We had the goods on Baxter and his evil apprentice. Their lives would be hell when their spouses received the information contained in our anonymous 'report'.
"They should be used to that by now," reasoned Susan as we rested together in bed. "They have been on the other end of those situations many times. It will be good for them to walk a mile in someone else's moccasins!"
Then she chuckled as she turned to me and grinned that grin, "I have already come up with a plan to teach that Sam Longo not to fuck with our marriage!"
The next day was Sunday. Susan and I usually had a small breakfast around nine AM. After that, we would often take a leisurely drive to visit her parents. As we ate, Susan was describing her plan for revenge on Sam Longo. He was the only suspect we had as the mastermind behind the fidelity test we had so cleverly reversed.
The doorbell rang. To say I was surprised to see Derek Baxter standing on my stoop would be a tremendous understatement!
"Mr. Hardison, could I please have a few moments of your time?" requested the slime ball. "I have come to negotiate a deal with you and your wife."
"I guess we can listen to what you have to say, but I think I already have a pretty good idea what you want," I replied confidently as I held the door open. "I think we're holding all the cards in this hand. You're used to being the dealer and not an actual player in the game. It doesn't feel so good, does it?"
"Needless to say, Mr. Hardison, I am in an extremely uncomfortable position at the moment. That's why I'm here. I hope we can work a deal where we both come out ahead," he offered.
By this time, Susan had become curious and came into the living room from the kitchen. Seeing Baxter, she gathered her robe tighter to her throat, even as her jaw dropped.
"Good morning, Mrs. Hardison," began Baxter. "As usual, you look lovely. I have to compliment you on your acting abilities. I am embarrassed to admit that you completely fooled me. I should have known a woman as desirable as you would never find me interesting, or attractive. I was just as foolish as every mark I have ever obtained incriminating proof against."
"I'll take that as a compliment, although coming from you, it isn't going to be the highlight of my day," retorted Susan quickly. "I did manage to get cleaned up after you left the room yesterday, in case you're interested."
Baxter's face turned a deep red at Susan's barb. Her comment had been intended to belittle his sexual performance, and it hit the mark. Few men want to appear inadequate or sexually incompetent. Susan's zinger had hurt his pride, if a guy in his line of work could even have any.
"I had that coming, no pun intended," replied Baxter with a bleak smile. "I'll get to the chase and not waste any more of your time. Naturally, I would like to get any pictures you have of me destroyed. I also want every photo deleted from your camera and any other device they may be on."
"I'm sure you would," I acknowledged with some surprise. "You haven't explained why we would agree to your proposal. It's our belief that we broke no laws. Not that can be proven, at least. We're pretty much in the driver's seat here, Baxter. Are you going to try to buy your way out of this mess? If so, I can save us both a lot of time. We aren't interested. You went into this with the intention off shitting all over us, so we'll have our revenge!"
"I thought you might like to know who hired me to set you up, Mr. Hardison. I would want to know if I were you," asserted Baxter.
"Ha!" laughed Susan without mirth. "We already figured out it was that prick Joe Longo. You can tell your "client" that we're going to ruin his life as soon as we get done sending yours down the shitter!"
I was surprised at Susan's ire. Apparently Baxter and his sleazy business offended her more than I had realized. Her world left no room for devious, hurtful people. Ruining marriages didn't rate very high in her ledger.
"Sam Longo? I've never even heard that name before. The man that hired me was from out of the area. I doubt you know him, or have ever met him," responded a worried Baxter. "I'll give you his name and his cell phone number in exchange for all the incriminating evidence you have against me."
This claim clearly surprised Susan. I already had some reservations about Longo's complicity in such an expensive and elaborate plot, just to get a little strange. Most men don't really like to work that hard, or spend that much, for a piece of ass. Baxter's assertion had the ring of truth.
"Baxter, sit here while I discuss this possibility with Susan in the kitchen," I directed. "We'll only be a few minutes."
Susan and I actually spent a good fifteen minutes debating our next move. Finally we decided on a course of action and returned to the living room.
"We have decided to agree to your offer," I told Baxter. "There are, however, several conditions. First, you'll give us all the information you have on this client of yours. You'll help us any way possible to gain some measure of retribution against him. And finally, you will permanently close down your seedy business. If this matter concludes in such a way that we feel you have lived up to your end of this agreement, we will destroy all evidence we have against you. Take it, or leave it."
"I accept," blurted Baxter immediately.
Seeing our surprise at his rapid and complete capitulation, he explained," I promised myself if I ever got out of this mess with my marriage intact, I would retire and move south with my wife. Your offer is as more generous than I had dared hope."
It only took Baxter a few minutes to tell us everything he knew about his client. It wasn't much. We seemed to know less after he was done than before he began.
The fellow that had contacted Baxter went by the name Hoyt Cashen. Baxter had only met him once. He dressed in western garb and had an accent that Baxter guessed was Texan. He had paid cash in advance and made it clear that he expected some rather quick results. The results he wanted were to have my ass in a crack so tight I could never wiggle out. He never gave a reason for it.
The other interesting piece of information was that he wanted Baxter to get the same goods on Bill Vance. Bill had grown up on the farm next to my parents' property. He was a few years younger than I. We had played baseball and basketball more than a few times as kids, as well as hunted deer together quite often in later years.
My mother had died five years ago and my father had died a year and a half later. As the only child, I now owned the family farm, although no one in my family had actually farmed there since I was a kid. Bill kept dairy cows in our pasture and cut the hay off the meadows. It was mutually beneficial since it kept my property from growing up in briars and weeds. I told Bill he could use the property as he had when my parents were alive.
My family's two hundred acres adjoined Bill's four hundred and fifty and allowed Bill the opportunity to actually make a living at agriculture in the rocky hills of northeastern Pennsylvania.
"Do you already have pictures of Bill engaging in inappropriate behavior with your little slut, Sandy?" asked an incredulous Susan.
The reason Susan was so shocked was that Bill Vance had married late in life. We had attended his wedding to a girl from New Jersey just over a year ago. They were expecting their first child within the month.
"I have to admit that Sandy didn't have much luck with Mr. Vance. He seldom leaves the farm, or his wife's side. Sandy tried to approach him a couple times in the local coffee shop, but he wasn't even remotely interested," confirmed Baxter. "I don't think Mr. Hoyt Cashen will be very happy when I tell him of my failure there."
"Let's get together with Bill and his wife and discuss this!" declared Susan. "We can get him to play along with Sandy enough to make it look good. You'll get some pictures of Mitch with Sandy, and Bill with Sandy. Then we give them to this Cashen guy so we can find out what the hell he wants to do with them! He won't really be able to blackmail anyone since we're all in on it. Cashen just won't know that!"
"I'm afraid that won't work," Baxter responded calmly. "I had a voicemail from Sandy this morning. She said that she was quitting. She made it rather plain that she never wanted to see, or hear from me, ever again. She didn't bother explaining why she was so hasty."
"Uh oh," groaned Susan. "I'm afraid that Mitch and I might have had something to do with that. She must have been pretty upset with the way things went yesterday, and she doesn't even know yet that we have some pictures. The pleasure of ruining you both seems to be diminishing pretty damn fast."
"I don't see how we're going to find out why this Cashen dude wants to get the goods on me," I lamented. "I guess we'll just have to see if he tries some other method. I just don't like waiting for him to go after me, or Bill, not knowing what he'll do."
"All we need is a sexy woman to be in a few photographs with you and Bill," reasoned Susan. "Bill's wife is too pregnant to pose for any pictures, but I can think of a volunteer, if you think she's sexy enough."
"Who do you have ... oh shit!" I gasped. "You're going back undercover, so to speak, aren't you, Susan? I bet you'll be able to convince Bill. It's his wife that may need some persuasion."
.... There is more of this story ...