A weekend pass is not worth a hell of a lot when a guy has just thirty dollars in his pocket, Tim grumbled to himself, although it's better than no pass at all. He'd only be able to hang out in La Estrada, wander the mall, take in a couple of movies, eat chili and hope to score with one of the local girls.
Fat chance that last possibility! He had not scored once in the year he'd been stationed at Fort Butte.
The sky dimmed slowly with the setting of the sun, and soon it would be dark with a snap. The ocotillo trees were already silhouettes. The asphalt road was still warm from the day, but the desert air was becoming chill.
Tim was confident that a car would soon pass through the main gate of the base, that it would stop and give him a ride to town. Any driver would know that he was a soldier, even though he was clad in civilian clothes. Only a soldier would be standing in that place beside the road. At last, he sighed, when he saw a Taurus sedan at the gate. He was impatient, although he had been waiting only fifteen minutes.
It stopped beside him and Tim opened the car door in response to the obvious invitation. The interior light came on with the open door, and he saw that the driver was a woman, perhaps in her late thirties, a slender woman with a pleasant face.
"Need a ride to La Estrada?" she asked cheerfully, as though there were somewhere else to go.
"Yes, thank you, ma'am," Tim replied.
"Are you really a soldier?" the woman asked with a smile in her voice as the car moved back onto the road. "You look so young."
"I'll be twenty next month, ma'am, and my hitch is up in the month after that."
"Are you going to re-up?"
"No ma'am! I've had enough with the army. I want to go to college."
"That's nice," she said absently and lapsed into silence for a couple more minutes.
"Do you have a girl in La Estrada?" she asked.
"I wish I did. I guess I'll just hang out there for the weekend, although I'll have to sleep back at the Fort."
"So!" She chuckled. "You have a weekend pass but you're broke."
"Yes, ma'am," Tim responded sheepishly.
"When my husband and I were younger, we often found ourselves in such a situation. He'd get a pass and just loaf around."
"He's in the army?" Tim inquired.
"Yes. He's a warrant officer, an electronics engineer. He's in Germany now."
"I was there for a few months," Tim said brightly, "at Regenstein."
"He's always traveling, all over the world fixing stuff," she continued as if she had not heard his words, apparently wanting to talk about something other than Germany. "He's home only a few times a year."
"That must be difficult for you," Tim remarked guilelessly.
"I do miss him," she responded with a brief touch to Tim's knee.
Tim, who always hoped for the best, moved his left knee just a little closer to her, but she did not seek to touch him again.
"What do you do at the post?" she asked casually. "Somehow you don't strike me as an infantryman."
"No." He smiled. "I'm in supply. I'm a spec-two at the division warehouse."
"Really!" she exclaimed, suddenly interested. "What's your job there?"
"I keep track of stuff," he replied laconically.
"What kind of stuff?"
"Everything from bolts to howitzers."
"I suppose some things do go astray despite your efforts, don't they?"
"Yes, ma'am, but we try to keep the losses to a minimum."
They rode on in renewed silence. The lights of La Estrada shimmered on the horizon.
"Are you hungry?" the woman asked abruptly. "I'm really in the mood for a bowl of chili. I'll buy, if you're interested."
"Well sure," Tim replied easily, thinking he might have a chance to score with a lonely woman. He was not concerned about her age.
"Have you ever been to La Posada? The chili there burns all the way to your stomach."
"No, ma'am. It's too expensive."
"Perhaps you're right," she said quickly. "You chose a place."
The young man was clad in jeans and a windbreaker and would have been very much out of place at La Posada, especially with her, who was so much older than he and better dressed.
"I usually go to the food court at the mall," he responded.
"Splendid. That's where we'll get our chili."
Once inside the brightly lit mall they were able to look at each other clearly for the first time, not that they stared. He was a boy as tall as she, 5'10", with brown hair and eyes and a rather good looking, youthful face. In his furtive glances at the woman Tim noticed that her pale face was unlined except when she smiled, which was often. She had raven black hair cut Dutch boy style and piercing blue eyes. Her skirt and jacket allowed him to judge only her calves which were well shaped if just a tad thick. Generous breasts pushed at her jacket, but she was by no means top heavy. She might have weighed nearly as much as he, but he was rather slender. She was a lovely woman, he thought. He could imagine fucking her, although he had never before gone to bed with someone as old as she.
"If we are going to eat together, we should at least know each other's name," she announced cheerfully as they stood in line at a chili stand. "My name is Sandra Lee, what's yours?"
"Tim, Tim O'Connell."
They found an empty table and sat with their food.
"And where do you call home, Tim?"
"Bear Lake, in Michigan."
"Oh? Where is that?"
"Near Lake Michigan, south of Traverse City."
"Do you have a girl waiting for you there?"
"I had a girl, but when I joined up she said we were through."
"That's too bad, Tim. But the world is half full of females, and I'm certain there are a lot who would be delighted to know a good looking guy like you."
Tim smiled at her. "Yes, I know," he responded. "But there aren't too many of them out here in the desert."
Sandra studied him for a moment in silence, her head cocked a bit. "This chili is really not very good, Tim. It's not nearly as hot and tasty as the stuff they sell in Padilla. Have you ever been there?" She looked at him with a curious expression on her pleasant face.
"No," he replied, suddenly aware of a real possibility with this woman. "I hear it's very wild down there." He knew that Padilla was notorious for its two square blocks of whorehouses.
"Perhaps," she responded, "but I enjoy it. I find it, ah, colorful. There's a lot more to it than the red light district."
"It certainly must be different than La Estrada." He grinned into Sandra's face.
"Oh, it's worlds different from this boring place. I was on my way there, when I picked you up. I plan to spend the weekend in Padilla."
Tim could think of no response. He just smiled pleasantly at her.
"Would you like to come with me?" she asked coyly. "I have a friend there who would put us up."
Bingo! he thought. This sexy woman wanted more than a traveling companion. "That a very intriguing suggestion, Sandra, but, as you know, I'm almost broke, and I don't even have a tooth brush with me."
"Oh, don't worry about that, Tim," she said sweetly and placed her hand over his. "I have enough money for the both of us, and you know that Padilla is open all night. We can purchase whatever you need, when we get there."
Better and better! Tim chortled inwardly, his face revealing, however, just an agreeable smile.
"I'd love to go with you, Sandra, but I'm due back Sunday evening."
"I'll have you back in time, Tim. I'm an army wife, you know. Let's leave now. We could get there between nine and nine thirty."
She looked intently at him with an eager expression on her pale face.
Tim rose to his feet. "OK, let's go," he said cheerfully.
Although he would have liked to give her a quick fuck in a remote corner of the mall's parking lot, he dared not suggest it. She seemed to be a woman who preferred doing things in a proper manner.
There was no moon, and clouds obscured the stars. The blackness beyond the speeding car's headlights was impenetrable. Aside from occasional, innocuous comments, they rode in silence. Tim's thoughts whirled with the possibilities of a truly grand fuck. He hadn't been laid in over a year, because he refused to go with whores.
Sandra did not encourage him to sit close to her, nor did she touch him further. She gave no sign of what they obviously intended to do, except for the quirky smile he occasionally caught on her lips.
After two hours a glimmer appeared on the horizon ahead of them.
"We're almost there," Sandra announced, pushing at the young man, who had fallen asleep.
Tim sat up straight, just for an instant unsure of where he was. Yes, Sandra and the wild settlement of Padilla, where people checked their scruples and morality at the town's limits, each equally alluring, he thought.
They drove slowly into to town, down the main street ablaze with neon signs affixed to shabby buildings. The place was alive. A man staggered in the middle of the street holding a bottle while trying to embrace three women. Latin music blared from numerous cantinas. The staccato sounds of trumpets were particularly exotic, Tim thought, as well as the peculiar aroma of the place. People were everywhere.
"The red light district is down that side street, Tim, although you certainly won't need to visit it."
Tim had thought he was already in the center of that district. But he understood her sly, promising remark. After three or four blocks the street became dark.
.... There is more of this story ...