Bang, Bang, Out Went the Lights

byqhml1©

Jenny was a little kinder.

"Oh, I don't know. He seemed pretty nice when he wasn't trying to flirt."

Sarah snorted.

"Jenny girl, you've been out of the game too long. If you looked up 'pussy hound' in the dictionary, his face would be there. He was working the party, hitting on every woman that spoke to him. Watch out for that one."

Nothing more was said. I still didn't like him.

.................................................

I had gotten a promotion, and was in line for another in a year or so it things went according to plan.

Jenny was still in her retail job, still hating it.

Two nights, and every other weekend was killing her and destroying our intimate time. I was working her pretty hard to quit and start the family. She was starting to seriously consider it.

.................................................

Yet another cliche? "The husband is the last to know."

That one isn't really true. Lots of people know after the husband finds out. Process servers, lawyers, judges, private investigators, sometimes cops and ambulance attendants. Some friends often know, but rarely family.

It was the Fourth of July, time for the biggest block party of the year. It had evolved over the years. Usually it started early, and I usually heated the clay oven for pizzas. The kids would run, play, swim in one of the pools, and eat an early dinner. Then a few of the older teens would gather them in for movies while the parents let their hair down. It was a pretty good system.

This was the first time I couldn't be there. There was a major hunt and trial, accounting for a large part of determining champions, to be held that weekend. Usually Jimmy or Jerry would handle it, but Jerry got a chance to go to the beach, and Jimmy already had plans to take his family for a weekend at a theme park. The reservations had already been made and prepaid. So it fell to me.

Jenny didn't like it a bit, but there was nothing I could do. We had a pretty serious argument about it.

"I don't see why you can't say no." She stood with her arms folded across her chest, glaring.

"Honey, please stop. If anybody else was available I wouldn't go. This is important to my dad, important to his bottom line. If this new bitch proves up it could mean a lot of money down the road. If your mom needed help, I'd go for her just as quick, and I'm sure you would too. I've cut way back this year, going two thirds less than the years before. I'll be back just as soon as it ends. Could we please stop fighting about this? Sarah already said she'd come over and help with the pizzas, you won't be alone."

"If you're not here I may as well be alone!" She snorted, stomping back into the house and slamming the door.

She didn't speak to me at all the morning I left. Even Sarah could tell she pissed.

"What's wrong with her?"

"She's got a bug up her ass because I have to go to this trial. We've not gotten along that good lately. Her job is killing her. I wished she'd quit, we would both be happier."

She put her hand on my arm.

"I'll talk to her. It might be good for her to be without you for a day or two, so she can fully understand what she's missing. Maybe when you get back you can start working on a new niece or nephew for me."

I hugged her.

"Have I ever told you how lucky we are to have you as a friend? And while we're on the subject, when are you going to give up that gay bachlorette lifestyle and give us a nephew or niece to spoil? The clock is ticking, honey."

She got a wistful look on her face.

"I can hear it Sammy. Pickings are pretty slim, who wants to marry a woman like me? Once my past comes up, they'll disappear like fog on a sunny day."

I gripped her pretty tightly.

"You listen to me, Sarah Parker! A man, any man, would be lucky to have you. It's the future they have to look to, not the past. You've never led anyone on that I know of, or made promises you didn't keep. If they've got any sense, the joy you'll bring them will far outweigh the shadows of the past."

She cried a little on my shoulder while Jenny stood, looking pissed.

"Don't I at least get a goodbye kiss?"

It was like hugging a statue, and she never offered a kiss. For the first time I felt a bit angry. We were going to have a long talk when I got back.

................................................

I got to the trial site a little early, greeting the ones already there, laughing at the familiar ribbing. Even though I was from the same background they were, I had gone off to college and gotten a desk job. MY nickname was "Slick", cut down from "City Slicker".

The howls of outrage when I first put GPS monitors on my dog collars were amazing, but after I started coming in an hour or two ahead of everybody else with all my dogs, they stopped laughing. Losing a dog was a real possibility. Sometimes they were never found, or at the very least could take hours to locate. They decided change was good.

Now it's common for all participants to spend time making sure no one else is on their wave length. We had to take turns with one guy setting his. He would forget to set the coordinates for home base, so he always knew where he was at, just no idea how to get back to where he started.

I was surprised to see Jerry, my nephew.

"I thought you were going to the beach?"

He ruffled the ears of Amanda Lee Seven.

"I am. My friend's mother had something to do, so we're waiting until Monday to ride down. I should have called, but I just found out an hour ago. You can go home, if you want. I got this."

"Thanks, Jerry, I probably will. I think I'll hang around 'til dad shows up. Maybe I'll help with the presentations."

I actually ended up judging, along with my dad, the beginner groups, on presentation. There was no conflict of interest because there were no entries from our kennel. I shot the breeze with dad and left. I would be home just after dark, and could enjoy the adult celebrations.

"This should make Jenny happy" I thought on the way home. "We can spend the rest of the weekend together, maybe start on that baby."

It was just before nine when I pulled in the drive. I didn't bother to unload the truck, just ducked in for a quick change. The adult party was being held at the Mitchell house, it was the biggest in the neighborhood. I'm sure James had his wife slaving for weeks to make it perfect.

I lived six houses down on another street, and by cutting across a few backyards it was easier for me to walk than try to drive.

The houses were built on a hill, each was slightly lower than the other, which led to interesting views if you didn't keep your curtains closed.

I rounded the back of the house next door, and grinned. Someone had decided to get a little party loving, The blinds were open and the window was eye level. It was the Jones house. I could see people milling around at the Mitchells', these guys were pretty brave, anyone could walk by. Being a man I gave them a few looks as I passed.

I was almost by the house when I stopped. The man was James Mitchell, and I was pretty sure the slender woman wasn't his plump little wife. I frowned, we had lost two families the year before when one wife caught her husband with a neighbor. Two divorces, two houses on the market.

I stopped and looked closer, hoping to identify the woman. He rolled over and pulled her on top of him.

It was Jenny!

My vision clouded, and I lost contact with reality. Shaking my head to clear it, I looked again. It was definitely her, and she looked like she was having a hell of a time.

I thought about charging in. I thought about making a scene. I thought about walking away until I calmed down.

While I was trying to achieve rational thought, the temper I had tried to control for years started rising. I had to force myself to turn away, and walk back to my house. I stopped twice on the way, trying to push my anger back.

I got into the truck and thought for a second.

"FUCK THIS!" I screamed inside the truck. Popping the dash, I grabbed the pistol and ran back towards the house, staying in the shadows.

I had my 'coon hunt' pistol. It was a High Standard .22, a nine shot revolver. I had the magnum cylinder in. I used it to kill snakes. I had run into a rabid raccoon once, it probably saved several dogs. The first four rounds were 'ratshot', the rest were standard .22 magnum lead bullets.

I couldn't believe they were still at it. Did no one miss them? He was now doing Jenny doggie style, her on the bed while he stood on the floor. I knocked the lower sash out with the barrel, shooting into the bedroom three times, aiming at their hips, before raising my aim and shooting the light out.

I heard screaming and saw people looking my way, so I ran in the opposite direction from my house, circling back to my truck. I threw the pistol in the dash and pulled out slowly, heading back to the hunt. I didn't pass any cops or emergency vehicles on the way out of town.

Ninety minutes later I was back at the hunt, inside the tent.

I was shaking.

Shit! I had shot somebody! I was going to jail! Shit, shit, shit!

My rage and adrenalin had run out, leaving me confused and sad. I hope I didn't hurt her too badly. Ratshot were tiny little pellets, I doubt they could kill anybody, but they could put an eye out, and I bet they hurt like a bitch.

Fuck Mitchell, I hope I got him in the balls.

It was a long night, and I didn't sleep. I checked around, nobody knew I left. As far as they knew I had gone to get food. I stopped at the local supermarket and bought every container of fried chicken they had. I'm sure somebody would remember me being there. Jerry was in the woods and dad was off with his drinking buddies.

I had the perfect alibi, assuming no one back in the neighborhood saw me.

Before I left, I loaned Jerry the .22. It wasn't registered and couldn't be traced to me. I told Jerry not to brag he had it because being unregistered could get him in trouble.

................................................

To say I was apprehensive when I pulled into my driveway would be the understatement of the century. Jennie's car was in the drive but the house was empty. There was a note on the kitchen counter in big block letters.

"CALL ME JUST AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME! IT'S IMPORTANT!" SARAH.

I took a deep breath and dialed the phone. She answered on the first ring. I didn't get a chance to speak.

"Sammy! You need to come over here right now! Something terrible happened!"

I went into concerned husband mode.

"What's wrong? Where's Jenny? Is she with you?"

"Shut up and get your ass over here, now."

I was at her apartment in fifteen minutes, determined to play this little drama out. I was tired, worried, more than a little afraid I was going to jail.

She practically dragged me inside, breaking into tears when she opened the door. I held her in my arms.

"Oh shit!" I thought, "I must have killed one of them."

She settled down and patted the couch.

"I need to tell you something. Something you're not gonna like. First, I need to tell you, Jenny is all right. A little sore, but fine."

"Where is she? What happened? Is she in the hospital? I need answers, Sarah."

She looked at me and clasped my hands tightly.

"This is gonna hurt. I need you to listen me, okay? Try not to interrupt. Let me get it out."

She paused, collecting her thoughts.

"We were doing pizzas for the kids. Mitchell came by, supposedly to check on his daughter. He tried to chat me up, but I shut him down pretty quick. He turned his attention to Jen, giving her compliments and spouting bullshit. She was still pissed at you and was eating it up. I got so aggravated I 'accidentally' touched a hot pizza pan to his arm. He screamed like a little girl, and we put ice on it to keep it from blistering. I may have made a mistake, because Jenny hovered over him and he ate it up."

"He left to go back to his house, to make sure everything was ready for the adults later. We got the kids fed, and the teens who were designated to sit the smaller ones showed up. They took them down the street to the Williams house, you know, the one with the really big basement? They had kids movies ready to go on that monstrosity they call a television."

I was getting tired of listening. I interrupted her.

"Getting a little long winded here, Sarah, cut to the chase. I'm gonna ask you one more time to tell me what's going on, or I'm gonna call neighbors, cops, and hospitals. Spill it."

She wouldn't look me in the eye.

"All right. We cleaned up after the pizza and wandered down the street, talking. Jenny found the bar and make a stiff drink. Her charming host gave her a big hug, and made sure he kept her glass full. You know how it is with those parties. Everybody is moving around, having a good time. I lost her. I assumed like everyone else she was somewhere in the house or on the patio."

She was practically hissing in anger now.

"That bastard Mitchell had run out of bourbon, and rather than go to the liquor store Mandy Jones gave him her house keys, saying she had two bottles on her bar. He promised to replace them and got Jenny to go with him. Said he was uncomfortable going into the house alone. She went."

She drew in a deep breath.

"This is where it gets hard. Somehow he got her into one of the guest rooms and they started fooling around."

I fixed her with a cold stare.

"Define fooling around."

She hung her head.

"They were fucking! Damn, I didn't want to tell you this."

Even though I already knew it, having someone tell me made it even more painful. I jumped up.

"I'm gonna kill that bastard!"

Sarah was beside me, holding my arm.

"I'm afraid it gets worse. Somebody shot them! Don't worry, Jenny didn't get hurt badly, but she's still in the hospital."

I was pacing around the room. My agitation wasn't feigned.

"Fucking somebody else? Shot? What the hell is she in to? Did Mrs. Mitchell shoot them?"

"No, no, she was at the party. We all heard the shots, but thought it was firecrackers. We didn't notice anything until we heard the screams."

Mandy found them. They were in her guest room. There was a lot of blood. She called 911. They were transported to the hospital and the cops questioned everybody."

She looked down, crying quietly.

"It's a mess, Sammy. The cops want to talk to you, as soon as they can."

I sat down again. The tears rolling down my cheeks weren't faked. She got up and called the police, and a patrolman was at the door in ten minutes. He noted the tears, asked just a few questions verifying who I was, and took me to the station.

Detective Johnson seemed like a nice guy. He didn't pressure me, he didn't accuse me of anything, he just wanted to know where I was when it all happened.

I told him. Gave him names and numbers of people who could verify I was there. Told him what time I got home, about the note from Sarah.

I slumped down in the interrogation room.

"Are you all right? Need anything?" He was at least gracious enough to ask.

"Yeah. I need about twelve hours of sleep. I need to see if my wife is all right. And I need answers. Nobody has really told me what happened. I've cooperated with you, how about filling in the gaps?"

To his credit, he looked uncomfortable.

"There's no easy way to say it. Your wife and Mr. Mitchell were shot through a bedroom window while they were engaged in a sexual act. It appears to be a shotgun blast, but we can't say that for sure. The pellets hit them in the groin and butt, nothing life threatening. One of Mr. Mitchells' testicles got the brunt of the pellets, he may end up losing it."

"They were in a neighbor's house. For what it's worth, I think this was a spontaneous thing. Their blood alcohol levels were both over the legal limit for driving."

I asked the million dollar question.

"Do you have any idea who did it?"

He shook his head.

"Not a clue. We thought it might be you, but since you were sixty miles away, in front of witnesses, you're pretty much in the clear. We brought in blood hounds, but everybody in the neighborhood spent all day wandering around, the dogs just ended up going in circles. We brought in a dog that specializes in gunshot residue, but so many firecrackers and other fireworks had been used she just ran around confused."

"our focus right now is Mr. Mitchell. Seems the man had a habit of seducing wives of neighbors. That's how he happened to move into your neighborhood, he had to leave his last one due to a divorce he was named in by a neighbor. He definitely has people who wish him ill. That's all we have right now, but you can be sure we'll talk again. I'm sorry, Mr. Lee."

I left the station and went to the hospital. Jenny drove me. She tried to talk me out of going in.

"Don't do it Sammy. It'll make it hard on you later. I'm sure she didn't mean it. She was drunk, she was mad at you, and she fell into the spell of a predator."

I'm sure my eyes must have been cold when I turned to her.

"Tell me, Sarah, that makes it all right how? I've been drunk since we married, pretty pissed at her a few times, and have been hit on before. I didn't even think about screwing someone else, except in fantasies."

She didn't have an answer for me. I went in alone.

I found the right floor and walked down the hallway. I happened to pass the asshole's room first, and I turned and went in. He was dozing, and I stood watching him.

My stare must have awakened him. He went pale and reached for the call button. I grabbed his hand and leaned over him.

"Free advice. When you get out of here, move. I don't mean in a week, or a month, or when the house sells. I mean move right now. If I see you in the neighborhood after today, I'll do my very best to kick you in the balls. I hear you might have only one in the near future. Be a shame if that one got damaged too. Do you understand me?"

He was lying on his side, his damaged hip up. I slapped it, hard. He went pale and looked like he might pass out.

I stood up.

"I hope you get everything you deserve, asshole. Remember our little chat."

That taken care of, I went off in search of my loving wife.

...............................................

I stared at her. She stared back at me. The room, cluttered with her friends and family, emptied like a bomb threat had been called in.

Finally I spoke.

"Well?"

She dropped her head.

"I'm sorry. I was drunk. It just happened. It doesn't mean anything, I barely remember it."

She sounded sincere, but something was missing. I couldn't place a finger on it.

She had her feet up in stirrups with a blanket pulled over her. I reached for it. She looked up in alarm.

"Please, Don't! It will just make it harder on us down the road. Please, Sammy."

I ignored her. I pulled the blanket completely off. She started crying.

Well, there she was, in all her glory. The first thing I noticed was she was completely shaved. She had stopped doing that about a year ago. They did it to make sure they got all the pellets out. It was surprising, there were only about eight or ten small holes, looking a lot like pinpricks.

She was spread like that because one of the pellets grazed her clit. I remembered well how swollen it got during sex. She was lucky. If the asshole hadn't been covering her, she would have been pretty much ruined sexually.

I covered her back up.

.................................................

The cops came back to me several times, for lack of a better suspect. They asked if I owned guns, and I unlocked my safe. My Remington 1100, my over/under, the deer rifle, my Henry twenty two, the Smith .40, the Llama .380, all got tested and returned to me.

I got interviewed four times. When they asked for another, I gave them the number for my lawyer. I never heard from them again.

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