Between Men

We're scheduled for a local, deadheading back.
I check the straight-truck for blankets, rubbers,
reefer dollies, humpstraps and four-wheelers
while Bob checks the gas and oil. The load-on
is an hour away. This means breakfast first.

I order cheesecake. I ask for a hefty portion
but Dottie brings me a measly sliver. "Serves
you right," says Bob over his burnt bacon.
Bob, who's already pinched Dottie, asked her
to sit on his lap, and is sure not to leave a tip.

On the way to the shipper's, I sleep in the cab
to escape Bob's prison re-runs. He wakes me
when we get to Ojai. The job turns out to be
a three room, not a two. Lots of boxes, base
and stick. Another lowball. But Bob's in love.

The shipper's a beauty. Bob confides his lust
as we secure the first tier. Your typical square,
solid start: triple dresser, end tables, a fridge,
books and dishpacks. "She's so hot!" he cries.
Bob hasn't noticed her wrists, feet or ankles,

let alone her neck. I break it to him easy.
He eyeballs her again like he eyes a house
to guess the size truck it'll take. He returns,
a box in each arm. "Fuckin' A. Fuckin' A."
Doesn't say another word until the last tier

is tied off. "Would you ever have it done?"
is the best he comes up with. "No way," I say.
To which he has the balls to ask for first crack
if I change my mind. Says I'd be real pretty.
Which is sweet, but not sweet enough.

:: Ron Drummond, Why I Kick at Night (Portlandia, 2004)

[originally published in The Journal]

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