I am Jack (short for Jackson) Walden, 34, married for 12 years. I am a very successful inventor and technical writer. I own a small manufacturing plant. That stuff doesn’t mean much to me. Money is just a scorecard, and I ain’t playing the game.
My wife, Sandra (not Sandy) on the other hand is a social climber. We have to have a brand new luxury car every year. We are members of the most expensive country club in the area (even though we don’t play golf or tennis). We have a 20 room McMansion. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we do not have kids. Her choice again.
All of the possessions mean little to me. I drive a six year old 4 wheel drive pickup. My only luxuries (to me) are a piece of lakefront property with a 4 room cottage on a lake, a 16 foot pontoon boat and a 12 foot vee bottom fishing boat, a 4 seat UTV and a big old mutt of a dog I call Junior. Sandra will not even set foot on the cottage property or pet the dog. She even insists that the dog stay in a kennel in the garage.
I did not fail to notice any of this, I just did not feel that it was worth making a huge deal out of it. As I said, money does not turn me on. We were sitting at the dining table for dinner when she told me. I did not even hesitate before I answered.
It was a Friday night and we were supposed to get ready for some charity evening of dancing at the country club when Sandra said “Jackson, (she knows I hate that as much as she hates Sandy) I want to take a lover.”
I looked up at her and said “OK Sandy, I will have my attorney draw up the divorce papers Monday. You can have the house, but I won’t pay the mortgage. You can have your car, but I will not get you a new one when you want it. I will give you $400,000 settlement. That is $50,000 for each year we have been married. You will not get any alimony, nor will I continue to fund any purchases you want. You will be entirely on your own.
To say she was shocked would be accurate. She sputtered; “Aren’t you even going to fight or ask why?” She then said; “I didn’t say anything about a divorce. I love you.”
“Wrong” I spit back at her. “Sandy, if you loved me we would not be having this discussion in this house, going to that country club, in your fancy car. I indulged you because it made YOU happy, and I could do it. Now you tell me I am not enough. What am I supposed to say? Is taking a lover a new status symbol, or am I not good enough in the bedroom? Am I not pretty enough for your ‘nose in the air’ friends? Will your lover be the father of your children, when you decide to have them? Were you planning on giving me a mercy fuck every three or four weeks like you do now? And no, I am not going to fight it or ask why, you want it so I will indulge you. I just won’t be around to watch. Just remember we said ‘forsaking all others’.”
Sandra got a look on her face like she had just let a noisy fart in church. She started to tear up and said; “Jane, (one of her social climbing friends) said that you would allow it and I thought because I told you ahead of time, you would agree. I will forget it.”
“Too late, you obviously want this, so go ahead. I care a great deal. I am not happy with it, but you obviously are, so go ahead. Even if you decide you are not going to do it, I am still talking to the lawyer Monday. You obviously do not care for our marriage, and I suspect that you haven’t for a long time, so go ahead and get your fuck buddy, or have you already picked one out?” I was on a roll now. “Does George know that Jane has a lover, or will my telling him be a surprise?”
“Just so you know, I put the company and all of our non-personal monies into a temporary trust fund, and I am going to begin drawing a salary of $60,000 a year. Because you refused to accept any part of the company ownership, when you get your own attorney, you will find that you can not touch any of it.”
“I don’t want a divorce,” She wailed, “why are you doing this to me?”
“BECAUSE YOU DID THIS TO US.” I screamed. “now if YOU are going to the dance tonight you better hurry and get ready. While you are there I’ll pack up most of my stuff and will be gone when you get back. I just ask that until I file for the divorce, you don’t bring your lover to our bed.”
“I DON’T WANT A DIVORCE.” She screamed, “And what do you mean when you said if I am going to the dance. You are going, it’s your favorite charity, you are on their board of directors, and you paid for the tickets. Besides everyone of our friends will be there.” She then sobbed; “Please don’t do this, this was all a mistake. And please don’t say anything to George, it will hurt Jane.”
“You are really striking out on your ideas tonight. You must want a divorce; you want someone else other than me in your bed. It is not my favorite charity, it’s yours. They voted me to the board of directors because you lobbied for it. I have never attended even one meeting. I paid for the tickets? You signed the charge card slip. They are your friends not mine. My friends will have nothing to do with you. You treat them like they were a pile of dog crap you stepped in and can’t get off your shoe.” I then continued, “Hurt Jane, what about Jane’s husband, what about Jane’s kids?”
“Sandy; do you even know where I go on Tuesday nights when I say I am going with my buddies? We go, heaven forbid, BOWLING. We drink BEER, horrors, some of us even swear and yell and sometimes even fart. OH NO.”
Sandra was getting angry, and she practically screamed; “I could care less what you and your low life buddies do on Tuesday. WE are going to this dance, we are going to smile and make nice, you are going to write a big check, and we are going to drop this ‘lover’ idea. DO YOU UNDERSTAND.”
I got up from the table after I finished my dinner and went upstairs. Sandra was in the bathroom getting ready for the dance. She said, “I laid out you tuxedo, and your dancing shoes.”
I went into the closet and grabbed my army barracks and duffle bags left over from my service time and tossed them on the bed on top of the tux. I opened the wardrobe cupboard that had my casual clothes in it and started stuffing my blue jeans, flannel shirts, underwear, and other stuff that I wanted when I left.
Sandra came out of the bathroom and saw what I was doing and screamed; “Get that stuff off the tux, you will wrinkle it. You have to look your best.”
“Wrong again Sandy,” I said, “I do not have to look my best, Junior doesn’t care, and the cottage doesn’t care, and I don’t care. I am not going to the dance tonight. Also after tonight I will only talk to you through or in the presence of my lawyer. Have a good time tonight and tell George I am sorry about Jane. By the way, does Jane know that George bowls?”
With that I continued packing. When the duffle was full I took it out to the truck. I went back in and saw Sandra sitting at the dining room twirling her wedding set around her finger. I stopped, Walked up to the table and took my wedding ring off and put it in front of her, she just started crying.
“I did not want this place, this car, the country club. All I wanted was to have a loving wife, a loving family and be a good provider. At least I got the good provider right. You can contact me through the company email while I am staying at the cottage. There is no phone or internet up there. Of course you would not know about that as you never have been there; even though I have asked at least 3 times a year since I bought and built it.” When I finished, I went back upstairs and continued packing.
I put the stuff I would need in the truck, grabbed a travel mug of coffee, let Junior out of the kennel and into the truck and drove away.
Of course that was not the end of the play.
I went to the cottage, and Junior was in dog heaven. The cottage included 15 acres of fenced yard. The building also included an air lock entrance with dog doors. After opening the windows, unblocking the dog doors and turning on the electricity, I sat down in my extremely ratty but comfortable recliner and thought back over what happened today.
I could not believe what my wife was thinking. She must have known that I would not put up with the crap she was proposing. She probably just didn’t care, because of one of her so called friends. George is as common as dirt and my Vice President of sales, Jane seems to feel that that puts her in the upper crust of society. For some stupid reason Jane seems to think that as the owner and her husband’s boss, I have not reached that level. She was always putting me down in Sandra’s social set.
I brought my cell phone with me, even though the last time there I was here there was no signal. I plugged it in to charge, and saw I had a good but not great signal. I knew they were putting in a tower a few miles down the road. I also had satellite TV installed. now that I was going to be here a while, I will get satellite internet.
I let things settle down, and went to sleep with Junior on the floor next to the bed.
I woke about 5:30 AM to a ringing phone. It took a minute to realize that it was my cell. It went to voice mail before I could get to it. I laid back down, but it rang again before I got settled down. This time I got to it and listened while a police desk sergeant asked if I was the husband of Sandra Walden, and when I said I was he asked if I could come to the police station to clear up some things. When I asked if Sandra was hurt, he said no. I then asked if I was going to be questioned about something officially. He said yes, so I said I will be there with my attorney as soon as I can coordinate with him. The sergeant thanked me and said that was fine.
I ended the call and the phone rang again before I could even put it down. It was George this time. George was laughing as he told me that Sandra and Jane had a knock down drag out after a drunken screaming match. Jane and Sandra were both arrested, Sandra is in Jail, and Jane is in the police ward at the Memorial Hospital. George said they were screaming about lovers and husbands. The gist of the fight was that Jane pulled a prank on Sandra. Sandra screamed that Jane ruined her marriage. Then the fight was on. By the time it was over both were mostly naked, and Jane was out cold.
George asked me if I knew what the two of them were fighting about. I said that Sandra and I had a disagreement and that is why I wasn’t there. I said that unless it was about that, I had no idea. I told him about the call from the police. I then said I hope Jane is going to be OK, and I would talk to him at work tomorrow.
I ended the call and damn if it didn’t ring again. This time it was Sandra. She was crying, and sounded funny; I almost couldn’t understand her. I told her that I would be there as soon as I could get hold of my lawyer if she had not already called one. She said that she hadn’t thought about that, but my lawyer was fine. She also said she was not sure what she was being charged with, other Drunk & Disorderly. I told her again that I would be there as soon as I could.
I finally got my lawyer, Gary Andersen, at his golf course. I explained what was going on. I also explained about the police call and the fact they want an official questioning. Gary said he would meet me there a around 1:00 PM. He then warned me to tell Sandra not to say anything and the same for me until he meets us.
This time when I ended the call, it did not ring again. I grabbed Junior’s food dish and filled it and his water. He seemed disappointed that he was not going along. I mounted up and headed back to town.
When I arrived at the station, Gary was there already, and also surprisingly, George. He was there with a man I did not know. The stranger turned out to be a cousin of Jane’s who was also a lawyer. We were met by a team of detectives. They asked me and Gary to go with them to an interrogation room. I held up my hand in a stop sign. I asked; “What is my wife being held for, and why am I being treated like a suspect? I am here voluntarily, and if you do not answer those two questions, I am not going anywhere except out the exit. And after you answer those questions, I demand to see my wife.”
The detective started getting belligerent, but my lawyer said; “those questions are valid, and if you do not answer, I will have a writ of Habeas Corpus here in under 15 minutes. If your answers are not satisfactory I am advising my client to not answer any questions.”
A captain walked into the lobby just as Gary started his speech and came over to ask if there was any trouble. The detective said no trouble and apologized to me by saying; “I’m sorry, I’m just pissed because it is my son’s birthday, and I am missing it with a drunk and disorderly call.”
The captain then asked the detective if these people were here because of the ‘catfight at the Mirage Country Club’ last night? He even made air quotes. When the detective said yes the captain said that everyone can go home as soon as all the damages are paid for. The Mirage said 3 chairs, 2 tables were damaged and 6 customer drinks were spilled, and a few customer needed clothes cleaned or replaced. So far, the total is under $350.
The captain said that D&D first time offence is a $75 fine or 15 days or both, but because the counter assault and battery charges were withdrawn the assistant DA is just giving them a fine.
The captain led me to the desk and gave me a bill for half the damages and my wife’s fine. I asked for a bill for all the damages and explained that George worked for me and didn’t need the hassle. I said; “Knowing George, his wife is going to get a very large ration of shit about the fight because George saw and heard it all.”
After I paid, they took me back to see Sandra, and I could not help but take out my cell phone and snap a picture. She had a cut over her right eye, a black and blue bruised cheek and swollen left eye, a swollen lip that looked like a poor plastic surgery attempt, and was dressed in a bright orange jail jump suit with a logo in large black letters across the front and back ‘Inmate of the City Jail’. After I stopped taking pictures, the captain said that I could return the jump suit when Sandra had more suitable clothes. I thank him and took Sandra out to my truck. She sort of sniffed, and for some reason that pissed me off to no end. “Get in the truck or you are walking. We are not done with this whole weekend fiasco. I can’t use Gary now, but I am still going to find a divorce attorney.”
Sandra started sniffling and got in the truck. She still acted like she was afraid she might catch some deadly disease from casual contact with any part of the truck, but I just let it go. After we were buckled in I drove back to the house. I told Sandra to go in and change and bring the jump suit back to me. She asked; “Aren’t you coming in?”
I said, “It’s not my house anymore, and I don’t think I ever want to go into that place again. I have to get the rest of the stuff I am taking, but I don’t want you there when I do. If I take something that you want, our lawyers can negotiate for it. Now go change, I need to get back to Junior and the cottage.”
She screamed at me; “YOU THINK MORE OF THAT GOD DAMNNED DOG THEN YOU DO OF ME.”
“Yes I do, Junior does not want to take a lover, and he also likes the cottage. That put him 2 points ahead of you right now. So quit while your behind.” I sighed and continued. “Sandy, you used to enjoy the things I do. you liked to fish, spend time at the lake, even get in that first ratty boat I had. You even seemed to liked to bowl. Hell I remember you even played touch football with all of the people at the plant. I also remember you were a good softball player. Was it the money that made my loving and fun wife into a social climbing shrew? Your saying you were going to take a lover was just the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’. I had thought of talking to you about a divorce or at least a separation.”
“If it is the money, I will give you a check for $5,000,000 tomorrow if you will sign the divorce papers. that way you can continue your social climbing. Otherwise, change into some ratty jeans, sneakers, and a flannel shirt and come with me to the cottage. Understand this is your last chance, I am cancelling the country club, resigning for all of the stupid charities, and losing the opera tickets. If you come out of the house and get in the truck, we may have a chance, if you refuse, I will write the check and after the divorce is final, you will never see me again.”
“I did not tell you, because you never seemed interested, but I am negotiating the transfer of the company to the employees. I will still hold the patents, and consult when needed, but I need a new challenge, and making more money is not it. I was thinking of finding a large piece of property and starting an experimental non-profit wind farm to see if there are more efficient alternatives to current wind tech levels.”
“I am also using some money to support a young researcher in a water desalination project that will make fresh water available to many of the poorest countries on the planet. He is looking for low cost, energy efficient ways to make drinkable water from the sea. He is also working on finding ways to clean up the water in countries that have a safe water problem. Even with all of that, the check I will write for you will no even remove a 0 from the end of my available funds. You knew we were rich, just not how rich.”
Her mouth was open and her good eye was the size of a saucer when I finished that speech. She said “Please give me fifteen minutes to pack.”
I responded laughing; “That would be a miracle. One pair of jeans, one set of underwear, one shirt, one pair of socks two pair of comfy shoes, not heels, because tomorrow we show up at Wal-Mart for a new wardrobe.”
“OK” she said, then laughed and asked if she could take a purse and some makeup.
“Yes to the purse, no to the makeup, when your not beat up, you don’t need it. And you may want to take some warm pajamas because the cabin gets cool in the night.”
She was back out of the house in about 10 minutes, and even had what looked like a smile, hard to tell with her fat lip. I teased her as we were headed back to the police station. I said she looked like she went 3 rounds with Tommie Hearns. She playfully punched me in the arm, and then began to tell me about her adventure.