Bob Milton was 55, his life was a mess. He was literally broke. He had had enough. More then anyone could take, he thought as he parked his Ford F150 Pickup Truck in front of the liquor store.
He was a recovering alcoholic but tonight he just couldn't take anymore. He just could not think. He could not handle the thrashing he had gotten from his ex-wife about their financial affairs or for forgetting important things.
He was three months shy on his alimony. It was just beyond his means for him to live and also pay for her life too. She didn't care. She just wanted the money.
Even though he gave her everything she wanted in the divorce settlement she never relented. All she wanted was more money.
She had exclusive use of their very nice house and custody of their son. Yet, she wanted more and more. It never ended. She never relented.
Even though she risen to the executive level in the Telecommunications Field since their divorce and was earning a triple digit monthly salary, five times what he earned in a week, she wouldn't relent. He thought she epitomized the being of a Witch.
She was relentless. She didn't care what his hardships were. She just wanted every pound of flesh she could gather. Even though she was earning way more than he earned, she would not give Bob a break!
They had been divorced for over 30 years. Bob had even financed her education but whenever possible she happily found the time to disrupt his life.
When she descended on him, Bob always found his way to a bottle. Even though it only gave her more ammunition to fire at him, at least temporarily, he could escape.
He knew he shouldn't go in. Shouldn't buy a bottle of anything, but he needed the crash and burn the liquor gave him. He just needed to escape. It was either that or just simply end it all.
But, he had a son he adored, so that was not an option. Crash and burn was. And then he could pick up the pieces. Start over again.
That was his only perceived option. Crash and burn. His head bowed to the steering wheel, "Crash and burn!" he sighed to himself.
His mistake this time was to let his son's birthday go by without a present or even a card. Being a guy, those events seem to slip by unnoticed. Not remembered. Couldn't be remembered.
Guys are just not good with appointments, meetings, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays or anything that had a date attached to it.
Women on the other hand, remember everything; the time and date of their first kiss, their first meeting, their first everything, their last everything and all that was in between. They even remembered what song was playing when all the events happened. And seconds and thirds. Everything.
Girls ... women ... can remember the most insignificant detail and chew a guy into little pieces, then spew him out over the landscape when he forgets.
When a guy forgets, they haul him up by his soft parts. Shake his being and apply immense guilt for the crime of "Forgetting!" Reminding him that it was a "Capital Offense," worthy of the death sentence, no matter how small the infraction.
It was the bane of his existence, like most men, to forget things that women thought were important. Being 55, he just knew that no matter what the event, he would forget it. It had been the same all of his life. Nothing was going to change that.
His ex-wife savored being able to catch him, berate him and toss in a huge helping of guilt. She was an expert at being able to push his buttons and drive him back to the bottle he so desperately wanted to escape. She reveled in the satisfaction that whenever she wanted, she could destroy him. She was truly a WITCH!
Tonight was not going to be a time that the bottle would not reach his lips. He had an AA Sponsor who helped when he was desperate, but tonight was not one of those nights. He didn't want help. He wanted escape. It was the only way.
He was vulnerable and he didn't care. He just needed the escape the bottle gave him. He wanted the escape.
His hands were wrapped around the top of the steering wheel and his forehead was pressed against his knuckles. He wanted to cry, but the tears would not come. He wanted to cry, but he was a man, so the tears would not come.
Things always seemed to come in threes. So in his despair, he started the routine of banging his head against his knuckles. He had told himself, when he was finished, he would go in, get a bottle of 20 year old Scotch and drown his sorrows.
Before he could beat his forehead against his knuckles the second time, there was a face on the other side of the window.
Someone else was there. Tapping on his window. What on earth could they want with him. He just wanted to get his Scotch and go home and commiserate with it.
But there was that disconcerting knock. And then a shout, "Hey!"
Bob looked out trying to focus through his heavily encrusted window to make a face out of the distortion there.
The window handle had long broken off so the option of opening the window was not the road to be taken. He tried to wipe at least a little of the grime off the inside of the window with the side of his hand. It only made the vision more blurred.
It was a female. At least he had that figured out. Young, too, who was asking him, "Hey mister. Will you buy me a bottle? Please. I don't have any money. Please, just buy a bottle for me. Look. I'll do anything you want. Please!"
Bob got out of the cab, still wavering from the lengthy intense verbal thrashing he had just gotten from his ex-wife. To steady himself, he held onto the pickup's door as he very unsoundly planted his feet on the parking lot pavement.
The girl saw his insecure movements and said, "You need help Mister?
"No. I'm OK," Bob answered, adding, "But thanks."
That little exchange warmed his heart, like nothing had in hours. He had hit rock bottom emotionally and just that little ounce of concern, somehow, made him feel so much better. Someone cared. Yes, someone cared. Even if it was a stranger.
Then he asked her, "What do you want from the liquor store?"
"Anything," came the reply. "Rum is my favorite," She said. "Blue Flame is the best. But any brand of Rum is fine."
"Rum it will be," and Bob went into the store telling her to get into the cab while she waited. She looked cold and didn't have on a coat, just a tattered T-Shirt and well worn jeans.
Bob bought a fifth for him and a fifth for her. When he came out, she was in the passenger seat waiting anxiously.
As Bob got back into the pickup truck's cab, before she could say anything, he asked her if she had eaten.
She hung her head, shook it, looked over and told him, "No. Not today."
"Look," Bob said, "I haven't eaten since I had just a cup of coffee for breakfast, so I'm starved too."
"You did say, you'd do anything for the Rum, so how about this, we'll get pizza and go back to my place and eat it. Then we can figure out just what you can do for me."
"Yeah. Whatever," She said."
Bob pulled out his cell phone and called for a large pie for pickup. His home was about 15 minutes away and in the time it took to get to the Pizza Parlor, it would be ready for pickup.
"Give me the bottle so I can take a swig," she said.
Bob replied, "Beer is better with pizza. I have cold beer at home. Then after we finish you can make Rum Boilermakers."
"What's that?" she asked. "What's a Rum Boilermaker?"
"A shot of Rum, followed by a swig of Beer to wash it down." He told her, "It just makes the Rum go down smoother that's all.
"It just goes down so much smoother! It takes off the edge off the pure Rum. Washes it down so to speak."
"OK," she said. "Rum Boilermakers it is."
The pizza shop Bob often used was one of the rare places that had a Drive-In Window. To use it, you had to have an automatic billing account and you had give them a permission slip, sort of like a contract, to use your credit card for automatic billing.
No cash went in, nor change out of the window. Long ago they had a problem with kids calling, ordering for pickup and pies wasted.
He trusted them, their pizza was great and he had been using them for years. His pizza was waiting when he pulled up to the window. For regular customers they offered a free topping.
He didn't have to tell them anymore which topping he wanted. He was such a regular customer and always asked for mushrooms. All he had to say was, "My Regular Pizza."
When she asked why he didn't have to pay, Bob, just to make it easily understandable, explained he had an account there. "It is great to not have to worry about paying every time," he said as he handed her the box.
"Mushrooms. Cool!" she said opening it, grabbed a slice, wolfing down in a second flat. Then she grabbed a second piece.
Bob laughed. "I guess you were hungry."
"Yeah, thanks. I actually haven't eaten in two days!" she told him.
"Oh. Sorry," he replied. Then as he approached his place, he wondered to himself if she had a place to sleep, a bed to lie in, even somewhere to live.
Bob lived in a one bedroom apartment. He lived frugally and truly didn't have much, except a heart.
When they got into his place, Bob told her to go sit down at the kitchen table and he'd get some cold beer for them to drink with their pizza.
She sat down. Bob reached for a couple of plates, got two cans of beer from the fridge and set everything down on the table.
She immediately took the beer, popped it open and took a healthy swig. She let out a very unfeminine, five second, beer-belch and laughed. "I needed that," she said.
Bob laughed too and that helped them both relaxed a little.
Introductions came as the last two pieces of pizza were being devoured.
He started it when he told her that his name was Bob.
She laughed, "Yeah. I knew that. Remember, you ordered the Pizza." then she told him her name was "Casey." The usual, "Nice to meet yous" came and then Bob asked her if she had a place to sleep.
"Well, not really," Casey told him. "My father died about five years ago from cancer. My mom's had a string of horrible live in boyfriends. Her latest boyfriend letched on me something fierce.
"At night after my mom was in bed asleep, he would come into my room and feel me up. He even fingered me a couple of times. It hurt.
"Last week he told me we were going to have sex. I told him no and he told me then he would rape me.
"I told my mom about it and she told me I was lying, trying to wreck her relationship and threw me out into the street. That was a week ago. I've been on the street ever since."
"I'm not a virgin. But telling me he was going to rape me, it made my stomach turn inside out. I couldn't have lived there a day longer either, but living on the street is real tough."
"Look Casey," Bob started. "You said you would do anything for a bottle. I can understand that, but I don't want you to do anything here, with me, that you don't want to do.
"First, if you just want to drink the whole bottle of Rum in one gulp and crash, that's up to you.
"If you want to give me sexual favors, which is what I interpreted you meant when you said 'Anything, ' then that's OK. Just as if you don't want to do anything, that's OK too.
"As you can see," Bob said as he waived his arm slowly around his sparsely furnished apartment. "I don't have much and the only thing I ask is that you don't take anything I have. Don't steal from me.
"That is the only thing I ask. Don't steal from me.
"So, I'm guessing you don't have a place to stay. You are welcome to stay here, but you will need to earn your keep by not making a mess.
"Basically what I have, I am willing to share, as long as you need it. I don't eat fancy, but I do ask that if you share what little I have, that you share with the work it takes to keep up this place.
"That means, washing dishes, laundry. Not all of everything. Just a share. Oh, and of course, personal hygiene.
"I don't think you've had a bath in more than a week and, yeah, I can tell. So you will have to bathe and wash, regularly.
"I'm not expecting any payment from you or any favors either.
"Companionship would be nice, but is not required. More than that would be nice too. But nothing of a personal nature is required except, civility.
"I don't have any female clothing here but I do have a washer and dryer so at least the clothes you have on can get a cleaning. I can loan you some of my clothes, which I know will not fit you too well. So while your stuff is being washed and until it dries, that will have to do. At least for now.
"If you can stand me and you are still here tomorrow, we can get you a few things that will make you feel better. My treat. Sorry, it won't be much, but at least it will be something.
"One more thing, Bob added. If you are going to stay here for any length of time, it is only courtesy for you to tell me, like how long you are going to be out, and, you know, when you expect to return. It's not fair to just disappear because I'll worry.
"I'll do the same for you.
"So, so far does that sound OK to you," he asked.
Casey smiled at Bob and said, "So far. So good!" as she finished the last bite of pizza.
Strange, Bob thought to himself. She didn't finish her beer. Trying to think back, he didn't remember her taking any after her initial belch. Maybe there was hope.
And then he realized, he hadn't taken a drink at all. His beer can was open but still was full.
Being able to concentrate on someone else's problems had done the trick. Silently he thanked her. Tomorrow he would not have a raging hangover.
"Look," Bob finally told her, "I think a bath is in order. I'll put out a wash cloth and towel in there for you. I'll also lend you a pair of my boxers and a t-shirt and put them in the bathroom for you to wear afterward."
"Thanks," she said. "I'd like that."
Then he added, "There is an extra tooth brush in the bathroom you can use too. It's the red one. Mine is blue. Brush your teeth first. You have a wicked case of Tiger Breath."
Bob, gathered one of his paisley adorned boxers and a plain lavender t-shirt. He knew that girls loved to wear boy's boxers and t-shirts so he figured they were a good choice and could double as sleepwear.
He laid them on the hamper in the bathroom. Topped them with a bath towel and a wash cloth.
Bob returned to the kitchen and told Casey it was all set up and he had even turned on the bath water for her. He found an old box of bath salts he had intended as a gift for his ex before she became such a bitch.
He opened it, added some to her bath water to make the water silky for her and to add a nice floral aroma. Bob hoped it would be a nice little surprise for her.
Casey got up and went into the bathroom and he heard her start to brush her teeth.
Bob, put away the leavings from dinner and poured the beer down the drain. Boilermakers could come later and with the beer cold in the fridge and the bottles sitting on the counter, there would be no fumbling. What was going to happen, would happen.
Bob, got out a satin sheet, a blanket and a pillow for the couch, where he assumed she would want to sleep. Then he went into his bedroom and got out of his dungarees, shirt and underwear and slipped on his usual nighttime attire, fleece pajama bottoms.
He hadn't noticed that Casey didn't close the bathroom door. Nor had she closed the shower curtain across the bathtub.
He was thirsty and as he walked by the bathroom doorway to get some juice from the fridge, Casey called to him.
Bob, looked into the bathroom and Casey was in the tub, smiling at him. Although he was startled a little, he smiled back and said, "Yes?"
She had suds all over her shoulders, her arms and plenty on her chest, sort of hiding herself in the cloud of suds. Bob didn't enter the bathroom, he just savored the sight of a female in his bathroom. It had been a long time he thought to himself.
She was smiling at him. "Would you mind? Do you have some shampoo? I'd really like to do my hair. It is so greasy and dirty."
"Sure," he replied and going into the bathroom, he got a fresh bottle out of the utility closet. Turning to hand it to Casey, he stopped dead in his tracks. There she was, standing up in the tub.
His breath caught in his throat. Yeah, there was a lot of soap foam all over her, but her figure was phenomenal. Even though they were caught up in the soap foam, he could see her breasts were not too large and not too small either. Her hips flared and her stomach was flat. She looked so mature and so youthful at the same time
But, because she had been sitting in the tub, there was no soap suds below her waist line. He could see she was clean shaven, except for a hint of stubble, and there was a nice space between her thighs, accentuating her sex.
Bob struggled with all of his might not to stare. Not to let lust boil up from his loins. It took all of his strength to take the three steps to her and hand her the shampoo.
"Thank you," said Casey. Then, smiling at him and holding onto the hand he had extended toward her clutching the shampoo, She spoke.
"You don't have to go. Why don't you keep me company. I've been avoiding just about everyone for a week now and having someone to talk to is comforting."
Seeing hesitation and confusion in his eyes, she just said softly, "Please?" and lifted the shampoo from his hand.
Bob, said "OK," put down the toilet seat cover and sat on it.
Not wanting to appear rude by staring at her, he placed his hands on his lap and kept his visual attention centered there.
"Hey, I'm over here," Casey said to him fairly soon.
Looking up and over at her, Bob told her, "Sorry. I just didn't want to be rude by staring at you. You are very beautiful and to be honest, I haven't had a woman or more specifically, a nude one, in this apartment since I moved in here over 5 years ago."
"Really?" Casey asked. "A handsome guy like you should have women crawling over him."
By then Casey was reclining back against the far edge of the bathtub, twirling a locket of her hair as she looked at him. Still a radiant smile on her face. The soap suds had disappeared and her breasts were unadorned so he could measure them with his eyes.
"Like them?" she asked.
Very embarrassed that he had looked too long, he averted his line of sight right back to his hands, lowering his head a little.
By the time he said, "I'm sorry," Casey was right there kneeling in front of him. Looking softly up into his eyes.
"Look Bob. I didn't mean to embarrass you. I'm sorry. I know you are trying real hard to be a gentleman. I appreciate that. I may only be 22 but I'm not a little girl.
"I like the way you look at me. Yes, I can see the desire there in your eyes and I can appreciate how you are restraining yourself. I don't mind if you look at me. It makes me feel sexy; wanted ... and not by someone who intends to rape me.
"Yeah, I understand how the male anatomy works and I saw a little tent pop up in your pajama bottoms a moment ago. So don't worry. You can look all you want.