What to Do About Danny
Inspired by Just Words' story, What to Do About David.
"Well, what are we going to do about it?"
"Listen, Sandy, are you sure? Did she tell you, or something?"
"Maybe you'd better tell me everything, so I'll have a better idea."
"Sandy, she's been carrying that baby weight for how long now? Her kid's like five years old."
Given that Traci was in her early forties, I could see why Sandy would have found it disgusting. Plus, let's be honest here, Sandy didn't like black people in the first place.
"Sandy, OK, that's something, but it isn't really enough. OK, so Traci was infatuated with this personal trainer; that doesn't mean he was infatuated with her. She's maybe a dozen years older than him, and looks her age. Maybe she's taken off some of the weight, I don't know, 'cause I haven't seen her in a while, but Traci's no prize. The guy you described could have his pick of a lot younger, cuter women."
Oh, boy, I knew that Sandy was really pissed now: she never used the "c" word, always claimed it was the most disgusting word ever. It didn't really matter what I said, she was going to tell Danny, and as pissed off as she was, would do it in the manner that would piss him off the most.
"So, Sean, just what do you think Danny will do?"
"Not really: you can file for divorce on adultery grounds in Pennsylvania. Remember a few years ago, when Brianna divorced her husband after she caught him cheating? She divorced on grounds and cleaned him out."
Sandy agreed to that, and I kind of plotted, inviting Danny's friends over two days from now rather than tomorrow. Yeah, that would be a Saturday, making it easier, but it also meant that Sandy might cool down a bit.
We had some nice steaks, along with this arugula potato salad Sandy makes that's just fantastic, plus some ice cold Yuenglings, a Pennsylvania beer. It was almost four when I gathered everybody together to tell them what was up.
Lisa even pointed out that maybe Danny already knew, and didn't care, or was plotting divorce secretly, or something. She mentioned that a divorce would leave three children without their father. Brian pointed out that if Danny divorced her for adultery, Traci might not get custody of the kids.
"Why wouldn't he get custody, keep the kids, and it be Traci who has to pay child support to him? He's the wronged party here!" That was Sandy, who had calmed down some since Thursday, but was getting more and more pissed off as the conversation went on.
"It can't be much, but anything is better than nothing, and at least Danny won't be the loser in the divorce." That was Sandy.
Lisa chimed in, "Is there any chance Danny won't dump her?"
"But one thing is certain: I have to be the one to tell him, Lisa and me. The only chance he has if it's not someone who works with him, or he'll be eaten away thinking that everybody at his job knows he got cuckolded, and that'll make it worse for him." Lisa nodded her head in agreement.
Stacey stepped in at that point. "What, and you go to jail because his wife is cheating? Three white guys assault a black guy, in Allentown, and you think the Morning Call and the TV stations wouldn't be all over that? And if you let him know that he has to quit fucking Traci, then he'll be able to tell the police why it happened, and that would point the finger at Danny's friends; no way you wouldn't get caught.
"We wouldn't have to let him know it was because he was fucking Traci. Heck, the way Sandy described him, I'll bet that he's fucking more than just her from the gym. There could be a dozen husbands who need revenge on him," Kevin said.
In the end, it was agreed. Brian and Lisa would invite Danny over, and they'd tell him, and it would be up to Danny to decide what to do.
More, if he tried to work things out, he'd have to quit his job. There was just no way that this kind of thing would remain a secret, it never does, and Danny couldn't look at the other guys at work, not with all of them knowing his wife had screwed around on him. With half of the guys being black, there wasn't much chance that there'd be no jokes about him getting cucked by a guy with a big black cock.
It was unspoken, but we all knew what we'd have to do: we'd have to be ready to support Danny after he dumped Traci. He'd have child care problems, and certainly a poorer lifestyle. Brian would tell him about the things he needed to do, about getting his finances separated from Traci's before she could drain their accounts, and that he'd need to get harder evidence if he wanted to divorce her for cause.
I guess that we'd know on Wednesday, because Brian was going to have Danny over for a couple of beer on Tuesday, and that's when he'd tell him.
Sandy was crying when I got home from work, running up to me and sobbing wildly. When I managed to get a word in edgewise, she told me what happened: WFMZ, Channel 69, the local news station reported that an unknown man walked into the Bethlehem Diner and shot a couple having lunch, right in their faces, before turning the gun on himself. The news readers didn't identify the victims, but Sandy already knew: Danny had been the gunman, and he killed his wife and her boyfriend. Three children were now orphans.
But now, I'm always going to be haunted by the fact that it was our 'intervention' which led to Danny's actions, which led to three people being killed.
That was Sandy, my wife of 22 years, and she had just told me that Traci, one of her friends - though not one of her closer ones - was having an affair. Normally, I wouldn't give a rat's ass that some woman I barely knew was screwing around on her husband, but her husband, Danny, was one of my, if not closest friend, workmates, and our shop steward.
"No, of course she didn't tell me! I can't imagine that she'd ever confess to something like that. But she might as well have fucked him right in front of me, as blatant as she was."
"You know how she started going to that new Planet Fitness off of Route 22? She decided that she needed to get rid of some of the baby weight she was carrying."
"Oh, shut up! So it wasn't still baby weight. At any rate, she was taking it off, and now I find out that she's been taking off more than just the weight. I saw her, out at the Bethlehem Diner, the one off of Schoenersville Road, with this personal trainer type looking guy, and she was practically hanging all over him. The only way she could have missed seeing me was because she only had eyes for him. He was this big black guy, who must spend twelve hours a day in the gym, and couldn't have been over 30 years old. It was disgusting."
Me? I had no problem with blacks, a lot of the guys I worked with were black, and they were like everyone else: some good, some bad, some hard workers and some lazy scum. But I could see potential problems if I told Danny that his wife was screwing around on him with a black guy. Depending on how Danny reacted, it could start racial problems on the job.
"OK, so I didn't actually see them fucking, but so what? If we tell Danny, and she hasn't fucked that guy yet, maybe he can stop her, and if she has, he can get rid of the cheating cunt."
"Look, Sandy, maybe if we talk to Brian and Kevin first" - those two were Danny's best friends - "and get their input, we'd come to a better decision. Brian especially would know how to talk to Danny about this."
"Best guess, he'll divorce her, but who knows: they've got three kids, and the youngest is only like four or five. She'll get the house and alimony and child support if he divorces her."
"Yeah, I suppose that you're right, but at least so far, you don't have enough evidence for Danny to divorce Traci for adultery; he'd need some proof, or it would revert to no-fault. He's the family's sole support, so she'd get alimony for sure. Let's get Brian and Kevin over, and talk to them. Besides, Brian doesn't work at the shop, so if it was Brian who told him, there'd be less chance of racial problems at work."
It was nice and sunny on Saturday, as spring had finally sprung, and we splurged and had steaks for the grill. Brian and Kevin brought their wives, Lisa and Stacey (respectively), which was a good thing, because I thought that a couple of other women's perspectives ought to be useful. The three of us guys were all kind of aggressive types, and maybe having some different perspectives would make the decision more rational.
Only Lisa said absolutely not, that we should mind our own business, that no good could come of this. Sandy was adamant that we tell Danny, and everybody but Lisa agreed that, if it had happened to us, we'd be pissed if our friends knew and didn't tell us. It would be laughing at us behind our backs was pretty much what everybody, even Lisa, agreed.
"Oh, get real: the mother always gets custody, that's just how things work. Besides, how's Danny going to be at work forty or more hours a week and take care of three kids? No, he'll wind up with child support, at the very least, and will have to keep paying the mortgage so that the kids will have a place to live, and maybe he'll get the house when the last young'un graduates from high school."
"Traci doesn't work," Brian pointed out, "so how much child support can she get assessed?"
"Yes he will," I added. "They'll both be losers, and the most anyone can say is that Danny might not lose as badly as Traci."
Brian was Danny's best friend, and he knew the answer. "No, there's no chance at all. Maybe not immediately, because maybe he'll try to get past this and stick with his marriage and his kids, but I know him too well: it'll eat at him and eat at him and eat at him, and eventually eat away any love he has left for her.
"What if we don't tell him, but just take care of Traci's boyfriend? He could meet with an 'accident' of some kind." That was Kevin's idea.
"And what if it got out of hand and you killed him? Sandy said that this guy is some kind of muscle freak, and you might wind up having to take a baseball bat to his head or something to win any fight, and then you'd be murderers! Traci's screwing around, and her punishment is my husband going to jail for murder? Nope, no fucking way!"
"No, sorry, but no fucking way!" Stacey was mad now. "You are not going to endanger our family because your friend's wife is cheating on him. You guys have got to tell Danny, and let him handle things his way."
It was simple, really: either he'd divorce Traci, or they'd try to work it out. I didn't know Danny as well as Brian and Kevin, but from what I did know about him, I didn't think he'd give reconciliation a chance. Even if he tried it, I didn't think it would work; Danny was a proud guy, along with being the union steward at work. He was a fighter, not the type to take being cuckolded.
Actually, as far as work was concerned, the best thing would be for us not to tell Danny, for him to never find out, and just wait for Traci's personal trainer to get tired of his cougar. Thing is, that'd never happen, because if we hadn't come to an agreement that Brian and Lisa were going to tell him, Sandy certainly would, regardless of what any of the rest of us said.
Of course, none of us had been through a divorce before, so what did we know? Lisa was going to look up divorce attorneys and private investigation firms for him, and have the information ready if he wanted it, but, let's face it: Danny was a blue collar worker, making decent enough money at $42.15 an hour, but that still wasn't a lot when it came to having to pay for private eyes. He might be able to go to some spy store and buy a GPS tracker for Traci's car or something.
Well, I guess that Brian and Lisa did what they were supposed to do, because her it was, Wednesday morning, and Danny called out sick. Yeah, I can certainly see how that would have happened. He was the shop steward, so the bosses always cut him some slack; the last thing they wanted was union trouble over trivial shit. Kevin and I guessed that he was out contacting an attorney, and maybe getting some tracking equipment; that would be more like him than sitting at home crying in his Cheerios.
Had we caused that? What if we had never told Danny what was going on? Odds are that, eventually, he'd have found out anyway. They find out, they always find out, that's how the saying goes, right? Danny would have found out eventually, if we hadn't told him.
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