When a cheating wife ill-treats and leaves a struggling poor factory manager, sometimes the very best revenge in life is to live well! A tale of how karmic justice sometimes does work out for everyone. Any story codes are trivial and only implied.
Codes: MF FF Mult Humor Cheat preg
Sex Content: Minimal Sex
Originally Posted on SOL: 2009-06-21
Thanks to Jake and my usual cast and crew of Editors and Advance Readers!
This story was in a worse mess than usual but we eventually got it reasonably straightened out together!
Funny How Time Slips Away
Well, hello there! My, it's been a long, long time!
How am I doin'? Oh, I guess that I'm doin' fine.
It's been so long now, but it seems it was only yesterday.
Gee, ain't it funny how time slips away?
How's your new love? I hope that he's doin' fine.
I heard you told him that you'd love him till the end of time.
Now, that's the same thing that you told me — seems like just the other day.
Gee, ain't it funny how time slips away?
I gotta go now. I guess I'll see you around.
Don't know when, though. Never know when I'll be back in town,
but remember what I tell you: in time, you're gonna pay.
And it's surprising how time slips away
- Willie Nelson —
It had been a damned hard last couple of weeks at work, but if the happy sounds of the co-workers around him were to be believed, then it had been all worthwhile. From the sound of things, it looked like the spring product line was going to be very successful. The bosses would make more money and the workers would all get full working hours (and paychecks) and probably some juicy over-time pay for the months to come. The odds were even looking very promising for a decent year-end bonus. Jeff decided that he could well afford to just sit here at the hotel bar and order down another beer or three on the company tab. Win-win for everyone, he thought.
The Hilton Hotel bar wasn't his normal first choice for a watering hole. Jeff usually preferred a more run down sort of place with dim lights and creaky wooden floors and preferably a layer of sawdust or peanut shells on the floor for good measure, suitable for knocking back a few longnecks and maybe even some boot-scooting, if he had a pretty dancing partner.
Marketing had picked out this location for an impromptu company party that Friday afternoon to celebrate the launching of this season's new product line. The Hilton had the biggest screen TV in the area and a large enough open bar area for folks to watch the fashion show live or just hang out and enjoy the good news. Also it was a good place to catch a cab home after having a few too many drinks. The VP of Sales had also tried to get one of the big conference rooms as well for handling the overflow of all of the factory workers, but they were all booked up solid with another sales convention, so everyone just happily crammed in together at the bar.
Between the TV and everyone chatting on their cell phones it was nearly impossible to hear yourself think, but at least it was the loud and cheerful sound of prosperity. Just a few short years ago the company was so broke that the annual company picnic was just potluck and B.Y.O.B.
Today the mood was good and everyone was happy. Some of the Sales and Marketing gals were calling out for more champagne and the glass fishbowl behind the bar was already half full of car keys. A few smiling and winking couples were even sidling towards the hotel registration desk to snag a private room for some romantic celebrations of their own. Hell, it was just barely one o'clock! This definitely beat a real day's work back at the factory!
Cindy, the blonde bombshell from Marketing, was already pretty loaded up at this point and looking for some clandestine alternative entertainment herself, staggered over towards Jeff in her 5-inch heels and showing off an expansive and interesting valley of cleavage and plenty of thigh. She offered Jeff a glass of champagne, but he declined and she quickly found a more interested and very willing partner eager for some horizontal partying of their own. Jack had known that Cindy was a very enjoyable fuck, even when half-loaded, having sampled her wares a couple of times in the past. Heck, she'd done half of the board of directors at one go during the Christmas party where she'd just bent over the punch table and showed off that she wasn't wearing any underwear and begged us all to just 'stick it to her hard! For now, Jeff just wanted to stick with beer and wasn't feeling like a romp away from crowd, although the idea of a celebratory glass of whisky or two was starting to sound pretty good. The early forecast for this season's sales looked to be good, maybe even great, but he could still remember the lean, hard times not too long ago when no one knew if each day would be their last at the company.
Jeff raised his beer bottle in silent memory of those very bad times ... and how much worse still things could have been.
After a few more beers, and about three fingers of a decent top-shelf whisky, Jeff was about celebrated out and was seriously thinking about making an early departure from the party ... or tracking down Cindy for that offer of a romp in bed. The mood, if anything, was even more cheerful over on the Sales and Marketing side of the bar — and the fishbowl of car keys behind the bar looked pretty darned full too. He had just started to slide one tired ass cheek off of the bar stool when he saw in the doorway a sight he had not seen in about fifteen years. It was the back end of his ex-wife Maureen. He'd know that ass anywhere!
Maureen hadn't seen him yet and was talking with her husband Dave for a few minutes. It wasn't long before he left her in the bar to walk down towards the conference areas. He was dressed up in a cheap department store suit and apparently was there on business with that other sales convention that had filled most of the hotel. He looked about twenty years older and not particularly distinguished for the better. He was much thinner and less athletic looking with a bit of a stooped shoulder appearance. The thinning grey hair didn't improve the overall look much either.
There was a good bit of old and mostly bad history between the two of them, and while Jeff probably wouldn't bother to piss on Dave if he were on fire, it was a bit sad to see how low in the world he had come down. The 'old' Dave always wore expensive European suits and looked buff and tanned as if he'd just spent the afternoon on either the golf course or tennis courts. It was always image over substance with him ... and right now the image didn't look all that impressive.
That's what nearly seven years in jail will do to you.
Maureen, on the other hand, looked to be in a bit better shape. She always had been expensive to maintain, but today she was decked much more plainly than Jeff had ever been used to seeing her. Less makeup, plain simple costume jewelry, and an older style dress that looked pretty but understated. She certainly was not the height of current fashion like she used to be. She still kept her head up high as she walked toward the bar, but maybe just a bit of that old arrogance was missing from her strut.
When she recognized Jeff at the bar she stopped cold and at least a hundred different emotions crossed her face before she turned around to leave, before he beckoned her over to join him. Shame tied with embarrassment, but in the end both surrendered to resignation. Not meeting his eyes, she took the seat next to him at the bar and ordered a glass of wine. She started to rummage through her purse to pull out a few small bills, but Jeff told the bartender to add her onto to his tab and to keep the drinks coming, and he slapped a twenty dollar tip into the bartender's hand.
Jeff gave his ex-wife a long appraisal. She was thinner, too, and a close look at her face revealed worry lines that no amount of makeup could quite conceal. Clearly things had not been going too well for her lately, but there was no denying that she was still a looker!
Their divorce had not been a pleasant one and Jeff had been very angry with her for quite a long time afterwards. Still this was a woman that Jeff had lived with for nearly five years and had spent some happy times with once earlier in their lives. While he hadn't exactly wished her well, neither did he want to see her way down on her luck for the rest of her life either.
His father, an old fashioned good ole boy rancher in Central Texas had imparted his creed on Jeff from the time he was a young boy: Loyalty towards friends; Defiance towards enemies; and Compassion for the defeated or helpless. It was more than acceptable to beat down ones foe, but it was also proper to then offer him a hand up in friendship afterwards. "Don't hold grudges", he had been taught. Maureen seemed to fit this latter category now, although most of her troubles were entirely of her own doing. Karma can certainly be a bitch!
It seemed like only yesterday when she had left him. Funny how time slips away from you!
Jeff had meet Maureen back in college in Texas. He was on a half-scholarship and working two jobs to pay his way through, while Maureen's quite wealthy family in Dallas was picking up her full tab. Needless to say, Jeff had been the more serious student by far, as Maureen spent the majority of her free time socializing with her clique of rich party-loving friends and cared very little about her studies.
How the two of them had become attracted to each other and fell into a serious long term romance, no one could quite figure out. Jeff had been the serious-minded and practical business student in old worn jeans and cowboy boots that had seen more than their share of real cow shit. Maureen was the gregarious and fun-loving liberal arts student that dressed to the nine's for even casual occasions and loved to shop at the best stores. She was extremely high maintenance, both financially and emotionally.
In any case, their love succeeded and grew on this rather rocky soil and they married right after graduation, to the great unhappiness of both of their sets of parents.
Jeff's father believed that Maureen was too frivolous and way too much of a spendthrift to make a respectable wife ... and he was right. Maureen's family considered her match to be equally socially unsuitable, as Jeff had no family money or connections ... and they were sort of right too.
After graduation, Jeff spent two years working for her parents in a lower management position at one of their companies, but he didn't enjoy either the work or the snide attitude of superiority that they constantly and condescendingly gave him. Then he suddenly received a job offer up north in the rust belt of Ohio for a middle management position with a small struggling shoe factory ... and to everyone's dismay he accepted it immediately.
The new salary was not particularly good and the benefits were minimal, but Jeff saw some possibilities in this opportunity and he quit at once, to the anger and annoyance of virtually everyone. Maureen was furious, but grudgingly followed her husband. This was the last straw for her highbrow family and they cut off her allowance and family credit cards, leaving her solely to subsist upon Jeff's limited income. It was no surprise that real problems began to arise in their relationship almost immediately afterwards.
He enjoyed the challenging work at Hudson Boots & Shoes, Inc., but keeping the plant functioning each month was a constant challenge. For every problem solved, at least two more hidden ones reared their ugly heads.
The owner, Ralph Hudson, was a decent boss, but his knowledge of modern accounting and business management techniques was nearly non-existent, and he had a bad heart condition that limited both his time on-premises and his attention to important details. The plant was hemorrhaging money each month, and with all of the accounts being kept on paper and in no particular sort of filing system. Sales were decent but not exceptional and somehow expenses always managed to exceed income. With nothing computerized, it took Jeff a couple of years to finally trace exactly where all the money was disappearing to.
There was waste and inefficiency everywhere, but some of the most serious losses were going into the pockets of the Sales Manager, Dave Westin, his primary management rival within the company. Every time Jeff suggested an improvement to the company's operation he could be sure that Dave would argue the exact opposite side. He was the champion of the 'status quo' at the company and against any form of accounting modernization and computerization, and now Jeff knew exactly why.
Soon it became very clear that the two of them were implacable rivals for controlling the future of the company and Jeff soon came to detest the smirk that Dave always seemed to have on his face, as if he were enjoying some private joke at Jeff's expense. Jeff prepared himself extremely carefully for each management meeting and soon was winning more boardroom battles than he lost, but it caused him to work lengthy hours and not give Maureen the amount of attention that she was used to receiving. Their home life began to suffer accordingly nearly immediately.
Dave apparently led a very expensive lifestyle and, according to Jeff's best estimates, had been fraudulently skimming off about $70,000 a year from the company for at least the last five years ... probably longer. He managed the Sales and Purchasing departments and always dressed in expensive suits, owned at least three expensive Rolex watches and drove a fancy BMW convertible. Way too much for his salary which was scarcely larger than Jeff's. He had also in addition been receiving personal kick-backs from our buyers and suppliers for everything he bought or sold. The quality of the leather the company had been receiving was continually decreasing, but our cost for it kept increasing. Now we knew why sales had been going slowly down while our expenses kept continually increasing.
It goes without saying that his personal expense accounts were also excessive to say the least also, and showed that over the years Dave had been living the good life indeed at the company's expense.
Convincing the owner Ralph Hudson to fire Dave was a hard sell, as everyone at the company was enamored of the smooth talking thief Dave, but in the end the proof of Jeff's investigations couldn't be denied (with the help of a financial audit team and a pair of independent private investigators) and Dave was finally at last fired. This should have been a great triumph for Jeff; he had removed his chief management rival in the company and he had been now promoted as the new Director of Operations, and with a slight pay increase too, but he arrived home to an even greater surprise. Maureen had moved out and had left him for Dave!
It ought not to have been that great of a shock. Maureen had always been one of Dave's biggest supporters and she had taken a liking to him right from the very start. She liked his flash and his swagger and constantly tried to get Jeff to follow his example. At some point, the two of them had started an affair ... probably about the same time over a year ago that Dave's smirk became a permanent fixture on his face. Well, Jeff had had the last laugh, but it didn't seem nearly as funny now.
There was some discussion about filing fraud and theft charges against Dave, but in the end, Ralph Hudson declined. He wasn't all that forgiving in nature, but the extremely delicate financial state of the company couldn't handle the strain of a public fraud investigation or a trial. Even the faintest hint of the chronic financial mismanagement the company had endured for nearly a decade would be enough for the suppliers to cut off their business credit, effectively dooming the company. Instead, it was decided that everyone would keep the fraud secret, bite their lips shut, and thoroughly restructure the company from top to bottom ... and pray that they were just in the nick of time to save the company from bankruptcy at all.
Of Dave and Maureen, Jeff had heard little. They left town together immediately and she filed for a quickie divorce in Vegas. She had completely cleaned out the family bank accounts before she left and had recently taken out a large home equity loan on their house. As part of the divorce settlement, she now also wanted another $10,000 for "moving expenses" and a large amount of monthly alimony.
Jeff counter-filed fraud charges for the illegal home equity loan, showing that his signature on the loan document was forged, and proved that the other fingerprints on the document matched Dave's, not his. It took awhile, but her alimony and moving expenses requests were declined by the family court judge, who also declined to stick Jeff with Maureen's extensive legal bills. In the end, both Maureen and Dave plead No Contest to the fraud charge. Both received a stiff lecture and a suspended sentence with no jail time. Maureen got to keep all of the money she had previously taken, but it was all long spent anyway with no hope of repayment.
The divorce done, they went their separate ways. No one was quite happy with the end verdict and his own legal fees kept Jeff flat broke for several years afterwards. Still it shut the door closed on that painful period of Jeff's life.
About two years later, Jeff heard through the grapevine that Dave was up to his old tricks again at a new company in California and had been caught once more with his hands in the cookie jar. Dave quickly married Maureen about this time — apparently so that she as his wife she couldn't be forced to testify against him. This time he was prosecuted, and at the sentencing hearing, details of some of his earlier frauds were brought up in evidence. He was sentenced to fourteen years in state prison and expected to serve at least five before parole. In addition, his suspended sentence in Nevada was overturned as a result of this parole violation, and he would then have to serve another two full years there for that old forgery crime after his release.
Jeff didn't feel the slightest bit sorry for him. Dave was crooked to his very core and had gotten pretty much what he deserved. He was surprised to find that Maureen had indeed waited faithfully on him those seven years that Dave was in prison. He couldn't help but wish that she had been even half as faithful and loyal to him when they were married. Love is such a strange thing.
"Well, Maureen, it's been a pretty long time ... you're looking well. Doing alright, I guess. You look unchanged — as if you'd hardly changed much at all either. A little heavier maybe and a little grey on the sides, but it suits you. You look good. Age and gravity sure are bitches, aren't they. It seems like only yesterday we were together and probably fighting about something silly. Funny how time speeds up on you when you get older." Maureen agreed and they drank their drinks in silence for a few minutes.
"I saw Dave out there in the hallway with you before you came in. You two still together?" She nodded.
"We're here for the sales convention. He's getting some minor award tomorrow — something about selling the most appliances in his district last quarter. He's ... better now, not quite as much of an ass. He's always been a good salesman, but now he's gotten his life in order and he works hard. Things were very hard for us for a while, but they're slowly getting better."