" ... Last night you both kept dancing
When the music ceased to play
Is it all over, do you still love me
Am I standing in your way..."
It is such a fucking cliché, what happened to me.
I was a physical ruin as I left work today; I'm a carpet installer. If you've never done it, you have no idea. At any rate I would soon be dropping in at Tribes to imbibe some liquid revitalizer. Tribes is a very large bar with a very small dance floor and a very ancient country music only jukebox to facilitate the hoofers. Most of the patrons are blue collar types and cowboy wannabes. The local constabulary also usually has a presence, and that, with the total support of the owner and top gun bartender Larry Herndon.
Larry saw me first and grabbed my attention. "Clyde, I don't want no trouble. Got it," he said. He'd seen me in action more than once.
"Huh?" I said.
"Adrienne's here again, Clyde—with Alan. That's them dancing," he nodded out toward the far side of the dance floor.
I turned to see my wife and my new worst enemy swaying rhythmically to an old country tune, "Am I standing in your way..." They were glued to each other and not at all concerned about who saw them.
I was hurt, I was angry, and I was about to be gettin' divorced. Oh yeah, this was the livin' end. She'd trashed my pride too many times. She'd disrespected me too many times. It was "too" definitely over now.
Adrienne and I had been having troubles of late, but we had also been making the effort; or so I'd thought, to fix our problems. I guess I was wrong. I was suddenly glad we'd got no kids; that would not have been convenient, not after this.
I didn't want to end up in the slam for kickin' Whitley's pimply ass, so I calmed myself down and watched.
"On the house," said Larry, setting my usual Lite in front of me. I swigged half the glass and returned to my informal sleuthing.
I was at the end of the bar in a kinda darkened spot, my back was to it, the bar, elbows pushed back half supporting me while I watched them. She finally spotted me.
She smiled weakly in my direction—busted—but she kept on dancing with him. Oh, him? He's Alan Whitley: a trucker and womanizer; oh, and didn't I mention? Professional asshole! I flipped her the bird, took a final sip of my beer and started to leave. She made to come to me, but he held her, and she didn't fight him. I left.
It was around 6:30 before I'd finally packed everything I needed. I headed downstairs. I had just reached the bottom of the stairs when she burst into the kitchen from the back and sailed into the front room. Alan was with her. She came in somewhat breathless.
"Clyde, where are you going? I came home to apologize. Alan too. Clyde, we were just funnin', no big deal. We weren't doin' nuthin'. We weren't gonna do anything! Honey, come on back in," she said.
"Why, Adrienne? Why? Do you still love me?" I said.
"Clyde this isn't about love. It's—something else," she said.
"Yeah, sex, right Adrienne? And I noticed you didn't answer me. Well, that good 'ole asshole standing beside you can be funnin' you now, Adrienne."
"Clyde, come on, man. She's right; it was just gonna be sex. Some foolin' that's all. She loves you not me. I mean it man," said Alan.
"Shut the hell up, Alan; you weren't getting' into my pants tonight and you know it," shouted Adrienne.
I was standing half in and half out of the front door. "Fuck you," I said to him, "her too."
"What did you say asshole," said Alan, as his demeanor suddenly morphed.
"I said to intercourse yourself, fuckwad, and her too!"
He came at me and I laid him out, easy-peezy. "I ain't gonna be standin' in your way no more, Adrienne. You can screw butthead there until your pussy fossilizes," I pointed at the writhing form below me, "or anybody else you want anytime you want from now on."
"Clyde! Please, we have to talk. It was only sex—I mean we didn't even do anything. It wasn't nuthin," she wailed. But, I was gone. I was sure I'd interrupted her plans, but she was gonna do it; it was on her mind, and I sure as hell knew it was on his. If it hadn't been so tragic it would have been funny.
I drove around for some time. I found myself pulling into the Starlight Motor Lodge. Forty bucks a night and found. Found means free breakfast if you city folks ain't into cowboy talk. It would do for a while.
I got me a room, and paid up for a week. I had to be at work in the morning; I was gonna need the money. It was only Thursday; tomorrow was a work day. I'd be finding me a lawyer during lunch time and a more permanent place on the weekend.
Sacked out on the lumpy motel mattress, I was thinking. What do I want? What am I gonna do? I got a good job. Good friends. My bartender knows me by name. Hey, if all I gotta fuck with is a whore wife, I'll just get away from her, and everything will be fine. Hey I got prospects, I told myself.
I slept the sleep of the just.
At lunch the next day. I used a phone number the boss gave me and set the wheels of the divorce in motion. I went in and signed the necessary forms after work, and arranged to have her served at her work. She's a secretary for Marston Trucking; the same one, ironical as hell, that Alan Whitley works for. May the two of them rot forever in the place reserved for the devil and his stinking traitorous angels!
Morgan Halsey, a direct, though distant, relative of the WW II admiral was my law dog.
"Clyde, you get half and she gets half; that's pretty much it," he said. "You ain't got no children, so that makes it a pretty simple split. You okay with all of that?"
"Yeah, do it," I said. "I just want out. My woman has to be my woman. I don't share."
"Okay, my man, you got it," I said. It was almost 6:00PM and I wanted to get someplace where I could shed some stress.
"I wasn't there but I hear there was quite a scene in the Marston main office yesterday," I said to the man sitting next to me. It was Monday, and I knew the bitch had been served.
"Yeah, Clyde, do yuh think! You nailed the bitch pretty good. I was there and I can tell you the tears never stopped falling. I think the bitch still loves you. Pity she feels the need to loan her ass out to all comers like that," said Ben.
Ben Gilchrist was my long time friend, and coincidentally, the office manager at Marston. He'd actually introduced me to Adrienne twenty years before. I'd been in my mid-twenties then and Adrienne a few years younger. She and I had hit it off, dated for a few months, and finally married on Christmas Eve nineteen years ago. Now, it seems, it had all come to naught. I felt free, but I did not feel good. You don't have that much psychologically invested in someone and just forget about 'em and go on. I still loved the whore, but I couldn't deal with the betrayal; that was going to damn far.
I punched in and headed for the coffee machine. Helen, the boss' secretary, waved me over. "You got a couple of messages from your wife, Clyde. She sounded pretty upset."
"I ain't takin' no more messages from her, Helen. If she calls again tell her to call Morgan. She knows the number," I said.
"Okay, if that's what you want," she said, and she headed off toward her office.
Yeah, I expected the calls. But, I don't know why she was tryin' to call me. She knew that bein' with that man would kill any feelings I had for her—well, almost anyway.
The woman sitting next to her was almost sneering. "I don't know Adrienne. I mean I don't know why you're whining like this. You've been talking about getting away from him almost since I've known you, and that's ten years, girl," said Mavis Billings.
"I just don't know what I want," said Adrienne. "Yes, I know what I've said in the past, but now that it's come to this, I just don't know.
"Look," said Mavis, "Alan's a good looking guy. He's got a good job. If it's his dick you want, go for it, girl."
Adrienne, looked up at her long time friend. "Maybe you're right, but I just don't know, Mavis. We've been together so long. We know everything about each other. He's had my back on any number of occasions, and me his. It just don't seem right him dumping me like this. If I could just talk to him, but; but, he won't come near me."
"Well, that should tell you something," said Mavis. "If he really cared, he wouldn't be getting' so all fired hot under the collar about a little playin' on the side.
"I remember you telling me that you told him what you might be doin' when he asked you o marry him. I also remember you told me he said that he could handle it. Well, he clearly can't," said Mavis.
"Yes, but that was just going out with the girls and having a good time, not—you know. But we changed over time. And then, Alan..."
Mavis looked exasperated. "Sign the damn papers, Adrienne, and let's get on with your life. There's a ton of guys out there dying to have a shot at you.
"You know, Alan has money, or will when his aunt dies. He told me so a long time ago and he wasn't lyin'."
Adrienne perked up. "Money?"
"Darn straight. Fifty-thousand dollars," pronounced Mavis. "That, girl, is a pretty good chunk of green."
"That is a lot," said Adrienne. She shook herself. "Maybe you're right. I guess I could do a lot worse than Alan Whitley."
She caught me at my place of work just as I was getting in to start my day. "Clyde?" She came to me looking a little unsure; I waited.
"Whaddya want?" I said.
.... There is more of this story ...