recently had installed on the car.
I look to my left and stare into the most beautiful brown eyes on the planet. The woman the eyes are attached to, smiles at me. Why shouldn't she smile? She has nothing to lose.
On the other hand, this race means everything to me.
Race. It's a funny word. It's something we're born doing. Five year old kids get together on the playground, look at each other and ask... "Wanna race?"
In its most basic form the word refers to a contest in which two or more competitors endeavor to discover which of them is the fastest. We can race on foot. We can race bicycles. We can race cars. Shit, we can race almost any mode of transportation.
In this case we're racing cars. It's something I used to do regularly. But I haven't raced in a little over two years. That last race cost me almost everything.
A tapping sound drew my attention. I looked across and saw her smiling at me. Her extremely white teeth contrasted against flawless caramel skin. "This ain't no ten second race," she smirked. "We're doing a lap of the entire park. If losing is too humiliating for you, you can just keep going when the race is over. But I hope you're man enough to at least come and congratulate me." I just nodded my head at her.
She revved her engine a couple of times and then started flipping switches. I realized then that she was setting her launch controls. Her engine revved up to its launch rpms and she looked over at me.
"No launch control?" she asked. Her expression, with one eyebrow raised was even sexier.
"Don't need em," I said. "My car's an automatic."
Her laughter was musical.
"I thought that real men drive Manual transmissions," she said.
"Real men drive whatever's faster and less complicated," I said. "I can't wait to see how manly you are on your back with me between your legs."
Her eyes seemed to light up when I said that. For the second time since I met her I was confused. It almost seemed as if she was on my side.
A man wearing a business suit walked out in front of us and between us. He snatched the handkerchief from his pocket and raised it in one hand. "When the handkerchief drops" you guys haul ass," he said.
Time stood still as his arm slowly rose above his head. He looked at both of us in turn to make sure that we were ready.
This was so different from my last race. This was semi organized, although still illegal as hell. That last race had been utter chaos. It had been an unplanned thing that just happened. I mean when I left the house that morning, I didn't consciously think, 'Okay, today I think I'll fuck my car up and risk dying. I just wanna ruin my God damned life, and I think today is that day!'
What happened was I was on my way to work and as I was cruising down the freeway, minding my own business, there was this Challenger. And you guys know that all of those guys who drive Challengers have something to prove. And this guy was showing his ass, so I had to edumacate him.
When I heard his tires chirp, my reflexes kicked in. My foot stabbed the gas pedal and the torque of my acceleration snapped my head back. I love that feeeling. (Yep, I intended to use three E's. Driving that fast is a feeeling.) I caught up to him in less than a second and rocketed by. He tried to keep up, but once I got past a hundred miles an hour, he backed off. Truthfully, I don't think it was any lack of speed in his car. I think he was a bit skeered, as they say in Ohio.
I took the off ramp and left the freeway, feeling good about once again defending the brand. Another victory for the valiant Mustangs over the tyranny of the Italian owned Chrysler Empire.
I was driving down Woodward Avenue, headed for my office, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a biker on a crotch rocket. 'What the fuck, ' I thought. It was a no lose situation. He was on a bike. Everyone would expect him to have faster acceleration. But I have those race car driver reflexes. We were stopped at a traffic light. He looked across at me and smiled. He revved his engine and I could tell he thought he would have me for lunch. He revved his engine again, but in mid rev, just as he was backing off, the light changed.
My foot hit the gas like lightning striking the earth. My pony car's forward leap caught him flat-footed and I was gone. The bike was far lighter, but I was pretty sure he couldn't match my top end speed. The problem was getting there. His acceleration was epic, but I had a big lead. As my speedo circled towards 100 he was gaining ground far faster than we were eating it up.
Unfortunately, we were running out of real estate. As we hit the end of the block and the next stop light, I still held a small lead. The light was red and I hit the brakes, but just as I hit the brakes and my six piston Brembo brakes began to clamp and slow me down the light changed to green.
He had nearly stopped, but I still had the momentum going for me. I hit the gas again and leaped forward through the light. A quick glance to the side confused me. He was looking at me and wasn't trying to get ahead of me.
Again my reflexes kicked in. But no matter how fast I was, it didn't mean shit. Life is full of all kinds of things that only matter in certain situations. They say that before you die your life flashes in front of your eyes. Mine didn't. I had perfectly clear vision and way above normal reaction time. The problem was that there simply wasn't enough time.
Thought moves at the speed of light. But waiting for physical action and mechanical movement is painfully slower.
Remember my ridiculous, six piston Brembo brakes I spoke about earlier? Why are they ridiculous? Because my front brakes cost over three thousand dollars. You can buy a used older model Mustang v6 for that. When you throw in another nineteen hundred for my rear brakes you begin to see the issue. No one who isn't totally obsessed with cars would ever pay that.
But I'm not alone. I've seen the same brakes on several Camaros and a few Challengers. They're standard issue on the higher end Corvettes too. And truthfully, they're usually worth it. My brakes can slow me down from sixty miles an hour to zero in only ninety three feet.
The problem I had that day was that I was moving a lot faster than sixty and the wall that appeared in front of me was a lot closer than ninety feet.
I watched with endless and painful slowness as it happened.
He was bored. He'd been on the job for too many years and had been driving for too many hours straight. He was doing a double shift that morning and had simply become complacent.
He always drove through the yellow in this spot. He was making the U-turn in front of the old State Fair grounds. It didn't really matter, if he went through the red light. Who the hell would ever hit a bus? This time of the morning there were very few cars on the road. And he had very few passengers. He had also had a few drinks between the end of the midnight shift and the beginning of the morning shift. His reflexes weren't quite as sharp as they should have been.
I later found out that he never even saw me. His first realization that I was there was my Mustangs thirty four hundred pounds slamming into the side of his bus so hard that it nearly tipped over.
I can remember it in infinite detail. I remember the hellish shriek of tortured tires. My expensive, super sticky, performance, directional radials crying out in protest. The aforementioned brakes clamping down so the car was simply sliding towards the bus.
Emotionally, I felt it as my front bumper deformed on contact with the bus. It was funny. The price of a replacement front bumper went through my mind even as that one was ruined. My custom grills were next. I could feel it as the aluminum billet grills bent and snapped. My chin spoiler was ripped from the bumper as the radiator was pushed into and through the serpentine belt. The engine mounts were designed to break loose under extreme pressure.
It helps to form the crumple zone in the front end. That crumple zone deforms and absorbs most of the force of the impact. My front windshield cracked and shattered, but not a single piece of glass broke free. I was thinking of the Mustang emblem imbedded in that windshield and whether or not the insurance company would spring to replace it, or would they try to give me some regular shitty windshield that just fit.
I was sure that I would have to pay for the tinting myself. And then the air bag blew. Strangely enough, that was when I got pissed. I knew that the airbag going off meant major repairs. I would be without my car for a month at least. That meant that I would probably miss the Dream Cruise.
The weird part of it was that I never lost consciousness. I shook my head and opened my seat belt. I had to force the door open. Then I got out and looked at my car. I knew it was going to be expensive. I knew I was going to need an awesome mechanic.
The light on my side was still green. One of the drivers in the other lanes came over to me. "He ran the red light!" he yelled, pointing at the bus driver. The bus had gone up onto the grass that bordered the road. He got out of the bus looking bewildered.
The guy on the bike took off then. He wasn't actually involved in the accident. I could see his smirk through his helmet.
The police were there almost instantly. There is a police station less than a mile away. One of the officers came to me; the other went to the bus driver. My witness quickly spoke up. "The bus ran the red light," he said again.
An ambulance pulled up. They put me in the back and started checking me over. I told them I was fine, but they insisted in taking me to the hospital anyway. While I was in the back of the ambulance, I called my wife, Wendy.
She got to the hospital less than twenty minutes after I did. She was frantic. I was fine. She checked me out, looking at every part of my body. It was as if she thought she could see things that the X-Rays and the MRI couldn't.
She hugged me, and then recoiled as she realized that her hug might have hurt me. She asked me millions of questions and never waited for me to answer. I was numb. Not physically, but emotionally.
I was given a clean bill of health and told that I would probably become very sore over the next few days. It didn't happen. Basically the fact that I ran and lifted weights, keeping myself in excellent physical condition, allowed me to walk away from the accident without a scratch. Hoo-fuckin' rah!"
I couldn't believe it was happening. My greatest nightmare was actually happening. I had planned to work on both the flower beds in the front of our yard and my tan. My idea was to get a very early start so I could weed the flower beds before the sun was at its full intensity. There was no sense wasting any sunshine. After all this is Michigan. Summer is only about six weeks long. At least that's the way it seems.
But before I could even get my tools out, I got a phone call. I figured it was one of my friends so I answered, and less than five minutes later, I was in my Jeep and heading for the hospital.
Vee was my life. He had to be okay. There were tears streaming down my cheeks as I flew into the hospital's parking lot. I pulled right up in front of the hospital and got out of my car. A guard started yelling at me.
"It's my husband," I cried. Maybe it was something in my expression ... Maybe it was the fact that I was wearing shorts that a stripper wouldn't wear and my bra-less boobs were fighting for attention under the thin t-shirt I wore, but whatever it was, he softened his stance.
"Ma'am, I hope your husband is fine," he said. "I really do. But you can't leave your car here. They'll tow it away."
I went back to the car. The keys were still in it. I turned to look at him. It just seemed like someone was putting obstacles in my way to keep me from getting to Vee.
"Wow," he said. "You really were in a hurry. Okay, Ma'am. I'll take it from here. Your car will be in Valet parking. The Valet guy will have your keys. And here..." He reached into to his pocket. "This ticket will make it so you don't have to pay for the Valet service, or for parking. I really hope your husband is okay." I was surprised at his compassion, but I had no time to thank him. So I just nodded and took off for the door to the emergency room.
A nurse told me that I couldn't come in through the door I used. I looked through her and walked up to the desk. I asked for Vee and another nurse, seeing the look on my face looked through the records. "You are?" she asked, before telling me anything.
"Wendy Dallbinger," I said desperately. "He's my husband ... I mean I'm his wife. Is he okay? What happened to him? Can I see him now? Oh God! ... I left my purse in the car. I don't have our health cards or anything else on me. Can I see him before I try to find the car and get all of that stuff?" My voice was getting louder and more frantic by the second.
"Please let her come in here, before she passes out," said a voice from just beyond the partition that separated the desk from the triage cubicles. I recognized the voice as Vee's.
"Vee!" I screamed joyfully. I bolted past the partition to find him sitting up on a small cot-like bed in the third of four cubicles.
I looked over his face and exposed body areas for cuts or bruises. Then I felt his arms and legs. "Are you okay?" I shrieked.
"My car is wrecked," he said sullenly. I had no time for that silliness.
"Fuck that car!" I hissed. "I'm worried about you. We'll get it fixed!"
"It's really bad," he said. "The whole front end is crushed. I'm not sure there's frame damage, but I think they're gonna have to weld in new engine mounts at least. But this could be a good time to add sub-frame connectors. They'll give me better handing and more frame rigidity.
"Will you stop talking about that God Damned car and tell me about you, Vee?" I said. He shrugged his shoulders and twisted his head from side to side.
"I'm fine," he said, matter of factly. "The car protected me."
"As much time and money as you out into that thing, it should have," I said. A nurse came in and offered him pain pills.
"I'm not in any pain," he told her.
"The doctor thinks you should take them," she said. "Right now you may still be in shock. Later today or tomorrow, you may begin to feel pain or soreness ... As a delayed reaction from the accident."
"I don't really take pills," said Vee.
"Well, I'll give you a prescription of..." she began.
"He won't take them," I told her.
"Okay, you're supposed to take it easy for the next seventy two hours," she began. "And if anything changes. If you feel pain or soreness or any type of headache ... Come back in immediately."
There were several clues that should have told me that things were not well, but I was so glad that Vee wasn't hurt that I managed to miss them all. The first of those clues came that very same day. While on the hospital, Vee had called our insurance company to report the accident. We needed a police report and we also needed to meet the insurance agent to inspect the car.
Vee asked me to handle it. I thought that he was just tired or beginning to feel the after affects of the accident, but I was wrong.
I met the insurance agent at the shop they had towed the car to. We looked the car over and he declared the car a total loss. It would cost far more than the car was worth to repair it. I knew that would be tough for Vee to take. Another bitter pill for him to swallow would be the fact that the insurance company wouldn't be basing our settlement on the custom parts that Vee had added to the car. They would only be giving us the base value of his model. I was sure that Vee would shit a brick over that news. It was going to be a big shock to him that his precious car was worth far less to the insurance company than it was to him or any of the guys who'd offered to buy it from him over the years.
The only shock came when I told him about it, only I was the one who was shocked.
"Vee, Honey, they totaled your car," I said.
"I figured as much," he said flatly.
"The insurance company, because of depreciation, the age of the car, and the number of miles on it, is only giving us twenty grand," I said. I was prepared for anger. I was even prepared for outright shock.
"Okay," he said with about as much interest as if I'd told him that the pizza guy was late. Over the next few days things returned to normal, or so I thought. There were a few things that were different about Vee, but I chalked them up to the accident. For one thing I had to tell him that he should go out and do his run.
That was kind of weird because Vee is hyper competitive. Normally he's the one explaining to me that if he doesn't train well, he doesn't do well in the almost endless string of 5K and 10K races he does. He also runs in the marathon that a local newspaper hosts every fall.
So after I urged him to get back to training, he did go back out and run. But instead of running with his friends, he ran alone. That got my attention, but it took a weird incident for it to come out.
One of Vee's running buddies and best friend, Al Martin just happened to run into me at the grocery store.
"Hey Wendy, what happened to your hubby?" he asked. "Or did he just know that it was my year?"
I had no idea what he was talking about.
"Yeah it would have been better if he'd been there," he continued. "Since he's won it for the last four years. But I would have won even if he was there. Still it would have been nice to have won by beating him."
"Beating him at what?" I asked as I sorted through the tomatoes.
"You know?" he said. "The race in the park we run in. Every year they have that 5K. I won it yesterday."
"How many years have you run in it?" I asked.
"For about five years," he said proudly.
"So last year when he had the flu and ran with a fever and the chills, he beat you Huh?" I asked.
"Yeah I guess," he said. His tone was a lot less exuberant.
"And three years ago, when he limped home with the ankle sprain, he still beat you then too right?" I asked.
"Yeah but I was closing on him and..." he stopped talking when he saw the dubious expression on my face.
"Vee ran faster this year in the earlier races this season didn't he?" I asked as if I didn't know.
"Well, yeah ... I guess," he said.
"So what makes you think that you could have won if he'd been there?" I asked. "You should just be glad that you won and shut up. Actually you should start training now," I said.
"Why," he asked. "The race is over."
"There are other races this year," I reminded him. "And of course there's this same race next year. I'm sure you've told other people about your victory, right?"
"A few," he said. "Why?"
"When I get home and tell him about what you told me, he'll probably be really fired up to embarrass you the next time you guys run against each other. Especially with that crack you made about how you would have won even if he'd been there," I said. "It's going to be really embarrassing for you at this race next year."
"Oh Wendy! I was just talking shit," he said. "I just wanted to get him fired up enough to come back and run with us. He hasn't been in the park to run for the last couple of weeks. We miss him. I Uhm gotta go!"
That started me wondering about what was going on. Another thing that had confused me was when the check came from the insurance company. I asked him when he would be going down to the Ford dealership.
"Why?" he asked.
"Don't you want a new Mustang?" I asked.
"Not really," he said without a lot of enthusiasm. There was definitely something wrong.
"Why not, Honey?" I asked. It felt like he'd just told me that he didn't need to breathe anymore. Vee had been Mustang crazy ever since I'd known him. Something was wrong.
"I've got my Jeep," he said. "You've got yours. We're fine."
"But ... Huh?" I asked. I had no idea what was going on.
"I think I've grown out of the whole fast car thing," he said. "I want to concentrate on some other parts of our life, okay?"
"Sure, Honey," I said. "I was just asking." My mind was working overtime. I was trying to figure out who the hell I was talking to.
The man in front of me looked like my Husband Vee. But he didn't sound like Vee, or act like him.
Vee was hyper-active. He was always running or doing some kind of workout on our home gym. And that fucking car. He spent almost as much time working on or polishing or driving that thing as he spent with me. There were times when I was jealous of it. But now he had the chance to buy another one and he just didn't seem to care.
Then there was another thing. Our sex life had kind of dried up lately. At first I was pretty sure that he was sore from the accident. But after a couple of weeks, it was strange. I was used to having to tell Vee that I needed a night off occasionally. I guess I should have been glad to have the break, but there was something strange going on.
I've always been a woman who needed a lot of sex and Vee and I seemed to be perfectly matched. But at that point I felt like I was living in the twilight zone.
Six weeks after the accident, everything changed. My boss, Frank, had fallen down a flight of stairs and would be in traction for two to three weeks. He would then be put into a regular cast for another four to six weeks while his broken femur set. Because I was so awesome at my job, he picked me to take over for him.
It surprised a bunch of people. I mean I'm a great engineer, if I say so myself. But I'm not so sure I'm the management type. In fact for the past few weeks, I hadn't been managing to leave my office. I had completed project after project with barely a word to anyone.
My boss did have an Assistant, Darwin Charles, who I was sure would do a better job than I could. But he had no technical knowledge at all. He was only a manager. My first assignment was to fly to Chicago to attend a conference of several companies that were clients of ours. My job would be to discuss the progress we'd made on several of our ongoing projects. It was something a management type couldn't handle.
My boss had been scheduled to go but the fall prevented that. I had to get there as quickly as possible. I had barely enough time to rush home and head to the airport. My flight was scheduled to take off two hours from then.
I drove home. For the first time since ... For the first time in a few weeks I was excited about something. Actually it had been the first time I felt any sort of emotion. I ran into the house, wondering where the hell, Wendy was. I checked the kitchen and found no sign of her. I decided I'd call her on my way to the airport if she didn't come in while I packed.
I ran up the stairs to our bedroom. I guess the thick carpet on the stairs softened my footfalls. But then again it could have been the fact that they were really busy concentrating on what they were doing.
My wife Wendy is a blond. Her hair is kept about collar length. She's short and built really well. She has large boobs that I love to suck on. She also has a big round butt that I love to slap while I fuck her doggy style.
The guy fucking her wasn't currently enjoying that. He had her on her back. He had her legs straddled wide open with her feet pushed back near her head. Wendy is really flexible.
Her big boobs wobbled forward and back, almost hitting her in the face and then moving forward onto her tummy with each stroke. The unusual thing was that the guy was sawing his dick in and out of her ass. It was a very unusual position for anal.
As my shock dissipated, my ears began to work again.
"Come on Rick," she whined. "Hurry up. You've been begging for my ass for the longest time, so go ahead and do it. This is the only time you're getting my ass."
Rick grunted and wheezed like he was trying to sprint a mile uphill. Sweat beads dripped down his forehead from the exertion. It dropped down on his chest and back. A few stray drops fell onto Wendy.
"Why not?" he grunted between thrusts. "It's not like no one has been in it before me. And it's so fucking tight. I mean your pussy is good, but I'm loving this ass, baby."
"Because of a promise I made that I've already broken," she spat. "When I got married, I wasn't a virgin ... Not that anyone is these days. But on our wedding night, I gave Vee my ass and I promised him that no one else would ever have it. So this is a one-time thing."
"I don't think I'm EVER going to use it again," I said, stepping into the room. "So you may as well let him have it."
Wendy screamed and tried to push the guy away from her. He was on the edge of the foot of the bed and when she pushed him. His rapidly shrinking dick came out of her ass with a popping sound. Both of them registered expressions of pain at the quick disengagement. He got the worst if it though. He lost his balance and fell backwards off of the bed, hitting his head on the floor painfully.
As he fell I recognized him. He was Rick Peters. His wife, Janice Peters, was one of Wendy's friends.
I looked at Wendy and she was too shocked to say or do anything.
"Are you okay, Rick?" I asked. He looked as if he was dazed by the blow to his head.
"I ... I ... I think so," he said shakily. Rick was about my size, although thicker and less in shape.
"Don't try to get up," I said.
"Really ... I'm okay," he said.
My fist slammed into his eye, snapping his head back. His arms went out from under him and he fell back to the floor. "I don't give a fuck how you are," l spat. "It's just easier to beat the shot out of you while you're on your back."
I dropped to my knees straddling him. That way he couldn't even get his arms up. I started pounding him. He moaned in pain and started trying to shake me off, but he had no leverage since his arms were pinned to his sides.
Within seconds, I had punched him 7 or 8 times and his face was a mass of bruises. Wendy dove at me to knock me off of him. I looked at her with nothing but contempt.
"Rick you really should have started running with me and my friends," I told him. "But even then you wouldn't have been fast enough to get to Janice before I call her."
The look on his face morphed then, from pain and fear of the beating I was giving him, to a different kind of fear.
"You don't have to bring her into this, do you?" he whined.
"Vee, this was my fault," said Wendy. "We need to talk about this. I'm really sorry, Honey. It's not what you think. It was just..."
"Shut the fuck up, Wendy," I yelled at her. My voice was so loud that she winced as if I had hit her. In the eight years that we'd been married I had never yelled at her. I stood up and went to my closet. I pulled out three suits and laid them on the bed. I went out into the hallway and grabbed my suitcase and my carry-on bag as Wendy looked at me in shock.
"Vee ... Where the hell do you think you're going?" she asked, beginning to cry. "I told you we have to talk about this. You can't leave me over this. I think I may have made a mistake and..."
"You THINK... ?" I yelled. I suddenly started laughing. "You THINK you've made a mistake?" I just shook my head.
"Well that's another mistake you made, Wendy," I hissed. "I'm not leaving. You are. I have to go out of town for work. Frank broke his leg and I have to fill in at a conference for him. I'll be gone for a couple of days. By the time I get back, I want you to have every trace of yourself and your shit ... out of my house. I'll start on the divorce when I get back."
Her eyes opened wider and her mouth dropped open in shock. "Di ... Di ... Di," she said. She couldn't bring herself to say it.
And as much as I was ranting and yelling and hitting people, it was simply a perceived response. I was just reacting the way I thought I should. Beneath the mask of anger, there was no pain, there was no true rage. I was still ... emotionally numb.
I guess, on some level, I was angry that Wendy had cheated on me. But I simply didn't feel it.
Wendy lurched forward trying to throw herself at me. I had no idea whether she was angry and wanted to try to hurt me more than her cheating had, or if she was trying to hug me and beg me not to leave.
It didn't matter. My response was the same. I waited, remaining still for a fraction of a second. I waited until she had committed herself to her move. As her feet left the ground, diving for me, I took one step backwards.
Wendy's forward momentum carried her to where I was only instants before and found that space unoccupied. She ended up sprawled on the floor only inches from my feet.
"Don't get up," I said. "I know the way out."
Her fall had clearly knocked the wind out of her. If I'd been less emotionally bankrupt, I might have laughed.
"I'm not kidding, Wendy," I said from the doorway. "I want you gone when I get back. You have two days to pack anything you want to take with you." I paused after picking up my suitcase and garment carrier.
"Wendy ... I love you. I'm really sorry things didn't work out," I told her as I walked out of the room, down the stairs and out of the house.
I got into my Jeep and headed for the airport. I had a lot of things on my mind to say the least. Darwin called to confirm my flight information. He emailed me a power point presentation that I would use for my speech at the conference. I could review it on the plane and a few times in my hotel, before I had to do the speech.
But the thing that kept going through my mind more than anything else was my own emotional state. I was normally a pretty warm and caring guy. There was something wrong with me. I needed to figure out what was going on. I would give my actions and motivations over the last few months a lot of thought as soon as I got back. It wouldn't be hard. I'd have a lot more time on my hands and a lot more control over my time without Wendy in my life.
The flight went well. There was no turbulence. It took off on time and landed a few minutes early. The flight wasn't long enough to have a meal, but the snacks they served were great. I went over the presentation several times on my iPad. I even managed to correct a few errors in the information and update some of the figures and statistics that were either outdated or incorrect.
For the rest of the time in the air, I couldn't help thinking about the situation at home. The biggest question I had was why? Why the hell would Wendy do that to us? Everything in our lives was going the way we wanted. We'd been married for 8 years. I'd just turned thirty and Wendy was thirty two.
We had paid off the last of my college loans last year and my income had reached the point where Wendy no longer had to work. Our house ... Well my house, my grandfather had left it to me, was paid for and we had money in the bank. We weren't rich by any means, but we had just decided that we were financially stable enough to start banging out the kids. What the fuck was she thinking?
And she was so stupid about it. She did it right in our house ... Right in our bed. That had to be the dumbest place possible. And the things she said. She must've clicked off every cliché in the cheater's handbook. "We need to talk. I can explain this." Followed by the absolutely classic, "You don't understand."
Fuck her. We didn't need to talk. There was nothing she had to say that I was interested in. And how could she possibly explain ruining what I had thought was a perfectly good marriage for what? ... A guy who was married to one of her best friends?
Did she even realize that there was only one way for it to end? Two long term marriages ended so she could have what... ?
The plane landed and I had to concentrate on what I'd come to Chicago for. At the airport, I had an incident at the car rental agency. I stepped up to the counter and the girl there looked at my order and gave me a set of keys.
"You have the Ford Mustang, Sir," she said with a big smile and a knowing wink.
"Do you have any other cars?" I asked.
"Sure but the Mustang is one of our best cars," she said looking confused. Then she brightened up suddenly. "I see what's going on. You're afraid that either it won't match up to your car. Or that you'll fall in love with it and want to buy it, right?"
"Uhm, something like that," I said drearily.
"Your Mustang belt buckle gave it away," she smiled.
"I'll take anything else you have on the lot," I told her.
She shrugged her shoulders and gave me the keys to another car. I found it by looking for the slot it was located at in the parking lot. I had no idea what kind of car it was and didn't care.
For the next two days I attended conferences and spoke about my company's projects and interests. My own presentation went extremely well. I got lots of compliments on both my material and my delivery.
At night there were a couple of parties that I attended simply to make an appearance and attempt to dig up more business. I secured meetings with at least three companies about either increasing their business with us or starting to do business with us.
There were a couple of times when I was asked to dance or offered other things with women at the conference. I raised my hand as obviously as possible displaying my wedding ring.
It was great, being seen and appreciated for my skills in a new way. It took my mind completely off of the issues that awaited me back home. I was almost sad when it was time for me to head to the airport for the trip home.
I turned the car in to the same smiling counter girl or her clone. "How did you find the Honda Accord?" she asked.
"Is that what it was?" I asked. She nodded. "Well ... I went to slot A-127 like you told me. And there it was," I said. She laughed for a long time.
"I meant what did you think of it?" she laughed.
"To be truthful," I said. "I didn't think of it. It never registered on my consciousness. Shit, I don't even remember driving it. Did I actually drive it? I guess I must have. After all I didn't walk back here."
"You really should have taken the Mustang, Sir," she said as I left the counter. I was really irritated by her comments. She acted as if the type of car I rented for the two days that I was in her city mattered. Maybe there was more to it than that though. Maybe it was the little voice in the back of my head that was frustrating me so much. It was screaming very loudly, but for some reason I couldn't understand what it was saying.
The flight home was uneventful. With nothing to study or prepare for, my thoughts turned back to my personal issues. I checked my phone and found an insane number of messages and texts from Wendy.
There were also a few from Rick. I decided to call Rick to see what the hell he wanted. To be honest I was confused. I couldn't imagine what he thought he could gain by talking to me. His best option would have been to remain silent and hidden in the hope that out of sight truly meant out of mind.
He answered the phone tentatively.
"What do you want, Rick?" I asked him.
"I wanna talk about wha' happened," he said. He slurred his words as if he was on drugs or something. "I wanna make a deal," he continued.
I have to admit I was intrigued. "Okay," I said. "Come on over. I think you remember where I live."
He must've really wanted to talk because he was there in less than half an hour.
I almost burst out laughing when I opened the door. He looked like a raccoon. Both of his eyes were blackened. His nose was swollen and he had a lot of bruising all over his face.
He got angry when he noticed that I was having a hard time controlling my laughter. He stuck his lip out and I noticed that it too, was swollen. There was an angry looking gash on the inner surface where it must've been cut against his teeth when I punched him.
"So what do you want?" I asked. "I don't have all day and the time I DO have, I don't want to waste on you."
"Come on Vee. It doesn't have to be like that. It was a mistake. It's not the end of the world. We were friends," he said.
"Don't fuckin' call me Vee," I hissed. "My name is Irving. My friends call me Vee. You and I were NEVER friends. Our wives were friends. You and I were acquaintances at best. You've been in my home and I've been in yours. I guess that made me think that there was a level of trust between us. I can see now that I was misguided in believing that. You are not the kind of man anyone can trust. The way you stabbed me in the back proves that my trust in you was the mistake here.
But it's a mistake that won't ever happen again. And you're right about one thing though ... It's not the end of the world; it's just the end of my marriage and probably yours too!"