The Bitch And The Bastard

Info silverhawk
26 Aug. '19

Marilyn Stone was a bitch and she knew she was and she wanted to be a bitch.  She went out of her way to be a bitch every day, all day long, to everybody.  Everybody said so.  Everybody said she was also hot, and she knew she was that too, though it was in a sagging big tits, wide ass, menopausal sort of way.  Being hot was what turned her into a bitch in the first place, or so everybody said.  

The story everybody told any employee new to Crofton Industries was Marilyn had been married and had been caught fucking another guy who was not her husband.  Then they say, well, it isn’t right to say she got caught.  Then what they say happened is she and the guy were in bed at the Holiday Inn one night and Marilyn was riding the guy’s cock.  He was an older guy – Marilyn apparently liked fucking old guys for some reason nobody knew – and right after he came, he had a heart attack.  That’s what everybody said – Marilyn fucked him so hard when he came he had a heart attack.  

Marilyn called 911 even though she knew what would happen if she did.  People gave her credit for that, well, the men who told the story did.  They said it wasn’t her fault she was such a great fuck she caused the guy to have a heart attack, and she deserved a little sympathy because she did try to help him.  When women told the story, they said Marilyn got what she deserved for spreading her legs for some old guy she wasn’t married to.

They say what she got that night was two EMT’s in the hotel room trying to bring the guy back to life while Marilyn stood there and answered questions from the two city police officers who responded.  When men told the story, Marilyn was naked and her pussy was leaking the guy’s cum all over the floor.  When women told the story, Marilyn had put on her clothes before the EMTs and police got there and there was nothing leaking out of her that anybody could see because it was soaked up by her panties.  

Nobody really knew which because Marilyn never told anybody anything about what happened.  All people knew for certain was what they read in the newspaper and it didn’t say, but they knew that was what had to have happened.

The version of the story where Marilyn was dressed came from Jackie’s second cousin on her mother’s side who worked as a waitress in a donut shop downtown.   She had overheard the story from an officer who knew one of the officer’s involved when he told another officer Marilyn was dressed when they got there.  The version of the story where she was naked and dripping cum on the carpet came from Harold who knew a guy who new a guy who knew one of the EMTs involved.

A few people at Crofton said the version about her dripping the guy’s cum on the floor probably wasn’t true because she’d been giving the guy CPR when the EMT’s got there.  That’s what the newspaper said, though it didn’t say if Marilyn was naked or dressed at the time.  If she’d been leaking cum anywhere, it would have been on the bed.

They say the EMTs gave up shocking the guy after ten minutes and pronounced him dead.  The police officers had figured out Marilyn hadn’t killed him, well except for fucking him to death, and wrote in their reports that pending the coroner’s report, it didn’t seem any crime had been committed.  The city coroner confirmed the guy had a heart attack, probably his second or possibly even third, and Marilyn wasn’t charged with anything.

The State didn’t charge Marilyn, but she was charged, tried, and convicted in the court at Crofton Industries before she came back to work a week later.  The crime was murder by sex and it took the jury only seconds to reach a guilty verdict once the report made the newspaper and explained why Marilyn hadn’t been at work.

The men nodded and then grinned that Marilyn was one of those “killer pussies” that you didn’t want to fuck if you wanted to stay alive even if she did have big tits and a hot ass.  Then they grinned and said that must be one hell of a way to go – having Marilyn ride your cock so good when you came she made you cum so hard your heart couldn’t take it.  You’d be dead, but you’d have a smile on your face it would take the mortician at least an hour to get back to normal.

The women shook their heads and whispered to each other that Marilyn must be a nymphomaniac because she was married and her husband should have been giving her all the sex she needed at home.  As Lois put it, “I have to keep telling my husband I’m too tired because he’d do it every night if I let him.  If he’s gone on a business trip, I do need to sometimes, but I don’t go out and find another man.  I just use the handle of my hairbrush.  She should be ashamed of herself for letting her sexual desires make her do something like that”.

Marilyn had two choices when she came back to the job of secretary to the engineering department.  She could try to hide in her work and feel constantly embarrassed, or she could hold up her head, stick out her tits and let people think what they goddamned well pleased.  Marilyn chose the last alternative, and that’s why she became a bitch.

Marilyn had to talk to people to do her job, so she did, but in a bitch sort of way.  The other women, she tolerated and spoke to them in a calm but cold manner that left no question about if she wanted to be friends or not.  The men, men she knew were looking at her and wondering if she was really that great a fuck, she’d talk to as well, but she never looked at their faces and anything she said came out as cynical or condescending, or otherwise just plain bitchy.

“I’ll get your report typed just as soon as I can figure out how to read your damned handwriting and can read what the hell you wrote.”

“No, I don’t know where the hell Harold is.  It’s not my job to watch him.”

“No, it’s not done yet and I don’t care if it has to be done today. You only gave it to me ten minutes ago.  You’ll get it when I get it done.  Now go the hell away and let me work.”

At first, it had been hard for Marilyn to be a bitch because in reality, she wasn’t a bitch.  She was just a woman with any woman’s likes and dislikes, wants and needs, and the need to love and to be loved.  She liked to smile and she liked people, well, except for the guys who leered at her all the time, but even that made her feel good inside.  She would smile to herself when she saw them staring at her big tits and sensuous ass and knew what they were thinking.  They were thinking they’d like to fuck her.

Marilyn smiled when she saw them doing that because she liked sex and she liked believing men thought she’d be a great fuck.  Before that night at the Holiday Inn, seeing them look at her that way would make her tingle inside, and if the right man did it long enough, sometimes she’d feel her panties getting wet.  Marilyn didn’t know why that was, but it was fun.

Her marriage wasn’t so much fun.  Jerry liked having sex with her, or he told her.  He just didn’t like doing it very often, and Marilyn needed to have sex more often than once on Saturday night.  That was why she hadn’t done anything to stop Matt, the older guy who worked at the shoe store at the mall.  Matt looked really sexy, she thought, sort of like the older movie stars she liked watching.

At first, all it had been was seeing the way he grinned when he put a pair of shoes on her feet.  His hands had been gentle and sent tingles up her legs until he moved her foot just right.  He’d grin then and Marilyn knew why.  He’d caused her to open her legs and let him see up her skirt.  That made the tingles get  stronger.

Marilyn liked shoes and because she could afford to, she went shopping for shoes about twice a month.  After that first time, she’d always just look around until Matt had finished with another customer and walked up to her and ask if he could help her with something.  She’d tell him she’d like to try on this pair and that pair so she could decide how they looked and then wait until Matt went back into the storeroom and brought out the boxes.  He always did that thing that let him look up her skirt and he always grinned and that grin made Marilyn feel good inside.

Marilyn knew she should probably have worn pants when she went shoe shopping, but that little grin and the way Matt’s eyes got made her keep wearing skirts or dresses.  The second month after he’d looked up her skirt, she didn’t wear panties when she went shopping for shoes just to see what Matt would do.  Before that, she was thrilled but a little embarrassed when he looked at her.  It was when her husband ignored her the Saturday before that she decide she had to do something or she’d go crazy.  She hoped Matt might take the hint.

Matt had done the same thing – put the shoe on her foot and then turned her ankle a little and caused Marilyn to open her legs.  Matt had grinned at first, but then he looked up at her and smiled.  What he said was intended to sound innocent to anyone who might hear, but Marilyn understood what he meant.

“I like the way these look on you, Marilyn, but maybe you’d like to try on something else.”

Marilyn had smiled back.

“I like these too, but I really like a fit that’s a little more snug.  Do you have anything that would fit like that?”

Matt had grinned.

“Oh, I think so, but I don’t have it here.”

Marilyn felt herself responding and knew it was wrong, but she couldn’t make herself stop.  She smiled coyly.

“Where could I see if the fit is what I like?”

Matt smiled and let her legs close, then looked around before he spoke in a quiet voice.

“Well, it just so happens I’m having the carpets cleaned in my house this Friday and they’ll be wet until sometime Saturday so I got a room at the Holiday Inn for Friday night.  Maybe I could show you there.”

Marilyn took a deep breath.

“Which room and when will you be there?”

“It’s room 406 and I’ll probably get there at about six.  They don’t lock the doors until ten so you shouldn’t have a problem getting in.  I’ll be waiting for you to knock.”

That morning, Marilyn told her husband she’d have to work late on Friday night in order to get a project done and she’d have to work until it was finished so the engineers could review it on Saturday and see if it needed any changes.  That was probably going to take several hours, so he shouldn’t wait up for her.  She stopped by a fast food place for dinner at about six and then drove to the Holiday Inn.  When she got there, she went to the ladies room and refreshed her perfume including a spritz on the hair on her mound, then took the elevator to the fourth floor.  

Matt had smiled when he opened the door.

“I hoped you wouldn’t reconsider and I’m glad you didn’t.  I’ve been looking forward to this all day.”

Marilyn had felt the thrill she hadn’t felt since her honeymoon, the thrill of being undressed by man.  Her husband always waited until she’d taken off all her clothes and climbed into bed.  Matt undressed her slowly and told her what he thought about her as he did.

He carefully unbuttoned her blouse and then spread the front open to see her bra.  He’d smiled and said, “You’re absolutely seductive, did you know?”

He unhooked her bra then, and after he slipped it down her arms, he just stood there for a few seconds before he touched her.

“Marilyn, you have beautiful breasts”, he said, and Marilyn felt her tummy tighten when he stroked her nipples.  After that, she’d have done anything he wanted her to do.

He unzipped her skirt then, and when she said, “It has to come off over my head.  I’m too big for the other way”, he just grinned and lifted her skirt over her head.  After he tossed it onto a chair, he cupped her hips and squeezed gently.

“A real woman should have an ass like yours.  I love your hips.”

Her panties went next, and Marilyn caught her breath when he cupped her pussy and gently moved her lips around.  She unconsciously spread her legs a little, and when one of Matt’s fingers slipped between those lips, she had to stop the little moan that threatened to slip out of her mouth.  Matt just grinned.

“I think the fit is something you’ll like, but we have to get you ready first.”

Getting her ready was something her husband never really did, at least not like Matt did.  He stripped off his clothes and then walked her to the bed.  Marilyn laid down and licked her lips when she saw him climb up beside her.  His swollen cock looked bigger than her husband’s.

Matt had teased her nipples and clit until Marilyn was going out of her mind.  Three times she felt like she was going to have an orgasm only to have Matt stop and let her coast back down a little.  When she was rocking her hips and panting  the fourth time, he didn’t spread her legs and slide his cock into her like she was anticipating.  Instead, he’d pulled her thigh over him and then rolled them both over until she was laying on his chest.  Marilyn felt his cock probing her and spread her legs to open herself.

When his cock slipped inside her, Marilyn gasped.  It was almost like what she’d felt the first time except there was no pain.  There was just the delicious, mind searing feeling of being stretched open, stretched open and then filled by his thick cock, stretched open until she felt every little movement he made.

When Matt pulled back out, she felt the rim of his swollen cock head catch on the tighter spot just beyond her entrance, and a million little sensations raced through her when it slipped past.  Marilyn had moaned then, and moaned again when his cock head pushed back through that tight place and didn’t stop until she felt her lips pressed into her thighs.

Matt had then pushed on her shoulders to make her raise up from his chest, and as soon as her heavy, right breast swayed free, he locked his mouth on her nipple and sucked hard.  The sensation shot through Marilyn all the way from her nipple to her core and made her passage clamp down on Matt’s stroking shaft.  He groaned then and pushed up harder get his cock inside her deeper yet.

Marilyn didn’t remember how long he sucked her nipples while he stroked his cock in and out, but she remembered the feeling of the tension building inside her.  It was a tension stronger than she’d ever felt with her husband and a tension that was making her breathe in panting breaths and making her push down to force Matt’s cock deeper.  As that tension built, Marilyn’s mind forgot about everything except the exquisite sensations that were racing through her body and causing her to make a little “OH” sound every time Matt thrust his cock inside her.

The end had come for her after Matt pinched her nipple between his teeth.  The tension inside Marilyn had exploded into a writhing of her body, legs that seemed to have a mind of their own, and the rhythmic contractions that tightened her passage around Matt’s cock.  She cried out and collapsed on Matt’s chest just as he groaned and lifted her off the bed when he started to cum.

Matt thrust his cock into her twice more before he made a little cry and then grabbed his chest.  Marilyn thought that was just how he was when he had an orgasm, but when he stopped moving at all, she knew something was wrong.  She raised up and looked at the mask of pain on Matt’s face.  He looked up at her and said only two words – “My heart” - and then his face fell to the side and he stopped breathing.

Marilyn had picked up the phone and dialed the front desk.  When she explained that Matt needed to go to the hospital, the girl said she’d call 911.  Marilyn put down the phone then and started doing the CPR she’d learned in a first aid class the company had sponsored so there would be several people in the plant who knew first aid.

That was the truth of what happened that night, the truth only Marilyn knew.  She’d admitted to the police officer that she and Matt were having sex when he stopped breathing.  She’s said they met and one thing had led to another and that’s how it happened.  She hadn’t said anything about being married and the police officer hadn’t asked.

She had been naked when the police officer got there, but the police officer had taken one look at Matt and told her to get dressed while he took over.  She had on her underwear, blouse and skirt by the time the EMT’s got there a couple minutes later, so only she and the police officer knew about that.  He'd promised not to write that in his report, and he hadn’t, so there was no way for anybody else to find out what she knew the men at the plant kept saying about her.

Her husband had gotten a lawyer on the same day she’d told him what happened.  She thought she might be able to make him understand why she’d done it, but he’d just called her a whore and said he didn’t want her in the house again.  Marilyn didn’t fight the divorce because she knew any judge would think she was at fault.  She couldn’t very well tell the judge that if her husband had been intimate with her more often, she’d never have done it.  The judge wouldn’t have believed her.

That was because the judge was a man and all men thought women should be happy with whatever they got, or at least that was how it seemed.  Her husband’s lawyer kept saying that what she’d done had violated the marriage contract and she didn’t deserve anything out of the divorce.  Her lawyer had argued long and hard enough to save her car and get half their joint checking and savings accounts for her.  Marilyn moved from the cheap motel where she’d been living to an apartment and tried to get on with life, but it wasn’t easy.

For the first few weeks, she kept seeing both the men and women at work looking at her and then whispering to each other.  They didn’t understand and probably would never understand so she didn’t try to make them.  She just withdrew from everybody and became a bitch so nobody would talk to her anymore than was absolutely necessary.  That didn’t feel good, but it felt better then knowing they were laughing at her every time they talked to her.

It was the fear that she’d become like some of the other divorced women she knew that caused Marilyn to continue to take care of herself.  They’d let themselves go and had gotten fat.  That convinced them no man would ever want them because men wanted thin women so they stopped doing their hair and using makeup.  It wasn’t that Marilyn was looking for another man.  It was just that she hadn’t been able to bear the thought of becoming fat and ugly even before that night at the Holiday Inn, and still couldn’t.

Every month, she had her dark brown hair cut and styled, always used makeup before she went out, even to the grocery store, and always dressed in something she thought made her look at least good, if not pretty.  She wore nice jewelry, though most of it wasn’t very expensive, and liked the look and feel of a locket or pendant hanging in the cleavage between her large breasts.  The locket or pendant drew a man’s eyes to her breasts and when men looked at her and smiled, that told her she was still a desirable woman.

Marilyn had carefully cultivated her bitch personality for five years when Crofton Industries implemented statistical process control in all their processes.  She was forty-five then, and while she wasn’t happy with her single status, couldn’t bring herself to change how she acted.  Any man she dated would eventually find out what she’d done and dump her, and that would have felt worse than not having a man in the first place.

Statistical process control required the use of a lot of statistical analysis and none of the engineers or quality people really had the skills.  Crofton hired John Anderson, a man about Marilyn’s age who had a masters degree in statistics.  John was tall and lanky, had a small beard that was salt and pepper like his hair, and to Marilyn, he wasn’t ugly, but neither was he handsome.

Marilyn’s first meeting with John hadn’t gone especially well.  John worked for the quality department, and Debbie Marsh was the quality secretary, but about a week after he started, John brought Marilyn six data sheets and a box of graph paper.  He wasn’t smiling when he told her what he wanted her to do.

“Marilyn…I got that right didn’t I?  You’re Marilyn.”

Marilyn nodded.

“OK, great.  I need you to plot this data for me.  I’d do it but I’m up to my eyeballs in analyzing what it means.  No hurry, as long as I get it by the end of the week.  Any questions?”

Marilyn looked up at him and frowned.

“I don’t do graphs for quality.  That’s Debbie’s job.”

John smiled then.

“I know Debbie is supposed to do these, but she’s covered up with making all the charts we’re putting on the floor.  I talked to your manager, Mark, and he said it would be all right if you did them.  You having a bad day or something?  You seem a bit touchy.”

Marilyn was taken aback by that last remark.  Everybody else had come to terms with her personality and usually just ignored her.  Nobody ever asked how she was feeling.  John had, and she didn’t know what to think.  Somebody had to have told him about her by now.  She decided he was probably laughing at her too.

“No worse than any day when somebody gives me a bunch of work I’m not supposed to have to do.”

She saw John arch his eyebrows, but he was still smiling.

“Well, I apologize, but it has to be done.  If it’s any consolation, I’ve seen your graphs and you do a better job than Debbie.  That’s why I asked Mark if I could borrow you.  You know where I sit if you have any questions.”

With that, John walked away without giving Marilyn the satisfaction of frowning at him again.  

What a bastard, thought Marilyn.  Just because he has a masters degree he thinks he can ask for anything he wants and he’ll get it.  He even said “borrow me” like I’m some damned garden rake.  On top of all that, he was looking at me like he knew.  I know he was.  I saw it in his eyes.  The only reason he asked if I was having a bad day was he wanted to laugh at me if I said anything that gave him a reason to.  Well, screw his graphs and screw him.  I’ll do his damned graphs for him, but I won’t like it and he won’t like it when throw them in his face.

Marilyn started the first of the six graphs that afternoon with the full intention of doing them as fast as she could no matter how they turned out, but once she began, she couldn’t just plot the points like Debbie would have.  Marilyn took pride in her work, and especially in making graphs.  It was a challenge to make all the little dots the same size and to put them exactly where they belonged.  It was a challenge to draw the standard graph header used by Crofton and to letter in all the information.

Marilyn was soon lost in plotting each point and lost track of time until she heard John’s voice.

“Hey, Marilyn.  It’s almost six.  You don’t need to work over on these.  Like I said, I don’t need them until Friday.”

Marilyn looked up then and realized the office was empty except for her and John.  She tried to think of something to say that would make him go away, but she couldn’t.  She couldn’t because he was trying to tell her she was working too hard, and nobody ever did that.  The only thing they ever did was complain to Mark about how she acted, and they never even did that anymore.

“I…I guess I got so involved I didn’t realize what time it was.”

John raised his eyebrows again.

“That doesn’t sound like the Marilyn I’ve heard about.”

Marilyn couldn’t stop her self from snapping out what she was thinking.

“What have you heard about me?”

“Oh, just that you’re a bit hard to deal with sometimes.  Don’t know why.  You don’t seem to be that way to me.”

Marilyn snapped at him again.

“I’m sure that’s not all you’ve heard about me.”

“Well, no, it isn’t.  Debbie says you can be pretty cold sometimes, but being a statistician, I don’t usually believe anything I hear.  I prefer to look at the data and make up my own mind.  That graph is looking really nice, by the way.  Why don’t you call it a day before you get tired and mess something up?”

John walked away then, and Marilyn just sat there with her mouth open.  She couldn’t figure him out.  She’d been successful in distancing herself from everybody, but here he was trying to be friendly even though he said he’d heard she was hard to deal with and was a cold person.  He had to want something from her but she couldn’t imagine what that might be.  She was still wondering when she left the building and drove home.

Marilyn worked on the graphs until she finished them late Thursday afternoon.  It was almost five when she took them to John’s cubicle.  He looked at the first one, and then kept looking back and forth between the data sheet and the graph to make sure she’d plotted all the points correctly.  Marilyn had already said she’d checked them three times so she knew they were right, but John just asked her to sit in the chair beside his desk while he confirmed that.  

Marilyn sat down, but she was fuming inside.  He might be trying to be nice to her, but the bastard was going to make her sit there until he looked at every point on every graph.  She hadn’t planned anything for that night, but it was still asking too much of her.  She wished she’d messed up somehow so he wouldn’t ask her to do anything for him ever again.  Then, she realized she couldn’t have done that without compromising her personal standards, and just sat there waiting.

It was almost six when John put down the last graph and looked at her.

“Marilyn, this is excellent work.  I was going to just use the numbers in my presentation tomorrow, but now, I’m going to show your graphs because they’ll get my points across much better than numbers.  I couldn’t have done half as good a job.  Thanks for all the time and effort you put in.”

Marilyn was at a loss for words, and John noticed.

“I figured on at least a thank you for saying you did a good job.  Don’t you think you did?”

“Well, yes, I do.”

John grinned.

“That’s better.  You know what, I haven’t had dinner yet, and I know you haven’t.  Wanna grab a pizza at that place down the street?  I hear their seven meat pizza is just short of wonderful.”

Marilyn still didn’t know how to respond.

“I…I don’t know.  I usually just have a salad at night.”

John slapped his forehead.

“I should have know that.  Just chalk it up to me being a dumb-ass statistician.  I should have known that as good as you look, you probably watch what you eat pretty closely.  My ex always did, not that it helped her all that much.  She’d make two of you.  What say I get a pizza and you get a salad?  Would that work for you?”

Things were happening so fast Marilyn couldn’t keep them straight.  First, John had said she’d done an excellent job – not good, not OK, he’d said excellent.  Then he’d tricked her into saying she thought she’d done a good job too.  A second later he’d asked her to have dinner with him.  It was too much too fast.

“I don’t know, I usually don’t go out to eat during the week because I have to work the next day.  Maybe some other time.”

John smiled.

“OK.  Tomorrow night, I’ll pick you up about seven and we’ll go have that pizza… and your salad, of course.  No, that won’t work.  I have no idea where you live and asking for your address would be asking too much.  Let’s just meet at the pizza place about seven.  That’ll give us time to enjoy our meal and get to know each other a little better.”

When Marilyn left the plant she couldn’t believe she’d said she’d meet John there.  The only reason she had was he seemed to just assume she would.  He hadn’t actually asked after that first time.  He’d just planned everything like she’d already said yes so she couldn’t very well tell him no.  When she thought about that, it made her shake her head.  What was wrong with her?  If any other man had done that, she’d have told him to go screw himself.

When Marilyn drove into the parking lot of the pizza place that night, she saw John waiting at the door.  He was smiling when she walked up to him.

“I got here early so I wouldn’t miss you.  I don’t like to leave a woman sitting in a restaurant by herself.  It’s not very respectful.  You ready to dive into your salad?”

Marilyn didn’t talk much during the meal.  She kept stuffing salad into her mouth so she wouldn’t have to.  It was a big salad, so John was done with his pizza a little before she finished.  They did have a conversationof sorts, though.  John told her about going to college to become a statistician and then deciding to get his masters.  He didn’t say what he’d done before being hired at Crofton or why he’d changed jobs, and she didn’t ask.

John had asked her some questions.  He asked how long she’d worked at Crofton and she told him ten years.  Then he asked her if she liked working there and Marilyn had to think a little.  She finally told him her job paid well and she liked what she did for the most part.  He’d grinned then.

“I thought you didn’t like doing work for people who weren’t in the engineering department?”

He kept catching her off guard, and Marilyn was having a struggle answering without revealing much about herself.

“Usually I don’t, but in this case I had to.”

John had smiled then.

“What would you say if I said I’d asked Mark if you could do all my secretarial stuff for me?”

Marilyn stopped moving the fork of lettuce to her mouth.

“Why would you do that?”

John shrugged.

“Debbie does an OK job, but she’s just a secretary.  When I saw you doing my graphs, I realized you have the ability to do a lot more than type letters and reports.  You didn’t ask me any questions.  You just did what I’d asked you to do.  The last time I asked Debbie to do something for me, I had to explain what I needed twice.  Please don’t tell her I said that about her.  It’s the truth, but I don’t want her to feel bad.  It’s not her fault.  She’s just not as capable as you are.”

Over the next four months, Marilyn did a lot more graphs and charts for John, and when he taught her how to calculate averages and standard deviations and what they meant, she started doing the analysis of the control charts from the manufacturing floor.  She didn’t change the way she interacted with anybody else, but once in a while, she found herself smiling when John gave her another assignment.  

The last one he’d given her was a real challenge.  She had to do the analysis of the latest control charts and then plot those results with the results from the past months to show which departments had gotten better and which were the same or worse.  John wanted it done by Friday when he came back.  She was basically working for John full-time now, and while she never told him, she secretly enjoyed it.

She thought it strange that, like that week, he’d lately been taking two days off in the middle of the week.  He’d always make sure she had plenty to do during those two days, but he never said what he was doing.  He’d only tell her what he needed and than ask if she could have it done by that Friday or the next Monday.

Marilyn knew he couldn’t have that much vacation yet.  The first year you worked for Crofton, you only got five days.  John had already used twice that many days.  If anybody else had done that, they’d probably at least have gotten a stern talking to if not fired, but she never saw John in the quality manager’s office with the door closed.  She’d never asked him what he was doing.  That would make it seem as if she was interested in him, and while she was a little, other people would start talking about her again.

On Friday afternoon, she took her charts and reports to the conference room after John said he’d meet her there.  He looked at each one, and then asked her if she’d help him put them up on the corkboards that lined the walls.  They finished a little after five, and after John stood back and looked at everything, he looked at her and smiled.

“Marilyn, you make my life too easy.  I can walk in here on Monday morning, give my presentation without ever doing a graph or analyzing a control chart.  All I have to do this weekend is write down what I’m going to say to the department managers.  They’re going to be happy, because what we’ve done is reduce variability by fifty percent and cut defects in half.  I owe you dinner for what you’ve done.  Can you be ready by seven?”

Just as before, Marilyn had to say she could because John just assumed she would.

“I guess I can.  Where are we going?”

John smiled.

“This is worth more than a pizza.  I was thinking Fisherman’s Wharf.  I just got back from Boston and I want to see if East Coast seafood is better than what we get here.”

He grinned then.

“I’m sure they have salads too, but it wouldn’t hurt you to splurge once in a while, now would it?”

So, John had been in Boston instead of Crofton.  Marilyn knew it was none of her business, but she asked the question anyway.  John’s face turned serious, the first time Marilyn had ever seen him look that way.

“That’s another reason for having dinner together.  I want to talk with you about that.”

Marilyn went home and changed from her pants and blouse to a conservative dress, refreshed her makeup, and then drove to Fisherman’s Wharf.  John was waiting at the door for her, and smiled when she walked up.

“Wow, you look great.  I mean, you always do at work, but this is something else.”

Marilyn couldn’t stop the smile, but she tried to be modest.

“It’s just a dress.  It’s nothing special, but I thought it wouldn’t be right to wear pants and a blouse to a place like this.”

John opened the door.

“Well, let’s get inside so everybody else can see how great you look and be jealous of me.”

They talked for a while about what had happened at work while John ate his scrod fillet and Marilyn ate her salmon.  Marilyn kept waiting for John to tell her about Boston, but he seemed to be avoiding it.  They’d finished and the waitress had taken their plates when John smiled.

“This isn’t a good place to have our talk, but I know somewhere that is.  Ever been to Reggie’s?”

Marilyn knew about Reggie’s.  It was a very up-scale bar that catered to relatively wealthy clientele.  It was also expensive which is why she’d never been there.

“No, it’s pretty pricey from what I hear.  I’m not even sure where it is.”

John smiled.

“Tonight, money is no object, so just follow me.”

Reggie’s wasn’t at all what Marilyn expected.  She’d thought it would be about like any other bar, just with no young kids.  There would still be music playing and the noise of a lot of people.  There was music – soft jazz – but other than that, it was quiet in spite of the number of people.  The people at the tables were huddled together and talking in soft voices.

John escorted Marilyn to a table away from most of the others and then held her chair while she sat down.  When the young waitress walked up and asked what they were having, John said, “I’ll have a Grand Marnier.  Had the first one in Paris, and I’ve loved it ever since.  Marilyn, what would you like?”

Marilyn had never been much of a drinker, so she asked for the only drink she could remember having.

“I’ll have a rum and Coke, if that’s all right.”

John looked up at the waitress.

“Bring the lady a rum and Coke, please.”

After the girl brought their drinks and then left, Marilyn took a deep breath.

“First it was Boston, and now…you’ve really been to Paris?”

“Yes, several times.  That’s what I want to talk to you about.

“I wasn’t actually hired by Crofton Industries.  I signed a contract for six months, so I have a month left before I leave.  Crofton needed a way to get started and I needed a few months to get everything back on track, so it worked out for both of us.  They have a young statistician who’ll take over for me when I leave.

“I know, I’m confusing you.  Let me start over.

“For the past ten years, I’ve owned my own consulting and training company.  It was just me, and I made a pretty good living by showing companies how statistics can help them and by training their quality people in statistical techniques.  Statistical control is a huge movement in manufacturing right now and will be for the foreseeable future because it works.  I started offering classes in that as well.

“I had to cut back my schedule because my wife and I were in the process of divorcing, and I couldn’t be out of the country or anywhere else for very long at a time.  The divorce was finalized two weeks ago, so I’m ready to pick up where I left off.  I already have a full schedule for the next six months and I’ve gotten inquiries from several other companies who seem very interested.  It’s just a matter of negotiating what they want me to do and how much they’re willing to pay.  My trip to Boston was to finalize those negotiations with one company and get them to sign a contract.

“What I wanted to talk to you about is I need some help and I wondered if you’d consider working for me.  Because it’s just me, I don’t have a formal retirement plan, but I can provide health insurance, and I can pay you twice what you’re making now.  You’d do about the same things you do now until I can teach you some more.  After that, we’d work together on every job teaching people and guiding them through how to analyze data and make sense of what it says.

“I can promise you’ll go to places you’ve probably only read about.  There are a lot of US-based companies who have foreign factories, and once I’ve held a seminar in the US, they want me to go to Europe or South America or Australia and train their people there.

I’m scheduled to go back to Paris in two months, Scotland a month after that, and probably Ireland if everything works out.  In between, there will be Arizona, Montana, Florida, and Colorado, and those are just the week long seminars.  There are a lot more that only take a couple days.  Those are the seminars I’ve been doing when I wasn’t in the plant.  My contract allows me to do that.

“I know this is a huge decision for you, so I don’t need an answer right away.  The offer will be open even after I leave Crofton.  I’ve looked at some other people, but none of them fit like you do, so I hope you’ll give it some serious thought.”

Marilyn had been sitting there with her mouth open since John had asked if she’d come work for him.  She couldn’t believe he’d even consider something like that knowing what he had to know about her.  She took a sip of her drink to have a little time to think, and then looked at John.

“John, I don’t think you want me to work for you.  I’m not what you seem to think I am.”

He frowned.

“Is it because of what I’ve heard about you from at least twenty different people?”

Marilyn nodded.

“Yes.”

John reached over and touched her hand.

“Marilyn, I once told you I never believe anything I hear.  The stories I heard were all pretty much the same but they were all different.  To me, that means they’re mostly gossip.  I did go to the library and look up the newspaper accounts.  What they told me was probably closer to the truth, but I don’t believe everything I read either.  One of the reasons I don’t believe the stories is because I can understand why it happened, and I probably understand better than anyone else.  

“My wife didn’t travel with me.  She had her own job and she liked it, so she kept working when I started traveling all over the world.  I was always busy.  During the day, I taught and did studies for the companies.  At night, I was entertaining the upper level managers so they’d keep hiring me.  Jennifer was busy during the day, but she sat at home alone every night.

“Eventually, she got tired of that.  She just wanted to be with someone, and she found someone to be with.  She didn’t try to hide it from me.  She told me it was either that or she’d have gone crazy.  We had a long talk and decided it would be best if we split up.  I wasn’t going to give up my business and she wasn’t going to sit by herself waiting for me to come home.

“I don’t know if that was your situation or not, but I’d guess it was something similar.  You don’t impress me as a woman who went out looking for just anybody so she could have sex.”

Marilyn felt tears in her eyes.

“No, it wasn’t like that.  My husband just never…I mean, it didn’t feel like he loved me anymore.  If he had he might have understood.”

John squeezed her hand.

“So, see, you didn’t do anything my wife didn’t do.  I understand why she did, so I can understand why you did.”

Marilyn dug in her purse for a tissue and then wiped her eyes, but the tears had started running down her cheeks.

“But Matt died.”

“John squeezed her hand again.

“Marilyn, the newspaper said he’d already had one heart attack.  How could you have known that?  It wasn’t your fault.  It was his.  All you were doing was trying to replace something missing from your life.  I don’t know what he was doing, but he should have known better.”

Marilyn wiped her eyes again, then sniffed.

“You don’t think I’m some sort of evil woman like everybody else does?”

John laughed.

“Well, the first time we met, I wondered if what they said was true.  If I remember right, ‘raving bitch’ are the words they used most often.  I didn’t find you to be that way.  You weren’t particularly friendly, but I didn’t hear you rave even once.”

Marilyn had to laugh, because that struck her as funny.

“Well, I thought you were a bastard for asking me to do Debbie’s work.  I changed my mind though.”

John smiled.

“So, do you think a raving bitch and a bastard would get along?  I’d sure like to find out.”

A year later, in a meeting room at Wolford Machining, Marilyn had finished teaching her class about control charts and was putting her slides and other materials into her briefcase.  The decision had been tough, but she had never regretted it.  Instead of frowning all day long and hoping people would stay away from her, she was happy teaching classes in statistical process control with John.

It was a little tense at first.  John had convinced her the past wasn’t her fault.  She could look back now and understand that, even laugh about it sometimes, but she didn’t know if she was up to what he told her she could do now.  He taught her the basic math involved and how to talk to people, but she’d never done anything like that before.  

The day he was teaching while she watched, and then turned to her and said, “Marilyn will take you through how to fill out the charts and how to plot the points” made her terrified.   He’d left then and Marilyn had to stand up and teach the rest of the class.

Once she got going, she found it was fun.  She’d show some concept, and then look out and see heads nodding.  When she was able to answer the questions asked after she finished, she felt confident in her ability, more confident that she could remember ever feeling.

After that, she and John had truly become partners instead of employer and employee.  John noticed and began teasing her sometimes, and complimenting her at other times.  Marilyn loved both and began teasing him back.

She’d also begun to feel more for John, though she wouldn’t admit it at first.  She would just say to herself they were very good friends, but over time spent in airplanes together at night, over time spent eating in a strange restaurant, she began to realize they weren’t just good friends, or at least, she felt that way.

Marilyn was walking toward the door when John walked into the room and asked her how it had gone.

Marilyn shrugged.

“OK, I guess.  There are a few I’m going to have to work with a little more, but I think most of them understand the math.  They just need some help in understanding how to use the charts to make things better.”

“I’m sure you’ll do what you always do and bring them along”, said John.  “They like you, did you know that?  The plant manager said he’d heard more than one person say you put it in terms they could understand so it wasn’t like when they were in school.”

“All I do is do what you taught me how to do.”

“Yes, I know, but they don’t feel like you’re trying to impress them with what you know.  You use words they know and understand, not the words a math professor would use.  That’s what makes the difference.  You ready to leave for dinner or do you have something to do yet?”

“If it’s just a salad, I am.  I’ve been eating way too much when we take clients out.”

“No clients tonight.  They signed the contract this morning.  In a month we’re off to Dallas and then to Indianapolis.  We’ll just get a pizza and a salad like that first time.”

After they ate, John stopped at the passenger door of the rental car, but didn’t open it.  Instead, he put his hand on Marilyn’s shoulder.

“Remember that first time we had dinner together, the time just like this?”

“Yes, I remember.”

“Remember that I said we could get to know each other better if we had dinner together.”

“Yes, I remember that too.”

John squeezed her shoulder a little.

“We’ve had a lot of dinners together since then and I’ve gotten to know you a lot better.  I’ve gotten to know you as I think you really are and not the person you tried to make everybody think you were.  I like that Marilyn.  I like her a lot.  I was wondering if you feel the same way about me.”

Marilyn smiled.

“Do you really think I’d have given up my job and everything else in my life if I didn’t like you?”

John smiled and stroked his hand down Marilyn’s arm, and then picked up her hand.

“What if I said I was tired of you being just my assistant.  What if I said I wanted you to be more than that?”

“John, what are you asking me?”

“I think I’m asking you to be my wife.”

Marilyn looked up at John and giggled.

“You don’t have any heart problems, do you?”

John laughed and thumped his chest.

“Nope.  The old ticker is solid as a rock.”

Marilyn put her arms around John’s neck.

“You have to promise me one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“That if I start being a bitch again, you’ll be a bastard and tell me to stop.”

John grinned.

“That’s all?  Not promise I’ll love you forever?  I’d figured at least on having to promise that.”

“Oh, I think you’ll have to promise that too, but not right now.  We’ll save that promise for the first time.”

John put his arms around Marilyn’s waist.

“When do you think that first time will be?”

“I don’t know.  Our schedule is pretty full.  If we weren’t married, would you get the idea I’m like everybody said I was?”

John hugged her a little tighter.

“I wouldn’t ever think that about you, but I understand.  It’ll be hard, but I’ll try to control myself.”

Marilyn grinned.

“I didn’t mean we couldn’t do anything.  I was hoping for at least a kiss or two.  Think that would make you lose control?”

John smiled.

“Probably.  You’d have to be a bitch again or I might not be able to stop.”

Marilyn stood on her tiptoes.

“If you don’t kiss me right now, I’ll have to call you a bastard again.”

When Marilyn eased back down on her feet, she looked up at him and grinned.

“So are you losing control?”

John grinned.

“Yep.  Just one more and I’ll pick you up and take you to bed.”

“Marilyn giggled.”

“John, we’re still in the parking lot of the restaurant.”

“Well…let’s go back to the hotel and then you can see if you can make me lose control.  No playing on the way.  That wouldn’t be fair.”

Marilyn chuckled.

“Since when do bitches have to play fair with bastards?  Now, drive us back.  I want to see if what I think about you is true.”

“What is that?”

“Well, you do have big feet and big hands”

“That’s just a myth.”

“Maybe…but I never believe anything I hear.  I’d rather look at the data and decide for myself.  Isn’t that what you always say?  Well, I want to see your data and make up my own mind.”

“What if my data isn’t what you expect?”

Marilyn smiled.

“Then we’ll just have to take a lot of samples and use the average.”

“How many samples?”

“I don’t know.  I haven’t had any data in a long time, so it might take a lot of samples.  Think you can manage a lot of samples?”

John kissed Marilyn, and then smiled.

“The only problem I’m going to have is stopping long enough for us to earn enough money to live on.”

Marilyn stroked the back of his head.

“John, you made me understand that what happened wasn’t my fault, and then you taught me I could do a lot more than be a secretary.  Now, take me back to the hotel and show me I can feel like the woman I used to be.”

If you worked in industry before the days of computers, you might have met them, though you wouldn’t have known they were married.  They were, but they never advertised that fact.  The name of the company was Anderson & Stone, Quality Consultants and they were well known, especially among the suppliers to the automotive industry.  Even after desk top computers appeared on the scene with canned software to do all the statistics, they were still teaching people in factories how to minimize variation and improve processes with paper charts and manual calculations.  They said using paper and a pencil put the operators closer to the process than typing numbers into a computer terminal.

John and Marilyn are basically retired now, but their two books are required reading assigned to new employees by several of the consulting firms active today.  That’s because in the days when consulting firms were a dime a dozen and most weren’t worth even a dime, Anderson & Stone’s methods produced concrete results and most importantly, convinced the people doing the work in the factories that statistical process control worked and made their lives easier.

It was a combination of John’s technical knowledge and Marilyn’s ability to translate that knowledge into words and ideas almost anybody could understand.  The way Marilyn introduced a class to statistical process control is the best example of this.  When she said it, every person in the room believed she really believed it herself.  That’s because she did, though not in the sense of what she was teaching.

“You know when you try to do what seems right, and it doesn’t work out like you thought it would?  It didn’t work out wrong because you were wrong.  It happened because of something you couldn’t control.  It never helps to just decide that’s how things are and you can’t change them.  What you need to do is to understand what happened and why.  Once you understand that, you can learn from what you did and go on to bigger and better things.  That’s what we’re going to learn how to do in this seminar.”

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