Any resemblance between the content of this story or any of the characters depicted herein and real persons or events is highly unlikely and purely coincidental.
It was a typical Friday night at the restaurant, meaning lots of work but mostly stingy tips from young couples too poor to be generous. The restaurant I worked at was respectable and romantic enough so dates did not feel like their partner was being cheap, but the prices were low enough that they could still afford hugely overpriced movie popcorn or whatever afterwards. Thankfully, there were enough older couples and families mixed in to make it worth working since their tips were offsetting the pathetic little ones. Considering wait staff only got paid $3.00 an hour, tips were what we survived on. As usual for a Friday, my money was coming from the quantity of tips I was getting, not the quality of them. Of course, the fact I was a guy meant I could not flirt up tips like the waitresses did. In short, that meant I was busting my ass pretty much nonstop.
The only thing that had made the night worthwhile was when I looked up and saw four heart-stoppingly beautiful women waiting to be seated. My girlfriend Terry, her older sister Lisa, and their friends Monica and Chandra had stopped by! God, she was so hot! Terry's Nordic beauty perfectly offset my Black Irish ancestry. Her blonde hair and blue eyes contrasted nicely with my black hair and green eyes. The only thing we shared was our pale Northern skin that went straight from white to burned lobster red in the sun. Her sister was a slightly older, shorter clone of Terry. Monica was from what I privately think of as peasant stock, being shorter and solidly built, not fat, just solid, with amazing curves, brown hair and eyes and skin that tanned beautifully. Chandra was the one who really stood out among us. Being from Cape Verde, she had extremely black hair and skin, which made us look even paler in comparison.
While we were not a formal pre-pack, they had made it pretty clear that none of them would say no to me when the time came. Of course, there was also the unspoken expectation that they would be the only ones I asked to go with me. Except for my girlfriend, I had not had sex with any of them, nor would I until we were picked up. I still had a little bit of pre-Confederacy morals, and did not believe in sleeping with multiple girls at the same time. Of course, I had heard that polygamy was required in the colonies, but I was not going to engage in it until we were headed there.
Honestly though, even if all three of them turned out to be awful in bed I would still be happy to have them as concubines and not just because they were all beautiful. We all got along really well and had enough overlapping interests to always have something to talk about. I really enjoyed just hanging out with them and talking. I would not lie and say thoughts of jumping in bed with any or all of them never crossed my mind, but they would remain fantasies until we were picked up, if we ever were.
"Hey Mike, how's it hanging?" Terry asked when they came within whispering distance.
"Same as when you put it away earlier," I replied with a jesting leer, which caused her to blush.
"Ok, I'm jealous. Little sis is getting as much as she wants and I'm left hanging high and dry," Lisa teased.
After surreptitiously making sure the sudden tightness in my pants was not visible, I teased back, "Not my fault you decided to go without. You are the one who swore off boyfriends remember?"
"Yeah, yeah, but when I swore off boyfriends I didn't plan on swearing off sex as well!" was her rejoinder as she gave me a pointed look that did nothing to ease the tightness of my pants.
"Who knows, maybe tonight will be your lucky night," I said with another leer, enjoying watching her blush as I turned the verbal tables back on her.
I quickly added in explanation, "There's a pretty good crowd and a group of ex-jarheads are having a 10-year reunion of their company being disbanded in the back room."
All four of them perked up at that. It was not the thought of a bunch of drunk, rowdy, middle-aged ex-Marines, but rather how a group of them, gathered in one place, would greatly increase the odds of a pickup occurring. Luckily, I had an empty table in my section where I was able park the girls. I was really hoping they could stay for a few hours at least ... just in case. Thankfully, as soon as I had mentioned the reunion out back, they abandoned their movie plans and they settled in for a long night, hoping it would be worth it.
After about an hour, of which I only managed to spend a few minutes with them, I finally got a moment to catch my breath since my section was temporarily almost empty. Just as I was heading toward my neglected girlfriend's table, the manager, Jack, whom we all called Jackass, intercepted me.
"Would you mind helping out the kitchen staff and take out the trash?" he asked, as if it was actually a question and not an order. Just once, I would have loved to see the look on his face if I had said, "Yes, actually, I do mind," in response to one of his passive aggressive question/orders.
Of course, as usual, I just gritted my teeth and gave a sort of grunt that implied how much I would love to do the job of the lazy slobs in the kitchen. I blew a kiss to Terry and waved to the others as I headed out back and grabbed the full trash bags. I came very close to herniating myself as I heaved them up. Wondering what the fuck was in them, I tried again. This time I managed to get all four of them up off the floor and I staggered out the back door. It was really stupid to carry them all in one trip, but I wanted to get back to my girlfriend as quickly as possible.
When I got to the dumpster, I dropped the squishy bags and heaved them one by one into the dumpster. As the last bag flew into the dumpster it tore open so, when it hit the pile of bags at the bottom, everything in it splattered out. In particular, a large amount of salsa flew up into the air, arcing gracefully up over the lip of the dumpster and back at me. Luckily, I had turned away as soon as I had tossed the last bag, so it was only a side silhouette I made in the salsa debris field.
For a minute I just stood there in disbelief, with salsa dripping off my uniform and out of my hair. All I could do was look up and say, "What the fuck did I do to deserve this?" Needless to say, there was no apparent answer. Shaking my head in dismay, I started walking towards the back door of the restaurant, wiping gelid globs of salsa off as I went.
Just before I reached the door, I plowed hard into a grey barrier that had not been there a second ago. "Oh for fucks sake, what is this shit?" I yelled at the top of my lungs. Blood from my nose was joining the salsa adorning my uniform as I stared at the grey barrier in furious disbelief. It took a few seconds for the light to dawn on me what the massive grey barrier really was. It had to be a Confederacy interdiction field! That was when I got really pissed, while at the same time my stomach was sinking down to my feet. I knew exactly what its being there meant, and far worse, I was on the wrong damn side of it!
"Hey fuck nuts, I'm a sponsor, let me in!" I yelled as I pounded uselessly on the solid barrier before me.
Bloody fucking hell! My girlfriend, her super hot and horny sister and their two really hot friends were in there, and here I was with a 7.6 stuck outside. Less then ten god-damned seconds earlier and I would have been inside enjoying a mini-orgy, instead I was standing in the reeking alley, all alone.
All alone? Nope, I spoke too soon ... of course.
"Sponsor huh? You don't look like much to us, just a coward who wants to abandon Earth and take our women with him as fuck toys," a cold, angry voice said.
A quick glance confirmed that I was screwed. Four against one was bad odds at the best of times. The baseball bats they were carrying tipped the odds from bad to suicidal. I knew some kung fu, but nothing that would help me survive against these punks. I took the only realistic option open to me and bolted like a scared rabbit.
This was just fucking great. I was dripping blood and covered with salsa, separated by a thin grey barrier I could never cross from my girlfriend and a life of paradise with her and her friends, running for my life from a group of anti-Confederacy neanderthals. That was when I made a critical mistake.
I muttered to myself, "How could this night possibly get any worse?" as I pelted around the back of the strip-mall that the restaurant was in. You should always be careful what you asked, because you never knew when the Fates might decide that it was a challenge.
I raced around the building and was suddenly faced with a tiny bit of evidence that maybe God did not completely hate me. A surprisingly large crowd had quickly gathered outside the grey barrier around the restaurant. It was large enough that I was easily able to lose myself among them before the punks chasing me got around the corner.
"Whew, that was too fucking close," I whispered to myself, while I stood there panting and rubbed blood off my throbbing nose. "Now what the hell do I do?" I wondered aloud.
That was when a random comment by my girlfriend popped up through the sludge clogging my mind. When we had first started dating, she mentioned something about having legal custody of her thirteen-year-old half-sister, "just in case of a pick-up." Thankfully, her sister Meredith was not going to turn fourteen for another month. As I raced for my car, I was thinking that maybe if I presented myself as a sponsor when the Marines went to pick her up, they would take me as well.
Jumping in my car, I jammed the key in the ignition and twisted it, only to have nothing happen but a few slow clicks. All I could do was just sit there in stunned disbelief. So quickly were my rekindled hopes dashed. My eyes were burning with unshed, angry tears at how unfair it was. For a long minute, I seriously considered going back to see if I could find those idiots with the bats so they could beat my brains in. It seemed I was wrong; He had just been boosting me up for the next fall.
It had now become painfully obvious that God, or the Fates, definitely had it out for me. Looking up, I could easily envision a cosmic toilet seat appearing over my head like a glowing halo with the Divine fundament settling down onto it and taking aim right at me. This evening was too fucking depressing to be believed. Giving up all hope, I sent a steady stream of vitriol and invective skyward and slumped in my defunct car, defeated.
When the grey field finally dropped, the mob swarmed in, and then almost immediately they trickled out again, disappointed. I could have told them it was no use, that the Confederacy would be long gone before the barrier dropped. Sighing in resignation, I levered myself out of my car and headed inside, my nearly two hour break finally over. I hoped my girlfriend would be happy with whoever had agreed to be her sponsor. I already missed her bright smile and tinkling laughter.
"Stop it!" I ordered myself and gave myself a mental kick in the pants. Going inside, I was amazingly unsurprised to find Terry and the other three girls were gone. The place was a mess, with piles of clothes everywhere and unmentionable fluids on many tables. With a depressed sigh, I dug in. I did not have the heart to look for my girlfriend's clothes since it would just hurt too much to see them, so I stayed out of my section. I was going to put off cleaning my area until last.
The real irony was that the only reason I had taken this crummy job was to increase my odds of getting picked up. I had never in a million years thought I would be cleaning up after a pick up I had missed. The only bright side was that there were plenty of purses and wallets left behind, so my "tips" for the night were going to be excellent. It took a surprisingly long time before it occurred to me that I was the only one cleaning up and emptying the abandoned wallets. Curiosity aroused, I shook off my depressed apathy long enough to see who else was left of the staff. After doing quick rounds, I found the only three left behind huddled in the kitchen griping about being left behind while chowing down on the most expensive steaks we sold. It was not surprising at all that they were the ones I disliked the most, including Jackass. The idea of restarting my life alone while working with them was so unappealing, I simply gave up. I collected a few more wallets and purses and emptied them of cash. I did not feel like it was stealing since they had all been abandoned by people who were going to a place where money was meaningless. I am not sure what it said about me, that I had no problem taking cash from wallets that were left behind, but I never touched any of the hi-tech gadgets that people had abandoned, and it never even dawned on me to take anyone's car keys. In my defense, my mind was not really working too well.
I decided to call it a day and was about to leave when I realized two things, one was that my car did not work and the other was that I was still pretty icky from the salsa bath. It was kind of funny how it had been so overshadowed that I had completely forgotten about it until I ran my fingers through my hair and they got stuck. I slipped out back to the bathrooms, avoiding my erstwhile co-workers in the process. After a quick clean-up in the bathroom, I was feeling a bit better physically and was ready to get the hell out of there. As I emerged from the bathroom, I could hear voices coming from the front of the restaurant. Since I was really not in the mood to deal with people right then, I sneaked through the kitchen and out the back door.
Because my car was dead and I did not feel like waiting for a tow truck tonight, I decided to take the bus to my girlfriend's apartment. I guess I needed to start thinking in the past tense about our relationship. So, my EX-girlfriend's apartment was only a block away from a bus stop, whereas mine was a several mile walk from the nearest bus stop. Also, I might as well grab my stuff from her apartment while I was there, since either her family or her former landlord would be claiming her belongings soon. Once again, my eyes teared up and I angrily dashed the tears away, feeling pathetic and miserable and alone.
The bus was never a fun thing to ride at the best of times. That night it was unbearable. I was alone, depressed, sore and stunk of old salsa. If that was not bad enough, several people were talking about the pickup that I had missed out on. The longing in their voices as they described how much they would have loved heading to the stars with a sponsor <giggle> twisted the knife buried firmly in my heart.
Since I had never taken the bus to my girlfriend's place, I had no real idea that it was such a long trip. About halfway there two drunks get on, so then I had to deal with the added aromas of whiskey and stale body odor that clashed nauseatingly with my salsa stench. I came very close to asking if the night could get any worse, but I stopped myself in time, just in case.
"Have a nice night," the annoyingly cheerful bus driver said to me as I got off the bus.