March 03, 2009

March 2009, Vol. 8, Issue 3

Welcome back to the latest issue of Truckin'...

1. Lubbock's Own: Larry "the Laugher" Larson by Johnny Hughes
Large Mouth Maude Larson once beat a Hockley County man half to death at the Cotton Club with a bowling pin because she thought he stole her comb. Later, she found it in her purse, like all women do. She didn't feel a bit bad. The world-class bitch... More

2. A Good Beginning by Milton T. Burton
He bills himself as my best friend, but he's not. My best friend was a Kentucky farm boy who died in screaming agony in the Mekong Delta forty years earlier. But even aristocrats like to name-drop occasionally, and mine has been a good name to drop since not long after I came to the New York financial world out of a Cleveland blue color neighborhood by way of Vietnam decades ago... More

3. Happy Valentine's Day Tamara Johnson by Dave Peterson
I moved behind the door to investigate and possibly kill someone. I figured I was ready. The deadbolt lock was sprung with a soft – click. I heard keys jangling, a girl's voice laughing, and then the handle turned. I leveled the revolver and pulled the hammer back... More

4. Hunter Wellington by Betty Underground
Her comfort in her own skin surpasses societies modesty boundaries. It is just how she is. Most people come home from work and take off their shoes. She doesn't stop there, she takes off her pants and pulls her bra off through the sleeves of her t-shirt. Discarding them on the floor of the entrance. She prefers the freedom, and cares less about what others might think... More

5. Monroe by Paul McGuire
Monroe sat at the end of the bar on the last stool. He always did. He never left. The octogenarian arrived five minutes before O'Looney's opened and had to be carried out every night when one of his grandkids stopped by to pick him up... More

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been...

From the Editor's Laptop:

Welcome back to a "it's almost Spring" edition of Truckin'. I hope some of these stories bring a smile to your face or inspire you. This issue features the Truckin' debut of Milton T. Burton, a published author, who was generous enough to share a short story titled A Good Beginning. We also have another gem from Johnny Hughes who shared a story about a Lubbock, Texas legend. Betty Underground contributed a sultry and erotica tale for you with Hunter Wellington. Dave Peterson is back with a Valentine's Day story. And I wrote a piece of fiction titled Monroe inspired by James Joyce.

Please spread the word about Truckin' by any means necessary. You will increase your karma tenfold by turning on your friends and family about your favorite stories. The writers write for free so they only compensation they get is the knowledge that people are digging their blood work.

And as always, please let me know if anyone is interested in being added to the mailing list or perhaps you are interested in writing for a future issue? We'd love to see what you've been working on.

Before I go, I have to sincerely thank the writers for exposing the soul to the world. Thanks for taking this leap of faith with me.

Be good,

"No man is more hopelessly enslaved, than he who falsely believes that he is free." - Goethe

Lubbock's Own: Larry 'the Laugher' Larson

By Johnny Hughes © 2009
"Rough as hell, sweet as heaven, senior class of '57."
Nearly everyone graduating from Lubbock High School in 1957 planned on careers in show business, given Buddy Holly's success. Larry Larson's mother, Maude Larson, had started him out on steel guitar and juggling, then settled for the ukulele. By fifth grade, she had him costumed in this tattered straw hat, fake freckles, a tooth blacked out, a huge, polka-dot bow tie, and oversized overalls. The country corn pone, hayseed, stock-character comedian. And the kids laughed at Larry's laugh. He had memorized these old vaudeville jokes. He sang something like George Burns. It somehow attracted a rich cotton buyer's daughter. Her father had a red Cadillac convertible, a big mansion on Nineteenth Street, lots of fancy foods, and a Doberman that just hated ol' Larry.

Larry was tall, gangly, awkward, with a big nose and Adam's apple, and orange-looking hair. It looked dyed, but was not. Lubbock High football players dyed their hair gold or black for the Spring game. Folks thought Larry was one of them. He wasn't good looking, but he could attract the girls. Maude made him tell folks he was a "song and dance man."

Large Mouth Maude Larson once beat a Hockley County man half to death with a bowling pin at the Cotton Club because she thought he stole her comb. Later, she found it in her purse, as all women do. She didn't feel a bit bad about it. The world-class bitch.

After High School, Larry and his Uncle Ferd (a spelling error followed him through life), expanded the act and took it on the road with a little tent show. They went around West Texas to Floydada, Lamesa, Pampa, Justiceburg, and Ralls before they ran out of money. Larry lied to his dear mother about not getting paid, but you would have lied to the aggressive bitch too, if you had known Maude.

Somehow Maude got Larry and Ferd, that's what they called the act, Larry and Ferd, booked into the lounge of the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas. Larry and the cotton buyer's daughter said their 1960 goodbye in the backseat of his Hudson on a full-moon night, parked on a dirt road right in the flight path by the airport. A big jet came over at exactly the right moment, for him anyway, if not for her.

Larry and Ferd were working this little bitty stage at the Golden Nugget in the afternoons to a little bitty crowd. Basically, Larry wore the same costume from the fifth grade. They had developed some physical comedy -- fake fights, falls and all -- but the stage was too small. When Larry juggled three golf balls, one kept rolling all around the casino floor. As he did in a panic, Larry turned up the volume on his famous laugh. It was this deep, "Ho. Ho. Ho." Followed by this high, "Hee. Hee. Hee." And he'd repeat for a proper interval. It was infectious. You could not help but laugh at or with Larry's laugh. You could hear it all over the casino.

Little Buddy Blair, Las Vegas' best known comedian and front act, was in the gift shop with Sal Bella, who had juice at the Sands. They were drawn to Larry's laugh. A moths and flames prop going in. Buddy wanted Larry to come talk with him about being a "laugher." This was a plant in the audience of Buddy's show, a shill, someone who would start the laughter and had a funny laugh. Larry had always been especially proud of his laugh. He caught on to the idea immediately.

A couple of days later, Larry and Ferd were fired at the Golden Nugget. The boss said, "People don't come out here to feel like hicks." He refused to pay them, saying Maude had lied about their Los Angeles and New York tours. You would have hated Maude. I absolutely promise that you would have hated Maude!

Ferd hi-tailed it for the flat lands. Larry called Little Buddy Blair, explaining he had dry pockets on Fremont Street, America's worst place to be broke. Sal Bella made a phone call and the man paid Buddy for the whole two weeks, not thirty minutes later. Old Vegas. Juice. Much later, Larry asked Buddy about Sal Bella's visible power in Las Vegas. Little Buddy said, "He is one of those boys from Illinois." And he winked.

So Larry became Buddy Blair's laugher at varied clubs around Las Vegas. Larry was born for it. Best laugher in the history of the town! A legend! Maude was furious. Good! In no time, Buddy wrote a few lines for Larry. Buddy might have Larry interrupt, or be the mock heckler that lost every time to Buddy, just like Larry's bad-guy, wrestling uncle, Rowdy Pat O'Dowdy, would always lose in the end. Larry took to being a laugher like a duck takes to Scrabble.

Then Buddy provided Las Vegas native Jana Crawford, a six-foot, gorgeous chorus girl with natural, gigantic boobies, to sit with Larry. They'd do some bit of comic business: a fake fight, a walk out. Buddy, and the two brothers he had started out with, wrote new material every week. The couple looked funny, because Jana was so good looking and Larry was so not.

Little Buddy Blair got booked at the Sands to front the Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. Sal Bella never appeared on any papers as an employee of the Sands, but he had maximum juice. He wandered around, quietly telling folks what to do. He even went into the count room. That's juice! Sal, who had zero in common with Lubbock Larry, adopted him, Old Vegas style. He became his official "sponsor." Now Larry and Jana were eating comp lobster and steak and learning about the finer comp wines. Life was good. Larry was the only guy around who can't tell that Jana is falling for him, until she just flat laid him down.

Sal spent his off hours teaching Larry how to deal blackjack and work the craps table. He wanted to teach Larry to be a gambler where he could make something out of himself. Sal Bella had worked in every imaginable type of gambling joint starting out in Chicago.

Then the word came down, "Eighty-six the laugher." Somebody up high, with more juice than Sal, wanted Larry fired, and he was. He spent the rest of his life thinking it was Frank Sinatra, or maybe Maude someway. She'd do it. Gaff the prop.

Sal Bella placed Larry dealing blackjack right outside the showroom door. Some nights, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin would take over dealing at a blackjack table. They'd just give the casino's money away, by not collecting bets or over-paying bets. One night Frank and Dean took over Larry "the Laugher" Larson's table, and kept putting tips and chips in his pockets. Sal was looking on, and Larry could not tell how Sal felt about it. Sal demanded and got his taste of the $12,000 score Larry tipped over. Thirty percent.

When Larry heard that casino manager, Carl Cohen, had knocked Frank Sinatra's two-front teeth out, he turned up that signature laugh, so that you could hear it up and down the whole Strip. Some Sands' employees applauded. Frank Sinatra was not kind to the little people.

A group from the Saudi royal family came to shoot dice upstairs in a private room at the Sands. Sal made somebody put Larry on the stick, even though it was above Larry's skill level. The Saudis loved Larry's laugh, and shoved so many tips and chips Larry's way, that Jana insisted they get married. Maude refused to come to the wedding, even though Sal offered to pay for her airline ticket. She sent some roses that were dyed black. Like the box office, Maude had no heart.

Larry started telling Sal Bella all about the cotton buyer's daughter and trading cotton futures. They put together a little bankroll and threw in partners trading cotton. Sal was very uncomfortable fading a proposition where he could not cheat, but they played lucky. It had nothing to do with Larry's barnyard patter about the weather, noxious chemicals, boll weevils, and drought in Mississippi. They made serious, lucky money for six years before Sal Bella vanished.... left no word of farewell. Will there be not a trace left behind? Little Buddy, Jana, and Larry held a little ceremony for Sal, but they never asked questions around town. Old Vegas.

Larry and Jana had a whole lot of money saved, until they decided to form a country-music singing duet. They tried it in Nashville awhile. They went broke making demos, and then records to sell in truck stops across the south. That made Maude really happy, the double-mean bitch. They limped back to Lubbock broke, and Maude took them in. Maude wouldn't speak to them. She left hurtful, vicious notes for them on a Big Chief tablet every morning. She made them go to the grocery store to get her a Moon Pie and an R.C. Cola, every single night. Maude kept a bowling pin on the mantle, right under an autographed picture of Jesus Christ. His eyes would move, and follow you around the room.

Johnny Hughes is the author of the novel Texas Poker Wisdom.


By Paul McGuire © 2009

Monroe sat at the end of the bar on the last stool. He always did. He never left. The octogenarian arrived five minutes before O'Looney's opened and had to be carried out every night when one of his grandkids stopped by to pick him up. I always wondered what Monroe did in the time he left the bar and the time he arrived. He was habitually cranky, a terrible tipper, and rarely said a word unless it was to complain about the Red Sox. Even when they won, he never had a positive thing to say about those "overpaid queers who needed a shave."

What did that fucker do when he wasn't at O'Looney's?

I assumed that he passed out. Pissed himself in the middle of the night. Woke up in a pool of cold urine. Showered, and then waited for O'Looney's to open so he could repeat the process.

I told most of my friends about my fascination with Monroe's non-bar life. They thought I was losing it and refused to listen to me pontificate about Monroe. They all hated O'Looney's and everything associated with it. They always wondered why I worked there.

"It's an old man's bar," they said. "There's one in every town you're stuck in the worst one in Connecticut."

They were bitter because O'Looney's always carded them when we were in high school and college. Their grudges clouded their judgment, but the balls-to-the-wall truth was in the tip jar. I pulled in more than $100 in tips on one day a year... St. Patrick's Day... and that was it. The regulars? Those old guys didn't tip well. Some of the guys, like Jimmy Moran's father, ordered whiskey and soda which cost $4.50. Pints of Budweiser cost $3.50. I was lucky if they let me keep fifty cents. Some of them, like Monroe, only tipped a quarter when I gave them their change. I'm getting twenty-five freakin' cents to pour a pint, and it wasn't like they drank five or six in an hour. They nursed an entire pint for hours until it became warm piss.

My tips would increase substantially if the bar allowed underaged kids to drink and looked the other way every once in a while. And I wasn't talking about turning O'Looney's into a full on kiddie bar, but on numerous times I proposed that we should relax the stringent "check everyone's ID who looks under 30" policy for just one evening a week. Just think about how much more money that could have generated for till? And my tip jar could actually approach triple digits!

Alas, management wasn't going to even consider that prospect, and management was the surly and heavily intoxicated Kevin O'Looney, the son of the Shamus O'Looney, most known around New England as the barkeep who served drinks to Teddy Kennedy on the ill-fated night of the Chappaquiddick accident.

Location was always important in any sort of business. At the time Shamus O'Looney opened the bar, O'Looney's was strategically placed near an old shoelace factory. The bar was packed twice a day when the night shift ended at 6am and when the day shift ended at 6pm. On the weekends, it was a popular hangout. My father and my mother's cousins frequently drank there on Saturday nights.

The factory shut down in the late 1979 and it was demolished in the 1985 when a developer decided to build condos. O'Looney's lost their daily blue collared working class binge drinkers. A few regulars continued to drink there out of loyalty, but as they got older, the bar attracted less and less customers.

If O'Looney's was located closer to the train station, then they'd be overwhelmed with a hipper clientele. It was up on the hill instead, so the bar lacked an influx of thirsty commuters returning from the City. The lawyer and Wall Street rich-guy types attracted the gold diggers and the local college girls. Instead of hanging out inside the dirty booths at O'Looney's, they all drank and ate at Mulligans or The Glass Onion. If you saw a female under 40 years old at O'Looney's, you had to figure that she was lost, looking for change for the parking meter, or a prostitute.

One girlfriend broke up with me because I worked at O'Looney's. Becky Cohen. Man, she was a piece of work. Sure, she was great in the sack and we had some fun times together, but she was way too concerned with her image. And that included who she dated. She couldn't brag to her friends that I was a stock trader in Stamford or some hotshot attorney working in the City. She actually told me that she was embarrassed that I worked as a lowly bartender in an old man's bar. Becky often encouraged me to go back to school or look for jobs in the City. I told her that I didn't want to have to commute and living in the City was ridiculously expensive. I'd be spending 90% of my tips on renting a roach-infested shoebox in the hood.

When I wouldn't quit O'Looney's, she quit on me. Heartless cunt. She got what she deserved. Although she married a hedge fund manager and moved to Westport, a tinge of karma fell my way when I discovered that her husband lost millions in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme.

O'Looney's and I had a unique relationship. It was an integral part of some of my most favorite childhood memories. During my first year in Little League, we were sponsored by Angelo's Pizza. The owner gave us free pizza when we won our games. His pizzeria was located on the same block as O'Looney's. I loved it when my parents drove by O'Looney's after dark when the different neon colored beer signs were lit up in the windows. Those series of odd colors from the fuzzy illumination of the neon were nothing like the shades that I found in my 64 pack of Crayolas. That's when I developed a fascination for neon beer signs which would eventually get me in trouble when I was 21 years-old and a part-time student at Central Connecticut College.

One random evening, I drank an entire bottle of Jagermeister with a couple of friends of mine. We stumbled into the local bar and consumed endless rounds of Goldschlager shots with a gaggle of hot sorority girls. At that point, I blacked out. During that lapse in both memory and judgment, I pushed through the crowd and grabbed one of the neon Bud Light signs off the wall. I marched out of the bar with the neon sign under my arm and flipped off the bartender on the way out. I went back to my apartment and hung it up on the wall before I passed out on my couch.

A knock on the front door woke me up the next morning. It was the campus police. I quickly apologized for my drunkenness and offered to bring the sign back personally. The cop drove me down to the bar and the owner of the bar chewed me out for twenty minutes.

After his rant about the decline of the work ethic of young Americans, he offered me a job as a bar back. The job didn't pay much and it sucked watching all of your friends around you get shitfaced when you had to work. However, I realized that the job was a perfect front to deal drugs. I dropped out of school that semester and sold weed and ecstasy in the alleyway. My clients met me next to the dumpster. It was a perfect cover because I frequently had to go outside to throw out trash.

When the owner found out that I was dealing, he wanted a cut. If not, he was going to rat me out, so I immediately quit. I was out of work and dropped out of school. I bummed around a bit as a plumber's assistant. The hours sucked but the pay was pretty good. The plumber that I worked with used to stop at O'Looney's every night on his way back to the shop. That's when I starting drinking there regularly. Shamus O'Looney remembered my father and my uncles, so he offered me a job bartending at O'Looney's. I quickly quit my job in the plumbing business. That was almost ten years ago.

I met a marijuana grower from Vermont through a mutual friend of ours. We frequently played poker together at Foxwoods and he told me that he was looking for someone to help him unload some product. I expected to meet an hicky farmer type who looked like Greg Allman or a young hippie kid with dreadlocks. My assumptions were wrong. The grower, Mr. Blue, looked like an investment banker. Short hair. Clean cut. Fresh cologne. Black Berry. He always wore a nice suit (minus the tie) and drove a Mercedes. He practiced the art of deception perfectly and loaned me several philosophy books by Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. He was the last guy you'd pull over for suspicion of drug trafficking.

Mr. Blue dropped off a couple of pounds every few months and the next thing I knew, I was back to dealing. Except, it was on a much larger scale. No more dime bags out the side door. The bar's location was the perfect front for me to deal. O'Looney's was such a boring place that nothing ever happened there. The cops left us alone because they knew we did not serve underaged kids and that none of the old guys ever got into fistfights. Maybe once a year, we had to call the paramedics because one of the customers had a heart attack or stroke, but that was it.

Most of the time, Monroe just stared off into space or watched the TV above the bar. The old guys preferred watching CNN during the daylight hours. As soon as it turned to dusk, I flipped over to NESN or wherever the Sox were playing. While they argued about sports and politics, I conducted business right under their noses. The old farts had no clue what was up. Random pothead friends met me in the parking lot behind in the back. We'd smoke a joint and complete the transactions. A couple of the delivery guys who worked at Angelo's were my biggest customers. They often gave me free pizza and meatball sandwiches in exchange for quarter ounces.

Shamus O'Looney had been dead for two years and Kevin was completely out of the loop, but I always suspected that Monroe knew a lot more than he was letting on. He often sneered at me after I returned from completing a deal outside, like he knew that I just sold weed on the side to supplement my income. I guess that's why he only tipped me twenty-five cents sometimes. Why tip a drug dealer?

Paul McGuire is a writer originally from New York City and currently residing in Los Angeles, CA.

A Good Beginning

By Milton T. Burton © 2009

I found it at an agricultural equipment dealership in a little town called Terrell, which lay about thirty miles east of Dallas. The moment I saw it sitting there a hundred yards off Interstate 20, gleaming brightly in the noonday sun, I knew that I was on the cusp of some great adventure. There were a dozen others lined up beside it, none different from the one that had caught my eye. But this was the one I had to have. This one was mine. The others didn't matter a bit. They were just window dressing.

Upon later reflection, I realized that how I came to be in Texas was a sordid story in itself. A week earlier I'd left my Hudson River Valley estate (which I had grown to hate) in my brand new $90,000 Beemer (which I was rapidly growing to hate) and headed west. Before I left, I had a tasteful, well-bred, little dust-up with my tasteful, well-bred, little thirty-eight-year-old trophy wife, Victoria. You can visualize her, I'm sure. Two decades my junior, petite and slim with an astringent body, perky breasts, and a firm butt. A well-exercised and expensive body: Pilates, Yoga, massage, personal trainer, the whole nine yards, as the kids say. A woman determined to maximize her assets for the specific purpose of holding onto what she has for as long as she can. And what she has is me and my money. Or so she thinks. She also has a worry line between her brows and a lovely oval face that always holds an expression of mild discontent.

"I can't take any more of this for a while," I told her. "I've had enough. More than enough, in fact."

"Enough of what?" she asked.

That was the problem. I didn't really know what the "what" was that I'd had enough of. She was part of it, of course, even though we almost never argued and she rarely nagged. Or at least she didn't until after I came back from Texas. I'd married her five years earlier, four years after the death of my first wife. I thought I'd wanted her, but I really hadn't. What I'd wanted was to get laid about twice a week and be left alone the rest of the time. Mistakes are made, you know.

I waved her off. "I'll call," I said.

"But where are you going?"

"The Southwest, I think. Probably Texas."

"But why Texas, for God's sake?"

I shrugged helplessly. "I guess because I've never been there."


I screeched off the Interstate and onto the access road and skidded into the farm dealership in a shower of gravel. I didn't wait for them to come to me. No sir. This wasn't that kind of day. Doubtlessly wild-eyed, I went to them, lunging into the building and then into the first office that was occupied. A young salesman rose from behind his desk, a bright, hale-fellow-well-met smile on his face.

"I'm Tommy Treen," he said. "Can I help you?"

I glanced around the room. The walls were resplendent with Rotary plaques and Kiwanis Club certificates; company awards and farm show pictures. For some reason I found it all terribly reassuring.

The kid had a firm handshake, and beneath his small town booster surface I could sense a hardness about him that I liked. I took him by the shoulder and pointed out the window. "There," I said. "The one next to the far end. I want it."

"Good choice. That's the John Deere 548 standard round hay baler. Makes two thousand pound rolls."

"A hay baler!" I said. "So that's what it does."

Tommy Treen's smile was still there, but now it seemed frozen on his face, and his eyes were a little puzzled. "You didn't know?" he asked.

"Hell, I didn't care. I'm buying the damn thing for its looks."

"It's looks?" He was definitely puzzled now.


"So you're not in the cattle business?"

I shook my head. "I run an investment company on Wall Street."

"I see," he said.

But I could tell he didn't really see at all. I took the chair in front of his desk and he settled himself into a big, high-backed executive chair. "That baler is quite an expensive piece of equipment, you know," he said.

"I should hope so. I'd hate for something that fine-looking to be priced cheaply."

"Well, we're always willing to talk discount if--"

"Let's not get tedious, my friend," I said expansively. "Round the price upward if you want. I like prices with a lot of zeros in them."

"Uhhh. . ."

"My sentiments exactly."

He seemed lost in thought for a moment. "I've never made a sale quite like this before," he said. "To be honest with you, I'm having a hard time believing you're not a practical joker."

"Me? No way. I'm as serious as death and taxes."

"Then I need to know what arrangements you'd like to make in order to. . ." He let his voice trail off.

"Pay for the thing, you mean?"

He nodded.

I flipped my American Express Centurion card across the desk and heard him gasp.

"The black card!" he exclaimed. "I've heard of these, but I've never seen one before."

"It's the apex of the apex, Tommy Treen. And you'll probably want a little identification." I tossed my New York driver's license and my passport, which was thick with added pages, across the desk. "And feel free to call my bank in Manhattan. You work on commission, I take it."

He nodded absently and stared euphorically at the Centurion card for a few moments. When he looked back up at me his smile was no longer frozen. It was alive and happy. "You don't fool around, do you, sir?" he asked.

"I see no reason to. You see, I'm on a quest, Tommy. I didn't realize it until the instant I saw my hay baler, but that's exactly what I'm on. A quest, just like the knights of old."

"And that 548 baler is your Holy Grail, right?"

I thought for a moment, then shook my head. "I don't think so. But I know it will help me get there. I know that in my heart. A man on a quest has to go by faith."

"I know a little about faith," he said and pointed proudly to a framed certificate from a local Baptist church that hung on the wall behind him."

"I'm aware that you do, Tommy."

We sat and basked for a few moments in the warm knowledge of our shared faith: his in the God of the Texas Baptists, mine in the purity of my quest. Then a mild frown appeared on his face.

"Yes?" I asked.

"Won't you need a tractor to go with it?"

That was a new wrinkle, something I hadn't considered. "You think I should have one?"

"Well, a hay baler is pretty useless without a tractor. I mean, you can't even move it around without one."

"Hummm. . ."

"I really wouldn't feel right selling you something you couldn't use, and you simply can't use a baler without a tractor."

"You're looking out for my interests, aren't you, Tommy?"

"I'm trying my best, sir."

"I know you are, so let's go for it."

"So you're saying you want a tractor, too?" he asked.

"You bet I do."

"Well, which one?"

"Why don't you pick one out for me? You know a lot more about them than I do."


Tommy Treen called around to several rental places and found me a semi-truck and trailer. Once the deal was cut on the truck, he directed me to his cousin, a recently laid-off trucker named Billy Don Pringle who was willing to drive the rig back to New York for me. Billy Don was in his early forties with a happy face and brown hair. His attire consisted of low-slung Levis, cowboy boots, and a seemingly endless supply of red checked gingham shirts, along with a weathered baseball cap with a feed company logo on the front. The cap was perpetual. It appeared to have been born there and matured there, and it gave every impression that it would probably go on to its final reward without ever leaving his iron ball of a head. He was also blessed with stumpy fingers on quick, competent hands that could fix anything. Twice the truck broke down on the way back home, and twice he got it going again without ever pulling a frown.

The first time he said, "Now don't you worry none, Boss-man. We'll be back to skippin' through the dew in no time at all."

The second time he waxed philosophical about my recent purchase as he delved expertly around in the innards of the truck's fuel system. "These round balers like you got here are amazing," he said. "What you sometimes find in the hay months later is amazing too. I knew an ole boy who had this low-lying meadow down by the Trinity River. He bailed up a two-hundred-pound alligator one time."

"Really?" I asked.

He nodded and closed the hood on the truck. "Didn't find it until that next December when he put the bale out in the pasture and the cows get down to the alligator. He hadn't noticed no odor or nothing. See, that hay's dry and all, and hot from being bailed in the summer sun. It just kinda mummified that damned gator. Beat anything I ever seen."

"Fascinating," I said. "Utterly fascinating."

"Ain't it?"


So I brought it home and parked it right in front of my eighteenth century manor house where it sat surrounded by ancient oaks and chestnuts and carefully tended grass that stretched a quarter mile down to the river. My wife was not happy with this addition to the landscaping. She was even less happy that I had hired Billy Don Pringle as maintenance chief and all-round handyman for the estate. With Victoria it was loathing at first sight, an obvious fact to which Billy Don was sublimely indifferent. But I didn't care. Hiring the man had been one of the best moves I'd ever made. In three weeks he'd gotten the sprinkler system working better than ever before, rewired two of the outbuildings, and was in the process of installing motion-sensitive lights at strategic location all over the grounds. Much to my surprise, I was actually beginning to like my home once again.

The day I got the idea that it might be fun to actually make some hay, Victoria and I were sitting on the small patio-like courtyard she had urged me to have built on the front terrace not long after we were married---a courtyard on which she could sit and sip vodka Martinis and survey her domain on pleasant afternoons. In the early months of our union I had been eager to please her.

That afternoon we had a guest---an all too frequent guest, as a matter of fact---in the person of Reginald Van Nye, a neighbor from a couple of miles down the river. Reggie is a descendant of one of the oldest and wealthiest Valley families. Now in is 40s, he looks fifteen years younger. He has a handsome face and wavy hair that's going a little silver at the temples, a manly jaw, and dark eyes of the sort the old romance novels used to call "smoldering." He also has a habit of calling me "Old Boy" that I find deeply annoying.

Reggie keeps an office in the city so he can go in a couple of times a month and convince himself that he has business affairs that need his attention. The truth is that all he ever does is cash his trust checks, play tennis, and fornicate. The trust checks aren't much of a challenge, not even for a man of his limited wattage, and with his weak backhand he's only a mediocre tennis player. However, he is known locally as a terrific fornicator, usually choosing his partners downscale from among his social inferiors. Usually. But not always.

He bills himself as my best friend, but he's not. My best friend was a Kentucky farm boy who died in screaming agony in the Mekong Delta forty years earlier. But even aristocrats like to name-drop occasionally, and mine has been a good name to drop since not long after I came to the New York financial world out of a Cleveland blue color neighborhood by way of Vietnam decades ago. Because of my humble background, my fast success led me to be quickly tagged as "The Barefoot Boy of Wall Street, the man to know if you want your money to grow." So you can probably see why I hate the human race. Most of it, anyway.

"Strange thing for an impulse purchase, Old Boy," Reggie says. "That tractor business, I mean."

"You have your little hobbies, Reggie. And now I have mine."

"Are you just going to leave it there?" Victoria asks.

"I haven't decided yet," I reply. "But I do I like to look at it in the late afternoons."

"I hate that shade of green," Reggie says.

"So do I," Victoria chimes in.

"Tough," I say and dig my cell phone out of my pocket. I punch in a number and a few seconds later I mumble a few words into the thing and then snap it off and put it away.

"Who on earth did you call?" Victoria asks, exasperated for some reason.

"Billy Don."

"I don't like that man," she replies. "The other day he was making a lot of noise out back with that pump on the ornamental fountain. I asked him if he would tend to it some other time, and he just snorted at me and kept on working."

"Very perceptive of him," I say. "No doubt you could use a good snorting."

"Don't be vulgar," she hisses.

"In fact, why don't you and Reggie go on up stairs right now and just snort away until your hearts are content?"

"What?. . ." This from Victoria.

"Surely you don't think--" That from Reggie.

No, I don't think. I know. But I cut him off with a good-natured laugh. "Just joking, Old Boy," I say.

Reggie repeats, in an appropriately injured tone of voice, his oft-stated but rarely-followed maxim: "No true gentleman ever seduces a friend's wife."

Just then Billy Don Pringle emerges though a hitherto unnoticed gap in the lilac bushes, his round, ruddy face a mask of good humor. "Where I come from," he says, "a man with any gumption don't seduce nobody's wife except his own. Not unless he wants his ass shot off, begging your pardon, Missus." This last with a barely perceptible nod at Victoria.

Master of a dozen trades and never long without employment, Billy Don sees no reason to be deferential to anyone. Another feather in his cap as far as I am concerned. "What's up, Boss?" he asks, turning toward me.

I point at the tractor and baler and say, "I bought them for aesthetic reasons, but I've been thinking. I've got six hundred acres here, and about a third of it is in grass. I've been paying some people to mow it, but maybe we ought to make a little hay. What do you think?"

"I'm all for it," Billy Don says.

"Oh, for God's sake!" says Victoria.

I turn and look at her. "Do you begrudge me a few thousand dollars for my tractor and hay baler?" I ask.

"No, but I just don't see any point---"

"Here's the point, Victoria. What do I do? Think about that a minute, will you please? I go into the city and make phone calls and fool with numbers on computers and talk to people all over the world. I've done it until my accountant now says I'm worth a half a billion dollars. But I still can't find it."

"Find what?" she asks, clearly annoyed.

"Whatever it is that I do."

"You're a financier, Old Boy," Reggie says jovially. "Be proud of it."

"But where is it? What I've done, I mean. Where is my product? A hog farmer has his hogs. A factory worker can show you all the gimmicks and gizmos he's made. Hell, even a shoeshine boy point to the shoes he's shined. But I have no it to point to. Am I less than a Times Square shoeshine boy?"

"This identity crisis of yours is getting tiresome," Victoria says, impeccably miming upper class annoyance. She tries hard, Victoria does.

"Tiresome of not, I like my tractor and baler, and I plan to have some fun with them no matter what you say."

At that precise moment Ingrid Lawson, the seventeen-year-old belle of the adjoining estate, thunders across the far end of the lawn astride her coal-black Morgan, her long blond hair streaming wildly in her wake. Victoria watches with eyes that are cold and hard. Jealous and bitterly so, she slips easily into shrew mode. Her great unrealized ambition is to thunder across somebody's front lawn on a coal black steed. The only problem is that Victoria is terrified of any animal larger than a Cocker Spaniel. "You know what Freud said about young women and horses," she asks, her voice snippy. "Sublimated masculine power between her legs so forth."

"Sounds like a bunch of crap to me," Billy Don says. "Besides, that's not a stallion that gal's on anyhow."

"Oh really?" Victoria says.

"It's a gelding. Women can handle geldings a whole lot easier than they can stallions or mares, either one. See, Missus, a gelding his a male horse that's been---"

"I'm very aware of what a gelding is, Mr. Pringle," Victoria says distractedly, fruitlessly punching her little electronic gadget that she uses to summons the servants.

"Gimmie that thing and let me take a look at it," Billy Don says.

She hands the switch over reluctantly and says, "Won't somebody please go and tell the maid it's time to serve afternoon cocktails?"

Neither Billy Don nor I respond. Reggie smiles a manly smile and gets to his feet. "I'll be happy to."

"Thank you," she says softly.

As Reggie turns toward the house, Billy Don winks at me and then speaks in a happy voice. "Yep, like I said, women sure can manage them geldings."

For just a moment Reggie's whole back stiffens. Then he squares his shoulders and heads up the walk.

"Do we have everything we need to bail some hay?" I ask Billy Don.

He shakes his head. "We need a sickle mower to cut the grass and a trailing rake to windrow it with. The tractor can operate 'em both of them off the power-take-off."

Billy Don fiddles with the call switch while we say nothing. Then he tosses it back to Victoria. "Loose connection," he says.

She pushes the button and the light comes on. "Thank you," she says grudgingly.

A few moments later Reggie is back with the maid following closely behind. She carries a tray laden with an ice bucket, a bottle of single malt, glasses, and a stainless steel shaker full of vodka Martinis for Victoria.

I point at the tray and tell Billy Don, "Sit down and have a drink."

He shakes his head. "I better not. I'm going into town to see my lady friend in little while."

"A girlfriend already?" Reggie asks. "My, my. . ."


"Some bar girl, I suppose," Reggie says.

"Nope. She teaches English at the college."

Reggie's face shows skepticism at this statement. He pours a tot of scotch for each of us while the maid fills Victoria's glass.

"We need to head back down to Texas in a few days and get the rake and whatever else we need," I tell Billy Don.

"We can get all that here local," he says.

I shake my head firmly. "I like your cousin, Tommy Treen down there at the dealership where I got the tractor and baler. I'd rather spend my money with him."

"Fine with me, and I know Tommy will appreciate it. A sickle and a rake don't weigh much. We can just rent a flatbed trailer and I can tow them back behind my pickup truck. I need my truck up here anyway. I feel lost without it, and besides, Miss Suzanne says she ain't never rode in no pickup before, and she's looking forward to it."

"Suzanne Weiss?" Reggie asks in a voice that's both surprised and offended. "She's your lady friend?"

"Yep. . ."

Suzanne Weiss is a tiny, forty-year-old Jewish knockout with a sweet, ripe body, kind eyes, and a head full of brains---a full professor of American literature with a national reputation as a Faulkner scholar. Which is at least a partial explanation why she would be attracted to Billy Don Pringle. I say a partial explanation. I sense that a robust and competent country lad like him also has virtues that range far beyond his mechanical skills. I sense too that Suzanne Weiss was one of Reggie's downscale seductions that didn't come off.

". . . that's her," Billy Don says. "She's a peach." He turns to me. "I need to get some of my stuff, too," he says. "Mostly a few clothes and my guns."

At the word "guns" Victoria jerks like she's been hit with a mild electric current. "You own firearms, Mr. Pringle?" she asked.

"A few. Bird guns and deer rifles, mostly."

"Could you teach me how to shoot clay pigeons?" I ask him. "I got pretty good with a rifle in the army, but I've always had a yen to learn skeet and trap. Just never took the time."

"I'm your man," he replies. "Back when I was younger I won a passel of trophies shooting trap."

"There must be some fine gun stores in Dallas. You can advise me."

"We'll do it," he says and gives us a parting wave and vanishes back through the magic hole in the lilac bushes. The three of us sit for a while and say nothing as the day draws gently to a close.

"Are you really going to buy a gun?" Victoria asks, breaking the silence at last.

"I think maybe I'll buy several."

She shivers almost imperceptibly. I glance over at Reggie. Manly muscles contract in a manly jaw while dark eyes smolder. I sip my scotch and stare happily off across the lawn where my new toys gleam fetchingly in the last dying rays of the setting sun.

Milton T. Burton was born and raised in East Texas. He has been variously, a college history teacher, a political consultant, and a cattleman. He have published two crime novels with St. Martin's Press, NY titled "The Rogues' Game" and "The Sweet and The Dead."

Happy Valentine's Day, Tamara Johnson

By Dave Peterson © 2009

I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom in the stuffy apartment above the Korean dry cleaners in Arlington, VA. I shared the place with Frerrichs and some fat dude whose name I never bothered to learn. My pupils were the huge. I needed to get a grip and it was slipping.

The apartment met all my the requirements -- it was cheap, available and walking distance from Whitey's Broasted Chicken. They had live music and all you can eat chicken for $8.95.

I had a head full of acid and had just run out of beer and smokes and felt like I was going slowly insane. I decided that the apartment needed guarding, no telling what kind of freaks were on the street on a night like tonight.

I stripped down to my boxers and an OD green T-shirt and went to retrieve my pistol. It was then that I realized the stamp on the back of the holster: PROPERTY OF CAMDEN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT.

This seemed strange but I was getting used to strange, so I buckled up and made the rounds between my room (the living room) and Frerrichs' room (the sun porch). I turned off the lights and the stereo. I wandered back and forth, dodging the trash and the roaches and the empty beer cans along the way.

I pulled the pistol from the holster and noticed the pistol still had serial numbers. Fuck. I owned a stolen cop gun. I was going to jail. Or maybe just hell? I found some sandpaper and started in on the serial. It was a shitty job but it seemed to be working. When I noticed my finger tips bleeding I decided that the gun was now officially untraceable and I resumed patrol amongst the scent of dry cleaning fluid, kim-chee, and garbage.

Around 2 am I heard activity on the stairs. I moved behind the door to investigate and possibly kill someone. I figured I was ready. The deadbolt lock was sprung with a soft – click. I heard keys jangling, a girl's voice laughing, and then the handle turned. I leveled the revolver and pulled the hammer back.

Frerrichs to his credit, had the courtesy not to make eye contact or even turn his head. The skank was still in the doorway when he said, "Peterson? Whatcha doin?"

There was a pregnant pause while I remembered that I could speak.

"Guarding," I grunted.

"You know it's me right?" said Frerrichs, who was a calm bastard, even when he was scared.

After another pregnant pause, the bar skank was agitated. "HOLY FUCK does he have a gun?"

We both ignored her.

"Yeah, I know it's you."

"How about you put the gun down man?"

I considered his request for a moment and lowered my pistol. I let them both in, and the skank gave me a dirty look as Frerrichs introduced me. Frerrichs was kind enough to toss me a half pack of Marlboro reds before retiring to his sun porch.

After the incident with Frerrichs, I promised not to bring the pistol out when we were partying. That was a lie.

I had never hated anyone more than my friend Louis Dooley. He was a dreadful soldier and only joined the Army because he got bounced from the football team at McNeese State, where he'd been a starting defensive back as a freshman. He always brought attention to himself and was Ill mannered with an easy Louisiana drawl and short by Honor Guard standards. I don't know why I hung around him, but he gravitated to me for some reason. Within minutes of meeting me, he gave me the nickname "jolie blanc" and refused to tell me what it meant.

We were all lit one night, and the apartment was full of military dudes and civilian women. I caught Louis in the kitchen feeling up the girl who I was after. She resisted his advances and he was being an ass about it. I finished my beer and waited for him to return to the living room when I decided to get chivalrous.

I stood up and swung wildly at him. He saw it coming a mile away and commenced to beat the shit out of me. I took blows to the head and the gut before I collapsed. Louis stood behind me and twisted my neck until it popped once.

"Live or die bitch," he said but he didn't yell.

I didn't respond.

"Jolie Blanc I axed you something!"

"Fuck you, Louis!"

"Fuck Me? Where did you go to public school Jolie Blanc? Who do you think is in control here?"

"FUCK YOU LOUIS!" which came out in a whisper since he was crushing my windpipe. He twisted his grip... another pop.

"Last time Jolie Blanc! Live or die?"

It was a spectacle. I was crying. It hurt but I wasn't giving in. Instead, I gave out for a minute. I guess. Or maybe he let me go. At any rate, my chances of getting laid that night were none. I was drunk, stoned, pissed and pissed off.

I picked up my pistol and went out to the fire escape and sat in the cold, quiet night watching the rats in the alley go from dumpster to dumpster when Louis joined me.

"You gonna do it?" he asked.

"Do what motherfucker?"

"You gonna smoke yerself?"

Until that moment I didn't know what I was planning. In that instant I thought I would.

"I dunno man. Fuck you."

Louis stared at me for a minute before he said, "Listen Jolie Blanc, I'm sorry I kicked yer ass back there but you need to learn some respect and all I'm sayin' right now is that if you're gonna kill yerself, I wanna see that shit."

I pulled the hammer back and put the snub nose .38 to my temple for a few seconds and then the thought occurred to me that I could just kill Louis. I pointed the gun at him, less than six inches from his face. He laughed. Hysterically.

"Jolie Blanc, you're not a killer. You won't shoot me and we both know it so cut the bullshit. I don't really think you'll even kill yourself."

I lowered the gun for a second and then picked it up violently and Louis' eyes opened wide and I turned and fired into a dumpster in the alley.

Eventually, our fat roommate got pissed off by all the night partying, the drugs, the loud music, and the women who he could never attain. Frerrichs and I were forced to find a new place. We moved into a 3 story row house at 9th and T Street in northwest D.C. It was close to the base and the places we hung out. It was way too big for the two of us and too expensive so we picked the best rooms and found other roommates to cover the rest of the rent.

The main requirement for becoming a member of the 9th and T Street crew were simple; you had to have a high tolerance for the degeneracy that took place on a daily basis, and it helped a great deal if you also had first and last months rent in cash.

The house 9th and T Street was the base of operations for everything wrong with the military and some of the best times of during my tour in the Army. The 24/7 operation usually included someone fucking, fighting, laughing, smoking, or dosing. We were the only white people within twenty block radius. The grocers knew us. Our neighbors knew that we weren't crack dealers and we got along with everyone around us. I had found a good LSD supplier and we threw huge parties where carloads of college girls from Catholic, American and George Washington made appearances and they always seemed to have good weed.

The acid business was good to me, but I violated the prime rule as a dealer because I loved my own product. I tripped and tripped and tripped. I stood on the White House lawn, tripping balls and holding my own. A running supply of sid kept me in free drinks at my local bar. When supplies dried up I traded a quarter sheet for blow or ecstasy. It was easy until I got scared for the second time.

During the first week of February, I liquidated my supply. I feared piss tests and didn't sleep for nearly a week because of the illegal hand gun in my closet. During the second week in February, one of the squad leaders approached me. He was a lean, black dude who had too much confidence. He outranked me in title, but I was the one they called on for full honor funerals in Arlington. He was a rag bag, a slob, just padding his resume and passing through. He constantly needed reminding of protocol and ceremony and I could pull off a full honor funeral and make the entire attending family cry on twenty minutes sleep. This skill had value and he knew it. He was also keenly aware that I'd helped him pass all his inspections so he could stay in D.C (failing inspection would have had him shipped to the DMZ in Korea).

He called me into the squad leaders room and shut the door.

"Peterson, I hear you got a weapon you wanna get rid of?"

I didn't answer and had no idea how he knew about the gun.

"Listen man, I know this girl, Tamara. I met her at the club over in Hillcrest. She said she want a gun and wanna know if I know anyone and I know you."

"Sarge, you don't know me. You don't know anything about me other than I saved your skinny ass from going to Korea."

After a slight impasse, he just blurted out, "She say she'll give you 350 but you gotta include some rounds."

Every fiber of my being was telling me to deny everything and move on, but the idea of getting rid of the pistol in my closet in the event that I got searched and turning a profit at the same time was more than I could take.

Around 2 pm on Valentine's Day, I wiped off any traces of my own fingerprints and put the loaded pistol and holster in my messenger bag. I headed down the stairs and noticed a huge and half empty box of Whitman's chocolates on the table by the door. I dumped the chocolates on the table and placed the pistol in the box.

I walked out into a cold wintry day. The sun cast a pale yellow shade on everything. The cherry trees had yet to bloom and reminded me of sticks. I walked from 9th and T to the Metro stop at DuPont Circle. I considered walking the ten or so blocks to the rendezvous point in Washington Circle but decided against it. I pulled a well warn metro ticket from my jacket pocket and rode the train to Washington Circle where I waited on a bench in the cold sunlight.

I waited almost fifteen minutes when I saw the sergeant's BMW enter into the circle. It stopped illegally in traffic. A slight, dark woman stepped out and walked toward me. I noticed her stockings had a run in them. Her coat was worn and she looked cold. I died a little.

I sat there like Forest Gump with a box of chocolates on my lap.

"You Peterson?" she said.

She looked around nervously. She looked tired. No, not tired, something else.

"Yes ma'am." I said, even though she was maybe a year older than me.

"Here," she said and reached into her shabby purse and pulled out a wad of crumpled bills. "You got sumthin for me?"

I took the money and handed her the box and said, "Happy Valentine's Day ma'am."

"It's loaded?"

"Yes ma'am, I also have the holster."

"I don't want no holster, this will do."

She turned around and walked back towards the car. I overheard her mutter, "That's the last time that motherfucker lays hands on me."

David Peterson is an ex-soldier, musician, geek, degenerate, and a complete jackass hoping to one day get what's coming to him.

Hunter Wellington

By Betty Underground © 2008

She stood before me; white cotton panties with little cherries, a t-shirt, yellow rain slicker and her Hunter Wellingtons. Thighs red and chaffed from the wet jeans she had discarded in the mud-room. The rest of her, soaked.

Dead pan, she states, "It's raining." Then grins. Even when she states the obvious, her wit overcomes me. I let out a chuckle as she drips on the floor.

Six inches of mud, up to the calf of her boots. "Driveway flooded?" I ask the obvious. I'm not as funny to her and so she only smiles with one side of her mouth.

It was the worst storm in 6 years to hit Southern California. The house was mostly finished, the driveway left unpaved due to the weather. Now, buried under mud, neither of us were going anywhere. And that would be awkward.

She'd confessed to a fling with an ex-lover. I might have been more angry if it was a stranger, but this was a friend. One who had given her things when I could not. I owed him. Still, I wasn't willing to give her over to him. Even she was still conflicted.

And there we were; stuck in that mud.


She stepped out of her Wellies. Toe on the heel of one, her foot slides up and out. Then the other. Perfectly balanced on one leg, like a Ballerina. I stepped to her and unzipped her slicker, pulling it off her and reaching over her to hang it on the coat hook, next to mine.

She is uncertain about still being here, in my house. Being with me. I can offer her the world, but he has something else. Something ethereal. He creates laughter in her. I have seen it; heard it. A noise from her I can't evoke. It comes from somewhere deeper. From this man that is her one great love.

Still, I love her. She burns slow in my soul. Having her hurts. Giving her to him hurts. I needed to be sure he could give her what she deserved. Could he be the man she needed him to be, or would be let her down again.

I wasn't ready to let her go. One last time. I needed to feel her one last time. Knowing her thoughts would be filled with him as her touch is etched in mine. I didn't have the strength to care what would be on the other side of this storm. What would be left behind when the water receded.


I pulled her wet shirt up over her head, and starred into her eyes. Hair wet on her forehead, I brushed it aside, allowing my finger to draw down the side of her face. Down her neck where it curves to her shoulder and then dropping down to brush her nipples. She held her breath, maintaining contact with my eyes. She doesn't hide.

I look down the length of her body. She is wiggling her toes and pushing up on the balls of her feet to draw my hand closer to her sweetness. I run my finger around the inside of the lace trim of her panties. The soft peach fuzz hair in the small of her back standing at attention for me.

Her ass is warm,. "Sorry my hands are so cold."

"Just touch me. I don't mind the cold, just touch me." She was pleading. I pushed her panties down around her ankles. Bending to my knees before her. Taking the sweet warmth between her legs into my mouth. My tongue swirls in her wetness as her legs begin to shake. I grab the back of her thighs hold her against my face. Burrowing into her soft curls.

She braces herself. Her hands clutching the door frame on both sides. Fingers digging into the unfinished wood trim. Her head thrown back as her chest heaves for breathes. Each one harder to control and the sounds begin to escape her.

She bucks into me uncontrollably. Thrusting her pelvis at me, I rise and push her against the windowsill behind us. The mud-room is narrow; she pulls one leg up and pushes it against the opposite wall. Balanced, like a Ballerina.

I plunge my fingers into her and she pounds her foot against the wall. The sound echos in the small room. Her naked body pressed against the undressed window, in plain sight of the neighbors.


She doesn't care. She never has. Her comfort in her own skin surpasses societies modesty boundaries. It is just how she is. Most people come home from work and take off their shoes. She doesn't stop there, she takes off her pants and pulls her bra off through the sleeves of her t-shirt. Discarding them on the floor of the entrance. She prefers the freedom, and cares less about what others might think.


I am beneath her. Squaring myself under her wetness. Pulling her lips apart to expose all of her and taking her in with my eyes, then with my whole mouth. I pull my fingers out and she gasps. My tongue is strong and fierce in her, my wet fingers playing the rim of her anus like fingers on crystal. The hum, a vibrations on her clit.

Her legs give and she sits on the windowsill trying to catch her breath. I pull back and she again is fixated on my eyes. Her hand on the back of my head, grabbing a clump of hair and pushing my lips onto hers. She tastes herself on my lips. Licking her sweetness from around my mouth, like a mother cat cleaning her young.

My hands free I quickly relieve myself of my pants. Commando, my dick is immediately exposed. As hard as my will to keep her, I grind into her. Back and forth, up and down as deep in her as it would go. When I pulled my dick from her, she looked down at it glistening in the afternoon sun that flooded the room. Then I would slam back into her. Over and over again.

"Fuck me harder. I want the neighbors to hear me scream."

She demanded and I submitted. I grabbed her hips and held her solid on the ledge so that could thrust into her without her trying to pull back. She was so wet that we were both soaked in her sweetness.

I licked my thumb and placed it on her swollen clit. Rolling it under my thumb as I throbbed and pumped in her. Her legs trembled intensely and her screams louder and louder. Each breath a squeal and a gasp.

She was nearing orgasm and I pulled her onto me. Pushing my dick into her. Pulling her onto my dick. I froze. Pushed. She twitched and screamed and I gave her one last thrust. We exploded together. Then collapsed.

"I think the neighbors heard."


Later that night, I laid spooned behind her. Both my arms wrapping her tightly to my chest. Her breath quick and shallow, I rolled her over.

Salty tears streaming down her face, I kissed them away, but knew the storm had passed. Her thundering screams earlier was the sound of her letting me loose from her heart. She was no longer conflicted. Her decision made.

With my thumb, I pushed her tears away. She replaced them. Breathing hard. Willing them to stop but with every thought they came harder.

"It is okay." I whispered into her breath. "Honey, it's okay. I know. It is okay. This is how it's meant to be. Be happy for what you feel. Happy to be alive and feeling it."

I let go, accepting that these moments were our last. She exhaled. Pulled her knees to her chest and curled herself in the nook my body created for her. She pushed up against me as close as she could. One last crash of thunder, and the sky lit up. I tightened my arms trying to pull her inside me. Sharing one body, for one last night.


In the end, she was my only fear. Her independence. That she didn't need me, and that wanting me would be fleeting. He'd sustained the storms for nearly a decade. Wrung each other out. Waded through the mud to higher ground. Earning a place that I tried to build, but could never finish.

He will be worthy. And with her heart, shall he never be reckless.

Betty Underground is a writer from Northern California.