These days he was never too sure where his wife was or what she got up to when she wasn't with him. Their marriage had been a “good one” and for ten years they had enjoyed each other. Their relationship hadn't been passionate although in the beginning there was lust. Sex on the freezer had been quite hot and the dinning room table had seen some decidedly intimate and different culinary episodes. But that was back then. Now a days it was a Sunday morning squeeze if the dogs would allow it or the occasional grapple in bed when the lights went out if he hadn't drunk too much and she didn't have a headache. Admittedly she would have liked children but he wasn't so bothered by the lack of them and besides they did have the Labradors.
Recently she had joined a health spa which in itself wasn't a bad thing as it kept her away from him when he wanted time to himself. Time to himself however got him thinking about why she had wanted to join a gym. The thought grew and like unchecked ivy spread around the trunk of his thoughts, climbed up the bark of his emotions and threatened to strangle the fruit of his reason. That terrible suspicion brewed up by jealousy began to get at him.
“Oh I won't be long darling.” She sang to him as she almost skipped out of the front door. “See you later,” she called as the thing slammed shut cutting off her cheerfulness and trapping his suspicion.
He wasn't happy. He'd been toying with the idea of following her but knew that she'd be on the look out if she was up to no good and besides the Rang Rover Sport with his personal number plate was a bit of a give away.
He grabbed for the Yellow Pages and looked up detective. He found detective agencies after design consultants and before dieting and weight control. There were several listed most featuring logos with either drawings of a magnifying glass or a close up of the human eye. One even had the picture of a blood hound and most were endorsed by something called the Association of British Investigators. He chose one of these and dialled the number, straight away hanging up when he heard a female voice answer. He was being ridiculous and he had no reason at all to suspect his wife of anything.
“Good god man,” he said to himself. “You're becoming paranoid. She's just out getting fit and that's all there is to it."
If absence makes the heart grow fonder then the husband didn't have a heart. His wife's increased time away was in direct proportion to his increased concern and the relationship was beginning to suffer.
“I'm surprised you haven't waisted away completely with all that exercise you're doing.” It was the combustible comment like the scraping of a Swan Vesta which lit that particular fire.
“Don't be so bloody silly. If you took the time to do some exercise yourself you'd probably be less bolshy and a bloody site fitter.”
“There's nothing wrong with my body."
“That's a matter of opinion.”
“Oh yes. Whose?”
“Mine. For a man of your age you are getting too fat.”
“I'm perfect for my height.”
“Not for mine.”
“Nothing. It doesn't matter.”
“It bloody well does.”
“It's just that I'm keen to keep fit and you don't seem to care any more. You're just letting yourself go to seed and....”
“And you want to run about in your bloody skin tight leotard with your personal trainer ogling at your tits...”
“Don't be silly. It's not like that at all....”
The row went on like that until she went off to bed leaving him to Jeremy Paxman.
The next day she went out after a light breakfast and didn't come back until four in the afternoon.
“Good session?” he asked on her return in a way that implied more than a work out on a treadmill.
“Yes thank you,” she replied as though she'd been sitting innocently astride a rowing machine.
Her morning departures and evening arrivals continued and he became as wound up as the grandfather clock that stood in the hall. He called another detective agency listed in the Yellow phone book and arranged a meeting with them that day.
“You can come here,” he said undeterred by the response of , “OK sir. How do we find you?”
The interview was pretty straight forward and the fresh faced private investigator who looked as though he'd come straight from college took notes and a recent photograph of the wife as she appeared in her bikini on a beach in Barbados.
“You'll know her when you see her,” said the husband rather obviously and the private investigator agreed that he would.
After a week there was nothing to report. The private investigator returned to visit the husband and delivered his findings which basically were that there was nothing to report.
“She just spends all the time at that bloody gym?”
“And there's no hanky panky with anyone there?”
“Absolutely none at all. I can confirm from someone on the inside and from at least two other reliable sources that your wife spends her time working out in the gym, using the pool and the spa, that is the sauna and steam rooms and twice in the week she had a massage, again kosher, and on three occasions went to the restaurant for the healthy option luncheon. It's all here. Written down by the hour” The fresh faced private investigator handed over a brown A4 envelope and looked very pleased with himself.
“So she's not up to anything at all?”
“No. Nothing out of the ordinary. She's obviously very keen on keeping fit and I'd say you're a very lucky man.”
The private investigator was given a cheque for his company's services and his opinion about his client's luck was noted but not agreed with.
Despite the written evidence the husband wasn't convinced. His wife had the sort of spring in her step that reminded him of their early days together. He knew that she was playing away but couldn't prove anything. So another phone call produced another private detective who was briefed on the job of wife watching.
“Make sure you keep an eye on her in that gym because I know she's up to no good.”
The newly commissioned private detective was an ex-army type and he was determined to apply his military precision and years of training to the job in hand. His ex-Sargent Major's moustache stiffened in anticipation of the new task.
His report too confirmed that nothing was going on.
“At ten hundred hours the quarry was seen entering the Hotel Spa reception area. At ten-o- three, having signed in, the quarry received a white towel, a standard spa issue white towelling dressing gown and a white pair of towelling flip flops and proceeded to the ladies dressing rooms. At ten seventeen the quarry was seen entering the gymnasium complex where she mounted a static bicycle and proceeded to pedal for a period of fifteen minutes. The peddling started at a fairly slow rate timed at thirty revolutions a minute and this went up to..........”
“Yes. Yes.” said the husband completely exasperated by the private investigators delivery. “I know all that. Was the bloody woman caught with her knickers down?”
The ex-Sargent Major confirmed that at no time had the quarry been caught in a “compromising position”.
Duly dismissed the husband considered the latest report on his wife. The description of her as “the quarry” did nothing to alleviate his doubts. The picture in his mind of someone mining in the quarry became rather too vivid so he called a third agency.
The private investigator arrived (this one looked rather like John Humphries of the BBC) and he was taken through the same brief that his two predecessors had been given.
“Right ho then. I'll keep an eye on the good lady for you,” he said in a way that sounded a bit like John Humphries from the BBC.
A week later and the report from the John Humphries look alike confirmed that the suspect under surveillance was just keeping fit.
“Is that all?” said the husband in complete disbelief and almost disappointment.
Determined not to be beaten, like a man on a mission, the husband sought help from a top team of private investigators from London. On the recommendations of one of his chums in the Bank, and without actually disclosing the real need for the service (he made mention of a lost Labrador), he got in touch with an agency that advocated the use of “hunting in packs”. As the MD of the firm told his new client,
“It's our firm's creed that three heads are better than one, that's why we call ourselves Sixth Sense.” The husband didn't get it and looked momentarily puzzled. “Three heads equals six eyes and six ears, hence Sixth Sense. With our team you get three private investigators on the job.”
The trio were set to work on gathering evidence. They looked like Essex night club bouncers with shaved heads and the sort of physique that said, “Don't muck with me.”
Two weeks later back in the offices of Sixth Sense the news about his wife's activities was no different. The black binder with neat typed script and photographs confirmed that it was keep fit on the agenda and nothing in the form of any unusual extra curricular activity.
The husband was mortified. He was also getting somewhat concerned about the thousands of pounds he was spending having his wife watched. Money didn't grow on trees although in his case it did accumulate rather nicely from the hedge fund.
“If you want a job doing properly, do it yourself.” The idea came to him one evening when he'd been leafing through “One Thousand Drawings by Tracey Emin”, a fat book printed on thin paper that confirmed to him that he could draw every bit as well as Miss Emin. He decided to join the Health Spa.
One morning after his wife had left with her usual sing song, “Byeeee,” an hour or so later he set of for the health spa. He parked his Range Rover next to her red BMW and went in to the reception for his induction programme.
“I don't want my wife to know I'm here,” he said to the pretty receptionist. “I'm going to surprise her with my new keep fit regime.” The blonde smiled knowingly. She'd seen it all before. Men trying to get fit for their women. Eric, in his smart track suit, showed him around and took him through a programme of exercises on the gym equipment.
“In just a week or two you'll notice the pounds dropping off you,”said Eric unaware of the thousands already spent by the new member just watching the place.
Eric left him to master a weight lifting machine and quite soon he had worked up a decent sweat. A dip in the pool would be good followed by a session in the steam room and then he'd go and find his wife and surprise her.
It was quite a surprise for all concerned. As he pushed open the door to the steam room and the wall of foggy heat hit him, he could just make out the shapes of some other bodies in the hot house. Sitting on a wooden bench with nothing on at all was his wife and around her in a sort of admiring, dripping semi-circle were six naked men. A sweaty fresh faced boy, an ex-Sargent Major with a very droopy moustache, a damp John Humphries look alike and three Essex night club bouncers each with a hard, glistening head.
“Hello there. Always room for one more,” said his wife through the thick, hot steam.
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