April 3, 2017, Night Time
Ratchet City Jail
It wasn’t my fault.
She lost control of the wheel.
Plain and simple.
All I did was pull out behind her from around a corner. Waiting for her there, I knew she left at 4 A.M. every morning to visit her sister in hospice care. The pace was normal at first. I was driving ten miles above the speed limit and right on her bumper. When she looked into the rearview mirror, panic showed all over her face. She recognized me.
Then it happened.
She tried to speed up, but she lost control of the wheel and skipped the curb.
I kept my pace as I turned the second corner. In my side-view mirror, I could see the service pole falling down. Then there was the sound of a loud boom. I drove home directly and parked in an alcove in my backyard.
The begonias were in bloom there, bright and fragrant. In the night light, I could see the contrast of yellow petals outlined in orange. The same color orange as the jumpsuit I was later “fitted” for before my father bailed me out.
Man, was I in trouble, now. I could feel it with every breath I exhaled.
Fine by me.
â–ª â–ª â–ª
Daydreaming about the current mess I was in and the events that led to it in the holding cell that I eventually shared with a very nervous, very skittish woman who had been arrested on yet another traffic violation, I remembered the details quite vividly. I knew to trust my instincts with Martineau and Renee’, but I wanted things to be different this time. What he said they were.
“I’m not fucking that woman,” is what he told me after I found the two of them in bed together. “The only reason she was there in the first place is because you said you couldn’t come. What was I supposed to do?”
I replied, “That’s your excuse for letting her in your bed?”
“I didn’t even know she was there.”
“What?” What kind of a dumbass did he think I was?
Now listen to this foolishness:
He said, “When I opened the door for her, she came in and went to the bathroom. I got back in the bed.”
This is where I stopped him.
“You answered the door naked?”
“N, no,” he stuttered. “I put on a pair of jeans.”
“The same jeans you were reaching for when I walked into the room?”
“And you realized she was in bed beside you before or after I walked through the door?”
“After. After,” he said this twice as he nodded his head profusely, perhaps to make sure that he said the right thing.
“And when did your pants come off?” I asked him. This question seemed to catch him off guard.
“I, I took them off while she was in the bathroom and got back in the bed,” he said.
“And she felt so comfortable, so free as to crawl in bed with a naked man?”
“She didn’t know I was naked. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have gotten in the bed with me.”
Incredulously, I said, “Really? So this happens often?”
“What did she say when you asked her why she was in your bed?”
Again, deer in headlights. “What?” He said in a voice so high, I hardly understood his reply.
“When you asked her, ‘Why were you in my bed?’ What did she say?”
“I didn’t ask her that,” he answered quietly.
I’m sure that was the only thing he said that was true. But, I’m also sure he didn’t believe me when I told him that he’d left the door unlocked to his townhouse, either.
“I thought you’d gotten my message and knew that I was on the way,” I told him. “I assumed you left the door unlocked after you read my text.”
This was a lie, of course. I had unlocked a window in his townhouse weeks before. What can I say? I was suspicious. My instincts were screaming that they were sleeping together.
I was right.
I mean, he was literally butt naked as she lay beside him in bed. At some point during the blow-up, she folded her arm over her head in a Gone with The Wind Fashion as she lowered herself back down into the bed.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
He said she had a fiancé.
There was no way she had a man.
Wherever Martineau went, Renee’ was sure to follow. There was no way any man would let his woman spend so much time doing as much of another man’s bidding as Renee’ did for Martineau.
I caused a commotion that morning.
This is how it all went down:
I called out, “Hey, Babe,” as I pretended to walk into the townhouse from the foyer. A lump formed in my throat as I turned the knob of the bedroom door. The room, the whole apartment, was pitch black. I flipped the light switch. Martineau, who was leaned over, butt naked, was reaching for a pair of jeans crumbled on the floor beside the bed. He hung his head when he saw me.
I addressed him. And as if I were talking to her, Renee’ sat up in the bed, (wearing a t-shirt and bonnet), folded her arms, rolled her neck, and cleared her throat—four times. In that order.
She was wearing a black bonnet with red, long-stemmed roses, trimmed with a white ruffle.
I almost snatched it off her head.
He said, “We weren’t having sex.” As if I’d asked him, “Were you having sex with this ho?”
In actuality, my question was, “What the fuck is she doing in your bed?”
That was when the sitting up in the bed and the neck rolling came.
Martineau placed his hands gingerly on her shoulders, cleared his throat, and asked, “Were we having sex?”
“No,” she said in a high-pitched, nasally voice.
I told her not to address me. Dazed and confused, I knew I needed to leave, but it was as if my feet were glued to the spot in the middle of the room where Martineau’s vanity bench met the foot of his bed.
I couldn’t move.
I couldn’t think.
I could feel the blood rushing to my head in spurts, but I stood my ground anyway.
Rather than answer my questions, or asking Renee’ to excuse us, or telling me to come back at another time, Martineau took this opportunity to address me as if I were an unwelcomed guest, like a stranger he’d never met, as if I meant nothing to him at all. Renee’ took this time to lower herself back into the bed and get cozy against Martineau’s naked torso with her right arm folded over her head as if to say, “Um, hum.”
I wanted to slap his face.
Instead, I whipped out my cellphone and started taking pictures. Every muscle in Martineau’s body constricted. In the pictures, one could see his nostrils flaring as he held a pillow over his Johnson. She ducked her head under the covers. I snapped away. Renee’s keys, wallet, and her cellphone were all in the background of the pictures I took.
Martineau had some unsavory words to say to me as I stormed out the house and onto the landing.
In my car, I retrieved the number I had found for her fiancé on familylocator.com when I first felt suspicious of their relationship. I held on to the contact info I found on him. His name was Aaron. I dialed the number. When he answered the phone, I asked, “Are you Aaron, Renee’s fiancé?”
“Yes,” he replied.
I ended the call abruptly and texted him the pictures I had taken of Renee’ in bed with Martineau. I got a couple of good ones before she ducked under the covers.
Who is this?
It took thirty-two seconds (enough time to put their clothes on, I suppose) after that exchange for the both of them to run out the townhouse onto the landing. Both had looks of panic and terror etched along their faces.
Aaron called and texted me.
I replied with pictures of her standing on the landing with her bonnet pushed forward on her head wearing a T-shirt with no bra, sweatpants with no panties, wearing socks, but no shoes.
Martineau leaned into my cracked window, breathing raggedly. His eyes were wild with panic. “Why did you do that? You’re gonna get in her trouble.”
Fine by me.