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The Dueling Duets Series
Dueling Duets (One): Don’s Erudition
Dueling Duets (Two): Lisa’s Hobby
Dueling Duets (Three): Dave’s Education
Dueling Duets (Four): Judy’s Revenge
I think, but I’m not perfectly sure, that Don The Professor, was either my second or third story. I was listening to Don, writing my little tail off and trying to keep up, when all of a sudden his wife, Lisa, started telling me, “No, that’s not how it was. Don’s wrong!” But Don insisted he was right. So I had no choice but to write Lisa’s story after I got done with Don. Then to my dismay, two other people got inside my head and told me their side of the story.
I had a lot of fun with this, but it was a lot of work getting the stories synchronized. I remember sitting at an old 15 inch CRT monitor, the four stories side by side, and changing them one by one. While each story tells the same facts, the perspective is different in each.
Perhaps some of my inspiration for this came from Alan Ayckbourn and his Norman Conquests, a series of three plays that take place in a parlour, a kitchen and a garden. The same characters exist in each play, and the plot is the same, but the order in which the plot is revealed (and the jokes,) differ from play to play. If you get the chance to go to one or all three of the plays, it’s quite worth it.
You’ll do a little better, I think, if you read the Dueling Duets in the order listed, but each one would work fine as a single short story.
By the way, just because these people temporarily inhabit my brain, it doesn’t mean I like them all!
The Dueling Duets (One):
Don the Professor
By Adam Gunn
This story is copyright ©1999 by Adam Gunn. All rights reserved.
HIGGINS [becoming excited as the idea grows on him] “What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn’t come every day. I shall make a duchess of this draggle-tailed guttersnipe.
George Bernard Shaw
Pygmalion, Act I
Lisa was having another affair. I could always tell because she started changing her habits. This time, she was tickling my nipples a new way when we made love. I wasn’t worried though; I knew she’d let me in on the fun when the time was right.
You see, Lisa and I had what used to be called an “Open Relationship.” Back in the late ’70’s and early 80’s, when we were both divorced, both of us had relationships with a lot of people. I met Lisa when I was doing an managerial training seminar for the training company I was working for; she was one of my students. After one of the classes, she came up to me and asked me if I was available for outside consultation, as there’s nothing more rewarding than a good education. A few dates later, she started educating me, to hear her tell it.
When we got married in ’86, I didn’t think that either one of us would give up other people permanently. After a couple of years of married bliss (and it was! Still is, for that matter.) we discussed the situation and decided that, as long as nobody got hurt and we didn’t keep secrets from each other, that we could both have other friends. In the decade since then, Lisa has had twelve or fourteen trysts, most of them lasting just a few days; the longest had gone on for a couple of months. I’d only had two affairs; one went on for six months, and the other had ended only after she moved to Boston when her husband was transferred. I still see her whenever I’m in New England if she can get away. Lisa and I love to tell each other our stories in bed.
One Thursday night in early August, Lisa came home a little later than usual, and I could tell that she’d been crying. I got her a drink, and asked her if there was anything wrong, anything that I could help with.
“Don,” she said, snuggling up to me so I could hold her, “I think I’ve really blown it this time.”
“Well, it’s nothing that we can’t fix, I’m sure. Tell me about it.”
“You know Dave at the Country Club, don’t you?”
“The good looking guy with the mousy wife? What’s her name, Jill?”
“Judy, that’s him. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I got out of work early and went over to the club to play a practice round. Don was there, looking for a game, and since there was nobody else around I told him I’d be happy to play with him. We started laughing and having a good time, and I started flirting with him. Oh I know I shouldn’t have; I never did think it was good to start anything so close to home. But Don’s such a straight arrow, and I thought this was just harmless fun. After the round was over, we went our separate ways, and I just figured he’d boink his wife that night and think about me.”
“I got a call from him a couple of days later. He asked me if I wanted to have a drink. I got curious and agreed. He suggested a lounge near the motels, and he told me his life story. Seems that he and Judy had to get married in college. Since then he’s been bored with her, he says she’s frigid, but he ucuz escort never had the guts to have an affair. It took him two drinks to get that far, and I started feeling sorry for him. I told myself that this would be a short fling, that he’d get what he wanted, and I’d have done my good deed for the day. I told him about us, and that I always told you everything. I wanted him to know that we wouldn’t be going behind your back, and that even though he’d have nothing to fear, he’d have to look you in the eye. I figured he’d split about that time. But he hung in there, so I asked him if he was going to sit there for the rest of his life, crying in his beer, or was he going to get a motel room?
“Don, the first night was awful. He was so inexperienced that I had to lead everything. I’m surprised he knew which hole to put it in! I decided to let him have one more shot at me, and set up one of those romantic evenings at the Bed & Breakfast. I told him that would be the last time, because I was afraid of causing a scandal at the club.
“He agreed, and we got it on over there last Monday night. This time, he was really good. Maybe it was because he was more relaxed, I don’t know. I began to reconsider my decision, and let it go on a little longer, but I didn’t mention it.
“As we were breaking up that night, he asked me for one last favor — he told me that he’d fantasized for years about having another woman in his marriage bed (those were his exact words!) and he asked me to help this one come true. He promised me complete safety, as Judy goes over to the club every Thursday night to have dinner with three of her friends and play bridge. Hell, I’ve seen the bunch of them in there many a time, sipping lemonade. I was a little nervous, but Dave told me that she always got home at 9:45 on the dot, and we’d be out of there by 8:00.
“Now, I know I shouldn’t have, but hell, he wanted it so badly. I knew that it would be the last time he ever had another woman in his life, and I couldn’t resist. At 6:30, I parked my car in the back part of a park about 5 blocks from his house, and he picked me up. He made me scrunch down as he pulled his car into the garage so none of his neighbors would see. We got up to his bedroom and I let him start to undress me. He had me down to my panties, and Boom! the door opens and in walks Judy. She just looks at him and me, starts crying and walks out. I was so upset that I just put my clothes on and bolted for the door. Dave didn’t know what to do, so I told him not to worry about me. I walked back to my car, and just sat in it and cried for awhile. It wasn’t until I was almost home that I realized that I’d left my jewelry on the nightstand.”
“Don’t worry about it, honey,” I said. “I’ve met Dave a number of times, and he seems like a good joe. I’m sure that he won’t let a problem start.”
“But what about Judy?” she replied. “I’m sure she’ll make his life a living hell. What if she comes after us, too?”
“You’ve got a good point. Now, if there’s no further questions, let’s go to bed.” All we did that night was sleep.
The next morning, as things normally do, things looked a little brighter. Lisa was getting ready for her trip. As a director in the Human Resources division of a large company, she was going out to the coast. Sunday through Thursday she was going to an H/R convention in Anaheim. Then she would spend the rest of the time visiting the plants and branches in the west. She was planning on getting back very late on Friday night two weeks hence.
When she got home, she told me that Dave had left her a message, but that she hadn’t been able to phone him at his office. She sure wasn’t going to call him at home! Later that evening, we made mad, passionate love. Okay, okay, we’d been married for twelve years, and sometimes passionate means that we light a candle for some different lighting and we take more than fifteen minutes. But we both enjoyed it, and figured it would keep us for a couple of weeks.
She got up and called for a taxi to take her to the airport. I kissed her goodbye, and meandered over to the club for my regular golf game.
I was out on the practice range warming up, when Dave came rolling up in a cart. You could tell how embarrassed he was by the way he hung his head, but he figured he’d have to just deal with it. I walked up to him, stuck my hand out, and said, “Well, at least you’re still alive!”
He didn’t quite know how to take that. He shook my hand and said, “What do you mean?”
I just laughed. “Judy let you live after Thursday night. That’s good. Your partners would be really pissed at me if they found out it was Lisa’s and my fault that they’d lost a good pigeon!”
He smiled and said, “Oh, you know then.”
“Sure I do. Lisa told me that you knew we don’t have secrets from each other.” Dave started to apologize, and I cut him off. “Don’t worry about it . I’m sure sorry it ended that way. How’s Judy taking it?”
“You ümraniye escort know, this is the really strange part. She cried for awhile, and then just talked for a long time. She wanted to know all the usual things. I told her that this was my first, and last, affair. That I still loved her, that I don’t want a divorce, all that stuff. Then she went up and changed the sheets on the bed.
“She seemed to take it really well. She doesn’t want anything from me. I even suggested that I cancel my golf trip next week and take her to a nice resort, and she told me that it’s not necessary. I find her weeping every once in awhile, and once she cracked that she was going to figure out a way to get even with me, but other than that, it was business as usual last night, except that things are still really strained. She’s slept in the guest room the last two nights, but I guess I deserve that.
“Well, I hope she gets over it soon. Dave, do you have Lisa’s jewelry?”
“Her jewelry? No, I thought she’d taken it with her. Oh, shit.”
“Well, if you can get it back, I know she’d really appreciate it.”
He told me he’d try, and if he couldn’t he’d replace it. I headed off for my tee time, thinking that we’d dodged a bullet. Shows you how wrong you can be sometimes.
The next Tuesday morning, I got a call in my office. It was Judy. After a few awkward pleasantries, she said, “Don, I’m sorry to bother you, but I’ve got something that belongs to your wife, and I’d like to return it to you.” I figured she didn’t want to give the jewelry to Lisa herself; I was glad for that.
“Thanks, Judy. Should we meet at the club?”
“No, I’d like to meet somewhere where you and I could talk for a little while, if you don’t mind.” I started to tell her that it would be fine with me, but she stopped me. “Don, please. I just want to talk to you and get a few things straight. Maybe you can even help me with a problem I’m having. Please, could you meet me someplace for cocktails tonight?”
I was a little worried, but then I thought that this might be the best thing after all. If she was going to cause a scene, at least I might be able to get it away from the limelight. I agreed, and Judy suggested a place and asked me if we could meet about 6:00. It was only after I’d hung up that I realized that this was the same lounge where Lisa and Dave had met before their first liaison.
When I got to the lounge, Judy was already there, with a glass of iced tea in front of her. There’s nothing really wrong with Judy’s looks. She’s medium height, and she has a long face that her long, straight, brunette hair just accentuates. I couldn’t tell you about her breasts, as I couldn’t remember ever seeing enough of them to notice. The clothes that she wears are always plain, and usually white, black or dull brown or pastel colors. She isn’t much for jewelry or other accessorizing. In short, she’s like a female bird, dull and colorless, in the hope that she won’t get noticed.
As I sat down, she greeted me and said, “Don, I hope you don’t find this situation as difficult as I do.”
“Well,” I said, “I must confess there are times when I’ve felt more at ease. I guess I’d feel better if I knew what it was you wanted to talk to me about.”
“I never thought that my husband could be unfaithful to me. It never even crossed my mind. Now that he has, I’ve got to come to grips with it. I certainly can’t talk to my girlfriends about it. David told me that you knew the whole story, and I guess I thought that you might be able to help me deal with all of this.
“I don’t blame you for what’s happened, and I don’t blame Lisa, either. At first I was confused as to why she wanted David, but after he told me about the arrangement you two have, I was able to figure out that this was just some sort of recreational activity in her mind. Sort of like golf, I guess.”
We talked about the situation, and it turned out that Judy was concerned about a scandal, too. I explained that neither Lisa or I ever discussed our affairs outside of our marriage, and that seemed to comfort her.
“Have you figured out what it is you want to do about this, Judy? Are you thinking of separating or . . .”
“Oh, no, never. I’ve loved David since the moment we met as freshmen in university. We waited until we were seniors before I let him make love to me; we were both virgins. I thought we were taking all the precautions, but a couple of months later I’d missed my period. David never even thought about not taking care of me and the baby; three weeks later we ‘eloped.’ In the last twenty-six years we had two more children. The youngest boy will graduate from college this spring. I never thought seriously about another man, and David said that the only other woman he’s ever been with is Lisa. You don’t throw away something like that.
“I’m over the shock now. I would like a little revenge, but that can wait, I guess. My priority now is to figure out how to üniversiteli öğrenci escort get him back to a point where he won’t stray again. I think I know why he tried it the first time; I’m not exactly beautiful or sexy, like Lisa is. Do you have any ideas on how I can go about this?”
“Judy, you’re a beautiful woman,” I lied. “Dave told me that he doesn’t want a divorce either. I really don’t think you have anything to worry about.”
“Nonsense. I’m plain, and I don’t know how to be anything more. Now that the kids are gone, he’s going to find something that he’s interested in. If it’s not me, it will be some other woman. A couple of more times, and he’ll be gone. I’ve got to learn how to stop that.”
“Why don’t you find a teacher?” When she gave me a puzzled look, I continued, ” You know, a friend who will help you out, help you buy some new clothes, maybe give you a few hints on how to act.”
“That’s an idea, Don. Let me think about that.”
We chatted for a little while. It came up that she was worried that Dave was sneaking off to meet Lisa while he was out of town, and I had to tell her that Lisa was out on the coast. But she calmed down when I pointed out that he was heading for a resort in the mountains of North Carolina. She said she had the telephone number, and that she’d check on him a few times. I also gave her Lisa’s business number (it was printed in the club book, anyway) so that she could call the office and check. I assured her that Lisa would never be with Dave again. When I said that, Judy got this far off look on her face and said, “I want to believe that, but I’m not sure it’s true.”
Judy gave me a box with Lisa’s jewelry, and we got up to leave. When we got to the car, she thanked me for being so civilized, and shook my hand.
Thursday night I was sitting around the house, drinking a beer and watching a game on the tube. The phone rang. On the other end was Judy. “Don, am I disturbing you?” she asked.
If it had been one of the guys, I would have said, “Hell, yes! Lisa’s out of town and all the dancing girls are over. What are you doing calling me at a time like this?” But I thought better of that line, and just said, “Why, no.”
“Don, I’ve been thinking about the advice you gave me. Now you are a very attractive man, and I’ve seen you look at the ladies on the putting green. From what I know about your lifestyle, I’m sure you know what is attractive and what isn’t. I was hoping, Don, considering what’s happened between our families, that you might help me out by being my tutor.”
“What exactly do you mean?”
“Oh, nothing much. Tell me what men find in women that they like. Maybe go with me to buy some clothes. Critique my efforts.”
“What would Dave think about this?”
“As you know, he’s leaving on his golf trip tomorrow afternoon. I thought that since you were unattached for the next week as well, we could start this off without his knowing. Depending on how it goes, I could tell him when he gets home or not. Since it’s going to be perfectly harmless, I don’t think I need his approval. After all, I’m doing it for him as much as for me.”
The words “perfectly harmless” had a good effect on me. I figured after what he’d done with my wife, he couldn’t very well argue that talking with his wife was going to upset him. I agreed to meet her for dinner at a restaurant the next evening, and hung up.
Friday evening, I met Judy at a megamall on the far north side of town, fifteen minutes or so from both of us. I knew the manager of the Ruby Tuesday and had called him up and asked him to reserve a quiet booth for us. I thought it was perfect, public enough so that it wouldn’t seem like we were sneaking around, but quiet enough to talk privately. Judy was waiting for me in the lobby, wearing a traditional Judy outfit; white blouse with violet trim on the crew neck showing absolutely nothing of the reasons that a man would fight for, a violet skirt to her knees, some non-descript shoes. The only jewelry was her wedding band and a thin gold bracelet.
As we sat down, I asked her if she’d like an iced tea. “Oh, no, I’d really like to have a cocktail. I don’t often drink, but I think this is a special occasion.” I ordered a Gin and Tonic, and Judy said she’d have one also.
We started talking trivialities. She told me that she’d sent Dave off to North Carolina, and that she wouldn’t see him until next Sunday afternoon. After a little of this, she looked at me and bluntly asked, “Do you think I’m sexy, Don?” I didn’t know what to say. I mean, I hardly knew this woman, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She saw my hesitation, and said, “Don, if you’re going to be my tutor, you’ve got to be honest with me. Now please, tell me why I’m not sexy.”
I figured that since she was going to be adamant about it, I’d just be blunt. “The reason you’re not sexy, Judy, is that you don’t dress sexy, you don’t act sexy.” She asked me to go on about her clothes. “Guys like color, Judy, and they like to see a little skin. It doesn’t have to be overdone, but something should show.”
“What about my hair, my face?”
“You’ve got a nice face, and beautiful long hair. It’s just that they don’t go together. Also, you choose to wear very little makeup.”
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