I was about the last person in town to know

Truthfully, that is just a figure of speech. First of all, an urban area of over 100,000 is rightfully called a "city", not a "town". And the things my wife Heide got up to were certainly not of interest to more than a small percentage of the population.

By way of introduction, Heide is still drop-dead gorgeous as we get into our 30's. Another figure of speech, since I'm sure you don't know a single case of anyone actually dropping dead because of someone's good looks.

She is an almost shiny-dark-red, redhead with gracefully oversized mammaries, beautifully separated from a curvy pair of hips. Her face is the stuff dreams are made of. Well, again, not literally. But stunning, at least in my own dreams.

My own looks wouldn't stop a clock, but neither would it cause poets to posit the name of the latest Hollywood hunk to compare it to. The most used adjective in a description of my appearance would be "medium". Except for my height. At 6' 3 1/2" I certainly would not be called "medium height" and that is something that some women do find attractive.

To be candid, my height alone might help account for how I managed to land fair Heide who is a year older than me.

My wife and I (Merl White) are childless after 16 years of marriage, so you might correctly guess we are not trying for parenthood at our house, which is not to say we don't practice the underlying processes pretty often.

I work at the headquarters of an international quick-loan company and, as Senior VP of Marketing, I bring home enough that Heide doesn't have to work for a paycheck. But she does go out a lot doing volunteer work for various worthy causes.

Heide and I don't have a lot in the way of shared, leisure-time activities. Maybe a movie once in a while. Or occasional events like Renaissance Fair or the County Fair. Heide does a lot of Goodwill-type thrift shopping in recent years, often with her bestie, Meredith Daley. They go out in the evenings, usually on Wednesday and Friday when, I've been told, the deals are marked down 30%. Apparently, the local thrift stores are open until 10pm, who knew?

My wife hunts for unbroken collectibles that she believes will be desirable for collectors. I've watched her even google on her cell phone, to see what something like what she just spotted was selling for on ebay. She lists her finds on eBay and scores some amazing mark-ups on them.

She bought a like-new set of women's name brand red pumps for 3 dollars and sold them for $310. A $5 Red Rider lunch bucket fetched $35. And so on. Enough, anyway, to call it a part time job that brought in enough profit that I felt we had to report it with the IRS last year.

Since I usually get to bed by around 9 pm, Heide and Meredith will stop somewhere to get a couple of drinks after their late evening's bargain hunting. Sometimes I will wake up briefly when she is climbing into bed, but that never amounts to anything that would cause me to really awaken and try to take advantage of her. I rarely even look up at the bedside clock.


While our lives may generally be a bit on the strait-laced side, we do have our racier thoughts at times. We are in a declared "open marriage". Well, at least we declared that just prior to hitching up. I clearly recall asking her, with a grin, "Are we talking about monogamy in this marriage we're about to undertake?" and she grinned back with a resounding "NO!". I laughed and sealed the deal with a fist bump.

After all, I still lusted for Cindy, who I had been dating recently as well. As it developed, I fucked Cindy exactly one more time, a couple of weeks after our wedding, and it was a mistake in every way. It was obvious Cindy was unhappy I had chosen the other woman, she was gloomy, and I felt guilty, like I was just using her for her hot body. How insightful of me, but a dumb idea on our part. I never bothered to tell my new wife about this, but it was the only time I ever dabbled in extra-marital sex.

Heide, on the other hand, at least made pretense of being a bit more adventurous. The first time I went out of town on business, when I returned and took her to bed the first night, I asked her smilingly if her love life had suffered in my absence. "Well, the gals and I did go out to 'Rye Balled' (the local Sex/Strip Club) up north of town on Thursday", she grinned back in a flirty voice and a twisted smile.

I returned her smirky tone and said something like "I hope you didn't ball every guy in the club". She teasingly shrugged that off "No, silly, just a few of the guys and none of them were even worth the bother. None at all". Shaking her head with an exaggerated pout.

I remember thinking briefly that her sarcasm might or might not hide something, but I loved her so much I didn't want to seem crude and press for a more detailed accounting. After all, we were in a declared "open marriage" lol and we had never even discussed whether this was the 'kiss but tell' kind, or something more secretive.

In any case, I really couldn't even imagine my wonderful wife in the clutches of some other guys, and I didn't have any idea how to redirect my question in a more interrogatory way.

Similar, sarcastic non-answers followed a couple of my subsequent over-night trips and eventually I stopped asking. I, more or less, forgot about the "open" pledge over the years.


A couple of years ago, Meredith and my honey discussed going out dancing together to a night spot. They invited me to join them, but they rather quickly assented when I responded that I hated night clubs and dancing hurt both my feet and my pride. I did not suggest that they give up the planned outings, nor did I ask the adventurous Meredith how her own hubby looked at her regular absenteeism.

The ladies chose Thursday as their dancing night and reiterated their invite to me to be the designated driver for them. Whoopie.

They hung on to Wednesday and Friday evenings for the thrift-


Like I said, I was sound asleep when my wife got home those

nights and it was a couple of months before I even got around to

Asking about their outings. I made a polite enquiry while

Meredith was over for lunch on a Sunday.

Oh, "we have enjoyed ourselves" they both agreed. Some Thursday nights they have one or two other gals join them. They have been checking out different lounges as some get pretty boring on a Thursday night. They try to find one with a decent DJ and they especially like the Holiday Inn bar on Broadway, but they mix it up.

They even tried Rye Balled one night. When they saw my raised eyebrows at that name, Meredith quickly added that that was way scary for some 30/40-year-old married women... Snickers from both.


In the last few months Heide's night-time absences grew again when she started volunteering to help serve the homeless shelter dinners on Saturday evening. She even tried to get me to come help out too, but I had some excuse, I don't even remember what it was. I did applaud her for her community spiritedness.

Happily, she didn't press me too hard about coming along. I admit my heart does not bleed enough for me to give up a perfectly good evening to dish out questionable hot food to some bedraggled human beings. At first, she would be home by 8:00 and we watched tv or read before bed and made whoopie afterward, at least on some of those nights.

Then, about 6 weeks after the homeless shelter work started, Heide told me that some of the volunteer servers were organizing an amateur chorale to sing some folk songs for the homeless families after the dinner. She asked if it would be o.k. if she gave that a try. "I know I am already away 3 nights a week until after your bedtime, and I didn't want to agree, but it would be such a nice thing to give to the community". I pondered that a bit. I really was getting weary of hitting the hay without my sweetie so often, but then I realized that she didn't usually come to bed with me at 9:00 anyway and we normally only had sex a couple of times a week, so what was I really giving up? Dinner for two?

I said "give it a try, honey. We will see how it goes for a month or two. I really do miss going to bed with your hot bod, but maybe they will decide they don't like your raspy voice" I poked. Truthfully, she was an excellent singer and dancer, since her high school chorus days. Or so I had heard.

Heide started practicing at home a Capella. I tapped my foot and enjoyed, the Kingston Trio most especially. My gal was just so enticing.

She began adding 90 minutes to her Saturday night commitment which of course ran to beyond my sleepy time hour. But, one Saturday there was a night-time football game with my alma mater vying for one of the better bowl games. It went to two overtimes and I got all energized when my Iowa beat Wisconsin in a close one. That and the extra beers eventually caused me to doze off on the couch before midnight.

I awoke, hearing the garage door open for my wife, and realized it was well after 1:00 am. I stumbled into my bedroom and beat her into bed before she got there.

This was absurd...the shelter closes about 9:30, I thought, and no freaking way she was singing folk songs until 1:00 am!! I certainly didn't want to thrash this out now in my foggy state of mind, but I damn sure was going to do that very soon.

Did she go out drinking and dancing afterwards with Meredith and the other gals? What in hell was she thinking? Or did she have a lover under the terms of our hypothetical open marriage? I was boiling, confused, half tipsy and half asleep as I made it all the way to unconsciousness.


In the morning, I dressed as if to go to church. Heide was agape. I told her I wanted to go to church and asked if she wanted to go with me. Pretty normal stuff for a Sunday morning. Except that I had not gone to church since I was 12 years old, other than the odd wedding or funeral.

She got more than a little angry at this and demanded that I tell her what in hell was going on. I didn't respond, just fished my car keys out of my pocket and went out to the car.

I thought briefly about actually driving to a church, any church, but realized that I would be stared at, even possibly by someone who knew me and knew that I was not known as a churchgoer. Why do that?

I drove to Benny B's Café and sat down to what the Brits would call a full English. It went down in greasy swallows, but I needed the protein, and it did taste scrumptious.

As I was trying to figure out where to head next, I suddenly thought about the Life360 app on our phones. I installed that on our phones last year when I first heard about it, thinking we might both use it to keep better track of each other during the day. But, for whatever reason, I hadn't used it since and don't think she has either. The little icons, with our pictures in them, show where every cell phone in the family is located at any given time and it clearly shows its path around the town streets.

WHY hadn't I thought of that last night when she was so late getting home?!? Possibly because I was zonked stupid. Might have been interesting.

Anyway, I saw that Heide was in motion, or at least her cell phone was, just leaving our neighborhood for wherever. So, I decided I was free to head home without having to answer a barrage of questions or ask my wife some of my own.


After I got home, I checked 360 again and found she was on a street that I knew headed toward Meredith's home. When the icon stopped moving, I clicked in to close in on it and saw the roof of a private house displayed. The last house before the bend on what was labelled Elm Leaf.

Then, I wandered into my stamp room and started putzing around with the philatelic miscellany on my roll-top desk. It was a mess from neglect as I had recently drifted into one of my periodic stamp collecting lulls and hadn't mounted a stamp in months.

I spent a few hours trying to catch up on the disorganized mess and then actually began culling out, and adding into my own "B" album, the needed stamps from someone else's Bahrain collection that I purchased on-line awhile back. Boring country, actually. And my mind was not really into it.

As the day wore on, I thought through what sort of confrontation we were going to have when my wife came home. Nothing, I decided.

I planned to be non-committal and make her be the one who mentions the elephant in the room. There I go again...no real pachyderms would ever fit into our modest sized home.

I know, you're thinking I am a mortal coward and am going to let my woman walk all over me for fear of confrontation. I think that's spelled c u c k o l d. Well, quite the contrary, I have been scheming up an elaborate scheme that will make you all proud of me. I just don't know exactly what that scheme is just yet.

More importantly, I cannot be certain, certain that there even is another lover in her stable. Maybe there is a harmless explanation for where she has been all these nights. I should trust but verify.

I now knew Meredith Daley's street name and it was no big trick to find out the name of the other adult at that place. In a bottom kitchen drawer was one of those so-called telephone books, you know, the ones they distribute free without actually doing any updates, just because some clueless business owners will still pay money to advertise in the "new" yellow pages.

There were not a lot of Daley's listed and it took about a minute to find one with an Elm Leaf address, listing Gregory and Meredith Daley as occupants. I did then recall a few conversational snippets with Meredith mentioning her "Greggie". In a rather condescending tone, I seem to remember.


About 1:00 pm Monday afternoon, from work, I tried the 360 app again and spotted my wife's icon in a large commercial building out away from any other buildings. Her colorful icon moved very slowly around inside the building; Heide's cellphone was either in that building or else walking around on the roof (bit of sarcasm there). Amazing how 360 can see right through the structure with X-Ray vision.

By backing up from her image, I could eventually see the context of the area, which appeared to be near the junction of two highways. Backing up still more I could see those highways were just north of the city. It took me only a few moments to sort out in my memory that this had to be the building that Rye Balled, our local strip club, was in. I have no comment on that stunning revelation, at this time.


I tried calling the Daley's phone number, almost certain it would be non-operational. Most people I know have abandoned their land-line phone since all adults in the home have their own cellular devices.

But, lo and behold, a man answered with "Daley residence".

"Is this the husband of Meredith Daley?" I realized that was pretty brisk, so elaborated, "This is Merl White, Heide's husband".

"Oh yeah, my wife's perpetual best friend, lol."

"That's the one." I replied. "You know, the lady who spends more time with your wife than she does with me." I said it with a pleasant, laughing voice but wasn't feeling all that light-hearted.

"I know the feeling Merl."


Actually, I called partly because of that state of events, Greg." I continued. "I would like to get together with you sometime, maybe over lunch or coffee, and we can compare notes. Would that be possible?"

"Hell yes, it would be. I think its way past time we met and had a chance to share our lonesome lives." he laughed. "How about today?" he offered. "I work nights which is why you caught me home at this hour. I can offer you some good coffee and unburnt toast which is about what I was going to fix for what I call my breakfast."

Thinking for a few seconds, I quickly agreed and told him I could be there in less than half an hour. I told my perfect secretary (yeah, I still call her my secretary when I forget to call her my 'Assistant') that I had some family situation and might be out for a few days. I didn't need to get anyone's permission; I was pretty much the boss over my own domain and could easily be reached by phone when needed. I promised to keep her informed and headed out the door.

I arrived at their non-descript white clap-board ranch house in one of the earlier developments and parked on the street. Greg opened the door just as I was reaching for the bell and ushered me in to their comfy, but uninteresting living room.

He led me through into the kitchen where he poured a fresh coffee with the double cream I requested, and put some toast in the pop-up, carrying on a steady banter all the while. We sat at the kitchen table and he had no more than pulled up his chair than he gushed "Merl I have been wanting to meet you for so long. I am a big fan of yours, believe it or not. The way you man-up to our wives' sex worker 'professions' and don't seem to be defensive about it all, well that takes guts and self-confidence.

He continued, "I have to admit sometimes I feel a bit out in left field regarding Meredith's lifestyle, but she has more than once told me that Merl White is no weenie, he treats Heide like his queen and is proud of her work at Rye Balled."

I was pretty proud of myself too. Proud that I had taken in this conversation starter without screaming or spitting out my coffee. I didn't speak except to say, "Thank you" and rubbed my hands over my chin. I just slowly shook my head and looked him in the eye.

"I guess it is harder for you to handle, Greg?"

"Oh, I must admit, it hasn't been a bed of roses, especially now that she is dancing Saturdays as well. Is your Heide doing Saturdays too?" I nodded my head and he said "I guess that meant a big promotion for them. That is the busiest night of the week, and those lap dances bring in a ton of money."

I nodded my head, "oh, yeah, I have the feeling that what one of them does, the other is sure to follow."

"Oh, for sure" he says. "I overhear the two of them chatting it up right here in the kitchen before they go to work. I'm not allowed to sit in with them, but they never make much pretense of keeping me from overhearing what they're saying."

"Sounds like them." I calmly commiserated. "Do you even know which of them started dancing first, or did they start together?"

"Oh, I know that your wife was there before mine, I think she has been at the club for, what two and a half years, or maybe longer?" "Sounds about right." I casually agreed.

"Then Heide started working on my Meredith to join the party, pretty openly it seemed to me. My wife started out sounding mostly against it but eventually she was working on me trying to get me to agree that she could start stripping. At first, I said a loud 'No Way', but I knew we could use the big money they make, and I also knew I really can't make my stubborn wife do anything, or not do something, if she wants to do it."

"You can lead them to water...but you can't make them stop drinking." I commiserated.

"Ha, Ha, Exactly. So, tell me Merl, how do you deal with a 'working wife? Can you give me any tips about how to live with them without feeling like you are some gutless cuckold?"

"Well, I don't know. For me it is just second nature, I guess. I love Heide so damn much that divorce was never an option." We will see about that soon enough, I thought.

"Plus, I confess I am proud that my very own wife is hot enough to get a job with the famous Rye Balled strip club. Guys say the girls there are the hottest of the hotties and that has to make any man puff up a little. Do you get that feeling Greg?"