Apparently, Mike’s been recognized by more than the ladies. The students on the bus seem to be aware of the messages left about his “performance” with Shelly. Undaunted by his warning, some of the boys approach him after the others are gone. They ask some specific questions, Mike’s answer is purposely vague, but doesn’t fool them for a second.
They filed off, laughing and punching one another. God, was I ever that young? By 17, I’d been working part time at any job I could get, desperate to get the money together to leave home. I got full scholarships for school and went to college in the City, but I lived at home the whole time to save money. I aced school, got a completely useless degree in English Lit and did my damnedest to get the hell outta Dodge as soon as I graduated. I didn’t exactly regret it, but I wondered where those years had gone. When did I turn so cynical? Had I ever had the joy of just being alive like those boys did? I couldn’t remember.
There was a note waiting for me when I got back to the Transportation office. The field trip that had been planned for last Friday was taking place the coming Friday instead. I went to my supervisor’s office.
“I can’t do this job, Bill. I got company coming in sometime on Friday.”
“I have to have you, Mike. The teachers asked specifically for you.”
“How do I know? It’s a bunch of fifth graders and the teachers asked for you. The woman who called was very specific that you were the only driver who could handle this. Your company staying with you?”
“No, but they kinda expect me to be there.”
“They can stay at their motel until you get home. Or maybe they won’t arrive until you get back. I need you for this, Mike. I can’t tell these women no when I already okayed it.”
“Fine. But if my mother gets pissed about this, I’m sending her to you.” I pointed at him.
“What’s a mother gonna do to me?” He laughed, tossing up his hands.
“You don’t know my mother,” I said, the threat implicit in my voice.
“Honestly, Mike. . . . If I could. . . .”
“Just messing with you, Bill. It should be cool. I don’t expect them until later anyway.”
“You bastard!” He laughed weakly. “I’m picturing getting slow roasted over a fire by your irate parent.”
I just gave him a long, knowing look before slowly turning and shutting the door behind me as I left. “I’ll bring her by, introduce you.”
“Oh, God!” I heard him mutter as the door shut.
I went back home and checked my e-mail and went on Facebook. The Inbox was packed full. I never had so many messages in my life before! Most of them from women, a few from guys whose sexual persuasion wasn’t in alignment with mine. Those I deleted without opening. An eyeful of man meat is not my idea of a fun time. I was starting to wonder if these women had anything else to do with their time than send sexy pictures to guys, when I came across one that stood out as unusual.
The icon was a delicate black and white line drawing of a bird on a tree branch. The only name on the account was Echo. She didn’t have any personal information on her page, but when I opened the message, she’d included a picture too—of a couple making love. Excuse me for saying, I recognize my own ass in a photo? She got a good shot of the tattoo. The woman was not so easy to see, because of the camera angle. We were doing it doggy style and the woman had long, dark hair.
Mystery Date? What the hell? Who was this woman? Was this some sort of sick joke? More to the point, why was she taking pictures and how? I wrote her a note in reply.
“Hi there. You didn’t leave your number, or I would’ve called. Thanks for the great birthday present. It was the best I’ve ever had. Mike.” I figured short, sweet, to the point. I didn’t say I didn’t remember her name or anything else about her. I didn’t expect an immediate answer, but I got one.
“It was great for me too,” she replied. “You can’t call the house and I don’t have a cell. I’d like to get together again sometime. Maybe Friday night?”
“I can’t Friday,” I answered. “I’ve got company coming in. Ma is not the kind of person to share my attention. LOL. She’d not take it too kindly if I said I was going on a date her first night in town. However, once they leave, I’d like to see you again. Maybe we can get to know each other better.”
Her reply was done via the chat rather than the Inbox this time. “How much better do you think we can get to know one another, Mike?” And she followed with those little smiley faces.
“I’m thinking, oh, I dunno, more along the lines of what you do for a living, what kind of music do you like, that kind of thing. Call me old fashioned, but I like to know that about the women I sleep with.”
“We weren’t sleeping, Mike. Have you forgotten?”
“I remember you wore my ass out. When I woke up, you were gone. I had fantastic memories and a note in the kitchen.”
© Dellani Oakes 2014