The shrill wail of the whistle echoed from the hills surrounding the mountain valley and I stepped out into the 7AM brightness. Another graveyard shift was finished and I could go home, shower, and catch some sleep before my next shift at 11:00 that night.
As a less senior employee at the mill, I was doomed to night or graveyard shifts for the foreseeable future. I’d just started work there for the summer after my first year at college. The air around the mill, and much of the time across the valley, was scented by the freshly cut timber it turned out. Of course, back then, before environmental forces took control of all kinds of things, the air was also clouded day and night by the smoke from the sawdust burning tower too.
My home for the summer break was a spare bedroom in my older brother’s house with him and his wife Glenda. Don had worked at the mill over a year by then, and sometimes even he was still forced to stand a swing shift for a while until crew assignments changed. Then he would probably slide back onto day shift. He was currently on days, so when I got to the locker room, he was just going out to his chain. He was on the “planer chain”, where the finished dimensional lumber came out of the planer. I mostly worked either the yard or the “green chain” where the lumber was all rough and splintery. We got thick leather gloves and aprons of the same leather from the company store. Kinda cool, that, when you’re eighteen or nineteen.
We nodded and said hello, but he was already on the clock, so we didn’t stop to talk. I stashed my leather apron and gloves into his locker (as a summer worker, I didn’t rate my own locker). Then I headed for the house. As tired as I was, I liked those the early mornings and watching the sun chase the night shadows across the valley as I strolled home.
Usually, Glenda had gone back to bed when I got home, but sometimes she stayed up drinking coffee. That morning she was sitting at the table, a cigarette in one hand and her coffee mug within reach of the other. She wore her light green robe in the mornings before she got dressed for the day. When they lived in the city, Glenda had worked in a bank. More than once since I’d gotten there I’d heard her complain about being bored in the small town. She had even started smoking again.
“Morning, Bobby,” Glenda said with a smile. I returned her greeting. Only my family added the ‘y’ to my name. To the rest of the world I was ‘Bob’. But that didn’t bother me as much since I’d gone through puberty. “Good shift?” she asked.
“Not bad. At least nothing unusual happened,” I said, rinsing my thermos at the kitchen sink. There were no dirty dishes in the sink. I knew there wouldn’t be any, since I’d washed them the night before. I was saving for school, so Don and Glenda only asked me to do that instead of paying them board and room.
“I’m gonna hit the shower before I grab something to eat,” I told her.
“I’ll probably be back in bed when you get out, so no loud music, okay?”
That’s pretty much how things went most days. She knew I wouldn’t play music loud anyway, since I used headphones, but she said it anyway. And when I got dried off, back in bed was where she was whenever she said that. So I wasn’t too conscientious about just wrapping a towel around me as I left the bathroom.
Back in the kitchen, still naked, I rummaged in the ‘fridge and found some leftover roast beef. I made myself a sandwich and ate it with a cold beer – it was after work, so it was like my own private happy hour at seven A.M. those mornings. As I ate I reflected on Glenda. She was good looking. Not quite pretty, but the person she is made her very attractive to me. But she always looked the best to me those mornings in her robe, and with her hair tousled, her face devoid of makeup. She had a nice smile, too. Sexy as hell.
In the morning, she looked, to my nineteen year old eyes, the way I imagined a wife would look the morning after getting laid the night before. Don was always quick with a dirty joke, or a sexual comment but I didn’t know about their sex life. I never heard her groaning through an orgasm or any squeaky springs from their bed.
Glenda enjoyed SOME of Don’s humor, but he didn’t say the kinds of things he said when it was just me or a group of other guys around. I know I got tired of his extremely sexist remarks and old jokes. To her as a woman, I would imagine they paled fast.
Early in July, Don got the opportunity to work in the woods instead of the sawmill. He discussed it with Glenda and his arguments about how much more money he’d earn over what he made in the mill. “Honey, I’ll be bringing home more than I make now even before taxes,” he said.
“Isn’t it supposed to be dangerous though?” Hell yes, I thought. I’d heard stories during breaks from nine-fingered, or one-handed guys who’d been there. They said a ‘choker setter’ (the guys who ran down a newly felled tree to wrap a chain around the trunk so it could be hauled up the hill) had an 80% chance of losing a finger, hand, leg, or even their life. Don had heard the same stories, and if he wasn’t gonna say anything to Glenda, neither was I.
“Hey,” Don answered, “It’s dangerous just getting out of bed in the morning too. It’s probably safer than commuting to work 45 minutes each way on the freeway every day the way we used to do.”
“Oh, please,” she grumbled. “Who’s gonna get hurt in a three mile an hour collision?” We all laughed at that So, Don went to work in the woods that next week. Something even I was unaware of though, was that when he got into the little 4 wheel drive van and they took the woods crew out to the site, we wouldn’t see him again until the next weekend. As he was leaving that morning, Glenda explained that to me, saying we were on our own for the week.
That was nice for me, and I think it was for her too. We drank coffee, played cards and watched TV together. When I left for my 11PM shift, she would usually still be awake looking for a movie to watch. She didn’t have to be up to make my coffee or breakfast, so she didn’t care how late she stayed up. Sometimes she made a lunch for me without my asking.
She was almost always still in bed when I got home from work. So I tried to make as little noise as possible as I showered and ate something. That first week passed. The next week was a repeat of the first. Payday weekend came and Don flashed his check around to us. His net pay was almost twice what mine was. His shifts in the woods were all daylight hours, of course, but he said they worked ten hour days instead of the eight we got in the mill. So his check was helped by ten hours of overtime a week.
He said I’d save a lot more money for school if I went out there too. But, as I said, I’d heard those stories. I stayed at the mill. That weekend Don had Glenda buy a Prime Rib roast (It had to be specially cut by the butcher in the little grocery store.) and we celebrated his new wages by pigging out on it. Monday rolled around and work went on.
Through the following week, Glenda seemed less and less cheerful and spontaneous about things. She also lost a lot of interest in cooking and we ate frozen and canned stuff more often. I felt bad for her and I noticed more empty wine bottles when I took the trash out. Glenda usually had a glass before dinner but coffee afterward. Starting that week, though, she drank wine until she told me goodnight.
She was drinking coffee at the table one morning when I got home from work. She seemed happier to see me than she had shown previously. “Can’t sleep?” I asked her.
“Oh, I just got up to see you for a while before you went to bed. Lately it feels like I live alone with a boarder in the spare room. Meanwhile I do laundry for two men.”
“I can cook sometimes if you want, and do my own laundry too.”
“No, Bobby, I don’t mind doing it. It’s just too lonely. Don’s away all week; I see you a few minutes in the morning and you sleep until dinnertime and I see you for a couple of hours, then you go to work and I end up going to bed ... alone.” I’d been wondering if that was it.
“Well, you could turn your schedule around. Stay up later and sleep a while before I get home. Eventually you’d get used to it and be on basically the same schedule as me.”
“Yeah, but I’d still be alone in bed.” I shook my head. I would have been glad to sleep with her, but sleeping wouldn’t have been uppermost in my mind. I didn’t tell her that.
“They lay off most of the cutting crews in the winter. Don will be back at the mill in a couple of months,” I said, even though that sounded like little help, even to me.
“Aw, fuck it,” she said. She poured the last of her coffee into the sink. Then she got her glass from the night before and opened a bottle of wine. “I’m beginning to understand why Don drinks as much as he does, though. It gives you a little cushion against reality.”
I was still barely under drinking age myself, but we had told the bartenders there that I was 21 and they didn’t question it because Don was a regular customer there. I didn’t drink much because I was being pretty much a Scrooge, banking almost all of my money. Don and I – or the three of us – went out for a few beers once in a while, but usually it was just Don or just the two of them. I made it a practice to buy two six-packs on payday and contributed it to the house ‘fridge.
On weekends, Don was spending time at the bar before coming home on Friday afternoons after work, and usually back there again to watch some game on Saturdays or Sundays instead of being home with Glenda. Even some Saturday nights, he would go hang out with his buddies at the bar. Glenda got sadder and drank more. I’d find Vodka bottles along with the wine bottles in the trash.
He was pissing me off. I mean, yeah, I had my fantasies about Glenda, but he had her and was neglecting being a husband, just to spend time with ‘the guys’.
One Saturday I had gone for a hike and as I walked down the street toward home, I noticed Don’s car parked in front of the Hitchin’ Post bar. I went in and saw him sitting with another guy at a table with two younger women. Then they all stood up like they were leaving. Before Don saw me, I made a show of looking around as if I was looking for somebody else. I waved at the bartender and left.
Standing in the shadows of some trees across the street, I watched all four of them get into the other guy’s car and drive away. My heart hurt for Glenda. I had a pretty heavy crush on her, so it hurt me too, that I couldn’t really comfort her. I knew who the girls were, though I’d never spoken to them. They had reputations for fucking married men, single men, and teenaged boys. They weren’t much more than teenagers themselves. I just hoped, for Glenda’s sake, he wouldn’t catch something and pass it on to her.
I walked home and found Glenda finishing work on a nice spaghetti dinner, complete with garlic bread. I knew it was one of Don’s favorite dinners because she made her own sauce from scratch, starting with fresh tomatoes. I hurried through a shower and sat down with her.
“I thought Don would be home by now,” she said. “You haven’t seen him, have you?” I couldn’t tell her the whole truth, but I suspected Don would be quite a while getting home that night.
“The car was parked by the bar. I saw him getting into a car with some other people,” I said, being as honest as I could without spilling the beans.
“Was it all guys from the mill?”
“No, there were a couple of girls too,” I said. “This looks really good.” I tucked into the spaghetti, hoping she wouldn’t ask more. She didn’t. What she did do, though, was finish her wine and rinse the glass. She left the room and returned a few minutes later in a different robe than she usually wore. It was a short robe, reaching only down to mid-thigh.
They had a small chest type freezer on one side of the kitchen. She got a tall glass from the cupboard and then went to the freezer. She bent and reached down into it. I nearly choked on my bread. The robe rode up and exposed her entire ass with a peek at her hairy pussy lips. Then she was standing up and turned to look at me. She grinned, holding up the icy Vodka bottle. “Want a drink?” she asked. I nodded because my heart was still in my throat.
“Uh ... yeah. Orange juice or grapefruit if there is any, please.”
She made my drink and poured about half her glass full of Vodka. She dropped in some ice and swirled it around. Returning to her chair, she picked at her food and drank deep. Before I finished my dinner, she had emptied that drink and made herself another one.
She asked about my social life there. Don and she had been married several years by then, so she had met a few of the girls I dated in high school back before they moved up here. “You always had some little honey on your arm back home. But in the time you’ve been here you haven’t been on a single date.”
“Oh, you’re exaggerating. There was a lot of time between dates for me, even back then. The few girls I’ve met here lose interest when they find out I’ll only be here until September. I think the girls who stay here after graduation are mostly looking for a husband,” I replied. “Besides, I’m at work most nights and saving for school.”
“Well, I hear that – if you do go out here – you should avoid the Sullivan girls. They have quite the rep.” Those were the sisters Don and his buddy had driven off with.
“Yeah, I heard that, too,” I said as I filled my mouth with saucy pasta. The image of my sister-in-law’s crotch was stuck in my mind. Don had that waiting for him here at home, yet he went off with one of the town ‘punchboards’.
The drink she’d made me was really strong. I had to have a bite of bread or more spaghetti after sipping it. She was finishing her second drink and rose to mix a third. The robe stuck into the divide between her ass cheeks for a few seconds, as if I needed reminding. I forced myself to look away.
I finished eating and, at her suggestion, I fed most of Glenda’s dinner to the dog. I finished the dishes and went to the living room for some TV or maybe a game of cribbage with Glenda. But by then, she was sleeping on the couch. The sash of her robe had loosened and she was almost falling out of it. One nipple was visible and her entire hairy mound was exposed. I spent quite a while gazing at this woman. My idiot brother was off, maybe catching who knew what, while this sexy body was constantly available to him. It took me a lot of living before I learned about marriage. Still, I was never the unfaithful kind.
Why had she changed into that robe? She usually wore that longer terry cloth robe at night. This one was a lighter material and very short. If she was trying to seduce me, as incredible as it seemed to me, she had nearly succeeded. If that was the case, I’d know in a few minutes. Without covering her, I shook her shoulder. The bare breast wiggled and my stiff cock throbbed.
“Huh? Wha...” she mumbled, then woke to the situation. As she managed to (nearly) close the garment, she didn’t notice the sides had failed to overlap and her pussy was still partly visible. “I’m sorry. I...” she began.
“Don’t worry about it. I enjoyed the view.” She glanced at me to see my smile. The color in her cheeks started to fade.
“Yeah. I guess after this long, even an old lady like me might attract you.”
“Glenda, you know you aren’t an old lady. You’re not even ten years older than I am. Any guy would want to see you naked.”
“Do you mean that? You’re just trying to make me feel good now.”
“I’m not. I mean, I want you to feel good, but I meant what I said. You’re a sexy woman with a body to be proud of.”
She stood up and said she needed to go to bed. Before she left, she hugged me tight and kissed me – on the lips. Usually, on the rare occasion she had kissed me, it was on my cheek. This kiss, though, even without tongues, seemed to linger a few seconds longer than necessary. She hugged me again and whispered, “Then where is my husband? Why isn’t he interested any more?”