Story about primitive wants and actual needs.
| The sound of the buzzer going off throughout the factory was like music to my ears. I threw down my gloves onto to the welding table and hurried to the front, careful not to knock over any of my coworkers. The break room was small and smelled like oil and sweat, the taste of metal permeated my mouth. I grabbed my flimsy time card and placed it into the slit below the clock. The stamp belting out the time of my salvation in bold black ink was the best melody of all.
"See you later, Ralphie." My boss hollered from his perch above the breakroom where the office dwelled.
I waved without looking in his direction.
It was Friday, the best day of the work week. As I made my way through the steel double doors and into the bright steamy sunlight, the only thing that my brain could even comprehend was the primitive notion known to all men. That I needed to get laid.
Lucky for me, I knew a woman on the other side of town that was willing to do the deed for the cost of a twelve pack of beer. She wasn't what you would call a swan, but, when your desperate and you don't have it waiting at home, you make do with what you can. Jumping up into my old rusty ford pickup, I hit the road. I needed to swing by my place first to get cleaned up and rinse the filth off me. I may be a pig, but, I'm not a disrespectful one. She was still a lady and deserved to be treated as such. Showing up at her place with stains and shards clutching to my skin doesn't exactly scream romantic.
I came to a screeching stop in my driveway. My old home wasn't much. A two-bedroom house, with a screened in front porch. Just a step up from living in a shack in my opinion. The neighborhood left little to be desired as well, and if I could actually make a better wage in this economy, I would consider moving somewhere else. Suppose it was better than a cardboard box, at least, that's what I'd tell myself from time to time.
I took off my XL uniform, and picked out a pair of jeans, and a black button up shirt. It was the nicest wardrobe I had figuring I never went anywhere fancy. Looking up at the clock it read going on four. Plenty of time I thought. I hopped in and out the shower, gave my scalp a once over with the hair clippers, trimmed up my black goatee, blasted myself with some old spice after shave, and put on some deodorant. The guy I saw in the mirror was looking good.
"You're getting lucky tonight, Ralphie." I said to myself.
It was right around this time, while I stood there in my birthday suit, feeling like a young boy on prom night that life started happening as it usually does. A loud pounding came thundering through the small space. Wrapping a tiny white towel around my waist, I peeked out the front window. It was my best friend Tom. I opened the door to let him in.
"Hey, man I hate to bother you," he said in his deep scratchy voice. "But, I need your help."
Tom had been my friend since middle school. Although he was Thirty, the same age as me, his mentality didn't occupy that exact area. "Tom, I'd love too, but I got plans tonight."
"I promise it won't take long." He insisted slipping off his ball cap and wiping the sweat from his brow. "I just bought a new dishwasher and I can't get it off my truck, that's all."
I stepped into my room to get dressed. It was creeping on four-thirty. "Damnit, you have the worst timing I've ever seen... Let's make it quick."
"Thanks buddy." He smiled. "What's your plans anyhow?"
"I'm trying to get over to Mindy's before she goes to work." I said stepping out of the house. "If I remember correctly she goes to work at eight."
"Seriously. Why you trippin' if you got over three hours?"
"Man, let's just get this done with. I don't have to explain myself to you."
We both jumped into our vehicles and headed a couple blocks over to where he lived. An even raunchier version of my place. Toys and car parts scattered throughout the weed filled yard. We hoisted the dishwasher out of the back of his truck and carried it in. His wife sat on the couch with a cigarette pressed between her yellow stained fingers. She eyed me through heavy mascara and a scowl that was permanently fixed on her face whenever I came around. Fortunately, for all of us I didn't really give ten cents on why she didn't like me.
"There you go man, we good?" I said wiping a bit of dust from my shirt.
"Yes sir. This baby is going to be a nice addition to the family. Maybe now she won't nag about the dishes." Tom said pointing towards the room his wife sat in.
"Alright, well have fun." I said walking towards the door. "And don't you call me if you can't get it hooked up."
Once again behind the wheel I pulled out my cellphone. Five-fifteen, I still had time. I needed to swing by the gas station and grab the liquor and cash my check. Sure enough, just as I was about to place my phone back in my pocket it let out a beep. A voicemail from my mom. I hit play and held the phone out from my ear.
"Don't you forget to come over and change my tire." She screamed.
Damnit, I forgot.
I sat there staring at the screen. My head was baking from the hot sun, and now I felt the rest of my body heat up from irritation. The one time I wanted to get a little action. The one time I wanted to have a little fun with a girl. I hit the dashboard feeling the pain throb through my hand. This had better be the last thing anyone needs from me today, I thought.
After another hour wasted, I managed to tighten the lug nuts down and throw the flat in the back of my truck bed. My mother stood there and watched in her night gown.
"Baby. You think you could do your mama one more favor?" She asked placing her hand on my broad shoulder.
"Mom, I got to go. Ok? I'm sorry but I have somewhere I need to be." I said trying my best not to get upset.
"To hell with ya then," she screamed, "damn ungrateful child. I swear you bring them into this world, raise em', care for em' and this is how they treat ya." She walked back inside, slamming the door.
I shook my head, and looked down at the black stains now covering my jeans. Just perfect, I thought throwing my truck into drive and flooring it to the gas station. It wasn't but a block from Mindy's place and I still had a little less than two hours. I figured I didn't have enough time to woo her like I had intended, so I went with a bottle of whiskey instead. If all else failed, perhaps I could get some oral compensation, I thought, pulling on to her street. I attempted to park closest to her house, but with how busy the road was I didn't get nearly as close as I wanted. Checking myself in the mirror one last time, I smudged off a bit of grease that sat on my cheek. At least one thing was still going as planned, I smelled just as good as when I left home.
I took a deep breath and a moment. It'd been almost three months since I'd seen any action. Hell, it'd been even longer since I had a proper date. I was hopeful that tonight would quench my thirst for a while. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck as the traffic whizzed by in a frenzy. I jumped out and attempted to keep myself plastered to the side of the truck. Mindy's front porch light gleamed out to me like a beacon of hope. I'd finally made it I thought, I'd finally -
"Mr. Thompson. Can you hear me?" A voice called out from above my head. I could hear the shuffling of feet and a humming noise, but, every time I attempted to open my eyes it was as if someone had sewn them shut. My words lodged down in my chest as I tried to speak. What was going on?
"Mr. Thompson?" The voice called again.
I inhaled deeply and forced the air out in a grunt. Why couldn't I move? Why couldn't I do anything? My heart slammed against my chest in fear.
"You're in the hospital Mr. Thompson. Do you know what year it is?"
Of course, I knew what year it was. Why can't I see, what in the world has happened to me? A stabbing pain sunk into my forearm along with a warmth that crept up my bicep. What are you doing to me? What time was it? Maybe I still had time to get to Mindy's...
My eyes shot open in a panic. A jolt of electricity burning my optic nerves caused me to lift my one free hand in front of my face. From what I could tell, a window was open allowing the bright sun to light the room.
"Welcome back Ralph." A voice snuggled into my ear. It wasn't the same voice I'd heard before. It was much sweeter, softer and more delicate.
I licked my chapped lips. My throat was rough like sandpaper. "What happened?"
I felt a hand place itself on my chest. "You were in an accident, but, you're going to be okay."
Accident? I couldn't recall any accident. I lied there attempting to piece everything together. "What accident? What time is it?"
"It's nine-thirty in the morning," the lady said, "you don't remember anything?"
I shook my head and lowered my arm. My eyes were starting to refocus but the UV rays were still highly uncomfortable. A large boulder felt like it sat upon the bottom half of my body. I'm going to be in a cardboard box for sure after I receive this hospital bill, I thought.
A loud beeping sound came from my right. "Do you know what year it is Ralph?" The angels voice sounded again.
"Yeah... It's... twenty-seventeen." I muttered.
"Very good." She responded.
It was good I knew what year it was? Did I have moron tattooed to my forehead? What I really needed to know was why I was in this hospital bed instead of Mindy's bed. Feeling like I could explode I looked over at the nurse of stupid questions, and just as quickly as anger consumed me, a feeling of complete ecstasy took its place. My heart melted, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Either there was a goddess in my room or the drugs they gave me was top shelf. Her honey colored hair matched her honey colored eyes. She hovered there in her fitted blue outfit.
"Are you real?" I asked unable to pick my jaw up off my chest. "I mean... What's your name?"
She smiled. "It's Rosemary. Do you know yours?"
I nodded. "But, I like the way you say it better."
She let out a small giggle. Her face turning a pinkish red.
"How long have I been here?" I asked looking around at the plain white room with only a small plant sitting on the window seal. "You said accident?"
"Okay. One question at a time. You've been in here for three days," she said, now looking up at the beeping heart monitor making notes on a clipboard, "you were hit by a car and...you're very lucky to be alive."
"Hit by a car?" I mumbled as the visions came flooding back to me. "I remember now... Yeah... Lucky."
She didn't respond as she wrapped the blood pressure cuff around my left arm, which upon further inspection of the rest of my body, I realized was the only place she could put it.
"Don't look like I'll be going to work today huh?" I attempted to laugh. A wrath of pressure shot through my abdomen and chest. "That hurts, oh man, that hurts."
"Alright cowboy. You take it easy, and I'll grab the doctor." She winked at me before turning and walking out of the room.
The doctor came in ten minutes later. He explained exactly what had happen to me depicted by the police report. How I was clipped by an old lady in a boat sized Buick, which sent me pinballing between my truck and her car. I had shattered both legs, one arm, three ribs, bruised my kidney, and received a nice little concussion. The lady who'd hit me didn't even stop until another car chased her down and told her exactly what she had done. She was well into her eighties, shouldn't have even been driving according to the police.
He told me that at one point in the ambulance I even stopped breathing for a moment. Which was surprising, because I couldn't remember dying or a white light or anything, but the doctor said it was completely normal and I shouldn't read into it. I think the small crucifix he wore around his neck said all that needed to be said on his quick defense of my curiosity.
After the doctor did a check-up and gave me a thumb's up for surviving - like I had a choice - he stepped out from the room and left me with my thoughts. But, the only thing I could think about now was that nurse. Rosemary. She was such a beautiful creature, that, had I met before my face to face with death, I wouldn't have even given her the time of day to vacation in my mind due to her being out of my league. But, accidents had a way of bringing people to a new understanding, and it was my understanding that I was going to do everything possible to get a date with her. I thought of all the jokes I knew, and all the good stories that I had lived through. I even talked another nurse into going to the gift shop and buying a single rose so that I could give it to her.
It made my stay in the hospital the next few weeks more than tolerable. Because, if it wasn't for her being my nurse most of the time I'm sure I would have gone crazy and attempted to bust out. She took great care of me, and gave me all the courage I needed to face the list of painful activities I was starting to endure. Mainly the rehabilitation, which to my surprise, she even kept me company through a few of those. And at night, just before her shift was ending she would come to my room and we would talk for a while about anything and everything. I told her about my good friend Tom who never once visited me in the hospital, and my mother who only came just long enough to learn that I was going to pull through. When I asked her about her life, she was hesitant at first. She'd keep it simple like telling me about her dog Ezra and her parents who lived three states over. But, like a present sent from heaven, the more the days passed by, the longer she seemed to hang out.
"Are you married?" I asked her while we both shared a cup of cherry jello.
"No. I was engaged once." She said, not taking her eyes off the spoon in her hand.
"Think you'll ever get married?" I asked.
A small smile straddled her face. Her eyes darted to meet mine. "Maybe. If I meet the right guy."
"Well, I don't know where that guy is but," I smiled, "you think after I get out of here you'd let me take you out?"
"Like a date?" She responded.
"Well... I mean, it don't have to... No, just like as a thank you for taking such great care of me and stuff." I said feeling my nerves bang around in my stomach.
"Really? Because I was hoping you'd ask me out on a date."
Now, perhaps most people think that something like that just didn't happen to guys like me, and they're probably right. Hell, there I was it seemed just moments before, willing to bury my own mother for some action with a dedicated alcoholic. I was willing to pay for it just so I didn't have to worry about getting hurt. A side of myself that kept me from growing. But, like Rosemary told me after we were lying in her bed a few months later, cuddling each other after a long night filled with passion.
Love has a place and time for everybody, and nothing stands in the way of fate.