Well, if it isn’t Doug (again)!
About three months after I moved out, I drove past Tina’s on my way to the storage locker I had unfortunately located in Farmington. I happened to notice a familiar, hooded dirtbag puffing a smoke out on the driveway. Go figure. Tina’s barn-banging fuck buddy is already coming around, I thought.
Douglas. her mom’s sort-of-boyfriend’s son had recently earned himself a third DUI and according to Tina, he’d been hitting his pretty little fiance, Olivia. Of course, Tina lied to me so much, it’s hard to know what’s true. She may have just been trying to put me off the scent of infidelity after I’d expressed misgivings about discovering surreptitious messages from him on her Snapchat.
Tina told me she hadn’t had any contact with Doug in a year and didn’t want to, because, in her words, “he’s a scumbag.” I suspected otherwise. I knew otherwise.
And there, he was.
I was still setting up my new bachelor pad and had to visit my storage locker again the next day and… lo and behold! Glancing ruefully at Tina’s place as I drove past, I scoffed to myself. There he was again! Doug, unshaven and unkempt was alone in Tina’s driveway tapping the ashes off the end of a cigarette. He must have spent the night, I figured.
I wondered if maybe Olivia caught him banging Tina and forced him out of the house, so he had to bunk with his mistress for a while. It seemed likely, but there are certainly plenty of other reasons he could have been put out on his ass, or maybe he said he was somewhere else. I wondered if Olivia knew where he was. I wondered if she’d care. This younger generation, at least in Farmington, didn’t seem to get as caught up in quaint old notions like honesty and faithfulness.
For her part, Maura didn’t seem to think Olivia would have minded if she knew Doug was snapping flirty messages to Tina, or so she told me when I asked. I thought she probably would, but maybe that’s just because it offended my silly out-dated morals.
Back in June, Tina and her mom were helping Doug’s grandma for about a week with a garage sale up the road. Naturally, I wondered if Doug was hanging around at all, but never inquired until a Friday when Tina came back home mid-sale to get some things. One of those things, I noticed, was her weed pouch. Knowing that Doug was once Tina’s favorite smoke-bud, my antenna went up. She asked me for a ride back to Lina’s. I had time to kill before work and agreed, asking if I could hang out there with her for a while before I had to go. She said “sure.” and we headed out in my van.
I stopped at the gas station on the way to get some caffeinated beverages. Pulling out of the lot, I asked Tina, “So, is Doug going to be hanging around the sale?”
“No. I don’t think so. I haven’t seen him all year,” she said. “He doesn’t even have a license and he never goes around Scott’s anymore.”
We arrived at Lina’s where she and Maura were sitting in the back of the garage, keeping out of the hot June sun. Dressed for work in a black suit and Tie, I was pretty warm, and definitely overdressed for a Farmington garage sale. Tina introduced me to Lina, after quietly coaching me, “firm handshake, look her in the eye.” I’m a gentleman who has worked in politics for 10 years, so I know how to greet someone, but I just nodded and I stuck my hand out as I approached.
We all sat together and talked about a plasma TV Lina had for sale, but mere minutes after arriving, Maura locked in on something behind me said, “Oh, look, Lina. Your grandson has come to pay you a visit.”
My heart sank. I glanced back towards the driveway and saw Doug sauntering up towards us.
“Oh my God, Mom,” Tina started, “Dan was just asking me if Doug…”
A subtle look from Maura shut her up mid-sentence. I knew that censoring look.
I watched Doug closely, waiting to greet him, but he never so much as looked in my direction, let alone acknowledge me. It got pretty awkward in that garage and my blood was heating up.
“Have you met, Doug,” Lina asked me.
“We’ve met,” I replied, far more darkly than I intended. My tone didn’t go unnoticed.
“I’ve gotta go,” I said abruptly and started down the driveway.
Tina chased after me, grabbing my arm and guiding me aside the garage, out of sight. “At least let me give you a proper goodbye,” she said, leaning in to kiss me. I let her, but I was pulling away from her grasp.
“I’ll talk to you later,” I said, hastening to my van. I had a lot of time, still before I had to be at work but I was afraid I’d be unable to remain civil around Doug and I was very concerned that I’d just been lied to.
I texted Tina a little later. “I’m not OK with this.”
“I was as surprised to see him as you. However you feel, I feel worse about it. It’s like you summoned him. I’m home now. We couldn’t even look at each other and he left right after you did,” she replied.
I was skeptical.
When I got back to the apartment after work, Tina insisted that she had no idea Doug was coming over and went on about my amazing prognostication. It wasn’t psychic power, just simple observation and inference. I know Tina. It wasn’t hard to guess. I’d just not wanted to be right.