Friday night before Labor Day weekend. The Mighty Corsair needs gas. I need cigarettes. I want a beer. Actually, I want something stronger. Rachel's exhusband used to take his whiskey neat, though her preferred Kentucky burbon and I like vodka, call it an aff-eck-tation. Call it anything you damn please. I pull into the general store in Lovelock. I can buy cigarettes and fill up the tank. The drinking will have to wait, and it will probably be beer because that is usually what you have in Richard and Subi's trailer, good quality beer, pink wine, fruits, salads, tea, and cakes.
That's Subi's idea of a good household. She really believes it. It's a female idea of order and security. When women don't have it, they get crazy like my exwife or totally insane, crazy like Doti's wife whom they now say is cured. Yeah... All the women say she is cured. They say it was just hormones and she did have a miscarriage and almost die, so yeah, I guess that would make any one crazy. The women still tell the details of that story. I try not to listen, but my son, Douglas, well the women talked in front of him and he repeats what they say. It's not healthy, but what can I do.
The general store is crowded. I have a hard time getting the clerk at the counter's attention. He is skinny, just out of high school, maybe a relative of the owner. People in this part of the country are often born here and really can't live any where else. I'm a transplant from New York City. I can't imagine growing up out here. Even the trailer parks at Twystaboo and some day the houses there will be better than this. I'm here because my work brought me here, because the lab where I worked owed some other company a favor and transferred me. They organized big transfers for their model city, moving families and couples in groups of five or six. They'd send the women first. Subi and my exwife were part of the same group. They were the second group out here.
I let the clerk know that I'm going to pump ten gallons of gas. He gives me a bug-eyed look. Maybe he needs more iodine in his diet, though this area once was ocean. That is what Greg, the geologist says, when we have nothing to talk about in the field, and none of us feels like talking about women because that subject can get tired or painful really fast and the best parts are really private. Also, we have Subi on the crew, and there are just things you can not say in mixed company even if half of them would be lies anyway.
I go back out and pump my gas. Then I go back inside and buy a whole carton of Kents and pay for filling the tank. My bill comes to three dollars and change. The gas is two dollars the cigarettes are another dollar and change. I'm trying to run the Mighty Corsair on regular these days. The lead in it should keep the engine from knocking. I remember a long argument back in the lab about lead in gasoline being a disgusting poison. I'm the one who said it. Hey, you can't lie about some things, but lead in gasoline serves a purpose.
I light up as I ride through the early evening. It is still light and will be for an hour or two more. We are at the eastern end of the Pacific time zone here in Nevada and the days both end and start early, even with daylight saving time. The Science Team as they call it even includes a meteorologist with a Pee-ache-dee. He likes to sniff the wind. We call him The Nose. I think Subi started that though she won't admit it.
She says he started it himself with a joke about noses smelling and feet running or vice versa. She even told the joke to Douglas who repeats it endlessly and because it sounds better than endless talk of cooties. All the kids in the Trailer Park of Wakeful Heights tell the joke now about noses running and feet smelling, but the name from the joke goes to The Nose. The Nose lives in Trailer Park #4 which has no name. Why it has no name is beyond me. The women either named the parks or they didn't. Our group gave Trailer Park #2 the name Wakeful Heights.
It all ready had the name when I got there fifteen months ago. Our all male convoy had trouble getting across the country. That is because the women took almost nothing. That is because Subi talked DelGrasso, our leader into letting the women go cross country without a man. It sounds really laughable until you think of Napoleon leading an army into Russia. Of course you know what happened to Napoleon, though he managed to conquer most of Europe first. He just didn't know when to stop. Well, Subi is a bit like Napoleon. She barely stands five feet, and her car, she and her husband's only car, is a bug. Yeah, a station car we used to call it, and she used THAT to get across the country. She said it worked fine going to see her parents outside of Syracuse, New York. She could even drive it on the snow. She knew how to read a caution light and that water filled radiators needed to stay full. She could read a map. None of the men were mechanics. Well, you get the idea. Subi was a lawyer's wife. Also, she kind of made logical sense. If a woman can work as a competent lab tech, she can drive a bug across the country and lead other women.
For four weeks or so, the women lived without us. That's when they named the trailer park Wakeful Heights and put in all sorts of girlie ideas of order and detail. Everything in that park has a sign, even the laundry shack. It's the Washateria. There's a picnic table in the washateria that Constance Doty painted olive green. They drag it out when there are community dinners or special occasions. There is a parking area, no one is allowed to park by their trailer or in the courtyard which gets hosed and raked, more often raked. There is an inflatable pool, a badminton court, you get the idea. If women ruled the world it would look something like Wakeful Heights.
This doesn't mean that women want to cut off my private parts. There was a psychoanalyst in Vienna with all kinds of dirty ideas and way too much time on his hands and too many rich patients who had an itch to tell dirty stories. Women need our private parts to go with their own. We're all farm animals at heart, cows or sheep. On Rachel's ranch the cows find the bulls in the pasture and take care of business. Then in winter there are calves.The cows are corraled by the main house then in case they have trouble, but I've only seen the vet called out once, and that was sad. Yes, the calf was born alive and the cow survived as well, but she'd been too badly hurt by the birth to want to nurse. Another cow who'd given birth quietly two nights before did the honors. Rachel attributes her good luck with calving to her bulls. She doesn't buy the big flashy showy ones. If she buys a bull calf at auction, she asks about the parents and makes sure none of them are huge. She wants ordinary, small to medium size, working stiff, bulls. She has three. They get plentyof action. The calves are not huge, and the cows can deliver them fairly easily, and usually on their own.
I'm currently the work-a-day bull in Rachel's pasture. She's the only cow in the herd. It's not a bad arrangement. Don't ask me if I have horns, but the part about cows not wanting bulls is bullshit and the part about what women want to do to males is also bullshit. What women want is security, order, caution, some of them, the normal, sane ones. They have their own prissy language and can leave men out, but we leave them out when we have certain talk, and both talk, well maybe it's all lies, maybe it's half lies. But the point is, if a woman works, she's not going to go for my privates. If anything, she'll be calmer and happier. There's no reason women shouldn't work. They are capable of it. Think cows again. Think Rachel on the ranch doing chores or here at Nick's General Store. You often see some woman from out in the country filling her own gas tank when it's crowded. I've even seen Claudia DelGrasso, that fat pig fill the tank on her big, brown whale of a sedan. She keeps a rag across the front seat to keep from getting her hands dirty. She can read a dip stick too. So can Subi. So can most of the women here not that they get much chance to drive. They fear running out of gas, except Subi. That bug can go forever on a tank of gas, if you're willing to drive something that small.
I think back to the lab in Westchester and the time I almost had to put Andrew's lights out. Andrew was young, newly married, insecure. He was a big man, not broad, but really tall, the kind of good looking big man on campus who plays sports and has everyone look up to him and suddenly, he's married, and he's a work-a-day bull which is not bad work if you can get it, but...hey he wanted the audience cheering for him at the auction. That's not what happened. We all have to grow up and go to the pasture. Pasture for Andrew was the chemistry lab.
And since he was a new hire, he was Subi's colleague. She was his superior due to seniority and the fact that she did her job well. She was talking about going to graduate school when her lawyer husband, Richard made partner. OK, women can be ambitious too. There is much worse than that and I'll get to it. It was just that Andrew did not expect any women to be senior to him, even if they were not exactly su-per-vis-ors. Worse yet, Subira gently reminded him to sweep up a pile of broken glass and papers that had somehow arrived on the lab floor Monday morning. She was all ready washing dirty test tubes. Sometimes the lab got left a wreack in the evening late into the week and the techs who came in had to start putting it to rights. Subi believed that whoever came in should start work any where. The low man on the totem pole did not have to wash the dishes, but whoever took that job voluntarily got to pick the radio station as a reward. Andrew did not like to do scut work and and was not ready to look around and pitch in or if he did not see the scut because no one likes scut, to at least ask if there was anything that needed doing.
"I never thought I'd have to take orders from a woman," Andrew sighed.
"Well, she's not really giving you orders. She's just clueing you in. Dr. Donner used to give orders and so did his PhD scientists and postgrads. That doesn't happen much in your lab because everybody just takes care of business. There's a difference between doing scut work and being made to feel like a peon. Subi and I both put up with that in Dr. Donner's lab which is why we both got out of there. Renkin at least is more easy-going."
"Yeah, and he's not a girl."
"Subi's not a girl either. She's my age."
"Yeah, but she's.... It would be easier if she at least looked professional."
This was a new one. "I mean," Andrew continued. "She's this itty bitty thing in pretty little sweaters, and you think she could at least wear heels."
"Naopolean had balls!" Andrew all but screamed. "And he didn't wear red sweaters!"
"Do you want Subi to wear a shirt and tie."
"I want....It's just not natural. I'm a grown man and I come into a lab and there she is and it's 'Andrew, can you please sweep up the mess behind Thompson's bench? I'm working on the traffic jam in the sink." Do you know how that feels? I'm in gradeschool again. That's my mother, except she doesn't want kids. You know she had to sign papers saying she wouldn't get pregnant."
"Dr. Hershel's crew works with mutagens," I reminded Andrew.
"Then what's she doing there!"
"She signed the contract. She and her husband aren't planning to have children for a while. They both want to work on their craeers. Some people are like that."
"It would be more selfish if she got pregnant. You'd be short a tech."
'Yeah, but it's not fair. I didn't come this far to be ordered around by women. I mean it's a man's work in the labs and there she is as if....she belonged there. She doesn't even begin to understand. My wife wouldn't be caught dead doing what Subi is doing."
"Niether would my wife," I laughed, "but you're working with Subi not marrying her or dating her, got that."
"You think all this is just fine."
"She's a decent worker. You can't say that for all the guys."
"Yeah, but I'm a man."
"You're one more lab tech here, get that."
Andrew shook his head. I think he is relieved that Subi is gone, out west, working for Pershing County, testing water, learning the rudiments of microbiology so she can understand the bacteria reports which she does better than I do it, but what really tore it with Andrew was the day of the sweater. It was during football season which meant it was no longer warm outside. That meant some men started wearing overcoats and even wool coats to the lab. A few had ski jackets. We had a fairly relaxed dress code now that I think of it. It was something Subi noticed and loved. That's no exageration. I never thought about it much, but for Subi. It was a Monday morning which meant Subi had been clothes shopping over the weekend. Women buy clothes on the weekends. It's their favorite sport: clothes, makeup, perfume, underthings. Even Rachel enjoys the monthly buying trip to Reno and pours over the brasiere section of the Sears and Penny's catalogs that sit on our dresser like Holy Bibles.
That Monday Subi had a new sweater. It was a pink so brilliant it would have made me sick were I drunk, but I was sober. Maybe, I figured, it woke her up. And yes, she could and still does wear stuff like that without feeling self-conscious. "Wow, I'm glad I'm not hung over," Andrew greeted Subi in the changing room.
"Why should you be?" Subi asked. We after all were all adults and it was Monday morning.
"Because that...sweater....God...what do they call that color? It has a name doesn't it?"
"Shocking pink," Subi answered. "It's a great color."
"I hope you don't make your husband wear it."
"I'd love to see it in a tie," she sighed, "but he's working for the firm now, and they're dress code is very conservative. You could wear a tie with pink in it here."
"Why would I want to wear a tie with pink in it? I'M A MAN!"
"Because it's a great color. It brings out the color in your face. Here...." Subi pulled her sweater off over her head. Andrew gasped. I don't know what he expected to see. He saw a sleeveless pale pink shirt, an old summer shirt worn as an extra layer like long underwear. Like a lot of women, Subi was always cold. "OK," Subi handed Andrew the sweater. "Walk over to the mirror and put this under your chin. See what happens to yoru face." Andrew stood stock still, his face turning a darker shade of pink than Subi's sweater, which he handed back to her. "I'm a FUCKING MAN!" he cried out. "A MAN, you castrating bitch!"
"Andrew, people can hear you!" I reminded my colleague and indeed other men had become an audience. Some of them were laughing, the nervous laugh of those who held their thoughts in where you can not express them...in public. Subi put on her sweater and pretended not to notice. She removed her wedding band and tied it to a ribbon to wear around her neck.
Andrew meanwhile retreteated to safe territory...well sort of. "What's going to happen to you Subi when you're forty or fifty years old and don't have any children? Have you ever thought about that? Are you still going to wear shocking pink sweaters, and listen to kids' music?" Subi smiled. Andrew was doing a perfect imitation of the mother-in-law from hell. "That Andrew is not your business and as for the sweaters, why not?"
"I'm surrounded by idiots," Andrew sighed. "One day...." then he stopped. I knew what he contemplated. I'd thought about it with Lorraine more times than I want, and she had just...been pregnant with what would have been our third child, except neither of us wanted it. Let's just say Lorraine had relatives who knew the right people, and she'd taken a quick vacation to Florida, but pregnancy, even pregnancy that ends in an abortion, does things to a woman's hormones and makes them bitchy, and a man can only take so much. I could feel that in Andrew so I warned him. The lab was not home. His career was riding on it. I knew men. I knew them even then. I told him flat out that if he ever laid a hand on Subi or even threatened it he was out on his ass. The other men would sympathize with him and feel bad for him, but if you lose control, that's it. Lose control in public and your dead meat. That's it. Bite your tongue. Don't make a scene. Be grateful Subi pulls her weight. Be grateful she cares about her career. Think of those girls you went to school with, you know the ones who could read and do math and who chittered happily with their books under their arm, the ones who dreamed of replacing their teachers. Most of them got distracted by marriage and family. Subi didn't, and you're not a kid any more. You don't have to let them beat you, but you're more like they are now. Don't ask me how I got all that out. I also had to threaten to do to Andrew what he wanted to do to Subi, but I did that away from where the others could hear, out by the service entrance.Since Andrew had stepped out of line once he needed something to remember when his emotions got the best of him.
And no I didn't blame Subi. I was more worried for Andrew, and besides....Subi was and is female. That psychologist in Vienna got it ALL WRONG where women were concerned. They don't want to be us. They don't want to remove the parts that make us valuable, but they're not us, not even when they "a man's job." In fact, work for them has the same benefits as it does for us. It mellows us all and makes us more rational. I will tell you about my exwife, Lorraine because she didn't work. She went to school which helped a little, but not enough.
But try to imagine being a girl or a woman. Really try. First, you don't have a dick and no balls either. That's the obvious part, but you have parts of your own, so that kind of makes up for things. The parts can hurt. They're complicated. Andrew let me know in miserable detail how every few weeks, Subi asked him to wash the dishes in the morning so she could do some kind of work that let her sit down. "I feel unwell. I want to get off my feet," was how she put it. It was less damaging than a hangover. It's just not something men have. Then there is the fact that you are small. Now Rachel stands five foot eight, but Subi barely made five feet. She went through life asking for a stool because heels hurt her feet. She did not weigh enough to give blood, less than a hundred and ten pounds, and that was as big as she'd be, the size of a twelve year old boy. Imagine going through life that tiny, and imagine always feeling a bit strange inside your skin. That's the best way I can put it. I watch Rachel put lotion on her heands and arms and powder after she showers. She's squiriming inside her weathered leather coat. Subi refused to wear a girdle and wore danskin tights so garters would not abuse her legs. Lorraine liked silk underware.
Then there's the cold. They're not all cold blooded but a lot of them are. They need more iron. Remember those complicated private parts. Even the psychiatrist in Vienna couldn't say that was all in the head, so they dess in leayers and bundle their babies. Summer shirts tucked into sweaters, thick tights, coats with matching hat and scarf sets, shoe boots with fur trim, comfott shoes to pamper tired feet often with little pom-pom socks tucked inside. Think of living in that kind of a body, and that is before you figure in pregnancy and childbirth. Fiendish plans for those "insensitive males," just don't figure into the plan. Like a properly sized bull, we have our uses. Just remember to give your wife or girlfriend a good massage or tickle. With all that sensitive skin, they really like that.
Yet, they can work. They go to school just like we do and are often better students until or unless they learn to play dumb. They understand about playing their part and getting down to business. They too hate to feel like peons. Subi's please and thank you were sincere, and if they have work to keep them occupied and mellow, they are gentler in both private and public.
This of course brings me to Lorraine. If we had married later, if she had held down a job, finished school, spent more time with women and had a sense of orderly, prissy, feminity, we might still be together, but that's not Lorraine. Lorraine always played fast and loose. Lorraine loved drama and if she could have afforded Vegas, she would have risked all at the gaming tables. She had been to gamble in Puerto Rico on spring break. Sometimes I would take her to track and we'd joke about the stallions. Farm animals indeed. She would size the horses up by intution and either break even or run out of money and ask me for more. I should have known.
I was twenty-one and she was nineteen, and she was pregnant. She showed me the positive test from the doctor. I said we'd have to find somebody if you know what I mean. I suspected there was going to be another trip to Puerto Rico. There wasn't. Lorraine and her parents talked me into getting married. I kind of liked the idea. Lorraine continued to go to school, and her parents helped out.
Call me a damn fool. A woman with too much time on her hands is dangerous. Lorraine was not ready to be tied down and niether was I. You know what rats in a cage do. She'd say I was hurting the baby and just go on fighting. Lorraine was in labor for twenty hours before she bore Douglas who was blue when he came out. They gave him oxygen and he turned pink. Three years later, one semester shy of my wife's graduation, Bradley came along. Well, he too was nine months in the making. By then I knew the score with Lorraine. It wasn't all that hard to figure out. I suspect she also knew I had strayed. We weren't going to leave each other. Lorraine wanted a father for her son, and soon for her two sons. I did not want the whole world to know my marriage had failed. We only brought up the infidelity when we fought over something else, usually when Lorraine refused to hold up her end, when I'd come home and find the house a wreack, no dinner, ash trays overflowing with cigarettes, or Lorraine out and a sitter watching the boys. I knew what Lorraine was doing. I never waved what I did in her face like that! This was just plain unfair.
And yes, I said and threatened all the things Andrew said and threatened, but I did it behind closed doors, and Lorraine responded in kind. When Douglas got old enough to understand, and it is not hard to understand a loud, ugly fight, he got out of the way. Smart kid. He hid behind the couch or in the room with Bradley. When Bradley could crawl, Douglas would drag him behind the couch. This made for a good and sensible arrangement. When the fight was over, Douglas would come out. If Bradley needed to be changed or was hungry, he told Lorraine who forgot about both her children when we had a fight. "Mommy, get Brad-lee," was the way our fights always ended.
Rural Route 6A
Rose Rock, Nevada USA
The Low Desert
It was one of the first hot mornings in early May of 1962. We sat in the Friendly's on Central Avenue. It seemed only right to take Lorraine and the boys out for breakfast and to treat myself as well. Of course Lorraine had only coffee with sugar (She could not abide milk!) and a cigarette. She was going to be driving and driving more. She and the boys were part of the all female convoy that would go ahead of us men who would "clean up the legal mess," not that I was much good with that.
Unlike every other mission of "the best and brightest" sent to Twystaboo, our planned city in Pershing County, our convoy had no male leader. Subira had talked DelGrasso who was the head of our group out of it. She had an argument that would have made her lawyer husband proud. None of the men were mechanics. She had experience driving dsitances, namely going to see her family in Syracuse. Her bug (Actually it was Richard's station car. What else could that little beetle be, but remember the world is a different place to someone who is five feet tall.) was a superlative distance car, great on snow. There was no reason four cylinders couldn't get across the country. The logic in this argument was amazingly good. It was just like Andrew and the pink sweater though. Men expect to be....well, any male relative or professional guide would have had to deal with a nest of vipers on wheels if he had led the women. I am thinking not just of Lorraine who is what she is, but also of Claudia, DelGrasso's pig of a wife, neurotic Constance Doty, and little Sharon Silverstein who could not even drive. Subi got DelGrasso out of the mess of sending a male guide to herd that crowd and put them in mass revolt.
They planned the trip in a typically female way, with order and safety first, every rest top and motel stop mapped out. Phone calls every night with correct ETA. They never made good time, but safety came first. This was a plodding march of an army travelling on its stomach and full emergency boxes and perishable food bags and rollaways at night for the children. This was desert bags on the grill or under the hood in the case of Subi's bug and water checked twice a day and filled from motel ice buckets. This was candy and ice cream, Danon yogurt, dried prunes, cigarettes, cocanut cream pie, sneakers or esp-a-drills over bare feet or pom-pom socks, anklets, with lace, knee socks, shirts to go with traveling pants or skirts, no clashing colors on this ride, showers every evening and clean clothes every day; for one must not be stinky even on the road, and motel rooms left behind with wet towels from showers and towel turbans; for one could not travel with a dirty head.
For Lorraine who does not share the typical female love of order and security, this trip was going to be torture. A male guide would have been no better, and Lorraine, well so I had my suspicions. She had hers. "William, I'm scaird," she began as she watched me enjoy bacon and scrambled eggs. "You should of said something sooner," I told her. "I did, but you didn't listen, and I know your job is on the line so we have to do this. It's just..."
"You'll be fine," I assured Lorraine. "Bored stiff, but you'll survive."
Lorraine sniffed and changed the subject to something she liked better. "Will you miss me, William?" she asked.
I nodded. Of course I would. I knew Lorraine a bit better than I knew myself. We also had the intimacy of people sharing and hiding secrets from the world. Every couple had secrets. Every couple was crazy. "Just remember it's only a week," I told Lorraine. "With luck, they'll let you make trips to Sparks regularly..It's Nevada. Your kind of state."
Lorraine blinked. "Think Puerto Rico."
Lorraine chuckled. She said I still knew how to make her happy. I felt sad when teh meal was over. We were five minutes late to County Center where the women gathered for final goodbyes. The children were all ready cranky. My sons were quiet because they had just eaten. I held Lorraine for a long time. I remembered her smell, coffee, sugar, cigarettes, and Chanel #5. Every woman alive wants.... How many times had she said that? Subi called all the women over. They synchronized their watches. They got in their cars. Richard, Subi's lawyer husband, stood impassive. Sharon and her daughters had all cried. Subi took off in the lead, the tomato soup colored bug leading the three large sedans. In about three weeks, we would all meet up again in the desert.
"I've got to go to work today," Richard said to no one. Silverstien offered to give him a ride to the train. I got in the Mighty Corsair and drove over to the lab. I hoped I wouldn't see Andrew. I was mildly worried about Lorraine. This kind of cross country plod was not her thing. In boredom she might try something, not getting drunk, and as for the other, I expected that, but something else, something to spike one of those famous cat fights she described to me in awful detail. Women stick together until they can't any longer. Then they kick out the problem case, and they do it without mercy. Lorraine had taken her cat fight lumps over the years, mostly for stealing men, sometimes for playing fast and loose on a part time job, and she upset one bitch of a moralist by spending some of her household allowance on the horses at Yonkers. We had enough money that nobody starved that week and the bills got paid.
Actually, I was grateful that Lorraine liked horses and horse people. You know the rest, but an affair with a jockey was less likely to prove our social undoing than an affair with a friend's husband or a colleague of mine. I found out about the jockey because he was the father of what would have been my wife's third child. I've often wondered about Bradley by the way, but Lorraine insists he is mine. He actually looks like me, but he doesn't have either of his parents' personalities so go figure there. Douglas was all mine. Number three was the jockey's Lorraine said because I had been going out after supper and not coming home until she was asleep around the time she conceived. She on the other hand was free in the mornings and the track was not far away. That Lorraine had a pint size Mexican man for a lover did not surprize me. I had learned by now that Lorraine liked variety when it came to men, and was fairly devoid of race prejudice. Lorraine also speaks fluent Spanish.
I don't know what happened to the jockey. He probably still drives sulkies at Yonkers. I tried not to think about Lorraine looking for trouble among the other women on the trip west or suffering from withdrawal in the desert. We'd only have each other out there. I was not sure I cared for that idea myself, but I had work to do taking down the house, packing and sending most of the stuff ahead of me. Jacob Silverstien made the mistake of overloading his car. Worse yet, he was giving Richard Wolf, Subi's lawyer husband, a ride west. They broke down in Illinois and we left them there. They could get across the country by themselves. This was not a convoy of women and children who checked up on each other and rescued one another. Jacob had blown a tire and scraped and damaged his rear bumper and would have put a two day delay in our schedule if we had waited around for he and Richard.
We had wives to meet, wives living alone with just children and who needed our protection. Richard had no children and well Jacob was a fool. Besides without the two most conservative men in the group we could have fun on the road. DelGrasso drank martinis in bars at night and stood us to drinks nightly. Bars mean women for me. There, I said it. I still have fond memories of a lovely Mexican American hostess in Colorado. Let's just say I was the one who had to collect the mail once I reached Nevada. I do believe in discretion. It's the only way to keep the peace, and I believe in keeping the peace.
DelGrasso, Doty, and I arrived on a hot night in May. They had moved the women into trailers, and the women had named their trailer park Wakeful Heights. They refused to let us park near our trailers. They had a parking area. The laundry shack was the Washateria. There were signs every where. There was a badminton court and a wading pool and of course they swept the courtyard daily and hosed it down as often as they could get away with. Five women had created their own kingdom of Amazons, but had each kept both their breasts.
I entered my trailer and.... A mound of cigarette butts formed an ash grey mountain in a huge ash tray at the center of a bridge table. Lorraine lay on the day bed/couch in a half open robe reading a tattered novel. A different wife would have been drunk. Lorraine was stone cold sober. She said there was a cookout and she was sorry for not getting dressed. Sharon Silverstien was watching the boys.... I felt my face color. I asked if any one had been in the trailer. "Relax," Lorraine told me. "It's all women here. Other people are making supper tonight, OK?"
I picked up the cigarette butt filled ash tray and empited it in the garbage. "This is worse than New York ever got," I told Lorraine. It was a warning. I would be working again soon. There wouldn't be a community bar-b-que every night. I was going to be driving all over the goddamned desert. I didn't need a wife who flaunted her laziness and all the rest in my face. "Come on get dreessed. Let's go join the party."
"Is that what you really want to do?" Lorraine leaned up on one elbow. She has blue eyes, nice butterfly wing blue. I remembered those eyes in her nineteen year old face.
Rural Route 6A
Rose Rock, Nevada USA