Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
I was married for eighteen years and I still didn't know my wife. I guess it was my fault for not trying harder. We seemed to get along fine, but there was no real connection. I never felt that she was the love of my life, and I got this feeling that it was reciprocal, but we were compatible enough to have had three teenaged kids.
I worked in a major auto insurance company claims department. It was an office job with nice benefits. In three years, I would have vested retirement benefits. We owned our own home, but the mortgage was more than the present appraised value.
Noreen was a good spouse in all of the usual ways. Because of the three kids, she was a stay-at-home wife. The house was always clean, the clothes washed and ironed, and the meals cooked superbly. All of the house work must have been good exercise because she still had the same fine figure she had when we met in high school. Neither one of us was interested in college. We married a year after I joined National Consolidated Insurance.
Noreen wanted to get away from her parents and be on her own. I wanted regular sex. Since we were comfortable with each other, it seemed like a good match. Unfortunately, there was no mad, passionate, storybook romance involved. The sex was always good. Up until now, I never felt that there were any problems between us, especially in that area. I guess I was wrong.
It started at one of those God-awful company parties. I didn't dance, but Noreen did. I had no trouble allowing her full freedom, just so that she wouldn't bother me. I spent the evening sitting with a few of the other non-dancing spouses. The unmarried guys kept the wives and single girls busy on the dance floor most of the night. The only problem seemed to be that she danced more times with Dirk Franklin than I felt was necessary. He was a good dancer, but he was also a player with a big mouth. Several times during the night, I would lose track of Noreen for a few moments, but she always showed up again.
It was not a real fun night for me, but that was the sacrifice that I made so that my wife could kick up her heels a little. The best part was the sex when we got home. A little bit of booze made a big difference in her bedroom performance. It made the time at the gathering more tolerable. That night was especially good.
Monday morning at work, washed it all away. The first few hours were fine, but then I started to notice that several of the guys were glancing my way, and some were snickering. I paid a little more attention and discovered that Dirk was freely chatting about his recent conquest. Twice he looked my way and smiled, or should I say smirked at me. Dirk and I are not that close. I don't like the guy and I didn't appreciate what he was doing.
It was just before lunch when I got to corner one of my more trusted co-workers in the copy room.
"Barry, what the hell is going on with Dirk? If that son-of-a-bitch grins at me one more time I am going to clock him."
"I'm not sure if it is true or not, John, but he is bragging to everyone that he hooked up with Noreen on Saturday night."
"That's bullshit. There is no way that Noreen would let him get near her."
"That's what I thought, but he has a pair of panties that he claims are hers. He is showing them to all the guys and even letting them sniff them."
"How would he get her panties? It doesn't make sense."
"John, he claims that she gave them to him after he did her in one of the hotel conference rooms."
"Did you see them?"
"Yeah. They were silk. Grey or silver color."
"Thanks Barry. Don't say anything to anyone. I owe you one."
If Barry had said the panties were red or black, I would have just laughed it off, but I had been there when Noreen got dressed for the party. She put on her favorite silver, silk lingerie set. I got the bra and panties for her, on Valentine's day this year.
About twenty minutes later, I noticed Dirk heading towards the men's room. He had a lot of coffee this morning. I was right behind him.
I wasn't big on playground talk. There was no way that I was going to confront Dirk and ask him, or tell him to stop spreading lies about my wife. For one reason, I was no longer sure that they were lies. If I did confront him, it would probably put him on his guard. I didn't want that.
The simplest way to approach the problem would be to slam his head into the tile wall in front of the urinal. Because I was a gentleman, I waited until he was done and then slammed my fist square into his nose, as soon as he turned around. Something made a popping noise and I got blood all over my shirt. That pissed me off, so I hit him again while he was bent over, holding his nose.
Dirk was a big guy, but he offered no resistance and made no attempt to defend himself or to fight back. I found the pair of silk panties in his pocket and gave him two hefty kicks to the crotch area. I noticed that he was throwing up as I left the lavatory.
I left for an early lunch and when I returned, I found out that my employment with National Consolidated Insurance had been terminated. Dirk had been taken to the hospital. It took them less than twenty minutes to finish the outprocessing, and I was history.
Today was grocery day. I was sitting at the kitchen table when Noreen pulled into the garage. I looked up as she walked into the kitchen with several grocery bags.
"Hi, Honey. What are you doing home in the middle of the day? Are you sick or something?" I didn't answer as she placed the plastic sacks on the countertop. "Do you want to help me get the rest of this stuff in?"
I still did not reply, so she went back into the garage. She returned with six more bags, but did not say anything as she set them at the end of the table.
"Something is wrong, John. I can tell. Why are you home?" She started to empty the bags as she talked.
"I got fired."
"That doesn't make sense. Why would they fire you?"
I sat there trying to figure out how to open the conversation. It is not a strong point with me. Finally, I just tossed the panties across the table to her.
"Oh, God no!" Noreen sat down as soon as she saw them and put both of her hands to her head. "No! No! No! This is not happening." I watched my wife start to cry. Not a whimper or a wailing, but something in between.
"They are covered in dried cum. Can you explain that to me?"
The intensity of the crying seemed to increase after my question. She put her head down on the table and all I could hear was her quietly mumbling over and over: "No! No! No!"
I waited patiently for almost a minute. My wife made an attempt to wipe the tears from her face and then looked at me.
"I am sorry, John. Really sorry. It was a mistake. I had too much to drink and I made a mistake."
"Bullshit. You weren't that drunk. You knew exactly what you were doing, didn't you?"
"No, John. You have to believe me. It was a mistake: a bad mistake. There is nothing between Dirk and me. Honest. I am really, really sorry."
"If it was a mistake, why didn't you tell me about it when it happened?"
"I didn't want you to find out. I didn't want to hurt you."
"If you didn't want me to find out, why did you have to do it with the biggest blabbermouth in the whole company?"
"He promised not to say anything to anybody."
"Boy, are you stupid. He was letting every guy in the building sniff your panties this morning. Why were you dumb enough to let him have them?"
"I didn't let him have them. I gave them to him so that he could throw them away. I had used them to wipe myself and couldn't put them back on."
"What were you wiping, Noreen? Why did you use a pair of thirty dollar panties to clean yourself?"
"John. I am sorry. It never should have happened."
"Do you mean that I never should have found out about it, or that you never should have done it?"
"Both. Damn it. I screwed up, John. What do you want me to say?"
"What were you wiping, Noreen? You never answered me."
"He didn't have a condom. He came in me. I had to clean it up and the panties were the only thing that was handy."
"That's just swell. How am I supposed to react to that? Do you really expect me to say that I forgive you?"
"How about a reason? Can you give me a reason why you did it, and don't give that bullshit about being drunk? I don't buy that for a minute."
"No. I wasn't that drunk. Dirk and I were having a good time all evening. He is a good dancer and a lot of fun. He knows the right things to say to a girl: things that make you feel good about yourself."
"So the two of you just wandered off to one of the empty conference rooms and made mad, passionate love?"
"No. It wasn't like that."
"How was it?"
"Don't make me do this, John. Don't make me talk about it."
"Did you blow him, Noreen? Did you suck his cock?"
"No, damn it. No. He pulled down my panties and bent me over one of the tables. He was inside of me less than a minute and then he came. I didn't get a thing out of it. He poked me and it was over, just like that. It took me longer to clean myself up."
"That is what you have me for, isn't it?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know damn well what I mean. What is the first thing that you did when we got home? Tell me, Noreen. What did you get me to do when we got to the bedroom?"
"No, John. That had nothing to do with what Dirk and I did. Honest."
"We were no sooner in bed when you got on top of me for a sixty-nine. You just finished letting Dirk come in you and then you rub your dirty, hairy snatch all over my face. Was that the excitement that you were looking for and didn't get from Dirk?"
"John. No. It wasn't like that."
"Bullshit. You had a screaming orgasm while I was licking another man's seed out of your box. That must have really turned you on. It was bad enough that you screwed him, but you came home and then rubbed it in my face. You didn't shower first. You didn't even wash yourself. I am getting sick just thinking about it. Do you really think that I can forgive you for that?"
"That wasn't it, John. I was horny as hell. Dirk gave me no satisfaction at all. You always do. All I could think about was getting home so that I could get you into bed. I wanted you, John. I needed you."
"Sorry, but that is not how I see it."
"John, you are making too much out of this. It was nothing. It means nothing. We can get past this."
"Noreen, do you really think that it was nothing? I lost my job. I lost my pension. I lost my wife and I lost my kids. I guess it meant nothing to you, but it was everything to me."
My wife just sat and looked at me as I got out of my chair.
"I have to leave now. The police will probably be here shortly. I don't want to talk to them right now."
"What are the police coming for? What else is going on John?"
"I am afraid that I hurt your lover a little when I recovered your panties for you. That's why they fired me. I am sure that the police have a statement from Dirk by now. Hell, I might get to spend a couple of months in jail just so that you could have a one minute fuck. Thanks a lot, dear."
"Where are you going? What am I supposed to do?"
"I don't know where I will be. I loaded all of my stuff in the car while you were shopping. I'll call you later."
She looked as if she was going to turn on the waterworks again. I turned before going out the door. "I am leaving it up to you to explain what happened to the kids. If you lie or slant the truth, I can guarantee that you will regret it."
There was enough money in the bank accounts to last for at least six months. Before leaving town, I paid off all of the credit cards and cancelled them. She could spend the money any way that she wanted to or had to, but I did not want to see the plastic get maxed out. I was sure that she would take care of the kids. In a couple of weeks they would be out of school for the summer. I didn't know if that would make things easier for Noreen or harder. I had no idea what I was going to do when the money ran out. I wasn't even sure if I could collect unemployment or not, since I was fired for cause.
The first night, I stayed with my brother in Schuylkill Haven. He had a small tree service and was more than willing to put me on under the table, until I could find something permanent. I moved into a small, one-bedroom, furnished apartment the next day, that included utilities. It even had a boot-leg cable hook-up. I had my phone turned off since I had left the house. I didn't feel like taking any calls, but I knew that I would have to talk to the kids sooner or later.
Working for Robbie was easy, but not extremely satisfying. The other three guys were all skilled at tree climbing, as well as operating the cherry picker and stump grinder. My task was to function as a gofer for them. They seemed to appreciate the efforts and they were more than willing to teach me all the little tricks and skills. I kept busy and tried my best to forget about the problem with Noreen. The only thing that I knew for certain was that I would be filing for divorce as soon as possible.
Terry was my oldest daughter. She was smart and cute as a button. In two months she would be graduating from high school and starting a dental technician program at the local community college. Brian would be going into the marines as soon as he finished school next year. Sal-Sal still had two years to go, and all she wanted to do was get married and have kids. At one time, she had wanted to be a teacher, but I think she outgrew that. They were all good kids. Brian ran cross-county because he felt it would help him build up endurance for his career in the service. Terry spent her down time as a candy striper at one of the local hospitals. I am not sure, but I think that Sal-Sal invented Twitter. If she didn't invent it, she damn sure perfected it.
The only contact that I had with any of the kids was through Terry. I didn't feel comfortable discussing any of the family problems with Sal-Sal because she was too young and Brian didn't want to talk about it at all.
Noreen sat the kids down as a group after I left. She told them why I was gone and apparently didn't hold anything back. Brian immediately left the room and was no longer talking to his mother. Sal-Sal just sat and cried. Terry was the only one of the three that was open to any sort of conversation concerning the separation. Noreen refused to give Terry an explanation for why it happened. She just related it, without elaborating.
I filed for the divorce and things started to get nasty. Terry called to let me know that their mother had started going out in the evenings, several times a week. She was usually drunk when she came home. Terry said that it began right after the divorce papers were served. The kids were doing their best to avoid Noreen, but her actions were still having a bad effect on the family as a whole. There was no man involved, as far as Terry knew. Brian was not talking to his mother and Sal-Sal was spending all her time whining. Terry was the only one who was communicating with Noreen at all, and it was usually quite limited. I didn't like it, but as long as Noreen wasn't bringing guys home, I didn't feel that I should be sticking my nose into it.
Things really turned to crap a week later. I was out on a job with Josh and Jimmy, two of the climbers. They were up top lopping off limbs and I was working on the ground feeding the chipper. Things seemed to be going fairly well until I was approached by two guys who pulled up in a dual-wheeled Dodge Ram.
It was normal for people to talk to us while we were working. They usually were interested in finding out what we did and what the rates were. I always had a supply of Robbie's business cards in my shirt pocket for such occasions. As I handed a card to one of the visitors, the second one cold-cocked me to the side of the head. It was sudden, unexpected, and achieved the results that he was looking for. I was down on all fours, trying to clear my head, when they started working me over with their boots. There was no time to think, plan, or make any defensive moves. They had successfully immobilized me before I realized what happened. The best that I could do was to curl up in a ball and try to minimize the damage. I am not sure how long it went on, but it stopped as suddenly as it started.
Josh was trying to get me to sit up. I focused my eyes, to the best of my abilities, and noticed that Jimmy was on his cell phone and the Dodge was leaving. I hurt like hell. The worst part was not being able to breathe. Every time I tried to inhale, a sharp pain shot across my right side. It was my first broken rib. It was then that I noticed that the bigger of the two guys was on the ground beside me. His head was a bloody mess. Jimmy and Josh noticed what was going on and tried to get down to help me as soon as they could. To speed things up a little, Josh lowered his chain saw by the tether rope and swung it at the guys kicking me. The dangling Stihl chain saw caught the bigger of the two guys along side of his head, and it looked as if he had lost an ear. His buddy wasted no time in getting the hell out of there.
Even though the chain saw was not actually running, it left a hell of a gash in the 'baboon's' head. He started moving around after a few minutes and Jimmy gave him a good kick in the nuts. Other than the one sucker punch to the side of my head, all of the other damage was to my body. I just sat still without moving until the EMT unit arrived. I refused to ride in the back of the same ambulance unit as the guy who attack me, so the local police ended up transporting him in the back of the squad car. Robbie was at the hospital by the time that I got there.
Goon number one had a bad gash on the side of his head. It didn't take his ear off, but it really mangled the hell out of it.
I didn't feel that bad, but the doctor and Robbie insisted that I stay overnight. The cops grabbed goon number two in the Dodge Ram before he got five miles away. After enjoying a mediocre supper, I settled in for the night; but not for long.
It was almost One AM when my cell phone started ringing. Who the hell would be calling me at that hour? If fact, who would be calling me at all?
"Dad. It's Terry. We have a problem and we need your help."
"I don't think I can help you right now, but what the hell is so important that you have to call in the middle of the night?"
"Mom is in jail and somebody has to post bail for her."
"What is she in jail for?"
"She wrecked the car, and they gave her a DUI."
"Is she all right? Did she get hurt?"
"Not really, but the car is in pretty bad shape. She wiped out about six parked cars before hitting a fire hydrant."
"Was she alone?"
"Yeah. I don't know anything else. They won't release her until some sort of bond or bail money is put up. I didn't know what else to do, so I called you."
"Terry. We have a small problem. I am not at home right now. I am in the Pottsville Memorial Hospital. I got hurt on the job today, and the doctor wanted to keep me overnight. I am Okay, but I can't leave. Maybe you should call your Aunt Sarah? She would probably be more than happy to help your mother."
"What's wrong? Why are you in the hospital?"
"I got two cracked ribs. They have me wrapped up like a mummy and I don't know if I can even drive. I'll be fine, so don't worry about me. I just need a few days rest." I didn't see any need to tell her how the accident occurred. She had enough problems of her own right now.
"Is there anything that I can do for you?"
"See if you can find out a little more about what happened to your mother. I am just a bit curious."
"Okay. I'll call you tomorrow afternoon and see how things are going."
Robbie gave me a ride to the apartment and stocked up the freezer with a bunch of microwave TV dinners. I told him to get me a couple of six-packs, but all I got was some RC Cola. I could get around enough to use the bathroom and feed myself. Unfortunately, I was forced to watch the Adam Sandler filmfest all day.
Just before dark, Terry called. Noreen had been out drinking with some people that worked at National Consolidated. I thought that this was interesting since I didn't work there anymore. I had no idea that she had any friends of her own that worked there, other than Dirk. They were just starting to party pretty good when the police showed up and arrested Dirk. Noreen got extremely upset and started drinking more than usual. At closing time, she refused to call a cab or let anyone else drive her home. Terry could not find out why Dirk had been arrested or why Noreen went bananas when it happened.
We talked for a few more minutes. Terry was glad to hear that I was home and that I was taking care of myself. They wanted to come up to see me, but didn't have a car. Sarah had bailed my wife out, but Noreen didn't come home. Terry gave me Sarah's phone number.
"Sarah, It's John. What the hell is going on?"
"Your wife is a mess, John, and it is all your damn fault."
"Whoa. Hold up a minute Sarah. Why is this all my fault?"
"You left her, that's why. You left her with three kids and just ran off. Who the hell do you think you are?"
"Aw, come on, Sarah. You know me better than that. Why would I just get up one morning, quit my job, and leave my wife and kids? Does that make any sense to you?"
"Noreen said that you were fired and that you were taking it out on her."
"Did she say why I got fired?"
"She said that you beat up a guy at work because she danced with him at a company party."
"Sarah. She didn't dance with him: she screwed him. Right at the party. Did she tell you that?"
There was a short pause. "No. She didn't tell me anything like that."
"I didn't hit the guy for dancing with your sister. I hit him because he fucked her and then bragged about it to everyone in the damn company. She even gave him her panties as a token of her appreciation."
There was no response from the other end.
"Did she say why her boyfriend had gotten arrested last night?"
"No, but she indicated that you had something to do with it."
Our conversation was interrupted by a knock on the apartment door.
"Sarah, I have to go. I'll call you tomorrow."
The policeman at my door was one ugly dude and he was also my brother-in-law.
"Come on in Toby. It's always good to see family. Do you want a beer?"
"Sure, anything cold is okay."
There was a cold Fosters hidden behind all the cola that Robbie had brought. I had an RC because of the pain pills.
"John, we got the guy that set you up down at the station. The two guys he hired to clobber you were more than happy to roll on him."
"I assume it was Dirk Franklin?"
"That's right. I guess you know him?"
"He has been messing around with Noreen. I tried to convince him to stop, but I guess he wasn't inclined that way."
"He has admitted to everything, so it will save us the expense and trouble of a trial. The judge will be sentencing him and his two buddies on Friday. I am not sure, but I am guessing he will get two to three years, probably right here in the county jail."
"That is good news."
Toby couldn't help snickering. "You are going to get some payback, aren't you, John?"
"With the help from a few friends, I hope so."
"You aren't going to get me in any trouble are you?"
"It sounds like you are volunteering to help, Toby."
"You would read it that way. I got to go. If you want to talk to this guy, he will be in the city lockup until the sentencing."
"I'll stop by tomorrow morning. By the way, how is Sally? Are you taking care of my sister?"