This is a short tale of infidelity that has no end. The premise I was working on when I started writing these Nemesis tales, was the discovery of infidelity not really its consequences. Okay with some of them I have strayed into that area as well, but not on this case. So if you are looking for everything to be all tied up in a neat little parcel, you'd better give this one a miss.
My thanks go to SH for proofreading this one for me. But I've got to chastise you S. You really should submit written requests (in triplicate) before you go accepting any social engagements.
Oh yeah, an old mate of mine is into what he describes as "flash stories." I think this one might just fall into that category, but only just!
It had been a real bastard of a week and was I dying for a decent pint of beer by that Friday evening. So I'd slipped into the pub for swift one, before I made my way home from work.
The "Farmers Arms" was right next door to the office, and I'll happily admit that it wasn't unusual for me to slip in there for a quickie on the way home. Hey, they served a bloody good steak as well, so I'd often grab a meal there whenever my wife Beatrice was away for the evening, on business, or off visiting my in-laws.
I tended to avoid going with her to visit her folks if I could. They never had been members of my fan club. The second best thing they'd ever done for me, was to retire down to the south coast. Of course I'd always figured that the best thing they'd done was to manage to produce Beatrice in the first place. To be honest, probably my only real gripe with the buggers, was the fact that when they moved away, they left Beatrice's brother Bernie behind.
"Long time no see, Doug. Been burning the candles at both ends again?" George (the Farmer's Arms Govner) commented with a grin, as he studied my pint for a couple of seconds -- to make sure it was up to the standard I expected -- before placing it on the bar before me.
"Busy week George. Been dashing around like a bloody blue arsed fly!"
"Yeah I bet. Which one was it, the redhead, or the little blond?" George asked with a wink.
"George, I'm a married man; I don't go putting it about with the young talent in the office, you know that."
"Oh yeah, who's going to believe that, those girls were making very clear that you only have to say the word, at that party they had the other week. Hey, Betty (Georges barmaid) heard that new one, you know the married bird with the big knockers? Well, Betty said she heard her tell those other two that she'd jump your bones for you; all you got to do is give her the nod."
"George, give-over will you; have you ever seen me behave inappropriately with any of the girls from the office?"
"No Doug, I can't say that I have. But then again, there's times I don't see you for a week or so at a time, not even for lunch. Who's to say who you're with, or where you take 'em?"
"Give-over George! I told you, I'm a married man!"
"That don't stop many of my customers sniffing after anything that's going spare ... and some that ain't. Here, you know what, I'm not sure who are the worst, the married blokes or the married birds. Once they got a kid or two behind them, some women get really out of hand."
"Change the bloody subject George, I really didn't come in here tonight for a discussion on modern attitudes to fidelity within marriage."
"Yeah okay." He said with a disbelieving tone to his voice, "I just thought that a guy with your obvious ... magnetism for the opposite sex, would be an expert on the subject." George grinned again.
"Well I ain't! Regretfully I'm a man of high moral character. I will admit that we do have some bloody good scenery working around the office at the present time though." I replied and winked back at George.
All right, I wouldn't go near any of the girls in the office with a ten-foot barge pole, but there was no need for George or anyone else to go through life believing that I was too much of a goody-two-shoes. Christ, he'd probably construe that, as me being a hen-pecked husband or something. There's a fine line that all married men tread, that retains ones social standing with the guys down the pub. You never say that you "do", but then again, you leave all the guys under the impression that you might "do", if the mood took you right. Or might even do "do" anyway, but you keep it strictly to yourself. Sorry girls, it's all to do with stupid male ego.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, I'd just asked George to change the subject.
"Where you been lately anyway, Doug? You ain't been in here since last Friday, we almost came to the point of renting your stool out."
"Been very busy George, new contract. All a little hush-hush I'm afraid, can't say much about it. But if it comes off, I'm up for a bleeding great bonus and no doubt a promotion or two."
"Good on ya, Doug. 'ere by the way, I weren't the only one missing you. Betty was asking if I'd seen you. You know that brother-in-law of yours has been in most nights this week looking for you? He seems in a real panic to find you"
"Bollocks, what does he want?"
"Dunno, he wouldn't say. But he's been dashing in here and out of here, bugging Betty and me about where you were all bloody week nearly. Little shit, didn't even stop to buy a drink."
George never had been too enamoured with my brother-in-law either. But then, Bernie was nearly always short of ready cash, and very rarely could afford to buy a drink even when he did call in the pub.
"Fucking short of cash I suppose, and his bookie is probably after him again. Yeah, I'll bet he's lost all his bleeding readies on the ponies. Stupid arse! He'll be shit scared of going round the house and asking Beatrice for a loan; she'd chew his fucking ears off!"
George and I smiled at each other. He didn't need to say anything; George had heard Beatrice go off at Bernie many times in the past over his gambling.
Actually my brother-in-law Bernie was an all right bloke really, just -- to my mind -- a little too slow on old the up-take and a little too attached to his sister. He was pretty boring to talk too as well, unless the subject was horse racing, or the dogs.
For some reason (probably his gambling) Bernie had never been able to find a woman of his own. Well, they'd never hung around for long anyway! So as you might guess he had never got married and consequently he spent far too much time around our place, for my liking; driving me up the wall. Okay, maybe Bernie had never found a woman he could hang onto, because -- besides his gambling habits -- he was a mummy's boy, and since his mother had moved down the south coast, Beatrice appeared to have become his surrogate mother. Most women don't like playing second fiddle to the man in their life's mother.
Luckily I didn't really see too much of the bugger by then. About a year before, Bernie, after sampling just about every dead-end job within a twenty-mile radius, had taken advantage of the local bus company's driver training scheme and become a bus driver. Whether he enjoyed the job or not, he was roped into a three-year contract and the buggers could give him any shit awful split-shift they fancied.
To be honest I felt sorry for the bugger in a way. Driving service buses all bloody day and dealing with the charming British general public; ain't my idea of having a good time. I work to live and prefer to at least not dislike my daily tasks. I happen to know that Bernie hates trying to stick to schedule in all that bloody traffic.
I suppose I'd been in the "Farmer Arms" for about fifteen or twenty minutes when Bernie came charging in the door. Yeah, I did say charging! He came through the door at the trot and once he'd spotted me he aimed straight for my perch.
Now, I ain't exactly slow. From the moment the door crashed open and I saw Bernie standing there -- breathing heavily as he nearly always did, dragging all that weight of his around -- I'd had it figured that he had a fire up his arse about something.
The problem was -- for some unknown reason -- I kinda doubted that it had anything to do with last night's curry, because he didn't head to the karzi. He'd launched himself across the bar in my general direction.
At that stage of the game Bernie's unnecessary bulk didn't do him any favours. Like those big heavy American cars with their sloppy suspension, Bernie didn't have very much of a chance of changing direction, without a resultant pile up. I'd slid off the stool and taken a couple of paces away from the bar before Bernie ploughed into the vacant seat with an almighty crash.