“A magician worked a cruise ship. The audience was different each week so the magician did the same tricks over and over again. There was only one problem. The Captains parrot saw the shows each week and began to understand how the magician did his tricks.
Once he understood, he started shouting out in the middle of the show, “Look, he’s hiding the flowers under the table!” or “Hey! Why are all those cards the ace of spades?”
The magician was furious, but he couldn’t do anything because it was the captain’s parrot.
Then, one dark and stormy night on the Pacific, the ship sank and all the passengers drowned. The magician luckily found himself on a piece of wood floating in the middle of the sea and as fate would have it, with the parrot.
They stared at each other, but did not utter a word. This went on for day. And then two days. And then three. Finally, on the fourth day, the parrot could not hold back any longer and said:
“Okay, I give up. Where’s the ship?”
I didn’t think that it was all that funny, but I laughed along with the rest of the crowd and clapped along with everybody else when he finished. Truth was that I very much doubted anyone could lift my spirits on that particular night no matter how funny they might be.
I was at the Landing Strip because it was my usual watering hole of choice. Mostly because it was close to home and I could leave my truck in the lot and walk home if I over-imbibed. I’d forgotten it was open mic night when I got there, but I was inside with a PBR in front of me when I realized it so I decided to stay. I’d had the thought, since proven wrong, that some of the want to be stand-up comics could cheer me up.
The day started out pretty damned good. Penny woke me with a blowjob a full hour before the clock was due to go off. When I was as hard a she wanted she climbed on cowgirl style and rode me until I just had to get off and then I rolled her over onto her back and went at it hard and fast until we both got off. She followed me into the shower and by the time we finished scrubbing each other’s backs and fronts we were ready to go at it again. I left the house that morning with a big smile on my face that wouldn’t quit.
I had a great morning at work. I finally signed McBride Industries to a five year contract that meant we would have to put on a second shift to handle the increased workload. At ten-thirty I received a phone call from Bill Jamison of Poulson and Sons asking him to meet me for lunch at the Olive Garden on Tyler. Since I had been trying to interest him in swinging his business our way I of course agreed to meet him. The Olive Garden on Tyler was a good forty minutes away so I left the office at eleven to make sure that I got to the meeting on time. Bill was already there when I got there at a quarter to twelve.
I joined him, we ordered, and then Bill and I talked business. He told me that he liked the quality of our products, but what was holding him back from throwing business our way was that he didn’t think we had the capacity to handle orders of the size he would be making. I smiled and told him we could easily handle whatever he gave us as we had just added a second shift and a third shift was under consideration. He expressed some concern that we would be spreading our workforce too thin to maintain our quality and I told him that his worries were groundless and that we would put performance guarantees in any contract we signed.
“That being the case” he said, “Work up a contract and bring it over to my office tomorrow and we will hammer out the details.”
I sat there looking at him and thought about the day so far. Off to a great start with Penny, signing McBride and now getting a verbal commitment Jamison and I wondered if the day could get any better and as soon as I had that thought my day turned to shit.
I saw a couple walk in and be seated. They were holding hands when they walked in and when they took their seats in the booth they were holding hands across the table. I had no idea who the man was, but the woman was Penny. My first instinct was to get up and go over to their booth, but I quickly remembered what had happened the last time I did something like that and why I no longer was in favor of public scenes or confrontations. Besides, there was no way I wanted to do it in front of Jamison. I decided that I would just make sure that Penny saw me and knew that I’d seen her when Jamison and I left.
That’s just the way it went. When Bill and I left as soon as I passed the booth that Penny and the guy were sitting in I turned, looked Penny in the face, saw her reaction to seeing me and then I turned and left. As I pulled out of the parking lot I saw Penny running out the front door and looking around for me, but I kept on going. My cell started ringing almost immediately and a quick glance at the screen showed that it was Penny. I turned the phone off and tossed it on the seat beside me.
On the drive back to my office I wondered what the hell had happened to Penny and me between the time I left the house for work and the time I saw her at the Olive Garden. The irony of the situation is that what had just happened at the Olive Garden was almost a carbon copy of the incident that brought Penny into my life to begin with.
I thought back seven years to when it had happened.
Angela and I had been married almost four years. The first three had been glorious, but then things changed. I sensed Angela pulling away from me. Nothing glaringly obvious, just a feeling that I had. It wasn’t anything like “I wonder what she’s up to?” It was more a feeling like our connection was broken. Our love life stayed the same as far as regularity went, but it felt like she was only going through the motions.
Her job had always required extra hours occasionally, but it had been that way when we met so it didn’t really register with me when the once or twice a week became three and four. I didn’t even see anything wrong when her late hours turned from one or two into three or four. I did notice when she started dressing a little better for work and I did comment on it. She explained it by saying she was angling for a promotion and that she needed to look her best.
I also noticed that she took showers more often when she came home and I commented on that also. She told me that she was doing it for me. A lot of her meetings at work were held in smoke filled rooms and she wanted to wash the ‘stink’ off of her before snuggling or cuddling up to me. I’m a non-smoker and I remembered telling her when we first started dating that I hated the smell of cigarettes so I accepted her reasons for the showers.
I know that given all of the above I sound terribly naïve, but you have to remember that I was deeply in love with my wife so why would I start thinking bad thoughts were she was concerned. Granted that in hindsight they were all indications of a straying wife, but come on; we were basically newlyweds and we loved each other so why would I even think something was wrong? The feeling that Angela was pulling away from me I wrote off to her being a little more occupied with getting the promotion she was working for. I was all for that promotion. The raise she would get might finally put us in the position to by the house we wanted and get us out of our cramped apartment.
Yes indeed; I was clueless.
Right up till the day it slapped me right upside my head.
I was having lunch with a customer on the other side of town in a restaurant I’d never been in before. Mid way through the meal the customer got a call. He told me that he had an emergency at his plant, had to leave and got up and rushed out. I didn’t have an emergency so I sat there and finished my lunch. I’d just ordered dessert – banana pudding if anyone wants to know – when I saw Angela and a man I didn’t know come in and take a booth. What grabbed my attention was that they entered holding hands.
I watched them walk to the booth and they kissed before sitting down next to each other. They kissed again, broke it when the waitress appeared to take their order and then kissed again when she left to turn their order in.
Suddenly it all came together. The late hours, the dressing better, the showers and the felling that she was just going through the motions when we made love. I took my time eating my dessert while I watched all of the ‘touchy-feely’ between Angela and her guy. I finished dessert and dropped a twenty on the table to cover the tab and a tip and then I walked over to the booth where Angela was sitting. Angela saw me coming, but outside of her eyes seeming to get bigger her facial expression didn’t change. I slid onto the seat across from them and the guy got a nasty look on his face and said,
“Get the fuck out of here asshole.”
I ignored him and said, “Hi there Ange. Care to introduce me to fuck face?”
The guy started to get out of the booth and I could tell from the expression on his face he wasn’t standing up to shake my hand so I reached across the able and grabbed his necktie and jerked it down. His face smacked into the table and it stunned him for a second or two. He lifted his head shook it a couple of times to clear it. Blood was running from his nose and he grabbed a napkin and held it to his face. I had to give it to Angela; she was calm and cool as she said,
“Glen meet my husband Norm. Norm this is my boss Glen.”
“I get it” I said, “Fucking your way to the top? Earning that promotion that you keep telling me about on your back?”
.... There is more of this story ...