Chapter 40

Copyright© 2015 by Bill Offutt

"Damn, Bud, " said Maryann Winsor, "you sure are heavy. Roll off a'me."

"Sorry, sweetie," Bud sighed, thoroughly satisfied and ready to relax, perhaps even nap for a while, his mind free of thought. He yawned loudly and then belched.

He and the oldest of the flamboyant sisters were in the back room of their small house in Woodmont and were both sweating with the effort they had put into their vigorous joining.

"Ma's gonna be home right soon," the young woman said, lighting cigarette. "I promised to get the kitchen cleaned up."

"Yeah, I suppose, but she don't care what you do, does she; anyhow I got to get to work. What time is it?"

Maryann lifted her small, white alarm clock off her bedside table and squinted at it. "Five of four," she said. "You better hurry."

Bud tossed aside the quilt, rotated quickly and put his feet on the floor, saw his underpants across the room and stood up. "Time flies when you're having fun."

Maryann laughed and dragged on her cigarette.

He dressed as quickly as he could, rooted under the bed for his shoes and then sat beside the naked girl and pulled them on. He patted her raised hip and bent to kiss her cheek.

"Bring you all a box of Whitman's next time," he said as he pulled open the door and found that Darlene, the youngest of the slatternly sisters, was standing in the hall, still wearing her school clothes and saddle shoes.

"You been listening?" he asked, reaching around to pinch her butt.

"Thought you was gonna bust the bed," she said with a smile.

Bud hurried out and trotted up the street toward the Peoples drugstore on the corner. He charged into the back room at two minutes after four, put his card in the time clock, quickly donned his apron, clamped on his paper hat, pinned on his nametag and stepped on the duckboards.

"Cutting it close, ain'cha?" said Mrs. Hammond who managed the soda fountain and lunch counter. She gave him what she thought of as a motherly smile. Her long shift ended at six.

"Yes'm," he said, "sorry."

"Wipe that lipstick off your face," she said, handing him a rag.

Bud did as he was told, feeling a blush begin to slide up his chest.

"Your bank's in the second drawer," she said. "You want to check it?"

"It's fine, I'm sure," he said. "Oop, got a customer."

For the next five hours, Bud did his soda jerk job, joshed with his friends when he served them a Coke or chocolate soda, made a few sandwiches and several milk shakes and washed dishes and glasses when business was slow. At nine, when the store closed and the manager locked the front door, the soda fountain was reasonably clean and the Coke machine was full of syrup. Bud dumped what was left of the ice in the sink, wiped up a drip of chocolate, tossed his rags and apron into the dirty clothes bag, put his hat in the trash, totaled out his cash register and sat at the end of the counter to count his money.

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