Slip of the TonguebyDanielQSteele1©
(c) 2013 - Daniel Quentin Steele
((As always, my great thanks goes to Curiouss for his work in cleaning up my words. And if anyone has a bone to pick with the stories, please leave Curiouss out of it. I'm responsible and sometimes my glitches overwhelm him. But he does a great job.))
"And now it is my great pleasure to introduce a man I'm having sex with, Robert Anderson, Anchor and chief spokesperson for WJXT Channel 4 in Jacksonville."
I stopped the tape at that point. The speaker was a tall redhead, dressed in a clingy red evening gown cut low enough to display some of her delectable breasts and from another angle a low cut back, the red burnishing the ruddy skin and the mane of thick hair coming down almost to her waist.
There was nothing unusual about her expression, except a slight smile as if she had made a joke she expected her audience to enjoy. I wondered what the joke was about an apparently happily married woman admitting to having sex with a man she wasn't married to in front of 500 movers and shakers from around the nation.
The fact that Roxanne Hunter was my wife made it more interesting.
Bobby Carroll, who knew she was my wife, grinned at me and said, "I told you she said it, Tommy. But that's not the funny part. Roll the tape."
"There's more funny coming?"
I sat in front of the monitor and stared at my friend. It was surreal, but Bobby wouldn't be laughing if he didn't think it was funny.
I hit the play button.
As soon as the words came out of her mouth she lifted her gaze from the papers in front of her on the lectern of the conference room at the Westin Snowmass Resort near Aspen, Colorado. She glanced out at the audience and the camera caught her glazed expression as it must have sunk in on her what she had said.
Even for a redhead with the dusky skin of her Mexican mother, the blush that spread over her cheeks, her upper chest and back was clearly visible.
A quick pan of the audience showed stunned expressions and a few beginning smiles.
"I -- Oh God -- that didn't come out right. What I MEANT to say was, a man I would LOVE to have sex with, like 99 percent of you ladies out there and most of the female population of Jacksonville where he and I hail from. Now be honest, there's a reason he's the biggest anchor -- BIGGEST? -- oh my God!"
She turned to the blonde man sitting beside her on the dais and said, "Please, Robert, get up here before I dig my grave with my mouth and destroy my marriage. Help me out here."
He pulled his chair back and stood up to his full height, six inches over her tawny five foot ten. He was a big dude. He stood beside her for a moment and then put his arm around her and gave her a kiss on the cheek which brought cheers and wolf whistles, most from women in the crowd.
"I wish I'd known about the sex, Rox, I would have enjoyed it a lot more."
At that the audience erupted. I understood it. Most of the time, Literacy events anywhere in the country for educators, politicians and anyone trying to reduce the rate of illiteracy were respectable, sober and uplifting events. Funny, not so much - actually not at all!
This was a little different, involving educators from around the country, primarily inner cities, who had come together in the pleasant environs of Aspen just before Christmas as a sort of reward for their good work over the past year. Probably 99 percent of them had never heard of Roxanne or Anderson. I was sure that, after enjoying the night, they'd go back to bars around town, party and maybe get in a little skiing the next day - not your normal Literacy environment.
Standing up in front of the room, Anderson was cool, confident and sexy. It was easy to understand why WJXT had almost regained it's previously dominant position in the Jacksonville/Northeast Florida television market, stealing a chunk of my own WJXT -12 audience. He was eye-candy for females.
All anchors, male or female, were, of course. You never saw ugly anchors anymore. The only relatively unattractive staff you ever saw on television were field reporters, and even a few of the good ones had been canned around town for the sin of being too fat or too old or just DULL on camera. It wasn't fair, but it was life. It was business.
Everybody knew that Anderson was only here temporarily. He really was a good newsman, working his way up from field reporter instead of vaulting into the anchor position from journalism school with his looks and sex appeal. The networks are always looking for smart and sexy. He wouldn't be here longer than another year -- if that.
Anderson gave the audience one of those looks that told every female -- every person -- that he was talking to them personally. Then he glanced back at Roxanne. She blushed and I thought there was something that passed between them but it might have been because I was pissed.
He looked back at the audience and said, "I'm sure this will come as news to you, but the beautiful Ms. Hunter's husband is Tommy Hunter, news director at our competitor Channel 12 in the great city of Jacksonville, Florida where I am happy to work. Much, as a competitive newsman, I would love to be sticking it -- to Mr. Hunter -- I can reassure him that I have not been up to anything with his wife."
He looked up straight into the camera and I know the son of a bitch was speaking directly to me.
"Not that I wouldn't love sticking it -- to him -- but if I had ever had the pleasure, I would definitely remember it - and I don't! Although I have to tell you, I may have some pleasant dreams in the future."
He looked down at his notes and when he looked up again 'hot and sexy' had been replaced by 'earnest and sincere,' as he began, "But all joking aside, we're here tonight about a very serious subject. There are thousands of people in our community, in communities around this nation from the poorest to some of the wealthiest, who simply can't read. Not a can label, or a prescription, or instructions on how to take medicine. They are or will be crippled throughout their entire lives because they lack one basic skill for survival in the modern world. They can't read. We're here tonight to thank each and all of you for your efforts to solve this problem."
From that point on it was a sincere, routine and sober speech, as was the rest of the evening. I had seen portions of it. In certain situations we swapped coverage, and not just on the huge stories. It would have been too expensive for both stations to send teams, but since we didn't' expect anybody to be shot or any explosions, 4 wasn't losing anything by sharing. We'd repay the favor.
I had watched portions of it, even though I hadn't seen much of Roxanne. It was my job to keep up on what other stations were doing, because it still involved a local personality and a beautiful local woman. Roxanne had gone as a representative of her employer which strongly supported the literacy campaign. She'd flown out Friday afternoon and surprised me by coming home early Sunday morning.
I'd never seen this portion before though. The tape released started with Anderson's formal speech, which I didn't think about because he was the reason 4 was covering it.
Even above and beyond the cost, I wouldn't have sent a crew out. Our best cameraman was still dealing with the loss of his wife and child in a head-on crash three months before. I was treating him very carefully. Not just because we were friends, but because he was good, really good. Civilians think cameramen just point a camera and shoot. They have no idea.
"This was on the tape that 4 shot. They didn't use it on air because they're the family station, but they saved it on kind of a blooper reel. You know how cameramen gossip and I heard about this really good piece and talked a friend into making me a copy. It's funny as hell, don't you think?"
I stared at him and I think he began to get an inkling.
"You'd think it was funny if Carol walked into a party and told everybody she was having sex with another guy?"
"For God's sake, Tommy, it's not the same. She was joking about wanting to screw the guy. Hell, half the women in Jacksonville feel the same and if you believe the stories, a lot of them have actually done it. It was a joke. Everybody roared and - watch the tape. She wasn't guilty - embarrassed but not guilty, and he'd have to be the best actor in the world to react the way he did. Maybe she was thinking about screwing him. I'm sure she was, but fantasizing about screwing somebody is not the same thing as doing it. Hell, if that was the case, every guy in this station would have screwed Christina and half of them would be divorced by now."
Christina D'Allessandra, who went by the television name of Dallas, was the morning co-anchor. Twenty-six years old, straight black hair and the high cheekbones of her American Indian grandmother, along with a pair of headlights that caused guilty fantasies in every married man at the station, except for me. But I understood what he was saying.
"When was this shot, Bobby? That Literacy event was -- what -- a month ago? Mid December. I've never heard a word of this."
"Everybody was talking about it, but everybody took it for what it was -- a joke. Obviously Rox was embarrassed. She probably thought you'd react the way you have. I guess she knows you better than me. I thought you'd laugh about it. You've got nothing to be sensitive about. Shit, Carole has joked a few times about getting a free pass to try you out. If I was the jealous type, I'd be the one pissed off. Evidently Rox brags about you when the women have their hen parties."
I just stared at the monitor. I'd stopped it on Anderson's smiling face. Bobby was right. It was probably just an inadvertent Freudian slip. She'd been thinking about banging him and the words slipped out and she turned it, with his help, into a joke. I couldn't blame her for her fantasies.
I was 40. She was 38. We'd only been married eight years. I'd been around. Hell, one of the reasons for getting into television was that, although I might not get the variety that singers and rock stars enjoyed, male TV types still got a fairly high female traffic count. I'd gone through a lot of one-night stands, and bedded some women in Jacksonville that would cause a lot of raised eyebrows if it was ever known. And some of them had been married.
But I'd been single and I'd never gotten a woman into bed with the help of drugs. Alcohol was a different story. I'd had a lot of women who got there because they were too drunk to use their better judgment. But hell, they were all over 21 and if they chose to get drunk and forget they were married, I didn't think that was my responsibility.
Just before I'd gotten married I'd hooked up with the hottest woman I ever met until I ran into Rox. Blonde, with incredible breasts, I'd run into her doing a real estate story. She was a realtor and almost convinced a confirmed bachelor to think about house hunting. We saw each other for three months. She'd been married to some insurance guy but said that didn't mean she couldn't sample some strange on the side. Alright, she was cheating and I was helping her, but I wasn't the world's moral policeman.
I knew Rox had been around. You can't be 30 years old, look like her and not have had a few men. More than a few I knew, because I was a reporter before I became a director and I checked her out. She was an executive with the Ritz Carleton hotel chain on Amelia Island and that put her in the path of a lot of rich, horny guys and she had done a lot of sampling.
We wound up in my bed after a news media convention, and then she kept coming back for me again and again and she confessed to me that she was scared because she'd never felt this way about another man. A few months later I confessed that I just wasn't happy when I wasn't around her, not just for the sex but just being with her, going to a movie or walking the beach at St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra. Of course, they all ended with us in bed.
However, in contrast to every other woman I'd ever gone out with, the dates weren't something I had to go through for the bed time. I realized one night, walking the beach near St. Augustine as the waves crashed a few feet from us with the incoming tide, that just walking alongside her, hearing her voice and her laugh, was enough to make me happy. If we made it to bed, that was great, but I didn't need it!
I told her what I was feeling and we walked and talked until it was almost dawn. Then we want back to my place, went to bed and just curled up next to each other. We didn't need the sex.
Of course, the next morning I woke up with her sucking me and she proceeded to fuck me until I thought my cock was going to fall off but, it was just a celebration. We both realized this was the Real Thing and were married three months later.
As I thought about all that I looked up at the big clock above the monitors. It was 7 p.m. and we were long past prep for our local Thursday night newscast. January 26, 2012 - past the holidays and life was back to January humdrum. Casey Martine would handle the overnight and I'd be back at 8 a.m. to prepare for the next night's hour and a half local news cast.
"Come on man, let me buy you a beer and then we can go home to our loving wives," Bobby said, casting a worried look at me.
"Thanks, Bobby, but not tonight. I've got a few last things to finish up and then I'm heading home."
"Tommy, man, you're going to be alright, aren't you? It was just a joke that went wrong, that's all it was. I'm an idiot sometimes. I shouldn't have shown that to you. Carol always tells me I'm an idiot - maybe she's right."
I reached out and punched him in the arm, hard enough to make him wince.
"Alright, you're an idiot. You dragged it out of me but - I'm not mad about the tape! Honestly, I know it was a flubbed joke. I've got some other things to think about. The network brass is pushing us to do an eval on Christina and I'm not sure if she's quite ready to move up.
I want to give her the chance, but I'm just not sure she's ready."
Of course, it would be the station manager, Nick Carnos, who made that decision, but we'd worked together a long time and he trusted my judgment of on-air talent. If we pushed her up and she flamed out, it would reflect badly on Nick and myself, and we both hoped for a future beyond Jacksonville. However, if I didn't push her, I knew it would break her heart. She really was a nice girl and not the typical Diva you'd expect from a woman who looked the way she did.
"Please, please, please, don't push to kick her upstairs. God knows how many male hearts would be broken around here. I know my sex life with Carol would suffer. Half the time I'm inside Carole, I'm fantasizing about Christina. Don't, for God's sake, say anything to Rox about that. Women talk and Carol would freeze my dick off if she found out."
"Get out of here, Bobby. My lips are sealed. Let me finish so I can get home to Rox."
When he left I went into the archives and pulled every piece of tape I could find that had been shot of the meeting besides the raw un-broadcast tape that 4 hadn't run. We routinely tape other stations' coverage as well to make sure we don't miss things. Using the computer, I found every second that had been shot that night.
Actually, outside of his speech, there wasn't much footage of my wife and Anderson. I ran the spot where they had exchanged that glance after her flub. I couldn't read it and I'd watched a lot of tape. But there was something there. I just couldn't put my finger on it.
I went over the rest of the meeting on tape. It was incredibly boring with an unbelievably large number of shots of people coming to the dais, accepting awards and thanking their significant others for support. Amid it all though, I found two more spots!
The first was actually prior to her introduction. It was a shot from some distance of Anderson walking into the room, with his arm around my wife's waist! They were talking and she was laughing - just as they walked inside she had leaned over to him and whispered something up into his ear. As she did she reached over to touch his arm, the way a woman will touch you when she either knows you very well or wants to get to know you very well.
When I saw the look on his face, I knew he was fucking her.
It was anti-climactic after that, but I kept looking. There was a moment when the camera was focused on some educator standing at the microphone with her award. It must have been only a few minutes before Rox introduced him as the main speaker.
Behind them I could see Rox and Anderson sitting and picking at their plates. It only took a second, but the camera caught him gently flicking a piece of something off her lower lip. A moment later she laughed softly and looked lovingly at him. Then her eyes glanced up toward the audience and the cameraman and she jerked and pulled herself away from him.
It would never fly in a court of law, but there was no way in hell two strangers or even casual friends would have been interacting that way. It was the behavior of two people very familiar, and fond of each other, yet she had never said a word about him to me, and I knew they had no reason to be that well acquainted.
My cell buzzed. I looked -- Rox!
"Where are you, baby? It's nearly 9. Is something going on at the station?"
She still worked for the Ritz but on a Monday-Friday schedule, no weekends officially, although they called her in plenty on the weekend. She drove from home in Mandarin to Amelia Island and home again each working day, so usually she didn't make it in until 7 or 8 p.m. at the earliest. I was usually home before her, with something to eat whether picked up on the way or defrosted.
"Just working late on a project. You're a little late. Where have you been?"
"Oh. We had a few things I had to work a little late on. And then Jan and Cassandra wanted to stop off for a drink at that new place just before you get to 95. Great drinks and they have these Yummy young waiters delivering the drinks. Jan and Cassandra played this game of taking their bras off in the bathroom to see which one could get the waiter hard first."
Jan was single and Cassandra divorced from a wife-beating psycho, and Rox loved regaling me with the stories of all the dissolute things they did as single women. She said it made me hotter when I got home.
The silence lengthened.
"You must really be tired. You don't even want to know who won the Stiffie contest?"
"Not really. I guess I am tired. Can you throw something in the microwave. I'll be home in about an hour. I just want a bite to eat and then I'm hitting the sack."
"If I dabble some whipped cream in certain spots, is there any chance you might do a little nibbling, too?"
"I don't think so Rox, I really am beat. You wouldn't get my A game. Can I get a rain check?"
There was a longer silence. I was 40 years old and I worked crazy hours and there had been times I just wasn't in the mood. She respected them, because I knew when the job had gotten to be a little much for her and I didn't push her, but it didn't happen very often.
"Okay, Tommy. Would you like a back rub or something. Maybe a stiff drink?"
"No, not tonight. Just a little something to eat and then some sleep."
"Would you mind very much if your loving wife cuddled up with you while you went to sleep? I always sleep better next to you."
"Baby, this is one of those nights when what I need is sleep. If you don't mind, I'm going to the guest bedroom. That way I'll get sleep without bothering you and you can stay up and get some work done without worrying about bothering me."
That had never happened before.
"Tommy, what's wrong. Have I done something? What's going on?"