I CHEATED. BUT IT DID NOT MEAN ANYTHING.

Some say cheating is a harmless act.  I guess it can be if only the participants know about it.  The question is, how many others know that we are unaware of?  It makes you shiver to think.  Doesn’t it?  Enjoy this short story.  I enjoyed bringing it to you.       

HAROLD AND WENDY STOOD on large black garbage bags at the rear of the Dodge Durango.  Wendy slipped off her dress and climbed in the SUV.  Harold took off his pants and shirt and shoes and climbed in and closed the back. 

Wendy lay on her back and put her foot up to Harold.  He removed her black heels and kissed her feet.  He then helped her out of her bra and panties. 

Space was a bit tight in the back of the Durango.  But with practice, they had gotten used to maneuvering into positions.

“Did you locked the doors?” Wendy asked.

“Yes,” Harold said.  “I think you ask me that question every time we come here.  And my answer is always the same.  But if it’ll relax you.”  He locked the doors again.  “See.”   

“This place always gives me the creeps,” she said.  “Why do we have to come here, anyway?  We have other spots.”

“I told you why,” he said.  “If we rotate the places, the odds of us getting caught drops down to two percent.  Not the forty and fifty percent that most people experience.  And think about who is going to look here, of all places, for two adults having a quiet moment together.”  He slid his finger down the middle of Wendy’s big breasts.  “I love those.”      

“They’re huge because I’m fat,” she said.  “We were supposed to start walking together, remember?”

“This is better than walking,” he said.  “We’ll burn just as many calories doing this.”

Wendy turned over onto her stomach and away from Harold to look out the windows.  “I just hate it here,” she said.  Parked in the back of old, dilapidated buildings was never a place that she would imagine herself being.  Ten o’clock at night in October made the scene dark and eerie.  It looked like a scary Halloween movie set.  Harold massaging her shoulders was not helping to relax her. 

“We need to do it like this so I can keep a watch out the windows,” Wendy said.  Harold sighed.  “We could get killed back here.  Imagine the news.  A man and woman in their late forties, each married with three children, were murdered behind buildings while having sex in the back of his wife’s Durango SUV.  How could our children ever live that down?”

Wendy looked out the window.  Shadows danced against the buildings.  The open doorways looked as if people were standing in them.  Then they disappeared.  Harold nuzzled on her neck.  The moonlight cast a shadow moving across the building.  Wendy’s eyes were wide.  She scanned the side of the building.  “Someone’s there,” she whispered.  Harold ignored her.  “Someone…”  Wendy jumped.  Harold thought she was in the mood.  Wendy gasped and realized she was holding her breath.  It was the moonlight again.

“You’re going to have to finish up so we can go,” Wendy said.

Harold moved away from her.  “I can’t believe you blew our one night together worried about how creepy the place is,” he said.  “What happened to getting our time in when we could?  We may as well be married?”

“Forgive me for not wanting to be murdered while you have your way with me,” she said.  “This is a scary place.  And you have no room to criticize me.  I did it in that building with you.  So don’t say I wasn’t a willing participant.”  He apologized.  “We need to replace this spot with another.  I think I know one.  It’s near the beach.”

“Are you talking about near Ocean City?” he asked.  They were in Maryland.  “You do know people will call the police on us if we park in their neighborhoods?”

“Don’t worry,” she said.  “I know of a couple of good spots.” 

“Wait,” he said.  “How do you know about these spots?  Did you go there before with someone else?”

“That’s pathetic,” she said.  “Pretending to be jealous.  No.  I went there with my family one weekend.  And we walked around.  And I thought this would be a great area for us one night.”  She looked at her watch.  “Shit.  I got to go.”

“Well, that’s a wrap,” he said.

“Don’t complain,” she said.  “You got what you came here for.  Sorry I had to be the lookout.  I’m the one that should be mad.”  She looked out the windows.  “Check your side.”  He looked and complained that no was out there.  “Just stop whining and check.”

He opened the back.  They got out.  Their feet landed on the ground.  It was damp and cold.  The garbage bags had blown away.  “Damn it,” she said.  “I can’t go home with dirt on my feet.  Albert comes into the bathroom and talks to me while I get ready to shower.  It’s like his ritual.”

“Just wipe your feet off when you get to your car,” Harold said.

“I still need to make sure they’re not dirty,” she said.  “Remember being careful.  Lower the percentile of getting caught.”

They hurried and dressed.  Her Lincoln SUV was parked beside his SUV.  Harold kissed her once she was inside.  “Hurry and follow me,” she said.  “I’m not going to leave you back here alone.  You’ll disappear.  And tomorrow, I won’t know what to tell the office.”

Harold ran around and got into the SUV and followed her out.  They drove up to a stop sign.  DuPont highway pointed to the left.  If she took it, her drive home was ten minutes.  But if she followed Harold to the next exit, her drive was twenty minutes.  Harold pulled beside her waved goodbye.  They turned in opposite directions.

Harold checked the time.  It was eleven o’clock.  Tonight was late, even for them. 

He and Wendy had been involved for a year now.  They were like a married couple without the responsibilities.  They worked together.  Ate lunch together sometimes.  No long stares at the office.  No getting close.  No meeting in some copy room.  Total discretion by both of them.  It was the perfect arrangement.

Harold put the window down and enjoyed the chilly night air.  There were times when he had questioned if he and Wendy should have more remorse for what they did.  But after a long talk one night, they both discovered how much their affair benefited them and their families. 

By being themselves and letting their uninhibited emotions run wild, they never had to restrain themselves.  They never had to fight urges.  They did what they previously could not do.  They did not think about it.  They just did it.  And some of what they did could be considered a little off.  But everyone could be a little strange when you got right down to it.  Not to mention, statistics supported what they did.  Some of it was basic human nature.  He and Wendy were just honest about their affair was what it all meant.      

Harold knew the numbers cold. 

Sixty percent of men and women cheated.  Sixty percent of affairs start at the workplace.  Women and men may have different reasons for having an affair.  But fifty to fifty-six percent of men and women said it improved their marriages.  And most of the time, no one ever finds out.  So no one gets hurt.  And why fight the urge anyway?  Some studies say seventy-four percent of men and sixty-eight percent of women say they would have an affair if they did not get caught.  But they choose to suffer.  That’s not natural.

Harold had one more justification.  Darla, his wife, did not want to do what he wanted her to do anyway.  So why not have someone fill that role?

He blew in his hand and smelled his breath as he reached a mile from home.  Then he realized he forgot something.  Wendy was complaining so much.  He failed to stop by the restrooms at the gas station to clean up before he got home.  He knew what he would do.  He would make a quick run to the bathroom when he got home.

He parked the Durango behind his Lexus SUV.  Darla had picked it up from the service shop earlier.  He got out and grabbed his suitcase and went inside.  It was late, he thought, stepping inside.  Darla and the children should be in bed. 

Wham!

Harold stumbled backward and hit the front door and slid down it.  His eyes blurred.  They fought to adjust to the figure standing over him.  He smacked his lips and tasted the warmth.  Blood had trickled down his split forehead to his nose across his lips.  It was warm and slippery.  He was too dazed to reach up and touch his head.  Let alone stand.

“Harold,” Darla whispered.  Harold could barely hear her.  He was glad she was there.  He had run into something.  “Remember what I said last year?” 

Harold’s head hurt.  His ears rang.  Nothing came to him.  He wondered why she was playing games at a time like this. 

“I said if I ever caught you cheating, there would be hell to pay,” she said.  She leaned over in his face.  “In the future, when you’re looking up cheating statistics, don’t do it at home.  And you should always look up the amount of time a woman serves in prison for murdering her husband out of rage.”

“I can explain,” he said, breathlessly.

“Do you know the answer?” Darla asked.  “I do.  I looked it up after I saw you last week.  You and your office buddy were going to work inside that old building.  Just think.  Who would ever think to follow you there?  You should always check for listening devices in my car.”  Darla sighed.  “That I need to have fumigated now.” 

“Anyhow, back to my question,” she said.  “Here’s the answer.  Drum roll.  How much time do women spend in prison for killing their cheating husbands out of rage?  Wait for it.  Seven years or less if I have good behavior.  Seven or less.”  She spat in his face.  “If I’m wrong, it’ll be worth it.” 

She laughed and raised the crowbar over her head.  Then she lifted onto her toes and brought it down.

Have a great week ahead.

Throw a little fiction into your week if you get a chance.

See you next time.

Stephen Wallace


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