The Crumpled LetterbyJust Plain Bob©
"Yes Mad, as a matter of fact there is someone else."
She just sat there and stared at me and then she got a nasty look on her face and snarled, "You bastard!"
I open the door and said, "I answered your questions Madeline. Hope I don't see you around" and I got out of the car and walked back to mine. She was still sitting there staring after me as I pulled out of the lot and drove off.
I knew Madeline pretty well and I knew her pride would keep her from calling me after our little talk so six weeks went by before I heard from her. She had come home from work to find that she had no electricity and she called to let me know I was a rotten asshole for letting it happen. I knew it was coming of course since I had received the disconnect notice in my forwarded mail.
A week later they shut off the water and I got another nasty call. In retrospect I should have paid the lights and water because by not doing so I sabotaged my big plan which was to see her evicted from the house. When the lights and water were turned off she decided that she had better check into some things and she found that she was three days away from having the phone turned off and that we were over two months behind on the mortgage. I found out later she borrowed from her 401k to get the money to bring the house up to date.
Another month went by and then I received a registered letter that I hadn't expected. I figured that Madeline had too much pride to write what she wrote in the letter. I thought for sure that when I said yes to her "Is there someone else?" question she would grit her teeth, say "Fuck you Rob" and call Trace and invite him to come move in with her. Apparently I didn't know Mad as well as I thought I did. In her letter she professed to love me, said that she missed me terribly and was miserable without me. She begged me to sit down with her, tell her what was wrong and tell her why I'd left her for someone else.
"Just talk with me Rob; I know we can work it all out. I need you here with me."
I tossed the letter in the trash basket.
Three weeks later I got a call from her. "I know you got the letter because you had to sign for it. Since you didn't answer I guess you are never coming home, am I right?"
"Then we need to sell the house. It is too big for me and I can't afford it by myself."
"You don't care? Just, "Go ahead Mad and sell the house?"
"That's it in a nutshell."
"Nothing in my letter meant anything to you?"
"Not a thing."
Several seconds of silence followed and then she said, "Goodbye Rob" and hung up.
She put the house up for sale and had a buyer within three weeks and I got the next nasty phone call.
"You bastard! You maxed out the line of credit. After paying the realtor's commission there won't be anything left."
"I figured as much."
"Why Rob? What the fuck happened to turn you into a shithead?"
I didn't answer, I just hung up. A week later she called and said that the closing on the house would be at three-thirty on Thursday and asked if that was a good time for me or should she reschedule. I told her it was good for me and then I hung up. Thursday I left the office at two and went out and played eighteen holes of golf.
That must have been the straw that broke the camel's back because the following Monday I was served. Madeline was suing for divorce and she was using irreconcilable differences as grounds. She was asking for the money that was in the savings and checking at the time I moved out. She wanted the money from the CDs I'd cashed in and the money I had taken out when I maxed out the line of credit on the house. She also wanted the house and for me to make good the money she had taken from her 401k to keep the house from going into foreclosure. And she wanted me to pay her attorney's fees and all court costs. The cottage was not mentioned so she must not have known I'd sold it and was figuring that it would be included in "the half of the marital assets."
I had expected her to do that and I expected that the courts would go along with some of it, if it got to court, and I had all the money sitting in an interest bearing account. I had been waiting for the day and I called my attorney and told him to go ahead with what we had already planned. He promptly filed the paperwork counter suing on the grounds of adultery and asking that I be awarded all assets existing at the time Madeline had destroyed our marriage and I had moved out of the house and that she pay my attorney's fees and all court costs.
Three days later Madeline called me. "I was just served. Are you out of your fucking mind charging me with adultery? You are the one who said you had someone else."
"No I didn't Madeline. You asked me if the reason I moved out was because of someone else and all I said was, "Yes Mad, as a matter of fact there is." You assumed I had met someone else, but that wasn't the case. When I said there was someone else I was referring to your lover Trace. Don't call me anymore Madeline. From now on everything goes through the lawyers."
A couple of weeks went by and my lawyer called me. "They aren't negotiating. They are not going to settle for less than they are asking for."
"Set up a conference. You, me, Madeline and her lawyer."
John and I were sitting in his conference room when Madeline and her lawyer came in and sat down. As soon as they were seated Madeline's lawyer said:
"First, as a basis for this negotiation we..." and I cut him off. "This isn't a negotiation meeting. This is a clear the air and ultimatum meeting. I will state my position and then you and Madeline get to decide what you want to do. First, Madeline's parent's and all of her relatives are staunch Catholics and while Mad has disappointed them in not holding as firm to their beliefs as they would like I'm sure that she isn't interested in being ostracized by them. Unfortunately that is likely what could happen if I am forced to release the information that I have."
I slid copies of the private detective's report across the table to the both of them.
"You will notice that with the exception of the time spent at work and at the abortion clinic that Madeline spent her entire trip to Boston living in Trace Mueller's apartment."
At the mention of the abortion clinic I saw the color leave Madeline's face. I slid more papers across the table to them.
"This is the medical record of her visit to the clinic. Note that in addition to the procedure she also had her tubes tied so she could continue on with her affair with Mueller without fear of getting pregnant again. Notice that the last three pages are copy of a letter from Mueller telling my wife that he had made the appointment at the clinic and recommending that she have her tubes tied. A recommendation she obviously followed. I also have videotape and still photos of my unfaithful wife with Mr. Mueller.
"You will stop contesting my filing and allow the divorce to proceed on the term put forth in my filing or the information I just showed you will be used."
Madeline's lawyer sat and listened to me, tapping his pencil on his legal pad, and when I was done he said"
"First of all, and I'm sure that your attorney has informed you of it, Mrs. Beckman's medical records are personal information and the only way you could have gotten them was by illegal means. In any event they would not be allowed to be entered in the divorce proceedings. Next, you shou..." and I interrupted him before he could go on.
"I know they are inadmissible in court, but I never intended them to go to court. When I said the information would be used I meant that every living relative of my wife's will receive a copy. Her parish priest will get a copy, every friend of hers that I am aware of will receive a copy and her boss, who happens to be involved with every Right To Life organization in existence will get a copy.
"John tells me that you could, if you have a good relationship with a judge, get an injunction as soon as you leave and in effect have a gag order issued. That wouldn't matter to me, I'd do it anyway. All they could do would be to hold me in contempt of court, but since I don't want to spend thirty days in jail or pay a fine this is the way it will work. You will agree to my terms in writing before you leave this room. If you walk out that door without agreeing in writing to what I've just said I will make one phone call and special messengers will start delivering copies within the hour. There is one last thing you should know. I'm hoping like hell that you won't agree. I'm praying that you will get up and storm out of here without signing anything."
Madeline spoke up for the first time since coming into the room. "You would do that? You would really do that to me? You hate me that much?"
"You bet I do. Finding out about your Boston playmate killed every feeling I had for you. I'll leave you to work it out with John. I'm going to go into his office and sit by the phone. Again, I hope he tells me you walked out without agreeing to anything so I can make my phone call before you are even out of the building."
I got up and left the room and three minutes later John buzzed me and told me that they wanted some time to think about it and they left without agreeing to anything. I picked up the phone and made one call and by suppertime Madeline's parents, two brothers, three sisters and several aunts and uncles had copies of the material. In addition, Trace's employer and all of his family that the private detective could find had copies.
The divorce went to court and in the end the judge ruled that everything was to be split fifty/fifty, but that Madeline had to pay for both attorneys and all the court costs. That was a bonus for me since I assumed that each party would have to pay their own attorney's fees and split the court costs. John told me he wasn't surprised because the judge had gone through a divorce from a cheating wife ten or so years ago and he was known to lean toward the man's side when the wife was the cheater and the case law would allow him to do so.
The proceeds from the cottage were exempted from the split since it was in my name only even though Mad's attorney argued it was acquired during the marriage and thus acquired jointly. John argued that since I had purchased the cottage using my yearly bonus check and thus not funds held jointly in any joint account that the cottage was mine and mine alone and the judge agreed.
The divorce was final seven months ago and Mad paid a high price for her infidelity. Her family turned their backs on her and although she has managed to repair the breach between one brother and two of her sisters her older brother, youngest sister and her parents will have nothing to do with her. When her youngest sister was married Madeline was not invited to the wedding, but Madeline being Madeline she showed up at the reception anyway. Her father told her to leave and when she wouldn't he called the cops on her. The cops asked her to leave since she was not an invited guest and she gave them a ration of shit and so they cuffed her and hauled her away. She spent the night in jail and was released in the morning after being charged with Disturbing the Peace, Trespass and Interfering With an Officer in the Performance of his Duties.
Aside from her family problems she was fired from her job. Not because her boss was a strong right to life activist, but because she filed false expense reports. It seems that her boss read the private detective's report that stated she stayed at Mueller's apartment the entire time she was in Boston, but in her expense report she put in for two weeks reimbursement for a hotel room. I have no idea where she came up with the fake receipts but her boss checked on them and found that they were bogus. Her boss gave her the option - resign or be fired for theft. Madeline said she hadn't done it for the money; she just did it to keep people from asking why she didn't have hotel receipts for her trips. She told him that she would return the money and her boss said sorry, but no. She resigned and the last I heard she was waiting tables at a restaurant.
I never knew the why of it since I never talked with Madeline after she left for that last trip to Boston, but then it didn't really matter. What mattered was that she did it and it was something I could never accept and live with. I loved her and I still think of her and wish it could have turned out different.
My major regret is that Boston is sixteen hundred miles away and I don't know the place or anyone there. That makes doing something to Mueller almost impossible. I'm surprised that Mad didn't pack up and head for Boston when her life here cratered on her. Maybe the stuff I sent his family soured him on Mad and she can't go to him. What I'm hoping is that Mad is still here because he plans on coming here to join her. I'm already making plans in case he does.