Back then, cell phones were reserved for professionals on the move. Most of the models were the size of bricks and the monthly plans were like second mortgages. She told me that Motorola had come out with a new smaller version..a "flip phone". It still did not convince me why a stay at home mom who had a pager, now needed a cell phone. My resistance to her wishes were met with a similar response that a child makes when being told he cannot have a toy he asked for. In my retreat, a wave of suspicion came creeping in! "Why is she so insistant on having a device that will allow her to make calls on the go?". The "Columbo" part of my brain began working overtime. It held any insignificant data it could find and incriminatd her in the court of my mind. "She must be flirting with someone!" I concluded. Yes, I did not forget the smiles and winks she flashed at other coaches when we were at the little league games. Suspicion had now formed a lynching party.
Her birthday approached, and I caved in, taking her to Cicuit City to purchase this cell phone. Back then, there was only one choice, there were no sleek Nokias, Ericsons, or Color screen Samsungs....just one Motorola model and just one plan. Eighty bucks a month for 30 minutes of talk time! If you spoke for 10 seconds, that was your minute. Once you went over 30 minutes, you were charged. Her happiness at holding the phone at the store was something unequalled. Again alarms went off in my mind. I half grinned at the salesman, and agreed it was a sale. She kissed me on the cheek and then wandered off to muse at the other electronics as I woefully signed a 3 year contract. I smiled at the saleperson, "shouldn't we have a man of the cloth here, this is not a contract, it's more like a vow!"
The salesman chuckled and then began to make another pitch, "would you like to purchase insurance for this phone?" I gave him a cold "No". "Would you like roadside assistance plan?". "No"...."Would you like an extra minute plan?"..No"...."Would you like a payment protection plan in case you get sick and can't pay for the phone?"...."No"..."would you like detailed billing?"..... My tongue went deep into my cheek..."detailed billing?, please explain" I said. "O.k., detailed billing will give you a list of all the outgoing phone calls that have been made on this phone. The list will be a part of your monthly statement and costs just 5 bucks a month". My mouth fell open, a silent "halleluhah" rolled off my lips. My suspicions as to why she has to have this device could be confirmed! "Put it on, I'll take it, yes...I think that is a wonderful option to have!"
I signed the contract, folded it in my pocket and took the shopping bag over to my wife who was admiring the TVs...."here you are" I said with with the widest of grins.."Happy Birthday". We both exited the store with big wide grins.
A month had passed and the day came when the first statement arrived. I made no mention of it and put the bill away for a private review. Night decended and she soon fell asleep. I went into another room to open this document which would, as I presumed, confirm my suspicions. My eyes ran down the lines, my brain assimilating the numbers called .....I quickly noticed a pattern of the same numbers. I mutterred the number repeatedly under my stuttering breath. Yes, now I recall! That was the number of my friend! Blood raced through my head.."I can't believe it, I can't believe it!" my mind reeled. The "Columbo" part of my brain was summoned...."let's see...all of these calls ...lasted .....one minute....so, this is obviously his pager number"...."and...lets see what happens after he is paged....well now, look at that, an incoming call being returned within minutes of being paged....my oh my, he is faithful as a puppy!"
My mind was now cooked in boiling blood! "I can't believe my plan worked so fast...how stupid could she be!!" .... "Now, where do I go from here?". Images of the two of them chatting on the phone, schemeing on a place to meet played in my mind like a lage cinema movie!...I tried hard to calm myself, but to no avail. I tried reaching deep into my intellect, begging for it to gain control of my raging heart. "I must think responsibly, remember, there are kids involved...mine and his. And...I must be absoutely certain this is who I think it is" I told myself.
It was late, I could not sleep, part of me wanted to go into the bedroom and throw ice water on her! I paced the living room floor, even the family dog became nervous. I knew I needed to have some small piece of resolution before I could close my eyes. Then I recalled, a sheet that was being passed around the office...beeper codes. Callers would punch in certain numbers that would mean a message, for example, "43" on a beeper meant "I love you"... I pulled the paper out of my briefcase....yes, there it was ..."143" which meant "F*ck You"..... I picked up the phone and proceeded to dial the number that was on the bill..."heheh" I chuckled.."when he wakes up in the morning, he will see he has gained one new enemy this day!" At the promt, I hit the keys, it felt so therapeutic. I quietly crawled into bed, I marched in a parade of defeat and jubliation to sleep.
Morning came, I showered and dressed, made the boys breakfeast and packed their lunches, I was cold and indifferent, acting like a vegetarian in a butcher shop. My mind too occupied, scheming its next plan to catch these culprits. I poured my coffee to go, and went back to the bedroom to get my wallet, keys and pager. "Gee" she said to me, "you haven't said a word this morning, are you o.k.?"....I didn't answer, just slipped my wallet in my back pocket, my keys in my pocket and slipped my pager on my belt...which had a message waiting for me...143!
The "somewhat familar" number was...yes...my own pager #!
When the mind entertains suspicion and doubt, it will often find that mind becomes the mistress of betrayal!
Sleeping with both eyes closed.....Marc :)