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Authors: Carl Weber

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BOOK: Player Haters
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8
Wil

I stomped into the bathroom around five-thirty in the morning and turned on the cold water in the shower. I’d just had an argument with my wife. An argument about the one thing we never argued about—
sex.
In ten years of marriage, I can’t ever remember Diane spurning my advances. Hell, even when she was on her period she found some way to take care of my needs. But that all changed about two months ago, and I, for one, was sick of it. I was so sexually frustrated I felt like I was going to explode at any minute, like I was some oversexed teenager. Lately, all I had to do was think about getting some and my manhood would swell up like a balloon. And with Mimi and her low-cut blouses around, that was happening more than I wanna admit. I stepped into the cold shower and sighed thankfully when I felt the swelling between my legs begin to subside.

“Wil?” Diane called from outside the shower. I smiled. Maybe the guilt trip I laid on her a few minutes ago had worked. Maybe my sexual drought was about to be over. I turned off the water and stuck my head out the shower curtain, hoping that she’d decided to join me.

“Yeah.”

“Telephone.” She shoved the portable phone in my face with an ice-cold glare.

“Who is it?” I asked, glancing at the phone with a little concern. I wasn’t used to getting calls this early in the morning.

“I don’t know. She wouldn’t give me her name.”

“She?” I repeated in confusion.

“Yeah,
she.
” Diane sneered sarcastically. She shoved the phone in my face again. This time I took it nervously. I didn’t have a clue who was calling but whoever it was had terrible timing.

“Hello?”

“Wil.” The voice was low, but it sounded like my new secretary. But how the hell did she get my home number? And why didn’t she give her name to Di?

“Mimi, is that you?”

It sounded like the caller said “yes,” but I couldn’t be sure with Diane yelling, “Who the fuck is Mimi?” in my ear.

“Can you hold on a second?” I covered up the phone and glared at my wife, whose lips were poked out like she was about to go off on me. “Just a minute, Di. Calm down and I’ll tell you about it when I get off.”

“I’m not gonna hold on a minute. I wanna know who the fuck that is!” She folded her arms.

“Don’t start, Di. I told you, I’ll talk to you after I get off the phone.”

Di stopped harassing me momentarily, but I knew I was gonna catch hell later. Especially after I ducked back behind the shower curtain to continue my conversation with Mimi.

“Mimi, is everything all right?”

“Wil, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get you in trouble. I should have known not to call so early. I just didn’t know who else to call.”

“Don’t worry about it. You didn’t get me in trouble. We were already fighting before you called. Now what’s goin’ on? You sound like you’ve been crying.”

She sighed, as if whatever she wanted to say was just too painful. “It’s not important. I just wanted to know if you’d give me a ride to work.”

Mimi’s request took me by surprise. In all the years Marge had been my secretary, she’d never called me at home, especially this early in the morning. When I first heard Mimi’s voice, I was a little concerned. A guy can get in a whole bunch of trouble with his wife over a phone call like this. And after meeting her crazy sister at the restaurant, this early morning phone call made me wonder for a second if there was some truth to what Keisha had said about Mimi.

But when Mimi asked for a ride, I relaxed a little. Mimi seemed like a nice enough woman, just trying to make it as a single mom. And I had given her my little speech about thinking of me as a friend, not just a boss. I guess she was just in a bind, and took my offer of friendship a little further than I would have expected. But as I considered her request, I realized it would look pretty bad for me to refuse to give her a ride after I’d offered her my friendship. I’d look just as bad as all those other bosses who’d mistreated her in the past. Di would just have to get over her jealousy, ’cause I was going to stand by my word. Besides, I needed her to be at work today.

“Sure, Mimi, I can give you a ride. What happened to your car?” I don’t know what I said, but the crying started again.

“My son’s father…
sniffle
…he tried to beat me up…
sniffle, sniffle
…and took my car…
sniffle
…last night.”

“Jesus Christ! Are you serious? Are you all right?”

“I’m fine, except for a few bruises. But he took my pocketbook, too. I don’t have any money to get to work. That’s why I need a ride.”

“Don’t worry about work. Did you call the cops?”

“No, are you crazy? He’d kill me if I called the police on him.”

“You gotta call the cops, Mimi! You can’t keep letting him get away with this crap. Next time he might kill you.” I had to take a deep breath. I was getting upset.

“Look, Wil, I don’t wanna argue with you. I just need a ride to work. Okay? Can I just get a ride, please?”

I didn’t wanna argue with her, either. I just wanted her to see the light. “Sure, Mimi, I’ll give you a ride. Where do you live?”

“Not too far from you. Do you know where Rochdale Village is?”

“Yeah, my sister lives in building four.”

“Okay. I’m in the next circle. Building seven.”

“Aw’ight. I know where that is. Why don’t you meet me in front of your building at eight?”

“Sure, I’ll see you then.”

“Hey, Mimi?”

“Yes, Wil.”

“If he comes back, call the cops.”

“I’m not calling the cops, Wil, but I’ll call you.”

I hung up the phone with a long exhale.

“Jesus, Wil, what the hell have you gotten yourself into?” I pulled back the shower curtain and almost slipped and fell in the tub when I realized Diane was still standing there.

“Yeah, Wil, what the hell have you gotten yourself into? And who is Mimi?”

When I saw the look on her face, I instantly felt a migraine coming on. “Mimi’s my new secretary.”

“New secretary? I thought you said your new secretary’s name was Maxine. Not Mimi. Mimi sounds like a stripper’s name.” She twisted her lips as she tilted her head. “What’s going on, Wil?”

“Nothin’s going on, Di. Her name is Maxine, but everyone calls her Mimi.” I was about to tell her about Mimi getting beat up, but she cut me off before I could speak.

“If nothing’s going on, why the hell wouldn’t she give me her name?”

“I don’t know. She’s got some problems. Her boyfriend beat her up and took her money.”

“So why the hell is she calling you and not the police? Don’t she have family?”

“We’re friends, Di. She needed someone to talk to about her problems.”

“I don’t give a damn if she needed to tell you where she stashed fifty million dollars. You tell that secretary of yours, don’t be callin’ my house at five-thirty in the morning refusing to give me her name. Do we understand each other, Wil Duncan?”

She glared at me until I nodded my head. “Yes, Di. I understand.”

 

“You know what, Di? Just forget it! I’m going to a diner to get something to eat. I’ll see you when I get home.” I hung up my cell phone and immediately ripped off the hands-free device I was wearing. I was pissed the fuck off. Diane had just informed me that there was no rush for me to come home, because she wasn’t feeling well and dinner hadn’t been made. Now don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t pissed about dinner. There were plenty of nights she’s called and told me to get something on the way home. I was pissed because she made it very clear that she was headed for bed and that when I got home she didn’t want to be disturbed. After what happened this morning, I took that to be just another excuse not to have sex with me. Any other time, she would’ve been whining for me to get my ass home so I could take care of her and watch the kids.

“Wil, are you all right?” Mimi’s voice startled me out of my thoughts. I’d completely forgotten she was in the car with me. I was headed to Rochdale Village to drop her off when Di called.

“No, I’m not all right.”

“I didn’t think so. You haven’t said a word to me since we got in your car. And you just hit me with your headset.” She was holding my headset loosely in her right hand.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Mimi. I’m just a little preoccupied. Family problems.”

“I hope it’s not about this morning.” She placed her hand on my knee. “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking about, calling your house at five-thirty in the morning. And the Lord knows I should’ve given your wife my name. I can just imagine what she must think of me.”

“Well, let’s put it this way. I don’t think you’re going to be invited over for dinner anytime soon. But you’re not the problem, Mimi. We were arguing way before you called. Our problems are a lot deeper than you not giving her your name.”

“Really. What’s going on? Is there anything I can help you with?”

I glanced at Mimi and smiled a naughty thought. “Sure. You wanna be my wife’s surrogate?” I said it as a joke, but after it came out my mouth, I’m not so sure it sounded that way.

“Excuse me? What did you say?”

“Nothing. I was just playing.” My face became flush.

“Well, you gonna stop playing and tell me what’s going on at home, or what?” She gave me this look that made me lower my head.

“I don’t know, Mimi. It’s kinda personal.”

“So was my son’s father beating my ass, but I told you
that
. Aren’t you the one who told me that we’re friends? And that a friend is someone who listens to another friend when they have problems?”

“Yeah, I guess I did say something like that, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, you did. And you listened to my problems this morning. Now it’s my turn to return the favor. Besides, it’s always good to get a woman’s perspective when it comes to these things. Maybe you’re not looking at this right.”

She made a good point. A damn good point.

“Mimi, you gotta promise me you’re not gonna tell anybody about this.” I glanced at her as I said it. “We work in a very small office, which my wife used to work in. She’s still got a lot of friends whom she talks to every day. So you gotta keep this between you and me.”

“You don’t have to worry about that. I don’t talk to those people in the office. Now stop stalling and get whatever’s bothering you off your chest. It might make you feel better.”

“You’re probably right.” I took a deep breath before I continued. “God, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess it all started about two months ago when my wife stopped having sex with me.”

“She stopped having sex with you?” Mimi raised an eyebrow, making me more than a little self-conscious. “Why?”

“I honestly don’t know. That’s the million-dollar question. If I knew the answer to that, I probably wouldn’t be so stressed out right now.” I let out a disgusted sigh as I pulled in front of her building.

“Now let me see if I understand this. Your wife just cut you off for no reason? You weren’t having any problems in the bedroom, were you? I mean, she was being satisfied, wasn’t she?”

I gave her an insulted look. “Mimi, up until two months ago, my wife and I were having sex four times a week. And most of the time she was the one who initiated it. So I don’t think she was having a problem with my performance. I’m a very attentive lover.”

“Is that right?” I must have embarrassed her, because she started to blush.

“Maybe she just doesn’t think I’m attractive anymore.”

Mimi turned her head and gave me the once-over with her eyes. “Please. I doubt that. You’re a very handsome man, Wil, and don’t act like you don’t know it. I’d probably like you a little better if you grew a mustache, but I’d jump on you if you were single.”

Now I was the one who was blushing. I never imagined that Mimi might think I was that attractive.

“Well, if it isn’t the sex or my looks, then what is it? Why won’t she make love to me?” I wondered out loud.

“Don’t get offended, but have you ever given any thought that maybe your wife is having an affair? It could be another man. I mean, maybe she’s getting from someone else what she used to be getting from you.”

I slammed my hand down on the dashboard as hard as I could. Just the thought of Diane being with another man had my blood pressure boiling. “I’m not gonna lie, Mimi, the thought did cross my mind. I mean, Diane loves sex. I can’t see her just stopping for no reason.”

“I know I wouldn’t,” Mimi confessed.

“You really think she’s having an affair, don’t you?”

“Well, I don’t really know her, Wil, but I wouldn’t put it past her. The truth is, women can be slick. Much slicker than men. And if I were you, I’d be careful.” She gave me this sad look as if she were delivering bad news. “I’ve been home alone taking care of my son, like your wife is doing. It can get real boring. You crave adult attention. After a while, the UPS and the grocery man start to look good. Heck, I even started calling the chat line and using the Internet when my son’s father wasn’t home.”

“Oh, my God, Diane’s always joking about how fine our mailman Joe is.”

“Maybe she’s not joking,” Mimi replied in the most serious of tones.

I was so upset my hands were shaking. I felt like I was gonna cry.

“Hey, relax. It’s gonna be all right. We’re just speculating. We don’t know if she’s cheating or not. And if she is, I’ll be right here to support you.” Mimi reached over and took hold of my hand. “Hey, why don’t you come on up for a drink? I’ll fix you dinner.”

“That sounds good, Mimi. Real good.” I looked over at her and smiled. She was a good friend and easy to talk to. Kinda like Diane was before we had those problems a few years ago. I never realized how much I missed having a woman to talk to till now. “You really think she could be cheating on me?”

“I’m really not sure, Wil. Come on, let’s go upstairs so we can talk about it some more.” She tugged at my hand.

“Mimi, you just don’t know what me and this woman have been through. I would do anything in the world for her. Why do you think I work all the hours I do? I want to make sure she’s taken care of, you know what I mean?”

“I know. I wish it were me,” it sounded like she mumbled.

“Excuse me? I didn’t quite make out what you said.”

BOOK: Player Haters
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