Leslie didn't actually look smug, but she wasn't real empathetic either. That she had decided to lay her cards on the table, however, had not entirely been expected by me. But there they were.
"I'm sorry you found out this way, Mikey, but it is what it is. Roger does it for me. I love you still, it's just that I need a little more than, well, you're able to give me," she said. "I hope you can see what I'm saying here, my husband, and let me have this little thing."
"Really," I said. "You sure not how to hurt a guy, Leslie." Evidently I wasn't demonstrating enough angst or hurt or whatever; she actually looked perplexed.
"Mikey? What's going on?" she said. "I know you. You're acting all too unconcerned. Something's going on. What is it?"
"Evidently what's going on is you fucking Roger Claibourne my used to be good buddy," I said. Now, she was beginning to looked pissed.
"Mikey, I don't know what you've got going on, but I hope you're not planning on doing anything rash," she said. I smiled. That really set her off.
"Damn it Mikey! What's going on! I have a right to know," she said. Now that pissed "me" off.
"Right? You have a right to know what I'm thinking?" I said. "I could ask you if I had a right to know that you were fucking my used to be best friend, Leslie. I did didn't I, I mean have a right to know? But, you kept it from me, didn't you?
"Tell you what, you show me yours and I'll show you mine?' I said. Jesus I did love cliché's.
"What are you talking about!" she almost screamed. She was beginning to lose it.
"Well, why don't we wait until your erstwhile lover comes downstairs and joins us. It seems unfair to leave him out of this little conversation," I said.
I had walked in on them just fifteen minutes prior to the current conversation. Leslie Ford, my wife, was getting it hot and heavy by the man who had been my best friend since age six, thirty years and counting. Talk about cliché's.
After the initial yelling and running around trying to find discarded underwear et cetera, I had suggested that instead of my doing something untoward, like beating the shit out of Roger, that we all adjourn to the kitchen to see where things were going to go from here. They'd agreed—reluctantly.
"Mikey, I'm sorry. I know I hurt you. I didn't mean to, honest to God. I just wish I could make you understand. I'm not planning on leaving you. Please don't think that. In every other way you do it and you do it right for me. It's just that..." she ran out of words.
"Like what, Leslie? Does he have a bigger dick? What?" I said. I was still so calm. She was actually becoming frightened. "You were planning on staying married to me, just so long as I didn't get too upset over you fucking my best friend? Is that about it?" I said.
"It's not like that. You and I can still do it too. It's just that his..." she stopped.
"His what?" I said. "His dick is bigger?" She looked down.
"I need it, Mikey. I really do. But, it's not a case of instead-of, rather it's an and-to thing. I mean I want you both. Does that seem like something that makes any sense," she said.
"Well, I don't know, Leslie. Does it seem to make sense to you? Would it make sense to say Roger's sister or mother?" I said. "or wife if he had one?"
"Sorry, Mikey, Leslie and I are so sorry for all of this," said Roger, entering the room and the conversation for the first time.
"Well, thank you for that Rog," I said. "It goes a long way to mending some fences here." He nodded gravely.
"Can I ask Rog, how long have you and, well, my wife been getting it on?" I said.
He began to look a little uncomfortable. He spread his hands in an "I surrender" gesture. He looked over at his playmate. Leslie looked like she wanted to crawl into a hole. I waited.
"Maybe a year and a half," he said. Leslie was beginning to cry.
"That long," I said. "I had no idea."
"Jesus, Mikey, get mad or something will you! You're scaring me," she said. Roger looked like he wanted to take her in his arms but he restrained himself.
"Get mad? Only dogs get mad," I said. "Look, Leslie, Roger, for the past many years we have been friends—husband and wife—I looked straight at Leslie. No, not friends, we've been family. What was mine, Roger, was always yours too. I hadn't actually thought that my wife would have been included in any such list; but, maybe that's the way things are these days. I mean this isn't 1692 Salem is it?
I began slowly shaking my head, and for the life of him Roger was unconsciously mimicking me. Leslie's brow was wrinkled and she was looking at me like she had no idea who I was—she didn't.
"Look Leslie, Roger, we should remain close. I mean don't you think so really?" I said. My tone was so sincere that I was pretty sure I had them sold. I waited looking each of them in the eye in turn.
"Mikey, aren't you mad?" said Leslie. "My God, I had no idea—I mean I have no idea. Mikey, come on what's going on? I mean aren't you mad—really?"
"Kids, I have to admit, that when I found out, I was not real happy. I mean—my best friend for my whole life fucking my wife. Well, you can imagine," Leslie's face took on the look she'd originally had at the beginning of this little confab.
"Mikey?" she said. I raised my hand in a kind of sign of peace.
"But, then I thought. There has to be a way out of this," I said. "I didn't want to lose your friendship, Roger. And Leslie, I wanted you to be happy. So what to do."
"Wait!" said Roger. "Am I understanding you right? You knew about us before..."
"Before today?" I said, interrupting him. "Yes, I've known for about a year. But you guys have been at it for more than a year and half? Man, you guys had me fooled, I guess. Poof! What an idiot I was right?" I laughed.
"Oh, don't look so worried, Les. I told you your happiness, and Roger's of course, mean everything to me. I'm not going to go off on you," I said. I looked at my watch. I had to time this just perfectly for full effect. And, I certainly wanted the full effect—oh yeah. What was I the Bard said, "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players..." something like that at any rate.
Looking at my watch again, I raised my hand like a starter of a foot race. My hand came down as if unleashing the hounds of speed and the doorbell rang as if on cue startling all but me. God I love it when a plan comes together.
"Leslie, would you answer that please," I said.
"Uh—okay—sure," she said. She almost walked backwards trying to keep an eye on me as she sought to admit the newcomers to the scene.
I couldn't see her face when she opened the door, but I did hear her squeak out a greeting. "Mom! Gracie! But, how?"