First off, thanks for all of the nice emails about the last story (Leave Her to Heaven). Even the people who thought the story was outside of their comfort zone found something nice to say. This one is more down to earth and firmly rooted in the real world. The only thing controversial about this one is the title. I originally wanted to call it Betty, but AK and Barney-R both thought it should be 8 Mile. I guess to really understand 8mile you have to live in the Detroit area, but I hope the story gives you at least a bit of it. It’s also helpful to have seen some of those Hilarious Canadian lawnmower commercials to get some of the bits.
As usual this is a longer story, so if you’re looking for a quicker two pager to help you get your tug on, I’m not mad at you, but this isn’t the story for you. Thanks as always to Barney-R for making this thing legible and to AK for her help in fleshing out some aspects of the story. Here we go. SS06
It was the warmest day we’d had in at least a couple of weeks. It was almost thirty degrees outside; and I was outside most of the time. Frankly, it worried the shit out of me. When you live in Michigan, temperatures in the mid thirties mean only one thing; SNOW.
Being without residence or independent of domicile as I liked to call it, brought about a completely different view of snow for me. You see unlike people who have some place to go, snow is not a mere annoyance to me. It doesn’t mean that I have to wake up earlier to get to work. It doesn’t mean that I’ll have to get out the shovel and do the driveway and the sidewalk. It certainly doesn’t mean I’ll be sipping any fucking tea in front of the God damned fireplace.
Snow can kill me. I’m a forty six-year-old woman. I am statistically dead in the middle of middle age. That means that there’s usually no room for me in the homeless shelters. There are two types of shelters. The juvenile homes that cater to teenagers and runaways have not only no room for me, but they can’t even house me in an emergency because their funding is specifically designed for kids.
The regular homeless shelters won’t take me because number one, I’m a woman; and with the overwhelming majority of the homeless being men, they don’t want the problems. They usually suggest that I go to a women’s shelter.
Women’s shelters tend to prioritize, younger women with small children. And although I have a child out there somewhere; he’s a twenty eight-year-old man with a wife, one child that I know of and problems of his own.
Women’s shelters also try to make room for extremely older women or women with mental problems or drug and alcohol problems. I have none of those. Most of the time they try to find me a job.
Even when they’re successful, it’s hard to keep a job when you have no place to stay. No place to stay means, no place to sleep, or to shower. It means you end up wearing the same clothes a lot which means you stink. And there are other problems too numerous to mention.
I probably shouldn’t, but I have pride. I refuse to beg for money, although there was a time when I gave it out. I always got a good feeling when I gave a dollar or two to a homeless person, never thinking in my wildest dreams that I would someday become one of them.
I dress as warmly as I can. I pick up and keep any thrown-away clothing items I can find. Every layer between the cold and my body could save my life.
I tend to like bigger men’s clothing. Not because I’m a big woman, but because bigger clothing tends to hide the curves of my body. It’s extremely dangerous for a woman on the streets.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the real world ain’t like Oliver Twist. There are no hobos with a heart of gold who share their food, like Red Skelton’s little tramp. One of the biggest dangers to homeless people is other homeless people.
When I’d been on the street for less than a month. I met up with another woman. She took me under her wing because she knew that I was new at it. She said she could tell because my clothes were in good condition, and I didn’t really stink yet.
And she was right. I’d been forced out of my home only two weeks before, and I was still sure it would be a temporary condition. I had what I considered the bare necessities, a few changes of underwear and bras, a couple of lightweight outfits, another pair of shoes, my bank card, a phone, etc. packed into an over sized backpack.
She showed me a couple of safer places to sleep and told me which places to avoid. She also showed me how to spot a good quality restaurant or store. The good quality places were important because they did something the cheap, shitty places didn’t do. They threw out food at regular intervals. And as long as you didn’t make a nuisance of yourself, they didn’t mind if you took it out of their trash. Some of them would even pack it up for you.
She also added a few lies in with the things she told me. One of those was not sleeping in your shoes. She told me that by sleeping in my shoes, I not only put more wear and tear on them, I further degraded them and my socks and my feet by not allowing them to air out and get rid of the traces of moisture that walking in them all day created. It sounded logical, so I tried it.
The third morning that we were together, I awoke to find her gone. So was my backpack, my few other belongings and even the shoes that she’d insisted I take off.
She did leave me a note. It told me that she had just taught me the most valuable lesson that anyone could. When you’re on the street; trust no one. She mentioned of course that she was only passing the information down the chain the exact way that she herself had learned it only a few months before.
I was barefoot for more than a week before I got lucky and found a nearly worn-out pair of tennis shoes that were at least a size too small in a trash can behind an apartment building. I was so happy I didn’t know what to do.
Since then many things have happened to me, and most of them were bad. So that afternoon, sensing that snow was coming, I was on high alert.
Ideally, I was looking for a place to sleep that night and for however long the snow lasted. Michigan is a really funny place in some respects. The weather can and does change in a heartbeat. And the people are just as changeable.
That day had been awful. Earlier that morning a woman with a big car and big tits had blown her horn at me. I looked towards her. Inside of her warm car, she had taken off her jacket so her boobs were on display.
She beckoned me over. She held out a handful of change, and just as I got close to her car and got an eyeful of her boobs she dropped it. I wondered if she thought that the boob show was the real reward, or if she was just teasing the bull. Either way she was being a bitch, and I wasn’t having it.
First because being a woman, her boobs meant nothing to me. And secondly, I had a lot of pride. I wasn’t going to grovel in traffic on a dangerously busy road for a bunch of pennies, nickels, and dimes.
“Pick it up,” she said.
“Fuck you, bitch!” was my answer as I turned and walked away.
I was walking along Eight Mile road; the broad expanse made famous by Eminem’s movie of the same name, when I saw them. Two homeless men heading rapidly towards me, I had a history with them. I hadn’t seen them in about a month.
I wasn’t eager to see them again. Our first meeting had involved the two of them discovering that I was a woman, followed by two days of being repeatedly being raped. Finally, they decided to pimp me out to make money.
They went so far as to line me up with a customer. I was supposed to pull off of the avenue onto a side street with the guy in his car. There I was supposed to A: collect the money. And then B: give him a blowjob. Following which he would return me to my would-be pimps.
As soon as the car door shut, I made another deal. We pulled around the corner as scheduled. I gave the guy his blowjob for free, and he let me out a mile away. It was a better deal for both of US. And hopefully neither of us would ever see my supposed pimps again.
So that afternoon, seeing them heading for me, I knew that we were not about to have a pleasant reunion. At the very least, I would be raped again. At the worst ... I didn’t want to find out.
This was after all Detroit. The body of another homeless woman wouldn’t even make the headlines. I looked in every direction for a place to bolt to and realized that I had no choice. I darted into the rushing traffic of Eight Mile’s wide expanse.
With a few angry drivers blowing their horns at me, I made it to the island that separated the eastbound traffic from the westbound traffic.
The two men trailing me looked at each other. They realized as I did the danger of what I had just done. People who don’t live in the area don’t realize that the danger that gave the men pause wasn’t from the traffic.
Eight mile road is more than just a major roadway. Eight mile is the border between Detroit and its suburbs. It is far more than just a line on a map.
As soon as you cross Eight Mile the rules change. On the Detroit side of the road, the cops have too much to do and too many serious crimes to worry about. They totally tend to ignore homeless people, and hookers are a mere annoyance.
But if you cross the road and go into Ferndale or Hazel Park, the homeless are not tolerated, and hookers are immediately prosecuted. For two cities that are so small, they aren’t really big enough to rate the classification of cities; their police departments are extremely vigilant.
And as I waited for the traffic to clear so I could go firmly into the danger zone, I noticed that the patrol car stationed a block away to catch speeders coming over the overpass had noticed the commotion I had caused.
I quickly pushed back my hood and made sure my long dirty hair was visible. For once being a woman might just save me.
As the car pulled over towards me, I prayed for the cop to stay in his car. He chirped his siren and rolled down his window.
“I’m sorry officer,” I said in my most polite voice. My voice was kind of hoarse and scratchy. I rarely speak to people, so I was out of practice talking.
“I have to get to the bus stop over there. I need to get to Kroger before the storm comes in. My car is in the shop, and I think it’s gonna snow. Of course, you could drive me,” I said.
“Next time wait for the light to change, Ma’am,” he said. Then he drove off without saying another word. He turned on his siren and lit his lights. I knew then that he’d caught someone going forty-one miles an hour. The speed limit on Eight Mile was forty.
I quickly started walking down John R towards the Kroger that was a mile away. I really didn’t want to get on a bus. The fare was a dollar seventy-five, and I had only four dollars to my name. Those four dollars could save my life, so I didn’t want to waste it.
If necessary, I could hit the twenty-four-hour Coney Island restaurant a mile the other way and buy a cup of their rancid coffee for a dollar. I could nurse that cup of coffee for more than an hour and be inside the restaurant, out of the cold during the worst of the storm if one came.
As I crossed the street absent mindedly, the sound of screeching tires alerted me to danger. Without realizing it I almost stepped right into John R’s lighter traffic. It wasn’t nearly as busy as Eight Mile, but there were still a lot of cars.
I turned my head and noticed the car that had nearly hit me. It was a blue Mustang. I recognized the car because its driver had stopped and given me money a couple of times.
“Jeezus Lady! I could have hit you,” he said. He looked at me recognizing my coat and baggy clothes. I could tell that he like most other people who’d seen me was shocked to discover that there was a woman under the moving pile of foul smelling clothes. “I know you,” he said.
“Sorry ... I was just upset. You walked right into traffic. You’ve got to be a lot more careful.” He reached into his pocket and came towards me. He gave me a five and got back into his car.
For a second, I felt as if my life was going better. Then I noticed that the cop car was back in its hiding spot. I couldn’t afford to talk to that cop again.
The guys I was running from were also waiting on the other side of Eight Mile. Their message was clear. “You’ll come back soon bitch and when you do...”
A lot of cars passed me on my way to Kroger. The weather suddenly had a new chill, and I saw the first of what would probably be many snowflakes beginning to fall.
A little while later, I was in the parking lot outside of the large store. I immediately started looking in the shopping carts outside of the store. You’d be surprised how many people accidentally leave items in their carts. There are also people who leave their returnables in a cart and never take them into the store to return them.
I once found a cart with two plastic garbage bags full of bottles. I got almost ten dollars for them.
Across the parking lot, I spotted a plastic bag that looked somewhat full in a shopping cart next to a new looking SUV.
I hurried. If the store’s cart caddies go to it before I did, it could be like taking money out of my pocket.
Just as I got to the cart, a man stepped out of the SUV and took the cart. I stood there breathless and angry. He turned and looked at me. The look of surprise on his face was second only to mine.
It was my Mustang man. “Are you shopping here too?” he asked. “I hope you’re not using the money I gave you to buy liquor.”
“I don’t drink,” I said.
“Good for you,” he said.
I looked at the car. It looked cushy inside of it and warm. I never really looked at cars up close. But the seats and carpets inside of that one were inviting. I could wait out any storm inside of that car. Shit, I could live in that thing.
“How many cars do you have?” I asked.
“Only three,” he said. “The Mustang I drive, the Mustang I’m building and this thing.”
“It’s really nice,” I said.
“I only bought it to protect my Mustang,” he said. “With this thing, I don’t have to drive it when there’s snow, or if it rains.”
“But you drove your Mustang today,” I said.
“Yeah that was almost a disaster,” he said. “We’ve been fairly dry all winter, so I’ve been driving it. I saw a weather report at lunch time that called for six to eight inches or more of fresh snow by tonight. I hurried home after work and realized that I might end up staying in all weekend and there are a few things I need if I’m gonna hole up to escape the weather.”
I nodded. He turned and went inside of the store. It was after he’d left that I noticed it. Both of our conversations had been stunted, and he was kind of crabby.
He greeted the security guard at the entrance politely, so maybe it was just me. There are a lot of people who don’t like the homeless. But I had no time to ponder such things. I had to figure out my situation and quickly. The snow around me as falling heavier and faster. It already began to form a crunchy white carpet on the surface of the parking lot and the road.
I needed to get back to the other side of Eight Mile, where I knew of several abandoned houses that I could crash in if necessary, and it looked pretty fucking necessary. The problem was my two stalkers probably knew of those same places. I’d have to keep my eyes open, stay hidden, and trust my luck.
I stayed in the store for as long as I dared. The security guard was already looking at me. I went back out into the cold and started walking towards Eight Mile. Before I made it a block, I saw a police cruiser parked near a gas station that I had to go past. The number on the side of the car was different, so there were different cops in it. But they would still wonder why I was walking around in a city where nearly everyone drove.
I turned and started walking the other way. My only hope was to make a big square and turn back to Eight Mile. The snow was falling even faster. What had the old crabby Mustang guy said? We were expecting at least six to eight inches of snow. It was probably going to be more.
After I had gone a few blocks and started to turn, figuring to walk two or three blocks perpendicular to my original direction and then turn for home, I heard the sound of a car coming up behind me. I moved over to the sidewalk as it passed me.
I began to laugh as I noticed that it was Mustang man’s SUV. Only in America, I thought. I don’t even have a place to live and that bastard is buying cars, so his cars don’t have to go out in the rain or the snow.
After I had walked a few blocks, I had more problems. My hands were freezing, even in my cheap gloves. And the wet snow was beginning to make my clothing wet through all of its layers. It was also getting dark.
A few more cars passed me and suddenly there was a wall ahead of me. Not knowing the suburban area very well, I’d meandered into a subdivision with a cul de sac. I walked back down the long street with my feet beginning to ache.
I had to expend more energy with each step because I had to lift my feet higher to clear the snow. And my shoes, someone’s worn-out running shoes, were not made for tramping through snow.
When I got to the end of the block, I saw another cop car. I realized that it was the same car that had already stopped me back near Eight Mile. He was not going to believe my bullshit about Kroger twice. I also had no ID, so I was in trouble. I stopped walking and hid behind a car parked in someone’s driveway.
Trust it to fate, it was a car that I recognized. It was Mustang Man’s SUV. The cop turned his search light on. I guess he saw me walking and to have me simply disappear had aroused his suspicions. Like criminals, cops are suspicious of everything.
While the light was turned away from me, I quickly jumped onto the porch, hoping the solid banister would cover me. I got lucky because it did. The cop car drove slowly past the house, its search light moving from one side of the street to the other.
Suddenly, the door opened and I was face to face with the Mustang man again. Even worse, he had some kind of weapon in his hand. He looked at me and then at the cop car that had reached the end of the cul de sac and had started to circle back.
It was one of those days that make you glad it’s a Friday. A day when almost every situation you run into causes you to change your plans. A day when everyone at work becomes stupid or befuddled, and you have to keep bailing them out so much that your own work begins to suffer.
To make things even worse, it was one of those days when I just felt bad, a day when my 45 years felt much older. I truly needed a boost. So I decided to take my girl out.
My girl, not my wife; the differences are far bigger than a marriage license and a ring. My girl is beautiful, well built, classic, yet modern at the same time and always makes me smile every time I see her.
My wife is a lying, scheming, conniving, no class bitch who makes me smile every time I DON’T see her. Which is really often since she left me a little over two years ago.
I’d discovered that she was having an affair with one of the assholes she worked with. I can still remember the day that I confronted them.
Anyway, my girl is irreplaceable ... Seriously. There are no more like her at home. She’s two years old now and is literally one of the last of her kind.
My baby rolled off of the assembly line on June 20th 2014. And while she isn’t the last S197 Mustang made; her VIN number proves that she’s one of the last five.
And to me that makes her one of the last real Mustangs ever made. I know they’re still making Mustangs, if you want to call them that. But that car isn’t a Mustang to me.
It’s not really even a muscle car. Ford decided to sell the Mustang worldwide. So they had to tweak the design to make the car more modern and more palatable to European buyers.
The car now has more technical bells and whistles than ever before. It has a slew of track apps like the accelerometer and line lock. It also finally has something we’ve been begging for. The Mustang finally has an independent rear suspension.
It has basically the same motor, but it has been tweaked to give it more power. Of course, it needs it. The car is longer, wider and heavier. So it needs the extra power to haul its fat ass around the track at the same speed.
I test drove several of them and just felt ... Meh ... about them. I couldn’t work up enough enthusiasm for the car to buy one. So instead of spending roughly thirty five K plus on a 2016 GT, I scoured the Internet and found a 68 fastback for a little over twenty.
I figure to spend another fifteen grand on the engine and mods, but I’ll have a one-of-a-kind car that looks like a classic but can hang with anything being produced now.
That being said, I have to take good care of my baby, because they just ain’t making them like that anymore. And someday, she’ll be a classic.
But I decided with the chance of rain or snow minimal; it would be a good day to let my baby cheer me up.
The drive to work was really fun. I love everything about my car. I love the way it drives, the way it sounds and even the way it carves through turns. Turning is effortless in the car. It’s as if we’re connected and all I have to do is think about it and the car does it.
I’ve even come to love the pony hop. The hop is the way the car’s ass end bounces when you go over a bump. I have a couple of friends who are race car drivers who told me that they actually prefer the old suspension. They claim it’s faster off the line.
Anyway, I got to work with a smile on my face and quickly lost it. To be honest it wasn’t work ... Or my coworkers that were responsible for my shitty mood. It was the calendar. I’d awakened that morning and realized that it was exactly two years three months and fourteen days since Sharon had disappeared.
That is significant because it meant that as of that day, I was a free man ... Well almost. I had waited three months and fourteen days after Sharon left to file for divorce. I’d used abandonment as the grounds. My lawyer told me the papers couldn’t be filed for two years. I paid him to go ahead and draw them up.
He’d called me two weeks before and told me that he’d be submitting them and in thirty days, or less I would legally be a free man, whether Sharon miraculously showed up after all of this time or not.
I hadn’t done much over the past two years or so. I’d traded in my old Mustang and gotten the one I drive now. I’d bought the 68 and started working with a local restorer to make it what I wanted. But other than that I had wallowed in my misery, wondering what I had done wrong.
I also developed a healthy dislike and mistrust of most women. There were several women I knew who were sniffing around me like dogs in heat when I gave them the chance to get within spitting distance. But I tried to keep those times to a minimum.
I was professionally courteous to the women I worked with. But I gently rebuffed any attempts to socialize outside of work.
The weather report had just been the cap on an already shitty day. I had to get out of there and get my baby home before the flakes fell. I also needed to stop off and buy a few things to get me through a weekend where there was a chance of me being snowed in.
Truthfully that wasn’t really a problem, I had just bought a new Ford Escape with four wheel drive to replace the Jeep I’d been driving for winters for the past eighteen years.
I’d looked into the new newer Jeeps and really didn’t like them. Jeep was trying too hard to make them more sophisticated and by doing so had made them less bullet proof. There were more recalls on Jeeps made in the past five years than there had been on the previous twenty.
The new Jeeps also weren’t as easy to work on. With the older Jeeps, you can fix almost anything on them in your garage or your driveway. I remember replacing an alternator, a water pump, the serpentine belt and doing a tune up on my 1999 Cherokee on a Saturday afternoon. I drove it to the woods the next day for my Sunday morning run.
The modern Jeeps spend more time in the repair shop than they do on the trails. So much for progress.
I left the office a bit earlier than normal. I could almost feel the snowflakes hitting my baby’s paint. As I hit the freeway headed home, I decided that I was cutting it too close. I figured I would stop by home and switch cars before doing my shopping.
I had just gotten off of the freeway and turned onto John-R when I noticed a homeless guy that I’d seen in the neighborhood a few times stepping off of the curb right in front of me.
My huge Brembo brakes reined the pony in before we clipped him. I got out of the car to give the guy a piece of my mind and noticed that the guy was a woman. She was dirtier than a full bag of topsoil, and she smelled awful, but she was definitely a woman.
I ended up giving her a few bucks because I felt guilty for not recognizing that she was a woman before.
I made it home just as the snowflakes I’d imagined began to fall in earnest.
I put my Mustang in the garage and took the Escape. I drove to the Kroger store in my neighborhood. I fiddled with the Satellite radio in the Escape for a few moments and got out of the car. The snow was beginning to come down faster then.
I reached for a shopping cart near where I had parked and came face to face with the homeless gu ... er woman from before. The woman was as hard to get rid of as a cockroach. Everywhere I turned, there she was.
We had a brief and unpleasant conversation, and I went into the store. I bought far more than I’d gone to the store looking for, but that always seems to be the case.
I drove home and despite the fact that I’d just gone grocery shopping, stopped for pizza. I slogged through the snow and put the food away. I checked on the Mustangs and made sure the garage was closed and locked up tight.
I checked my cable box and decided to watch that Batman vs. Superman movie that I’d missed in the theaters. It hadn’t stayed there for very long and less than six months later, it was on TV. I was pretty sure that Affleck wasn’t going to get an Oscar nod for this one, but I wanted to see it for myself.
That was the evening I’d planned. I was just about to start the movie when I heard something hit my front porch. A few seconds later, a bright light went across my drapes. I went to the door and opened it to see a police car down the block with its spotlight moving across the houses as if it was looking for something.
Huddled in the corner of my porch was ... Oh shit! The homeless cockroach.
“Please,” she begged. The anguish in her voice affected me. The police car had completed its sweep and was turning around to head back.
I opened the door, and she crawled in behind me. I continued to stare at the cop car. As it passed, the officers inside of it noticed me and stopped.
“What’s going on officer?” I asked.
“There was a suspicious person walking around the neighborhood,” he said.
“Does he have a weapon?” I asked. “Is he dangerous?” My questions were designed to give him the impression that I had no idea what was going on. By not knowing that the person he sought was a woman, it gave him the impression that I hadn’t seen her and knew nothing.
“Don’t worry sir,” he said. “It’s a woman and I think she’s homeless.”
“Oh ... So you guys are gonna take her to a shelter?” I asked.
“There aren’t any shelters in this city, sir,” he said. “The mayor has a policy against the homeless in the city limits. If she cooperates, we’ll dump her back in Detroit. They can deal with housing her. If she doesn’t cooperate, we’ll throw her ass in jail.”
“So you’re saying that it’s illegal to be homeless in the suburbs?” I asked. “You’re saying that if someone has a run of bad luck and loses their job and their home, they’re a criminal?”
“Nope,” he said snarkily. “I’m saying it sucks to be them. But if I don’t take care of the problem, I’ll lose MY job and become one of them. The mayor has a vision for this city, and he didn’t picture it with a bunch of bums living in cardboard boxes on every corner and under the freeway overpasses. Good night sir!”
I stepped back inside of my house and watched them through the window. They drove slowly to the end of the block and sat there with their lights on.
I was sure they must’ve had Netflix and a dozen donuts in the car. They’d be there for a while.
“As soon as they pull off, I’ll go,” she said. “Thank you.”
“Are you sure you don’t just want to go with them?” I asked. “They’re only going to drop you off in Detroit or at worst put you in jail, either way you’d be out of this storm.”
“I was running away from two men in Detroit, when this started,” she said. “They wanted to rape me or worse.”
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“Because that’s what they did to me the last time they saw me,” she said. The fear in her voice was palpable. “And I haven’t done anything wrong. Why should I be put in jail?”
“You don’t know me lady,” I said. “I could be an axe murderer. You might be better off in jail.”
“You’ve given me money every time I’ve seen you,” she said with a hint of a smile. “I can tell that you’re angry. I think someone hurt you ... badly, but you’re a good person.”
Maybe it was the whining tone in her voice. Maybe it was the desperation in her eyes.
“You can stay until the cops are gone,” I said. “Then you get your ass out of here.”
“Thank you,” she said quietly.
“Look,” I said. “I’m not trying to offend you, but you stink. There’s a bathroom over there. Go in it and take a shower.”
Without a word, she went into the bathroom. After a few moments, I heard the shower running, and I had a thought. It was partly necessity and partly me trying to be a good guy.
I realized that the odor had to be trapped in her clothes too. So taking a shower and then putting the same funky ass clothes back on would serve almost no purpose.
I went into my room and grabbed my spare robe. I wasn’t much of a robe guy, but I had a couple of them. One I bought; the other fell into my suitcase accidentally on a business trip.
It was a really nice robe. That was the one I got out for the cockroach.
I opened the door, expecting for the shower curtain to be closed, and there she was...
She was standing in the extra deep tub with both shower heads on full blast, scrubbing furiously.
Her back was to me, and she was humming. I was amazed. It was like looking at a work of art. Looking at her, I was reminded of that painting of Venus rising from the sea.
Her skin was a pale, milky color when the dirt and grime was removed from it. And her hair must’ve been filthy because what I’d taken for a dull brown was a rich red color.
For a shorter woman, her legs seemed really long. Her hips were narrow, but her ass had a nice shape to it. I had the idea that if you got a few meals into her, that ass would be spectacular.
She turned, and I saw them then. They weren’t very big. But they were mouth watering. As my gaze continued upwards I noticed her face, and it suddenly occurred to me that she was staring at me.
“It took you a long time to get to my face, didn’t it?” she asked angrily.
“I uh...” I babbled.
“Just when I’d told myself that there really were nice people left in the world, you pull this,” she said. “I guess I know now why you wanted me to take a shower. What’s wrong pervert? Didn’t you have time to drill a peep hole in the wall?”
She stood there scolding me, but made absolutely no attempt to cover herself. I found myself getting angry.
“Fuck you and the horse you rode in on,” I spat. “Nobody told you to come here. I sure as hell didn’t. If you want, you can just march your ass back out into the storm. Last time I checked the cops were still there. Enjoy prison.”
“Wait,” she said. She lowered her arms as if it was torturing her. “You can look.”
“Arrrrrrggghhhh,” I yelled in frustration.
“Are you a pervert AND a pirate?” she asked.
“Look, I warned you a while ago that I might be an axe murderer or something. But I swear to you that staring at you was not my intention when I came in here. I knocked, but you didn’t hear me. I brought you a robe.” I held it up. “I wanted to wash your clothes. It wouldn’t do you any good to get all nice and clean and then put dirty clothes back on.”
“Then why were you standing there staring at me?” she asked.
“Because I’m a guy,” I said. “When we see naked women, we get stupid.”
“But I’m old and ugly...” she began.
“And apparently blind,” I said. “So I’ll just take the clothes and leave you the robe.”
“I used some of your shampoo,” she said. “I kind of used a lot of it.”
The accent was something I hadn’t noticed before. Maybe she only used it when she wasn’t screaming. It was a soft southern accent. It wasn’t as hard on the ears as the Hee Haw, down on the farm, deep south accent, but it was southern just the same.
“I kind of noticed,” I said. “It was kind of worth it. I’m going to put your clothes in the washer.”
As I left the bathroom, I breathed out a huge sigh. I had to get out of that room before she noticed how hard my dick was. I was actually kind of surprised myself.
Since Sharon’s departure, I’d had virtually no interest in women, at least not in women outside of porn. My opinion was that women were like Ferraris. They were nice to look at and to think about in a purely theoretical way, but they were too expensive, too hard to maintain, and not dependable enough that I wanted to own one.
I put her clothes in the washer and dumped in some Tide, and some off-brand fabric softener that I’d had on the shelf since Sharon used to do the laundry. I had no idea what the hell fabric softener was supposed to do, but women seemed to like it.
Sharon always seemed to know, on the rare occasions that I did laundry when we were together, if I used it or not. I figured this would be a good chance to get rid of it before it went bad.
Just as I turned the machine on, I had a thought. What if the fabric softener had already gone bad? What if the chemicals broke down, turned into acid, and ate her clothes?
I returned to the living room and looked outside. The snow was coming down even harder now. Come morning I was going to have to make a really hard choice.
I could either go to all of the trouble of getting my snow blower out and putting gas in it and coaxing the motor to start; or just get my ass out there with a shovel.
This seemed like heavy assed heart attack snow. But I didn’t really have to worry about that. Even at forty-five years old, I looked and felt younger. That was due to daily runs, workouts in my home gym, and of course my Mustangs.
All of the experts say that people who smile, live longer. And every time I saw my car, I smiled.
“Is the police car still there?” she asked.
I actually hadn’t been looking for it. “I don’t see it,” I told her. “But they could have just turned off the search lights. With the snow that heavy, I can’t really tell. But you can’t leave yet anyway. I just put your clothes in the washer. It’ll take them about forty minutes to wash and another forty five, at least, to dry.”
She didn’t seem to mind that, in fact, she almost smiled. I think that she was thinking that her wet clothes gave her a bit longer inside before she had to go out into that hellish weather.
“So what do I do until then?” she asked in a small voice.
“I was about to watch a movie and eat some pizza,” I said. I sat down aimed the remote at the TV and pushed play. “Have some pizza and a beer.”
She looked at me with a really funny expression on her face.
I hit pause again. “Okay, what’s wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t drink beer,” she said. “You probably don’t remember, but I told you that at the store.”
“Come on,” I said. She followed me into the kitchen and looked around. I could tell that she was impressed by the kitchen. I opened the fridge, and she looked through the assortment of drinks.
“May I have some of that?” she asked, pointing at my peach medley juice. I nodded.
“I need a glass, please,” she said. I walked over to a cabinet and got her a glass. As I turned to head back into the living room, I heard it.
“Uhm... ?” she said in a voice so tiny that I barely heard it.
“Uhm what,” I asked.
“I need a plate,” she said, “and napkins.” I rolled my eyes skyward.
“It’s pizza!” I said. “You eat it out of the box.”
“It’s greasy,” she said. “And YOU eat it out of the box. I’d like a plate and napkins. You have a very nice sofa. I don’t want to leave grease stains on it.”
I got her a plate.
She attacked her pizza like she hadn’t eaten in a while. From the first sip of the juice, her eyes lit up. She sipped it sparingly, savoring it.
“You do know that you can have more juice ... right?” I said.
“Thank you,” she said. I turned to look at her. She was certainly one of the more polite people I had run into.
Turning to look at her was a mistake. Eating and drinking had put some energy into her. Her pale skin seemed to have a glow about it.
“I think I heard the buzzer for the washer,” I said. “I’ll go and put your things in the dryer.”
When I got back she was sitting on the floor with her feet pulled up and tucked inside of the robe. I looked at her quizzically, and she frowned.
“I’m warm,” she said. “But my feet are cold, and I was beginning to get a little sleepy. I don’t think I’ve eaten that much in a long time. You said that I had about forty to forty-five minutes for my clothes to dry. So I was going to take a quick cat nap.”
“Why not just stretch out on the sofa?” I asked.