I just found out that my wife of eight years is a whore. Yes, a whore. That means she is getting paid to have sex with strangers. She works as a waitress at a truck stop on the interstate, about twenty miles from our home in Hutto. I had to drop some supplies off for my boss at the truck stop to catch a driver headed north. It was easier for me to deliver the supplies to him so he wouldn't have to go too far out of his way. It was fifty boxes of flooring that needed to get to Dallas tomorrow. My boss contacted a dispatcher, who then contacted a driver. The driver was on one of his mandatory rest periods and would be leaving in two hours, so we loaded up a box truck and I headed north of Austin to the truck stop where my wife works. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed my wife getting out of a tractor cab with someone. She kissed the guy and he gave her some money. There was no mistaking what happened, and what had been going on earlier. I called the guy I was supposed to deliver the flooring to on the CB and he told me where he was parked and what his truck looked like. I pulled around back and found him. He and I loaded the flooring, and then I just sat there in that parking lot and cried.
I drove back to the construction site I was working at over in Lakeway after the driver pulled out. I told my boss that I had made the connection and the flooring was on its way. He could tell something was wrong with me as I was not my good-natured self. He pulled me into the trailer office and closed his office door.
"I know something is wrong, Bob. You left here bubbly just like you usually are, happy and telling jokes. You come back and your face is so long that I could ride to the Gulf on it. What happened?
"It's personal, Sam. I just have to try to come to a decision, probably the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. It's nothing against you, Boss, but I think this is something I need to work out for myself."
"Wait, Bob. You had to deliver that load is where your wife works, right? Did you two have words?"
"She never even knew I was there, Sam, but I saw her, and that's what I have to decide about."
"Oh shit man, I'm sorry, Bob. I take it that she was either not working when she was supposed to be, or she was doing something she shouldn't. I can see by your face she was doing something she shouldn't have done. What can I do to help, Bob?"
"I'm not sure you can do anything. I do know that I need to get tested for AIDS and STDs."
"What??? Is Denise whoring out in the parking lot? That's it, isn't it? She's working the drivers that come in there and doing it in the parking lot, not upstairs in the driver's rest area because she doesn't want her boss to catch her. She will go on a break and go out there, then come back to work. Oh God, I'm so sorry, Bob. Let me make a few phone calls, and then I'll come get you. Why don't you go to your truck and relax for a while, I'll come find you when I get done calling."
"Yeah, I guess, and thanks, Sam. You're a great boss, but I really can't afford a divorce. I love my kids to death and I loved my Denise up until today, but I feel all dead inside. I'm not sure what I feel other than dead. I'll get a couple aspirin and be in my truck."
I walked out of that office trailer in a fog. I got where I was going, but how I got there I couldn't say.
I guess I should tell you some of my background. My name's Robert Earl Jameson, I'm 35 years old, 6'-1", 185 pounds, fit, and until this afternoon, I was madly in love with my wife, Denise. We have three children, Charity aged 7; Linda aged 5; and Robert Junior (RJ) at 4. I also love my kids ... my kids! Are they really my kids? Only time will tell. God, what a mess my wife has left me with. I now doubt that the kids that I love almost as much as I loved my cheating whore wife are really mine. How could that be? I was there for each birth and I had thought that I was there for each conception too, but I'm not sure now. Boy, that's a hell of a thing to start thinking, but after what I saw today, I have to think it may be a reality.
My wife Denise is 32, 5'-6", and around 110. She is gorgeous; why she married me, I'll never know. I met her at the old Copeland Inn dance hall. I'm a damn good welder and all around jack of all trades construction wise. I work construction jobs in and around Austin, Texas. I learned welding in high school, then trade school and I was even an apprentice carpenter for a while, swinging a hammer when I needed to find work.
I ended up working on a job for Sam Stinson. He liked my can do attitude and my willingness to do anything to get the job done. He especially liked my welding skills. I was always upbeat and had a smile on my face. Why not, I had married Denise by then, and we had just had Charity. Sam took me under his wing and I've been working steady ever since, instead of going from job to job, never knowing when that job would end and how long it would be before I found work again.
Denise was working at the truck stop when I met her, and she was living with another waitress, Alice Cooper. I had my own trailer out in Hutto. I bought it from an old man who was going into a nursing home. His kids wanted to sell it and they only wanted $2,500 for it since it was like ten years old. I snapped it up and settled in. It was a 1993 Fleetwood three bedroom mobile home with master bedroom in front, a kitchen, and a living room. Off the hall on the left side were a laundry room, bedroom, bathroom, and the third bedroom at the end of the hall. I couldn't pass it up, as I was living out of my truck half the time. I would stay at places like the Salvation Army shelter or move to any shelter available or rooming house. I never had a permanent home because I was never in one spot long enough. I heard about this deal from one of the other workers on the job we were working on over in Taylor.
The guy knew the kids and was trying to get word of mouth out to try to sell the place. The old man had kept the place up real good, the lot rent was like a hundred a month, and then utilities were another $200 a month. My own place for three hundred a month sounded great to me and I jumped on it. I now had a home.
I was spending a Saturday night dancing at the Copeland Inn down highway 95 in Copeland shortly after that, and that's when I met Denise Howard. I think it was three months later when I brought her home with me and we made love in my bedroom. That was all it took for me. We were married six months later, and Charity was born about ten months after that.
It was about a year later when Sam found me and hired me full time. I was now making almost $800.00 a week working for Sam, and that, plus Denise's money from her waitressing job allowed us to get by quite well. I now knew why her tips were so high. She said she made about $30 to $40 a day in tips working four days a week. She is making a hell of a lot more than that unless she is just giving it away for five bucks a pop. I wondered where it all was. Hell, I might never find out, but I did know one thing: I was through with that whoring bitch. I knew I couldn't afford a divorce, even if I could find out where all her money was stashed. I knew I would have to talk about all this with Sam again.
I fell asleep in my truck, pondering my mess of a marriage.
Salvador Garcia, a coworker of mine knocked on my truck window. I rolled the window down, "Yeah, Sal, what's up?"
"Boss wants to see you ASAP."
"Do you know what for?"
"Nope, he just said to look for your truck and to tell you to come right away if you were there. I was to find you if I didn't see you here. That's all I know."
"Thanks, Sal, see you later, I hope."
I walked into the site office trailer and I was immediately ushered into Sam's office by Becky Thompson, the clerk.
"Have a seat, Bob. You're working late tonight, so call Denise and let her know. You have no idea how late right now, okay?"
I called the truck stop restaurant and asked for Denise. It was important. I normally didn't call unless it was an emergency, so they knew something was up.
"Bob, Denise isn't available right now, I think she's in the bathroom, do you want me to have her call your work?"
"No, Brenda, I just wanted to let her know I have to work late tonight and I'm not sure when I'll get home. Would you tell her that?"
"Sure, I'll let her know, Bob. Bye."
"Yeah ... bye, Brenda."
I hung up and looked at Sam with a question on my face.
"Bob, I want you to drive over to the South Austin Medical Center hospital there over off Ben White. You know where it is, right?" I nodded. "Okay, you will be tested for STDs and get a DNA test. I checked with the school officials in Hutto, and they do DNA testing on all children that come into their school system, so Charity and Linda should have already been tested. RJ is who we have to get something for. When you come into work tomorrow, we need a couple of hairs with the root attached, or his toothbrush if he's the only one who uses it. If you can't do that, then take a cotton swap and swab the inside of his mouth to get some saliva and put it into a plastic zipper bag and bring it to the same guy you see for your test at the lab there today. Just tell them I sent you over for some tests. Next, you will have lifted something wrong tonight and have a groin pull, nothing serious, but no lovemaking for a couple of weeks. Then I have a different job for you when you get to work. You need to say that you have to be in Dallas to start a new job by Monday morning. The pay is more, and you'll get benefits too. You'll actually be going to Victoria. DuPont is having some expansion going on down there and that's where you will be working. Your new boss will be Henry DeSilva. He's a friend of mine and a real good guy. You'll get along fine if you work for him like you have for me. How's your Spanish?"
"Justo midlin, Jefe. Yo puedo conseguir por." [Fair to midlin boss. I can get by. – BR]
"I guess so. You almost speak like a native."
"Three years in high school, plus my grade school stuff too. I started school in Laredo, and then moved to Mathis. I finished up in Pharr. My dad was kind of like me, a guy who found work where he could. I lost touch with them five years ago. He was in Colorado last I heard. My brother, James, is in California, working at a winery in Napa Valley. One of my sisters is a nurse in St. Petersburg, and the other is an accountant back northeast somewhere. I haven't heard from her in like three years. We're kind of spread all over. I was the last born and the least educated. Money was getting tight by the time it came time for me to go to college, so I went to trade school for a while and learned welding. I don't regret it. Sure, I could have made more money, but I love what I do."
"Believe me, Bob, you are damn good at welding, and anything else I've asked you to do. You keep this up and you'll be a site foreman before too long."
"No way, Boss, you need the schooling for that, and that's not me, I'll just keep doing what I know, okay?"
"Alright, Bob, but just do what I say for right now and tomorrow I'll have all the paperwork for you to start at DuPont on Monday. I will let you know once we have the results back on the tests. You can come up here for a weekend, or I will come down there, and we can talk. We'll work it out when the time comes."
"Why, Boss? Why are you doing this for me? I'm not anyone special; I'm just a worker bee, I'm so low on the totem pole that I hardly even warrant your notice."
"I kind of promised Big Earl that I wouldn't say anything, Bob, but your old man got me started in business back in Uvalde almost thirty years ago. I think you guys were living in Mathis by then. Anyway, your dad asked me if I would kind of look after you kids if anything happened to him. Nothing ever happened, then I found out you were working on the Sterling job. I ran across your name, and I saw a lot of your father in you when you were pointed out to me. I heard that you were running from job to job, just trying to stay employed. I talked to a couple of your past employers and found out you were an awful lot like your dad, dependable and a hard worker. I knew I could help you, so I did. I remembered that promise and that's why, Bob. I owed Big Earl, and I always repay my debts. Now, you know nothing of this conversation as far as your family is concerned, right?"
"All I know is I have to start a new job in Dallas on Monday. I guess I'll need to get me a cell phone, huh?"
"Stop by Radio Shack or Walmart when you leave town Friday and get a burner phone, Bob. You pay for the minutes you plan to use each month, so no major plan and you should have a 512 area code by getting it here, so no one can know where you're located. Now you have places to go tonight, right?"
"You bet, Boss. See you in the morning."
I went back to my truck and ran my errands. I asked for Gary in the lab at the hospital, and a short guy with red hair came out and asked me my name. I showed him my driver's license and he had me follow him. I was asked to pee in a cup, then he took a swab of my inside cheek and took two vials of blood. He handed me one of their swab things, and said to swab the inside of my son's cheek, then put it into a plastic zippered bag and keep it cool. If I could, I should do it in the morning before I came in. I said no problem and left. I had seen a TracFone at Walmart for like ten or fifteen bucks, so I stopped off there on my way home. I could get the phone and 120 minutes for less than $50.00. I would have to look into that on Friday, which was payday for me. I had less than thirty bucks in my wallet right now since I had to get gas coming home. This was Wednesday, so what I had would have to last me till then. Maybe I could talk Denise out of some gas money till Friday.
I finally got home at 8:30. I was tired, and I was angry. I was all kinds of things, but I was mainly dead inside. I played with the kids since they were still up, while Denise warmed me some leftover mac and cheese that the rest of them had for supper. I told Denise that I had pulled something in my groin and had to go to the doctor for some pills. Gary gave me a pill bottle with some pills in it, and told me they were really sugar pills that looked like Vicodin, like the bottle said. So I kind of hunched over like Gary told me and just moved slowly.
As I ate, I mentioned that there was some talk about sending several of us up to Dallas for a year-long job. It would be six days a week, so the money would be good. I said that I may have to go there to work. I really didn't want to go to those lengths, but work was work. I figure if Denise was hoarding the money, she just might ask me to stay and she would help out more for a while. No such luck tonight. She was pissed at first then she thought about it a little more, and said that she thought she could manage somehow. I wasn't sure that I liked her answer.
I went right to bed after my supper. Denise came in a couple hours later and snuggled. I groaned and she left me alone.
I was able to swab RJ's mouth before Denise got up Thursday morning; since today was one of her days off, telling him that I was checking for proper tooth brushing. He didn't object too loudly, and then I was gone to the hospital and Gary. I turned the swab stick in and went to work.
Sam called me into the office after lunch, about 1:30. "Bob, here is a debit card for your new bank account where most of the additional money will be going into. About half of your normal pay will still be going into your main checking account and Denise will continue paying the bills from that account just like always. The rest of your pay will be going to a bank with a branch in Victoria that has issued this card. Did you get a phone yet?"
"Not yet, I didn't have the money for one last night, I'll have to wait until Friday. I saw a great plan at Walmart for 120 minutes for like $40 something. I'll get it Friday after I leave for Victoria."
"Not a problem, Bob, I can handle that for you. Now, here are the directions to the plant, and who to see once you get there. Here is a place for you to live while you are down there. As far as anyone knows, you're going up to Dallas as a troubleshooter for me. I have been grooming you for that job for the past year, that's why I've had you doing so many other jobs around here. You may not know it, but I really depend on you and now you'll be gone, but I know that what you learn on the next two jobs I have set up for you, will set you up as a site foreman for me anywhere I happen to send you. I knew you had the potential and it was coming close to the time when I could work you into that job, but this matter has just accelerated it a bit for both of us."
"Are you sure of this, Sam? I know what you promised my dad, but are you sure I'm ready?"
"You've been ready for six months now, Bob. I'm trying to get you away from your problems here at home until we can find out more about what Denise is doing and has done to you ... Bob, I hate a liar and a cheat. She is both right now."
"But I'm going to owe you huge for all this, Sam. How can I ever repay you for all your help?"
"When you get to be in a position like I'm in, or even sooner, if it comes along, I want you to help someone deserving a break like I'm giving you. That's what it will take to repay me, just like I'm repaying Big Earl for helping me along the path to where I am today. Besides, in a couple of years, I expect to see you going to school to get the education you need to do my job one day."
"Boy, you don't want much, do you, Sam?"
"Only what you're capable of, Bob, only that. So are we good?"
"Yeah, we're good."
"Good, now get back to work and quit being so lazy."
"Good, now go find me that big, dumb Swede, Olie Lopez, and tell him I need him in here yesterday. He's going to be my new Jamison."
I left and went to find Olie. Olie had a Swedish mother who was six four, 240, and a Latino father who was five-five and 120. They fell in love when she reset his arm after he broke it some thirty years ago. Olie was one result; he had two sisters and three brothers at home or in school elsewhere. He took after his mother's side of the family; he was six five and 210 with a very dark complexion and black hair. He wasn't hard to spot in our crew of mostly short men. He and I were the tallest guys in our crew of 50 guys. We had a lot of taller subs [sub-contractors – BR] but none taller than Olie.
I spotted Olie and called out to him, "Hey, Olie, Sam wants to see you, in the office yesterday!"
"Gotcha, Bob, be right there." He finished speaking with a couple of subs, then came down the ladder. "You know what this is all about, Bob?"
"I'm not sure, but I think you just got promoted to my job. I'm going up to Dallas as a troubleshooter."
"Hey, congrats, Bob. You deserve it. I'm real happy for you."
"Thanks; you better get a move on, he said yesterday, not today." I laughed as we parted. I went to the site foreman to check in and find out what he wanted me doing today.
Denise was pissed at me when I told her that I was leaving for Dallas Saturday morning. I said I would call her when I got there, but the job was a promotion and we needed it to survive. I said that I could turn it down and still work here locally if we had more money available. She cried and told me goodbye that morning, and I never looked back. I got a phone call from Sam a month later.
"Bob, Sam here, I got the results back from all your tests. First no STDs, no AIDS either, so that much is good news, but the rest is very bad. The kids aren't yours. Zero chance that you are the father. Denise is definitely the mother, but each child has a different father. God, I am so sorry to have to tell you this. I know you love those kids. At least you now know. I have some other news that I'm not sure if it's good or bad. You know her mother and dad have been keeping the kids. She sent them to her parents and had them transferred to a school near them. Man, I'm real sorry I had to be the bearer of such bad news, Bob, but I thought you needed to know.
Sam calls again two months later, "Denise was arrested by an undercover cop posing as a driver today. They got her for prostitution and soliciting. She and four of the other waitresses were brought in on the sting, along with Brenda. Brenda is the one controlling the whole thing. They all got nailed, so I guess your troubles are over. You can divorce Denise with a minimum amount of cost and no fuss. With her convicted and in prison, the divorce would be granted with no waiting period."
"Yeah, that's all good news, Boss, but I really did love the bitch. She got what she deserved, but it still leaves me cold. The kids are going to be the ones hit the worst; they lost their father and now they've lost their mother. It's not fair, but it is what it is. I suppose I can come home now, huh?"
"I actually need you here more than ever. Olie ended up taking the Dallas job. I really had an opening for a site foreman there. I kind of need you back home with me. I'll understand if you don't want to come back here."
"It's my home; I own that hovel I call home and I really miss the kids, Sam. Do you think I can maybe get them back?"
"There's a possibility. I mean you're listed as the father on their birth certificates, so I suppose you could argue that with you home and working steady, you could get custody back. Is that what you really want to do, Bob?"
"I really don't know right now, Sam; let me think on it for a couple of days, and I'll let you know. Besides I'll need to let Henry know that I want to go back to Austin. I don't want to leave him in a lurch here. I'll call you with my decision in a couple of days.