George had known from early in their marriage that Myrtle held him in contempt. Her opinion of him had changed drastically a short time after their wedding when she discovered he had had to borrow a suit to get married and had not told her. George, she determined, was not a gentleman: ". . . he wasn't fit to lick my shoe," she said. Their marriage was a misery and George became a brow-beaten husband. As Michaelis said of George Wilson, "He was his wife's man and not his own."
Discovering Myrtle's infidelity stunned George and drove him into uncharacteristic behavior. He made her a prisoner, literally locking her up in an upstairs bedroom. Visiting George at the gas station, Michaelis heard "a violent racket" that "broke out overhead." When George explained that he had locked up his wife, Michaelis was shocked:
Michaelis was astonished; they had been neighbors for four years and Wilson had never seemed faintly capable of such a statement.
George locked up Myrtle because he knew she finally had reached a point in their marriage when she would leave him. Despite their years of unhappiness, Myrtle had stayed, but circumstances had changed. George believed Myrtle had somewhere else to go, and he was determined to stop her.