I was driving down I-225 when my life changed. Actually when my life went to hell would be more accurate. I had just dropped my wife off at work. She had taken her car into the dealership the day previous for a recall item and she was going to pick it up that day during her lunch hour.
I was just merging onto I-25 when the cell phone rang. I flipped it open and the cell kept ringing and I suddenly realized that it wasn't my phone going off. I looked over and saw Candy's cell phone lying on the passenger seat close to the passenger door. No way was I going to reach over and pick it up while I was trying to merge with rush hour traffic so it rang a few more times and then stopped.
Once I was out on I-25 and blended in with moving traffic I reached over, picked up her phone and flipped it open. The screen said:
"You have 1 new voicemail."
I started to close the phone, but then I thought that it might be something important and maybe I should listen to it and then call Candy at work and let her know what the message was. I pressed the 'call' button and put the phone to my ear.
"You have one unheard message. First unheard message."
"Hey sweetheart, it's me. I'm in room 114 at the Best Western on the parkway. I should get out of class at three and I should be to the room by four. In case you don't get this for some reason I'll call you at the office around ten. Take care Candy and know that I'm looking forward to this afternoon."
"End of message. To delete this message press seven."
Until he said "Take care Candy" I thought that the message was a wrong number, but as soon as he said "Candy" I knew that my comfortable life had just come to an end. There was just a touch of denial in me as I thought that there just might be a slight chance that there was another Candy out there that had a cell number close to my wife's. That would be what? A ten million to one shot? I closed Candy's phone and tossed it back over onto the seat.
I made the rest of the drive to work on auto pilot because my mind certainly wasn't on my driving. After parking in the lot at work I got out and moved to the passenger's side and took Candy's phone and moved it down to the floor between the seat and the door on the off chance that Candy might come looking for it after receiving the mystery man's phone call at ten o'clock. What I really wanted to do was throw the damned thing on the ground and stomp it to pieces — a modern day version of killing the messenger who brought the bad tidings. I slammed the door and went into work.
I'd met Candy at a party thrown by the members of a band that I had helped out. Andy worked with me and he and some friends had a garage band. I'd never heard them play and didn't have a clue as to whether they were any good or not. I spent a lot of my time at a local watering hole and I knew the owner fairly well. The bar had a pretty good sized dance floor and Harry had a live band in on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
One day I was sitting at the bar, sipping my beer and trying for the zillionth time to hustle Karen the barmaid when I saw Harry come out of the back with a scowl on his face.
"What's up Harry? You look like your dog died."
"Worse than that. The band I had set up for this weekend called and cancelled because their drummer and lead guitar player were in an accident and are in the hospital. I've spent the last two hours trying to find a replacement band and there just aren't any. They are all already booked for this weekend."
"How desperate are you?"
"Right now I'd settle for three monkeys banging tambourines."
"I may be able to help. Give me a quarter."
Harry told Karen to give me a quarter from the till and I took it to the pay phone and called Andy. He came down and talked to Harry and that weekend the Uncalled Four made their public debut. It turned out that they were pretty damned decent and Harry signed them up to be the house band for the next three months. I never had to buy another drink when I was in the bar.
The band started referring to me as their manager even thought I never did anything for them but put Harry and Andy in touch. Anyway, the band threw a party one Sunday to celebrate their move into 'the big time' and I was invited. I was leaning against a wall sipping a beer and watching Andy's girlfriend trying to fall out of her bikini top when a voice said:
"I hear that you are the one responsible for this party."
I turned toy left and saw an absolutely stunning woman. Five foot one or so, auburn hair, hazel eyes and a body built to generate hard ons. She offered her hand and said:
"Candy Witczak and you are?"
"Rob Dalman" I said as I took her offered hand and shook it.
"Well? Is it true that we have you to thank for this party?"
"Not hardly. I made a phone call and put two people in touch. And it wasn't even my quarter."
"Well everyone in the band is giving you the credit for it."
"You know everyone in the band?"
"The drummer is my cousin."
I noticed that she didn't have any rings on her left hand and I was just on the verge of starting 'the dance' that would lead up to my asking her to have dinner with me some night when two women came up to her and hauled her away. Every time I saw her during the rest of the party she was always with a group and I never had another opportunity to talk with her.
Two weeks later on a Thursday night I was sitting at the bar and trying for the zillionth and tenth time to hustle Karen while Andy's band was thumping out "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" in the background — and having my usual lack of luck — when someone grabbed my arm and started pulling me off my stool. I looked and saw that it was Candy.
"Come on" she said, "No sitting on a barstool when a girl needs a dance partner."
I let her lead me out onto the dance floor. I'm not much of a dancer, but she was great and just being her partner had me looking halfway decent. I was ready to go back to my barstool when the number was over, but the band segued into Bowie's "Suffragette City" and Candy held onto me so I couldn't leave the floor. As I danced with Candy I wondered why she was apparently unescorted. She just had to be beating guys off with a stick so it didn't stand to reason that she would be at the bar alone on a live band night. As I looked at her I wondered at my temerity in thinking that I could have asked her out at that party. She was obviously way, way out of my league.
Time for a little honesty here. I was no Brad Pitt. I was at least ten pounds overweight, had flecks of gray in my brown hair and male pattern baldness was beginning to make an appearance. I didn't know Candy's age, but I had to be at least fifteen years older than she was.
The song ended and before I could ask her where she was sitting so I could walk her back to her table the band started playing "Nights in White Satin" and Candy moved into me and said:
"One more, please?"
I took her in my arms and we began to dance slow. It came as no great surprise to me that I had an erection from just being near her, but it did come as a surprise when it accidentally touched her leg and she pressed back so the contact wouldn't be broken. I looked down at her (I know I mentioned that she was five one, but I don't believe that I mentioned that I was six two) and saw that she was looking up at me and with a smile on her face. I had no idea of what was happening and I was confused as hell. What was this sexy young creature doing trying to excite an old man like me?
The song ended and she led me back to where she was sitting. It turned out to be the table where the wives and girlfriends of the band members were sitting. I held her chair for her as she sat down and I thanked her for the dances. As I started to turn to go she asked:
"Where are you going?"
"Back to the bar."
"Oh no you're not." She pointed at the seat next to her and said, "You are part of this group whether you realize it or not so you have to join us."
"But I have a..."
She pointed at the chair again and said, "Sit!"
Another woman at the table said, "You had better do it. If you don't she will just follow you around and badger you until you do."
I gave in and sat down next to Candy. I looked around for the waitress so I could ask her to get my drink from the bar and suddenly she was standing there with my beer in her hand.
"I had a feeling that you wouldn't be going back to the bar" she said. She looked around the table at the six women sitting there and said:
"You might want something a little stronger than beer if you plan to hang with these girls."
"Don't worry about him" Candy said, "He's mine and I'm not sharing."
The table erupted with hoots and hollers, a "woo-hoo" and a "you go girl."
Tina looked from me to Candy and then back to me as she shook her head in disbelief and I myself wondered again what the hell was going on. Candy saw the look on my face and she said "We will talk later" as she put her hand on my leg and moved it up to cup my erection. Luckily the table top kept the others from seeing it or God alone knows how they would have reacted. Candy leaned over and whispered in my ear as she rubbed my woodie:
"I'll explain when you take me home."
.... There is more of this story ...