"So you're going to do it, tell him," he said.
"I have to, Jerry; he deserves that much, and it's little enough; we both know that," she said.
"Hollie, it's going to kill him. More, it's going to kill our relationship with him in all its forms. He will never speak to either of us again—ever," he said.
"You don't give him enough credit, Jerry. He'll understand. If the tables were reversed—" she started.
"You're kiddin' yourself, Hollie. He loves you more than his life, same as I do. Breaking up with him after so many years together—it's going to kill him," he said.
"I have to risk it. I have to. I will be a gentle as I possibly can. I will let him know that both of us love him to death, but that..." she started to tear up. He reached over the table and took her hand in his.
"But that we have been cheating on him for almost a year? Hollie, I doubt you could even imagine a way to be gentle enough in breaking something like that to him. I guess you've got to try, but it's still going to be really bad for him.
"Hollie, are you sure you don't want me to go with you. You need me there, my love. I feel it. I do," he said.
"No Jerry, this is between my husband and me. I have o own up to my sins and be as straight—and gentle—as I possibly can. That's the best I can do. I'm just hoping that in time—well—in time he will understand and we will all be able to get by it. Jesus, Jerry, this is going to be hard," she said.
"Yeah, I know," he said.
I sat across from her and stared. Fourteen years. Fourteen years we'd been married and now it was over. All through medical school, all through residency careers well underway. We'd come up together. Come up together, she and I. We'd made it: she a top gynecologist, me a respected cardio specialist. Thirty-eight years old and now it was over. Helluva thing.
"I'm sorry, Charles. It just happened. Jerry and I—we fell in love. I wish there was something I could say, something I could do..." she said. I just shook my head slowly from side to side.
"Hollie, I can't believe this. You're killin' me, us. I mean my best friend! My ex best friend now I guess. You've thought this over? You've thought this out?" I said. "Fourteen years Hollie! Fourteen fucking years!"
"He's still your best friend, Charlie. He's as sick about this as I am. He wanted to be here with me, but I talked him out of it. It's just something that neither he nor I could help—it—it—just happened," she said. "And yes, I have thought it over; I've agonized over it. I still love you, Charlie; we both do—but..."
"Just not enough. Is that it!" I said.
"Forget it Holliie. I guess we're done; we're done. You won't be seein' me again after today, not ever," I said.
Okay I was fucking bitter, bitter as hell.
I got up and walked out; the cafeteria walls were stifling. She didn't follow me or say anymore. There was nothing left to say.
I left the building and just walked. I walked for a long time. In the end I was back to where I had started walking, back at Mercy General. I'd thought it out—sort of—walking was good for thinking, always had been. There were a few things I needed to collect before I left, and I was leaving. I headed for my office. I heard a voice from behind me call my name as I strode down the corridor.
"Doctor Conroy? Doctor Conroy, sir," she said. I turned toward the nurse and just looked at her waiting for her to say something meaningful. "Sir, doctor Jerry, I mean doctor Weston asked me to have you call him, sir," she said. I just turned away and continued toward my office. I had to get out of there, but I needed my papers, my passport. There were a few other things too, stuff tucked away in what had been my inner sanctum for so long, stuff I needed.
Hollie and I—done. I couldn't bring myself to think it, but the reality was there regardless; it was what it was. I packed everything of importance in my gym bag; it was kind of amazing how little there was that could be considered important when one's purpose in life had gone the way of all flesh—non sequiturs had their place I mused.
I changed out of the scrubs, that I was still in, and into my jeans and bomber jacket. Wherever I landed, I would buy what I needed. The major constant was the fact that I couldn't stay around Lincoln anymore. A place where every little thing would remind me of her—of us. I had to get out.
No plans, no trunks of clothes and possessions. She could have it all. She could give it all to Jerry, my used to be best friend. Best friend? Not anymore. Now—my worst enemy. My hatred for good 'ole Jerry would never die; that was gonna be another constant, the eternal constant. I took one last look around. I turned to close the door behind me. As I turned back to head out, I bumped into him.
"Charles, I just wanted to say how..." he started, but my fist in his mouth cut him off.
"Fuck you old bud," I said. He lay on the floor bleeding. Funny, but I didn't feel a bit good about it. I didn't feel bad either. I guess, when it came down to it, I didn't feel anything.
My life, my life was over in medicine, I'd decided. My life at Mercy General, was over. I was outta there for good.
I wondered how it would all play out the next day when I didn't show up for rounds. I'd call Sanders and let him know of course; he'd go nuts. Admin types always went nuts when things didn't go according to plan. I smiled in spite of myself; the scene I imagined playing out in my mind amused me. I was one of the best cardiac physicians in the state. Jerry was a fucking plastic surgeon, useless in any practical sense, I told myself.
Nurse Goodman stood still as a statue her mouth hanging wide open. She looked at the fallen asshole, and then at me. "It's okay Helen; he'll feel a lot better tomorrow whereas I won't," I said. I strode out and into the night.
I had a separate accounts from those of my wife. My ATM card would carry me until I could disappear and start over. I was still married of course, kind of a problem; but I figured, more of one for her than me. She was the one who wanted to be with someone else. I assumed she'd marry him, but to do that she'd have to divorce me. She could fucking well do the payin'.
I drove. Day and night I drove stopping only to piss, or to get gas and coffee. I hadn't slept for almost twenty-four hours. Finally, when I'd almost killed myself, just barely missing a concrete construction barrier, I pulled off the freeway and parked under an overpass; I had no idea where I was. The sun was my alarm clock. I felt stiff and sore all over. I rolled down the car windows. There was just something restorative about morning air. I took a deep breath. I didn't feel quite as bad as I had just a day earlier.
Looking around and assessing my current geography, I could see what looked like a restaurant maybe a quarter mile up the street. I pulled out an up to it. Parking, I got out, locked up, and made my way inside. It was a typical greasy spoon. But I was a hungry, and I needed coffee in the worst way.
A good looking and youngish waitress in a uniform, that I judged to be too small for her, stood looking at me waiting for me to say something.
"Coffee, black and soon," I said, "and dry toast and eggs."
"How do you want the eggs?" she said.
"Just scramble 'em," I said. She meandered her way between the tables and out of sight. I sagged back in the booth. Fuck-fuck-fuck! Now, I was feeling as bad as I was yesterday. I guess the effects of the fresh morning air had worn off.
A busboy passed and I called him over. "Where are we?" I said. "What is this town?"
"Bisbee," said the boy. "Bisbee, Arizona."
"Thanks," I said. Damn near fifteen hundred miles, I reckoned. I'd heard of Bisbee before, knew where it was on the map. Wyatt Earp and all of those guys had hung around here, or so the legends claimed; Tombstone was not too far away as I recalled. Never having been to Arizona I was intrigued. What the hell. It was better than bein' back in Lincoln.
The waitress appeared with my food. "Anyplace to sack out around here?" I said.
"Around the corner there's a motel," she said. "It's cheap enough if it matters." I nodded my thanks. I watched her as she made the rounds of the tables, a good looking wench for sure I determined.
I headed for the Round Up Motel and Bar and Grill.
She dabbed at his mouth with the dampened cloth, "I can't say as I blame him," he said. She nodded.
"Jerry, he hates us," she said, "I know it."
"Yeah, I guess he does," he said, taking the cloth from her hand.
"Doctor Weston, the officers are here, said the nurse. She'd had to push her way through the small crowd of rubbernecking medical staff to deliver her message. The group began to disperse with the arrival of the uniforms.
"Thanks, Helen," he said. "Send them in."
The interview was short. The men in blue didn't look too pleased, but the offense was too trivial for all of the paperwork it would have entailed, so maybe there was an upside to dealing with uncooperative victims.
"I'm glad you didn't press charges, Jerry," she said. "We've done enough to him. I just hope someday he'll get over it and we can all talk about it. You know—"she said, not finishing.
"And be friends? Not hardly. But, you're right about us having done enough to him.
"You still gonna try and see him tomorrow?" he said.
"Yes. He has to come in to get the rest of his stuff, and then there is all of the stuff at the house.
"I know he doesn't want to talk to me, but maybe I can think of something between now and then," she said.
"Hollie, he may not come back for his stuff, at least not soon. You didn't see the look on his face when he left. He wasn't angry exactly. It was something else, something worse," he said.
"What?" she said.
"Jesus! This is just wrong. It shouldn't have had to end this way. I—you—him: it's crazy. Just fucking crazy," she said.
"He loves you. He loves you like I do. There's no gainsaying that fact," he said. She leaned in and laid her head on his chest.
"I've got to make this right with him somehow, Jerry. If not now, then sometime in the future when he's had a chance to get used to the idea. I've just got to," she said.
"Yeah, I know. Me too," he said.
"How's your lips feel?" she said.
He started to laugh but a grimace short shanked that. "Not the best. He really nailed me. I think one of my teeth is loose too. I'll take care of it tomorrow," he said. She nodded.
"Come home with me tonight," he said.
"Okay. I don't want to be alone. So—okay," she said.
"You look good," he said. "Dark hair all fluffed out, dark middie skirt, matching blouse; you do indeed look good. May I ask, do your undies match the rest of the set?" She smiled.
"Maybe you'll just have to see for yourself," she said. He moved toward her and wrapped her in his arms.
"I love you Hollie. Tonight is for us," he said. His hands slid down the length of her arms. Her breasts barely touched his chest teasing him. "As much as I love what you're wearing, I think I'd really rather see you sans your clothes." He began loosening the button holding her skirt up; it slid to the floor.
Sinking to his knees, his face but inches from her mound, he gazed enraptured by the sight and smell of her special places. He kissed her mound and pulled back. He began slowly pulling her panties down. Her mound was bald.
He kissed her places again. He licked her and sucked her clit into his mouth and made her feel good. Her breath came in short staccato bursts. Standing once more, he gently marched her backwards toward the couch; her knees buckled when she came in contact with the cushions. He knelt between her legs and continued his oral ministrations.
Pulling her to her feet he turned her around. He urged her to her knees on the couch's cushions. She spread herself wide for him as she leaned forward resting her head on the back of the couch and waited for him to enter her. Butt towards him, she felt him press inside of her; a low-decibel grunt escaped her as he split her nether lips with his thickness. In and out, in and out—thrust—he buried his entire seven inch length inside of her.
He looked down on the woman submitting to his assault. He gently stroked her still blouse clad back before beginning to screw her.
She moaned and made unintelligible noises as he ploughed her femaleness. He could feel himself building to a climax just as she started the small jerky movements that told him she was experiencing the first of her orgasms. He sped up trying to match her completion with his own. He stiffened and washed her insides with his cum. Finished, he leaned forward over her back and enveloped her in his arms massaging her tits even as his cock shrank out of her.
He rolled off and splayed himself wide open next to her still kneeling form. She, for her part, sank onto the couch and lay her head down on his naked thigh. Turning her head, she licked at his cock and took it in her hands. Rising, she pulled him to his feet and led him by his cock into the bedroom down the hall. The rest of the night would not be restful, indeed, it would be athletic.
Thoughts of her husband were, for the moment, pushed to the back of her mind. They, her thoughts, would return and that with a vengeance, but not tonight, not with her new man in the bed with her. Tonight she was his as he would be in the nights and months and years to come.
I had money. But, I needed a job, any job if I was going to make this little burg my new place of residence; hell, and why not stay here, it really was as good as any other place. I wasn't feeling good, not good at all; but I had things I had to get done even before launching my hunt for a job. First order of business: I only had one change of clothes; I had some shopping to do; then, I'd go job hunting.
The Round Up was clean, and the little attached bar and grill was adequate to my purpose. I figured to be staying for a week or so at the least.
In town I had gotten what I needed, mainly clothes, by noon. Lunch was again at the greasy spoon. I began my job quest before I even got up from the table.
The waitress, her of the too tight uniform, studied me. "Well, we have a job open here if you're desperate," she said. She pointed to the help wanted sign in the window.
"Really," I said.
"Yeah, we need a waiter. Two guys quit last week. College boys. It's always that way. Seasonal kinda, if you know what I mean," she said.
"Yeah, I do." I said. I worked at a pizza place when I was—I hesitated—a kid." I didn't want to let anyone know I'd been to college. I don't know why I wanted to keep that a secret, but it seemed a good idea. I mean a cardiac surgeon waiting tables in a dead end town in Arizona? No, my private life, my history, was gonna be mine to know everyone else's to not know.
"I noticed your car when you drove up yesterday," she said. "An old one, right? It looks almost new though."
"Yeah, it was my dad's. It's a fifty-six Chevy. A collector's item really. Had it for years. I just take care of it, and it just keeps on keepin' on. They don't make 'em like that anymore." I sounded like a teenager braggin' to his girlfriend.
"Yeah I guess. Come on," she said. She led me into the back. She introduced me to the owner of the place. An older man, maybe sixty, balding, rugged looking.
Rob Johnson hired me on the spot: six bucks an hour and tips. Kind of a come down for me economically, but money wasn't my worry. Forgetting was my worry. I wondered if forgetting were even possible. I was betting not.
"Hey," I said to the waitress that had been my headhunter. "What's your name?" She smirked.
"Melissa, Melissa Compton. Yours?" she said.
I hesitated. I decided to use my real name. Too many possible complications otherwise. "Charles. Charles Conroy," I said. She nodded. I had a thought. I had to get a new driver's license; my old one identified me as a doctor. I'd be takin' care of that kind of stuff like fast in a hurry.
I looked at her for the first time as a person, a woman. Twenty-five, tall—maybe five-ten and slim. Short, dark, fluffy hair. Looked like she'd had it tough. I guessed I'd be finding out about that sooner or later if we were going to be working together.
I hadn't lied about working at a pizza place when I was a kid. I'd started as a freshman college student eighteen years before. The name of the place had been La Scala's—the owner had a thing for opera. I'd shoveled pizza for all four years of my undergrad. A year later, my first as a med-student, I met Hollie; we'd clicked and been together ever since. Happy too, until—until now.
Hollie was a looker. Five-nine, slim, short light brown hair in those days; her hair was long now and a little darker than in the old days. We'd fucked like bunnies from our second date. I couldn't get enough of her, and I was sure the feeling was mutual.
We moved in together in our second year in med school and gotten married as soon as we became residents: that, the marriage, was eleven years ago.
Supreme irony of ironies, my long time friend from high school days, Jerry Weston, ended up shadowing me through med school. He decided to go for the bucks and do the plastic surgeon thing; I went into cardiac. Hollie loved children; gynecology was a natural field for her. We were just at the point too, careers stable, where we had even been talking about having children ourselves, when, completely out of the blue, she'd dropped the bomb on me. I guess she decided to be having children with good 'ole Jerry.
At any rate, since beginning med school, the three of us had always been together: Jerry and his flavor of the month girlfriend and Hollie and I. Well, those days were all just memories now, and very bad memories at least for me. Odd how happy times can morph like that; I set my jaw; I'd survive this; I would goddamn it; I would!
She was not nervous exactly, but not comfortable.
"Well, Hollie, I guess you and Weston have cost me my top heart specialist," said Emile Sanders.
"Emile, it's personal. I'd rather not get into it if it's all the same to you," she said.
"I hear that Weston and your husband had a fight right in front of twenty people just down the hall; that makes it my business, Hollie," he said. "I run this place, and I can't be having my medical corps battling it out in front of the paying public!"
"I'm sorry about that. Jerry was trying to talk to him—well—I wasn't there, but I guess things kinda got out of control," she said.
"Yeah, right. Anyway, I've already talked to doctor Weston about it," he said, sagging back in his chair. "Charlie called me too." She started at that, alert for his next words. "He quit over the phone. He's not coming back..."
"Did he say where he was going?" said Hollie. She was literally sitting on the edge of her seat. He noticed.
"If you cared so much about where he'd be going maybe you should have thought a bit longer about having an affair, Hollie. But, to answer your question, he just said far away. He really isn't coming back. Your loss is my loss," he said.
"Fuck!" she said, wringing her hands.
"Yes, that about sums it up," he said. "I called you in here to tell you the same thing I told Jerry Weston: I do not expect to see a drop off in attitude or work load because of this. I hope I'm clear; losing Charlie is bad enough. This hospital is not going to become just another Peyton Place because Weston and you are getting it on."
"There won't be any problem, Emile. I promise you that," she said.
"Yes, well that does it then. Get on back to whatever you were doing," he said. He picked up some papers and shuffled them; the interview was over.
She rose slowly and left. He wasn't coming back; she felt sick.
I only broke one dish on my first day; I wondered if that was some kind of record. I was surprised at how tired I was too. It was 11:00PM. I plopped into a threatening-to-collapse folding chair in the little break room room at the back of the kitchen. I had thought about going to the little country western place across the road, maybe having a beer to celebrate my first day on the new job. I stared at the change of clothes, hanging on the rack on the opposite wall that I'd brought with me so as not to have to go back to the motel, short walk away that it was. But now, I was rethinking going out; I really was awfully tired.
"Hey, mister," said Melissa. "You up for a beer? I'm buyin'." I looked up at her and made up my mind.
"Sure, I guess," I said. "Question. Aren't you tired? I'm feelin' damn near dead."
"You get used to it. I've discovered over the years that a cold one takes the edge off," she laughed.
"Okay, then, let me do a quick change and we'll go," I said. She nodded. I grabbed my stuff, stepped into the adjacent bathroom, and changed.
The Muddy Boot wasn't as small as I at first thought: long bar, large dance floor, a caged bandstand, and maybe thirty tables. One thing for sure, I wasn't underdressed. The place was peopled mostly by real cowboys, a lot of them—even this late at night. The uniform of the night was dirty patched jeans and really dirty Stetsons or John Deer caps. My damn near new levis, and my well ironed button-down typed me as the original drugstore cowboy. At least my Cornhusker rooters cap wasn't out of place. That even surrounded, as I certainly was, by half a hundred Longhorn supporters, or so it seemed. I was treated well; it was still big twelve ball after all.
Mel, as I had taken to calling her, was hit on some. She shined the boys on, politely, but firmly. She wanted to talk.
"So tell me about it," she said. "You sure ain't no cow puncher." I smiled. I looked out on the dance floor wishing I was there rather than being interrogated. But, then, it was going to happen at some point anyway, the inerrogation.
"No, I'm a city boy. Worked lots of different things over the years, I mean apart from my experience at the pizza place," I said. "Just tryin' to get by since my dad died."
"You seem different somehow, I mean than other people I've seen around here," she said. I shrugged. "I know you're not from here, but there is something else.
"Never been married?" she said. I should have expected the question, but I hadn't. My face, I knew, gave me away. I knew that because of the look on hers. I recovered well, I thought.
"Yeah, but it ended badly—best friend and all of that," I said. She looked down and nodded.
"Me too," she said. "We weren't married, but we were going to be until I caught him with Rhonda Wilkes. We were toast after that." She looked around; she spotted something. "That's him over there with the redhead. She's Rhonda." I wondered at her.
"You don't mind being here with him across the room?" I said.
"Not anymore. Couldn't stand either one of them for the longest time, but I got over it," she said. "We don't talk and pal around or anything anymore, but I can stand to be around him, as you phrase it."
We talked long; it was 1:00AM before we pulled up stakes and headed back: she to her car at the restaurant, me to my short walk to the motel. We hadn't danced; that would happen another time, but we had talked.
Time will pass as it always has, and life continues to go on, likewise as it always does. I got into the swing of things locally, and was actually beginning to heal emotionally.
I had been able to find a suitable and very inexpensive apartment not far from the restaurant in my second week on the job. I'd actually vetted he place pretty good before deciding; I did not want to give myself away by living above my apparent means. I didn't, give myself away that is.
I still thought about Hollie almost all of the time. But, as time passed, the pain grew less. My anger dissipated. And, my mind began to turn to getting on with my life. I did one thing that did not square with my new persona. Quietly, I had gotten myself licensed to practice medicine in Arizona. I knew that Hollie and my ex-best friend could find me once I was licensed, but I was betting that they wouldn't bother. It had been almost a year since the scene at Mercy General. Anyway, I was probably divorced and they were probably together and married. The thought made me sad, very sad.
Melissa and I got on well. By getting on well I mean we dated and eventually spent many nights together in each other's arms. Were we in love? No, I didn't think so, but we needed each other; we were good for each other.
There is just something therapeutic about a woman's body melding into one's own as tongues and hands explore each the other. Melissa tasted good, and she made no demands other than to be satisfied when I penetrated her. On those occasions I went to what I considered extreme lengths to prove my capacity to satisfy. She too, always took time to assure me of my more than adequate skills in that regard. We were—happy.
It was midway in our second year that I was forced out of the closet. I suppose I was in the closet, at least in so far as my being a medical professional. I'd gotten my license and had more recently decided to practice surreptitiously somewhere maybe once a month.
I couldn't practice my specialty of course, too many rules for someone who was getting no time in the operating room. But, I could, in an emergency, do general practitioner stuff okay.
I ended up doing volunteer work once a month on a Yaqui Indian reservation. I figured my identity would not be compromised by that.
Some might wonder why I didn't just go back to doctoring full time and forget the masquerade. The truth is I wasn't sure why. I just knew that my old career had no allure for me anymore, maybe because of the memories it conjured about me and Hollie and our old life. I just knew I had to do things the simple way, a different way. Still, I wasn't stupid; ergo, my decision to work with the indians.
The Muddy Boot was nothing if it was not wild, boisterous—and—sometimes dangerous. We'd been hurrahing the band and the dancers and having a gay old time right along with the rest of crowd. I happened to look at the large clock on the back wall. It was 10:17PM when my world was literally turned upside down.
The lead singer, and piano man, had been goin' nuts up on the stage when a cowboy angry at something going on at his table, threw a saucer as hard as he could at somebody across from him. The guy ducked. The saucer sliced Frisbee-like through the air seeming to gain speed with distance. It knifed dead center into the singer's throat. It dropped him where he stood. He lay writhing on the floor.
I knew right then that his larynx had been crushed. I had no choice. I flew at the stage unsheathing a knife from the side of a half drunk patron. I knelt at the side of the fallen entertainer. I looked around. Saw what I needed and screamed at the girl a few feet away to give them to me.
I had no time for the niceties of sterilization. I performed the tracheotomy on the spot inserting the straws in the aperture wrought by the patron's knife. Four minutes later the EMT guys arrived, immobilized the man, and carted him off on their gurney.
The whole incident consumed but five minutes including the time it took the EMT guys to arrive. The guy would live, I knew, but at the expense of my subterfuge. Any hope I had of remaining in the background was lost. Lost because of a slim fortyish man slipping out the door immediately behind the ambulance crew. The local news rag would be putting out an extra in less than a dozen hours—complete with pictures. I was toast. Melissa was the first to confront me.
"Well!" she said. I felt like a little boy about to get a serious spanking.
"Yeah, okay, so there was more to my story, my job history than I let on. I had my reasons," I said. She seemed to deflate. She shook her head slowly.
"Charlie—I just don't know about you," she said. "Well, anyway, at least Slim will have a chance to raise that new baby his wife is carrying around in her belly.
"Were you a nurse or something—in the army maybe?" she said. I looked down.
"No," I said, "a doctor."
"What! And you're working here, I mean at the restaurant?" she said.
"I like working here," I said. I did too. "Like I said, Mel, I have my reasons."
"Your ex?" she said.
"Yeah. You could say that," I said. She nodded.
I stood there watching the two of them wondering how I could have been so stupid. Clearly trading in Charlie for Dr. Jerry Weston was not the best idea I'd ever had: a good man for a player, and Jerry was a player. Thing is I knew it before ever I broke with my Charlie. Jerry had always been a player. But, I thought I could change him; I had deluded myself.
Hard for me to be critical of Jerry though. The hypocrisy of such was more than clear to me. I'd cheated on Charles with Jerry, so what gave the right to complain about Jerry cheating on me. Answer: I had no such right.
I cleared my throat, noisily. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything too important, but I need to get my clothes packed so I can get out and get the divorce underway," I said.
"Hollie! What—wha..." stuttered Jerry. I smiled. I was proud of myself for the control I was displaying. "What are you doing here?"
"Well, Jerry, I live here for one, and I came home early to get a change of clothes because I am doing a double tonight. But, don't let me interrupt you and nurse Helen. Please continue," I said.
They were already scrambling to get their clothes together. Nurse Helen was mumbling her apologies: I could get her fired, and she knew it. I wouldn't bother though; Jerry was the main cog in this little vignette, I was sure. Nurse Helen was just following orders, as one might be tempted to say. I pulled a couple of suitcases down and started dumping things into them as the need struck me.
Jerry for his part was babbling; he was really out of control emotionally. I got the feeling that he really didn't want me to go—I mean really didn't want me to.
"Hollie, it was nothing. I—we—just fell into it..." he started. "Please don't leave. We can get by this. Just let me explain, I beg you," he said. I stopped what I was doing and stared at him.
"Jerry, the truth is I don't blame you; I blame me. I knew you were a cheater when I married you. I was one too; I cheated on a good man, and I will forever hate myself for doing that. But, you, in your case; well, it's who you are; you can't help it. Goodbye, Jerry," I said.
Well, there it was. My life was shit and it was my own fault. Jerry was as responsible as I was, logically even more so; but in the end it was my decision to screw over my husband, Charlie, not Jerry's. Now, I was being made to pay the price. The degree to which this was brought home to me is the salient fact that I did not even make the effort to find myself a temporary place to stay before visiting Mark Holcomb, my lawyer. Sitting across from him now, I couldn't even bring myself to cry. Truly, I wasn't even actually sad; I was—exasperated—with myself.
"Are you sure about this Hollie? I mean..." he said.
"Yes, Mark, I'm sure. Jerry is just not capable of being faithful. I was certain he was; I was wrong. I need faithful, Mark; I really need faithful, hypocrite though that makes me," I said. I started to cry. He nodded.
"Okay, he said. I'll have him served. It'll take a couple of days. Anna will have some forms for you to sign before you leave," he said nodding toward the outer office where his secretary was even then getting the paperwork together.
"Thank you, Mark, for all of your help," I said.
Now, I had to find a place to stay. I could sack out at the hospital if I had to, but I didn't want to have to. I thought back two years to when Charlie had had to do the same thing. I wondered where he'd stayed. Where had he sacked out? Where was he now? Well, I guess it didn't really matter, it was what it was. Now, I cried. Talk about someone fucking up her life; I had to be the poster child for that one.
Melissa and I developed a new kind of relationship—hers the part of the amateur psychologist to bring me back into the world of the goal oriented. My part the willing client taking very seriously the things she told me to think and do.
At the moment, she was naked and kneeling on the floor in front of me stroking my cock. For my part, also naked, I kept up a series of little jerky movements as she tortured me. I'd had enough. Leaning forward, I grabbed her by the arms and pulled her down on the floor beneath me. Insinuating My knee between her legs, I forced her to spread wide for me. She laughed at my obvious desperation.
"Fuck me good, Charlie," she said, " I need it."
I stroked in and out of her as she surrendered and made little cooing sounds indicating the pleasure she was getting from my attentions. Melissa was more than a good fuck; she was an exciting one.
Well, I thought, Hollie had left Charlie for me, and now she'd left me because of me. It seems like I'm in the middle of all of the romantic drama around here these days. Talk about irony. That I'm a humungous asshole, I would not dispute. I deserved it, for her to leave me, and I knew it. Jesus, I wish I could have that latest mistake of mine back. I didn't blame nurse Helen; it was all me, all me for sure. There was one thing I could do though. I headed for the records office; they had resources.
It took a day and a half but he'd gotten it for me. "Really, you're kidding me!" I said. "He's practicing in Arizona?"
"Well, I don't know about that, but he's licensed in Arizona; that, I do know," he said.
"Thanks a million, Frank, I owe you one," I said.
I sat back and mulled the situation; the new situation. Where in Arizona was he practicing medicine? Records didn't have that particular piece of gossip. He's a cardio specialist though; it oughta be easy enough to find him, I thought. As it turned out, I was being naïve.
The ride down to Phoenix took me three days. He had to be in Phoenix, I thought, he was a cardio guy; the big city equaled the big bucks; he had to be there.
"No, Dr. Weston; he doesn't work here. I know all of the cardiac specialists in the city," said the man in scrubs. "Hell, I know most of the heart guys in the whole state."
"Thank you, Dr. Milford. I appreciate your checking for me," I said.
The surgeon looked at his visitor. "I just had a thought. You know there was something in the papers about a week or so ago. Any reason your guy might be working at some out of the way place," said Dr. Milford. The man's eyes narrowed as though he'd just figured a reason for the high pressure enquiry.
"Maybe," said Dr. Weston. "He's not committed any crimes; don't think that, but there were, well, marital problems, a divorce, another man; well, you know." Dr. Milford nodded.
"What about this newspaper thing, this article you mentioned?" said Jerry.
"It was out in Bisbee. Maybe a couple of hundred miles from here. Lot a history there, and not much else. Anyway, seems some guy did a tracheotomy in some bar or other," said Dr. Milford. "The paper's said it was a professional job. But the really odd thing was that the guy, the one that did the trach, is a waiter at a small café there."
The internet is wonderful. Not only did it archive almost every newspaper in the country; it also archived every issue of every newspaper.
The article named the singer's savior: one Charles Conroy, a waiter At the Langtry Café in downtown Bisbee. The accompanying picture did not do the man justice, thought Jerry. A waiter? Charlie really was hurt by Hollie when she dumped him. Had to be trying to forget. A waiter for chryssakes!
The place was not quite a dump, but almost. Scratched and chipped tables, faded desert orange paint on the walls. It did have one good looking waitress; name tag said Melissa. She'd smiled brightly serving him coffee. The target didn't come on until three. I looked up at the clock. Another twenty minutes.
The broad brimmed cowboy hat I'd brought that morning hid my face from anyone I didn't want to see it until I was ready. I noticed him wiping his hands and talking to the waitress as he came on duty. She handed him something, slipped off her apron and disappeared into the back area. Charlie picked up the full coffee pot and toured the tables; mine was last in line. I looked up; our eyes met.
"Whaddya doin' here, Jerry," he said. He didn't looked shocked, but he also didn't look happy.
"Lookin' for you," I said.
"Well, I don't wanna be found," he said. "Not by you, not ever by you; so pack up and roll," said Charlie.
"She dumped me, Charlie. She caught me with nurse Helen. We're toast," I said. His snickers were expected.
"How fucking funny," said Charlie.
"Yeah, maybe. Charlie, she never got over you. She made a mistake because of me, and I know for a fact that she'd like to have that one back," I said. He looked at me long and walked off.
I'd delivered my message. Well, I had to one of the principals at least. I couldn't tell by his reaction whether I'd done a good thing or just made things worse. Well, regardless, there was one final act to play out that maybe would finally gain me a measure of redemption. I did what he said: I packed up and headed out. I figured the next stranger to have a seat at the Langtry Café would get a bit better reception than I'd had.
I was pouring a final cup of coffee into the cup of officer Reevis. Been doin' the same thing the same time of night ever since I'd been working at the Langtry.
How's it goin' Charlie?" he said.
"Good, I guess," I said. "How about you, Reeve?"
"Good also. Marie and I got back together. She's about decided that the asshole she traded me in for, Parker Williams, was—well—an asshole," he said, and laughed. I laughed too.
"You say she's about decided? She's still not sure?" I laughed.
"Well, she's pretty sure. I think the black eye he gave her for dancin' too close to Clement Adkins kinda helped decide for her," he said.
"A black eye? Is good 'ole Parker in jail?" I said.
"Yeah, but he'll be out in the mornin'; his dad's got the bucks," said Reevis. I shook my head; I had come to love this little end of the line town. I turned to go back to the kitchen and refill the pot and get a couple of orders that figured to be about ready.