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I had better things to do with my weekend, but I wasn't exactly given a choice. This is something my Dad would refer to as being volen-told to do something. My boss strongly hinted that my attendance at this weekend retreat was necessary to ensure the future of my employment. Mr. Parsons' not the kind of guy to make bold hints like that, so I had to be all over this thing like a fat kid on a Hersey bar. Or government money on a bad idea. Even though I'd rather be anywhere else, I had to make the best of it and not be a downer, like a wet blanket.
What made this worse is that this is supposed to be a couples retreat. Parson asked me and my significant other to come down for a weekend to build morale for the company. It was bad enough to have to say yes, I just didn't have the guts to tell him the absolute truth, which was that my wife of five years had kicked my sorry ass to the curb. It wasn't like I didn't deserve it, as I was never there and either working long hours at the office or out drinking with the guys and rubbing elbows to cut more deals for the business. My professional success wasn't the cause, but it was an ingredient that led to her having enough and changing the locks on our condo.
I was terrified to tell my boss the truth, but my shrink calls is classic denial. I haven't told anyone about the separation even though it's been a few months already. Not even my family knows about it, and that has more to do with how little we talk let alone my efforts to hide it. I even tried to call her to beg her to join me on this trip, but she didn't pick up. Part of me is happy she didn't, because just asked her to help me with a job weekend might have angered her again. I even considered hiring a hooker for the weekend, just pay someone to pretend to be my wife but that wasn't an option either. To years ago my wife attended a company Christmas party, so there was bound to be one person who would know the difference and rat me out.
I didn't want to go alone, but that is better than not showing up at all. I even had a good excuse to try to bail out on it. My car had broken down and has been in the shop for the last few days and I wasn't getting it back for at least a week. But I had a feeling Mr. Parsons would order someone else to give me a ride out, and the thought of riding out with someone in the back while listening to them babble on with their plus one would have made me suicidal, especially if I was stuck in the car for hours with someone totally annoying like Angie. I can't even believe she has a plus one that puts up with her and her unhealthy obsession with her job.
My transport issue seemed to resolve itself as a friend of mine stepped up for me. One of my former college roomies Gerald, who's doing much, much better in life than I am, offered to loan me one of his cars. He has over a dozen in a massive garage, and when he heard that I was driving out to hang out with my boss for the weekend... he offered me something I didn't expect. When he tossed me the keys, I couldn't believe it.
I looked at the keys and back at him with a shocked look. "I don't think this is a good idea."
"Why not?" Gerald said, laughing at my hesitation. "You want to make a statement to you boss, pull up to his cabin in this bad boy, and all your co-wokers will be green with fucking envy!"
"True," I replied, thinking how angry Angie would be to see it. "But the statement I might be making to my boss might be the wrong one. He'd be tempted audit the company out of fear that I might be skimming the books."
"I doubt it," Gerald said, "But if you get desperate, just tell him what awesome friends you have. That will also impress the shit out of him."
"I guess," I said as he was making some damn fine points. Showing up in a badass car would shock people and impress my boss. "But you don't think this is too much? What if I get into an accident?"
"I'm insured." Gerald said, not even worrying about it a little. "Besides, if you do wreck it... I can always buy another. There's a new model I've been eyeing actually."
"I'm not gonna wreck it," I told him, "I happen to be a great driver."
"And that's why I'm not worried," Gerald concurred, "We've done road trips before, and I know what a good driver you are. Take my girl out. She's been neglected and could use some road time. I don't I have to tell you what a chick magnet this thing is, do I?"
"No, you do not." I agreed.
"Keep it for the week," Gerald also offered, "Till you get your own car back."
"Are you sure, Gerald?" I asked.
"Do it." Gerald insisted, "Just promise me you'll use it to get laid. I can tell you're nervous. You probably haven't gotten any since you got kicked out of the house."
"Thanks for letting me crash in the guest room," I reminded him.
"Don't worry about it Nicky," Gerald said, "I've enjoyed your company. So have my stockholders as I've been doing amazing work since you moved in."
"No one at work knows about the separation." I told him.