The Photo 3.9/5 (18)

I sat on the sofa staring at the photo on the coffee table. I was oscillating between rage and despair. Again, I picked up the photo and scanned it for any telltale signs. All I could see was a woman with dark hair bent over an office desk and a man standing behind her with his pants around his ankles. I couldn’t see the woman’s face because of the placement of her hair nor could I see the face of the man.

The photo appeared to be taken from some one looking in from the door way of an office. There was nothing else in the photo that I recognized to help me ascertain the identity of the “Fucker” and the “Fuckee.” However, on the back of the photo, some one had scrawled, “Just thought you would want to know how your wife spends her lunch hour.” So now I suspected that I was the “Fucked.”

I’m Jack Murphy and I have been married to Ellen for 20 years. Ellen and I had met in college and married soon after graduation. I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and went to work for an oil company in a local refinery. Ellen graduated with a marketing degree and now works for a medical device manufacturer as a liaison between her company and the advertising agencies.

We have two children, Roger and Beth, who both joined the Air Force after graduating from high school and are working on their college degrees at night school. Ellen got pregnant soon after we married and she became a stay-at-home mom.

When the youngest went off to middle school, Ellen decided it was time to join the work force and had no trouble landing a job. She has a very warm personality, a great figure, and is fairly attractive. Two weeks after her job hunt started she was working full time.

Things went along fine for the next 6 years as the kids worked their way through middle school and high school. The kids played soccer and Ellen became a soccer mom in her spare time. I don’t know why the kids decided to go into the Air Force and not go straight to college.

Maybe they want to see the world and have some financial independence. But they were adults and made their own decisions. Regardless, they did appear to be happy with their adventure.

After the kids left the nest, I noticed a change in Ellen. She seemed at odds with herself on what to do with her extra time. Occasionally, she would come home a little late explaining that she had stopped by Clancy’s after work for drink. I never thought much of it because she never made it a regular event. Tonight she would be coming home a little late. She was meeting her friends at Clancy’s again.

My mind was drawn back to the present and my eyes went back to focus on the photo. Many possibilities kept swirling around my head. Was my wife having an affair? Was this even my wife? Who was this guy? Who took the photo? Why did they take the photo? What did they want? Was I being blackmailed and if I didn’t pay would they expose my wife to my friends and business associates?

Did they intend to black mail my wife? Did they intend to get my wife fired if she didn’t pay? But how could the photographer do anything if one couldn’t see the faces of this couple? Did the photographer have more photos that revealed the identity of this couple?

My first inclination was to rush over to my wife’s office and confront her but that would only make me look like a paranoid fool. I imagine the photographer would have a good laugh at my expense, and my wife would be furious!

As a young boy I was taught not to bury my head in the sand hoping that trouble would eventually go away. My Dad always taught me to be proactive; identify the problem and find a solution. The first thing I needed to do was check the house thoroughly for any clues. I started with her closet and dresser. I could find nothing in her clothes, shoe boxes, or drawers. I peeked into the attic to see if anything was there; again there was nothing.

If I was to find anything at home, it had to be an electronic file. There didn’t appear to be any physical evidence anywhere. I booted up the computer and scanned the hard drive for jpg’s. I could find no photo files that I wasn’t already familiar with.

Finding her email accounts would be more difficult. I would have to install a key logger to the back of the computer and plug the keyboard into it. I would do that tomorrow. A further search of the computer revealed nothing. I simply had no clues. I had to stop because Ellen would be back at anytime now.

I went down stairs to hide the photo. No sooner had I slipped the photo into my briefcase, when Ellen opened the door and said, “Hi. Sorry I am a bit late but I haven’s gone out with the girls in over a month now.” I told her, “No problem. I am going to bed a little early tonight. I feel a bit under the weather.” With that I turned and went upstairs. I could faintly hear the TV down stairs and the next thing I remember was the alarm clock going off. It was 4:00AM and time to get up.

Ellen was still asleep. I never even heard home come to bed. I felt refreshed and ready to hit the ground running; I had a full day ahead of me. I went down stairs to make coffee and then headed out to the garage to do a quick search of Ellen’s car. Again, I came away empty handed with no clues or evidence.

I then went to Ellen’s purse and pulled out her cell phone and went through her phone directory. Again, I found nothing unusual. I recognized the names in her directory and I didn’t feel that there were any likely candidates for engaging in a clandestine affair with my wife.

I realized that I could only go so far in my investigation as an amateur. I now needed the help of a professional if I was to get to the bottom of this mystery.

An hour later, I had shaved, showered, dressed, and was on my way to the office. The first thing I did was log on to the Yahoo Yellow Pages where I got the phone number of ACME Investigations. I called and arranged for a 4:00PM appointment that afternoon.

The day went slow, and I didn’t accomplish a damm thing. I just couldn’t focus on anything. I left the office about 300PM and drove across town where I pulled up next to a single story office and got out. The building looked a little dilapidated. I had my reservations about these PI guys. I really didn’t trust them but I was a novice in dealing with private investigators and had no reference point to judge them.

As I sat across from the PI, I noticed the wrinkles in his shirt. His tie was loud and kind of vulgar looking. I said to myself, “Oh, shit. I’m I in for a ride or what!” The first thing this guy did was ask for a $200 consulting fee. This guy was as high priced as an attorney!

As told the PI my story, he sat watching the clock. I had to speed it up or it was going to cost me another $200. When I finished, the guy told me he couldn’t help me. He said that the only way to catch you wife was to bug her office and perhaps the office of her boss. He said that that was illegal and he was not about to lose his license over a small fee.

He suspected that if anything was going on, they fucked at work and their fucking never left the building. He felt that I was wasting my time trying to catch them under those circumstances, and my wife may not even be the woman in the photo.

He told me that he would love to take my money but he had a problem with stealing. As he walked me to the door, he told me that if he could overcome his hang-up with stealing, he would be able to start getting his shirts ironed. I laughed as I left the building.

I drove home lost and confused. I really didn’t know what to do. I could break into the building and plant my own bugs; but I would be picked up on the surveillance cameras, and then I realized I don’t know the first thing about planting bugs!

For all I know, my wife could be completely loyal and is being harassed by an envious employee, or my wife might be getting tag teamed by the entire management staff on a daily basis. I just didn’t have a clue. I needed more time to think and perhaps buy some time to see if another photo would arrive in the mail.


  • Resik2

    Reply Reply June 9, 2019

    The first two pages written very well, we can’t wait for the ending!

    • Resik2

      Reply Reply July 10, 2019

      Well I guess we are not completing this one…was a good start for a short book!

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