I was sitting at the dinner table when it first hit me. My two daughters were telling me that they had both been selected to attend a weekend band camp in the Poconos. They would leave next Friday afternoon and return Sunday evening.
Suddenly, my pork chop lost its flavor. It was Monday and I had a really bad feeling I would be going to Cleveland next weekend. It was a tremendous shock, yet I felt calm and rational. Had I been blind? Had I missed the signs? Had there even been any signs? Was I jumping to conclusions?
I realized the answer to my last question would come tomorrow at work. There was still one piece to the puzzle. I felt dead certain that piece would fall into place tomorrow. The girls helped their mother clean the kitchen while I sat there, replaying the past few months in my mind. Try as I would, I could remember no unusual behavior or actions. If there had been any signs, they were small and imperceptible.
A short while later the girls called me in to watch the movie they had rented. As I sat next to my wife, Michelle, I wracked my brain. She and our daughters laughed through the movie. I have no idea what the film was about.
I managed almost no sleep that night and I dreaded going in to work, as I never had before. Around midmorning, my worst fears were realized when I was called into my boss's office.
"I know it is short notice, Eric, but I need you to fly to Cleveland this weekend to handle the Jenkins account. I planned on sending Jeffers, but I think you understand this account better. Can you go, Eric?" asked George Stowe, the account manager.
There it was. Part of me reveled in solving a riddle with almost no clues, while another part of me was ill. I thought back to the conversation I had overheard a week ago.
I had taken the elevator down to the lobby after work. Then I remembered I had left my car keys in my desk. I cursed to myself as I pressed the button to take me back up to the fifth floor and my office. As I picked my keys up, I noticed a letter I had planned to mail, so I headed for the room where we place our outgoing mail. To reach that room, I had to pass George Stowe's office.
George was a few years older than I. He was a rugged man with an easy manner and a roving eye. I often wondered why his wife never caught him fooling around. He made tomcats look scrupulous.
"If your kids do make that trip next weekend, I'll be sure to assign him to handle an account in Cleveland," boomed George with a chuckle. "Your pussy will get a real pounding from my big cock for two days straight. I'll tell Marge that I have to go to Cleveland. She never cares where I am as long as I leave her ice box alone."
"Some poor schmuck is going to have his wife fucked senseless by that asshole next weekend while he's doing some shit job in Cleveland," I smiled to myself. "Someday George will fuck the wrong wife and find himself in some deep shit."
With that thought, I put the letter in the tray and, like Elvis, left the building. I forgot about the entire thing. At least I forgot about it until dinner last night when my daughters told me they were going away for the weekend!
I had no reasons to be suspicious. I had no clue that Michelle knew George more than slightly. We never traveled in the same social circles. Yet, somehow, I would have bet a year's pay that I was going to be sent to Cleveland for the weekend. It came as no surprise when George explained how badly the company needed me to wrap up the Cleveland account. It would have been more of a bombshell if it hadn't happened.
I have always enjoyed chess and over the years I have become quite good at it. Michelle quit playing it with me years ago. She complained bitterly about my methods.
"You are supposed to capture the other player's king, Eric, not see how many of his players you can knock off!" she would rant. "Why the hell do you have to be so devious?"
I never bothered to respond to her complaints. Chess isn't a bang-head type of game. It requires finesse, and the ability to turn shit into shinola. I felt that if your bishop is going to be lost, make it work for you, or at least make it hurt your opponent. I developed a knack for turning impending doom into a positive situation. It sometimes took several moves, often away from the apparent conflict, but it was almost always successful.
I came to realize that life isn't too much more than a complicated chess game. I found that if I concentrated on a problem, and ignored the pain of a short-term loss, I could make a bad situation work for me. George fucking my wife would be difficult to put a good spin on, but who said the game would be easy?
"I'll tell Michelle tonight and plan on leaving Friday, George," I responded. "I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. You won't regret it."
"I'm sure I won't, Eric," chuckled George. "I'll be fucking your wife before your plane lands!"
He didn't actually say the part about how he'd be fucking Michelle, but I read his mind as I left his office. I knew why he was so jovial. He was having a little laugh at the expense of an idiot cuckold husband. I wondered if he would be sharing that little anecdote with Michelle after he plowed her garden.
Over the years, I had learned to think things through, rather than panic and do something stupid. George had my queen. Now I had to knock off some of his rooks, bishops, and knights to get to his king. The question was; how and where should I strike? Would I have the necessary pieces? Perhaps I would, if he didn't realize that I knew he had captured my queen.
The most difficult part of the game for me would be acting like everything was fine at home. Odd behavior on my part would be noticed by Michelle immediately. It was a real shame, but I now viewed her as an opponent rather than my partner. That was not a good feeling, but a very reasonable one, given the circumstances. Mata Hari had nothing on Michelle!
I began to wonder why I was so certain she was fucking George. Couldn't it all be coincidence? Was I paranoid? Letting fear destroy what had been a good marriage, or at least I had always felt it was, would be really stupid. I decided to test my 'unfaithful wife' theory before I took any drastic action. It would also give me time to plan my next few moves and anticipate George's, as well as Michelle's.
If George was fucking Michelle, they had to communicate from time to time, though I had never seen any indication of it. How hard would it be for him to call her at work, or vice-versa? I wasn't a sleuth, or even suspicious, so all they had to do was be cautious. That afternoon, I came up with an idea or two to see if I was the odd-man-out in a love triangle.
"How was work, Sweetheart?" asked Michelle as I came through the door. She always got home half an hour before I did.
"Same shit, different day, Darling," I grinned. "I was thinking that since the girls were going away to band camp this weekend, we should do something together."
Was there a flicker of annoyance on Michelle's face? Was I imagining it?
"Ah, yeah, well, we probably could do something," responded Michelle. "I did promise my mother I would stop by her place on Saturday, but we could work around that. Is your weekend schedule clear?"
Why would she ask that? I hadn't traveled for work on a weekend in almost a year. Was she fishing, or possibly trying to remind me I was going to Cleveland so George could fuck the shit out of her? This was going to be an interesting game! That is, if it was a game and not my imagination.
"I have no plans," I lied. "Why don't we go to a show and dinner in the city Friday evening?"
There were two things about Michelle of which I was certain. She loved to go to shows and she hated to waste money. If she believed I was not going to be around, she would be reluctant to buy the tickets. George was not a theater kind of guy and the chance of being recognized at any restaurant we frequent was too great.
"It's kind of sudden, Eric," wavered Michelle. "We may not be able to get tickets."
"Michelle, we have gotten them on shorter notice than this. Do you want me to go on line and see what I can find?" I asked.
"No, I'll check into if you are so set on a show. Who knows what you'd pick?" bitched Michelle. "I'll take care of it, as long as you are sure you will be able to go."
"Why wouldn't I be able to go? Did you hire a hit man to whack me? Did you read my horoscope and see impending doom for me?" I laughed. "Have you been chatting with Dionne Warwick again? Or was it the tea leaves?"
"Okay, Smart-ass. I'll see about getting the tickets tomorrow, okay?" grinned my once loving wife. "I can do it at work and be paid while I'm looking."
The next day was Wednesday and George called me into his office just before lunch.
"You're getting packed and ready to go to Cleveland this weekend, aren't you, Eric?" he asked. "Did your wife understand how important this is to the company, and to your career?"
Why was he asking about me getting packed? I'm 53 fucking years old and don't need a nurse maid! Could it be Michelle had told him I was making alternate plans for Friday night? The way he mentioned how important it was to my career was a good touch. It was an implied, or inferred, threat. I wasn't sure which word was accurate.
"Not to worry, George!" I chuckled. "Michelle doesn't give me any shit. I have her ironing my underwear and folding my socks. I even told her I was going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and to have my Sergeant Pepper jacket packed."
George looked at me funny, but didn't seem able to form a response, so I smiled again and left his office.
That evening after dinner I asked Michelle if she managed to order our tickets.
"I found some, Eric, but they are quite expensive. Are you positive you will be able to go if I order them?" questioned Michelle. "Don't think it will be okay to spend that kind of money and then come up with some lame excuse to get out of going."
"Where the hell is this coming from," I demanded. "Have I ever begged off a night of dining and theater? Why are you so convinced I won't make it?"
"I didn't say you wouldn't make, Eric. I just want to be certain that if we spend that much money, nothing will come up to ruin it," she replied quickly.
Was she worried that I was getting suspicious of her reluctance to order the goddamn tickets? Was she dying to ask about Cleveland? Did she know George had ordered me out of town for the weekend? Were my actions confusing her? I grinned to myself as I joined the girls in front of the TV.
I was at my desk Thursday morning around eleven when Michelle called. This was not a common practice, although she did call me from time to time. We chatted for a few minutes, but I couldn't help but feel she was waiting for something and that she really didn't have any reason to call.
Suddenly George appeared by my desk and asked loudly, "So Eric are you looking forward to Cleveland and the Hall of Fame?"
I had returned the phone to the cradle before he had managed two words. His surprise was apparent.
"You bet I am, George. I had Michelle get a Jimi Hendrix wig for me to take," I stated with a straight face. "Maybe I'll have her pick up an Elvis jump suit, too."
My phone began ringing.
"Aren't you going to answer that, Eric?" asked George.
"What could be as important as a little chat with the boss?" I replied. "I'll let it go to voicemail."
George looked at me with his eyes slightly squinted, as if he was trying to decide something about me. Then he nodded, turned and walked from the room.
The phone rang again. Michelle was on the other end.
"Why did you hang up on me, Eric?" she demanded. "Did I hear someone asking you something?"
"I am quite sure you didn't hear anything, Michelle. I hung up too fast," I responded. "I have to get back to work now. I'll see you tonight."
I hung up the phone before she could say any more and considered my next move. It occurred to me that I should gather some hard proof about Michelle's affair. It could be a real help in any divorce action. To that end, I purchased a tape recorder that could be sound activated, while I was on my lunch break.
When I got back to my office, I decided to stash it rather than answer questions about it when anyone came into my office. I went to put it in a supply closet not far from my desk, but when I moved some boxes of paper to hide the recorder, I saw one just like it!
Life is full of surprises! Once I realized what I was looking at, I wondered where the little microphone device was hidden. I followed the wire down the inside of the closet wall and it disappeared under the carpeting. On a hunch, I crawled around my desk looking at all the parts that touched the floor. There the wire was, running up the inside of my desk. I followed it and found the little microphone in a small nook, pretty well protected from my knees, and eyes!
It seemed that someone, probably George, was listening to me. How could I make that work for me? Obviously, I could stir up some trouble for him just by pointing it out to management. That would be if they posted someone to wait for him to check the tape and catch him red-handed. There had to be better ways to turn it to a positive thing. I decided to be very careful what I said in my office. He would know every word I ever uttered! I had to give it some thought.
Later that day, I tapped on George's office door.
"George, I'm sorry to bother you but I just remembered I had promised to take Michelle to a show Friday night. I don't think I will be able to make the trip to Cleveland," I blustered. "Michelle will have my balls if I bail on this. She warned me that if she ordered the tickets, I had better be ready to go, regardless of what came up."
I watched George mull this over. He knew I was lying. He also knew that he should have no way of knowing that I was lying. He had to be careful not to give himself away. It was my bet that he would think I had asked Michelle to order the tickets so I would have an excuse to not go to Cleveland.
"I see what you mean, Eric. Tell you what. I'll buy the tickets from you and take my wife to the show Friday! Then you'll be able to take Michelle to the theater next weekend, or whenever. Will that work?" he practically grinned as he complimented himself on circumventing my pathetic effort to avoid Cleveland.
"Gee, George, I guess it will," I reluctantly admitted. "Thanks for freeing up my weekend."
"It's my pleasure, Eric," George beamed as I turned and left his office.
"I'll give your wife an extra load of cum to make up for the expense!"
I know he didn't really say that last sentence, but again, I knew he was thinking it!
"Did you get tickets to a show for tomorrow night?" I questioned Michelle when I got home.
"Yes, I did," replied Michelle. "Do you still plan on going?"
"Where the hell is that coming from?" I demanded. "You keep expecting me to change my mind. I'd just like to know why."
"I was just, well, it just seems like you... I mean what if," stuttered Michelle. "I'm sorry I seem so dubious. I won't ask again."
I acted annoyed and stalked into the living room with a beer. Michelle must be wondering what the hell I was up to and why I didn't tell her about Cleveland. She couldn't ask because she should have no way of knowing I was being sent there. She knew I was not telling her the truth, but she also knew she couldn't let on that she knew. This was getting interesting. It was forcing Michelle to go against all womanly/wifely instincts. She had me in a lie and couldn't even acknowledge it, let alone chew me a new asshole!
That simple little thought led to my next gambit in the game of silent, creative revenge. I could hardly wait to go into work Friday.
At ten-thirty I picked up my phone and dialed a number I knew was no longer in service. As I talked I watched the little tape recorder in my closet. A small indicator light came on and I knew it was show time.
I pretended to be talking to my brother, Chuck. I did the usual small talk thing for a minute or so. Then I set my trap.
"Chuck, you don't need a book on sex! You should do what I do. It works great!" I asserted.
I waited a few seconds, as if Chuck were speaking on his end.
"Now listen to your older brother, and don't interrupt," I admonished. "Michelle always refused to let me fuck her ass. Then one night after a few drinks I was doing her doggy-style and admired her little brown eye. I just pulled my cock out of her pussy and pushed it into her ass before she could say or do anything. She cursed me and screamed for me to stop. The kids weren't home, so I just kept pounding into her. After a couple minutes, she stopped complaining and started moving with me. Pretty soon she had the mother of all orgasms! When I was ready to cum, I pulled out and pushed my cock into her face. She sucked me dry, Bro!"
I fell silent for a few seconds and then started in again.
"To this day she denies that she loves anal sex. She uses all kinds of reasons and excuses not to have it. Every now and then I just push my cock into her ass when she isn't expecting it. She still screams and curses for a minute or two, but she always has intense orgasms and sucks my cock dry when I put it in her face. It's always an incredible sexual experience."
I felt like I was on a roll so pretended to hang up. Then I dialed a local floral shop.
"Hello. This is Eric Swenson and I'd like to order a corsage and have it delivered to Mrs. Martha Stowe. She's going to the theater tonight, so make it something nice. Please include a card. I want it to say this: "Have a great time with George at the theater. I will be thinking of you from Cleveland. Signed, Eric Swenson." Then I gave them George Stowe's address.
I went home at lunchtime to pack for my trip. I had considered not going, but what would be the sense. It was obvious that Michelle and George had found ways to get together before I suspected anything. I decided to improve my status with the company, just in case George ever left, died, or was terminated. I wanted to be the one that was offered his position. As I was leaving, I asked a secretary to deliver the theater tickets to George. He didn't know it yet, but he was going to need them.
I left a short note to Michelle apologizing for missing the theater engagement, but I explained how George had magnanimously offered to buy the tickets and take his wife to the show. I installed my recorder under the bed and called a cab to take me to the airport. If Michelle were innocent, she would be pissed over my deception, but would get over it. If she were guilty... well, it would be a memorable weekend!
I had a great trip to Cleveland. I schmoozed and ass-kissed to the utmost and I felt it had paid off. I secured the account and made a strongly favorable impression on some of the company's best clients. I strolled into our house around five Sunday afternoon. I saw the bags on the floor and knew my daughters had just arrived home as well.
"Hey, Dad, where did you get that jacket and the wig, and why are you wearing them?" asked Rita.
"Yeah, Dad," chimed in her sister. "You look like Jimi Hendrix' and Paul McCartney's lovechild!"
"How would a 16 year-old kid know who I am?" I asked incredulously. "Most people in their 50's on the flight never even guessed that I'm Jimi Hendrix dressed as Sgt. Pepper!"
"Could it be all the albums and tapes and CD's you have forced upon us since birth?" laughed Rita. "You would have loved the camp we were at, Dad. We practiced some songs from that album. You probably would have cried or something."
I felt a surge of pride as I considered my daughters. They were beautiful, smart, talented and possessed great humor. Even if Michelle had lost her way, she had given me treasures beyond compare. Then I wondered where was Michelle?
"Do you girls know where your mother is?" I asked.
"We just got home, but it is funny she isn't here. Do you think she ran off with the mailman, Dad?" grinned Becky. "Wait, it's Sunday and there wasn't any mail. Not to worry!"
As Becky finished speaking, the phone rang. She answered it, and immediately became quite serious. She answered "yes" three times, listened another minute and then hung up.
"Mom is at Wilson General," gasped Becky. "She just came out of surgery!"
We all rushed out the door and piled into the car. The ten-minute drive was consumed with fear and speculation about Michelle's health. Becky had been told what room Michelle was in and we rushed to it as soon as we reached the hospital.
The girls went into the room, but an older, very stern nurse stopped me with a question.
"Are you Mr. Swenson? Or possibly Ringo Starr?"
"I'm Eric Swenson, but thanks for the guess. What happened to my wife?" I demanded.
"I am sure you are aware your wife has been troubled with hemorrhoids for some time, Mr. Swenson. It isn't too uncommon for women to develop after having children. She came in a few hours ago with some serious bleeding, and related problems. She was taken to the O.R. immediately. She is doing much better now and should be able to go home in a day or two," concluded the nurse.
I nodded gravely in understanding. The nurse started down the hall and I stepped into a nearby Men's Room. Later, I would wonder if my laughter had echoed down the corridor.
I took a few minutes to compose myself. Then I joined my daughters in the hospital room occupied by their mother, my wife. I was stunned when I saw how weak and pale Michelle appeared to be. Suddenly my mirth was completely erased and I felt real concern.
"Hi there," Michelle whispered. "You must be Billy Shears."
I had to smile at her acknowledgement of my unusual costume. Not every woman would know I was wearing a Sgt. Pepper jacket!
"I'm Getting Better," smiled Michelle, "With a Little Help Of My Friends."
The girls and I exchanged grins at Michelle's references to my favorite album. Then she had us laughing heartily when she stated, "They've been 'Fixing a Hole' and it hasn't been any fun!"
"Please, Mom, lay off the Pepper jokes, okay?" Becky whined.
I marveled at Michelle's sense of humor under such painful circumstances. It occurred to me that her humor was one of the things that had drawn me to her those many years ago.
"We all feel terrible that you had to go through this alone, Darling," I told her. "Why couldn't it at least happen when we were home to help you."
"No, it wouldn't happen then," grimaced Michelle. "It certainly isn't your fault. None of you could know this would happen."
Now I was feeling guilty! It was my fault! I knew there was a very good chance of it happening, if in fact, Michelle was having an affair with that damn asshole boss of mine.
The girls and I visited until Michelle fell asleep. Then the nurse insisted we leave for the evening, so we trudged back to the car and drove home.
Before going to bed, I had to find clean sheets and make the bed. There was no sign of the linens that had adorned my marital bed the previous evening. I retrieved the recorder from under the bed, but I didn't dare play it with my daughters at home. I wasn't sure what it would contain, but I was certain I didn't want the girls to hear it! I decided to wait until I could listen in complete privacy.
I was at work at my desk Monday morning when George Stowe strolled into my office. Was it my imagination or was he watching me closely for a reaction?
"How was the weekend, Eric?" he finally asked. "How did everything go in Cleveland?"
"If it went any better, George, I'd shit gold bricks!" I avowed. "The entire weekend went exactly as planned. How did you and the missus enjoy the show Friday?"
"Oh! It was quite, ah, interesting. The wife told me to thank you for corsage. It was very thoughtful," admitted George. "Your wife and kids got along okay with you gone all weekend?"
He was obviously fishing again. I wasn't going to take the bait, however.
"They're all pretty independent," I allowed. "All three are modern women and don't need some dumb man to help them get through a weekend."
After George left, I remembered the recording device under my desk and gave it some thought. I decided I wasn't done with George and would try to think of a way to use it again, if George was dumb enough to fall for the same trick twice. It would seem that an intelligent man would wonder about my anal advice to my brother, considering how he had hospitalized Michelle. Still, I frequently used the same gambit several times in a game of chess, against the same opponent, and often with positive results.
I wrote a meaningless note in large letters and taped it on the left side of my desk by the phone. It would serve to remind me that I was being recorded and to be cautious at all times.
I left work at lunchtime and went home to listen to the recording from that fateful night. I had mixed emotions about hearing it, but I felt it was something I had to do.
It didn't take too long for me to realize I had concealed the microphone too well. It clicked on and off a few times as I listened, but I was unable to make anything out until I heard the bed squeak.
"You'll be inviting me back after you get a ride on my big cock," laughed George. His voice was very clear.
"You Bastard!" spit Michelle. "It'll be a cold day in Hell before I ever even speak to you again. Now do it and get it over with."
"Is that any way for a woman to talk to her lover?" chuckled George. "Here. I want you to suck on this bad boy for a few minutes. I really like that."
"Well I really like considerate, intelligent men. It looks like we're both out of luck, Dickhead," snarled Michelle.
I was starting to get an uneasy feeling that things weren't exactly as I had perceived them to be. Somehow, George had fooled me with some daring move I had not anticipated!
"I expect a little more cooperation from you if you want to get those pictures back, Bitch!" growled George. "Now suck my cock or the deal is off. I've already missed my Friday night fuck session with you because your dipshit husband told my wife about the goddamn tickets!"
After that, Michelle was quiet and George only made an occasional grunt or moan. I was getting a real bad feeling about my clever act of revenge.
Eventually the bed springs began making a regular rhythm and George's groans increased. Then the sound stopped for a few seconds. Then there was a horrible scream! It was followed by language that would make a longshoreman blush.
"Goddamn dumb fuck!" Michelle screeched. "Take that out now, you miserable, rotten fuck-faced shit!"
"Relax, whore!" George replied. "You'll be begging me for more in a couple minutes. You know you love it, so shut the fuck up."
Eventually Michelle's curses turned to sobs and then to a quiet crying. Even an insensitive shit like George should have been able to discern the pain in her sobs. He never slowed down and the bed was making that regular thumping sound again.
My hands were clenched and sweat was streaming off my brow. I listened in horror as George kept up a steady rhythm for another five minutes as Michelle cried and begged him to stop. It was the single most upsetting thing I had ever heard.
I had given up on my queen too soon! I could have, and should have, saved her. Instead, I had sacrificed her, and for what? A pawn maybe! The big laugh I had enjoyed at the hospital came back to haunt me. I had blundered badly, and Michelle had suffered greatly for it.
Why had she agreed to a tryst with George if she found him so repugnant? To what pictures had George been referring?
I returned to work bitter and confused. What was really going on? There was no way of knowing unless George or Michelle spilled the beans. One thing became abundantly clear. George was going down, regardless of the consequences. Of that, I was certain. The question was; how and when?
Michelle came home from the hospital Wednesday afternoon, but was still quite pale and in a fair amount of pain. I did everything I could possibly think of to make her comfortable. She wasn't totally without blame for her situation, but my guilt was almost tangible. I realized that I never wanted her to suffer again and it was my duty as her husband to protect her, not cause her harm. I had not done a very good job with that!
Days passed and Michelle gradually regained her strength. It was obvious to me that she was a troubled woman. Shit, I should know the signs and symptoms! I was struggling with guilt of my own. Together we were a pretty pathetic couple. Thank god the girls were around to bring some cheer and levity into the house.
Two weeks passed before an opportunity to strike a blow to George's position presented itself. I was called into a meeting of the top brass of the company to give a personal report on my Cleveland trip. It seems that I had done such a bang-up, kiss-ass job, that the business my company did with the Cleveland concern had the potential to double!
"The one thing to remember," I concluded at my presentation, "is that the CEO, and founder of the company, Mr. Thomas Bender, is a devout Christian. He will not tolerate any jokes that are even slightly off-color. He believes women should be demure and chaste. No low-neck lines, or high hemlines. It may sound old fashioned, but take it from me. It is his way or the highway. I cannot stress that enough."
I was thanked for my contribution, and then dismissed. The bosses, including the king of assholes, George, remained to discuss strategy. As I made my way back to my office, I formulated a plan for my next attempt to checkmate my nemesis. It wouldn't be simple, but I had to try.
Evenings at home still found Michelle quiet and reserved. I did everything I could to help her recuperate, but I couldn't help her heal emotionally. Looking back, I think I may have been carrying far too much baggage of my own to help anyone. I had no idea what George had over Michelle, but it appeared from what little information I had, he had somehow blackmailed her. I could have stopped it, but instead, I had allowed it. I was even responsible for George's heinous act.
Friday at work, I learned that Mr. Thomas Bender was going to visit our company, potentially to double the contract we had with his firm. Everyone was quite excited about the prospect and the general mood was very upbeat. George Stowe and another vice-president were assigned to handle the negotiations. This could be a real feather in George's cap and he showed some strain from the pressure.
"Eric, what can I say or do to impress this guy," he asked me Monday morning. "The old fart will be here Thursday and Friday and fly home Saturday. What does he like?"
There were several of us sitting around my desk discussing less important matters when George interrupted us. I looked him squarely in the eye and formed my response.
"Watch you language very carefully, George. Don't try to make any jokes, especially about women," I warned. "Praise the lord at every opportunity and stay away from sports. He thinks pro sports are the work of the devil."
George nodded and walked away. The others asked a few more questions after George had left. I maintained the need for ethical, highly professional behavior. It was all part of my plan to trap the king. I had made my position on handling Mr. Bender very clear to all levels of the company.
That night I spent a couple hours writing, and editing my next phone call to my brother, Chuck. It took quite some time to get it exactly the way I wanted it. I just hoped the results would be worth the effort. Even with an out of order number, the telephone can be a very useful tool.
Tuesday morning, I was prepared to give an Oscar-worthy performance. At least, that was my goal. I picked up the receiver and dialed that dead number again. As I spoke, I watched to see if the recorder was picking everything up. The red light came on and away I went!
"Hey, Chuck! How's it hanging, Bro? I asked. "No shit? You actually tried ass-fucking Nancy?"
I laughed about ten seconds and then spoke again.
"You dumb shit! How could you ever believe that story?" I demanded. "I was just pulling your leg. Is she still mad at you?"
I silently counted to ten and continued.
"Wow! Who would have thought she would be that upset? She'll come back, just give her time."
This time I counted to fifteen before I spoke again.
"I've got a little something going here at work. Don't ever let on that I told you this, okay?" I asked.
I allowed a brief pause and then I began.
"Our company has this big kahuna coming in from Cleveland. He owns a firm we hope to secure a big contract with and everyone here is shitting razorblades. The deal really means a lot to our company," I understated.
"Now, get ready for the interesting part. The guy likes to convey the image of a holier-than-thou, sanctimonious fuck. The truth is he is a whore-mongering pervert! I found it out when I went to Cleveland a couple weeks back," I revealed. "We went out for a quiet dinner and wound up fucking the shit out of a couple whores we picked up!"
"He did things to those sluts I never even knew could be done, twice! I couldn't begin to keep up with the guy, and he's no spring chicken," I confessed. "He's coming in Thursday and I've already made arrangements to escort a couple working girls to his hotel room at midnight on Friday. He told me to be sure they have big tits and tight asses!" I laughed.
"He's promised me that he will insist that I be placed in charge of his account with my company. When that happens, I will move past my dumb-fuck boss so fast his head will spin. By this time next week, I'll have his job, and he doesn't even have a clue."
I spent the next minute or so talking about some cousins, just to make it look like a real brotherly conversation. After hanging up, I began thinking about George's next move. Would he take the bait, or smell a rat? What about the pictures? What were they about and where were they? Did he give them to Michelle in return for the sex?
It was mind boggling to think Michelle would be dumb enough to think she could buy off a blackmailer, even with a piece of her ass. It seemed unlikely to me that George would give up his control over Michelle that easily. He would keep copies to use against her, or to force sex on her again. Of that, I was certain.
I remembered seeing George's desk with a digital camera plugged into the USB port on his PC. Could he have the pictures on his company machine? That would be pretty dumb, but it would probably be worse to have them at home where his wife could see them.
Wednesday morning George knocked on my door and then entered. He seemed unusually happy, much like the cat that got the canary.
"Hey, Eric, we need your services as a road warrior this weekend," grinned the prick. "You have to drive to Allentown with an idea that our promotion department is working on. It won't be done until around five on Friday. You have to get it there as soon as you can and then bring it back after they have made their suggestions and changes. There's just way too much shit to fax, or email. You'll have a trunk-full, believe me. Plan on spending the night and returning Saturday afternoon, okay?"
This was an obvious bullshit assignment he had dreamed up to get me out of town. I was somewhat surprised at his nerve.
"Is that a question, George, or a directive?" I asked.
"I am asking first, but you will be doing it, Eric. Let's leave it as a request that you have accepted," stated George.
"Then I accept!" I responded. "It will be my pleasure."
Then I hesitated for a few seconds.
"Would it be alright if I found someone to go in my stead, George?" I asked. "I kinda had plans for the weekend."
"Goddamnit! This has been assigned to you, not some fucking unknown entity!" growled George. "You'll fucking well do it if you value your career with this company!"
"You have a way with words, George," I acknowledged. "My ass is practically on the turnpike as we speak."
George glared at me but seemed satisfied that I was cowed into taking a road trip Friday night. That was the very night I had promised Thomas Bender I'd get his brains fucked out. At least I believed that George believed that. I realized it would take more than a little luck for everything to work as I had hoped.
Thursday afternoon brought a real surprise. It was as if I had unknowingly left a rook unprotected! I saw George escorting a strange man through the company offices and asked who it was.
Dave, whose office was down the hall from mine, laughed derisively at me as he responded, "I thought you and Thomas Bender were on a first name basis, Eric. Now I find out you don't even know what he looks like!"
I managed a weak grin and hurried back to my office. Was I in the Twilight Zone or something? I had spent a few hours with Thomas Bender, and he wasn't the fucking impersonator wandering through the halls of our company. Things were getting very complicated!
I searched through my wallet, looking for Bender's card. I found it and I even had his cell number penciled in. On an impulse, I dialed the number.
"Thomas Bender," responded the voice!
It took me a few seconds to decide how to begin the conversation. Finally, I just jumped in.
"Mr. Bender, this is Eric Swenson. I don't know if you remember me but..."
"Of course, I remember you, Eric!" he boomed. "What can I do for you today?"
"I'm not sure how to say this, but there is a man here at my company claiming to be Thomas Bender. He is getting the VIP treatment from our top brass," I added. "Should I call security and have him arrested or something?"
"That would be my erstwhile nephew, Thomas Bender. Please don't do anything rash. He is who he claims to be and appears to be in charge of my company at the moment," Bender sighed.
"Remember when I explained to you how I had given shares of the company to my siblings, as well as the wife's?" he asked. "I had started the company from nothing and had built it into a very prosperous organization. My only problem seems that I was far too trusting."
"I'm not following you, Sir," I confessed.