There is no sex in this story. There is no dialog in this story.
It was eight years ago when my wife Marsha got her first shipment of Bette’s Beer Shampoo. I didn’t understand what all of the excitement was about as she tore open the UPS box, but she was happy, so I was happy. Six brown containers of shampoo that looked exactly like long neck beer bottles. Every six weeks since then, she got another shipment.
Marsha and I had been married for twenty-two years. The kids were both gone. We were comfortable and well off. I was a marketing manager for a small company that made industrial sump pumps. Marsha did not work and never had. We had no problems either financially or personally. And then I screwed it up by getting curious.
I took Marsha’s Kia to get an oil change. I happened to notice that she had two house keys on her key ring. I know that is not that unusual, but since I only had one key I couldn’t help but wonder what the second key was for. It bothered the dickens out of me, so on the way home I stopped and had a copy made. I guess I could have just ask her, but for some reason I didn’t. For the next two months I walked around with that odd key in my pocket.
The first Tuesday of every month is poker night. This month is was at Parker’s apartment. Jeff Parker was the Human Resource Manager at Edison Pump Works. We had known each other for over ten years. Parker was the only player in our group of six that was not married. The other four players were also Edison employees. We had been playing together for several years. The host usually supplied snacks.
The only difference this time was the chili that Benny Sisk insisted each of us had to try. It was his wife’s favorite recipe. Unfortunately after about an hour we were all quite a bit gassy and the bathroom was getting a good work out. Rather than wait for an opening, I ducked into Parker’s bedroom and used the master bath. I finished off the toilet paper and opened the vanity to get a replacement roll. That was when everything went to crap. Prominently displayed on the second shelve was a bottle of Bette’s Beer Shampoo. Along side the bottle was a selection of other female cosmetics that looked all too familiar.
The game broke up shortly after that. The chili had gotten to all of us. As I was leaving, I quietly verified that the extra key that Marsha had, worked perfectly in Jeff’s front door.
I was worthless at work the next day. All I could think about was the five W’s. I knew where, what and who, but I did not know when and I didn’t want to know why. I had a fairly good idea about the where by five o’clock. It had to be Friday. The weekly sales/production meeting that I led, lasted from 9AM to 11AM. Jeff Parker did not attend that meeting. It was a long shot, but it was the best possible time for Marsha and Jeff to get together. Of course it could also happen on the weekends when she was shopping or going out for some other reason. I found myself over thinking the whole situation. I wasn’t looking for absolute proof: just some small degree of verification.
I left work a bit early and headed downtown. I found what I was looking for at the Far East Market. Luckily, oriental food stores in our area usually carried a selection of Indian items. For ten dollars, I got three cones of henna tattoo dye. Guaranteed to last 7 to 10 days. Would it work? I had no idea. I was actually excited to try it.