This is dedicated to the friends of the guy or gal...
There is no sex in this story.
I edited it myself, so blame me.
When I walked into the bar, Hank, Phil and Wes waved at me a little less enthusiastically then the first time I had walked in an hour or so ago. A waitress gathered Reggie's mug and plate of wings. They were laughing at something or another, probably one of Reg's stories.
"Hey guys." I said with a wave, setting my gift bag down next to the seat Reg just left. I'd actually arrived a while back, the guys having invited me for some brews and the baseball game, but when I entered and saw Reg there, I left, hence their diffidence.
"Why did you leave? You missed the first half of the game." Hank groused at me. He couldn't imagine a better time then sitting with his buds watching a game. He never actually went to the stadium. He found it less informative and fun then television. Just being able to Tivo it and hit the bathroom was worth it to him.
"I'm sorry. Reg was here." I explained...again.
"Jeez, Jim. What is it with you and Reg. I still can't believe you walked out of my own daughter's confirmation barbecue because Reg was there." Phil threw at me.
"We left the potato salad." I apologized again.
"That's not the point! I would think you were a big enough person to suck up Reg's presence out of respect and friendship." Phil said.
"And I would think that out of respect and friendship, you'd respect the fact that I think he's a slimy cocksucker and I won't go anyplace he is." I retorted. "Look, this is the third time you've invited me out with you guys and this is three times I've found that guy here. I'm getting a little pissed off. First your barbecue, then Wes' fishing trip and now this."
"Jim, chill. No reason to get upset. Heck, we told Reg and he thinks it's funny. So we were pulling a little joke. It's no big deal." Hank reasoned.
I shrugged. "Okay. It's no big deal. Are you finished pulling this little joke?"
"What bug crawled up your ass about Reg anyway? That he gets more pussy then you do?" Wes asked.
"He's always been a skirt chaser, and I didn't mind that in the old days," I said to him, "but when he started going after married chicks and girlfriends, I decided he's a fucking sleaze."
"As he says, 'all the pretty ones are taken these days'" Hank snorted. The other two smiled while my face twisted in disgust.
"Yeah," Phil said, folding his hands on his ample stomach, "if it wasn't for him telling me his stories, I'd have no sex life at all."
"And he never did anything to you!" Wes retorted. "We aren't pussy police." They cracked up at that term and I have to admit that I smiled a bit.
"Yeah, but you're enabling him." I said after the levity died down. "He gets to come in here and be the big shot. You laugh at his stories. You ask him details. Tell me, Phil. Do you tell Wendy any of the stories that Reg shares?"
"Hell no." His expression indicated to me that I was treading into dangerous territory. Well, they had seriously pissed me off with these invitations to Dickheadland.
He looked even more uncomfortable. "She wouldn't like us socializing with him." he admitted. I had to give him points for his honesty.
"Because he's a cheater and a liar. And she wouldn't want you to be around someone who thinks it's okay and might encourage you to do the same. I think you're stupid, by the way. If she doesn't know what kind of character he is, what happens if he makes a run at Wendy?"
He snorted and looked askance at me. "Wendy? I love my wife but there's no way in hell he'd be interested in her." I liked Wendy too, but pregnancy had not been kind to her figure, even if she was one of the best people I knew. Not that Phil hadn't kept up with her once he left the Navy. "Besides, he's our bud." he continued.
"Well, let's hope his standards don't fall, then and he keeps liking you." I said sardonically.
"Shh shh! You're missing the game." Hank said. "I don't know why you got such a bug up your ass anyway. It's not like he's done anything to you. He says if the wives were happy, he wouldn't have a chance anyway. It's not his fault they are in shitty marriages."
"Assuming he's telling you the truth. But even so, it doesn't help a weak marriage with him sawing in and out of the wife now, does it? My brother's wife stepped out on him and after seeing what that did to him, I can't stand that fucker."
"Was it Reg?" Phil said, leaning forward sympathetically. The other two looked at me too. It seems they had some standards after all. They were just getting off on living vicariously through Reggie's conquests.
I sighed inside. They just didn't get it. "No, it wasn't Reg. But it could have been. It was a Reg and no doubt he has his own set of buddies smirking and laughing at his stories of how he put the horns on David. Making him feel that he isn't doing anything wrong."
Hank leaned forward. "We get what you're saying. And yeah, he's an asshole. But he's our asshole. He's been loyal and fun."
"And he's fucking over other people's marriages."
"That isn't our fault."
"Do you tell any of them? Did you warn any of the husbands or suggest to the wives that they might be fucking things up?" I pressed.
"He's our friend. What do you want us to do, rat out our friend to someone we barely know?" This was a serious man code violation and we all knew it. But I was married and since I wasn't a pimp, 'bros before 'hos' didn't work for me.
"You mean like Harvey Baker?" Harvey had been in one of the following classes in high school. Since we stayed in our hometown, you got to know pretty much everyone. He was a distant figure, but we all recognized the name.
"Harvey?" Wes asked.
"Yeah. Reg was fucking his wife and they just got a divorce." They looked even more uncomfortable with this revelation.
"We didn't know it was Harvey's wife. But we barely know him." Wes rallied.
"So that's an excuse? If you don't know them, that's okay to let him come in and betray their trust. Reg knew them. He knew them both. I would think that if he was doing it to you, you'd want to know." There were some tepid sounds of agreement.
I could see that the 'man code' was trumping everything with them, so I decided it was time for my props. I picked up my gift bag and put it on the table. "To give you a tiny sense of betrayal that Reg causes...okay, helps to cause since it takes two to tango, I decided to visit your houses when you weren't there and have a little chat with your wives." There were shouts of outrage from them "Calm down. I wasn't trying to screw your wives. Essentially I tried to 'sweet talk' them into letting me 'borrow' one of your most cherished possessions. It wasn't hard."
Hank glared at me. "That's way fucked up, Jim. Reg doesn't play games like that."
"You mean like him going on our outings knowing it will piss me off? Think of it as a joke." Hypocrite I handed a gift wrapped shirt to Hank, a jewelry box to Phil and small gift box to Wes.
Hank immediately started to tear the wrapping off the shirt. "You FUCKER! This is my signed Derek Jeeter Jersey! And you took it out of the frame!" He looked like he was about to pound me.
Phil, suddenly nervous, opened up his. "This is my Annapolis graduation ring. Jeesh. That's in the drawers in my bedroom!"
"She showed me where it was herself after I told her what kind of a scumbag you were hanging around. I don't think you'll be inviting Reg to many more barbecues. Or baseball games at the house." I said, looking meaningfully at Phil and Hank.
"We might be losing a friend, but it might not be Reg." Hank said ominously.
I shrugged helplessly. I knew that was a danger going into this.
"And what did you get from me?" Wes asked, frowning at me.
"I was trying for you fishing lures." He always was crowing if he caught one fish more then the rest of us and he never let us borrow one of his lures.
A look of anger crossed his face. He picked up and shook the box. It was silent. Then he opened it, looked inside and held up his middle finger at me and smirked. Then he held it upside down to show the others that it was empty. "I guess you couldn't talk her into betraying me, asswipe."
I scratched my cheek abashedly. "I actually started at your house since you pissed me off with that ruined weekend fishing trip. I never got the chance to talk to her. When I stopped by...well, you know I never go where Reg is. Enjoy the game guys." I put a twenty on the table for the drinks and left.
This may not be a complete story, but it is all I'm writing.