This is just a short one, to warm you up for the two almost novel length stories that are coming. Enjoy.
In the end, after enough time had gone by, and I could look back semi-objectively, it was just plain stupid. No other reason, just a person jumping to conclusions, not checking, and doing something unforgivable for what she thought justified.
Even after she realized her mistake, her pride dictated Hell would freeze over before she admitted she had done anything to be sorry for. I hope her pride keeps her warm at night, and her ego keeps her from ever realizing what she is, a shallow, stupid woman that only thinks in terms of what’s in it for me.
Did it hurt? Damn right it did. Was I mad? Angered beyond descriptive words. Was I over it? Mostly. It still hurts when I see a family with small children and I think it should have been us swinging the little girl around while she screamed and giggled, or tossing a ball to a small boy, praising him like mad when he caught it. Then again, I thank God, or Karma, or just plain good luck that it happened before we’d had children. I can’t abide the thought of being a part time father.
We were young, even now, three years later, I’m only 28, and she’s 26. We married when she was twenty-one and I had just turned twenty-three. We had our dreams, the house, the kids, nice cars, the whole ball of wax. Suburban Utopia.
Anita was not drop dead gorgeous, but she was very pretty. Reddish blond hair, green eyes, five seven, 115 pounds. Well distributed pounds. When she put the warpaint on, wore the LBD and four inch heels, guys lost their train of thought, and stopped looking where they were going.
Everybody said I was handsome, in a rugged way. I was never a pretty boy, but I was all right. Six two, two hundred pounds, with almost no fat. Pretty good muscles from my job and the gym, light brown hair worn long, and gray eyes.
We made a handsome couple.
We were also rednecks, in the complete use of the word. It was just the lifestyle we were raised in. We were strong on family, and despised promise breakers, especially when the promises included wedding vows.
Most of our friends had also married young, and they were already starting to break up. Three divorces so far, mostly over money and cheating.
We were pretty lucky. I started out three days after high school graduation at a new place, specializing in smaller parts for cars, mostly German. It paid really good for someone with just a high school education, and I showed my gratitude by doing the best job I possibly could. I learned every machine, took every overtime hour I could get, even worked with the mechanics until I could set up the simpler machines on my own. I worked my way up until I spent most of my time training new hires.
It got me noticed, especially after the shift manager caught a new employee on her cell phone, something forbidden except at break. She was watching a little instructional video I had made, just to make sure she understood her job. She was playing it when he saw her. After she showed it to him, he checked with all the trainees, and they all had their own file to pull up if they ran into any problems.
I got called into the office, and the plant manager, the shift manager, and a woman from HR were all waiting for me. Wondering how I had screwed up, I waited for the axe to fall.
“So, Bud(yeah, even a redneck name)what have you got to say for yourself? Bonnie told us about your training video. You realize you violated company rules by using cell phones, right? What do you think we should do?”
I was scared, but then I got pissed. My theory had always been when in doubt, attack. Screw them all, I was only trying to make the company more productive.
“I think you should let me put the videos on the work station computer, so they can pull them up on company sanctioned equipment. You guys keep me moving, training three to four people at a time, and it really helps them when I’m somewhere else. If you think that’s a bad idea, you should go ahead and can me.”
They wee a little taken aback that I had gone on the offensive, they just wanted to yank my chain for a bit before suggesting the very same thing.
When everybody settled down I was given a dollar more an hour and named Training Coordinator.
‘Nita was tickled to death. She had been working full time and taking a partial load of classes at the local college, working for her degree as a Registered Nurse. If she took a full load, she could graduate in less than a year. We talked it over(we always talked every major decision over back then), and she went to part time so she could concentrate on school. I picked up even more overtime, but a year later me, both sets of parents, all our siblings and friends sat in the auditorium as she walked across the stage. She was the first one on either side of the family with a college degree.
Even though I was a trainer, I was still based on third shift. It let me come in early to train the second shift, and stay over to work with the ones on first. Plus, it maximized my time with my honey.
‘Nita looked around at several entry level positions, but the pay was a little low. She was told time and again after she had a couple years of experience her wages would increase. She talked to a couple of girls at both locations, and found out they had a habit of letting nurses go right around the two year mark, to get someone cheaper.
Then one day a friend had an accident and we took her to the E R. They were swamped, and very shorthanded. ‘Nita finally asked a nurse when she got a break why there weren’t more on duty.
“Can’t find anyone willing to work the hours, especially the weekends at night. Too bad, really. The pay is outstanding.”
Her application was accepted, she got an interview, and two weeks later she was one of the third shift nurses on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And the nurse was right, the money was really good for someone just starting out.
She was scheduled for thirty hours a week, but soon was working forty plus. Between that and my job, the money was rolling in. We decided early on not to change our lifestyle, and socked the money away. Our doublewide and four acres was getting closer and closer.
A year went by. We learned to schedule our time so we could be together as much as possible. We usually had breakfast together if I didn’t have to work over, and the bedroom time was as stellar as ever. We managed to sleep at least part of every day together. Life was good. Then I stumbled into something that could possibly make our life much better.
I had a buddy, one of my closest friends, who was Mexican by descent, coming into the country when he was six. He struggled a little at school, and me and Billy started helping him, since we all lived within sight of each other.
He still had trouble with some words, and it’s how he got his nickname. We were on the high school baseball team. I was third base, he was catcher, and Billy played first. A guy hit into right field with the bases loaded, and the outfielder made an outstanding catch, tossing the ball to Billy, who shoveled it off to me, throwing so hard he almost knocked my glove off. I tagged off and threw a cannonball to Juan, who blocked home plate and nailed the guy. A triple play, very rare in the sport. Juan was yelling, trying to shout “Yippie!, but it came out “Zippy!”, which reduced us to tears and earned him his nickname.
Despite his Hispanic heritage, he was about as redneck as they come, down to the ratty ball cap and the jaw full of Redman. He even had a rebel flag tattooed on his bicep. He was an all round good guy, worked hard, helped his parents with the bills because he still lived at home. He didn’t drink much, was well mannered, and had only one vice. His hobby, his passion, was carp fishing.
Carp fishing is in my mind proof that people will find a way to gamble on anything. You went to a stocked pond, paid your fee, and fished. Carp is almost inedible, but the point was to catch one that won the hourly jackpot, the twenty-four hour jackpot, and the holy grail of carp fishing, the weight fish. A weight fish was a fish of a designated weight for that particular pond, chosen at random when a jackpot was hit. You paid so much an hour to stay in the pot when you fished, and if you were lucky enough to say, catch one that weighed eleven pounds and ten ounces, the chosen weight, you won the jackpot. The jackpots would build for weeks and even months sometimes, until someone hit it. There was often hundreds, even a thousand plus in the pot.
It sounds expensive, and it is if you get in every pot. They even had an hourly pot for the smallest carp caught, and you could tie up a hundred bucks or more pretty quick any given night. It was too rich for me, trying to save for a house, but he was single, made good money, and loved it. He even won once in a while, but I’m sure if you added it all up he was seriously in the hole.
Every serious carp fisherman had his own special bait, and Zippy was no exception, concocting blends until the smell made his mother banish his efforts from the kitchen. He had just won a big jackpot, so he bought a small prefab building Billy and I helped set up. We even helped with his blending from time to time, if we could stand the smell. The rotten chicken blend still makes me gag when I think about it.
.... There is more of this story ...