Monday, February 17, 2014

Second Chapter of my novel God Loathes You

Out of School & Out of Mind

High School was over and done with and I was a grown up and didn’t have a clue what I should do with myself. So I had considered moving back to the state that was imperial and the island that was long. If you didn’t catch any of that then you may need a clearer explanation; Long Island, New York-Levittown to be more precise. I hadn’t been there since I moved down south and missed the simple northern suburban lifestyle of New York. But who am I kidding? I just wanted out of Carolina of the North and back home.

Most of the money earned at Burgertown had been spent on foolish things that children deemed important until you met girls and grew up. So my plan to make my egress from the state I loathed and return to the place I longed to be in was not coming together. I needed to get a new job preferably one that paid a lot more than the burger establishment. By this time I had become a pro at filling out applications and acing the shit out of resumes. The secret was to embellish the supposed factual information. I mean who hasn’t done that? You got to feed them the shit they want to hear. Otherwise if you get lucky enough to get a call for an interview they’ll thank you for coming in and send you on your way. No call back. Nothing. It may seem harsh but that’s the brutal truth.

Two months passed without so much as a single call let alone an interview and then one faithful morning I get a call from Blockbuster and it was like hell yeah. Interview time baby! This all transpired in my head. On the outside I was cold as ice stern and serious. I’ve always had a knack for keeping it together even at the worst of times with a few exceptions but I digress. The interview was for the following afternoon so that gave me time to sweet talk cash out of my folks and head down to the department store.

I stopped in at the gas station down the street from my house and filled up. It was the pay before you pump situation. So I pulled in alongside pump number one and exited the car and made my way to the office and entered. As I drew closer to the store attendant I noticed her eyes were fixed on me intently and I mean they bore a hole through me.  Playing coy and oblivious I turned to look behind me and looked from side to side. Sure enough there was not a soul present. Just the two of us and the stores wares in a confined space cooled by a reliable central air system.

The air conditioner was working but I felt hot and sweaty and in that moment horny. She seemed to take notice of my current state and relished in it. Her long fiery red hair hung down free of restraints and highlighted her soft pale complexion with speckles of freckles. The kind only redheads had the ability to pull off. And pull it off she did; quite well might I add.

I lost my train of thought and damn near lost something else if not for her angelic voice soft and gentle speaking out and breaking the proverbial ice. In that moment I began to feel the minor chill from the air conditioner. And the next moment I regained my composure and put my manhood in check long enough to get out a few words,”hey, I don’t believe I’ve seen you in here before, pretty lady,” smiling like a fool. She smiled back and I was in. Once again I won over a sweet young and beautiful gal with my charm.

“No, I just started this crummy job to pay for college,” she retorted biting her lovely lips.

“I hear ya,” was my reply. And it was the truth. “I just got a call from blockbuster of all places. Got me an interview tomorrow,” my voice sounded pleasant but my eyes betrayed me.
“Ha, that place sucks balls. Let me tell you,” she said amidst a short burst of laughter. Not the happy kind like when someone tells you a funny joke but the kind where you rather be pissed but in spite of everything you repress said emotions. Such is the nature of being an adult I suppose.

“Why, what happened?” I pried, taken aback partly because I had actually liked renting from there, but mainly because it might be my next place of employment.

She took a moment to compose herself and stared me dead in the eye with those lovely shiny emeralds for eyes and told me her tale of woe. Out of respect for her I won’t divulge too much sufficed to say both the manager and assistant manager had tried to assail her womanhood. Now, before I go on I want to set the record straight. I have had sexual relations with women and maybe more than the average Joe but that doesn’t mean I lack respect for the fairer sex; quite the opposite I love women-all of them. There is something special and beautiful about each and every last one of them.

I paid her for the gas and took my leave of her presence and returned to my car and filled her up. I was about to hop in and ride off before I was stopped. She appeared from the ice palace within and I feared her delicate features would melt turning into ooze and filter down into some drain and be lost forever. So I closed the driver side door and met her halfway and she forced a smile. Her malcontent behavior was no fault of my own. I knew that but it still hurt me to see such a beautiful creature so broken. Perhaps that was my curse, or a gift I am still not quite sure. Nevertheless, we talked some more and this time she gave me her phone number and a kiss on the cheek as a thank you. See women like a man to listen every once in a great while.

Her name was Kimberly and I was content once more. I mean she had managed to pull me out of my funk in a matter of minutes and I’d been trying for the longest time. I guess we were what we both needed. My fiery redheaded goddess was the flame that would light up my life metaphorically and literally. In hindsight I could be to blame at least partially. Anyway I drove to the department store and picked up some slacks and a nice button down dress short with tie and all. I never liked dressing up and playing nice. At that point in time I had to swallow my pride and get the job. The cash wasn’t going to rain down on from the heaves.

The next afternoon I woke up late and had less than an hour to get cleaned up, dressed and make the interview. The alarm continued to ring and ring. Then came a knock at my door and I heard my mom’s angry voice, “Shut that damn thing up and get your ass off to that interview,” and she ranted some more but I couldn’t make it out. Maybe that was for the best.

I sprung out of bed and stripped down to my birthday suit and darted to my closest. I produced my bathrobe after donning it I preceded to the second bathroom of which we had two and a half with the half being downstairs. Time was ticking and it did so spiteful like father time himself was pissing on my face and saying like some more?

I didn’t let the water heat up and I just lathered my naked body and rinsed off. Barely out of the shower I dried off and slipped on my bathrobe. My father happened to be headed to my room to make sure I wasn’t still dozing, no doubt. I headed him off and reassured him I was going to make it to the interview, get the job and be out of their hair. He threw up his hands in defense trying to make me believe that I mattered and that they weren’t disappointed in me. But I told him to just keep the imaginative faerie tale to himself. I had heard it one time too many. He called me a snotty little piss ant who didn’t take life too seriously. And to tell the truth I couldn’t argue with him looking back.

Long story short the interview was over quicker than I had time to recollect and went well. Still something didn’t sit well with me. Thinking back to what fair and broken Kim had opened up to me about made me loved my new manager. This charming and ambitious young man was the same sex starved piece of shit with a gang rape fetish. This was going to be a fun summer. Boy could I wait. Not really.

Despite my personal reservations about being around my new boss and my undying urge to punch him in the kisser I went to work. I needed the cash and my hunger for making my exodus from this hellish version of Mayberry won out. My first night at the video store was easy and uneventful. A few people dropped off VHS tapes and some rented a video or two. Other than that nothing much of note happened. The assistant manager in training Clive Owens was there but he kept to himself and that was fine with me.

After work I drove home and on the way I stopped in at the gas station and all of the people who could be working the night shift it was her. I stepped back outside and sighed. I relished in the silence and cool crisp night air. I tried to come up with an excuse to get away and hide my blockbuster work shirt. I felt guilt bringing her any reminder of the shitastic place of ill memory. Drawing blanks I dug my hand into my pants pocket and produced my smokes and a lighter. I removed one and put the rest back in my pocket it and lit the cancer stick. It worked its magic immediately and before long my rattled nerves like a ship at sea during a storm mellowed out and part my sky. The cherry was a fiery and mind clearing sun. Nicotine was my primary vice and it worked wonders. Mary Jane was still a stranger to this mostly wholesome young man.

I got lost in the euphoria of my blissful nicotine high. I finished cigarette, dropped it and stomped it to death scattering loose tobacco on the dirty concrete. I glanced up and inside the station. I saw her and she was busy with a customer and I smiled. For a brief second there I caught her smiling and it made me smile. Then she caught me staring and waved me on inside.

So we began seeing each other and I was happy. And I guess she was too. She found out I worked at Blockbuster but told me not worry. She didn’t think I was like that dick of a manager who was my boss. I didn’t quite believe her but I let the matter slide. And everything was kosher and that was the happiest I had been in a long time since you know…I never forgot about Steph but I had to move on. She did.

The morning after the fourth of July I had arrived late to work and still smelled of woman’s perfume which would have been fine and all. If it weren’t Kim’s perfume and the manager wasn’t familiar with its tortuous sweet scent. That was when I got to see him for who he really was the self-serving pompous punk who got off making women give it to him whether they wanted to or not. I learned from him how much I loathed little power-hungry assholes that disrespected the lady folk. No matter my feelings about him I had to keep my cool and play stupid. “What are you talking about” I asked shamming innocent.

He cursed some more and took a step back and seeing that innocence in my eyes he shutdown angry Freddy and instead of firing my ass he said, “It’s just I’ve smelled that scent before and well it brings up some things I’d rather forget. Women, you know?” he smiled. Another fit of rage swelled up inside me and I felt the urge to knock that smug smile off his self-satisfied face. Instead I nodded and said I understood. Oh, I did understand-you self-serving, womanizing prick. Thing was I need the job real bad and he knew it. I hate him more than ever after that altercation and not just because of what he did to Kim but my reasons became personal.

A couple weeks passed and I didn’t see much of him and that was fine with me. I was working late just before closing. And I was about to close up when a woman clearly distraught entered the door and I told her I was about to close. She asked me if I had seen Todd. And I said no he was on vacation. She forced a laugh and sighed and this was the type of sigh that conveyed anger and futility. I attempted to console her but she waved me off. She thanked me for trying to do the right thing and all but it was clear as day that she had been another of Todd’s victims.

She opened the door and started out the door and I made to lock it behind her. Then she stopped and turned to face me and started to cry. I wanted to rush to her aid and making the hurt go away. Instead I remained where I stood and waited for her to open up. This was the nature of women I would learn to accustom myself to. They were human after all and no matter how much they fought to our equals and receive mutual respect they were some emotional creatures. And I adapted to fit their need and listen to them. I guess I became their self-appointed shoulder to cry on if you will.

I locked up shop and took her home and on the way she asked me to stop at the liquor store around the corner from her place and I complied.

We reached her house and I walked her up to the front door and wished her a good night. She smiled and her cheeks reddened and I played it cool. I turned to walk away and half way back to my car I heard her door open and closed. I turned around thinking to find her gone. But what saw was her smiling at me and brandishing the bottle of Jack. Curse my weakness to booze and the ladies. I directed my gaze to my feet but not before I gave her a knowing smile.

We congregated in her kitchen and I cracked open the bottle of JD and pour us each a glass. Yeah I know underage drinking should never be condoned and I don’t. Still it was all in good fun and it wasn’t my first time partaking of the fire water. And it goes well with cigarettes. I handed her a glass and I took mine in hand and rose them up in silent cheers. I took a deep pull of my whiskey and peered over my glass and at her lively face cheeks still red from blushing. In that moment I was at peace and maybe it was the liquor starting to work on me or some real emotion was welling up inside me. Either way she started to relate her sad episode of bad sitcom falling in and out of love with Todd Phillips. Yes, he was the very same pompous and arrogant little prick that did my Kim and was my boss.

I just stood there quiet as a little church mouse and drained the rest of my liquor and filled it anew. I offered her some more but she declined showing me her glass. I nodded and placed the bottle of Jack on the counter. I stole peeks at my watch and saw it was getting late. And she caught me the last time and scoffed and told me if I was boring her I could just go. I reassure her that she was anything but boring and that my folks didn’t like me coming in all hours of the morning which wasn’t necessarily a lie. She threw up her hands and said she understood. I was about to add that I had a lady of mine and thought better of it not because I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. Far from me to be the jerk who straddled to broken women in need of mending instead I told her I had to work early in the morning and I was not keen on early wake up calls.

I felt bad the whole ride home trying to think of a reason to turn around and go back. Nothing came to mind and I went home alone. I entered the house through the garage on account of the front door making too much racket whenever you tried to open and close it. The damn old house kept settling and shifting. It was annoying. I could never catch a break and that was reason enough make me loathe being down south when I always firmly believed my place was back in the Empire State. But I am rambling and you don’t want to hear that shit.

I crossed the distance from where the garage door opened up onto the kitchen and to the foot of the stairs moving like a stealthy ninja. As I began my ascent I heard footfalls and I backtracked to the half bathroom which was off the stairs to the right. “Boy, is that you making all that noise?” My dad’s angry voice rang out echoing in the emptiness of the living room. I remained quiet hoping he’d figured he had imagined the whole thing. My luck just ran out and it was time to pay the piper and the piper had reached his wits end. I stepped out of the bathroom and saw him looking down over me from atop the stairs at the landing.

“Boy, do you have any idea what time it is?”
“Pop, I was swamped with work and I…”
“Don’t you try and pop me not after this latest attempt at trying to test the waters. You know we love you but it comes a time in every man’s life when you got to take responsibility and stop fucking up.”

When he swore it struck me as funny. Not because I hadn’t heard him cuss before but more a result of being intoxicated. He didn’t seem the least bit amused and my chuckle sent his fury to a whole new level of pissed off. He told me how he truly felt and how disappointed he was in me and I didn’t say much save for fuck you and I’d be by later to get my things and I left the house slamming the front door behind me. I think I heard my mom’s voice and I felt a tug on my heart. In spite of our rocky mother-son relationship she always believed in me and helped me keep my shit straight. It hurt like hell abandoning her like I did but I had to leave.

I jumped in my car and peeled out and headed in no particular direction. I rolled down the windows and let the cool night air brush against my heated face. I reached down and turned the radio on and put a cig in my mouth and lit up. My alcohol blood count must’ve been high because my eyesight grew clouded and I drove down to Toisnot Park and parked. Climbing out of my car I swore at the top of my lungs and cursed the world. If there was one thing I was good at it was getting pissed off and expressing myself.

Shortly thereafter I began to feel the effects of intoxication coupled with fatigue. I returned to the warmth and safety of my four door piece of shit that served as my sole means of transport. No sooner did I climb back inside I fell fast asleep. I had a strange dream in which of what I can recall I was the main focus and two women who I didn’t recognize then but can tell you their names now were fighting over me and tried to drag me away. It was a strange dream but it was scary how it was a bit of foreshadowing of events yet to come to pass.

I woke up the next morning, groggy with a pounding headache and smelt of booze and cigarettes. And the stench they exuded was strong and foul. Then I remembered I was scheduled to work that very morning and whatever my current state of being I needed the money. More than I ever did and I had next to none. So first things first I headed home and snuck inside and climbed the steps to my room. I quickly undressed and donned my bathrobe. I took a healthy shit, showered and brushed my teeth. Still in the clear and my father had already left for work. My mom was off today and probably sleeping. Although after last night’s events I had half expected to get an ear full and that was what happened.

That was the thing with New Yorker Mothers that distinguished them from the rest. They loved you something fierce and would always back your play but when you fucked up they’d make you relive it like an announcer giving a play by play commentary. I could sense her hurt and anger at me and I knew better to speak one word. She loved me without reservation but that didn’t give me a get out jail free card. If you had a mother that would crave and give in no matter the shit you pulled I’d say you were either lucky or cursed depending on how you looked at it.

After she told me what for she hugged me and kissed my forehead and told me no matter what she’d love me forever. And I told her I loved her too. Then she told me to get my ass dress and downstairs to have a bite to eat before I took off to work. How I miss you mom. It used to be me and her against the world and now I had lost my key ally in the war with my old man and his nasty temper. She loved me and I her but our relationship had changed and not for the better.

I followed my mother’s word to the letter and got my ass dressed and downstairs. She had whipped up some chocolate chip pancakes with some bacon and eggs over easy. I consumed it liked I hadn’t eaten anything in all of my life and washed it all down with a glass of orange juice. She remarked at my constant need to scarf my food down without enjoying what I was eating. I told her it’s the price of being young. To which she replied I know just take it slow. I got up and put my plate and glass in the sink and kissed her as I exited the house and she told me again that she loved me.

Weeks passed and nothing much happened and I kept on seeing both women. I dated and fucked Kimberly and played hero and a shoulder to cry on for the other lady-Sharon. I had told her I was with someone and that it was exclusive. I felt a lady would understand and appreciate honesty from a guy especially her. And she did. I kept this up for the next month or so and then the big night happened.

I was eating out with Kim at the Golden Choral and having a good ole time. It was nice to have her truly enjoy herself and let go and feel something. And I’m not saying this for my benefit but more for hers. The poor girl had been through the ringer and came out alive. She had begun to live a little and enjoy the good things in life namely me and my charming self. I was happy to see her smile and witness that sparkle of life return to her bright warm loving eyes. I no longer bothered bringing up Todd though I still loathed that asshole a great deal. He was out of sight and out of mind and I owed it to both of us to drop the matter.

She drained the last of her soda and excused herself and I grabbed her in my arms and planted a smooch on her lips which caused her to smile those big dumb smiles that we’ve all experienced when you were with someone that made you happy and you didn’t care about how they made you act. She playfully broke free of my embrace and winked at me. I smiled back and ordered some more soda for us. And turning back to The arrogant self-serving dick with legs graced the place with his less than graceful and smug presence. I felt the happiness ebb and die inside me and the warmth of rage take its place.

I shifted my gaze in hopes that he wouldn’t see me but no he saw me. He waved and started to wave but only threw him an angry what the fuck you doing here stare. “Todd, fancy meeting your pretty boy ass here,” I tried to be civil but only managed mildly annoyed.

“Don’t worry I am not here to bust your chops or anything like that. I’m actually on a date myself,” he smirked hoping to get a rise out of me then he paused and I saw him sniff the air. The calm look in his eyes gave way to one of fury and hungry rage. He knew her perfume’s smell well for he had tried to fuck her doggy style and had her long flowing fiery red hair brushing against his face. The nerve of some people, thought but I kept my cool.
“Everything all right, there buddy?” I asked him stoking the fire that was his rage hoping he’d give a reason to sock him one. The chance came and went and the fires burning hot and bright were put out by a smile and a kiss. She turned to face me and stretched out a hand,”Hey I’m Polly, and you’re Paul, right?” she said introducing herself.

In that moment before I spoke a word thousands of thoughts passed through my mind and I weighed the consequences of the things I contemplated doing. None of which would put me in her graces or allow me to keep my job let lone out of jail for assault and battery. I caught her giving me the stink eye like what’s his problem and sighed. “Yeah, I’m him the one and only and nice to meet ya, Polly,” I said giving her my best smile.
Todd in spite of all you’ve read about him he didn’t want to make a scene and I relaxed a little. Still I felt like he knew who my friend was. And he had backed off to give the impression that he was playing it cool. He never had one ounce of sense least of all a good poker face. He might have fooled his newest soon to be victim with his rueful charms and deception but not me. He was an open book and I wanted to rip him a new one. The only thing that stopped me from doing so was my saving grace.

She emerged from the restroom and walked across the restaurant and with every step I felt my anger dissolve into a puddle of shit and retreat to the bowels of my heart and in place of the anger a rush of happiness washed over me. It’s amazing how quick you are to anger and how easy you get swept up again by those you get intoxicated by being in their presence. Women have that effect for the good, the bad and the ugly. I was soon to play witness to all of them.

I paid the bill and I told her I wanted to get out of there. I gave her a lame excuse that I needed some fresh air and we should go for a drive. She didn’t push the matter and followed me outside. We lit up and smoke a cig and shot the shit in the parking lot and just enjoyed the moment. Not all silences had to be uncomfortable. I don’t know if she saw him and didn’t tell me. And I didn’t want to mention my running into him just case she hadn’t.

I opened her door for her and I drove out of there like a bat of hell and took a detour down Forest Hills Drive and headed toward her house. She looked at me funny and I could tell she was a little shaken up by my sudden change in mood. But she didn’t ask me what was the matter. And I for one am glad you she never pushed me to talk about things if wasn’t ready. Of course my skirting around sensitive topics only postponed the inevitable. And when the shit hit the fan we were all covered with it from head to toe figuratively speaking.

We slept together and had a drink and smoked afterwards and we made small talk and my momentary lapse into complete rage and lunacy had left its mark. Women have minds that are like steel traps meaning they don’t forget a fucking thing much to my dissatisfaction. Still I had succeeded in avoiding a potential explosive situation that would make my little falling out with Steph look like a cake walk compared to what I had coming.


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