It must be morning, I was waking up.
Oh, God, everything hurts when I move.
What is that beeping? What the hell are these wires?
Why is my son sleeping in that chair? Where the fuck am I?
I let out a yelp as I tried to sit up. My left side was killing me.
My son woke up.
"Dad, thank God you're awake. I was so worried about you."
"Where am I? What happened to me?"
"You don't know what happened?"
"Last I remember I was on my way to the airport to catch a seven am flight to Pittsburgh. I had to find out why they were having so many problems at the plant there. I was stopped for a red light and when the light turned green I started through the intersection.... then I woke up here. Where am I?"
"Community Hospital, Dad, you never made it through the intersection. An SUV never stopped for the light and he hit you right on the driver's side door. Totaled the car and the fire department had to use the 'Jaws of life' to get you out. When I saw your car, I didn't know how you survived."
"Why are you here? Where's your mother?
"I don't know where Mom is. I have the night shift this week and I made two arrests so I had a lot of paper work to clean up and just by chance I saw your name on the accident report as I was putting my paper work into the system."
"She's not home? She was asleep when I left. What time is it, maybe she went shopping?"
"It's a little after five, you have been out of it all day. By the time they got you out and got you in here it was almost ten. They called the house around noon as soon as you were stabilized and only got the answer machine. I got here at eleven, and called but no one was home so I tried Mom's cell and got her voice mail. She never got back to me."
"Did you leave a message?
"Just that she should call me. I didn't want to worry her and I didn't know how badly you were hurt."
That's when a doctor walked into the room, "Mr. Carlson," he said "I'm Dr. Kincaid. Welcome back to the conscious world. How are you feeling?"
"Like someone hit me on my left side with a baseball bat."
"It was bigger than that. I understand it was an Escalade. Crushed in the whole side of your car and drove the arm rest of your door into your kidney. Crushed it, we're going to have to take it out."
"Well that's the bad news Doc; you sure don't pull any of your punches. What's the good news?"
"There is no good news."
"What does that mean?"
"We did a cat scan when they brought you in to see how badly the kidney was damaged. When we saw how bad it was we checked the other one."
"It's cancerous, fairly advanced, stage two. It has to go. Maybe that's the good news if we can find a replacement."
"He can have one of mine." my son piped up.
"Who are you? The doctor asked.
"I'm his son."
"Are you the cop who was in here last year with a bullet wound?"
"Yeah, I forgot to duck."
"Shit," the Doctor said, "What else can go wrong?"
"What does that mean?" my son asked.
"It means I checked the records, we have all your medical information. Blood type, DNA, everything. It means you are not a good match; you're close but not good enough. You are not his biological son. Are there any other children? Any siblings of yours or you father's?"
"No to both." was my answer.
"OK," said the Doc, "Let me check around and see if I can find anything available that could be a match." And he left.
Both my son and I looked at each other in shocked silence. Finally, Mark said, "You're my father; I don't care what he said." And he came over to the bed and he hugged me.
"And you're my son, no matter what the blood types say. But don't hug me so tight, you're killing my side."
He released me and went back to the chair where he sat silently and pensively.
I lay back in my bed and thought back to twenty five years ago when I first met Emilie. She was a pretty girl. One of the prettiest, but still just one of the many in the secretarial pool in the company headquarters where I still worked. We dated sporadically, there was no spark between us but she was nice arm candy for me to be with. She made me look like a smooth operator.
Then I got a promotion, a double raise in pay grade and six months later another jump to the highest hourly rate in the company. The next promotion was to be salaried; I was the fair haired boy in the company.
That was when I got laid, that was when Emilie opened up her legs for me. We had gone to a drive in movie. They still had few around in those days, and Emile suggested that we sit in the backseat. I had never gotten much more than a good night peck on her lips or a squeeze on her tit before this, but tonight, I got the whole enchilada. I got laid..... Bareback!
I continued getting lucky on every date with her for the next few months until the day when she told me she was pregnant and asked, "What are you going to do about it?"
I'm no dummy; I knew she had set her sights on me. I was making good money and my prospects were even better. She was pretty and I was getting all the pussy I wanted. I guess I thought I was in love. So I said, "Let's get married and make the baby legal."
Now it seems she must have been getting something on the side and the baby wasn't mine. Just as that thought hit me, my son's cell phone rang. He looked at the caller ID and said, "It's Mom."
I told him, "Don't tell her about me." I didn't want to talk to the bitch now. Maybe not ever, but I suddenly had my suspicions. "Tell her you want to come over to dinner."
He looked at me with raised eyebrows as he answered the phone with. "Hi Mom." I listened to his side of the conversation.
"No, nothings wrong. Just haven't seen you or Dad in a while and I thought I could come visit and have dinner with you two tonight."
"Oh, Dad's out of town."
"For two nights?"
"How about I take you out then?"
"You're busy? With friends? Both nights?"
"Next week? I don't know my schedule yet.
Yeah, I'll call as soon as I do. Talk to you soon. Bye."
I told my son, "Hey, you have to get some sleep. Go on home; you know I am out of danger for the moment. Get me my cell phone out my clothes and then go home. I'll see you tomorrow." I had to do a little phone investigating in private. He left grudgingly.
Interesting. She never told me about going out with any of OUR friends while I was away. I rarely called when I was out of town on these short trips except to let her know of any change in plans. I guess what happened to me today was a big time change.
I called the house, no answer. I called her cell. I got her voice mail so I left her a message. "Hi Babe, things here are screwed up worse than we thought. Looks like I will be stuck here for the rest of the week. I'm pooped so I'm turning in now and I'll call you at about nine tomorrow morning."
At eight thirty in the morning my cell phone rang, it was Emilie. "You're not coming home until Friday?" Was her greeting.
"Maybe even Saturday," was my reply.
"What are they, a bunch of incompetents out there?"
"It's beginning to look like that. I hate leaving you alone like this. Where were you last night when I called? I left you a message on the answer machine."
"I had an early dinner and I went to a movie. I had to turn my cell phone off when the movie started and forgot to turn it on again until this morning so I didn't see your call until now."
"I know you hate to eat dinner alone, why don't you call our son and let him take you out for dinner for a change?"
"As a matter of fact, I spoke to Bobby yesterday and he has the four to twelve all this week. I'll see if I can get him for next week when you will be home."
"OK, I'll call you later in the week and let you know when I'll be home. Love you. Bye."
"Bye, love you too."
Even more interesting, she called me on her cell phone before I called her at home on the land line. I wonder. I called home on the house phone number. I got the answer machine. Not quite nine in the morning and she wasn't home and the answer machine was working. That means she hasn't been home to listen to the messages left for her by our son or the hospital. Where the hell has she been for two nights?
The answers started to come in on Wednesday shortly after one o'clock when an irate Emilie came storming into the room. I could see how angry and upset she was.
"What is this?" she complained, "You're in the hospital and you don't tell me. You said you were in Pittsburgh when I spoke to you. Why did you lie to me? Why did I have to find out that you have been hurt from a message from the hospital on my answer machine?"
"Em, they must have called you Monday, around noon time. Why did you just listen to the message today?"
"Oh." she said just realizing the implications of what I said.
"But that's not the most important question I have to ask. When were you going to tell me about Bobby?"
"What about Bobby? Is he hurt too? Is he here in the hospital too?"
"No, he's not in the hospital but I think he is hurting."
"I don't understand. What are you talking about?"
"He found out the other day that I'm not his father."
"What? Of course you are. You raised him, you love him."
"Yes I did raise him and I do love him but evidently I didn't help create him."
"Of course you did. You're the only man........., oh no, it can't be."
"What can't be, Emilie?"
She was completely off balance now, her words spilling out without thought. Her mind could not keep up with my questions and I pressed on determined to get to the truth of several matters.
"That George.........." She sat down, visibly shaken, a stricken look on her face.
"That George is his biological father?" I asked, completing her sentence.
"It was only the one time then." she said. "I was sure Bobby was yours."
"It seems, 'sure' was not good enough was it? Was it George Manning?"
George Manning was the company lothario. He was handsome and suave and he cut a wide swath through the girls in the secretarial pool for many years. He could sell ice to Eskimos and his cock to almost any woman. The number of his conquests was legendary. He was now the company V. P. for Sales, divorced for the second time and still playing the field.
"Yes," she answered, "it was George. I was foolish and he seduced me and I realized as soon as it was over that all I was to him was another notch on his belt. I swear that was the only time then."
I watched her, watched her face. I could see how upset she was. She didn't realize what she was saying. What it meant.
"Then?" I queried.
"Then?" she repeated, not understanding my question.
"You said, 'It was only once THEN. You said 'then' that way twice, implying that there were other times when it wasn't only once."
"I didn't mean......... Oh God......." Her voice trailed off.
Suddenly it came to me out of the blue and I took a blind shot with my accusation, "Where were you for the last two days? You were fucking George again, at his place, weren't you? You didn't come home until this morning to listen to the answer machine."
"Lloyd, nooooooo." she moaned, not completing her sentence.
"I could have been dead for two days and you would have been merrily fucking George the whole time. How long has this been going on? I'll bet you spread your legs for him every time I went out of town . Get out of here! Get out; I can't stand the sight of you. GET OUT!
My blood pressure must have gone sky high. I heard the alarm go off at the nurse's station as well as in my room. The soft monotone beep that monitored my pulse became almost a continuous shriek. Two of the nurses came running in and when they realized that Emilie was the cause of my agitation they shooed her out as she protested.
"No Lloyd, let me stay. Let me explain......."
"Get her out," I shouted to the nurses, "and keep her out. I didn't want to see her in here again."
And I didn't see her again but I did see George. He came to see me two days later.
"What the fuck do want?" was my greeting. "Haven't you made my life miserable enough? Did you come here to rub it in?"
"No, I came here to save my job. I don't want you filing a complaint with the company about what happened with Emilie and me. I'm broke and I have a lot of debts and I'm behind with the alimony I have to pay from my last divorce. I won't be able to get another job that pays as well if I get fired because I had an affair with another executive's wife."
"Well isn't that too fucking bad? Should I feel sorry for you? How long have you been fucking my wife?"
"Once," he said, "a long time ago before you were married and then it started again about four or five years ago. We reconnected again at a company picnic and she would only come to me when you were out of town. Come on Lloyd, I stand to lose everything I worked for all my life. I'm sorry and I apologize for what I did and I want to make it up to you. Just tell me what I have to do."
I was half joking when I asked, "How about you give me a kidney?"
I explained my predicament and ended with, "Let them test you to see if you're a match. If you are lucky, I get your kidney and I won't make you a pauper. You get to keep your job and I get to live. Hell, I'll even throw in Emilie. She'll come to you this time with a few bucks from our divorce but I'll draw the line at alimony. I'll be damned if I'll pay for you to fuck her any more."
I wasn't really serious when I made the proposal, I was just trying to put the screws to him for screwing Emilie and I never really expected that he would accept it. It was a one in a million chance, or maybe one in a billion, that he would be a match but he agreed to be tested and guess what?
The poor bastard was a good match for me, much better than Bobby, and that's what we did. I got his kidney and he got Emilie. She got a one time settlement from our divorce and she moved in with him. They never got married and they didn't last more than a year together before she moved out because he never changed his philandering ways. I'm not sure she changed either.
Bobby kept in touch with her because she was still his mother but he never forgave her for what she did to me and he never accepted George as his father. I never knew what became of her after she moved out on George because Bobby was not allowed to speak to me about her........ Ever.
Her infidelity got me a new lease on life so I guess I can't hate her too much and that makes it easy for me to forget she even existed.