“Get out of town or I’ll chase you out with a .45,” the voice on the other end of the phone said, and then the line went dead.
My brain went into high gear as my life turned into an old-time radio show.
Familiar voice? No.
Am I sure? Yes.
Then it’s no joke.
Who have I pissed off? Nobody I can think of.
Who hates my guts down here? Nobody.
Wait — the contractor! I had no idea of his name, what he looked like or how he sounded.
Up until that moment, this had been an entertaining experience. Now it was getting serious. I’ve stared down the barrel of a gun before, but never one owned and operated by a jealous boyfriend — a married, jealous, confused boyfriend, with no reason to be jealous of me.
I took his threat seriously.
I walked downstairs and told Sonny what had happened. When I told him that I was going to report the phone call to the police, he thought I should hold off for a couple of days. His sense was that it would all blow over in a day or two.
Yeah, right, I thought to myself.
I didn’t call the cops, but I did get the guy’s name and address for future reference, since Sonny knew all about him.
A few minutes later I walked out of the shop and called a friend and explained what had been going on. Frank didn’t seem too surprised, but he did have a solution for me. He told me to come on up, and when I got there he loaned me a nice little snub-nose .357 and a box of shells. From then on I knew I could depend on Frank.
Sonny, on the other hand, was a complete writeoff.
For five days I walked around armed. Nothing happened, of course, but better safe than sorry. Then, Sonny called me into his office to let me know that the contractor’s wife had called him at home and left a message on his voice mail, thanking him for letting her know about her husband’s affair with Celia.
He dialed his voice mail, and played the message over the phone’s speaker for me. And yup, that was definitely a woman thanking Sonny for letting her know. Sonny hemmed and hawed and then announced somewhat triumphantly that he was going to call the Sheriff’s department and report her.
Damn, but wasn’t I in a worse situation almost a week ago? Obviously Sonny had his priorities, and I wasn’t one of them, even though some asshole could barge into his store and start shooting the place up on my account. Jesus.
I got up to leave, but Sonny asked me to stay, and I was witness to his report on the woman to the police. So much for bravado when he was involved. What a little chickenshit, I thought to myself.
I walked around armed for another three days.
It all came to nothing, of course. The contractor never showed up, Sonny was able to put on a brave face, and Celia calmed down too. Christ, it was about time.
Eventually Celia got the message and she started looking around for a new job. When she found one, Sonny gave a fantastic recommendation to her new employer on the coast. The day of her departure felt as though the roof had been raised off of the building as a collective sigh of relief went through the employees.
Not to be outdone, Danny and I and some of the others started taking bets on which of the remaining women would be getting the Christmas bonus come December.