Carol Caldwell slid into the booth next to the man. It was difficult to make out who he was, but it was definitely someone she knew. The spit swapping that was taking place was proof of that. What it definitely was not, was me doing the kissing. Who am I? I'm her husband, and I am watching them from across the darkened barroom seated in a booth cattycorner to theirs. I wanted to vomit.
I was supposed to be out of town till Sunday next, seven days hence, but I had gotten a headsup from a female friend, who works with my wife, that she, my wife, was not who or what I thought she was. So, I'd cancelled my trip to San Francisco and set myself up to follow her and find out for myself. Geezsus! I thought to myself, as I watched them, 18 years of marital bliss and fucked over by some asshole and my very own wife, make that my very own slut wife! I was angry, sick, heartbroken, and viscerally determined to not sit still for this kind of treachery. I would come out the winner here—fucking-A I would!
Still in the back of my mind I knew I was going to have a hard time screwing her over. I'd slept with her, worked with her, put Christmas trees up with her, smelled her for two decades; the psychological and emotional investment in her was enormous. I had to find out the why this was happening. I had to see if there was some way, any way, that I could salvage our marriage.
Here I was on the verge of divorce—probably. No amount of wishful thinking on my part was going to change that. The reality was, that even if I were to want to save the marriage, I had no idea what she would do or want. I felt sick.
I got up and headed for the men's room; I did vomit thank gawd, at least now I wouldn't do it in the fucking car. As sick as my stomach was, though, my heart was sicker. There's nothing as hurtful in the relationships of men as the betrayal of trust by a spouse—nothing!
I had been married to Carol for near twenty years—eighteen is close enough: I was fifty-two and she was forty-nine. We had both been married before, but neither of those marriages had produced any children. Our girls, Jenny and Marie, had come to us near the end of our first year of marriage. They'd been a bit of a surprise, but a lovely one. The girls, I knew, had been our anchor, and we, Carol and I, adored them. Because of them and for any of a dozen other reasons, it had been my apparently erroneous conviction that "our" marriage was one of the good statistics. Well, it looked like that, in the final analysis, was not to be the case, at least not for much longer.
Returning from the head, I passed by right next to their table, I mean within three feet of them for chrissakes. I looked straight at them as I passed, virtually daring them to see me, but they didn't recognize me, engrossed as they were with each other. I, at that point, didn't give a damn one way or the other. I did get a good look at the man though; it was Julius Weathers, her boss at the insurance firm she worked for: good 'ole JW, as she usually referred to him.
Outside, in the parking lot, I took a deep breath. My Okinawan martial arts training worked for me now: the deep, controlled breathing. Breathing is integral to the martial arts; it is from the center of our being that the ki our inner power and serenity of mind proceeds. Proper breathing allows the individual to tap into this power this serenity. I know that sounds very unscientific, but it works: I felt a ton better.
I guess it's time I said something about myself. I'm five-six. I used to be five-seven, but somewhere along the way I lost an inch and I don't know why. I weigh in at about 160, and most of that is steel hard muscle. My feet have slowed some over the years, okay a lot; but not my hands. Just two things are faster than my hands, one of them is light the other scientists haven't come up with a name for yet. As for my face, well it's kind of messed up, but Carol always said I looked rugged; Till now I had cheerfully accepted her version of the facts.
I had taken up martial arts to stay in shape after my boxing career ended twenty years back. Carol knew I'd been a boxer before we met, but had never shown any interest in hearing about it apart from the simple fact that it was true. Since I had quit the ring more than two years before we met, it never came up in conversation.
As a prize fighter my record had not been sterling: 9-4-2. Two of those loses, though, had been against ranked opponents; I was the guy they came to for their tune ups. I had been a natural welterweight, but the tune ups had been against lightweights; both of the ranked guys had damn near killed me, but I had not gone down in either fight, and that had been my goal, just to go the distance and stay upright; I'd done that. Now, at my age, I am the inevitable middleweight; well, whaddya gonna do, I'm older now. I am; nevertheless and as I said, in pretty damn good shape. At the moment, I was thinking of how many ways I could take my aggressions out on Mr. Weathers. The man was at least six-two and maybe 240, so that would make the fight fair, right?
As for what I do now to earn a living, I'm a logistics engineer for a freight line—trucks not boats or trains. It's my job to see to it that materials and cargo get to where they are going as fast as possible and at as little cost and loss of product as possible. The job pays well, six figures, and the bonuses can be substantial. It wasn't money that was luring my wife into Mr. Weather's arms; I knew I made more than him; it had to be something else, maybe the size of his cock. My five-incher had always been an embarrassment to me, but what is, is, as you might say. Carol always said it was enough for her regardless; I wanted to believe her.
I had a thought; I pulled out my cell. It was a camera as well as a phone, and it had a two-power zoom. I was going to get some pictures if I could. I was no private-eye, but it seemed pretty straight forward to me. Get 'em coming out, get 'em wherever it was they finally ended up going, and then wait and confront her first and him later: the whore and the asshole in that order.
I'm not sure when it came to me, but at some point in all of this, I made the conscious decision to be cold and efficient rather than emotional and belligerent. I needed to gather evidence; I realized that I was going to need proof of her infidelity when I divorced her, if I did. In fact I had also decided that I was going to do my level best to ruin her asshole lover in the process, and that whether or not I did. I began planning at that very moment. The only sticky part in my conversation with myself was how I was going to deal with the issue of telling our twin teenage daughters, Jenny and Marie, why I was leaving their mother. I did not relish that little ditty.
I slipped back into the bar, doing my best to not be noticed. I got close enough to get a couple of pics, albeit in bad light, of the two of them playing around. I got out of there as soon as I had accomplished that goal. I knew I'd have to have the photos enhanced, since I didn't use the flash, but I knew that Ronnie could do that job for me as soon as I could get hold of him. Ronnie was an old friend, the geek of computer geeks. The techno stuff had not been invented that he couldn't manipulate like a thirteenth Olympian deity.
The parking lot was a bit lighter than the bar, and she had parked near the entrance right under a light standard; it was bright as day. I could get pics of them when they came out for sure.
It was maybe 45 minutes later that I saw Carol and Julius Caesar coming out of the bar. They stopped in the shadows and shared a lingering kiss. From behind a dumpster, twenty feet away, I was able to get a shot of it, and reviewing it immediately I was gratified to see that I had gotten a good clear picture: both of their faces were recognizable.
They held hands as they went to their respective cars; his was parked next to hers as it turned out—how fucking convenient, I thought.
I wasn't actually due home for six more days, so I got myself a motel room less than two miles from our house. I settled in and tried to figure out what my next move would be. I needed the answers to a bunch of questions. Why had she decided to fuck around on me? Was she planning to divorce me? She and the asshole obviously were not new at this, but how long had it actually been going on? Was she doing other men? I doubted this last. Their kiss told me that there was something more there than just sex; it looked like they were in love.
Okay, I said to myself, what to do? I could hire an investigator; I could afford it. Or, I could continue to do the sleuthing myself. I wasn't stupid, but I was inexperienced. A PI would have equipment and other stuff to stick it to the two cheaters. Also, there was the fact that Mr. Weathers was married with five children; and, if I had understood the things that my wife had told me about him, his wife was the one with all of the money in the family, and that fact was most interesting.
I knew that Carol would be at work the next day until 4:30PM. I had time to get my act together, but not too much time.
By morning I had decided on a PI. The yellow pages were my next stop. I chose one that claimed to have been in service in the area for the past seventeen years, nothing like experience. I made the appointment for that same morning.
I sat across from Mr. Carr a man in his middle fifties. There was actually a cigar in the ashtray in front of him, and his shabby office looked like something right out a Dashell Hammet novel. I thought, this guy only needed a trench coat to give Bogie a run for his money.
"And that's it then?" said Mr. Carr.
.... There is more of this story ...