For those of you are about to abuse me verbally—if that's the right term for written abuse—I offer the following: "What the American public wants in the theater is a tragedy with a happy ending," (William Dean Howells). And, again, to my fans among the anonymatii, have the best of days. I pledge to always do my best to keep your juices roiling.
We'd arrived two hours before. My wife was having a great time, mostly dancing with men from her division. I, on the other hand, was not having a great time. I had not had so much as a single dance with her. I was on the point of making a scene, but instead, as she returned to our table, I again asked her to dance; she turned me down; make that she turned me down loudly. I know my face flushed and I think I trembled a little. As I was retaking my seat, trying to sink as deeply into it as I could, another of her worker friends came up and asked her to dance. She accepted, but paused to look thoughtfully at me. I stood, rather suddenly; maybe the scene I'd been considering was a good idea.
"I'm your husband, Janine. I don't get to dance with you?" I said. The place was crowded; it was an uncomfortable situation; well, it was for me at any rate.
She sighed as though she were dealing with a whiny teenager, "I'll say it again, Marvin, maybe later if you're a good boy." She laughed at my obvious embarrassment. "Oh, don't look so glum; I was only teasing you. Just relax, you'll get your turn." She looked over at the group seated around the table and smirked. My humiliation was total.
The six other people sitting with us were either smiling at my discomfort or looking away in sympathy. I sat back down as my wife was led out onto the dance floor by the guy who'd come up to ask her to dance after I had—Gerald, her assistant. I couldn't meet the gaze of the others at the table.
My stomach was roiling. I reached for my drink and downed it. I studied my now empty glass, sighed, and got up to go get another; it gave me an excuse to get away from the lot of them, at least for a few minutes. Of the six of them, our group, only Veronica, Veronica Staley, could be considered a friend of mine; she was one of the two who'd looked away in sympathy. The other looker-awayer was my brother-in-law, Harley Fairchild.
Once at the bar, I was in no hurry to return to the scene of my humiliation, so I didn't signal the bartender to come to me; but, eventually, she did anyway. "What'll yuh have?" she said. Her name plate announced that her name was Lilly.
"Bourbon and water, Lilly, bond," I said. I needed the 100 proof stuff. It looked to be a long night for me. I eyed my wife out on the floor with the guy she'd already danced with several times—good 'ole Gerald—they were practically welded together. Me? None, not even one dance, and we'd been in attendance for some two hours already. They, my wife and Gerald, did seem made for each other. I planned to tell her so when we were alone. It seemed to me that I had become little more than her chauffer; oh, I'm Marvin Griswold, the hubby, though you'd never know it by the way she acted.
I'd married Janine fifteen years before, and for ten of those years we'd been okay, or, so I'd thought. But, over the last several years, ever since her promotion, I'd become pretty much just a financial contributor to the household and little else: the lesser contributor if it came to that; she made more than I did. We'd had no children, but we did have a number of nieces and nephews: the offspring of her sisters, Bethany and Clarisse, the aforementioned Harley was Clarisse's husband.
I met Janine at work; we both worked for Curtis Distributors Inc. a business with operations in half a dozen Midwestern states. She'd been Robert Curtis', the CEO's, secretar. But, for the past five years, she had been working in records. It had been a promotion for her, like I said; actually, she ran the place. Me? I was a field agent—sounds better than salesman—responsible for wholesaling dry goods, mostly clothes, but some other things, to supermarkets and the like. I was pretty good at it. Not number one, but no worse than the middle of the sales food chain. My bonuses were pretty good too—I was a commission-plus-salary sales rep. That said, Janine, again, made more than me. Whatever, financially we had no problems.
Janine was pretty. Dark-haired, tall at five-nine; and, maybe a little on the hefty side now at her age forty. Me, I was also forty, still a slim five-eight—the slim part the result of my maintaining what the army had put me through so many years ago. I'd loved the army.
Rather than return to the table. I just took an empty seat at the bar; nobody'd miss me; I was sure of that. The way I figured it, it was either sit at the bar or leave. I was not going to go back to the group, her group. Except for the noted exceptions, they didn't like me, and frankly I didn't like them. If she wanted to play with her new boy toy then so be it. I refused sit with them and be the butt of their jokes or be further humiliated by her neglect.
"What's the matter, sad sack," said Lilly, "woman problems?" I looked at her but said nothing. I just sipped my drink and waited for the night to end. She just stared at me for a moment and went back to whatever she was doing before she intruded on my misery.
I just wanted outta there. It was 11PM. I figured Janine would be good for maybe a couple more hours before I had to chauffer her home. And, wimp that I was, I wouldn't be sayin' much, certainly nothing about what she'd done to me. I didn't need the aggravation that it would lead to.
It turned out that I'd been right: it was maybe a bit less than two hours that it took her to finally decide it was time to leave.
"There you are, Marvin. I wondered where you'd got to," said Janine. I just looked at her. I was in clear view of almost every table in the place, and I hadn't moved since sitting down. She knew where I was, And, she knew I knew she knew. She just didn't give damn what I thought; that was pretty clear.
The ride home was quiet. I was upset, but it was my own fault; I kept letting her get away with disrespecting me.
"I thought you wanted to dance with me," she said, finally as I turned on to our street.
"Yes, but well, you..." I started.
"Don't you go blaming me for you not being around," she said. "I told you I would dance with you, and you just disappeared. It's your own fault." I took her words as a sign that I should just shut up and not say anything.
She looked over at me. I guess she thought that I was going to retort; I wasn't. I thought I heard her snicker under her breath. The whole thing was killing me inside.
I pulled into the driveway. She got out and headed into the house. I noticed the trash cans had been emptied and delayed going inside until I had them put away in the back yard: a few more minutes without having to deal with her.
She was upstairs already, I could hear her moving around. I went up. She was already in bed and she watched me as I undressed. I stopped and looked at her. She eyed me strangely.
I got in bed and she snuggled up against me. I was still hurt—well I was— and totally still feeling the humiliation she'd forced me to endure. I really didn't want to be snuggling up with her. She reached around and took hold of my cock; it was soft and shrunken back into my body.
"What's the matter?" she said. "No interest? I think maybe we could have a little fun, you know, if you're interested."
"No, I guess not," I said. "I'm kinda tired." I was not prepared for her reaction.
"Well then, fuck you." She got up, threw on a robe, and went out of the room. I heard the door to the guest room down the hall, slam.
At that moment I had an epiphany. She'd destroyed my ego by her neglect and her incredible disrespect. Now she was treating me like "I'd" done something wrong and was punishing me for it. It was the last straw.
Quietly I got up, redressed myself, and pulled a couple of suitcases down from the top of the walk-in closet. I began packing. It was finally clear to me that we were essentially through. All that was left was the shouting, but that wasn't going to happen this night. I had to get out. I decided that I'd soon be divorced and be looking for a woman who gave a damn; yes, and a new job. Yes, indeed, a new woman would be a first priority; the one I was with clearly didn't want me.
I drove to the nearest ATM and pulled as much as I could get on each of my cards; I had five of them. A couple of grand would get me started somewhere. I left the bank accounts for her; she could have it all; I just wanted the hell out!
I needed a job, and I needed to find one soon, but salesmen worth their salt could find work almost anywhere. I was definitely worth my salt.
I caught a late bus out of town, and by late afternoon the next day I was six hundred miles down the street. Amarillo was a nice town as I soon realized. Friendly, and possessed of a need: a need for a good dry goods salesman.
Frank Bozman hired me on the spot. He owned and operated a dry goods distributorship: ACME distributors. Two salesmen had quit leaving him high and dry. If I worked things right, I would be rewarded with both territories: big money, again, if I worked it right. But, all work and no play and all that...
My personal time was mostly spent at Castro's Bar and Grill. The Rye was nice and the ice was cold. Hard to beat a combination like that. Add to that there was a cocktail waitress named Allison Macri: five-six, one-twenty, long brown locks, and the quickest smile I ever saw.
.... There is more of this story ...