Listen, cheating is dirty business, y’all. There are plenty of reasons people become unhappy in committed relationships and sure, folks make mistakes, but ongoing affairs have always just smacked of arrogance or cowardice to me. Or both.

This man – a pastor who always answered his phone – was not cheating on his wife when he received a phone call from a woman he didn’t know one night.

In a previous life—before my world came apart about five months ago—I was the solo pastor of a medium-sized church in a large(ish) Southern city. One unhappy side effect of being a solo pastor is that when your phone rings, you answer it even if you don’t recognize the number since you have no idea how important the call may be.

It could be a church member’s grandkid (whom you’ve never met) calling to tell you Miss Bessie has been diagnosed with some horrible disease. Or it could be a church member who just wants to talk your ear off for two hours.

So earlier this evening my phone rings. And since old habits die hard, I answered it.

He was polite but detached at first, figuring that the call had something to do with work.

Me: “Hello?”

Her: “Heeeeeey, what are you up to?”

I want to be clear before I proceed that I don’t recognize this lady’s voice but I just assumed that she was a former church member, member’s kid or grandkid…something. So I was cordial.

Me: “Not much, honestly. I actually just walked through the door with some food. How about you?”

Her: “I’m hanging out with {girl whose name I don’t know}.”

Me: “Great. I’m sorry to have to ask this, but with whom am I speaking? I don’t recognize your voice and I have no idea who {other girl} is.”

It didn’t, and hoo boy, he had stumbled into a circus full of someone else’s rabid monkeys.

Ladies and gentlemen, apparently that was the wrong thing to say.

Her: “Darren, you know who this is! This is Jessie!”

Me: “Well, Miss Jessie, I hate to break this to you but my name isn’t Darren and I don’t know any women named Jessie. I believe you’ve called the wrong number.”

Her: “No I didn’t! This isn’t funny Darren. What happened? Did you leave your ringer on again and you’re worried your wife is going hear us talking?”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m very sorry but now I know you’ve got the wrong number.”

Her: “I want to come over there and tell her all about us and how you’ve been screwing me behind her back for two years. I’m sick of this s*%t.”

Instead of trying to backpedal or to convince the woman that perhaps confronting a sleeping, clueless woman and her crappy husband in the middle of the night, she just sleep one it herself and re-evaluate in the morning.

Cue malicious compliance.

Me: “…you know what, that would be great. By all means, come to my house and wake my wife up and tell her all about our torrid sexual affair.”

Her: “I’m leaving now.” engine cranks in background.

Me: “Okay. See you soon!”

His decision was likely influenced by the fact that he had recently found out that his own wife had been cheating on him for the duration of their marriage, like some kind of sociopath.

He has no regrets, at least not about the phone call.

Five months ago I discovered that my wife of ten years started cheating on me eighteen months into our marriage. She racked up a grand total of 16 affairs in a decade.

Somewhere in my immediate area a man’s wife was just awakened by her husband’s sidepiece banging on the front door. She deserves to know what kind of man she married.

I’m just sorry I can’t be a fly on the wall for the very special episode of the Jerry Springer Show that just started in her driveway.

I have a hard time feeling sorry for this Darren person, though maybe that’s wrong.

Do you think he should have stayed out of business that wasn’t his? Tell us why or why not in the comments!