Hi Folks. Thanks as usual for all of the comments both positive and negative about last week's story. Your opinions really do matter to us. I did want to clear up one thing. I got a bunch of E-mails this week that suggested that I should delete some of the comments that were extremely vicious or personal. My slant on that is pretty much the same as it ever was. I really believe in free speech and usually when someone writes something that's more of a personal attack on either me or another person's comment, deleting their comment only serves to stop the rest of us from seeing how truly stupid some of them are. One of the funniest things about some of the comments is that most of the people with the nastiest opinions somehow don't have the courage to give us a name or an email address to respond to them. Anyway new week, new story. Some of you will enjoy this. I believe it is the shortest story I have ever written. It was weird trying to cram the back story and enough character development into this short a piece for you to get a feel for the characters but I tried. As usual Mikothebaby did her usual excellent job fixing my goof ups, while all the while gnashing her teeth in anticipation of the Daytona 500 so if you don't like this one it's all my fault. But also if you don't like it there will be something different next week. SS06
My marriage is over. It's funny, but just saying it out loud hurts. It's not like I haven't known or suspected for the past month or so, but today I passed one of those benchmarks where it sinks in all over again.
The worst part about it is the feeling of failure. I mean it's not like I didn't try. This isn't a case where the unfeeling husband ignores his wife and or her needs while hanging out with the boys. It also isn't a case where I spent so much time at work that we became strangers. I put Tricia first in my life. I never forgot an anniversary or a birthday. I hurried home after work every day and spent every moment that I wasn't at work with her. I read every article I could on keeping things exciting in the bedroom and put them into practice. In short, I busted my ass making ours a perfect marriage.
I know in some ways it sounds like I was a wimp, but I had no choice. You see; I knew going into this marriage that if I abused Tricia or ignored her, that it would have a very short shelf-life. I knew this because I wasn't her first husband. Her first husband had been a fucking monster. I'd often wondered why she'd married the asshole in the first place. But she'd told me that you can't always tell the monsters at first glance. Sometimes it takes a while for the monsters to reveal themselves. Nature often makes the deadliest predators and poisons look the most attractive or the least dangerous.
I thought about that as I pulled into the parking lot of the neighborhood bar. That morning I had just signed the divorce papers. I was technically a free man. I had so much sorrow and pain built up inside of me that I decided that coming here was the best way to drown them and also perhaps do a bit of good for my fellow man. I had a target in mind and if he was as much a creature of habit as my PIs had indicated, he should be coming to this particular watering hole in the next few moments.
It was funny, but although this place was only two blocks away from my house, God it hurt to say, "My house," instead of our house. Anyway, although this place was only two blocks away from my house, and I'd been here lots of times, I'd never been here without Tricia. I had been here enough times with Tricia and other friends that I knew the bartenders and the bar maids by name. Another stroke of irony was that my target came here a lot as well.
He pulled in a few moments after I arrived. His aging gray BMW pulled right into the slot next to my Midnight Blue 2013 Mustang GT. We exited our cars at the same moment.
"Nice car," he said smiling.
"Thanks," I said. "If you don't mind me saying it; you look happy."
"I am," he said. "Today I ended months of guilt over a situation I've allowed myself to fall into. But it's all worked out for the best and now I ... err, "WE," can move on into our future."
"Wow," I said. "That sounds like something worth drinking to."
"It truly is," he said smiling.
"Well, I'm here for something much more mundane," I replied, as we walked towards the entrance to the bar.
"Just a regular night out with friends?" he asked.
"Nope," I said. "It's more like insurance business." He looked at me strangely.
"In fact," I said. "I'd be willing to buy you a couple of drinks for a favor that won't cost you a dime." I'd been able to tell by his car that he was the frugal type so I thought that buying him a drink or two might lead him into my web.
"What would I have to do?" he asked.
"Oh, there he is now," I said, as we walked into the bar. I pointed towards a table in the back where a man sat alone with a laptop computer attached to a box. I lead my new friend over to him.
"I work for a company that insists that all of its employees be bonded," I said. "In fact, we have to have regular polygraph screening so they can insure that we aren't stealing from the company or doing anything that would hurt the company's image. If you could witness me taking my latest polygraph exam, I'll buy your drinks."
"No problem," he said. "It actually might be kind of interesting to watch."
As we sat down, the man with the laptop hooked me up to the machine. He placed leads on my wrist and a couple on my temples and started the machine.
"Okay Ed, you know the drill," he said. "I'll ask the questions and you give me a yes or no answer. Some of the questions will pertain directly to your work. Others may involve outside interests or even your personal life." I nodded and my guest seemed to be really interested.
"Have you, since your last test, been truthful and honest on all of your expense account records?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Have you, since your last test, been truthful and honest with all of your customers?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Have you stolen anything?" he asked.
"No," I answered.
"Do you think that you could do a better job than your boss does in his position?" he asked.
"Yes," I answered.
"Would you like his position?" he asked.
"Yes," I answered.
"Have you ever hit or beaten your wife?" he asked.
"No," I said.
"Have you ever struck any woman?" he asked.
"Never," I said.
"Do you ignore your marriage for work?" he asked.
"No," I said.
"Which would you put first, your marriage or your job?" he asked.
"My marriage, of course," I said. "I could always find another job."
My witness was very interested. He'd even started watching the needles on the computer screen as each question was read and answered.
"Have you ever cheated on your wife?" asked the examiner.
"Not once," I said.
"Have you ever spoken to other companies about employment opportunities while you worked for us?" he asked.
"No," I said.
"Have you done everything you possibly could to complete your assignments to the best of your abilities?" he asked.
"No," I said.
"I need an explanation," he said.
"I work my ass off, from eight to four," I said. "But when it's time to go home, I go home to my wife and I work my ass off trying to please her. I could have done overtime or taken work home with me, but my marriage was more important to me than any job."
He and the witness looked over the chart. He started packing everything up.
"How'd I do?" I asked.
"I'm not sure that Bill will like all of your answers," he said. "But you told the truth in every case. You didn't lie about a single question. I think that your boss finding out that you want his job and that you could have done overtime might not put you in the best possible light. But your explanations about how your marriage and your wife are very important to you will carry a lot of weight." He handed my witness a form to sign and a pen.
"Okay," I said, looking at my new friend. "Let's get our first round of drinks?" I gestured for a waitress to come over to our table and when she did, I gave her our orders.
"That was interesting," he said. "Are you in some form of sales work?"
"Yep," I said.
"I can't believe that they get to ask you questions about your personal life. Isn't that technically illegal?" he asked.
"The benefits package we get is so good that we all sign off on it," I said.
"From the answers you gave him, you must really love your wife," he said smiling.
"I try to be the best husband I can be," I said. "If we ever break up, I don't want it to be my fault. But so many marriages end up in divorce these days. As a matter of fact, when we met, she was trying to get away from her first husband and he was a fucking monster. He beat her regularly. He never wanted to have sex with her and they never did anything together at all. He'd just kept her trapped in their house to the point that she didn't feel like a woman or a person at all. She just felt like a thing. All she wanted was to escape, but she had no idea of how she'd support herself. But she'd been willing to risk it just to get away from that monster."
.... There is more of this story ...