Many thanks to Barney R. for editing this story. Without his help and suggestions I’m sure I’d be pilloried.
I hope you enjoy it.
Ben, that’s Benjamin Hawthorne, is a mid-thirties technician for a private company that manufactures precision instruments used by the Federal government for various types of military equipment. He used to be at the center of research and design at the company for which he works and is a partner, but his role had changed over the years; he’d become more a liaison person between his company’s management and the government agencies that require their products. To be sure he’d come to realize the technology he was once so much the center of had slowly passed him by; and he’d been increasingly relegated to the periphery of the company he once was so crucial to. He knew it was just a question of time before he’d be moved to some corner office where he’ll be handed a stapler and told to just keep out of the way.
He does and doesn’t mind the direction he drifted. First, money would never be a problem. He accumulated enough of that to live quite comfortably well into the foreseeable future even though he was strapped with two mortgages, alimony and child support. Second, he could care less about the techno-shit he used to love so much. He’d just lost interest. Third and this was the tough piece, he did view his personal circumstances with increasing anxiety.
It’s that third area, his personal life; that had become so murky. He’d thought and drunk long and hard about his life lately. Sitting at the bar tonight, stowing away yet another Jim Beam over ice; he’d come to the realization it was time to make some decisions.
Looking at his friend Oscar, another company dinosaur, Ben had been lamenting the changes he’d seen in his second marriage, “I tell you Oscar, though I know we’ve only been married a year, I’m convinced she’s cheating on me.”
Oscar swirled the ice around in his glass of Jack Daniels, “What makes you think that?”
Ben emptied his glass. He motioned to the bartender for another Jim Beam, “You want a list?”
Oscar was himself recently divorced, but for the opposite reason; his loyal and devoted wife had caught him in bed with a big blonde. His wife had responded harshly but he had to admit fairly; she’d hired a lawyer and cleaned him out. Hell, he knew he’d deserved it; he’d been doing it to her for years, she’d been a good wife and wonderful mother, he was just too stupid to appreciate what he’d once had. He smiled at Ben, “You start; I’ll tell you when I get bored.”
Ben started, “Well first I’ll admit I ruined my marriage with Olivia... ,” she had been his first wife and was the mother of his children.
Oscar interrupted, “That’s a good start no matter what else you say next. Everybody in the company agrees you fucked up a wonderful thing. Olivia was a good wife to you.”
Ben accepted the drink from the bartender, “Yeah, yeah, but that’s gone. Let me tell you about Abby.”
Oscar took another sip of his Jack Daniels and sat quietly.
Ben began, “Shit she sells real estate. She’s out of the house more than I am; what with sales meetings, showings, open houses, I hardly ever see her. Then she’s got her supervisors; two of them are men, big guys, with money, cars, and too much time on their hands.”
Oscar interjected, “So you knew all this going in.”
Ben spat, “Yes I did, and that’s part of what bothers me. That’s how the two of us got started. Olivia and I agreed we needed a bigger house so I started browsing the web. I saw some good buys, and Abby was the agent. Next thing I knew she and I were in the sack together. She sold me the house, Olivia’s sister, the bitch, sniffed out the affair and the next thing I knew Olivia and the kids were gone and I was married to Abby.”
Oscar grinned, “This is not new shit. You knew Abby was promiscuous before you married her. So now you’re upset she’s doing to you what she’d been good at all along?”
Ben steepled his fingers, “We agreed we’d be exclusive once we got married. Hell Oscar I’ve been faithful, but now with Abby I don’t know.”
“What’s the reason for your suspicions Ben?”
“It’s something she said the other day.”
Oscar asked, “What was that?”
“Well I’d had a pretty good day. I’d made some progress with one of those young hot shot Federal quality control assholes. I came home feeling pretty frisky. Abby and I hadn’t done anything in a couple weeks, and I was feeling kind of, you know, well, really horny. Well Abby was all dressed like she was going out, and she hadn’t told me anything about her plans that night. I got a little pissed so I asked her, I said, ‘Hey want to get fucked tonight?’ You know what she said?”
Oscar sipped some more Jack, “No what?”
Ben replied, “She looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, but not by you.’”
Oscar sat up, “Shit!”
“That’s what I thought, shit!”
“You’ve got to face Ben it, if she’s not doling it out already, it’s just a matter of time.”
Ben slumped, “I know. But what the fuck should I do?”
Oscar chuckled, “What did Olivia do?”
Ben grimaced, “You know what she did. She took some of my money, hired an agency, and had me tracked. Shit she walked right in on me with Abby sitting on my lap with my dick in her ass. She even had a photographer. The guy took some pictures. Olivia was crying but still managed a ‘see you in court’, and that was that.”
Oscar responded, “There’s your answer.”
“What’s that,” asked Ben?
“Go see Olivia. Find out who she hired, and use them to get at Abby.”
Ben looked at Oscar like he’d just eaten a pound of ground glass, “Why the fuck would I go to Olivia to get the guy she got?”
Oscar laughed out loud, “You are a stupid fuck. Everyone at work knows if you don’t, you only married Abby to punish Olivia. Sure Olivia divorced you, but if you had crawled back and begged her for mercy after she finished you off she’d have remarried you.”
“You think I still care about my first wife.”
Oscar retorted, “Absolutely. You’re still not over her. Nowhere near, and you never will be. Everybody at work sees it. Who’s Abby? She’s a fuck buddy. You were just stupid and married her. Tell me, has Olivia moved on?”
Ben just stared at Oscar for a moment; then replied, “Well she still sees that guy who’s her boss. You know old suave and debonair Brandon Weller.”
Oscar caught the bartender’s eye and indicated another Jack. He turned back to his friend, “Is she seeing anybody else. I mean is she dating?”
Ben stammered, “Well, I ... Hey, how would I know?”
Oscar smirked, “Oh bullshit. You’ve been spying on her ever since she dropped you. Everybody knows you drive by her house two maybe three times a week.”
“Well I get to see the kids, and I want to make sure the bitch is keeping up with the yard work and such.”
Oscar accepted his drink from the bartender, “I know your visitation schedule. Christ you’ve bitched about it enough; one night a week and every other weekend, damn it Ben, you’re over there three four times a week. Shit Ben you told me! Besides you’ve told me you’ve driven by at night after dark just to keep an eye on things. Jesus, it’s an hour and a half drive to Olivia’s! Don’t bullshit me Ben. You’re scared she might see someone else.”
“So what do you think I should do?”
“Don’t be a fuck up all your life,” Oscar continued, “Unload Abby as fast as you can, and get your real wife back. God damn it Ben look at me. I’m sitting here with you, listening to you whine and cry. Why am I doing this?”
Ben replied, “I’m your friend.”
Oscar vented, “Fuck that! Friend? Yeah, but mainly I’m here because if I wasn’t here I’d be home alone in my shitty little apartment drinking Jack Daniels all by myself and crying. Yeah I’d be crying about how I shitted up my life. I’d be crying about how I missed my wife, and my kids, and my home, and my fucking dog, and all the shit I fucking threw away because I thought I was so fucking smart. And you know what else?” He didn’t wait for a response from Ben, “When we’re finished here I’m still going to go home, I’m getting out my home stash of Jack Daniels and I’m going to drink and cry myself to sleep again for the four hundred and seventy-fifth time. That’s how many nights it’s been since my divorce was fucking final.”
Oscar got up and threw a Benjamin on the bar, “Dump Abby Ben. Dump her, and then find a way to go back home.” He pulled his sport jacket on and walked away without looking back.
Ben sat there and nursed his drink for another ten minutes or so. I know I don’t love Abby, never did. Shit she’s too much for me anyway, long blond hair, tall, perfect figure, long legs, perfect breasts, always well dressed, clever with words. I was never in her league. She married me on a whim. So now I guess she’s fed up, wants something better. Hell I can’t blame her. He dropped a Jackson on the bar to join Oscar’s Benjamin and left.
.... There is more of this story ...