Lovers and LosersbyMatt Moreau©
We'd served together in Iraq, Roger and me. We'd joined up right after high school. In country and out we'd had each other's back. It'd never been an issue for either of us, until I'd actually saved the asshole's life.
That day, because of the ungodly noise of the wind and the sandstorm, it'd been kicking up pretty good; he didn't hear the truck, nor did he see it since he had his back to it. Worse, in our desert fatigues the driver didn't see Roger or me either, not until the last second at any rate. But I did see him, the driver. I slammed Roger up hard against the wall, but since I was a couple of feet further out into the street protecting Roger, the truck hit me. The fact that the driver had finally slammed on the brakes saved me: I was injured, punctured lung, broken arm, broken leg; I survived.
Roger was suitably grateful: he visited me every day in the medic's tent till the evac guys finally got me to the capitol. And, his gratitude being boundless, he swore undying affection for me and mine. The "mine" part proved truer than the "me" part.
For the record I'm Wilbur Chandler. My wife, Sally Chandler nee Dorn. She and I met at a party six months after both Roger and I had mustered out. Six months after that Sally and I had gotten hitched. That was nine years ago now.
Sally is a princess, me, Joe average. But, I'm an okay looking average, and I can dance—my only social saving grace.
Sally was beautiful then as now. Oh and now? five-eight, one twenty, lustrous brown hair to her shoulders, C-cups, and a butt that could have launched thousand ships.
Oh yeah, and me, now? Five-seven, one-forty, thinning hair, and really thick lensed glasses. Oh, and I'm a mechanic, a good one; and, a well-paid one if it matters.
Oh, and our common age—thirty-two.
I watched as he took her. I was sick. Sick at heart, sick to my stomach, sick in my very soul: my marriage was over. My soulmate was—well—was not. My best friend was also a not. It was going to be very hard for me, very hard. I'd loved her since high school. Now, it was over.
I stepped into the room. "Sally...?" I said in a flat voice. God I sounded wimpy; no, I sounded as one in pain! Their heads snapped around to see me. Initial shock was replaced by looks of sympathy—that on her part. Him? His look bespoke amusement. Roger—who incidentally is single—always was a never-take-anything-seriously kind of guy. Clearly, fucking his best friend's wife was not a big deal to him, certainly not something to be taken all that seriously; hence, his look of amusement rather than of guilt or sympathy.
"Oh Wilbur, you surprised us, dear. Just go back downstairs, and wait for me. We're almost done here," she said. I didn't move I was rooted to the spot staring at the two of them.
"Go on get out, Will," he said impatiently. "You can have her back when I'm done," he said. And, again, 'he' of course, was the same Roger, Roger Hardy, my now ex-best friend, local bar owner, and Sally's boss, and yeah, the guy I'd saved.
Suddenly I was overcome with rage. I charged him. He had disengaged himself from my wife and was ready for me. I unloaded a right-left combination to his face. Problem was, it didn't faze him. He grabbed me by the scruff of my neck, pushed me down to an almost squatting position, and frog walked me out of my own bedroom. Out in the hallway he held me by my scruff; he looked, what, irritated.
"She said get out bud. You don't got it when it comes to this stuff. I got it, and she needs it. "I'm giving it to her, and you can have her back shortly," he said, slamming the door in my face. As he turned to go back in, he was laughing like it was all a big joke. Perhaps I should note here that my ex best friend is six-four and right at two-hundred and thirty pounds.
I stood staring at the door for the whole time they remained inside. Loser me! Well, I was a loser, clearly. He on the other hand was a lover, always had been.
I was stunned, couldn't believe what was happening. I heard my wife scream in pleasure at least twice. I sobbed uncontrollably. Like I said, I'm a loser, and I know it.
Maybe half an hour later the door sprang open. He came out still buttoning his shirt. "Thanks!" he said, "no biggee. Sorry about before. But, well, we were in the middle of it, you know. See yuh later. We'll talk." He was staring straight into my eyes as he finished buttoning up and said his spiel.
I just stared back at him, not saying anything.
"Get over it, guy; it was nothing," he said, smiling and turning to go. She finally emerged, and sighed her frustration at my emotional state.
"Oh, Wilbur, don't worry. I still love you. Roger and I were just playing. Really," she said. "Wait here. I will be back in a moment." She turned from me and walked him down the stairs. I heard them talking but couldn't catch what they were saying."
A minute or two later she returned to me. "Don't worry, dear, he's not replacing you. You're my love, my husband," she said. I shook my head.
"Not anymore, Sally. You can have the traitorous asshole or whomsoever, just not me. Not anymore." I retraced my steps into the room that had been ours for nine years, ever since returning from the Middle East. I searched out my jacket and my small tube bag, the one I used for carrying changes of clothes that I needed on the rare occasions I travelled anywhere.
I wasn't gonna be taking much of anything. I didn't need to. My bank account was separate from hers. I'd have enough money to buy whatever I needed. Apart from my work clothes and a couple of pairs of jeans and a few shirts I didn't need much. She could give the rest to Goodwill or whomsoever. The less I had to remind me of her and my fuckwad used-to-be-best friend the better.
She'd followed me up the stairs and watched as I packed the few things I needed and slipped on my jacket.
"Wilbur, honey, you're overreacting. He's a meaningless interlude and nothing more. He's your best friend! He adores you, really. For godssake stop packing and listen to me. Please."
"Best friend? Not any fucking more He manhandled me out of my own bedroom so that he could screw you some more. And, you didn't say a damn thing to him about it or try to get him to stop doing what he was doing to me. Then, just now, you ushered him out like he had a right to be here and to do those things to me," I said, "or should I say 'do' you."
"It isn't like that," she said.
"Oh, then how is it?" I said. "I'd really like to know."
"You attacked him. He had to defend himself. He didn't hurt you. I appreciated that. He could have hurt you. So, yes, I walked him out for that reason," she said. "I thanked him for not hitting you. That's all."
"He did hurt me, Sally. He humiliated me to the point that he has destroyed my marriage to the woman I had long thought of as my soulmate. I guess I was wrong about that. Hell, you helped him destroy me. You're nothing but a cheating whore! I will never dip my wick in your filthy pussy again, not if it was the last pussy on earth. And you can take that to the bank. But, as for that, I guess you wouldn't care much about that anyway," I said.
"Wilbur you've got it all wrong," she said.
"Do I? You wanna stay married to me?" I said.
"Yes, definitely," she said.
"He got his cell with him?" I said.
"Well, yes, of course," she said.
"Call him. Tell him to fuck himself, that you quit your job at his fucking bar, and that you never want to see him again," I said. "Do it now, and we'll talk, you and I."
"Look, Wilbur, let's talk first. I'll call him if you want after we talk. How's that?" she said.
"No. Now or never," I said. She sighed her frustration with me.
"That's what I thought. Have a miserable life, Sally, we're done." I strode out, and left.
I shacked up with a friend, Mickey Stewart, for the next couple of days. Just went to work, and tried to forget at least some of my pain. I reinforced that effort after work with a few shots of JD on the rocks. My new hangout, was the Sunset Bar and Grill. I had been a regular at Hardy's, my wife's place of work and my now ex best friend's store. Well, I was a regular until my marriage imploded; obviously I could never go back there.
Three days after the blowup, I guess she thought that I'd had a chance to cool off—not even was the reality—she showed up at the shop.
Me and couple of other guys were working at lifting the head out of an older model Caddy.
"Wilbur, can we talk for a minute," said the voice from behind me. She'd startled me. I turned to look at her. She looked great, no doubt part of the assault she was about to make on my psyche.
"No," I said, "we're through."
"Wilbur, you need to come home. We'll fix our problem tonight after dinner. Okay?" she said. She was doing this right in front of two of my compadres.
"Sally, there is no fixing it. Not ever. Please leave," I said. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with her standing there airing our dirty laundry in front of God and everybody.
"Look, Wilbur," she lowered her voice; but it was sure that the two guys with me could still hear her, "dick size isn't something you can do anything about. It is what it is. Roger just fills that single need. That's all. My face had to be turning a dozen shades of red as she said what she was saying. "He's good in bed but otherwise he's an asshole. Okay?"
I tried to look around and see who might have heard her put me down—maybe inadvertently—but put me down nonetheless. Three others of my coworkers had joined me and the two who were already there, no doubt because a looker like my wife was sashaying around the place; they were all ears. They were smiling and snickering. Humiliated did not begin to describe my emotional state.
"Sally, get out of here, please," I said.
"Wilbur, Roger didn't mean to hurt you the other day. When he pushed you out of the bedroom, he did it to avoid having to fight you and beat you up. It was a good thing," she said. "He was restraining himself." Her voice was normal now, and everybody heard her. Barry Milliken began laughing so hard he had to go outside.
She wouldn't leave, so I did. I didn't return until she'd gone. She'd left a message with Mickey, one of the five, to have me come home so we could talk.
I got looks all day from those who'd seen and heard what had gone on. I fast became the butt of jokes and whispered conversations.
That night at the Sunset B&G, it all came to a head.
"Hey cowboy, just how little is your dick?" said Malcom Brady, one of the mechanics from the shop.
"Shut the fuck up, Brady. My old lady and I are splitsville, and I don't need any crap from an asshole like you," I said.
"What did you say, shrimp," he said, as he ripped me out of my chair. The fight was on. Brady wasn't as big as Roger Hardy, but he was bigger than me. Still, I got a few licks in before he messed me up: two black eyes and a broken nose. For his part, he got a bloody—not broken—nose out of it.
I spent a couple of hours at the clinic getting patched up; Mickey drove me over. Over the next few days at work Mickey didn't say anything, but he's the only one who didn't. I was a laughingstock. I quit my job three days after the fight. I couldn't work there anymore.
"Your hubby still upset with me?" said Roger. "I guess I owe him a case of beer."
"I would be amazed if he ever speaks to you again or comes in here, I mean to the bar," she said.
He laughed. "So, he hasn't called or come home to get his stuff?"
"No, and I'm worried. He's been gone five days. I think he's staying with Mickey, a friend of his, but..."
"He'll come home, but until he does, I fully intend to take advantage of his stupidity," he laughed. She shot him a look.
"Look it's only fun and games with you and me. He is way over reacting to everything. You know it and I know it. Hell, if I was married to you he could dip his wick in you if he wanted. The jackass knows I'd take a bullet for him. Messin' with you is only recreation and deep down he knows it," said Roger. "Heck, when we were in the army together, we used to trade off girls all the time."
"I don't know, Roger. I mean about him coming home. You pretty much humiliated him pushing out of the room by the scruff of the neck like that," she said. "I know you were doing your best to not hurt him, but the way you did it..."
"Yeah, I guess I did overdo that," he said. "But hell, I couldn't hurt the guy; he saved my life in Iraq."
"Overdo it? Do yuh think?" she said.
"When he returns, tell him the drinks are on me. Okay?" said Roger. She snickered.
"Yeah, like that would make a difference. I better get back to work," she said. He nodded.
She was talking to a regular at the end of the bar when the man came in. She saw him, recognized him, and went to see what he wanted to drink.
"Hi, Mickey, how's it going," she said. He gave her a look.
"Okay, I guess. Make it a tall cold one," he said. She headed back to the bar to draw the draft. She returned with the order.
"Mickey, can I ask you something?" she said.
"Yeah, I guess," he said.
"Is he staying with you, Mickey? Is he okay?" she said.
"Yes to the first. No to the second." He said.
"Huh?" she said.
"When you went to the shop last week, you cut him up pretty good, Sally," he said. "So, yes he's staying with me, and no he's not doing too good."
"I did not cut him up, to use your words! I went there to beg him to come home to me!" she said.
"Yes, maybe. You also referred to his little cock—talk about how to humiliate a guy. You also mentioned that your lover had run him out of his own bedroom, humiliating him in front of you. Half the shop heard you. They have not stopped making jokes at his expense and laughing at him," he said. Her face paled.
"Oh my God! I had no idea. I—I—I will go back to the shop and make things right. I swear I never meant to embarrass him. I love him. Yes, I will go there tomorrow," she said.
"Too late, Sally. He got into fight because of it all, and got beat up and had to go to the hospital. And, if that were not enough, it got so bad for him at the shop that he had to quit. He's currently unemployed," said Mickey.
"What! Quit! Unemployed!" she said almost squeaking out the words. "Oh my..."
"Yes, well it is what it is. He'll get another job. He's a good mech. He just needs a little time," said Mickey.
She'd taken a seat across from him. Now she rose and headed back to the bar. She had to think.
"He's unemployed? Shit! I hate to say it, Sally, but your hubby is a wuss. So a couple of guys laughed at him. He quits a good paying job over that!
"You best be talking to him. Maybe make it nice for him if you know what mean. If you want, I could talk to him. You know kind of apologize for doing him like I did," he said.
"Right, he's gonna go for any that—not!" she said.
"Listen, I was an asshole that day. I wasn't thinking. I guess I was showing off for the woman, you. You know, playing the macho bit, playing the big man. I was wrong," he said.
"Wrong? You fucked me and he saw you! He heard my screams of pleasure! Then you frog walked him out of his own bedroom. His hatred of you, and maybe even of me, probably knows no bounds," said Sally.
"Hate is a pretty big word. He'll get by this if he has half a brain. He and I are sympatico. Yeah, I know, I fucked you and he saw me. Big effing deal. It's not like I was trying to get you to leave him or anything. You, or we, just have to talk some sense into him. Your choice," he said. "It was only a little sex for godssake."
"Yeah, and just how do you figure to get him to talk to you? I mean all I see in you trying to talk to him, is him giving you the bird or trying to fight you again. He sure as hell has reason," said Sally. He gave her a look that—what—confused her.
"What are you thinking?" said Sally.
"Sally, you're a genius, and you are absolutely right," he said.
"What are you talking about?" she said.
"I get him to hit me, fight me, and I don't fight back or not very hard. I take my medicine, you know, for treating him so bad at the house. If I'm lucky—if we're lucky— afterwards, I'll be buying him a beer, and we'll be talking," said Roger.
"He won't fight you. He knows he can't win," said Sally; "he's half your size."
"Well, it's our only shot. I figure we gotta try if we want him to get back in the saddle with you where he belongs," he said.
"Yeah, well, even if he does let you buy him a drink, him getting back in the saddle with me is gonna be a hard nut. He told me never again," she said.
"Yeah, like any man is going to refuse you, dented ego or not," he said. She smirked.
"That's why I love you. You always say the right thing," she said.
"Love me?" he said.
"Well, you know what I mean," she said,
He watched his quarry for some minutes before he approached. Why do people always take deep breaths before going after a challenge? Well, that was a thought for another day.
He shoved his hands in his pockets to be, as he thought, less threatening; and strolled, leisurely strolled, toward the other man. It was a nice day in the park, warmish, but nice. How long it was going to stay that way, nice, was the question. His target had his back turned to him.
"Blades bare," said Roger.
I'd been sitting in the same spot pretty much every day since moving in with Mickey and quitting my job. Mickey'd go to work, and I'd come here to the park: lots of trees, young moms with their kids, birds and squirrels. Yeah, my kind of place. It was almost noon, too warm for most folks to be out; but I liked the heat. The park was deserted except for me.
Yeah Mick was cool No pressure. He was giving me time to get over what ailed me: the loss of my wife, my job, my best friend, my self-respect. The park was a lot better than four walls for thinking. Well, it was until now.
"What the fuck! What the fuck do you want, Roger. Get outta here," I didn't quite scream.
"You and I gotta talk," he said.
"No we don't. And, what's with the 'blades bare' shit; we're not in-country anymore. Those bridges have long since been burned," I said, "and by you."
"Yeah, maybe. But I still owe you," he said.
"Harrummph! So you screw my wife and turn her against me; I don't need your kind of gratitude, fuckwad. Just get the fuck away from me," I said.
"Look, Wilbur, I'd take a bullet for you..."
"Yeah, and my wife from me. Helluva thing," I said.
"Will, this has really gotten outta hand. Yeah, she and I cheated on you. I guess I know how you're feeling. I'm sorry, okay. But, I was not trying to take sally away from you. We just got this little thing..."
"Yeah, well not okay," I said, interrupting him. "What you and her have done is irreparable. You can't undo it, and I can't unremember it. So, do us all a favor, keep the whore, and get the fuck away from me. I got enough problems without you bein' around rubbin' my nose in it," I said. "The bitch even cost me my job! So please, just fucking go away. Please!"
"Will, she didn't cost you your job; your fucking ego did. Yeah, I heard about it. She embarrassed you trying to get you to come home. She did it wrong, but she's a woman; women are supposed to embarrass guys; it's what they do," said Roger.
He'd finally pushed me too far. So I did it. I spit in his face. I smiled at his obvious upset. Wiping the spittle off with the back of his hand, he took a menacing step toward me, stared at me—I was still smiling—then he backed up.
"I guess that means I failed," he said.
"Suck my dick asshole! Oh yeah, you failed, so travel," I said.
"He did what!" said Sally.
"He spit in my face. We were talking, not making much headway, but talking; and he spit in my face. I almost laid into him. But, after what he caught me doing with you; well, it was little enough to let him have that one," said Roger.