Makin' the Best of a Bad Situation
Chapter 3: Smellin' like a rose? Really?

Copyright© 2014 by Ragnaar

It seemed like an awful lot of water had passed under the bridge since my fateful decision to take a well deserved day off at the end of a successful sales trip.

Here I sat up to my shoe laces in duck poop. Not one bit smarter than when I had found out about the affair of my Dearly Beloved Wife and Numb Nuts. I was still having a hard time getting my mind around it. It just didn't seem real. Could this be just Saturday morning. Could twenty-four hours have passed since my life and happy home had started going down the toilet?

By now, I am sure Becky was getting frantic, trying to get in touch with me. I supposed I should call her and tell her that I was stuck in the motel back in Illinois. Make some excuse for the car not being fixed and that I was just going to have to wait until Monday for the needed repairs to be made. I really didn't want to relieve her anxiety, but until I heard more from Jerry, I really didn't know which way to go.

My first inclination was driven by my personality and training. I just wanted to go straight at em'. To hell with the consequences. Let the cow chips fall where ever they damn well wanted to fall. I just wanted the pain to stop. I have never felt this kind of emotional pain in my life. I knew deep down that if I went straight at them. The pain wouldn't stop, it would intensify. I guess, my only option was to wait until I had more information.

I headed toward my car and just as I got there, my cell went off.

"Hey, Jerry," I said, reading the caller ID on the screen of the phone.

"Mornin' Joe. How are you? I've got some information for you. I don't know what to make of it yet. It seems kind of weird. Can we meet for coffee? Same place?"

"Sure, I'll see you there in about fifteen minutes," I told him.

We both arrived at Denny's at the same time. We walked in together and went right to a booth away from all the other diners already there. We ordered coffee and waited until we were served before we got down to it.

"We've had the house under surveillance for twenty-four hours and have followed Becky when ever she went out. We have taps on her cell and house phone. In that time, all she has done is go to the grocery store and try to call you about two dozen times. Those calls all went to voice mail."

"Yeah, I know, holding up my phone."

"She did receive a call from your ex-brother in law. He wanted to set up a meet with her for this coming Monday, after you went to the office. She told him that she couldn't, and would not meet him ever again. Then he threatened her, that if she didn't meet with him, he would tell your daughters that she was a cheating whore. He said that he had proof that she was cheating on their father with some man from the diner where she works. Evidently, he saw her coming out of the Hilton Hotel with a strange man, and drew his own conclusions. Evidently he contacted her about it, just this past Wednesday, and proceeded to threaten her. I have it all on tape," he told me sliding a small cassette tape player across the table to me.

"I am not sure what they have actually done, based on what you saw, It could have been almost anything. She did tell him that it would never happen again and that he could eat shit and die. He again threatened her and demanded that she meet him. She hung up on him. Since we have the house under full audio coverage, we could here her sobbing after she hung up the call. He tried to call her back several times. He also drove by and went to the door late last night after he didn't see your car in the drive way. He banged on the door and yelled at her. We have a video of that as well."

"Are you telling me that you don't think Becky was a willing participant in what I saw last Friday morning?"

"Well from what I have heard and seen so far, It has all the signs of a blackmail that is going bad," he told me.

"Joe. Can you let me run with this for another day or so? I think I have a way to find out what he is really up to."

"Well, I had just about decided to call her and tell her that I was stuck and not going to be able to get home until some time on Monday because of car problems, I guess, I could still do that and let you work on it. Would that work?" I asked him

"Yeah, I will get my best people on it and we'll see what we will see. I will be back in touch as soon as I have anything new. Do you want the video as well right now?"

"No, I'll just listen to the audio tape for now."

"Okay, Joe, I'll talk to ya soon."

I sat there mulling over what he had told me. I decided to go back to the Motel and listen to the tape.

I called Becky on the way back to the Motel.

"Hey, Beck, sorry for not returning your calls. I didn't realize that I had left my phone in the dealership when I left there, and I didn't get it back until just now. They can't even start to fix the car until Monday as the parts have to be trucked in, and of course the Service Dept. is not open again until Monday."

"Honey, why don't I come over and we can spend Sunday together and then we can drive back home on Monday after they finish with the car?"

"No, that's okay, It's just one more day and then I should be home Monday evening."

"Please, Joe, I really want to be with you."

I was starting to get a little irritated with her. I really didn't want to be stuck in a Motel with her for a night and not have any answers to my questions. Besides I wasn't in Illinois, I was only across town from her. I didn't want to have to explain that yet.

"Becky, it's okay. I can last another day alone. It's not as if we have never been apart."

I could hear a soft sob from her end of the line. I felt like a heel and a shit all in one. I had in all our marriage never failed to give into Becky when it came to matters of the two of us. I think she was just feeling guilty and I was getting a sick sense of satisfaction from having the ability to twist the pain around toward her, for now. I hope that it doesn't come back to bite me in the ass.

"Joe, please I don't want to be alone this weekend. Can you rent a car and come home?"

"Yeah, I probably could. I am just not going to. I will see you late Monday. Bye, Beck."

"I love you!" She said

I didn't reply. I could hear a soft crying from her end and then I ended the call. I didn't feel good making her cry. In all our marriage, I had never knowingly made her cry before. It didn't make me feel good about myself at all.

I drove toward the park. I stopped and got some bread for the ducks and Agatha. I was just coming up on the bench, when Harry stepped onto the sidewalk a 100 yards from the bench. Some of the ducks saw him and were paddling like mad to get to the bench area.

"Mornin' Joe. How was your night?" He asked me.

"So, so, I didn't sleep well at all. Couldn't keep from thinking about the whole mess. I did get some news this morning from my friend who is watching her and Numb Nuts. Not really enough to really mean much."

Just then, I remembered the tape player in my pocket. I took it out and sat on the bench.

"He gave me this to listen to. Do you want to listen to it with me?"

"Sure, but lets feed these little beggars first, then we'll be left alone."

So we spent the next half hour feeding the ducks. Agatha finally came along as the ducks were getting their fill. She came strolling down the side walk toward Harry. She stopped next to his right knee and sat down. Her head was up close to his elbow and she rubbed it against the under side of his arm. He held a piece of bread in his left hand that she pecked at. He petted her head and neck at the same time. She really seemed to like the attention. He fed her 3 or 4 more pieces and then she got up and walked into the water and sailed out a few yards and started to preen her feathers.

I started up the tape player and proceeded to listen to it in silence. It was pretty much like Jerry had outlined. What was apparent was that Becky was being blackmailed. I am not sure why she was letting him do this to her. It sounded like there should be a simple explanation, for what he saw. There had to be more to it.

"Joe, it seems to me that you got yourself a snake in your hen house, too. I've always held that a man should stomp his own snakes, but in this day and age, it's a mite harder than it was back thirty some years ago. I am really glad Mable never found out what really happened to Harold. I will say this, life was sure a site better with out him slithering around."

"Yeah, I wish I had a power auger myself. I would plant him ten feet down. Problem is that I don't have one and I don't live on a farm. As soon as he disappeared, the police would be hot on the trail and I would be one of the suspects. I never have been a good liar. They would catch me sooner or later. I don't want to go to jail for him or Becky."

"Do you think that if you knew he was gone, that you could go back to Becky with out knowing all the details of what happened between them? Could you just act like nothing was wrong and go on with your life?" Harry asked.

"After the last couple of days, I would really like to have my life back. My stomach is all in knots not knowing. I know I love her enough to forgive her. It would be better is she didn't have to be humiliated into telling me what was going on. Yeah, I think that if I knew that the snake was gone for good. I could live with that and with enough evidence to know that what happened between them was only a result of his blackmailing her."

"Joe, would you be willing to leave it up to me?" Harry asked me.

"Why, would you be willing to do that, Harry? Why would you take a risk like that for me.?

"Well, it would be a bit of a risk, but not much of one. No one knows we know each other, and no one ever will."

"What if you were caught?"

"Well, you have to know, that I have thought about it ever since you told me about your problem. Ya' see the risk to me is very slight. Even if they caught me, the punishment wouldn't matter. I'd never make it to trial. Ya' see, I have terminal prostate cancer and I probably won't last 2 more months. I started feeling bad inside a couple of months after Mable died. I just never went in to have it checked, until it was too late. They gave me 6 months, 5 months ago. I'm ready to go. I want to see Mable. With out the morphine, I am taking, I couldn't get through the day."

I couldn't believe I was contemplating the demise of another human being. Although my ex brother in law was little better than what you scrape off your shoe after a walk in the dog park. I will admit, he had me intrigued.

"How would you do it?" I asked him.

"Now, now, you know it's better that you know as little as possible. That way you don't have to lie. Okay?"

"Yeah, your most likely right about that."

"Now, Joe, as much as I like your company, don't come back here feeding the ducks. I will really miss our talks, but it would be better if you didn't meet me here any more. You go on home on Monday, and act like nothing is wrong as much as you can. I will take it as a personal favor from you to me, to do that. I'll like the feeling of knowing that I have helped a good man and woman. I will just help clean up the gene pool a mite. It's a good thing that this snake has not managed to reproduce his self. That can only be a good thing."

"Harry, I don't know what to say. This whole idea is surreal, here we are conspiring on the death of another person, albeit a maggot of the lowest order. The odd thing is my conscience is not dinging me in the slightest."

"Think no more about it, Joe. Just tell me his name, and where he lives, and I will get to work. Now you go on and go home to Becky, tomorra. Make sure you leave the monitors and surveillance in place and say nothing to your friend. That way if there is any question, he can vouch for you and at least tell the powers that be when you were in the house and together with Becky. I doubt that it will come to that, but you can never tell. Now go and have a good life. Take care of Becky."

I rose up and helped him to his feet and shook his hand. I pulled him close and wrapped an arm around his shoulders and gave him a silent hug. I turned around and started away. When I turned around to look back, he was gone. It was like he had never been there. There were no ducks, Agatha was gone,. There was no duck poop on the sidewalk. I walked back, there were no crumbs, nothing. No evidence that we had ever been there. I turned and headed for my car. I don't know why, but I felt at peace.

As I neared the edge of the park, I realized that my path had taken me past the edge of one of the numerous gardens in the grass that the city planted and maintained. There on the edge was a huge rose bush. On the bush was a beautiful red rose on a very long stem. It was dark crimson red and smelled wonderful. I looked down at the label, it was "Mr. Lincoln". It was a show stopper. Even though it was fall, I drove to a garden center and bought a potted "Mr. Lincoln" to take home with me tomorrow.

I thought Becky would like it. I thought it would be nice for us to plant it together.

Harry, stompin' a snake...

I drove down the street toward Joe's ex-brother in law's house. He was outside washing his truck. It gave me an idea. I went home to get what I was going to need. Later on in the evening, I went back and parked around the block. I walked around the block I had a plastic bag of dog poo in my hand and a pooper scooper. I also had my trusty prod. I walked slowly down the street toward his house. When I came up to his house. His truck was in the garage with the garage door open to the street. I went up the sidewalk and banged on his side door. He came to the door.

"Say, I'm really sorry to bother ya' young fella'. I think my dog ran into your back yard. Do you mind if I have a look for her?" I showed him the bag of poop and the scooper.

"Sure, go ahead. If she makes a mess, make sure you clean it up. I don't want any land mines left in the yard," he laughed.

Sadie, Sadie, come on girl. I know you're hiding back here. Come on out, I'm going to give you what fer when I citch you. You're a bad girl to run off like that."

I kept talkin like that, like I expected to find her back there in his yard. He had followed me back toward the back yard. I stopped just past he back wall of his garage. I took a step onto the grass and looked around. No, Sadie, I turned to him,

"It looks like she has kept on going. She's probably home already," I said.

"Do you live around here. If I see her, I'll bring her home to you."

"Yeah, I just live around the block down to the other end. Just moved in a couple of days ago. That would sure be mighty neighborly of ya young feller. Say, that's a right nice pick up ya have in the garage there. What kind is it?" I asked.

"It's a brand new Dodge Ram 3500 Diesel. I'm going to enter it into pulling competitions once I get done doing the modifications to it. Come on, I'll show it to you."

We stepped into the back side door of the garage, he hit the button to shut the big garaged door and turned on the lights. It was a pretty truck. It was bright red. With the big door closed and all the lights on, it sat there and shown like a new minted penny...

"Isn't she pretty?" he asked me.

"She shore 'nough is," I acknowledged.

As he turned to beam at his truck. I hit him with the prod. I had it turned up on full. It knocked him off his feet. I slipped some tie-wraps out of my pocket and tied his hands and feet. I waited for him to come around. He was kind of out of it. When he came to, I helped him get to his feet and I had him hop to the back of his truck. He had one of those nice fiberglass box covers on hinges. I unlatched it and opened the tailgate. I had him sit on the tail gate. I'd Duck taped his mouth shut. He was trying to make some noise. I pointed the prod at him. He shut up.

"Now listen shit head. This is how it's going to go. I am going to give you one chance to tell me the truth about what you have been doing with your ex sister in law Becky. If you lie to me, you're dead.

Do you understand me? Nod your head, if you understand me," I told him.

He nodded rapidly in the affirmative.

"Now I am going to take the tape off, and you are going to tell me the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If I even think you are lying, it is over and you will not get a second chance. Am I making myself crystal clear? Nod your head!"

I grasped the tape and gave it a good hard pull, it musta hurt as he gave a loud, "Ooowww."

"Shet up, I don't want to hear another peep out o' you, unless you is answering a specific question. Now I got this itty bitty tape recorder. I'm not real good with these things, so you are going to sit up and talk real slow and clear, and not leave anything out. Now you don't know how much I know of your shannigans so you better not lie. I will know if you do. Now get going telling why you were trying to blackmail Becky."

He started in. It was the strangest tale of contradictory misinformation that you can imagine. The long and the short of it was that he needed money and he saw Joe as a source of the money through Becky. She was just the means to get the money and also he would get to fuck her too boot. He hadn't fucked her yet. The past Thursday night/Friday morning was the first attempt to get her to do what he wanted. As he went out the door, he grabbed her, and grabbed a hand full of tit and pulled her out on to the porch and clamped a lip lock on her before she could pull away. That is what Joe had seen when he was coming down the street. I turned the tape off and asked him specific questions, and then turned it on and had him record his answers. When it was all done, he was begging for me to let him go.

"Listen, shit head, what are you just plain stupid? You just admitted to a crime. You're going to have to pay for that crime."

I took out a syringe filled with enough animal tranquilizer to knock down a bull and gave him a quick shot before he could pull back. I stood there until he got drowsy and when he started to slip off the tail gate. I caught him and pushed him into the box. I closed the tailgate and lowered the cover. It was getting on past ten-thirty. I turned off the lights in the garage, went into the house. Made sure the answering machine was turned off. Turned off the computer. Poured out the coffee pot, got the pot prepared for the next day's coffee. Wiped all the surfaces down with alcohol and took all the rags and made sure to wipe down the floor with a damp mop.

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