I hated him the first time I saw him. Jealousy is a powerful emotion and I was full of it in a heartbeat. Miriam was laughing at this person as they stood at the punch bowl with his hand on her shoulder. Then he slid it down her back, paused at her waist and let it come to rest on her butt. She never moved a muscle or tried to stop him.
If she had only flinched, but she did not. Instead, he looked up into his face and laughed loud enough for me to hear her from ten feet away. He brazenly brought his hand up and put it underneath her arm. I could not see him cup her breast, but I knew what he was doing when she giggled and twitched back and forth. I also knew she was enjoying every bit of it.
Just then, Mim's friend, Carol, came up and spoke to her. I knew what she was telling her. She was giving her the word that I had finally made it to the party. Mim laughed again and then stood up on tiptoe and kissed this asshole full on the lips and I could tell she was reluctant to stop. Then she and Carol went off looking for me.
The poor bastard came towards me where I was standing in the shadows of the alcove. When he got abreast of me, I said "Hey," and he turned to me and I had a perfect shot at his jaw. I know he did not see me and I know he did not see what hit him before he was out. He bounced off the wall and I caught him and pushed him into the shadows behind me where I heard him fall.
I stepped out and circled the hall, pausing to say hello to some of the people I knew. I was more than halfway around the room when Mim found me. "I heard you made it. I was looking for you."
"You found me. How is the party? Have you had a chance to dance yet?"
"No, I was waiting for you. It is so boring without you. Now we can make up for lost time."
"I don't think so. I have a wicked headache. I just stopped in to tell you that I was going along home." I had intended to stay and dance, except my mind had been changed a few minute ago.
"Oh John, can't you stay? I do not want to leave yet. Besides, I wanted to flirt a little tonight. Sometimes it turns you on."
"You better be careful and it is pretty daring come to the dance without a bra on, isn't it?"
"I thought you were the only one I was going to be dancing with when you got here."
"Well, flirt all you want to, but remember, I might get pissed if someone puts his hand where it isn't supposed to be. I would get more than pissed if you let them, but all our friends know that and so do you. I will dance you over to the door and whisper in your ear how much I love you, though, so stay and enjoy yourself. I'm really sorry I don't feel well and this music is about killing me."
I glanced back as I was going out the door and saw my wife heading for the punch bowl. I was lucky when I got home and looked at my knuckles. They were red and swollen. I sat about an hour with ice on them and then I went to bed.
Mim usually stayed to the bitter end at a dance, but tonight I heard her come in shortly after eleven. She came upstairs and asked me if I felt better. I said I did and thanks for not creating a scene when I did not feel able to stay. "Did you get to flirt like you said you were going to when I left?"
"No I didn't. It is no fun without you around to act jealous."
"Did you ever stop to think I might be really jealous and it's not an act? But then I haven't killed anyone yet, so how could you know? Did anything exciting happen after I left?"
"Not much John. Some guy fell down and broke his jaw. They had to call an ambulance for him."
"Too much to drink, probably. Anyone we know?"
"Nobody you've met. Somebody said he lives in that new development, the next street over from ours." Mim did not seem to know much about someone with whom I had seen her playing tongue tag.
Mim crawled into bed. I tried to get something started, but it was no go. I gave up and really went to sleep then.
Saturday morning it was my day for chores--lawn, wash cars, etc. I was in for my second cup of coffee and was wishing it were first beer time, when the phone started ringing. Mim hadn't heard me come in and the phone was behind the dining room door, so I heard half a conversation.
"Hi Jane, did you hear how Rick is? ... Does he know what happened, yet? ... He must remember something ... His jaw is wired shut and he has to eat through a straw? ... I said I would go if it was with Rick ... Now I need a good replacement ... No, I am not going with a black man! ... No I don't let John do that. He would think I was a slut ... I know, but he thinks I just like to flirt a little. If he only knew, he'd kill me in a minute, ... I'm in so deep now I guess it is a death wish...
"I'll do the woman on woman thing, but that is all I will do. I've always been curious about that ... I guess I'm going to be a slut after next Friday whether I want to be or not. I still don't know how this happened ... I'd get into the hospital to see Rick before he comes home next week. Why did he have to go and be injured? He was going to protect me at the party ... You have to be kidding? Rick would not set me up like that. I don't believe that for a minute ... Hey, I have to go. I'll call you sometime this week. Bye."
Well that was an education. I was ready to confront Mim if she came into the kitchen, but she went into the other part of the house. I guess I had better find out more about the wife I thought I knew so well. I almost went down the street to see Tim Bickford, but then I thought Mim knew him and would spot him in a minute if I hired Tim to start following her. I got out the phone book and looked in the yellow pages for private investigators. There were several listed, but only one other one from this town, besides Tim.
Skip Barnard had a weekend number to call so I went down into Burger King's and called him from the pay phone. He said he was free and where did I want to meet him. I said I'd buy him lunch right where I was if he wanted to come over right now. Fifteen minutes later, he showed up. I did not pay him any attention until he spoke to me for he was a small and nondescript sort of person.
I let him order his own lunch and he ordered two Whoppers and a large soda. I paid. As soon as we sat down, he put one Whopper in his jacket pocket with the comment, "Wife can't cook for shit. You don't mind do you? Now tell me about what you need me for?"
"I think my wife is cheating on me. I overheard a conversation and she as much as admitted she was a slut or was soon going to be. She said this to the person she was talking too. It didn't sound as if she was going to stop anytime soon either."
"Tell me about her? How you met and so forth. I like to get into the head of my subject and the best way is to find out from the one that is hiring me."
"Mim and I met the last year of college. I had seen her occasionally around campus, but had never met her. I was at a dance and saw her and her boyfriend have a fight. She needed a ride home and the rest is history. It took me a long time to get into her pants. She has admitted that she is a bit of a tease and likes to flirt. I said I would allow this but it had to stop if anyone touched her. I always thought she abided by this until today."
Skip kept taking the extra Whopper out of his pocket and looking at it.
"I've always wanted kids, but she has always put me off. I'm pretty glad of that right now." I watched him and said, "Eat that if you want. I'll buy you another." He pulled the wrapper off and dove right in.
"I've always thought we had a good marriage. Sex is good, but she limits me to mostly the missionary position."
Skip, with his mouth full asked, "What pisses you off the most? Is it the fact that others are getting better and different sex from her than you, or just the fact that she is giving what is yours away?"
"What are you going to do when I get the evidence--if any?"
"Divorce her I suppose. Damn, why did she have to go and do this to me? I wish I could figure out some revenge though on those she is playing with."
"Well, don't think like that until we find out what she is doing. Where do you want me to start? It might take awhile just by following her around."
"Try the hospital. She said something about somebody in the hospital with a broken jaw. It was somebody that she did something with that she enjoyed and was going to have to find a replacement for."
"Broken jaw, huh? That ought to be easy enough to check out. He's probably the only one in the hospital with that type of injury." Skip took the last bite of his whopper. "You've got a sore looking hand there. Is there any connection?"
I considered my answer. "Nope."
"Good answer. Don't admit anything to anybody."
I gave Skip all the details on my wife. License plate, where she worked, hours she kept, who she hung out with when not with me and many other little things I thought might help him. We agreed on fee. I paid him a retainer by check, and bought him two more Whoppers to take with him. He said he was going to give one to his wife because he couldn't cook worth a damn, either.
Before Skip left, he told me I should be checked for any diseases my wife could have given me. There was always that possibility and I had not thought of it. Why would I? I thought I had a faithful wife. Maybe I did, but now I didn't think so.
Mim was a Realtor and was out at all hours especially in the evening, so she had plenty of opportunity to do her thing. I often asked why she didn't go for a broker's license. Mim said she liked getting out in the community too much to be tied down and working only days. This evening she said she was going out, but she suspected she might be horny when she got home. I could take up where I left off last night when she didn't feel like having sex.
How was I going to get out of this? I did not want sex with her after she had been screwing around. I went out to a bar, had a few, and got half drunk. Hell I had been drunker than this and still done my duty. I pretended the other half and got away with it although I had one pissed off wife. Sunday I bitched about the hangover enough so Mim stayed away from me all day and turned her back to me that night.
Monday I asked my boss for some time off. He gave me three days, starting on Wednesday. Good, I could milk the spat for at least two days and pretend to be out of town the rest of the week. I went into the doctor's for the STDs tests. It would be a week before any results, but check back on Friday. The test results might be back from the lab--it all depends? I like that, no one ever tells you what it depends on.
I bought a lot more Whoppers that week. Skip was all the time calling with information. Of course, he could not tell me over the phone. Too sensitive--the information, you know. It really was an excuse to get me to buy him and his wife more Whoppers. So far, he had nothing incriminating to report. I let him have my keys and he bugged my house. The phone was where all the action was going to be during the week.
I piled out of bed early Wednesday morning while Mim was still sleeping. She had a house showing last night and it was midnight before she got in. (What was she showing and who looks at houses up until midnight?) I left her a note saying I had to be out of town to fix some machine my company serviced and would be home on Sunday. Skip had nothing to report on Mim as she really was at a conference at the Realtors last night. He said I could stay in a spare room he had. Bring Whoppers.
Skip's wife was something. She was a blonde-haired woman and just a little more streamlined than Anna Nicole, but not by much. She was a tempting dish and I was tempted, but as I remembered just in time, I was kind of under a cloud until some tests came back. I was offered a rain check however, and Brenda made the comment when I came to cash that rain check, she hoped I would bring her a Whopper. "(?)"
Skip was quite the guy. He had purchased a beautiful gourmet kitchen for his home thinking that wonderful food would come out of it, but it was the least used room in the house. I prided myself on my culinary abilities and I had Skip and Brenda, (Brenda, the one with the whoppers) eating out of my hand before two days were up.
Over a leg of lamb, Skip asked how much revenge I wanted on my wife. "I've haven't got all the evidence you need to divorce her yet. She is just what you suspected, though, getting ready for Friday night according to what I am hearing. You are out of town and she is talking about going for sure. Tomorrow night is going to be the night the page really turns for her. I am setting something up. Do you want her picture in the paper? I can put it there, but it won't be pretty."
I reviewed all the information Skip had. Mim was resisting some, but she was terribly excited about it too, Friday night that is. With tears in my eyes, I said, "Sure, go ahead. Try for the front page." So much for love and happiness."
I made cheese omelets for breakfast. Brenda wanted me to rush over to the doctor's office and see if the test results were in. She was hot for me. Skip didn't care if I took on his wife. He said he had seen so much of this in his line of work it didn't bother him anymore. Besides, he couldn't keep up with her. I was piling one rain check on top of another. Christ, I was going to have to move in here permanently to cash them all in.
Skip said he had some more things to set up and was going to leave about five p.m. to see to it. "Now John, are you sure you want to do this. If I go through with this, your wife is going to be so humiliated she will not be able to work in this town again. You will have to divorce her just to save your face. There is no turning back. Do you hate her this much?"
Jealousy was still riding me. "Yes I do." I said this after much hesitation. Skip left. I called the doctor's office to see if the results had come in. No test results yet. Brenda wanted to fool around anyway, but I said no.
The phone rang. It was Skip. "Hey John, I just don't think you realize how nasty this is going to be. Why don't you call your wife and say you will be back in town tonight about eight? If she gives you the excuse she will not be home then, okay, you have done your best. Her friends are going down anyway. There is some blackmail going on, and somehow your wife is involved."
I called. "Hi Honey, I'm on my way home. I've missed you and want to make it up to you when I get there."
"Oh John, I was planning on going out tonight. In fact I have to go out."
"Listen Sweet, you don't have to go out. That is, not unless you really want to. I'm telling you right now, if you go out, you cannot ever come home again. I will not be here for you and you won't have a job. You not only will be a slut, but you will be labeled as one as well."
There was a long silence. "What do you mean?"
"Mim, I know you are in trouble and are being pressured to do more. I know you are curious about some other things. I also know that you are a little bit afraid of me. You should not be. Maybe I can be a little more liberal and we can have a more exciting sex life. We could have this together." I was not going to say any more on the subject.
"I wish I knew this two months ago. It is too late for us now. You will never forgive me."
"I might if you stay home with me tonight."
There was more silence. "They've got pictures. It started out with me flirting, and then it got out of hand. You warned me." Mim was crying now. "I don't see how I can stop it now. I have to go. The only one that could have protected me is in the hospital. But the more I think of it, I've heard that he is as bad as the rest of them."
"You mean Rick? He definitely is. That is why he is in the hospital."
"John, did you do that to him? I should have known."