Fortune

byoshaw©

Author's note: This story started out entirely different when Unoriginalist burst on the scene and the genius of his adaptation of HDK's story of the dissolution between a husband and wife stirred all of Literotica. I began thinking what could have been more painful for the husband and all I could come up with was the dissolution of the father/children relationship.

Perhaps one day, Unoriginalist will delve on that subject and treat us to another masterpiece. Or maybe one of the other truly great authors will answer the call and titillate us with a classic story.

Once again, I hope you enjoy the story.


***********

I sat waiting in my lawyer's conference room. Not much had changed in the five years from when I had retained him. Same paintings on the wall, same furniture, even the same damn National Geographic magazine located at the end table in the corner. Kinda sad considering that for all the money I had paid him in the past, he could've afforded a subscription to eternity.

Luckily, this wasn't costing anywhere near his hourly rate since I was alone in the room. So why was I in a lawyer's office if I wasn't actually going to use a lawyer? Well that was a good question. The short answer would be because of Stella Jefferson, my ex wife.

For the past couple of weeks she had been trying to call me without success. The reason why she didn't have any success was due to her penchant to introduce me to justice, divorce style. I had learned the hard way that any unauthorized contact with Stella would result in police and court appearances.

I was made a true believer when she lured me to meet with her while the divorce was still pending to talk over some custody issues for our children. When I got to the restaurant where she wanted to meet I was hoping that it was a good sign since it was where we had our meal where I had proposed marriage to her.

Against all logic, I was hoping that she was in a reconciliation mood. Even after all the pain and humiliation she had caused me, I just wanted my wife and family back. I had dressed up in a sport jacket and tie for the upscale restaurant and I eagerly looked for her in the hustle of the busy establishment.

Finally, I spotted her at a corner table looking outside the window. Maybe she was looking for me to arrive. I pointed her out to the hostess and made my way to her table. I was still enthralled by her beauty. A tall statuesque brunette you wouldn't believe that she was the mother of two children especially how she looked in her little black dress. She was the epitome of elegance as I approached.

My movements alerted her and she directed her gaze at me as I prepared to sit down at the table. Her lovely visage harden into a cold animosity which puzzled me. Before I could say hello or ask what was wrong, a number of people approached our table. Two were uniformed police officers who asked if I was John Perry and told me I was under arrest for violating a temporary restraining order issued by the judge presiding over our divorce case.

While I protested that she had called me to meet her, I was told that I could take that up with the judge. The court order was quite specific that I was not allowed any contact with her without the court's permission. That was because she had alleged that I physically abused her and the children and she feared for their lives if I wasn't kept away.

I had been dumbfounded when I had initially read the divorce pleadings that I had been served with. She had beaten me to the punch in filing for a divorce and she had taken a no holds barred approach as I read through all the lies she and her attorney had put to paper. The upshot was the court determined that I was a risk to the safety of my wife and children and the judge would be the sole arbiter of if and when I would see them again.

I'm sure that most people have no idea of the embarrassment of being arrested. As I was physically doubled over the table and handcuffed behind my back I saw a young child recoiling in horror at an adjoining table. I wanted to explain to him that I wasn't a bad person, but, how do you start that conversation?

It wasn't like I would have had the time to finish an explanation as I was manhandled out of the building and into the back of a police cruiser. All during the trip I protested my innocence to the officers. They continued to ignore me as they drove to the municipal jail. I suppose they had heard it all before and ignoring me was the standard practice.

Then I was booked and processed into the facility. Fingerprints and mugshot completed, I was asked for information regarding my name, residence, place of work, and vital statistics. I complied with all their enquiries fully expecting an opportunity to explain what had happened. Instead I was led to a general holding cell with about fifty men milling around aimlessly.

Before I was led inside, I said, "Wait a minute, don't I get a phone call? How do I see about getting bonded out?"

The police sergeant patiently told me, "A phone is brought around each morning for inmates' use. You can make any local call. If you call long distance the party you call will have to accept the charges before you are connected. As far as bond, you are charged with being in contempt of the judge's order; therefore, you will have to appear before the judge before you can even think about being released. And since today is Friday, you won't be scheduled to appear in court until Monday at the earliest."

With that he firmly pushed me into the cell and the metallic clang of the cell door and the latching of the key echoed against the dank cold concrete walls. Without making eye contact with anyone I found a spot against the wall and sat on the floor and huddled to ride out the three days.

Really there's no way to adequately describe being in that environment. There were people from every spectrum that circulated through that weekend. Hardened criminals, gangbangers, college frat boys, drunks, addicts, and the occasional good citizen like me. The ebb and flow of new people arriving and people leaving after making a bond, kept the noise a disruptive flow.

A pecking order was in place for everything. It didn't matter if it was for using the phone, or for meals, or even if you were issued a blanket. The anti social personalities would seek out the weakest links and agitate them into a fight which would eventually require the police to intervene and take the victims to get medical treatment and disperse the perpetrators into an adjoining holding cell for "violent offenders."

Dressed as I was, I drew some attention throughout the three days. I guess everybody figured if I could afford to dress like that then I should have been able to afford a bond. That was as far as it got for me. I guess as pissed off as I felt that I probably looked the same way and the jackals decided to go for easier targets.

Monday morning, we were all roused and ankle chained together as we shuffled outside to a bus. There we were unchained and placed into the seats and coupled to wrist restraints. After a vocal tally we were driven to the courthouse where we were again ankle chained and escorted into a basement holding cell and then we awaited our turn to appear before our designated judge.

Finally around two p.m. the bailiffs for my court came for me and I appeared in my unkempt disheveled clothes, reeking from the odor of the jail cell, sporting a three-day beard shadow before the baleful eyes of the judge.

Stella sat there with a gloating look as her attorney regurgitated the events of Friday night from Stella's perception. "Your Honor, my client was tending to her own business dining out when she was traumatized by the appearance of her husband. Before he could commit bodily harm to her, the police called to the scene were able to successfully interdict before any injuries were sustained to my client!" he thundered with righteous indignation.

To my surprise my lawyer was there and countered that I had no such intentions. I found out later that even though I had failed to contact him, the judge's clerk had made a call that morning to tell him to be in court to represent me. I tried to hurriedly whisper to him what had happened and he was simultaneously parroting what I was telling him to the judge.

Finally after enough squabbling the judge shut the attorneys off and looked at me. "Mr. Perry, do you think you've learned your lesson? When I issue a restraining order and a no contact order I mean for you to obey them!"

I began to open my mouth to protest only to have my attorney firmly clench my arm and hissed for me to shut up. The judge continued his diatribe for a couple of minutes and eventually ordered for my release and again warned me not to contact Stella. With that the court was adjourned and I watched Stella rise from her seat and walk out of the courtroom accompanied by Ted Jefferson. Both wore a look of triumph as they left.

My lawyer spent a few minutes of hurried advice to me as the bailiffs handcuffed me to escort me back to the basement holding cell. Then it was a matter of waiting until all the individuals were through with court and we were driven back to the jail. I was culled out of the line and taken to a process room where my personal belongings were returned to me. I was handed paperwork showing me where my truck had been towed and how to contact and pay for it to be released.

I sighed and as I left the building I called the towing service and made arrangement to pick up my truck. Then I called a cab and waited. I tried to call my boss but the phone went to voicemail since it was past five p.m. I decided I would tell him in person tomorrow.

I was hoping for a quiet ride to the tow yard and as my luck would have it I drew a particularly friendly cabdriver that wanted to converse the entire trip. As he kept yakking and asking questions, I would respond with monosyllabic answers. Still he continued until I finally said, "I'm going to start deducting your tip for every word you say to me." That finally shut him up and we finished the drive in peace. I did feel guilty for lashing out at him and I did leave a big tip.

Then I had the pleasure of trying to get my vehicle back. If I thought, the bureaucratic paperwork was daunting by the police I was shocked by the hoops I had to go through to ransom my vehicle back to me. I was finally able to placate them and drove home.

Home being a small camper trailer, which had a bedroom, small bathroom, a kitchenette with electricity and running water. I stripped off my clothes and debated whether to burn them and decided my pride would have to be subjugated to my pocketbook. I couldn't afford to go around and buy new clothes at the moment. I would have to hope the dry cleaners could get out the smell, if not, the shame.

I went and took a hot shower. As much as I hoped to languish in the water, the hot water tank quickly ran out and I finished bathing in cold water. I shivered as I toweled off and stumbled to the small bed and dove under the covers. It had been one hell of a weekend I thought as I drifted off to sleep.

Morning came and I quickly made and devoured a large breakfast of eggs and bacon. After what I had experienced I thought I deserved it. Then I got to work early in time for the boss to publicly ream my ass out for missing work yesterday.

"I don't know who the fuck you think you are, but, I'm not going to put up with your dicking around and not showing up for work except when you feel like it!"

The accusation stung as yesterday had been the first day I had ever missed work except for scheduled vacations in the ten years I had worked there. Still my boss continued to rant and the commotion was drawing a crowd which seemed to fuel him to more inspired verbiage.

"So where the fuck were you?" he demanded to know. I kept trying to stall him and asked to speak in private but he had found an issue he was hellbent to bring forward and make an object lesson for the rest of his employees. He kept asking and I kept stalling and in the midst of the argument we were both stridently yelling at each other.

"WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU?" my boss asked again pausing after each word yelled to empathize each word.

I finally snapped. "I was in jail! My goddamn wife had me put in jail! Now are you happy, motherfucker?" I screamed.

The shocked look on his face mirrored those of my coworkers. Never in a million years would they have thought that I would have wound up behind bars. Still the emotional purging continued as I spewed out the venom I had long held inside.

"And thank you for making it all public, you sorry son of a bitch! I remember eight years ago having to prop you up when you went though your divorce and this is how you return the favor? Well, fuck you! Fuck you and the horse you rode in on! I quit, you sorry motherfucking son of a bitch!"

With that I turned around and walked back to the parking lot to get into my truck. Several of my coworkers trailed along with me trying to persuade me not to leave and to come back to discuss everything with my boss in private. But I wasn't going to be persuaded. For ten long years I had been breaking my back, unappreciated and underpaid to support my family. And for what? Now, I was living alone and I didn't know when I would get to see my daughter or son.

As I drove off I heard the ping of my phone announcing the arrival of a new text message. Since I was driving, I decided not to dig it out of my pocket and see who it was from. I suspected that it was from my boss wanting to make amends. Having nowhere to go and it being too early for the bars to be open I went back to my camper.

I pulled into the dirt driveway avoiding the more severe potholes and turned off the truck. Then I pulled out the phone and opened up the text. I was flabbergasted to see it was from Stella. It read: "John, I'm so sorry for the misunderstanding."

Before I could even think, I texted back: "Stella, what were you trying to prove?"

I waited for a reply but none was forthcoming. Then a couple of hours later I got a call from my friend Jerry from work. I was sure he was going to try to convince me to come back and ask for my job back. Instead he told me, "John, the police are here looking for you."

I thanked him for the information and hung up. Once again, I had fallen prey at a weak moment and Stella had taken advantage of the opportunity. I knew that the police would soon be at my new location since I had provided it for their records when I was being jailed. I could expect another stay at jail courtesy of Stella.

I quickly studied the matter and made my decision. I unhooked the electrical and water connections to the camper and backed my truck up to hitch up the trailer mount. It wasn't good knowing that I would lose my security deposit at the trailer park, but, I was desperate to buy me some time.

As I drove out of the trailer park with all my worldly possessions, I lost my qualms about using the phone and driving at the same time. First, I called my lawyer and after I was finally connected to him, I explained what had happened. First he called me a dumbass and then proceeded to chew my ass out. Then he said he would call the court and try to get a hearing set so I could surrender in court rather than be arrested again. He warned me not to have any future contact with Stella. I assured him I had learned my lesson. Then I called the manager of the trailer park canceling my lease. Then I called my grandparents.

Then I drove. For close to a hundred miles I drove eastward to my goal. Here I would find my maternal grandparents. Here I would find sanctuary. As I unlimbered from the truck, they came out to greet me. Both had concerned looks on their faces. They knew the initial extent of my troubles, but, updating them was going to cause them grief just due to them worrying about me.

Grandma insisted on feeding me before we started talking. As we ate some of her fried chicken, I explained the weekend trauma that I had undergone. They were appalled that my relationship with Stella had gotten to the point of this toxic radioactivity. Then I told them I needed a big favor. "Would it be okay with y'all if I camp out here for a while until everything settles down?"

My grandfather looked at me and said, "John, you know this will always be your home. You just set up your camper where you want."

And with that I had taken care of one problem. I didn't have any income coming in, but, now I could put off paying rent until I was in a situation to start paying back my grandparents. I asked if they knew of any local construction companies hiring. They studied the question and posed potential possibilities to me, but, it seemed like they were of the opinion that no one was hiring right now.

That did not bode well. I still had outstanding debts and responsibilities to take care of. Not the least of which was my capricious attorney that kept changing attitude with the ebb and flow of the retainer I was paying him.

So then I asked if they knew anybody that needed any kind of handyman work. They brightened up with that question and threw out a few names and addresses for me to check out. They also promised that they would call around their circle of friends and get more prospects.

The rest of the day I spent jury rigging electrical and water service to the camper. My grandparents said I could stay in the house, but, I didn't want to crowd them. I was a firm believer in Ben Franklin's adage that fish and overnight guests overstayed their welcome after three days.

The next couple of days I spent going around all the local construction companies looking for work. Sure enough, no one was hiring, but, I got to fill out a lot of employment application forms. I started cringing when I thought of the possibility that anyone would contact my former employer.

The good news was that my attorney had gotten a hearing date set for my second show cause hearing for violating the no contact order. All I had to do was avoid getting picked up by the police before the hearing date.

Meanwhile I had my first job as a handyman. A neighbor of my grandparents wanted to raze an old barn. Everyone had bid twice as much as I did just to knock it down. My price included hauling off all the debris. All the other estimates figured on it being a two to three day job using a crew of employees. I had finished up in one long day. As I was finishing loading up the last load of debris in my Grandpa's flatbed trailer, the neighbor came out to me carrying two ice cold longneck bottles of beer and I grateful accepted the offering.

We watched the dying remnants of the sunset fade into twilight as we silently sipped away.

"Well, John I wasn't sure you'd be able to get the job done in one day, but, damned if you didn't. And you didn't use any heavy machinery! That was why everybody's bids were so high due to them calculating renting equipment. "

"Well, Mr. Lambert my Dodge pickup just thinks it's a bulldozer." I explained how I used heavy chains on all the support beams and the torque of my pickup in low gear did the rest as the barn collapsed like a deck of cards. The rest was a matter of heavy work gloves and a strong back lugging the old timbers into the trailer.

"I got scratched up by a couple of rusty nails so I'll go into town tomorrow for a tetanus shot, but, right now this is all the medicine I need." I finished the last sip of beer remaining and tossed the empty into the bed of my pickup. It was just good manners to keep Mr. Lambert company while he finished. So we engaged in small talk and he insisted on me calling him Robert as we shook hands and I left his property slowly hauling the trailer back to my grandparent's place. Tomorrow morning I would dump it at the local landfill before I went in to get my shot.

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byoshaw© 121 comments/ 74984 views/ 91 favorites

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