There was a knock at my door. Who could be knocking? No one knows I live in this little dump. I’ve been here for nearly two months, since my wife announced she was bored and going on a date. More about that later.
She left. I packed and I left. She blamed me! If I weren’t so selfish, I’d let her have a good time now and then. This, after all was just a harmless fling.
I opened the door, a man about my age, mid 40s, nicely dressed, was standing there. “Jim?” he said, holding a business card in his left hand while offering me his right.
I did a shuffling with my hands, trying to decide whether to shake his, take the card, do both, or do neither. I finally laughed, used my left hand to take the card, shook his with my right, and looked at the card. It merely said, Betrayed Husbands Anonymous at the top and centered in larger print, one name, Ralph.
“Yes, uh Ralph, I’m Jim, Jim Anderson. And you are?”
“Just Ralph. You’ll understand why if you allow me to come in and talk to you.”
I laughed. I just couldn’t help it. My dear wife, who only two months ago wanted a one-time date, as a fling, was marrying some guy. She had filed for divorce, citing abandonment as her reason. Now, some guy seeks me out and hands me a business card claiming he is a member of a group of betrayed husbands. “Well, Ralph, why not? Anything you have to say to me must be better than any news I’ve gotten in the last, well, whenever.”
Ralph came in and we went to the kitchen table, the best place to sit and talk in my current shit-hole abode. As he was sitting down, I offered him coffee, he accepted and asked, “Do you have this morning’s newspaper?”
I opened my pantry drawer and got in the recycling bin. Right on top was the paper. “Here, I thought it a slow news day.”
He looked for the local news section and went to the second page, folded it back and pointed to an article. “Did you read this?”
“I hadn’t. It was about some brutal beating outside the hospital a few days ago. Police had determined the man who was beaten, a Dr. Michael Watson, was the victim of a random gang attack. He was seriously injured, though the nature of his injuries was not disclosed.”
“So?” I was confused. This guy surely wasn’t a betrayed husband, why was I reading about him?
“It seems Mr. Watson is living with a Roberta Dunstan. Bobbie, as she is called was married for nearly 20 years to Mr. Dunstan. Dunstan has some middle-management position. He does pretty well. Dr. Watson, however, was a surgeon.”
“Was a surgeon?”
“His unlisted injuries were mainly to his hands and his groin. It is unlikely he will ever operate again, in either an OR or a bedroom, if you get my drift.”
I laughed, nervously, “That’s not hard to follow. Hurts to think about.”
“Continuing with my story. Dr. Watson had a wandering set of eyes, which became fixated on Mrs. Dunstan. He pursued, then caught her. In the end, she decided to trade up. She magnanimously left her former husband with all their assets and their two children. Well, children is not an accurate term. Their daughter is 18 and in college, the son is 17 and a senior in high school.”
“Sounds like Mr. Dunstan got his revenge.”
“That is why I am here, Jim. I can assure you Mr. Dunstan had absolutely nothing to do with Dr. Watson’s beating.”