Amnesty

bySlirpuff©

I didn't believe it myself, well, not at first anyway. Even when I saw the evidence with my own eyes, I knew there had to be a logical explanation—I knew the real truth but I was the only one who believed that truth.

I don't remember much of what happened that night, only that Kevin was given a formal send-off from the ranks of carefree and single to those of wedded bliss.

For me it all started the week after Kevin and Amy came back from their honeymoon. After four months it still hadn't ended. Kate was going to get her pound of flesh from me no matter what the cost.

In a court of law I would have said, "Guilty As Charged", but I would also have thrown myself on the mercy of the court. Even some criminals get amnesty if they cooperate with the court and do whatever is necessary to make amends for their crimes. Didn't I deserve the same treatment? I hadn't killed anyone, though I guess what I did, or what was done to me—while under the influence—still wasn't a good enough defense. Leavenworth and even Alcatraz would have been a walk in the park compared to the prison she sentenced me to.

For months, I held out hope for an early release because of good behavior, or for a pardon from the governor—neither of which materialized. I was facing life without parole unless I could convince the prosecutor to drop the charges. But she wouldn't listen. So, I cut my own deal and split. I was now free. Or was I really, and even if I was, at what cost?

We had reserved a few rooms at the hotel. None of us were driving anywhere that night. With an open bar in the party room we rented the alcohol flowed freely, and only two hours into the night I had already exceeded my normal limit.

Take seventeen crazy guys, stir in an open bar, a few card games, add two strippers, and finally top it off with the video capabilities of their smart phones—and what you have is a recipe for disaster. And a disaster is what it became.

The last thing I vaguely remember was being in a beer chugging contest. I'm told I came in fourth out of five guys because my last swallow, instead of going down my throat, gushed out my nose when I ran out of air. I have never been much of a drinker and I know for certain that at sometime during that evening I puked somewhere, though even that memory is a bit sketchy. When the party ended someone must have poured me into one of the beds because I woke the next morning lying flat on my back in one of the rooms. For a brief moment I thought I was dead, or wished I was when I found it incredibly painful to even blink much less breathe.

The groom-to-be was still passed out on the bed next to me, and two others were camped out on the floor. Guess they hadn't made it to the other bed last night. It must have been one hell of a finish to the party. It's too bad I don't remember much of it.

I somehow managed to call room service. I ordered a couple pots of black coffee for each room and gingerly made my way over to the bathroom. Looks like I wasn't the only one who had made a deposit. There was vomit in the toilet as well as the sink. And the smell? Well, let's just say, what's in a person's stomach should stay in a person's stomach, and leave it at that. I cleaned it up the best I could, knowing guiltily the maid would have to do the rest.

I spent the next ten minutes in the shower trying to wash with the tiniest bar of soap on the planet, dropping it so many times I finally just sat my ass on the floor of the tub and finished. I flossed and brushed my teeth, my mouth still tasted foul. I needed coffee, lots of coffee.

One by one the zombies started to move, very ungracefully I might add. After last night it was a wonder they were still breathing much less standing, let alone walking. No one talked, I'm not sure if they even could, only it wasn't happening yet.

With two pots pf coffee under our belts and another couple of pee breaks the dead were starting to come back to life. I called down to the desk and requested a late checkout. The girl at the desk laughed, saying she'd already put us down for one. She asked if we needed any body bags sent up—looks like we'd made quite an impression.

Thankfully, I'd brought clean clothes. Most of the others hadn't and were sorry this morning. Kevin was still out cold. I finally checked for a pulse just to make sure he was still alive. It was faint and slow, but he'd make it to his wedding next Saturday. An ice-cold washcloth on his forehead brought him back to life with a jolt like he'd been hit with a defibrillator.

"Guys, we've got to be out of here in an hour, so I highly suggest we get moving." Gary puked once more in the toilet for good measure. David stood there motionless gazing out the window with a cup of coffee in his hand, and Kevin finally sat up, putting the washcloth on the back of his neck. He refused coffee but thankfully used the mouthwash in the bathroom. It became my responsibility to get him back to his apartment this morning. Fifteen minutes later I was checking on the other three rooms, and like ours there were a lot of near death experiences.

Everyone was finally upright and moving, just not very fast or steady. On our way out I slipped the housekeeper a couple twenties and told her 'sorry.' In the car I left my window down while I watched Kevin buckle his seat belt, close his eyes, and go back to sleep. I just prayed he wouldn't get sick in my car.

At thirty-two years old, Kevin was the last member of our group to finally tie the knot. He and Amy had been together for three years, living together for two, when out of the blue he decided to propose to her. "It was time," was the only reason he gave. Instead of having this huge formal gala, they decided to have a small intimate wedding, limiting it to immediate family and close friends. They figured instead of blowing a ton of money on a huge wedding, it would be better spent for the down payment on a cute house they had their eyes on. They were moving on with their lives together.

Amy told Kevin to get everything out of his system on the night of his bachelor party, because seven days later he was hers forever. She wasn't a big one for drinking, refused to allow anyone to smoke in their apartment, and was going to try her best to keep a confirmed bachelor in line after the wedding. So Kevin was told he had one night, and one night only, to blow off some steam and get everything out of his system. And he did just that.

I don't know who brought in the two girls, but they were no nuns. Kevin sampled their wares at least once that night. The blonde had to be no older than twenty-two and the black girl maybe a couple of years older. They weren't bad looking, were built for comfort, and weren't at all bashful, if you know what I mean. I saw more than a few guys fooling around with one or the other, but I stayed clear preferring to eat the finger foods and take advantage of the open bar. There was no way I was going to screw up what I had waiting for me at home. Besides, I was having a hard enough time standing much less doing anything else.

Days later someone told me the bartender had put my drunken body in a chair at one of the card games. That answered the nagging question of what happened to the fifty dollars I'd brought to gamble with.

As I said in the beginning, alcohol and cell phones should never be used at the same time. People got crazy, videos were shot, and in the end a lot of people went brain dead and did things they normally wouldn't have done. Not me, I was way too drunk. So, after dropping Kevin off at his apartment I returned home, putting that drunken night behind me—I thought.

The wedding was informal and fun. Amy wanted it on the beach at sunset, but getting permission from the city got to be a real nightmare. When she was informed they would also need a police officer on duty, and it was their responsibility to pay the officer, the two of them changed their plans slightly. So, at eight thirty on Saturday evening, a week after the bachelor party, thirty-six people walked out onto the beach, held a quick impromptu marriage ceremony, after which everyone headed for a local restaurant where they had rented a room.

The food was good, the party fun, and two hours later the bride and groom left for places unknown. Everything went off without a hitch.

When Kevin got back from the honeymoon a bunch of us guys got together. Some of the idiots showed everyone a few of the videos they'd taken. Kevin told them that it would probably be best if they deleted them. "Guys, it was one hell of a party, but I'm married now and I sure as hell don't want to piss off my new bride." He picked up his beer. "To Amy and my long and fruitful life with her!" he shouted, as everyone toasted his new wife and their future together. Life was good.

How the pictures and videos got around and on the net was anyone's guess. No one would admit to it, and it could only have been one of the sixteen other guys that were there. No, make that fifteen because I know I didn't video anything, and Kevin sure as hell wouldn't have done it.

No matter who did it, or for what reason, the videos took on a life of their own. One wife saw them on her husband's phone and then another, and finally everyone at that damn party had to answer delicate questions as to what happened that night and who did what.

Kevin personally called and chewed out every one of us not knowing which was responsible.

"Kevin, do I have stupid tattooed across my forehead?" is how I answered his questions. "I was in no shape to do much of anything that night. If it were me though, I'd be asking those three guys from your work. I heard more than one guy say they always had their cell phone in their hands and were texting most of the night."

"Steve, I didn't think it was you, but I had to ask. Amy is pissed, not because I did anything, but what I did do was now out there for the world to see. She's getting advice from everyone who's seen them on what to do with me."

"Shit, I hope the two of you don't break up because of this." It was now totally out of hand.

"Not a chance. She told me I had a get out of jail card for that night, but I'll be on a short leash for quite a while. I've already been to the clinic to get a fucking blood test just to be on the safe side. It'll blow over for me, but there were a lot of other guys that have a lot of explaining to do. You didn't by chance get involved?"

"Thankfully, I didn't do a damn thing. Hell, I was so drunk I probably wouldn't have been able to do anything even if I wanted to." We both laughed at that.

"Well, I'm going to call a few buddies of mine and find out why the fuck they posted the videos on You Tube. Some people just don't have any common sense, you know that?" I agreed with him on that point.

A couple of the wives sloughed it off as their husbands being brain dead, others got mad, but the third group went ballistic. Thank God, I hadn't done anything. When Kate asked me about it, I said I'd done nothing. She smiled. We made love that night. Life was still good.

On Thursday Kate came home from work and asked me straight out if I'd seen the videos.

"No, frankly I haven't and see no reason to. I was there, so I think I know what was going on, that is until I passed out."

"Well, Laurie gave me a copy and thinks I should watch one of them in particular. You can't think of any reason I need to, can you?"

"Honey, I was a good boy all night, unless you count me over-indulging a little, that is. If you want to watch them, go right ahead. This way you can see for yourself what I didn't do." I was the one smiling, for now, anyway.

I was grilling a couple of chicken breasts for our dinner when I heard a lot of loud swearing coming from the den. The first thing I thought was that my oldest, Gary, was watching what he shouldn't be on Cinemax. I was about to read him the riot act when my wife blew by me saying something about me being a fucking asshole and a few other choice words I couldn't make out as she ran up the stairs.

"What the hell's got into her?" I wondered, walking into the den to see what had pissed her off. There, still running on the screen, was one of the videos from the bachelor party. I stopped it, backed it up about five minutes worth and started watching it.

Loud, that's the first thing I noticed as guys were shouting and staggering around the hotel room. Kevin was thrown on the bed by a couple of guys and he looked long gone, no wonder he had a headache the following morning. It looked like the party had moved from the hall into one of the hotel rooms. That's when I saw myself stagger into the room and sit on the bed next to Kevin before falling backwards onto the bed. Guys were drinking, laughing, and having a grand old time. Then things went to shit.

Remember those two strippers? When I saw them come in the room I got a little nervous. When the video panned on the bed, I saw me lying next to a passed out Kevin. I too must have been semi-comatose or totally passed out, I wasn't even moving. Then I watched as the blonde went into Kevin's jeans, pulled out his tool, and began giving him a blowjob, or trying to anyway.

My brain began to process what I was seeing. "Why would Kate get so upset seeing Kevin getting a blowjob? Hell, it was his last night of freedom, wasn't it?" I asked myself. Then I saw why she'd run upstairs. My eyes were glued to the screen as the black girl knelt down next to me, opened my slacks, pulled out my dick, and started sucking on it. I stopped the tape, backed it up, and watched it twice more. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There was a lot of laughing as whoever was filming panned around the rest of the room before the video went blank. My part of the video lasted all of fifteen seconds but that was fifteen seconds too long.

Fuck, I went back once more and played it again. Shit! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Then I got worried. I replayed that night over and over in my head trying to remember something, anything relating to what I saw happening on the screen. Nothing. I remembered nothing.

"What the hell? She had to see I was passed out." I said out loud as I played it again at half speed. My eyes were open but even at that angle anyone could see I was just staring out into space. Kate, I assumed, didn't see it that way.

I was locked out of our bedroom that night. I slept on the couch in the den. We don't have the luxury of a spare bedroom, and I sure as hell didn't want to sleep in our damp basement. I did, however, write her a note trying to explain what I saw in the video and slipped it under the door after knocking for the last time around ten-thirty. I played that damn video from beginning till end, hoping to see something that would show Kate how drunk I was. I was in the video only a couple of times, since I wasn't where all the action was taking place, I was kind of left out of most of it. Nonetheless, I didn't get a wink of sleep that night.

"I don't want to talk about it," was the only response I received the following morning while she made breakfast for the kids. I was running late and was basically worthless at work. I tried to get home early but got caught in a traffic jam and ended up being over an hour late.

"For a while I didn't think you were going to show your face around here tonight," was Kate's stinging statement when I walked in through the garage door.

"Look, I still don't remember a thing and sure as hell don't recall what went on in that hotel room. You had to see I was completely out of it. Hell, I didn't even move when she was, you know, doing what she was doing."

"Steve, I know what I saw."

"Kate, you know me. Do you really think if I was going to cheat on you I would have done it front of all those witnesses, and while people were videotaping it, for Christ's sakes? How stupid do you think I am? After dinner why don't you and I watch it together and I can explain everything to you."

"I thought you said you were passed out?"

"I was, but sometimes what you see isn't what's really happening." I was grasping at straws.

"I broke that DVD into a million pieces. Do you really think I'd leave something like that in the house? How about if Gary or Angie happened across it? How would you have explained it to them? When Daddy goes out with his friends, he drinks too much and has sex with hookers! Yeah, that would go over big with them, wouldn't it?"

"Kate, I didn't have sex with any hooker," I said for the tenth time.

"Just like Bill Clinton. You men are all alike." She didn't believe a thing I was saying.

"How about if I get a couple of the guys to tell you what really happened?"

"Like I'd believe them after what I saw everyone else doing? You must think I'm pretty damn naïve or maybe just plain stupid."

"Okay, how about if I bring the strippers to talk to you?"

"If I'm not going to believe you or your cohorts, what makes you think I'm going to believe two damn whores?" I was striking out big time.

"Kate, you have to believe me!"

"Steve, I do not want to talk about this again. You've embarrassed and humiliated me in front of most of our friends. I can only thank God someone had the decency to pull it off the Internet. Can you imagine if your parents or mine saw it? Just drop it, I don't want to discuss it ever again, you hear me?"

"Loud and clear," was my one and only reply.

You think this was the end of it? Much to my dismay, it was just the beginning. That night while she was getting ready for bed I walked in and started changing.

"What are you doing here?"

"Huh? I live here!"

"NO, I mean what are you doing in our bedroom?"

"Going to bed, what does it look like?"

"In here?" she immediately replied.

"Yes, this is my bedroom too, and if you don't want me in here, you can sleep in the den." There was no way I was sleeping on that couch again. It was damn cool in our bedroom that night. She slept on her side of the bed and I on mine. That's the way it went right on through the weekend. We were alone together in the house.

I was thankful to go back to work Monday and see a few friendly faces. I talked to a few friends of mine and found more than one husband was in the doghouse, including two others who had been banished from their homes and were now sleeping in motels. I knew both of them had done things with the girls and had it coming to them, but me, I'd done nothing, well, willingly anyway.

I still maintained my innocence of sorts, and was lambasted more than once, but I wasn't backing down. It may have happened but I didn't remember it, though now I wish I did. If I was being put through the wringer, I should at least have had the satisfaction of remembering it.

This went on for the better part of a month. Our kids knew something was going on because on more than one occasion I heard Kate tell my son that Mommy and Daddy were fighting because Daddy did something really, really, bad. Thank God, neither one knew what it was.

I did everything I could think of to try to make it up to her. I cleaned, cooked dinner, washed her car, and even got the kids out of her hair whenever I could. I tried flowers, but she tossed them into the garbage, and when I gave her a gift certificate to a spa she ripped it up in front of me. I said the word sorry so many times it lost its meaning and became almost a four-letter word in her eyes. Looks like I was going to be in trouble for a while.

I was taking care of my sexual needs by hand, not having a clue what Kate was doing to satisfy herself. She had almost as high a sex drive as mine and must have been going nuts after going from three times a week to zippo. I tried to get friendly a couple of times, only to get frostbite when I touched her. I guess I wasn't forgiven yet.

I let it go for one more month. She was going out with her friends and I with mine, but when I suggested an intimate dinner for just the two of us, I got every excuse but the real one. I'd heard the words bastard, cheater, and asshole, among others for the last couple of months. My patience was wearing thin.

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