The Boy in the Bin

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Raphael didn’t understand what bothered his mother, but he sensed a change in her. She remained abnormally quiet on the bus ride home. She offered none of her traditional ‘common sense’ suggestions for him as she usually did. She didn’t tell him about her pride he now entered the 5th grade. None of the usual adoration and hugs normally present in her demeanor. She acted like she existed in some a day dream.

“Can I nwatch television, Mommy?” Raphael asked.

“Sure Honey, go ahead,” she told him, “but remember tonight is news night when your Daddy gets home.”

“OK, Mommy,” he agreed, “and don’t cry anymore.”

Sylvia never thought of her son as being aware and sensitive to her emotional outpouring. In retrospect, she realized ever since seeing Raul in the bar with his young chickie, she lived through a wide range of feelings.

The fact Raphael picked up on them made her cognizant she would have to toughen herself up. She theorized if she intended to go through having Raul investigated, she needed to be prepared for whatever dirty laundry the investigator dug up.

Raul appeared at 4:30 P.M.; almost like clockwork on Saturday’s anymore. He came across the kitchen and gave Sylvia a peck on the cheek and informed her wanted to change his clothes. An evil little sprung in Sylvia’s mind, of following him into the bedroom to sniff his balls. The she thought better of that idea. Being near his private parts might lead to Sylvia to give Raul an involuntary vasectomy.

“Would you like to go to a party tonight?” Raul queried.

“What kind of party?” Sylvia replied without even looking up.

“Today is Fred’s birthday,” he announced. “His daughter arranged a surprise party for him at her house in Brooklyn.”

“I guess Natasha might be available,” Sylvia thought. “I’ll give her a call. Unfortunately, I haven’t been feeling well today. This little headache that’s been bugging me all day won’t quit.”

“We don’t need to stay long,” Raul added. “Freddie is a good worker and I would like to go to show my respect.”

Sylvia picked up the phone and called Natasha while Raul changed. She explained the party commitment Raul made and Natasha informed her she would be over in an hour. Sylvia agreed and told her they would be home by midnight .

“I am always happy to keep an eye on my leetle munchkin Sylvia,” Natasha beamed. “Vee can play and haff fun before he goes to bett.”

“By the way Natasha,” Sylvia requested, “are you familiar with any PI’s?”

“A Private Investigator?” Natasha bellowed as if shocked. “Vy vud you need one of those guys?”

“I ran into a little issue I need to deal with,” Sylvia confided. “You don’t need to answer right this minute, but I thought I might ask.”

“I vill tink about da problem,” she said. “I may be able to theenk off somebody.”

“Let’s keep this private Natasha,” Sylvia warned. “I’ll explain later.”

Natasha got to the house promptly and Raul and Sylvia took a cab to their destination in Brooklyn. Upon their arrival, Fred’s daughter met them at the door. Raul introduced her as Marcia; she was the girl Sylvia caught Raul with at the bar; the attractive girl with the NYU shirt. Now Sylvia became thoroughly confused. Perhaps Raul’s meeting with her didn’t qualify as underhanded .

Marcia took them around and introduced them to the other party guests. Oddly, when she made the introductions, Marcia always called Raul by his first name and Sylvia as Mrs. Hernandez. Her actions struck Sylvia as being suspicious and she made a mental note to keep an eye an eye on her.

Fred arrived at the party shortly afterward and seemed surprised at all the guests; even though his surprise resembled an act. Attendees to the party mingled around talking, eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking. Raul brought an executive pen set for Fred as a present.

“I’m proud to be associated with this man as a co-worker,” Raul praised. “He helped me out when I first started and continues to be a valuable asset.”

Eventually, Sylvia found herself in the kitchen getting another cup of punch when Marcia walked in. This turned out to be a perfect time for Sylvia to find out some much needed information.

“When did you first meet my husband?” she questioned.

“Raul,” Marcia pondered. “Oh ... um, I guess we’ve known each other for about a month or so; possibly two. My father introduced him when I showed up at his office one day. He’s a real expert in the study of law and he helped my father a great deal. How long have you been married to him?”

“We’ve been married a little over 6 years,” Sylvia answered, “going on something more like a hundred.”

Sylvia made the last statement solely to see Marcia’s reaction. Marcia turned away briefly, but Sylvia detected the beginning of a smile on her face.

“They’re all alike, aren’t they?” Marcia affirmed. “My ex-husband and I only lasted 7 months before the magic wore off. The question becomes, what can you do; outside of divorce or killing them.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Sylvia echoed.

She couldn’t be sure if Raul met her by happenstance or if something more surreptitious existed between them. Sylvia became convinced an investigation would be in order.

The party broke up about 11 o’clock and everybody made their way home. When Raul and Sylvia got home to the Brownstone, Natasha laid fast asleep on the couch. Rather than disturb her, Raul suggested they let her sleep. He mentioned to Sylvia how since he took no shower after work, perhaps they might share one together now.

“I’m sorry Baby,” she apologized, “but this headache is tearing me up.”

“You don’t realize what you are missing,” he continued to press. “I think Doctor Hernandez would be good for your headache.”

Sylvia considered what he proposed, but until she was convinced her husband didn’t share more than his ‘expertise’, she would avoid any physical involvements. Besides, she needed to get up early to get Raphael ready for school tomorrow. She understood the 4th grade presented many new changes for him and his routine.

The next morning, Sylvia hopped out of bed and made breakfast for Raul and Raphael. She took the day off from work because she wanted to investigate her husband’s activities. She told Raul she still didn’t feel good and perhaps she would try to get in to see the doctor.

“Are you sure all the punch you pounded down last night isn’t the cause?” Raul teased.

“I only drank three glasses,” she argued, “and I puked before I went. I hope I’m not coming down with anything.”

“I wonder if nmy same classmates will be in nschool today,” Raphael wondered. “I hope so because Johnny and nme made some nfriends last year.”

“Johnny and I,” Sylvia corrected. “In English class you will learn the difference between subject pronouns and object pronouns.”

Natasha came in as Raul left for work. Raphael went out in the alley to wait for Cal to pick him up for school. Sylvia informed Natasha she would stay home from work today, but she wanted her to stay for a while. Once everybody got out of the house, Sylvia turned to Natasha and asked to join her in the living room.

“Did you find someone who does investigations?” she gulped.

“I vas tinking off a friend off mine,” Natasha conceded, “but he has moofed out of town. Who do you need investigated anyway?”

“I think Raul is having an affair,” she acknowledged. “I’m not positive but too many coincidences keep happening and I don’t like coincidence.”

She told Natasha about the incident at the office and the bar on Saturday. She mentioned the smeared lipstick on his shirt and the times she caught the faint scent of cologne when he came home from work.

“Perhaps I’m being silly,” Sylvia confessed. “Is thinking he’s fooling around only my overactive imagination? An investigator should be able to either confirm my suspicions or give me peace of mind. What do you think? Did you ever suspect a problem with Boris when he still lived?”

“Boris hat many opportunities to cheat on me,” Natasha noted. “But he vas home after vork every night and he never did anything to make me tink he vas foolink around. He knew I vould cut his balls off if he did ever cheat.”

“I already considered neutering him,” Sylvia giggled. “But I think it’s better to be sure before I take any other action. I don’t want to go accusing him if there’s no basis. However, if a basis exists ... well, I’ll probably sue the living shit out of him.”

“My old friend used to work for MassEye Investigations. They are in Queens if you vant to call them.”

Natasha paused as she considered Sylvia’s dilemma.

“Mrs. Hernandez; Sylvia,” Natasha suggested calmly. “I vill not tell anyone about zee investigator if you decide to do something. But you haff to make your own decision. I vill back up and help you any vay I can.”

Natasha went out to the kitchen to prepare the evening meal. Even though her job might be considered ‘hired help’, Sylvia thought of her as a friend. And for the moment, a friend is what she needed.

She dialed the number Natasha gave her.

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