Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
This was not how I had envisioned my golden years. I slowly looked around the Wagon Wheel Acres dining room. Nothing but old people; real old people. The most depressing thing was that I was one of them. I was only sixty two and I didn't feel that damn old. Actually, I lied. That is not the most depressing part. I am sitting at a table for four with people that I don't know. Across the room is, my wife, LaRue, who is sitting at another table with her lover.
Everybody in the retirement complex was aware of the situation, which made it even worse. I was very careful when I selected Wagon Wheel Acres. It had a continuous care option, which was good, and it also did not require a large buy-in. The monthly fees for both of us came to over three thousand dollars, but that included peace of mind and no hassles. Of course, I had never envisioned that Jackson Milhouse, would show up.
I lost my appetite, again, as I watched my wife chatting away with Jackson. I had spent forty five years taking care of her and he gets to enjoy her in his old age. I mean that in all senses of the word. It has been two weeks since LaRue informed me that she had been intimate with Jackson and that she was going to continue. That afternoon, she moved all of her clothing and personal items into his studio apartment. Our unit had an actual bedroom, but it didn't have Jackson.
I didn't argue with her; I never had. What does that mean? Over the years, I found it a lot easier to go along with what ever she wanted. It was better than fighting.
I pushed my lunch aside and walked back to my room. It galled me to think that I was paying for her stay here and Jackson Milhouse was reaping all of the benefits. I had tried my best over the years to keep my wife happy sexually, but nothing seemed to work. It appeared that Jackson knew something that I didn't
Stuck in the mirror of my bathroom sink was a business card that one of the more active male bachelors had given to me. I grabbed a cold beer and plopped down in my ten year old recliner; the only piece of furniture in the unit that wasn't new. I took two deep swigs of brew and stared at the golden card in front of me.
"Berkshire Escorts, by the hour or by the day"
That was ludicrous. What was a sixty two year old man going to do with an escort for a whole day? Hell, I seriously doubted that I could get my money's worth out of an hour.
I finished the Fosters and reached for the phone. I had no idea what I was going to say or what I was going to do. I think I just wanted to talk with someone.
"Berkshire Escorts. This is Darlene."
Well, I got that far and then I froze. My silence was quickly noted.
"Berkshire Escorts. Hello. Are you there?"
"Hello. Yes. I am here." I think it was quite obvious that I was a little nervous.
"My name is Darlene. I am guessing that you have a question that you would like me to answer?"
"How did you know that?"
"Most people that call have questions."
"Then you are not psychic?"
"Would like to tell me your name?"
"Carson. My name is Carson. Do you need to know that?"
"Not really, but it makes it easier to talk to you."
"My friend Dippy gave me your card."
"Oh yes. Mister Burke. Are you over at Wagon Wheel also?"
"Yes. Is that a problem?"
"Don't be silly. Why would it be?"
"Dippy told me that you were able to provide him with a few companions and that he was quite happy."
"Well that is very nice of him to say. I'll have to give him a discount next week."
I didn't know what to say, so there was a short pause in the conversation.
"Carson? Carson? Are you there?"
"Yeah. I'm here. I just don't know what to say or ask you."
"Why don't I help you out a little. How long are you going to need company for?'
"Well, I guess for about an hour or two. I just want somebody to have supper with, perhaps at a nice restaurant. I think an hour or two should be sufficient."
"That is all you want?"
"I'm not interested in the sex part, if that is what you are getting at. All I want is a pleasant companion for a few hours." It was an uncomfortable situation for me since LaRue was the only woman that I had ever been with.
"Carson, our escorts cost $300 an hour. That's a lot of money just to have a young lady to eat supper with you."
"Yeah, I know. When you say 'young lady, ' how young are you talking about?"
"Well, most of our escorts are under thirty years of age."
"That is not going to work out for me. I find that women under fifty years old are a little annoying. I was hoping for an older lady. Somebody that was mature, but classy. Do you have any suggestions?"
I am afraid that there are not a lot of women in that age bracket working for escort services. I could look around for you, if you would like?"
"Does that mean it is going to cost me more than $300 an hour or less?"
"I am not sure at this point. I have your phone number on my caller ID. I'll check around and call you back in about an hour. Is that all right with you?"
"That's okay. If you can, can you arrange it for tonight at about seven o'clock?"
"Where were you planning on taking the lady?"
"I figured that the Black Angus was the best place in town. Does that sound good enough?"
"That should be fine Carson. Give me an hour."
I was feeling a little better when I hung up the phone. LaRue and Jackson would be dining on Chicken Patty Parmesan tonight, but I would be having Filet Mignon. I spent the next hour going over my wardrobe like a high school girl. I decided on the navy blazer with a gray turtleneck and tan khaki pants. I didn't know for sure whether Darlene would be able to find someone, but it was worth the effort.
I got the phone on the third ring. I could have gotten it quicker, but I didn't want to appear overly anxious.
"This is Carson."
"Carson. Darlene. I have good news. Your escort will be waiting for you in front of the Sheraton Hotel at seven. She will be wearing a hunter green dress. Does that sound all right?"
"That sounds great. I will probably be a little early, but I don't want to appear too anxious. How old is she any way?"
"Now, Carson. You know better. You should never ask a woman her age, however, your date this evening is fifty-eight. I hope that she is classy enough for you. Are there any other questions?"
"Just one. How do I pay for this?"
"Cash. Bring cash."
The next few hours seemed to fly by. I have to admit, just thinking about the coming evening was exciting. It was just supper, but it would still be romantic. I needed that.
Now, there were plenty of women available at Wagon Wheel Acres that would have been excellent dinner companions, but the thought of hooking up with one of them would have made me feel sleazy. If I had done that, it would have been the same as saying that I condoned what my wife was doing with Jackson. I did not accept her and Jackson being together, but could not figure out how to get out of the predicament and still hold my head up. Of course, nothing could be much worse than my present situation. I might as well enjoy myself while I was working on a solution.
I left the home a little early so that I could take the Civic through a car wash. It didn't need it, but the evening was special. It would have been nice to have a more impressive set of wheels, but I had to make the best with what I had. I ended up sitting in the Sheraton parking lot watching the entrance. I didn't want to pull up before my escort came out, but I also didn't want to keep her waiting. Damn it; I wish I had more experience in this area. I felt like a teenager.
She was definitely a classy lady. Her dress fit her well, but did not make her look cheap. There was no way that anyone could mistake her for a paid escort. She looked damn good for fifty-eight. For a moment, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I should have gone for the full package. Nah! Talk is cheap. There was no way that I could ever pull it off. Supper was it. That was all I could handle tonight.
I carefully drove to the entrance, parked and walked around to open the door for her.
"Carson, I presume?"
"Yes Madam, and what do I call you?"
"Darlene Carson. Just call me Darlene."
She had a sneaky little smile on her face as she notice my expression.
She was still smiling after I walked around and got back into the driver's seat.
"I don't understand. I though you were going to get me an escort?"
"I was, but I called Dippy and talked to him for a while. I decided that I was the best choice for this evening."
"Do you do this on a regular basis?"
She laughed a little. "No. In fact this is the first time in six years that I have gone out with a gentleman."
"Did I appear to be that desperate?"
"No, silly. Not desperate, but Dippy said that you could stand having your spirits lifted a little. Besides, I haven't had a nice evening out in a long time. Now, no more shop talk. Can I have lobster?"
Darlene did not order the lobster, but had a small filet instead. The evening was everything that I had hoped it would be. After the meal, we sat and talked for several hours until the wait staff politely asked us to leave. She had never been married and had started in the escort business while she was still in college. After a few years she was running her own operation and seemed very proud of herself, because she was good at what she did.
I started driving back towards the Sheraton to drop her off, but she gave me a local address instead. It was a small brick house in a very exclusive neighborhood. It was odd because most of the homes around her were quite large. There was a 'For Sale' sign posted in the middle of the yard.
I walked her to the front door, not knowing what to expect next. Would she invite me in? Should I give her a kiss? Maybe I should just shake her hand. She solved the dilemma for me with one of her cute smiles.
"I hope that your evening was everything that you hoped it would be Carson."
I nodded as she held out her hand.
"That will be $300 dollars please."
Okay, I wasn't expecting that one, but I should have been, Now, I was smiling. I pealed off three bills from the small wad of hundreds that I had brought with me and handed them to her.
"I don't understand. We were together for almost four hours?"
"Yes, but that was my choice, not yours. I am only going to charge you for the first hour. Is that okay?"
"Of course. It was worth twice that."
I watched as she folded the three bills and tucked them into her bra like in the movies. I think she did it on purpose, just to shock me.
"Darlene. Can we do this again?"
"Are you sure?" There was a degree of seriousness in her question that I found a little distracting.
"Of course. I had a wonderful evening. I would do this every night, if I could afford it."
She laughed again. "Carson. Why don't you come over here tomorrow night about six? I'll cook us something."
"I'd love to." I turned to leave and then stopped. "How much is that going to cost me?"
"$300 silly. It's always $300."
At that moment, she took my arm and leaned forward and gave me a kiss. I wasn't expecting it which made it far more exciting. I noticed a slight reaction in my groin area. Maybe I should ask Dippy to get me a few of the blue pills.
I got my chance the next morning at breakfast. I was watching LaRue and Jackson across the dining room, when Dippy pulled up a chair, and more or less forced his way into our table group. He had already eaten, but still had a cup of coffee in his hand.
"Carson, old buddy. How was your evening?"
Of course, the other three people at the table had no idea what he was talking about.
"Better than expected." He noticed that I was smiling. "Way better than expected."
I pushed my plate aside, grabbed my cup and we walked over to the coffee urn.
"Is that all you are going to tell me?"
"Dippy, there is not much else to talk about. We had supper and that was it. Nothing more. I didn't sleep with her."
"Well what the hell did you pay her for?"
I didn't have an answer that would have satisfied him so I said nothing. We got comfortable in the lounge with two fresh cups of Joe.
"Dippy, can you get me some pills?"
"Sure. No problem for $20 a pop. Mildred can take care of you."
"Mildred? You mean the old lady in the wheel chair?"
"Yeah. Her annuity ran out on her a few years back. I don't know where she gets the pills, but she has a steady supply and she has been able to stay here, by selling them."
"Ain't free enterprise great?"
"So Carson. Who did she set you up with? I think I know all of them by now."
Just from the way that he said it, I knew that he had never been with Darlene. I believed her when she said she hadn't had a customer in six years. In fact, I think I believed almost everything that she had said to me. Either she was being straight with me or she was great liar. Then again, being able to lie convincingly was a big advantage for a woman in her line of work.
"I think her name was Greta. She had an accent; sort of Slavic or Russian." I didn't know why I just didn't tell him the truth.
As we sat chatting, LaRue and Jackson walked by, still in their private little world. My wife didn't look over in my direction or acknowledge my presence. Nobody would have ever guessed that I was married to this woman. I heard Dippy snicker a little, which got him an elbow in the ribs.