chap. 19...cold as a bitch's wit  

sparkee58 59M
606 posts
4/28/2006 4:12 pm

Last Read:
8/23/2006 8:19 am

chap. 19...cold as a bitch's wit


I was really in no hurry to get home; I had probably lost my job roofing with Sig out on Bald Head Island and I was still pretty upset with Kami, to say the least. So when the bus from DC pulled up to the the stop in my old hometown, I jumped ship with my battered blue suitcase filled with exotic smelling clothes and walked next door to the laundramat where I stripped down to my shorts and washed. The girl behind the counter went to high school with my sister and she agreed to keep the suitcase overnight. I sat outside reading Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer", waiting for them to dry, watching the local traffic. A few familiar cars drove by. By late afternoon they were finished and I dressed in fresh clothes, warm from the dryer and walked the few blocks to Baby Lon's.
There were a couple of old pickups in the gravel drive. A pit bull sat in the bed of one, silently eyeing me, as they do. A log chain, rusty with age, heavily hung from his neck. The other end was attached to an engine block that looked permanently installed. A shotgun and a rod and reel hung from a rack in the rear window. I kept one eye on him as I walked through the open doors.
"Where the hell have you been?"
Dana was behind the bar with a telephone wedged between her chin and neck and now she took it in her hand and looked at me.
"I'll call you back," she said into the receiver and hung up. She walked around the bar, smiling big, and we hugged.
I put my face on her shoulder and let it lay there. A deep sigh, sad as a tolling bell, escaped from me. I inhaled her fresh essence and my mind flew back in time.
"Ahhhhhhh. It's not that bad, is it?" Dana said. She had always been able to read me and even after all these years she still instinctively did it. That was one of the things I had loved about her, her compassion. Oh, Dana would call it like she saw it, everytime, no matter what. But she never hurt anyone intentionally. There were bruised egos all over the county courtesy of her, though.
It had been three years since I had last seen her. We broke apart and looked each other over.
"You look great," she said. I sat on a barstool and watched her walk back behind the bar in her tight jeans. George Jones softly wailed from the jukebox.
"So do you."
"Want a beer?" she said.
"Got a Rolling Rock?"
"A who?"
"Rolling...Rock...beer."
"Yea, right. Ya want some cognac, first? Maybe in a fancy sniffer glass?"
"A Bud is fine."
Dana brought me the beer and leaned over the bartop. Her frizzy blonde hair fell over her thin shoulders. There were new lines around her eyes and a tightness on her large mouth. Her blue eyes still sparkled with mischief, though, and I remembered how she had looked at sixteen, entangled in the white sheets of the Royal Inn out by I95, ready to bite into that juicy, forbidden apple. It was the first and almost the last time I had ever seen her scared. She had been nearly suicidal scared after her sister's tragic death. Her heart had many bruises.
"You remember that night? The night we did it?" she asked. "You were the first one."
"Are you a mind reader?"
"Maybe."
"Okay. What am I thinking now?"
She looked at me over the tops of her eyes and smirked.
"Maybe later, baby," she said.
"Got me again."
"I know how you think," she said. She took hold of my hand and squeezed it.
"I really missed you," she said and then hesitated. "You want the paper? Stick around. We're gonna have horse divers later."
I nodded and she brought it to me and then she walked to the back booth where three men played gin rummy. One was the owner. I watched her gather the empty bottles. Baby Lon put a big hand on her slim waist and drew her to him. She flittered away and came back to the bar where she got three beers out of the slide top Coca- Cola cooler. She smiled at me and, shaking her head, took them to the card players. She sat down beside Baby Lon and he threw a long arm around her shoulder. She leaned over and kissed him on the lips, at the same time reaching over to the pile of singles on the table. She grabbed a handfull and headed to the poker machine. He shook his head sadly at the other players and laughed.
Nothing new in the paper. Just the same sad stories rehashed for a new generation of tobacco farmers and mill workers, deer stalkers and bass fishermen. There was a picture of our class president for being elected head of the Jaycees; he hadn't changed a bit. Always the politician, always with the phony smile and the pious attitude. Wouldn't say shit if his mouth was full of it. The last time I had seen him was at an all nighter where he wore Lori's panties on his head and drank beer through a funnel.
There was an ad for a new subdivision being built just out of town called 'Johnsons Whispering Pines Estates', on old tobacco land, now fallow and unprofitable. Old Ben Johnson must have died, I thought, and Omar sold the legacy. Probably put the profits right up his nose.
"Well look what the bird dogs flushed!"
I heard a familiar voice behind me and then a hand gripped my shoulder.
"Runt," I said. "How the hell are you?"
We shook hands. He was well over six feet tall and probably weighed three hundred pounds. Big and friendly as a golden retriever. Until he got a few beers in him. I had seen him on top of police cars, daring the young cops to come get him. When the judge gave him thirty days, he said,"I can do that standin' on my head."
"Then you can do thirty more sittin' down," the judge replied.
"Where you been? Seen Jeff?" he asked. Dana finished a hand and came over and I bought him a beer. He sat down beside me. Dana smiled and looked at me seductively. She slowly licked her lips and blew me a kiss.
"Don't you go anywhere," she said to me. She took hold of my hand.
"Baby Lon's gonna kick your ass, Dana," said Runt.
"Why don't you just shut up and mind your own business," she replied and went back to the machine, where she sat with her long legs curled together on one side of the stool.
Runt looked at me.
"She's a bitch," he said. "She's always been a bitch."
He turned the beer up and emptied it. He sat it down loudly on the wooden bartop and started singing, offkey and loud.
"A whore fucks everybody.
A slut does,too.
A bitch fucks everybody
Except you."
Dana applauded him with one finger from behind her back. Baby Lon walked over and put his hand on Runt's shoulder. They were about the same size. Runt stood up from the stool and removed the hand.
"Hey, Baby Lon. Can I play some cards with you tonight? Some Old Maid. Go Fish. What is it you play? Bridge? Rummy? I'll play strip poker if Dana plays."
"Don't you start any trouble here tonight," he said, smiling icily.
"Naw, sir, bossman. Two beers and I'm gone."
Baby Lon stared at him and called Dana, who walked over, her eyes big and questioning.
"One more beer and then Mr. Runt is leaving," he said. He looked at his watch.
"One more," he repeated, holding up a big finger. Then he was out the door.
"Mr. Runt," Dana snickered as she twisted off the top of the beer and put it down. "Here is your last beer in this establishment tonight."
A couple sat down at the other side of the bar and she went over to serve them. I looked at Runt as he again turned up the beer and slammed the empty down.
"Wanna bet," he said. He slammed me hard on the back and I spilled my beer. He smiled mysteriously. Then he was also out the door.
Dana got a linen cloth and wiped up the beer, then she got me another one.
"He's been trying to sleep with me for years," she said, her long nose sniffing. She gave a disgusted look.
"Hasn't everybody?" I asked.
She leaned in close and I could smell her perfume, so familiar yet so far away. The top of her pullover shirt opened and I saw the pink lace of her bra and then the pink puckered areole of her breast. I remembered how her nipples would harden under my tongue, her innocent, natural sexuality blossoming like a velvet petaled rose.
"How long are you here for?"
"Probably leave tomorrow."
She silently nodded her head. Her eyes twinkled with mischieviousness.
"You know, you've got the longest one I've ever seen," she said. "And I've seen one or two."
"At least," I replied.
She popped me with the wet rag.
"You shut up."
"Baby Lon?" she continued.
She held out two fingers spaced an inch apart.
She shook her head sadly.
"I think that's how he got the nickname," she said and we laughed.
She turned serious.
"I can't get away tonight. I wish to hell I could. Damn, I want to fuck you."
"That's too bad."
"Oh, great. Here comes Tommy and his slut wife. He'll be spilling beers within an hour and she'll be trying to fuck you. You watch."
They walked in and I got up from the stool and we all hugged. Tommy looked good and his eyes were clear. A genuine smile lit up his face. Mary hugged back and ever so subtly rubbed her crotch into mine. She wore an almost transparent black silk shirt. You could see her sheer black lace bra underneath. She smelled of lavender and her red lips smacked with delight. Dana got them a beer and smirked knowingly at me.
"I gotta pee," said Tommy and he headed to the bathroom.
"It's going to be a little chilly tonight, Mary," said Dana. "You might want to cover your tits up."
Mary picked her beer off the bar and didn't even look at Dana.
"You'll keep me warm, won't you, baby," she said to me. She put her arm around my waist and put her mouth to my ear and whispered.
"You don't mind looking at my breasts, do you?"
I shook my head.
"Not a bit," I said.
Tommy came back from the bathroom and pulled me to him again.
"Man, it's good to see you. It seems like everybody is moving away. Chazman moved to Myrtle Beach last week," he said.
"I'd love to see him," I said.
"Dana, I thought yall were going to cook wings tonight."
"Michael is supposed to start them. Where the hell is he?" Dana looked around the bar. More people filtered in.
"See if you can find him, okay?"
Tommy nodded.
"Mi-tal! Oh, Mi-tal!" Tommy said loudly.
The back door suddenly opened and he walked through. He was short and had a perpetual dazed look. He saw Tommy and smiled huge.
"I was 'mokin"," he said.
"You cook the damn chicken, Mi-tal," said Tommy, laughing. "Don't you be out there 'mokin' dope."
"I won't 'mokin' dope. It was a cigarette. See."
He held it out. Dana came back over and he looked at her with his mouth hanging open. She pointed to the other side of the building where the grill was set up and he walked back outside.
He soon came back in.
"I can't. I can't, Dana. I can't start the grill," he said. "There's a big ole mean dog chained to a motor out there.
Dana just looked at me. I had to spit out my beer to keep from choking.
We all went outside. They had put a fence around the back and built a wooden deck large enough for a few tables and chairs. The deck had seats built in and several people were sitting out in the cool twilight. They all stared at a tall, lanky man who was stareing down the snow white dog that sat on his haunches before the heavy steel grill. There was an aged tobacco stick in his hand, about the size and shape of a square pool cue. Ten feet of rusty log chain dropped from the dog's massive neck to the stripped engine block.
"Jesus Christ, he's strong," I said. Farther out was a sand pit with a net strung across.
"Volleyball?" I asked.
Dana shrugged. Her and Michael walked over to the man and they all stood and talked. Dana grabbed the stick from the man's hand and whacked him playfully on the rear. The dog stood at attention and the chain moved. Dana jumped straight up and walked away.
"Redneck volleyball," said Tommy. Mary walked over to some friends and we stood talking. Tommy was taller, black haired and classically handsome. We met when we were fourteen and I had known him like a brother; camping down at the Neuse River, catfishing off the banks, streaking at midnight through the deserted streets. I remember one night with just him and me and beautiful raven haired Lori sitting back against a fallen tree on the sandy bank with the moon shining down on the water and the stars twinkling above. I remember that feeling of friendship we all felt.
"Must be hard to play while holding a beer," I said.
"Well, we have our own rules."
"Like what?"
"Like, if somebody goes up for a spike, you can tackle him. And if you can drag his head under the net you get a point."
"Owwww!"
"But if you spill your beer, you lose a point."
"Who keeps score?"
"Mi-tal," Tommy said and we laughed.
"Do you ever play?" I asked him.
"To hell with that. You ought to see the silly asses."
Dana rushed past us and went to the phone. Michael followed closely behind.
Tommy looked at me.
"I've got something at the house I know you'll be interested in," he said.
I nodded.
"You haven't seen our new house, have you?" he continued.
"Nope."
"We're having a little party later. Jaybird is going to be there. Some of Mary's friends. Come on. You can stay with us."
"Sounds good to me."
"Alright. I'm going to get a beer. Play the poker machine. I'll get with you when we leave. About an hour."
I nodded and he walked to the door. Then he hesitated, turned back around and put his arms around me and we hugged again.
"Man, you better come."
He disappeared inside.
I looked over at Mary and she winked at me. Then she said something to a slim girl with short dirty blonde hair and she looked over. Our eyes met and locked. She smiled. I walked over and Mary introduced us. Her name was Jill. She was going to the party, too.
I walked inside to get beers for mary and Jill. Tommy was at the poker machine. There were a dozen people sitting around the bar and another card game had started. Two of the three pool tables were in action. I stood at the bar.
Tommy walked over and Dana came over.
"Dana, I'm getting hungry," Tommy said.
"Do you want to go cook 'em?" she asked.
"Runt gives him beer," said Michael.
"What are you talking about, Mi-tal?" asked Tommy.
Michael smiled hugely and stepped forward, happy at the attention. We all looked at him.
"Runt bought the dog a six-pack of Michalob on his birthday and he drank it all and went to sleep."
"Out of the mouth of babes," said Tommy.
"What's the dog's name, Michael?" I asked.
"Dog. Runt just calls him Dog."
"Okay. Okay. Michael, get the biggest pot we have and let's do it. But he ain't gettin' no Michalob," said Dana. "Draft, he gets draft."
"I think we should paint him," said Tommy.
"Pink," I said.
"Carolina blue," said Dana. Runt had just lost a lot of money to Baby Lon by betting on NC State against the Tarheels.
"Like a zebra," said Michael.
Tommy grabbed Michael around the shoulders and drew him toward him.
"This man is batting a thousand tonight," he said.
"Hurry. Let's get him to Vegas," I said.
Michael beamed.
"Dana, give this man a beer," I said.
Michael shook his head and looked at me seriously.
"Thank you, but I can't. I'm working tonight," he said and his entire face lit up with satisfaction. He looked over at Dana and she smiled sweetly, almost tenderly. Michael ran off to execute the plan.
"But not zebra stipes. We'll do convict stripes," said Tommy and promptly spilled his beer from laughing.

Tommy and Mary's house was out of town down Devil's Racetrack Road, a twisting, curving road that ran like a drunk through a thick pine forest.
Jill sat in the backseat with me as Mary drove. Tommy's head was bobbing as she hit the brakes before each hairpin turn. We watched as he fumbled with the seatbelt and finally gave up. It was a dark, isolated road and I could only dimly see Jill's face. She seemed to be smiling, amused at Tommy.
Then a cloud passed over the moon and in the darkness I pretended for a moment that it was Kami beside me. I physically ached for her. It was like a heavy tightness in my gut. I felt tired and depressed. Even after a week my mind was still jumbled as a bag of marbles. Was it really Kami beside me? What if I leaned over and kissed that sensitive spot on her neck that made her purr and sigh? Would I inhale her vital essense, exotic and primitive as the jungle? Would I taste her familiar flesh? Would I lick from her face sweat and tears and love fluids, sticky as a slug trail, glistening in the afternoon sun on her long, slender thighs. Or would she slap my face?
"What are you thinking about?" asked Jill. The moon came back out and I made out her questioning eyes.
"Nothing," I said. "I've just be seeing a lot of ghosts lately."
Jill smiled reassuringly at me and continued her conversation with Mary.
We came to a new subdivision, surrounded by fields, and Mary turned at the brick entrance sign and then drove a couple blocks and pulled up to their new house. It was a large two story that looked almost exactly like every other house on the brightly lit streets. The lots around it were empty.

rm_1hotwahine 64F
21091 posts
4/28/2006 10:57 pm

It took you twelve days to write one paragraph? Hopefully my grandchildren will read this to me when I'm in the nursing home, waiting for another chapter.


Ok, fine, so it's a great paragraph. but that's beside the point.


Yeah, I'm still [blog 1hotwahine]


sparkee58 replies on 4/29/2006 1:53 am:
it took 12 days to finish the last story

caressmewell 55F

5/1/2006 6:56 pm

I've enjoyed reading this...looking forward to more.


sparkee58 replies on 5/2/2006 2:43 am:
thanks
there's more every morning

a page a day for a year, that's the strategy
sometimes more, sometimes less

you come back anytime
i'm at your door everyday

rm_titsandtires 53M/42F
3656 posts
5/1/2006 9:57 pm

Good stuff, sparkee. Just so you don't feel alone... They all harass me to write quicker too. It takes me forever to get a chapter in lately.

tires


sparkee58 replies on 5/2/2006 2:57 am:
...and i will be reading it

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