Dedicated to Dacia
The only difference between the white haired men with blank stares and me was a single song lyric. I had been riding the train into the city for eighteen months and five days to do a job that was just a job. I was a technical consultant, pimped out by a staffing firm over three to six month contracts to companies needing an extra pair of hands. The city was where I was in demand, so I got used to catching a 6:30am train, being at work exactly 8 1/2 hours and catching the 4:27pm train to what I called home.
An old man with white fringe crowning his head, showed me how to do the commute. He had a blank stare that saw nothing even while I fidgeted in front of his eyes; he was in snooze mode. On that eighth trip into the city I spent the hour subtly trying to fill some of the emptiness in him. He was thoroughly programmed however and it did not work. The next morning I looked into the eyes of other passengers separating those with years of experience and those with something else. Some people rode the train with sleep in their eyes while others had the excitement of ambition working on them like an amphetamine giving them a false look of wakefulness. The old man rode it with only the awareness necessary to hit snooze.
6:00 am get out of bed, hit snooze.
6:12 am start the car, hit snooze.
6:27 am get on the train, hit snooze.
6:35 am put the train pass away, hit snooze.
7:19 am get off the train, hit snooze.
7:26 am wake up at the sound of the one-serving coffee machine.
From that day on, I spent the hour and a half to my cup of coffee trying to push aside a song lyric that desperately held on to something else.
I hated the Barry Manilow mornings. It would have been better if it were the whole song that played in my head during the commute. Life does not like train riders that much though.
I do not know many times I sang: 'And I need you today, oh Mandy" in an hour. It was more than 'I write the songs that make the young girls cry'. The worst was "Copacabana", an hour of 'But just who shot who?' or 'She would meringue and do the cha-cha' was mind numbing. Even for "Copa" there were layers of worse and worser; the master of evil mornings was 'Her name was Lola'. Not even a complete lyric, it made the hour seem endless and had me wishing to be an old white haired man that disliked work holidays because it separated him from the comfort of routine.
On the fifth morning of the nineteenth month, I had a master "Copacabana" morning; I had introduced Lola several hundred times when the train made the next to last stop. I noticed it, hoping it would stop me from joining Lola as she lost her mind. Healthy, happy women entered the train car; I needed someone other than Lola to be real for a few seconds so I watched them from the corner of my eye.
It did not work and as the train pulled away Barry worked his magic on my mind.
"Her name was Lola"
"Her name was Lola"
"Her name was Lola"
"Her name was Lola"
"She was a showgirl"
"With yellow feathers in her hair,"
"And a dress cut down to there."
Something was different but my mind was too somnolent to stop.
"She would meringue"
"And do the cha-cha"
It was the cha-cha that broke through the drill that was as mindless as the one that got the old men to work. I did not say cha-cha like that. The word had been sung with the heaviness of the beat of two hard thrusts into a woman. Her perfume poured in through my nose, much stronger than the coffee smell that stopped the song lyric every morning. It felt like my soul had been dropped from the top of a skyscraper sailing, falling, and impacting on my corpse lying on the sidewalk.
It was the fear of waking up from a falling dream; the other passengers did not hear it but I did as the two parts of me slammed together.
I turned my head.
She drowned me in the embrace. The force of her kiss helped reconcile my soul with my body. Even as my hand went up to grab her hair, I knew her ass was swaying, tempting even the old men to taste her youth by giving it the pat it had been made for.
I was waking up rapidly but not fast enough to catch her as she pulled away.
"Now that was something I missed while I was out trying to be a star," she said.
She gave me the smile that I had hoped was only mine. She brought her lips back to me. It was a soft kiss less than the ones she once woke me with, but more than any we had ever shared.
She smiled at me again before she joined the flock of healthy, happy women. I heard the questions they asked her about me. I was a nobody who rode the 6:30 am train waiting to be an old man with a blank stare.
"... because he fucked like an unbroken stallion!" she said loud enough to make everyone on the train take notice of me. "And he had the cock to do it with. Plus, if you hear him on his guitar, you'll know you've arrived."
The old woman across from me smiled at the faint memory of being young.
"They were young and they had each other, who could ask for more?" I whispered.
That was Dacia.
I was on the next to last week of a four month assignment to help a company do a full desktop and domain rollover. It had taken a month to get off the ground because they had not thought things through nor had they done the proper testing. I helped enormously during the early growing pains and my two co-consultants thought an offer of permanency was coming.
We used a windowless room by the wiring cabinet and freight elevator as our workspace. We had developed a system to get the work done efficiently. The first two days of the week were for building the machines, installing software, and moving people that only needed to be pointed to the new domain. The next two days were spent stroking the time out of the people we needed away from their desks. Fridays were reserved for massaging people over the fear of change that came from losing the comfort of habit.
I was 35 minutes early every morning but on Fridays I usually had nothing to do. I did not need coffee or want to read my mail that morning so my co-workers were surprised that I had started the first set of automated builds for our last week. I got the seating map out and looked to pin down where the last people we would be pointing to the new domain sat.
One of our guys followed me out to the office space. They were computer geeks, so to speak, and were not used to working in a place where more than half the population was female. Since this contract was with a music conglomerate, it made it even more different than usual.
These people were hip.
They all listened to different music with the only commonality seeming to be that there was no mainstream/pop music. We would go from an office with African drums, to one with hard rap, to another with jazz cooling the room. Most of the people wanted to spend the five minutes it took to retrieve the information we needed from their desktop getting to know us. The women seemed to enjoy the small beads of sweat they could produce from the guys' brows with even the mildest of flirtations.
The guys fostered an air of aloofness towards me reserved for middle and upper level managers and maintained a distance from me while with the company employees; this was done to insulate them from the real managers. I had worked with both of them before so we worked out a standing agreement regarding our tenure. They went out to lunch while I dealt with the socially uncomfortable situations; talking to the managers, finessing the rude employees, and communicating with the painfully pretty ones.
The smaller departments had been left for the end of our contracted stay so the last two weeks were moving slowly. The guys had a desperate air of wanting to take advantage of working with the type of women who in high school never gave them the time of day. They wanted to spend their money on something other than a car, like a woman. The boys never stopped wishing that they had been the chick-magnet type guys in high school as opposed to being the geek with another new computer part for the techie-pissing contest. I did my part by revisiting two of the women who had taken an interest in them; it took only a couple of nudges before both guys asked their ladies out to a luncheon foursome.
We sat in our closet trying to solve some of the loose ends that had to be tied up that morning until the ladies came by to be fed. The ladies and I smiled as the guys broke out into fretful nervousness. The ladies had done well with what they had in the office to look good for an unexpected opportunity. The guys noticed them only at a visceral level and were just too inexperienced to hide their reaction. The ladies liked the widening of the eyes, the catch in their breathing, the heated excitement, and even their erect posture. I waved goodbye knowing both guys were in good hands.
I had gone to the deli across the street for a salad earlier and eaten it while working. Being left alone was a necessary part of my day, I usually only had a half-hour but I knew the ladies would do me the favor of keeping the guys out a little later. With the taste of Dacia lingering, I needed the extra time.
I went into the phone closet where the company tech had allowed me to store my trunk the first day. I stored two of my guitars there; of the two, I required my father's guitar after my unplanned reunion with Dacia. I closed the door to the closet and set my timer for forty-five minutes of recovering.
.... There is more of this story ...