Story: Her Cheating Heart

It was spring, and that always turns a young man’s heart to thoughts of… well, paying bills, mostly. It had been a while since my last job and I was starting to question the usefulness of peanut butter as a primary food source when I got a call.

I was in my Office, sitting back and reading through my creditors’ latest comedy routines, when I heard the gunshot that told me I Had Mail. It was from some guy named Arnie Criping, and before I read the rest I knew it was a “follow-the-wife” deal. No one named “Arnie” is ever secure in his marriage, except maybe the Terminator guy, and who would cross him?

Arnie came off as a weepy little spud, blaming everything from society to tax hikes to Tim Berners-Lee for his troubles, but I skimmed through that to find the meat of the matter. “Please help me, Hammer23, I beg of you. I don’t know what I would do without her. I’ve submitted your fee already, and I hope you can prove me wrong. P.S. Nice site.”

That’s the kind of client I like, the kind that pays first. To some gumshoes that takes the pressure off – why hustle for money when it’s already there – but for me it just heightens the game. Now my reputation, rusty and tarnished though it is, is on the line. My client trusts me, so I have to do right by him. It’s a time-honored tradition, and believe it or not I’m the traditional type. Besides, Arnie sounded like such a schlub I _wanted_ to help him out. I’ve seen him and his brothers all over the world. Life has dumped on him all the garbage it can find, and now it’s looking to steal away the one bit of brightness he has. Or else he beats her, but hey, who am I to judge?

I checked my buddy PayPal for his payment; it was in there all right, and it looked sweet. I could feel my bills growing towards it like azaleas to the sun, but I had to finish the case before my conscience would let me spend it. Damn conscience. There may be a way to remove those things, but booze won’t do it no matter how much you use. I’ve tried.

Having no other pressing appointments I swung into action. Time to go follow the cheating lady. According to Arnie she hung out at a little chatroom called “Hookups.” Gotta love it when they’re subtle like that. I’ve been there before; it’s a common spot for your standard troubled spouse who’s looking to rescue the remaining days of her boring life. About what you’d expect – dingy graphics, amateurish layout, popups and glaring banners flashing in your eyes, smoky saxophone midi in the background. The administrator showed up when I logged in.

> AdminJoe: hey hammer23, whats up?
> Hammer23: Same as usual, but it’ll cost you $1 to see it.
> AdminJoe: lol just take it easy, all right? We don’t want any trouble
> Hammer23: I never start anything, you know that.
> AdminJoe: yeah but you sure as shit stop things pretty hard.
> Hammer23: Gotta go with your strengths, Joe. You gonna let me in?

He backed off pretty quick. Joe’s all right, making some scratch where he can. Not his responsibility to baby-sit married people fooling around. I headed into the chatrooms to start my stalking. Arnie hadn’t known where exactly she hung out, all he told me was that she came here and used the name “BadWife.” Much more subtlety like that and I was going to have to become a used car salesman just to maintain my self-respect.

Some quick clicking got me through four rooms in rapid succession: “Sweet to Meet,” “First Time,” “Trios,” and “Suckapalooza,” and I was starting to feel sticky and not in a good way. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many of the people in here were cruising for fantasies, hoping to link up with someone whose fantasy was close enough to retrofit. It was a lonely world out there, and I couldn’t really blame someone for grabbing whatever comfort they could find against the cold. I just don’t want to see it myself, it’s like reading a 12-year-old’s diary.

I moved my arms back and forth to loosen my shoulders up, and moved into “Connections.” It was packed. I tried scrolling down the user names but the second I walked in I was bombarded with hellos and requests and demands and offers and it was all I could do to avoid them all. I turned down everything I could remember and ignored the rest, and then I saw her.

Her avatar was tall, lanky and built for speed. She was advertising long dark hair and midnight eyes; dark and mysterious, with a bright star in the middle of each one, and what looked to be a body that wouldn’t quit even after the referee told her to. I lurked around her for a bit, watching her flirt with a dozen guys at the same time. She was good.

> JimboH: U know u want me baby
> BadWife: I do, and its torture not to have you with me. But I survive.
> Fuckboy7: You need to suk down on this beyatch
> BadWife: I cant dear, not without water. Those little things always stick in my throat.
> Wolverine: you gonna fuck one o us or what
> BadWife: Soon as a man shows up, I’d love to. Have you seen one?

That’s the problem with cybersex, there’s no guarantee of alcohol involved. Usually when you try to pick someone up in a bar there’s a good chance that both of you are stonkered enough not to notice how lame you sound. In a chatroom it’s all too obvious, and you can’t even hope that your intended prey misheard you when all she has to do is scroll back up to verify the bone-headed thing you just said. Had to admit, I liked her. Quick-witted and a fast typer, and I’ve always been a sucker for people who chat in complete sentences; I’m not a “lol” kind of person. I started to make my move when suddenly there was a click and everything spiraled down into inky blackness.

I was in Private mode, and I hadn’t initiated it. Only people who can grab me like that are AdminJoe, who hasn’t got the balls, and…

> StPete: what the hell are you doing, Hammer23?

…the cops. StPete was a federal investigator, cruising the chatrooms looking for short eyes and chicken hawks. We’ve crossed paths before, and we both survived the encounters with a healthy respect for him. I fully supported his cause, I got no love for predators who pick on the helpless, but I didn’t want him following me all night either.

> Hammer23: What’s up, Lieutenant?
> StPete: whatcha doing here, flatfoot?
> Hammer23: Just following a wandering wife, Pete. Nothing to do with you.
> StPete: everything has to do with me, asshole, and you’d better remember it. one of those vultures circling your slut is a weenie-wagger and im bringing him down and anyone around him. stay outta my way.
> Hammer23: No problem, officer. I don’t much like the smell in here, anyway.
> StPete: don’t push me hammer23. I might start following you one fine day
> Hammer23: Well, let me know if you do, Lieutenant. I’ll want to dress nice.

I bounced out of Private mode and looked around for someone else to get private with. She was still at it, and she looked to be getting serious with one of the geeks, I’m guessing by eenie meenie minie schmoe.

> BadWife: You think you can do all that to me? You make a lot of promises.
> SkullDick: I can do anything you need me to and twice on sundays. Lets go private

Time to cut in.

> Hammer23: Look out doll, you’d better throw him back before his scoutmaster comes back.
> SkullDick: wtf?
> Hammer23: Back off kid, before I tell your daddy you’ve got his credit card.
> BadWife: Well, a tough guy.
> Hammer23: But oh so sweet, with a twinkle in my eye.
> BadWife: I can tell.
> SkullDick: fucxk off man, shes mine
> Hammer23: (offers arm) Ma’am, please allow me to save you the indignity of being seen with someone named “SkullDick.”
> BadWife: (takes arm, leans on broad shoulder) I’d be delighted.
> SkullDick: you motherfu

We went private before her old boyfriend figured out what happened. I gave him about 10 minutes, but I may have been generous. Mrs. Arnie was a bit faster on the uptake, but then so was most driftwood.

> BadWife: So now that you have me, what do you plan to do with me?
> Hammer23: I thought I’d start at the north slope and establish base camp somewhere around your hips.
> BadWife: /laughs  I didn’t know I was so much of a challenge. Or do I seem cold to you?
> Hammer23: I don’t think “cold” will be a problem. I hope not, I didn’t pack any spare clothes.
> BadWife: Seems to me you’re wearing too much already. I run a hand through your hair while I loosen your tie.
> Hammer23: Good thing I wore it around my waist, then.

Like many other cybersexers I was typing one-handed, but unlike most of them I wasn’t reaching for lotion, I was bringing up another window and running a background check on my new lover’s IP address. Well, to be honest I don’t think that most cybersexers do that, but how do I know? Maybe a full investigation is considered foreplay these days. I started a trace-route and looked back to see what was being done to me.

> BadWife: /laughs  Then I’ll leave it there, it’ll be more festive. I’ll just unbuckle your belt and slide my hand inside, see what I can find.
> Hammer23: No need to go far, something’s coming up to meet you. I grab the back of your neck and…
> BadWife: …yes?
> Hammer23: Pull you in to a bruising kiss. I talk possession of your mouth and make it my own.
>BadWife: Oh, yes, I suck on your tongue while it ravages my mouth. My hands are both in your pants now, working you.
> Hammer23: My other hand roams down over your body, caressing and squeezing here and there. What’s this in your blouse, a diamond chip?

Her IP was for a local ISP, which didn’t mean anything. I expanded the trace to narrow down her actual computer – it might help me locate her physically, or it might find a random IP which didn’t do me diddly. And speaking of diddling…

> BadWife: Two of them, rock hard and pointy. Do you like diamonds?
> Hammer23: Depends on the cut. I’d better check them out, make sure they’re real. I yank your blouse down to your waist and seize your little rosy diamonds hard between my fingertips.
>BadWife: I cry out and pretend to pull away, but it’s really just to make it hurt a little more. You’re so big and hard in my hands, I want to see it.
> Hammer23: I pinch one of them while I bite on the other. It’s like gold, you can’t tell if they’re real until you get them between your teeth.
> BadWife: oh jesus
> BadWife: I fumble your pants open and drop to my knees in front of you, I need it so bad.

Don’t know if she’s playing to what she thinks my fantasy is or if this is the sort of thing she really likes, and I don’t really care. I’m more turned on by the fact that she lives in my city. This makes things easier; harder to ignore a private dick when it’s right in front of your face. So to speak.

> Hammer23: I wait until your mouth is half-open and then I roughly jam my meat between your lips.
> BadWife: aaaaaahh. I take as much as I can into my mouth and work the rest with my hands. So good, so hot
> Hammer23: I force in as far as I can go, but it’s not enough. I need to be all the way in you. I pull you to your feet and spin you around.
> BadWife: I’m so goddamn wet I’m gushing. I lean against the wall and spread my legs wide open for you.
> Hammer23: Your sweet ass calls me, but I need your cunt first. I grab your hips and lay my dick over your crack, letting you feel the heat and the weight of it before it invades you.
> BadWife: oh god oh god
> Hammer23: I place the slick head of it against your slit and
> SkullDick: You fucker!

I was right, almost exactly ten minutes, and I’ll bet my last jar of peanut butter he moved his lips while he worked things out.

> BadWife: Get the hell out!
> SkullDick: You stole my fucking slut and I want her back
> Hammer23: If you’re going to sweet-talk her like that I won’t have much of a chance anyway, stud.
> SkullDick: what?
> BadWife: /slaps SkullDick

I was about ready to muscle him out – AdminJoe doesn’t know it, but I gave myself Moderator powers the last time I was here – when the cops burst in, virtually speaking

> StPete: Stop right there, asshole.
> SkullDick: another fuckwipe. How many guys were you gonna screw tonite?
> StPete: forget it skulldick, and stay logged on. You need to answer some questions.

Great, her old flame was the suspected baby-raper. I messaged BadWife privately while they yelled at each other.

> Hammer23: (private to BadWife) Meet me and we’ll finish this.
> BadWife: (private to Hammer23) Where?
> Hammer23: (private to BadWife) 153 East 33rd, Apt 10. Half an hour.

There was a long silence. I had to hope that her general sluttiness would overcome her caution. On my side I had my natural charm. StPete and SkullDick screaming at each other didn’t hurt, either. Finally she said she’d be there, and we logged out like servants sneaking out of the room while their masters fight.

Even as unattached as I was during the chat, logging off always seems weird to me, like I’ve been left standing somewhere with my pants around my ankles and my dick waving in the air. Not very likely, but I felt jilted all the same. A weird feeling for someone with a horny lady heading over. I stood up and stretched, and caught sight of myself in the hall mirror. If I wanted her to step inside the doorway, I needed to shower, fast. Steamy streams of water washed away all my sins and my new soap made me smell like jasmine. She was one hell of a woman, and if she was half as good in person I might have a problem. I’ve always had a weakness for classy, horny women. If Marlene Dietrich ever stopped by in garters, I’d sign over my mother. But I knew she’d be like the rest of the women I caught cheating online; short and fat and dumpy, with bad makeup badly applied and too much perfume, not enough deodorant. No reason to worry about it, I was cool and in control.

Just in case, I shaved.

While I waited I ran a background check. Like the spam mail says, You Can Find Out Anything About Anybody. You don’t need to buy their book or jump through any hoops for it, though. Hell, you can find a lot of it through Google. I found out quite a lot about dear Mrs. Arnie before I heard the knock.

On the other side of my peephole was an angel in red silk. If anything she looked better than her avatar, and that had to be a first. Long black hair streamed over chocolate brown eyes and a mouth that looked designed to suck or be sucked on. She was about my height and far more slender than her full breasts suggested, but I was willing to overlook that. Her plunging neckline offered a tantalizing glimpse into a very tempting hell, and I had my bags packed and my mail forwarded. I stayed behind the door and swung it open enough for her to slide in.

She came in, hesitantly but with grace, and looked around with noticeable relief over my furnishings. Apparently she approved; no visible roaches or chalked body outlines, so I must have passed. She waited a measured minute for me to close the door and finish checking out her rear, and then turned to me with arms spread, only to stop dead in shock. I don’t know why, I had on my trenchcoat and fedora pulled down low, I was doing my best Marlow impersonation and I knew for a fact I was just as cute as the dickens. “But,” she stammered, “I don’t understand!”

“It’s simple, dollface. I’m doing a job, and you’re it.”

It’s not at all easy to look graceful while wringing one’s hands, but she managed. “But, you… I never…”

I leaned back against the doorjamb and took a long pull off my cigarette. Lousy habit, but great theater. “But I did, and we did, and here you are, and my job’s done. Only I don’t think it was the job I was really hired for.”

“But you’re a girl!”

I took off the fedora and shook my hair free. “Guilty as charged. Never can be too sure about people you meet online, you know.” The table in the front hallway held a bottle and two glasses of scotch; I handed her one glass and took a slug from the other. She clutched at it with both hands like a lifeline and then drank it all off in one gulp which allowed me to admire both her throat and her technique. I glugged some more devil’s brew into her glass and waved her into the living room. “So why did you do it, “BadWife”?”

Her second glass of hootch followed the first, fast enough to catch up and race it for the finish line. “You mean fool around? Ha! If you saw my husband you wouldn’t have to ask. I just needed a real man once in a while, is that so hard to understand? You’re a woman, I guess, you know what I need,” she pleaded, wanting me to understand, just us girls together.

“I know exactly what you need,” I said. “You need a story.”

Her surprised look wasn’t nearly as good as her sexy look. “What? I don’t understand…”

I emptied the bottle into her glass. “There is no Arnie Criper. I did some surfing and it turns out that Annie Criper is the hottest erotica writer around right now, only she hasn’t published anything this year. Must be tough coming up with new plots for the same old exercises, huh? Nice site, by the way.”

She stared at me for a second, and then fell back across the couch. A lot of her bounced nicely when she did, looked like everything was natural, and her skirt slid up to reveal some very long legs. “God, you have no idea! I’ve written about everything I could think of, and I just can’t think of anything anymore! I hoped that I could pick somebody up and get some ideas, but the idea of meeting someone strange was too scary. I’m so sorry, but I needed someone I could check on first.”

“So you hired me to find you, so you could seduce a private dick.” I prompted, moving to my knees next to the couch. She had her arm over her eyes and didn’t notice me creeping up on her.

“It was a way for me to flirt with a total stranger without taking a chance on being raped or killed. You were certified and licensed, it’s not like you could disappear. Besides, I’ve always had this fantasy about Humphrey Bogart…” Her legs jerked when I touched them and she propped herself up on her elbows, looking at me through tousled hair. “What are you doing?”

“Doing my job,” I said. My lips teased a sigh from hers while my fingers trailed their way up underneath her skirt on a heat-seeking mission. “You want something new to experience, and I can’t leave a client unsatisfied. I have a reputation to maintain.”

Her legs eased open and she showed me the gate to paradise. “Oh, Hammer…”

“Call me Michele.”

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