Sittin' here thinkin', like usual, is a bummer. Been doin' a lot of it lately, sittin' on a bar stool. The thinkin's mostly 'bout women. I like women. Hell, who doesn't? Problem for me is they ain't exactly beatin' down my door tryin' to get to me. I'm the beast in the drama, right? So where's my goddamn beauty! Answer, nowhere I know of. But, I'm a realist.
Like I'm sayin', pretty I ain't; hell, I got more in common with Quasimodo than Tom Cruise. When I was young, it made a difference; it bothered me, a lot: got me into a lot of fights—won most of them though. Now, in my thirties, it no longer does—bother me that is—well, that's what I keep telling myself. Helluva thing.
Who am I? I'm Oscar Church; Ozzie or Oz to my friends: six-two, one ninety, balding, and really-really not pretty. Yeah, and I know it and I deal with it. Long face, pinched nose, gray eyes too close together, and actual scars left over from major bouts with acne when I was young.
Girlfriends? None whatsoever, I mean almost never; I mean I really almost never had one. A couple when I was in the army is all, Filipinas, but no more. Last piece of ass cost me a hundred; the one before that sixty-five dollars—hey, it's all I had, and she was an amateur. Career, well, it ain't a career exactly; I clean up, do minor repairs, and occasionally a little bouncing at Santoro's place—uh—bar, seven nights a week. Good money though. Three bills a week tax free and a place to shack up in the back. Hard to beat that if I do say so.
Sittin' here thinkin' 'bout women is gettin' me nowhere. What I'd really like to be doin' is gettin' married. Hell yes I would! It'd be nice, I think, maybe, possibly. Anyway, just wanna try it, okay! Just wanna try it, I mean bein' married to a real honest to goodness woman. I'm thinkin' that'd be real good. Yeah, real good.
Two tours for Uncle Sam a decade gone made me tough, mean, and evil. Did a buncha stuff in the army, killed me some stinkies; but, learned me no goddamn fancy career—they'd lied to me 'bout that. Really pissed me off too. I wanted to do that computer stuff, but my fucking test scores weren't no good. Oh, they, my scores, were good enough to get me in; but instead of to school to learn computers, they learned me how to shoot and fight—I already knew how to do those—oh yeah, and crawl real quiet in really wet mud. But hey, I did get to travel some: Iraq, Iran, a couple of other places, but none of them were worth a shit.
"Oz, you daydreaming again?" said Amos. Amos Carter is my bud and the head barkeep at Santoro's.
"Yeah, I guess," I said. "It's either that or spend all night talking to you." I was all but laughing.
"Yeah, well you could do worse," he said, throwing his bar towel in my direction. I caught it.
"Yeah, I reckon so," I said. "Anyway, I'm gonna be takin' a walk; I gotta get some air." I tossed a five spot down and pushed back from the bar. He waved at me as I slid off the stool and headed out. I shivered; the night air was cold. I'd gone maybe five or six blocks. To my left was a gas station with a combo-convenience store. The cold made me want to pee, so I headed inside to take care of my need—some things won't wait.
"Hey guy, where are the heads?" I said. A pasty faced youth looked up.
"Out back, across the parking lot," he said. I headed out and around the building. I could see the little out-building housing the station's restrooms across the parking lot. I saw the light go out in one of the rooms; somebody was finishing up.
The men's was on the left and I started up the three steps. I heard a noise, like a yelp coming from the women's. I heard it again. I went over and was about to knock.
"No!" said a woman's voice. "Please no!" It didn't take no genius to figure out what was going on. I threw open the door. Time stood still.
A man holding a switchblade turned to see who was interrupting his business. A woman with torn clothes and with her genitals exposed lay on the toilet floor.
"Motherfucker!" said the bladist. He came at me. The knife hand came out and thrust toward me. I grabbed the assailant's wrist, twisted it, bent the arm backward snapping it. I drove the point deep into the man's torso and twisted his wrist; he was dead even if he didn't know it yet. He began to sink floorward. I let loose the man's now dangling arm.
I turned my attention to the woman. She'd already been raped, that was clear, and she'd been about to be murdered. She stared at me. Her eyes were open wide and unblinking.
"Ma'am?" I said. She had pulled herself into an even tighter fetal ball. "Ma'am, it's okay. He's done."
I reached for her hand. I wanted to get her out of the freakin' bathroom. She pulled away from me. I backed away. I pulled my new cell phone; I hoped I still had enough minutes. I punched in 911. As I spoke to the faceless woman on the other end of the line, the victim whimpered. God I felt bad for her! It was tough being a woman, I guess.
We were soon surrounded by a mess of local cops. Amazing how a dead body can generate interest on the part of them guys, not to mention the media. I'd stayed with the woman until the arrival of the police and the EMT guys. I was questioned and released. Apparently the bad guy was well known to the uniforms. One policeman actually congratulated me for killing the asshole. I didn't feel all that good about it, but I'd killed enough in the Middle East so that one more stinky made exactly zero difference to me.
One night of excitement and then back to the grind. I never did get to talk to the woman, that is, not that night. Didn't know her name, nothin'. The cops and EMTers got her out of there and to the hospital pretty quick. I wondered how she was, but after a couple of days, memory of her began to fade.
One Month later:
It was Thursday night, 10PM, and I was fixin' an electrical wire in the kitchen. Cal Robey, the main cook at Santoro's was pissed because his refrigerator wasn't cooling like it was supposed to. A looker, that I had never seen before, came into the back where I was working.
"The bathrooms are out there and to the right," I said, pointing toward the double doors she'd just come through as she approached me.
"Bathrooms? Oh, no, I don't need the restroom," she said.
"Okay. I know it ain't me you're looking for," I said. "So whaddya need?"
"You," she said. I gave her a look.
"Me? What? I mean what would a woman lookin' like you want with a guy who looks like me?" I said.
"Hey, you ain't accusin' me of somethin' are yuh?" I said. "I ain't done nothin' wrong." All of a sudden she had a knitted brow, like she'd just figured something out. She looked—what—embarrassed.
"Huh? Oh no! No, no. I'm not accusing you of anything. Well, actually, I take that back. I sort of am," she said.
"Then what? I said. I know I had suspicion painted all over my face.
"Well," she said, now she was smiling. "I'm accusing you of saving my life. And I have a ton of evidence to prove that you're guilty."
"Huh?" I said.
"A month ago. In back of the Shell station," she said. She smiled, undoubtedly because I was becoming red-faced.
"Oh—the girl—in the bathroom—at the station," I said. "You look real different."
"Yes, the girl in the bathroom. The girl you saved from the man who was going to kill her. I'm Belinda Shafer," she said, stretching out her hand to shake mine.
"Ozzie—uh—Oscar, Oscar Church. Nice to—uh—meet yuh," I said. "I mean we already met, but..."
"Same here for sure. And yes, I guess you could say we did kind of meet before, but not formally. Can I ask you a question Ozzie? You don't mind if I call you Ozzie?" She said.
"Okay. And no—I mean you can call me Ozzie if you want," I said.
"Would you have dinner with me. I feel like—well—like I'd like to get to know my savior a little better," she said. I stared at her. Girls that looked like her made it a point to "not" talk to me. Yeah, I knew this was different: I'd saved her. But, dinner with her? Even if it wasn't a real date, I knew I'd never again have a shot like this one. Hell, I figured, I might even get a pretty good thank you kiss out of it, and I hadn't had a female kiss me in a coon's age.
"Okay. Sure—I mean fine," I said. She smiled.
"Great. Saturday night?" she said.
"Sure, sure, I'll get it off, and we can go someplace nice," I said. "I can afford it. You wouldn't think it, but I make some good bucks here." She frowned.
"Ozzie, this dinner, that we're going to have; it's on me. And, you're right; it will be someplace real nice," she said. She was smiling again. I was glad about that, but her payin'? That weren't gonna happen. Ain't no woman ever paid my way. She weren't gonna be the first, not hardly.
"Sure. Okay," I said, but I had my fingers crossed behind my back. Now we were both smiling big time. We talked for a few minutes about what time and how dressy and stuff, and then she was gone.
I didn't have a car, but I wanted to pick her up. She'd offered to drive, but I had not been goin' for that. So, I picked her up in a cab. She'd argued with me about that—gently—but had finally given in.
When she opened the door, she took my breath away. Short purple dress, high heels, fantastic rack and ass, the face of an angel, shoulder length black hair, dark eyes that positively sparkled, full lips clearly capable of destroying a man: everything was perfect. Me on the other hand...
I wore my bud Amos' suit. He was my size and I'd bought a new tie and a new pair of shoes to go with the outfit. I looked pretty good, well, for me.
.... There is more of this story ...