Hi folks, this story is based on the Concrete Blonde song of the same title. Listening to the song might help you enjoy the story more, but it isn't necessary. From now on when I do s story about a song, I'll try to give you a warning on my twitter page so you can listen to the song beforehand. I'm grateful to Mikothebaby for her usual incredible editing job. She has also taken over my brain and has me watching NASCAR and drinking cocoa.
As I opened the doors to the church, so the long phalanx of people waiting outside could enter, I nodded at the preacher standing in the pulpit. Besides me, he was the only person who knew what was about to happen, or so he thought. I looked across the church and saw that my wife had noticed the exchange between the reverend and myself. She smiled nervously. I guess she didn't think that I liked him much. In her mind though, any contact between the two of us was good.
As the hundreds of church members watched, a long line of people, mostly black, who wore long choir robes, slowly filed into the church. The murmuring immediately stopped when a woman at the head of the line raised her hands and in the loudest, purest voice the church had ever witnessed, began to sing. Her voice was so powerful that it carried throughout the church even without amplification of any kind.
"Whoah oh oh, Ja-yeeeee-zusssss. Pleee-eeez forgive meee-eee." She paused for dramatic effect. " ... For the things ah'm about too-ooo-ooo-ooo ... Saaaa-aayyy."
At that exact moment, I felt like the Phoenix; the legendary bird of fire that rises from the ashes and burns every fucking thing in its path to the ground. My eyes narrowed and yet I smiled. But it wasn't a friendly smile. To reference this type of smile, think shark, think wolf, think the Grinch ... just before their moments of triumph.
Several of the bastards within these walls had done me wrong and the day of reckoning had arrived. I aimed my remote at the pulpit and the large screen behind the preacher dropped down from the ceiling and lit up. He looked at me strangely because all he knew about was the choir that was walking slowly through the church. Music came from the speakers arranged around the church and the choir responded as they filed through one door and arced towards the other.
The congregation had never heard music like this before. It wasn't any form of southern gospel. In fact, it wasn't a religious song at all. It was very heavy hard rock, almost metal. Some of them opened their mouths in shock. Others started bopping their heads back and forth in time to the music or dancing.
This was my moment so I milked it. I raised my hands and started to dance too.
The vocalist, who had reached the center of the church, started in on the song's first verse. If the preacher and his congregation had expected a hymn to the glory of the Lord, or an uplifting song to lift the faithful, they were shocked. It was a song about that other aspect of the bible; VENGEANCE. Almost every mouth dropped open as the short fat woman, sang in that same powerful voice. Her tone had changed, it was no longer respectful. It was conniving and nasty. Even I was amazed at her ability to phrase and deliver the song with exactly the emotion I felt.
"I killed you in my mind today. I cut you up, I watched you bleed."
"I killed you in my heart today. For everything you did to me."
"I murdered you a hundred times. I shot you dead and never cried."
"I killed you in my mind today. I laughed and watched you die."
The preacher stuttered and started to say something but then noticed people staring and pointing at the screen behind him. I watched his face intently as he turned to see what they were all staring at.
Okay, before this gets too far along and you guys all sentence me to hell, let's go back to where this started. Or at least to where it all started for me. Let's go back three weeks exactly. I'm an average guy. There's nothing special about me. I'm so average that my name is John Smith, which is one of the most average names in the country. If I needed to disappear, I wouldn't even have to change my name because there are so fucking many John Smiths that I can just vanish.
I'm five foot ten, I weigh a hundred and eighty five pounds which is again, average. I have brown hair and brown eyes. I'm thirty five years old, which isn't too old or very young and once again makes me ... average. I married my college sweetheart and we've been married for thirteen years.
As I said, this all started on a Sunday, exactly three weeks ago. Sundays are my favorite days of the week. Before you go too far, let me stop you. I'm not religious. Before today, the last time I had my ass inside of a church was ... well it's been a long assed time. I think that church is fine for people who like church. I just have other things to do on a Sunday. I spend my Sundays handling two very important things year round. I wake up very early on Sunday and go out and do my longest run of the week.
I love to run. I started in high school and ran track all through college. Now I run marathons and local 5K and 10K races. On the average Sunday during the summer I might run 16 to 20 miles early Sunday morning before the heat of the day hits. Running extremely long distances takes a lot of the glycogen out of your system, so when I come in from my run I'm in no mood to go to church. I spend the bulk of the day depending on the season with football, baseball or NASCAR, with the odd track meet thrown in when I can find them. This is a serious bone of contention with my wife, because she practically lives in our small town's church.
By the time my legs recover, it's usually about an hour or so before the sun goes down. That makes it the perfect time to wash my car. Washing my Mustang is my second big Sunday activity for most of the year. I enjoy doing it and it takes me a good couple of hours at least to do it. I should point out that my wife hates my car. In the interest of equal time, I should also point out that I don't give a fuck about my wife hating my car.
Don't get me wrong, I love Kim, but over the past thirteen years that we've been married, things have settled a bit. We started out hot and spicy like most couples. We were so in love that we couldn't be away from each other for even a few minutes. Over the years, we got comfortable with each other which isn't always a good thing.
We developed hobbies. Mine, of course, are running and Mustangs. Hers are the church and charity work. We both also agreed that we should put off having kids for a while. According to the schedule that we set, this year would be the perfect year for us to start. I'm thirty five, so I'm settled and responsible enough for fatherhood. She's thirty one, so while her biological clock hasn't started screaming in desperation just yet, she's primed and ready.
She also doesn't really have to worry too much about losing her figure because it's already gone. For the first ten years of our marriage, she dieted and tried to keep herself pretty for me. Now the only time she even thinks about putting on makeup is when she's going to church or to do some work for a charity.
My running keeps me slim and trim. The fact that I love her, means that she doesn't have to worry about whether she's picked up a pound or thirty.
Anyway, three weeks ago, I'd decided to do my long run on the trails out near the local quarry. It would give me a change of scenery from the loop I usually run around the local park and also give my joints a break from pounding the asphalt road surface. The grass and dirt of the trails were softer and more forgiving.
I drove out there and had a good run. In my excitement over running in a new area, I forgot to bring my usual drink and after run snack. The first thing you guys should probably know is that I am not a world class athlete. I don't follow a strict diet and I don't always eat healthy foods. My usual after workout snack is a bag of chips and a wild cherry Pepsi. In my mind the chips are carbs and they also help replace the sodium I lost during the run. If you've ever really looked at Powerade or any of those other shitty tasting sports drinks, most of them are just sugar, water and a few electrolytes. So if I drink the Pepsi and throw in a banana, I'm good and I don't have that shitty sports drink taste in my mouth for the rest of the day.
So I pulled into a local gas station for a Pepsi and a bag of chips. I looked like hell. Or at least like a thirty five year old guy who'd just ran twenty miles and didn't have his Pepsi.
I looked around the convenience store part of the gas station and grabbed chips. They didn't have wild cherry Pepsi. I had to settle for regular Pepsi. As I stepped up to the counter, I recognized the woman who worked there. Shit, we live in a small town so pretty much everyone knows everyone else anyway.
"I guess you didn't go to church today, huh?" she said. Jane Foster, the woman working the station had been two cycles behind me for most of my life. When I hit high school, she was in elementary school and so on. She was about eight years younger than me and four years younger than my wife. That put her at about twenty seven and she really didn't look it. Maybe not looking her age was why they gave her that weird nickname, Poke.
She had brown hair like mine, but where mine was just brown, hers somehow was shiny and full of different highlights. Her hair just looked fucking sparkly. Her blue eyes also didn't hurt much. In fact, she was just the cutest thing to ever crawl from between her mother's thighs.
I knew her whole family and hated most of them. I remember beating her brother, Grant's ass several times during high school. Her other brother Brooks, considered himself to be too smart to get into fights. I think he was just smart enough to know that he was smaller than Grant and would probably get his ass whipped too.
Looking at Jane that morning though made me wonder why I'd never paid her much attention growing up. Maybe it's because eighteen year olds don't really look at ten year olds unless there's something wrong with them. And twenty year olds don't really have the time or the patience for twelve year olds. And by the time I was twenty two I was so crazy about Kim, that no other women on the face of the earth existed.
Over the years, I'd heard a lot of things about Janie and never really paid them too much attention. I figured what other people did was no skin off of my ass so why not live and let live. The mature Janie was certainly something to see. She was tan and curvy. She had on a long men's work shirt, with about four buttons open. I could see evidence of very deep cleavage as she leaned forward to take my money and stayed there for a few seconds longer than was necessary.
She had on shorts and while they weren't daisy dukes, they were tight enough to show off the curves of her rounded ass and her narrow waist.
"I guess you didn't go to church either," I said. She smiled and her hand lingered on mine as she gave me the change.
"Why should I?" she asked. "Those people are all full of shit."
"Most people are," I said.
"But you'd think that people who spend all of their time trying to tell everyone else how to live, would at least live up to the bullshit they spew," she said. And from the way that she said it, I got the idea that she was talking from personal experience.
"I don't go," I said. "I figure that the relationship between me and the almighty is a personal thing and I can handle it just fine without any outside guidance."
"I agree," she smiled. "Maybe you ought to get Kim out of there before it's too late."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Just take a serious look at that church and those people," she said. "I don't need to start gossiping. There's enough gossip around town as it is. And not all of it is true. So, people hearing dirt, especially when it comes from someone like me, just goes in one ear and out the other." I looked at her strangely.
"Come on John," she said. "I'm sure you've heard all of the stories about how wild I am and how many guys around town have fucked me. My favorite is the one about how I didn't go to college because I was pregnant and no one knew who the father was. Supposedly the guys from the local junior college were over at my house every day."
"I never paid very much attention to gossip," I said. "But I guess that sounds possible."
"John, I didn't go to college because in my last year of high school, when I was still a virgin, my mom got sick. It was decided that I should stay home and take care of her, because my older brothers were already in college. We also needed someone to cook and clean for my dad and my younger brothers. The guys were always at our house to hang out with my brothers, they rarely ever noticed me. A few years after that, my mom died and my dad got sick. I took care of him for three years until he passed last spring and I started working here."
"I'm trying to save up enough money to get the fuck out of this small minded, small town. I'm twenty eight years old and have had sex with a total of three men and none of them more than three or four times. There aren't very many women in this town who can say that. Some of the married women have..."
She just stopped talking as if she'd said too much.
"Janie, I don't know you," I said. "So you don't have anything to prove to me. And you took what I said the wrong way. I was trying to make a joke not a personal attack."
"What did you mean, then?" she asked.
"I just meant that when you were talking about all of the guys coming over to your house all the time, that it was possible because you're pretty enough for them to want to do that," I said. Her tanned face turned red.
"John ... did you know that I've always had a crush on you," she gushed out. "I used to use you to scare my brothers, when they were being mean to me. If they made me angry, I'd just say, "I'm going to be there next time John Smith kicks your ass and I'll do my laughing then." I think that's why I got my nickname."
I looked at her puzzled. "Don't they call you... ?" I started.
"They call me Poke now," she smiled. "It's a morphed nickname. They started out calling me Pocahontas because I was always talking about John Smith. Over the years, they just shortened it."
We stood there looking at each other until the bell rang when another customer came in and broke the spell.
"Poke, I need some beer," said a short guy who needed a haircut. "NASCAR is coming on."
"What kind Mr. Brady?" she asked.
"The kind you drink," he said smiling. "Hey, John." He said to me.
"Hey, Tom," I said back.
"Remember what I said about the church," she smiled as she went to show him where the beer was."
I thought about it for a couple of days. It was always in the back of my mind. It was a couple of days later that I was sitting at my desk at the plant. The phone on my desk rang and I picked it up without giving it much thought. "John Smith," I said.
"You need to go home for lunch today," said a muffled female voice and then the phone went silent.
I wrote it off as one of the guys at the plant who worked for me trying to play some kind of joke on me. They were always doing things like that. They'd tell me to go down onto the production floor because there was a problem. I'd go down there and when I got back my chair would be missing or something stupid like that. They really got me once when I went out to lunch and when I came back they'd entered a command into my computer that flipped the screen upside down. I couldn't let them know that they'd gotten me, so I didn't want to ask them how to undo it. I ended up having to call the Microsoft help line after a couple of days to take care of it.
But the voice on the phone had been a woman's, and while it wasn't unlikely for them to get their wives in on the joke, for some reason, I just took it seriously.
I was sure that I was just being stupid and falling for yet another practical joke, but I headed home anyway. When I pulled into the driveway of my average sized house, my life changed again. I saw my wife's Honda in the driveway but there was another car there as well. It was one of those older Cadillacs. I knew who the car belonged to and I was worried.
The car belonged to Reverend Pendergast. And I was anticipating having to listen to another of his lectures on why I should come to church. I figured that I'd just sneak into the house through the back door and grab a quick snack and take it back to work with me.
That way I could avoid the bullshit. Once again, I have nothing against religion. I think it's great for religious people. But I just don't like having someone else's fixation crammed down my throat. I really don't need the fire and brimstone. I don't need to have my immortal soul saved. If I'm going to hell, I'll probably be driving a Mustang. On the other hand, I don't try to force people into my beliefs either. I mean just think about it. My wife drives a fucking Honda. How much more open minded could I be?
So, I slipped in through the back of the house and made it into the kitchen. Once I got there, all plans of sneaking in and out vanished. There in my living room, my wife was being fucked by the reverend's driver.
There he was huffing and puffing away at her, while praising the Lord. And Kim was praising the Lord too. It just looked weird. There was something wrong here. I'd had enough friends go through divorces to know that charging in and kicking his ass was not the way to go. I took a short video on my iPhone and a few still shots that showed their faces.
Then I snuck back out of the house. I took my normal hour for lunch to think about things. I examined every bit of the incident from the beginning. I knew now that the female voice on the phone was probably one of my neighbors trying to warn me. The idea that it was one of my coworkers playing a joke was gone.
Thirteen years down the drain, I thought. I knew that I had to seriously consider my next move. I spoke to several of my friends over the next few days who'd been through divorces. I asked them all kinds of questions. I asked which lawyers they used and what they got in the settlement. I asked them why their divorces had happened. I also spoke to a few friends who'd had problems in their marriages that had managed to stay together.
The results were surprising. The majority of the cases actually involved the men cheating on their wives. I figured that those had very little to do with me. In the rest, fifty percent of them ended in divorce, either from the beginning or a few years or months later.
In the majority of the cases where the couples were able to stay together, the couple really loved each other so much that they were able to put it behind them. In a few of those cases, the wife was drunk or manipulated into the infidelity and they were isolated incidents.
The rest were cases where the couple stayed together for their children or for financial reasons. There were also cases where the husband was allowed to even things up.
There were some cases where the couples really loved each other and made a valiant effort to stay together but once the trust was destroyed in the marriage, there was simply no way to restore it. The husbands took to questioning every place their wives went. They were always trying to catch them doing something. Over time, the wives began to resent it and most of them ended up in divorce anyway.
I wondered then if I loved Kim enough to even try. Over the years, as I've mentioned before, we'd grown apart and developed our own interests. This might be the time and the reason for both of us to move on.
I wondered then if I truly even loved Kim anymore. Did I really still love her or were we just comfortable together. She wasn't being forced at gunpoint to have sex with the guy. And she'd done it in my fucking living room. In a way, it was kind of funny. As I've said, Kim is no spring chicken and any beauty she once had has faded. But you'd think that with all the shit she does for the church, at least she'd rate high enough to fuck the preacher instead of his God damned driver.
I didn't figure it all out that afternoon, but I think that sitting there in my car, I made my decision. I realized after a while that I needed to get back to work. But even as I drove back, I started to wonder what I wanted.
Not only what I wanted out of this situation but what I wanted period. Kim was supposed to be the person I grew old with. If that was truly what I wanted, why had I not given any thought to what it would take for me to forgive her? Why had I not even considered saving my marriage?
I think at that moment I already knew the answers. Kim and I had grown apart over the years and maybe I was just using this episode to get out of a marriage, which at least from my viewpoint, was already dead. If this hadn't happened, would I have continued this lackluster union for an even longer period of time?
I began to wonder exactly how many of the marriages out there are held together simply because it would take too much effort and too much drama to get out of them. A recent article I read on the internet claims that more and more women are initiating divorces. The article contends that a lot of these women want divorces simply because they don't feel appreciated. They feel like they cook and clean and take care of the kids and no one commends them for it or rewards them for doing it.
I have an idea. Instead of getting a divorce, those women should try getting a fucking job. Let your husband stay home and clean the house and cook dinner with the whole fucking day to decide exactly what he wants to do and exactly when. Give the husband a month to get used to it and before the month was over he'd have a schedule worked out where he dropped off the kids at school, came home and surfed for new porn for an hour, cleaned the house and planned dinner. Then he'd make a noon golf date, come home take a nap, pick the kids up, make the dinner he'd planned and then still be hot and ready for sex by the time his wife dragged her tired ass home.
Kim doesn't have very much to do. We don't have any kids. We're adults, so we clean up after ourselves. I do all of the yard work and we often switch off on who does the cooking. Maybe that's why she was fucking the preacher's chauffeur. She needed something to fucking do.
Whatever the reasons were, it was going to be up to Kim to convince ME that we needed to stay together. As far as I was concerned, it was all over but the shouting. I thought about something that someone had recently told me. I need to get out of this small minded, small town. I know that the people around here would think badly of me for simply abandoning Kim.
The good thing to do, the righteous thing to do, would be to confront her and forgive her. We'd probably end up in counseling trying to save our marriage. Then, for the rest of my fucking life I'd be looking under bushes and following her everywhere she fucking went just to make sure she wasn't doing it again. Unh uh ... I just don't see spending my life doing that.
Like I said, the only reason to go through that bullshit would be if you loved the woman more than life itself and couldn't see yourself living without her. In a case like that, you'd be better off keeping her because the pain of being without her would be far worse than the hassle of trying to keep tabs on her. And I'm sorry but I just don't love Kim that fucking much.
Almost from the second I walked into the house that day, I started taking swipes at Kim. I came in and sniffed the air in the house.
"It's that new air freshener I'm trying," Kim said when she noticed me. "Do you like it?"
"It smells like shit over a cigarette odor," I said. "Have you started smoking?" I didn't really smell cigarettes but I knew that Bobby Randall, the preacher's chauffeur, smoked like a fucking chimney.
Kim looked around the room nervously and sniffed several times herself. "I thought that maybe we'd sit out on the deck and grill something for dinner after you get off of the treadmill," she said.
"I think I'm going to run outside today," I said. She looked at me like I'd slapped her. We'd made an agreement a few years back that I would alternate running outside with treadmill runs so we weren't apart so much.
"But..." she began.
"Kim, I don't tell you when you can go to church or go to your charity stuff do I?" I asked. "So, I don't think it's fair for you to get any say in when or where I run."
"But that's different," she said. "My charity work..."
This time I interrupted her. " ... Does absolutely nothing for us," I said. "You do it because it's something you enjoy. It doesn't pay a single bill or put one molecule of food on our table. You're gone every Sunday and three nights out of the week. Who knows how often you're gone while I'm at work. I never try to interfere in what you do, so it just seems wrong for you to have a say in my runs."
"But John, we decided that you should do about half of your runs in the house so we'd be together more often. So we could spend more time together," she said.
"Okay, then why don't you give up your choir rehearsal or one of those other things YOU do?" I asked.
"Because those things are good for my soul," she said. "According to the bible..."
"Where in the bible does it say thou shalt leave thy husband to go out and..." I began. She slapped a hand over my mouth.
"John, don't blaspheme," she said. She looked hurt. "Oh, alright. It just seems selfish to me though that I'm going out to do good works to save my soul and help the community and you put it in the same category as you running around in circles while listening to the devil's music. And don't think I don't know that you have those Ozzy Osborne songs on your iPod, John."
She stomped off.
A few minutes later she came back. "John, maybe we can still go out on the deck and watch the stars when you come back.
I didn't say anything. I noticed that after fucking Bobby Randall she was suddenly trying to find out whether or not I was in the mood. I wondered what the cause of that was. Was it guilt sex? Or had Bobby simply not gotten the job done.
I remembered back to what I'd seen. Kim really had been extremely subdued while he fucked her. She'd just lain there and except for the occasional, "praise the Lord," hadn't screamed or moaned or moved. That certainly wasn't like her. I had an idea of a way to take a dig at her when I came home.
I went out to the quarry again. I'd enjoyed running there Sunday, so I wanted to try a shorter run there. I'd loaded up my iPod with songs about falling out of love or relationships that had gone bad. I listened to a lot of Evanescence and Taylor Swift. Amy Lee of Evanescence is like a dark goddess of depression and shit, if Taylor Swift ever kept a boyfriend for more than a couple of weeks, her fucking career would be over.
After my run was done, I stopped back at the gas station. As soon as I walked in, Janie smiled at me and I knew. As the look of shock washed over my face, she frowned.
"It was you," I said. "You were the one who told me ... on the phone." Her mouth grew tight and she looked down.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I heard it from a couple of older ladies who were in here a couple of weeks ago. I thought about telling you before that, but you and I really don't know each other well enough to discuss things like that. But it ate at me and you just don't deserve that. So this way you can stop her from going over to that church."
"Why would I stop her from going to church?" I asked. "The Reverend probably doesn't know what his chauffeur is doing and..."
"What chauffeur?" she asked. "Kim is fucking the Rev..."
"What?" I asked. We just stared at each other for a few minutes.
"It doesn't really matter," I said. "I'm done with her anyway. In fact, I'm pretty much done with this whole fucking town."
"Sorry," she said again. "At least you have the option of leaving. So what did you come out here for?"
"I was running in the quarry," I said. "I need some C batteries."
"Maybe I should try running," she said. "Before I start to lose what little shape I have."
I couldn't help it. I just started laughing. "Janie, the shape you have is perfect," I said. She immediately started blushing. She handed me the batteries and I gave her a ten. When she started to give me change, I told her to keep it for her get out of town fund.
When I got home, I left the batteries on the bed where I was sure that Kim would find them.
I took a shower and changed into some comfortable clothes. I made some popcorn and melted some cheese over it and grabbed a Dos Equis Amber and went into the den and plopped myself down in front of my big screen TV.
I put in a Blu Ray disc of the Fast and the Furious part five. Kim came in from the yard a few minutes later.
"What are you doing?" she asked. "I thought we were going to sit out on the deck and spend some time together."
"I thought that was what you said that you wanted to do," I said. "I felt like watching my favorite movie."
"But you've seen that movie a hundred fu..." she caught herself. "You've watched that movie lots of times already," she said.
"I've sat out on the deck with you lots of times too," I said. "Besides, I have to get ready. Part six comes out in May and I have to remember how this one ended and what was going on in it."
"But you've been at work all day," she said. "I haven't seen you since this morning. I spent the whole day making the house clean and nice for you and..."
"Are you sure that was what you spent the whole day doing?" I asked. I tilted my head and looked at her. The nervousness on her face was epic.
"Maybe not the whole day, maybe I uh ... what do you think I did? I uh..." she started stammering and got quiet. I turned back to the screen.
"John, after doing all of that running and working all day, you need to eat something that's at least halfway nutritious," she said. "Gooey popcorn and beer isn't what you need."
"Since when does what I need matter?" I asked. "I have nothing to do with your church."
"John, I love you," she said. And I almost believed it. "But you need to get yourself right with God. No matter how much I put into the church, it won't save YOU. And maybe we need to schedule some sessions with the Reverend to talk about our marriage. Because it seems like we're going through a rough patch."
"Maybe we should," I said and turned the volume up louder as she walked away.
The next evening when I got home the Cadillac was in my driveway. As I walked through the house, Kim came running out to me. I noticed that Bobby was sitting on the car, lighting his usual cigarette. He struck a match, and as usual, flung the match stick over his shoulder. It bounced off of the car and settled onto the ground as he sucked the cigarette like his life depended on it.
"We have a guest," she said.
"Yeah, I can see that," I said. I followed her out to my deck and saw the preacher sitting on one of my deck chairs. He looked at me and smiled. He stood up and held out his hand and I looked at it. He looked nervous immediately and suddenly I knew that what Janie had told me was probably true. This went deeper than I'd thought. I was going to need some help.
"Brother Smith," he began.
"I didn't know that we were related," I said sharply.
"We are all brothers in the lord's service," he said.
"I'm not in the lord's service," I said. "I don't even go to church. I think I'm an atheist." He looked shocked again then.
"You have truly lost your way," he said as if he felt sorry for me. "Perhaps that has a lot to do with the unfortunate reason that I've come here for."
"Why ARE you here?" I asked.
"Sister Smith asked me to sit down with the two of you in hopes of finding a solution to the problems that you are currently undergoing in your union and..."
"I don't know who Sister Smith is," I said. "But if you're talking about my wife, Kim; I think that any problems we have right now have been caused by you and yours. And I'd rather sit down with a qualified therapist to discuss them."
I noticed again that a look passed between him and Kim when I'd hinted that he was the source of our problems.
"But..." he began as I turned towards the house.
"Go with God, Reverend," I said. "I'm going out to run."
As I went into the house to change into my running gear, I heard Kim talking to him. By the time I got changed they were done and he was on his way out. I met him again as he walked towards his car. He noticed my Mustang's shiny finish and the gleam of my chrome rims.
"Bro ... er ... Mr. Smith what do you use on that car to make it shine like that?" he asked. "I'd love my Caddy to be that shiny. It's a classic you know?"
"I just wash it and wax it," I said. I held back my true opinion. I really thought that his Cadillac looked like a pimp's car from the 70's.
"Perhaps someday you could wash and wax my Caddy," he said smiling.
"Perhaps," I said as I started the Mustang's motor. "Perhaps someday pigs will fly out of my ass too," I finished when I was far enough away from him.
I didn't go out to the quarry to run. I didn't actually run at all. I went to visit my friend Jerry Willis. Jerry was a really interesting guy. When we were in high school, Jerry was the guy who knew where to get weed and beer. He was always the guy that people went to if they had problems.
Jerry grew up to become a PI. He didn't get very much work in our area, but he was pretty good and he owed me a few favors.
I just told Jerry that I wanted him to spend some time watching Kim. I gave him our home number and her cell number and let him do the rest.
When I got home that night, Kim had made her world famous pot roast. She was sitting on the porch waiting for me when I drove up.
"I got your message last night," she said. "I thought that perhaps we should talk about it over dinner."
I was hungry so I followed her into the kitchen. She really had gone all out for dinner. She was also wearing make-up and had brushed her hair and changed into a different outfit.
As we started to eat, she just came out with it. "John I don't know why you needed to go looking through my drawers, but okay you found it. If you want me to I'll throw it away. I haven't used it in a long time. I only needed it for you know..." she said hiding her face. " ... Those times when we don't..."
I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. I looked at her again. "The batteries you left on the bed..." she said. "I thought that you were acting like this because you were angry because you found my ... uhm toy."
"I've known about your vibrator for years, Kim," I said. "Most women have them. Why would I be angry about that?"
"Well maybe you thought that it meant that you didn't..." she began.
"Didn't what?" I asked. "God damn it Kim, you're a grown woman. Just say what you want to say. We're supposedly married. We're allowed to talk about sex."
"I don't have the vibrator because you don't satisfy me John," she said. "You're the best at..." she stopped quickly realizing that she'd slipped. She started trying to clean it up. "I mean I've only had one man before you to ever compare it to, but between the two of you you're the absolute best. But sometimes like now when we're angry at each other and we don't ... Well like last night for instance. I wanted to really badly and you didn't, so that's when I need it. But I didn't use it last night."
"Well, you should definitely use it tonight then," I said. I kept eating after that. She didn't say anything. She started to, but let it drop.
"John, why didn't you want to talk to the Reverend about whatever it is that's going on between us?" she asked quietly.
"Because he's so full of shit his eyes are brown," I said.
"John ... there is something off between us, isn't there?" she asked. "I can feel it. I only asked the Reverend to come over to talk to us because I don't want things to get worse."
"Kim, I don't see how things between us COULD get any worse," I said. "If you want us to talk to someone, you should find and impartial, qualified therapist for us to talk to, not some religious quack."
She just nodded her head and started to collect the dishes. I helped clean up the kitchen then she went into the bedroom and made a few phone calls and I watched TV in the living room.
Life continued on after that for about three days before it all became clear. Kim was doing her best to fix things between us, but without actually admitting what was going on. The wedge between us got bigger and bigger. By the end of that week though, Jerry came back to me. He'd been amazingly thorough.
"Dude, I hate to tell you this but your wife is fucking..." he began.
"The preacher and his chauffer," I said.
"You left out the Deacon," he said. "Those three guys are getting more pussy than Hugh Hefner. And they're getting away with it because of the way they do it. Reverend Pile is slicker than duck shit. He gets all of these middle aged women who are slightly past their prime feeling all good about themselves again. He tells them at first that they're beautiful, which their husbands probably don't do anymore. He starts out with making them feel good about themselves. That gets them kind of addicted to him."
"What do you mean addicted to him?" I asked.
"Well, most people think that these women are just going to church," he said. "Fuck church, they're just going to get their fix of the Reverend and his bullshit. Most of them join the fucking Choir; even if they can't sing. That gets them more time with him. Then they get into the charity work. And the next thing you know they're doing favors and working around the church. They all do it on different schedules so they can get some alone time with him. That way he can concentrate his bullshit on one woman at a time. And then he really goes to town. He continues with all of the bullshit about how beautiful they are and how no one appreciates how truly special they are. Then he starts telling them about how difficult his life is and all of the responsibilities and all of that bullshit. Then he starts in on how despite having all of this responsibility, he's still only a human man and sometimes his needs aren't being met." He punctuated his words with a shit-eating grin.