He was sitting at the bar working on a longneck when I slid onto the stool next to him. The barmaid came over and I ordered a Coors Light and then turned my attention to the game on the TV that was mounted high on the wall at the end of the bar. The Giants were leading the Rockies 3 to 1 in the top of the eighth and the Rockies were up. There was one out and they had a man on first. Knowing the Rockies and their history I knew the game could still go either way. The count on Helton was three and two and he took the next pitch and smashed it into the hole. How the hell Visquel got to that ball I'll never know, but get to it he did and he turned it into a double play. I groaned and the guy next to me said:
"Unfortunately. Looks like they are going to join all of my other disappointments."
"You sound like you have a bunch."
"Don't I though. A job that sucks. A house that I don't want or need and can't sell because of the current economy. A losing season for the Broncos, the Rockies about to let me down and all that on top of an unfaithful whore of a wife who I kicked to the curb when I caught her cheating on me."
"Jesus guy. It sounds like it sucks to be you."
"Usually it is, but every once in a while I'm able to do a good deed and it goes a long ways toward cheering me up."
I waved the barmaid over and told her to bring the guy another long neck. "Aren't you having one?"
"No. One is my limit."
I dropped a twenty on the bar and brought my briefcase up and opened it. I took out a large manila envelope and slid it over in front of the guy.
"When you look at these besides looking at the content pay attention to the time and date on them."
I snapped my briefcase shut, said, "Take care" and then I got up and left the bar. As I walked out into the darkening evening I had a huge smile on my face.
I met Marsha when she came to work for me. Actually, she came to work for Chambers Brothers, but she was assigned to me as my secretary. The attraction was instant and as soon as I ascertained that she wasn't married I started working on her. The first thing I did was get her moved to another position. If she worked for me company policy would prevent me from asking her out. Because of a ton of industry wide sexual harassment cases the company was death on people dating people who worked under them. I managed to get Marsha moved to another division and then told her why. I made sure that she knew that the move was not because I was dissatisfied with her, but because it was the only way I could set things up so I would be free to ask her out.
And then I asked her out and she turned me down. She said she was too new to the place and didn't want to get involved with a fellow employee until after she had been there a while. I waited a week and asked her again, but she still wasn't ready so I was turned down again. At least once a week I gave it another try and struck out each time.
She had been with the company eight weeks when I saw her at the Golden Spider with Mel Travis from Purchasing. The Spider was where most of us stopped after work for drinks and conversation. When I saw them together I shrugged and accepted that we were not meant to be. We all usually stopped on Wednesday nights to sort of break the week in half and every Wednesday I would see Marsha there and she always seemed to be with someone.
One month later I stopped at the Spider and as usual the crew from work had pushed several tables together. I saw an empty seat next to Marsha and two more at the other end of the table. I was headed for the other end of the table when Marsha waved to get my attention and then pointed at the seat next to her. I thought "what the hell, why not" and I went over and sat down beside her. As soon as I had given my drink order to the waitress Marsha took my hand and tried to pull me out of my chair. I guess the look on my face was one of confusion because she said:
"Come on Rob, dance with me."
It was a slow number and as she moved into my arms she said, "It's about time we did this."
I had to agree with that. She felt marvelous in my arms, but I made no comment. When the song ended I moved to walk us back to the table, but she held onto my arm and said:
"Not so fast. I've finally got you out here and I'm in no hurry to go back to the table."
The next song started and as we moved together she said, "What happened Rob? After all you did to put me in a position where harassment wouldn't be an issue why didn't you do something?"
"I did Marsha. I asked you out a dozen times, but you always said no."
"But I told you why."
"I know, but then one week after the last time I asked you I saw you come in here with Mel Travis and I figured that the real reason you kept saying no was that you really were not interested and so I just accepted it."
"Well that certainly sucks."
"I've been waiting for you to ask me out again. I wasn't in here with Mel that night. We just happened to walk in from the parking lot together and it just happened that the only two seats empty when we got here were next to each other and he was the first one to ask me to dance. I wondered why you never asked me to dance."
"The story of my life; another opportunity lost."
"Maybe not lost Rob; maybe just delayed.
We were married six months later.
The next five years were glorious as far as I was concerned. My job was going great. I'd been promoted twice and it seemed like I was the odds on favorite for the general manager's position when Wilcox retired in a year. My life with Marsha was a dream. She spoiled me rotten and even after five years of marriage we were still making love like a couple of newly weds.
My job did entail some travel — maybe three days a month — and even though necessary it still killed me to be away from Marsha. It was bad to be away from her a day, but three was a bitch.
I'd just returned from a three day trip to Atlanta and when I got home from the airport Marsha was waiting for me in a frilly see-thru nightgown and wearing a pair of black "CFMs'. She smiled at me and said:
"Welcome home weary traveler. Would you like to follow me to the bedroom, or would you rather start here and work your way to the bedroom?"
Silly question that.
When I got to work the next morning I turned in my report to my boss and then stopped by Accounting to give them my expense report. When I got to my office and sat down at my desk I noticed a 10"x12" manila envelope sitting in the center of my desk pad. I opened it and found an 8"x11" sheet of paper and two photos. The writing on the paper said:
"Your wife plays around behind your back when you are out of town. Note the buttons on her blouse and check out her stockings."
One of the photos showed Marsha getting into a van and it had a time and date on it. The second photo showed her getting out of the van forty minutes later and the buttons on her blouse were off by one hole. Also, when she climbed into the van she was wearing nylons and when she came out her legs were bare. If it were just the before photo and the note I would have ignored it. There could have been a dozen good reasons for her climbing into the van. She could have been going to lunch with some one or whoever owned the van might have customized the interior and was showing it to Marsha, but I couldn't bury my head in the sand and practice denial after seeing the second photo. I loved Marsha, but I wasn't stupid. If she was cheating, she was history.
I grabbed the Yellow Pages and made a phone call. Then for the next month I had to pretend that life was fine. At the end of one month I had the private investigator's report. For three weeks Marsha had done nothing except be a loving wife. The fourth week I had a two day trip to Baltimore and the first night I was gone Marsha spent the night will Mel Travis at our place. The next day they had a "nooner" in his van in the company parking lot and that night Mel spent the night at our place again. The investigator suggested I take another trip and this time he would have the house wired for audio and video. I arranged an overnight to Baltimore and before I flew back I called the investigator and he told me he had twelve hours of Mel and Marsha on tape.
I caught an early flight that got me home about ten-thirty and that would give me enough time to get from the airport to the company parking by lunch time. I got to the parking lot five minutes after lunch break started and when I pulled into the lot I saw that the space next to Mel's conversion van was empty so I pulled up next to it. As I got out of my car I noticed that the van was rocking slightly and I guessed that Mel and Marsha were already "doing lunch."
I was just closing my door when I heard, "Oh yes baby, like that; just like that." It was Marsha's voice. I got back into my car and sat there and waited to see them get out of the van. I started out with my window open, but after the third, "Fuck me harder, oh God fuck me harder" I rolled up the window to close out the sound.
It was a twenty minute wait, but eventually the sliding door in the side of the van opened and Mel stepped out. He turned and offered his hand to the other person and Marsha stepped out. They weren't facing me and as Mel closed the door I got out of my car and said:
"And to think I was worried when I was gone. I was afraid you would be sitting at home all alone and bored to tears. Nice to know that you had something to keep you busy.
They both turned and saw me. Marsha's face turned pale, but Mel had a sense of self preservation and he turned and ran or the building. I let Mel run because unless he quit his job and moved I would know where to find him and find him I would, but at a time and place of my choosing. I gave Marsha a disgusted look and walked by her on my way to the building.
"Please Rob, this isn't what you think. I'll take the rest of the day off and we can go home and I'll explain."
I turned and looked at her and said, "Sorry Marsha, but I lost my marriage today, but I'll at least see if I can hang onto my job. That means that I don't take off work."
I turned and walked away from her as she cried, "Please Rob; talk to me and let me explain."
When I entered the building I saw a half a dozen people standing there and it was obvious from the looks on their faces that they had seen what happened. Some of them were even smiling. Harvey, the security guard at the front desk waved me over and told me that Bill Chambers wanted to see me as soon as I came in. I went up to Bill's office and Annie, his secretary, told me to go right in. Bill stood up and offered me his hand and asked:
"How was the trip?"
"Fruitful. Billings renewed and signed a three year contract."
"Good, good. Sorry about the home coming. The real reason I wanted you to come see me right away was so that I could personally ask you to stay cool and calm. I don't care what you do to Travis, but I am asking you not to do it on company property or company time and if all possible when you do do it to do it someplace where you won't get caught. We have too much invested in you to want to lose you."
"You sound like you have been expecting this to happen."
"It has been going on for years and quite frankly I had expected it to happen long before now."
"So what you are telling me is that it is common knowledge?"
"I don't know how common, but yes, quite a few people know."
"Have known for years and couldn't be bothered to tell me."
"You are extremely well liked around here Rob. No one and that includes me, wanted to be the one to tell you and cause you the pain and hurt. We all hoped that you would find out some other way."
"Everyone would rather see me wander around as a clueless cuckold?"
"No Rob, no one looks at you that way. Everyone knows what kind of man you are and no one wanted to be responsible for your possibly going to jail. There isn't anyone who knows you who doesn't know that Mel Travis is now toast and that depending on what you do and how bad you leave him you could end up arrested. Not one of us wanted to be the ones to cause that."
"I suppose I should be thankful for that and maybe one day I will be, but right now I'm not looking at things too clearly. In fact, I'm going to have to ask for some time off so I can deal with things."
"Take as much time as you need Rob, and remember that we are here to help you in any way we can."
I turned in the paperwork from my trip and dropped off my expense report at Accounting and then I headed on home. With what I saw on my own, coupled with the private investigator's report the decision was already made. I called Harrison Carlye, an attorney I knew, and asked him for the name of a "take no prisoners" divorce attorney. He gave me a name and phone number and I called the guy and made an appointment.
I no sooner hung up the phone when Marsha came in. I looked at my watch and saw that it only three. She saw me check the time and said: