There was a time Beatrice would never have considered the possibility that her Manny was cheating, but lately his interest seemed harder to ignite and was quick to extinguish. She put on her thong and her sarong because he used to like drawing the drape off of her, to reveal her blossomy figure little by little, like viewing a magician's act. Thrill a moment, suspense and momentum built - was the rabbit or person or bird there or not? and "Surprise! Ta-da!" There she was as expected, only better because he had to wait with thick smarmy passion. But recently he didn't want to rev and accelerate, he wanted fast and spontaneous, without lingering, no foreplay. Slow down, she'd say, and he'd reply that he needed her now, like a convenience store, drive-thru loving without flavor or savor, cheap. She'd complain, but I'm like a vehicle, a car, a machine my darling, I need some lubrication, a little oil before we can drive. But I'm a bulldozer, my sugar dumpling, he'd say, I need to plow you over, take you down, flatten you, so we can build up and race some more.
And so it went until she got the call. The call from the crackling female voice that said, "May I speak to Manny," and nobody called him Manny but Beatrice, it was her name for him, he gave it to her to use, to keep on her lips, nobody else's. "Who is this!" Beatrice cried, "Who are you and what are you doing with my husband?" Click. It wasn't possible thought Beatrice, the one who'd organized and rallied and played cheerleader and nurse to him and the house, charmed the associates at dinner parties until he'd become the number one agent at Halloway's Homes. Beatrice imagined a sun-parched Amazon woman with knotty black hair and crimson lips, wrapping herself around Manny like cellophane. It must've been a trick, a crank call, a hoax. Beatrice picked up the phone and a coarse voice like sandpaper scratched through the receiver answering Manny's number, the same voice that had just phoned their home, the one that had caused her panic. "Who are you?" and the reply was simply, "I'm a client." "And why then are you calling from my husband's cell phone, my Manny, it's Manfred to you, why do you call him that?" Beatrice demanded. And the voice whispered, "Because he asked me to." Beatrice realized the implications, the inference, the confirmation of her fears and slammed down the phone. It was bunko night and the other ladies, the ones with proper homes, the upstanding female crowd to which she belonged would be expecting her, but they would know right away, they'd see it on her face. They would tell her 'welcome to the club.' She'd heard their stories, how with infidelity came satisfaction, more cars, more plastic surgery, more vacations, so the upside was greater stability - oh such irony in that she thought. But she didn't want to be like everyone; Beatrice wasn't, she was the anomaly, the special one, the one above the squalor of their pretense, illusions, and she'd show them. She'd be the first one, nobody would have to know about the call, the betrayal. She'd be proactive: reconstruction through deconstruction, demolish and remodel. Beatrice ran from the house, into the backyard where the pool was being excavated, the one being built just for her, to sun and frolic and have midnight rendezvous, skinny dipping and feeling the flesh of her husband in the crisp cool of night with nothing but drizzles of moonlight glue sticking to them and them to one another. The man on the bulldozer jumped as she lunged into the seat and jammed the machine into gear, forcing it toward the house, the abode she'd given her love, the symbol of her ties, her devotion, her being, and thought as she crunched into its corner where the bedroom was and saw the canopied bed quaking, I'll give you some bulldozing, baby, you love of my life. The dozer operator regained control, held Beatrice's arms, turned off the ignition. And Beatrice grabbed his hand, led him up the rubble, and slowly, with care and ingratiating seduction, removed her muumuu bit by bit, as though uncovering undiscovered buried treasure, one not seen for hundreds of thousands of years. At bunko that night, she'd tell them how with deliberate precision, she'd snatched the bull by the horns, that her sex life had been so incomplete she'd say, that she ravaged the young man after crushing the edifice, leaving her life agape. Manny would know without her words, the crumbled corner, the smell of someone else on her lips, her body, their sheets. And he would know, because of the nice dinner and flowers, the hollandaise, the port she'd leave for him as she went out. And he wouldn't conduct his affairs in the same manner anymore either, because Beatrice had changed the rules.
But she didn't know how much so, because in fact Manny was showing the estate behind their home, indisposed at the time of the questionable calls but witnessed the scene, took it in frame by frame as though in retrovision, kaleidoscopic images twisted and turned in his plain view. The woman and he watched from the balcony of the Tudor for sale, smoked cigarettes and commented - first with dismay on the demolition, then in astonishment on the techniques and style with which the pair consummated. It was both arousing and defeating to Manny and caused his lust for Beatrice to rise even further, the machinery at work still for his wife, while the client, the one with the raspy voice tried to provoke Manny into retaliation. Yet he insisted his heart and his genitals would remain chaste, that tradition and promises were significant. Beatrice went to bunko and bragged, became a pseudo-celeb in the crowd, set new standards for control. And when she arrived home that night, Manny adorned Beatrice in robes and gowns; "There is no one but you, my sweetest," he bawled and begged then for the slow removal of layer upon layer, discarded piece by piece so that he could again cherish with anticipation and she could trust in completeness. The moon gazed upon the open holes in the backyard and the bedroom and graced the couple's togetherness with glittery molasses slivers that inexorably cemented their eternity.