Note: This story is copyrighted in the name of Daghda Jim. This is an adult work of fiction, intended for readers who are at least 50 years of age, unless they have their spouse's permission. In writing. Anyone between the ages of 21 and 49 reading this without spousal permission will be snitched upon to his or her spouse. Anyone below the age of 21 reading this will get permanent acne and may possibly go blind. You have been warned!
I got an email from our daughter Stacy a few days ago. Long time, no hear from. She's just wrappin' up her tests before Spring break.
When she went back to school after Christmas, Stace kind of left us alone and bore down on her studies. Which was prolly just as well. 'Cause while she was away, my life went in the toilet and my wife pulled the chain.
Just like that!
And I was going round and around, circling the bowl for a while, I can tell you that. No point in dragging Stace into the mess while I tried to figure it out. And after I figured it out, I'd have to tell her what I'd figured out.
Which I'm gonna have to explain to the whole world pretty soon, I suppose.
So here's Stacy coming up for air and checkin' back in, and she's frustrated and pissed. Seems she's tried to get hold of Mom and all she gets is the bounce-back notice that Brenda's email account's been cancelled. And she's called my home number, but that don't work no more, either.
So now, she's emailed me.
"How come Mom's Goddamned email account is closed?" she wrote.
"How come our fucking phone line is disconnected?" she wrote.
"Where the fuck are you guys? WTF is going on, Dad?"
Stacy's a lot like me; she uses all the words in the dictionary.
She said Finals would be over in a few days and she was gonna be driving back East with some friends, and she wanted to know what in Hell she was gonna be driving into.
Now that was a good question. And it would take a damned long, involved answer. I took some time to think what I wanted to say to her.
Finally a few days later I emailed her back. I figured she deserved the whole story. Or at least what I thought it was from where I stood. And I had been workin' on it: writin' down what I knew.
Hi, Stacy, honey.
You got a lot of questions and it's gonna take some telling to fill you in on everything.
I hope you're sittin' down, kiddo.
Short version: your Mom don't live with me no more.
Tad longer version: she don't live with me no more because she says that I'm the worst fucking miserable excuse for a husband in the world and she found someone else better to fuck.
Yep, you read that right, sweetie.
I'll give you her new email addy at the end of this note. You can read her bullshit once you read my side of it. Neither of us has a land-line phone anymore. I know, I work for a telephone company, but it don't make no sense for me to have one any more. Mostly the only people who ever called it were salesmen, Brenda's skaggy friends, or my old drinking buddies. I got no use for any of them no more.
I do have a new cell phone, and I'll give you that number, too.
BTW, you can call Brenda, too. She uses Doug Collins's cell phone number now.
Yeah, you read that right, too. I'll give you asshole's number so's you can talk to Mom.
I know that you're driving back with some friends and that you'll be able to get online here and there, so this email is to fill you in about the above stuff and what has happened.
Just to let you know, you ain't the only one who's been bugging me about what the hell is going on. There's some of your Mom's folks and mine, too and a bunch of friends scattered around the country. I guess most people here in town know at least some of it.
Hell, your Mom and me have been the town entertainment for some time now, or so I've been finding out.
I knew I had a lot of people who needed to know the grisly details, and I started to write all the stuff down to keep it straight. Actually I talked it into a little recorder at odd moments, like when I was driving from one service call to the next. You might wonder, why wasn't I writing on nights and weekends? Well, that's because lately I've been busy nights and weekends. But more about that later on.
Anyway, so I'd talk it down and a friend of mine would transcribe it and clean it up a little. But she said she wouldn't touch the language I use for all the tea in China. She said it reads like I talk. Which means it prolly sounds like scenes from the Sopranos. LOL
I'll tell you all about her, too; her name is Betty.
So I'm attaching that to this email as a Word document. Open it up and read it. But you don't have ta weep. LOL!
Stacy, I know you won't mind my language, but if you let your friends read it over your shoulder, which is perfectly fine with me, I got nothin' to hide, well, I hope they ain't too old-maidenish. I still talk the way I always have. I may have been an English major in high school, but that was for the reading. It never changed the way I talk.
To whoever, but mainly Stacy:
It's gonna be hard to tell my story. I'm not normally a talk it out, wordy kind of guy, leastways not about real life. I wish I had some of those great writers I loved from high school here, to write for me.
Let me set things up for you. And I apologize in advance because I'll be jumpin' around as I think of stuff I forgot or that I think you need to know. Maybe some time we'll go back and organize this better.
[Editor's note: Fat chance. I love the way Rollie's mind works.]
Ok. Well, so much for THAT!
My wife Brenda always used to complain that I don't talk to her. She called it "Communicating."
"Rollie," she's said a hundred thousand times, "Oprah and Doctor Phil and everyone else says married people have gotta make an effort to communicate more. And you don't."
And I'm scratching my head at that. Hell, I think I communicate. I tell her when I'm gonna be out with Doug and the other guys.
Like: "Hey Brenda, don't wait dinner on me; I'll be eating mucho baby tacos at the Happy Hour at Briscoe's."
Or, "Honey, tonight's the first big interleague game between the Cubbies and the Sox. Me and Doug'll be heading there right after work."
Now, ain't that communicating? Well, I'm kidding a little bit, obviously. But it seems to me, looking back, that I was trying to communicate early in the marriage. I had my things I liked, and Brenda had hers. But I tried to show some interest in hers. I can't tell you how many times, I'd say somethin' like, hey, honey, you got that book club thing tonight, right? How about I catch a quick shower and I'll go along with you.
But she never went for it. She'd make some excuse, but it always came down to her thing was for her alone. And forget about her doing any of the things I liked. She always dismissed it all as guy stuff. Well, sure, if none of our wives would ever come along.
We bowled. We spent time drowning golf balls. I'd see women out there with their husbands doing those things. But not mine.
I asked her lots of times why we couldn't do more stuff together. And she'd look at me like I had two heads. And she did not want to talk about it.
After a while, I just got tired of trying, and just went out with the guys. But again, looking back all through our marriage, Missus Great Communicator, aka, Brenda, sure as hell wasn't!
Oh. I forgot to tell whoever is reading this besides Stacy; my name is Roland Clementi, but everyone calls me Rollie.
And Doug that I mentioned? Doug was my best fucking friend. As in "WAS."
The first thing I gotta say is: They're gone. Brenda and Doug. Together.
I didn't know that right away.
They took off together during the day on the Monday following the last Bears regular season game in the first week in January which Doug and me had both gone to. Later on I'll tell you something about that to show the kind of selfish prick Doug is.
Oh, yeah, well, I gotta tell you something about Doug and me. See, we've sorta been best buddies for years and years. At least I thought so. What it is with the Bears tickets, I own rights to two seats. So every year, we'd split the cost. Money was tight sometimes, and those tickets are too expensive for a working man like me.
So we'd go to the fucking games together. When we won, we'd drink to Brian Uhrlacher, the best fucking Middle Linebacker ever! When we lost, we'd curse out that fucking retard Rex Grossman. Then we'd get shitfaced at Jilly's bar afterwards, and pass out after we staggered home. I mean I did. I don't know what Doug did, but all season long he was in no better shape than me by the end of the day, so I guess so.
When there was an away game, we'd just go to Jilly's and get an early start on getting shitfaced. It all wound up the same whether Da Bears was home or away.
The big difference was I came home to a pissed off Brenda and he went home to an empty rented room.
Next day I'd drag my ass into work at TELCO and spend the day nodding over people's broken phones or back in their telephone junction box closets. It was hell getting my trouble calls done. But I always could grit my way through. Hell, I know the repair stuff cold. Drunk or sober, hung over or feeling great, they always get my best effort. Best effort just takes a while longer when I'm hung over.
He'd just sleep in. Doug didn't care about what he did for a living, or how hard he worked. Getting by was his ultimate ambition. He had and lost a lot of jobs over the years, but never seemed to have any trouble getting another one after screwing up and getting fired. He could charm his way though anything, I guess.
That was the way it went all through the season. Like every other season before that. But after THAT game, THAT Sunday night, when we was at Jilly's, Doug had one beer, and then bailed out. He said he had something to do. So I had to get shitfaced without his help. Tough job, but I managed.
And then came the next day, Monday, after that last Bears game.
I dragged my hurting ass out of the sack that Monday, feeling like shit and dead tired, went to the plant, and flogged myself to put in a halfway decent day's work for TELCO.
When I went home after work that Monday, I was really dragging, but right away I could see things were majorly different; all of her clothes and personal gear was gone. First clue? I could actually see the counter top in the bathroom! It was fucking pink! At the time that even sounded funny to me.
Then it got to be not so funny. Just like that.
Because Brenda left me a letter. I sat down to read it and it was a good fucking thing I did, because I almost passed out when I realized what she was sayin'.
She told me what a boring, lazy, selfish, ugly, disgusting, fat slob I was. In those words! She told me she and a man she didn't name had been fucking for over a year now, and they were in love. He was a real man, not like me and my needle dick, she told me, and they were going to get away and make a new life somewhere off to the West in the fucking sunset.
Stace, I hadn't cried in a long time, not since I was a little kid, but I cried that night, real big girly-man tears, sitting at that table with that nasty, shitty, ball-busting note crumpled in my hand.
After a while, I had to go into the john and throw up. By the fourth or fifth round, you got nothing left in you, so you're just throwing up gastric juice and stomach lining. But eventually my fucking stomach got tired of retching and settled down to a sullen, queasy rumble.
After all those years, ya think ya know someone.
Lemme go back a little.
A bunch of us, we all grew up together in Endicott City, me and Doug and Jerry and the others, and all the neighborhood girls, too. Brenda was a real tomboy until she started to develop at 13, but so were many of the other girls.
We all went to school together. We played together and fought each other over stickball games and stuff like that.
Then when Brenda grew boobs, she turned into a little tease. She knew what she had and she played us for fools for a while. Doug and me fought over her all the time. Eventually I won ... I guess.
Now, they're gone.
Just like that.
Well, at first, I didn't know about how it was him. I thought she had gone off with some nameless dickwad. Make that nameless BIG dick-wad! I was a needle-dick, remember? First I knew of it!
I called everyone I knew, looking for her. Her folks, my folks, her friends, her boss, you name it.
Now, that call to her boss was a real treat. I had never called or even spoken with the woman before. I found the temp agency number in an old address book, and included was a cell phone number. I dialed it up. It seems like Brenda's boss was still pretty pissed at her. She had quit, with no notice. The boss had come in one day and there was no Brenda at her desk, and later he got an email telling him she was gone. Just like that.
So, a little more mystery, but so what?
That happened a fucking year ago! Every Tuesday through Friday for the past twelve months, Brenda got up with me and went out the door with me. I went to work. Where the fuck did she go? Well, I had a clue. Now. And when I'd come home I'd ask her how her work went and she'd say with a straight face, she was worn out. She must have really enjoyed fucking with me like that.
I was ... well, I can't tell you how I was. I still got a pretty good vocabulary from all that reading in school, but I couldn't come up with the words. Except that I felt like a walking dead man.
Brenda, the only woman I had ever loved, the woman I had never cheated on, had fucked around behind my back with some guy. For a year! And now she had run off with him. Oh, and she had emptied out our bank accounts, too. Good luck paying the fucking bills, Rollie, you fucking needledicked loser!
I didn't know what to do. I sure as hell didn't feel like doing what I'd been doing for the past years: going out for a few brews with the guys or going bowling or shooting pool or anything like that. Suddenly that guy stuff wasn't appealing any more. Guess that showed how fucking freaked out I was.
One thing kept bothering me as I made those calls. Some of her friends and her mom didn't seem that surprised.
It was like: oh, yeah, ok, I see, sorry to hear it, Rollie. Like they knew it was bound to happen. Not in those words; they never exactly said that, but I could hear it in the way they wasn't surprised. I'm no Doctor Phil, but even a thick-skulled knucklehead like me could get it. I got it that they'd known or maybe suspected stuff about Brenda that I had never suspected.
It was pretty late that Monday night when someone finally called me. Well, they might have called earlier, but I was on the phone so much, I'd of never known it. Things have been pretty rough for the last few years financially, and we had barely been getting by.
We had a top-of-the-line TELCO instrument, because I got it for nothing. I went on a service call, and the phone was busted. I put in a replacement instrument, but when I took it back to the plant, I already knew what was wrong. And I knew I could fix it. But somebody sometime made this policy decision that we don't repair; we replace and toss the busted item away. So I asked my boss if I could have it. Being the asshole that he is, Manny said, "Toss it in the dumpster, like you're supposed ta. After that I don't give a fuck whether you go fish it out." So I did, and it works fine.
So I had the phone, but I couldn't afford the TELCO service package, even at the discount. Instead, I had an el cheapo phone service package from someplace. It was basic Stone Age technology: E&M and a ringer. It didn't have all that fancy stuff, like Caller ID or Star 69 or a call going to voice mail. There was no fucking voice mail. You miss me or Brenda, you fucking miss us. Call us back.
Oops, I forgot. Whoever reads this might not know our industry lingo. E (Ear) & M (Mouth) means two wires each for the earphone and the mouthpiece. The ringer circuit can be done without running more wires. And "instrument" is a fancy word for phone.
Fred Flintstone used an instrument like that to call Barney Rubble.
If I didn't already have the TELCO phone, I guess the phones would have been fucking tin cans connected by a string!
Half the guys I know had the same kind of X-brand service deal. Hell, there were a few guys who couldn't even afford that. A lot of things that people used to think were necessities now are luxuries: special treats.
See, now that some of the mills and the plants around here have been closed down for good, a lot of people are lucky if they can pay their mortgage. Oh yeah, and they BRAC'ed the old Hopatulang Arsenal, too. Closed it right down by Act of Congress and, boom! 1150 jobs gone right there!
At least my job with TELCO was solid, but the last time the contract ran out, we had to give back thirteen percent in wages to keep our health and dental insurance.
Management pleaded poor-mouth, said they were barely breaking even. And I hate to have to agree with our retarded management, but TELCO does have high maintenance costs. And some other problems too, like shitty customer service. But I will say this much: if they'd just put someone in charge who actually understand what TELCO really does and how things really work, we wouldn't have so many problems. Maybe I'll tell you more about that later, too.
Bottom line, I could pay most of the basics, but there was always more stuff that Brenda needed. Lots of stuff. And she had to have her walking around money. And she kept charging a lot of stuff. So I started working a little side job at a small shop repairing appliances to bring in more dough.
It was for us.
Us? Fucking US?
Oh, Jesus Christ, I'm sorry, I just...
Just gimme a minute, will ya?
I'm sorry. I got all blurry-eyed, and the next thing, I was just losin' it. You'd think I'd be gettin' used to the idea by now.
Us? There ain't any fucking us no more.
[Hey, can we go back and take out that stuff? I don't wanna sound like a fucking wimp. No? Why not? Oh, right, 'cause you said so and you're the fucking editor. Geeze! Give someone a little power and they go bugfuck!]
Well, enough of the hard times of our fucking miserable world. There were plenty who was having a harder time than us. I mean...
Oh fuck it! Me, I, us, we!
Look, I'll just keep sayin' it like I think it, ok? You put in whatever pronouns you want, ok? You know what I mean.
So, back to Monday night after that last Bears game. I'm home, and she's gone, and I had that fucking note to remember her by: me and my needle dick! I had run out of calls to make. Nobody had any idea where she was with her unknown big-dicked lover.
And then like I said, I finally got a call coming in. It was from Jerry Kramer, one of the gang we hang out with, me and Doug.
He asked where the fuck was I? I said, "Well, since you got me at home, I must be at home, retard! Why?"
"The fucking poker game, you dummy," he said. "Geeze I been callin' you for a fucking couple of hours. You was always busy. Don'tcha remember? Sully was gonna set it up at that club downtown?"
Shit yeah, I remembered. Now that the NFL season was over, we'd have nothin' to do Monday nights. So Sully set up this poker night in a back room at his brother-in-law's strip joint. Well it's more of a titty bar than a real strip joint, and there wasn't supposed to be any sex happening.
But I've been there a couple of times to have some beers and eyeball the titties. We all knew that the topless girls'll lap dance you for a ten. And they'd go in the back room with you if you flashed a twenty at them. Some of the guys did it. Doug did, all the time, but he was single so there was no cheatin' involved.
But the whole thing bothered me. These girls were the ages of our daughters. Hell they were somebody's daughters. And they were local, I was pretty sure of that. My Stacy, who's in college on a merit scholarship, prolly went to high school with some of these girls.
I was not a cheater to begin with. I got my faults, but I meant what I said when I said "I do" when Brenda and me got married 22 years ago. I did some of my fucking around late in high school when Brenda broke up with me and paired off with Doug for a while.
Then after graduation, I joined the Navy where they taught me my trade. I became an IC Electrician, which, IC was short for interior communication. We was the Navy's telephone guys. After school I spent two years at sea and the last two years stationed in Japan.
I got a lot of pussy on that assignment. No pros either. There were lots of modern Japanese girls that liked to fuck around as long as you bought them nice things and showed them a lot of the night life. Not much different from high school except for the honey-colored skin and those Asiatic eyes. They were damned hot little babes! No regrets, either, we was both there for a fun time. I blew a lot of money on those honeys.
When I got out of the Navy, I figured Brenda and Doug would be all married and stuff, but no, she wasn't even dating him any more. She'd caught him cheating on her. Again!
See, Doug had a rep as being a great lover with his looks and his big cock. I'd seen him in the locker rooms, and he had an easy two inches on me. Far as I could see, I was normal. Maybe a tad short of it, but I never had any complaints.
Well, at least not until recently.
But Doug also had a rep of wanting to spread his cock around, whether he was goin' steady or not. I heard they were together and then not, and Brenda would date other guys. And then they'd get back together. That went on for the four years I was gone.
And when I got back, Brenda looked as good to me as she had back when we was going steady. So we met and talked and the old feelings came back. She seemed a lot nicer and more caring. Much less of a flirt and a tease. She told me Doug had broken her heart several times with his cheating, and that made her think about how nice it had been back when she had been with me.
Well, I was still carrying a torch for her, and so we got married. Doug got married too, twice. But he seemed to have trouble keeping it in his pants and so both his marriages only lasted a couple of years.
Me, I didn't ever cheat on commitments I made.
So, back to the topless girls. I never indulged with what might have been my daughter's high school pals working at the tittie bar. It just was not in me to do that. And to tell the truth, I lost a lot of respect for the guys who did. They was mostly married and all around my age: like mid forties. I guess all they thought of was young pussy.
All I could think of was that given some bad breaks, Stacy could have been one of those girls. It don't take much to make you desperate, not in this economy nowadays.
So here was Jerry reminding me that I should've come to the game tonight and that it was still going on. I looked. It was only 9:30. I asked if the dancers there were acting as waitresses for the game. He said yes. I asked if they were making money off the guys. Jerry knew what I meant.
"Uhh, well, you know, sure. They're pretty hot lookin' and up close and personal, if you know what I mean. Hell they're old enough and they're up for it," he said.
But I was thinkin'of somethin' else outside of the hang-ups I had about the girls. Taking care of your family. Most of these guys was having a tough time paying their bills. Those tens and twenties needed to go for meat and potatoes for their families. A little penny stakes poker game was one thing, but tens and twenties? How fucking irresponsible was that?
I asked Jerry if Doug had been going back for seconds with the girls.
Jerry said no, he hadn't seen Doug; that he'd been tryin' to call him too, to get him to come out. But no luck so far. The guy was also among the missing.
"So how about it?" he said.
I said fuck no. I said I had too many troubles eatin' at me to wanna watch other guys go off and fuck young women who were their daughters' ages.
Jerry knew I meant him, so he got pissy and told me to go fuck myself and slammed down the phone.
So I was back alone with my thoughts. I was putting two and two together and the same math worked like it did back in school.
Doug hadn't called me tonight, the best I knew. If he had tried and hadn't gotten through, 'cause of a busy signal, I knew he'd of just jumped in his big SUV and come over and walked right in. But he hadn't.
He also hadn't gone to a place where he was guaranteed to get laid. He made less than I did, but he lived rent-free in a trailer so he could afford it. But he hadn't. Hell, he was a good-enough looking guy that I was pretty sure he'd get laid for discount prices.
When we used to run together as single guys, the girls called us "Beauty and the Beast," and you can guess who was who. Now, even the girls at the club went for him.
It was 10:10 now, but I was thinking certain things, and I decided I had to know. So I dragged my ass out to the car and drove over to his trailer, but by then I knew what I would find. It was gone from its free spot behind the printing shop where he worked part time. And so was the big SUV. That's what he would of hauled the trailer with.
Wife and all her shit gone, best friend gone, his trailer containing all HIS shit gone.
That added up to two plus two equals four, which if you look it up in the Fucking Big Book of Fucking Life meant I was screwed. My wife, on who I had never cheated outside of a few stray thoughts here and there because I was human, had been fucking around on me with my former Best Fucking Friend for a year or more, and they was gone.
I remembered her note, telling me what was wrong with me, and she was running off with a guy who was not a fucking needle dick, and they were going to make a new life off somewhere. Something like that.
I had been pretty shaken up and starting to cry as I read it that first time, so I thought maybe I didn't read it right.
Well I took it out when I got back home and read it again. Slowly.
"I'm sure you spotted that there's no 'Dear' up there. That's because there is nothing 'Dear' about you. You are a boring, lazy, selfish, ugly, disgusting, fat slob. I haven't made love with you in years; I've just endured sex. I could barely stand having sex with you, and you were too dense to know the difference.
"I have been making wonderful, mind-blowing love with a gorgeous, beautiful, caring man for over a year now. His great big, thick eight-inch cock has been giving me orgasms that I could only dream about when I'm with you and your pathetic little needle dick. I let you fuck me whenever you wanted because it hardly bothered me, except to have to fake an orgasm once in a while.
"I was ready to leave you months ago, but he wanted to wait until the right time. And that time is now. He called me Sunday and told me to get packed and ready.
"We are going far away to start a wonderful new life together. I won't even bother with divorce and all that because I don't care. I am secure in his love and in his arms. He's a changed man now. I guess you can divorce me if you want, although it hardly seems worth-while for you. Who the fuck would ever want to marry you, the way you are?
"Well, Rollie, I just came back to finish this, and I read this over again and I have to say that I was a little harsh, maybe a little too harsh. You are a halfway decent man in some ways, and you worked hard to be a good provider. Maybe you can find some lonely older woman who'll be willing to settle for what you are.
"But I can't.
I was tearing up again. Shit, it was easier on me the way I had remembered it before. Reading it carefully hammered me around the heart a lot more.
Well she sure as hell communicated her feelings! Fucking Oprah would've been proud of her!
I didn't know which hurt the most: that she had run off, or that she had run off with my supposed best fucking friend, or that she had run off and taken the trouble ta write that letter as her parting shot! God, how she must hate me!
No. Must have hated me for a long time! That fucking list! I looked at it and my heart sank. Because I couldn't argue much with it.
Oh, and the topper:
I was like the, ... the, ... the, ... I was stumped for the name.
I went online and looked it up.
I was the PERSONIFICATION of the seven fucking deadly sins of a shitty husband! That was me. Well, it depended on how you counted them. I count "fat slob" as one and add needle-dick as the seventh. But that's just me. Rearranging the old deck chairs. Like it mattered.
Shit, the old Brenda; the one I thought I knew, would have been proud of me for seeing it, that way, in those words.
In the days that followed, I had a whole lot of free time to think about my "sins." I went to work every day. I had to take a couple hours off to get tested for STDs, because I knew that Doug fucked around bareback all the time and you never know. I checked out clean, and did again over several months.
I went on trouble calls. I did my job as professionally as I could. In fact, now even more professionally. For some reason that was even more important to me now than it usually was.
What did that mean: even more professionally? Well, in the normal way of things, after a while, you begin to pick up little ways to slide on the job. You take 45 minutes to do a job and write it down as 60 and you go have a coke for 15 minutes. Little things like that, things that you see the old-timers do when you first start out.
Some guys took it pretty far in padding their hours. And there were some who had some thing else going by taking parts that had failed and fixing them up and selling them to a guy who sold them online. I heard it might be Sully's brother-in-law, the guy who owned the tittie bar.
TELCO had a policy that if a part failed, you toss it and put in a new one. If you brought it back they'd just toss it anyway. They didn't want to bother with handling bad equipment and trying to get it repaired. Not worth the trouble, they said. Whoever the fuck "they" were.
The customer was always billed for a new part, which had a big markup.
But personally, I thought it was some kind of fraud for the technician to hang on to it, fix it up, and resell it. See, the markup was fantastic: you got the busted part for free, it cost you nothing or peanuts to fix it, and you got the OEM price less 10%. It was a scam, and there were guys that did it routinely to pad their income. It didn't sit right with me. I never did it. I could have used the extra money, but it just didn't feel right. The hardware wasn't my property.
I guess if you went and dug it out of the dumpster, after it was tossed, then it was free for all. That's one thing. But the guys were just doing the job, putting in the replacement, fixing the failed part, and running it over to the back door of the titty bar.
In fact, I think some of them went flat-out crooked. They told the customer that the phone was bad when it wasn't. That way they didn't even have to repair the damned thing to get paid for it. Goddamned thieves!
And there were many other things that guys did that cheated old TELCO. They all amounted to doing as little work as you can get away with and still look like you are doing your job. Some guys'd do four hours work, disappear for half a day, get paid for eight and work another part-time job in the stolen four hours. Double dipping on top of time sheet fraud.
Some others do the same deal with the stolen hours and spend their stolen time at some neighbor's house, fucking away on their neighbor's bored, horny wife. Or tapping some other bored, horny wife they'd met on their service calls.
None of that was ever my style. Like I said, I don't cheat. Not on my wife and not on my company.
Before, I admit, I did used to pad my calls for a little time here and there so I could go goof off on company time a little. Like go and grab a coke or a quick burger. I guess too much of that got me to be a fat slob. Well, that and the beer.
No more. There was nothing I wanted to do with that stolen time any more. All it did was give me more time to think about my "sins." So I worked every job dead square on the clock. If it took 39 minutes to do the job and get it signed off, I logged it as 39 minutes. An average of six minutes later I'd be pulling up to the next place with a trouble call.
I was working as hard as I could and as well as I could, and I was trying to feel as good as I could about my work. It seemed to be all that I had left, not counting Stacy, who was out of the picture right then.
But even as I drove myself hard at work, I kept thinking about those seven husbandly sins. And when I got home, that was pretty much all I thought about. I had no interest in the tube, or going out drinking or playing poker or pool or any of that guy's night out stuff.
I didn't want to be out with anybody. Hell, everyone I knew, when I looked in their eyes now, I thought I could see that they knew or maybe had already known about Brenda and Doug and had looked down on me as a pathetic clueless fucking cuckold.
Yes, I went online and looked that up, too.
I didn't hang around with or kid around with the other guys at work for that reason. Same for the women in the offices down there. There were a lot of women of all ages in the offices and the parts warehouses and such. When I ran into them, I thought I saw a lot of the same scorn as in the eyes of the guys, but maybe also some pity. I pitied myself enough; I hated facing other people's pity.
I knew that I had to be realistic. Brenda was gone for good. Hell, if Doug dropped dead tomorrow, so what? She'd just find someone else.
And if she got some lame-assed idea about crawling back? After the way she unloaded on me in that letter, there was no fucking way, pal!
And that made me have to think: Geeze, what about dating; about seeing other women, and about sex?
But it sure wasn't likely to be in this century, the way I felt. Call it what you want, but I was just plain scared. I was the boring, lazy, selfish, ugly, disgusting, fat slob with the needle-dick, remember? I figured, who would want to go out with me, with what everyone knew about me.
I knew my marriage was over, but right then I couldn't see any future that included any woman in my life except for Stace.
When you got right down to it, I was a flop as a husband: the separate lives, the wasting time on useless stuff, the spending my free time with other flop husbands, etc. Fine. I screwed up and it's come back to bite me in the ass.
But then I thought that not every wife with a husband like me goes off fucking another guy and takes off. So just being a complacent lazy unappreciative guy isn't really enough to open the door to something like that. I must have been much worse than that. Hell, those guys who were fucking around behind their wives' backs weren't getting dumped. And some of their wives must have known, or at least suspected.
So it had to be something really bad about me.
And this isn't giving a pass to Brenda. She chose to betray me and the marriage, and Stacy.
But I can't get in her mind, only mine. And once I get past the staying out with the boys stuff, I keep going back to everything that Brenda and I did since we got married.
We laughed together, cried together, made all kinds of love all kinds of places. We shared and nursed each our through illness. We shared Stacy's birth and her sicknesses when we felt helpless and just got on our knees together and prayed for her to live. We shared a whole fucking life together.
I gave her everything I had. I never cheated. I busted my ass to support her.
And in the end, no matter what reasons she had, I came up short.
That's what it comes down to from my end. A fucking failure as a man and as a husband.
I got nothing else to give; that was all there was of me. Looking forward, what kind of a future can I see? I'm certifiably fucking ugly. And when I think about possible companionship and sex, I gotta ask myself: what the hell can I offer another woman that's more than I already tried and failed with?
I just couldn't think there was any chance of my getting anything going with another woman. Hell, I was so burned out; I didn't even know if I could perform. I hadn't gotten even a ghost of an erection since that Monday night.
That letter cut more out of me than my heart.
I was getting myself set up for a long, bleak life. And maybe I deserve it. Why the hell did it always seem easier to just go out with the fucking guys so much? What was the big attraction? Why did I give up on trying to be a couple with Brenda?
So I worked my eight hours and any overtime that was offered, and went straight home. And there, I stayed away from booze. It wasn't going to make me a better man or lover, or husband or father. So I had no use for the hard stuff. I had found myself sliding in that direction at first, stopping in at a bar for a couple of quick pops. I quit that cold.
So I went straight home, where I had a lot of time to think about the seven sins. They were the immediate things. There was nothing I could do about my past mistakes and fuckups. But like I said, I even went round and around on whether they were seven or eight. I always packaged up "Fat slob" together like they was one sin. I obsessed over trivial shit like that.
But I already mentioned that. See, that's what I meant about going round and round over the same arguments.
But I couldn't seem to stop myself.
I would spend hours just going over it in my mind, going over and over the same ground.
Boring! I tried to see myself from Brenda's point of view. Or from anyone else's, like her friends. Much as I hated to admit she was right, my own verdict was Guilty As Charged!