Find a Conversation
|Thu, 05-11-2000 - 12:19pm|
************************************************************* Ok, I really don't think it matters who he is, but for all of you that think it's integral to the story: 1. I don't agree, 2. There are several clues laced throughout. I was trying to go for a 'fill in your dream man' feel, trying to capture a feeling that you can only feel for a larger-than-life icon, someone not quite real. But the real angle I was trying to work is with setting. I wanted the setting to reflect the story: grimy, sweaty, rugged, the local color (both linguistically and physically). And he fit the setting. Let me know your ideas. **************************************************************
It is a grimy day in New South Wales and my travel companion and I fit right in. We are about six and a half hours outside of Sydney and I feel and look like I’m wearing half the outback. Lora and I are drinking something called a ‘Cane Toad’ beer from one of the local microbrews after a standoff with the bartender when we ordered Fosters.
“Hey, we’re new here,” I say irately to the sighing bar keep as I try to give him the right amount of money.
“Take it easy, Erica,” Lora says out of the side of her mouth and chugs half her beer.
“Christ, Lora, I thought it was ‘Australian for beer’, what the hell do we know?” I whisper to her as I give the bar keep too much of a tip as my American apology for ignorance.
There is a local band playing what we assume to be Aussie pub standards. We are both so tired, thirsty and irritable that we hardly flinch when I note that the band has very sexy and very recognizable front man.
“Good God, what the hell is doing here, singing with them?” Lora wheezes as she settles into the stool next to me. “Wow, a brush with fame, and we smell like cattle.” He seems to be singing to us.
“When we touch and when we talk Our needs are the same Well I ache for more of - What's her name?”
I take stock of the pub’s patrons and notice that we’re two of three women and about forty men. “Yes, but look at our odds,” I say indicating the ratio with a sweep of my hand. The band’s set wraps up and the members disperse and head for the bar. Finally realizing the immediacy of the situation, I take stock of what we look like. We are sweaty, and our tank tops are slightly more beige than when we put them on, but all in all, not a total loss. We both look great with our long hair in ponytails and our deep tans make us look like the coeds we were ten years ago.
“Oh, shit, they’re smiling at us and coming our way,” Lora says and darts to the ladies room, if she can find one. This leaves me to entertain until she returns.
The one I believe to be the drummer gets to me first. He smiles and leans over me to the bar. “Hey, Lenny, we’re drier than a nun’s nasty here.”
“Keep your panties on, Dave”, Lenny the bartender says, his face lighting up at sight of the band. He quickly passes out beers to the band. Michelobs.
Sometime during our long trek out here, I had almost forgotten how sexy that accent is, especially when spoken with a husky male voice. Dave and the other band members hover near me, and to my relief, Lora returns from the bathroom with fresh lipstick. The lead singer stands just slightly apart, with a distant look on his face.
“Lenny’s got you drinking that swill, has he?” Dave says to us both. “The locals won’t drink it, so I’m guessing you’re American, right?”
“You guessed right,” I say. I look around just as the famous front man picks his head up and makes searing eye contact with me. Not dropping my gaze with him, but directing my question to all I say, “What’s a nice band like you doing in a place like this?”
The famous front man plows his way directly towards me, intently, with his head slightly downcast, and whispers to me, “How did you enjoy the set?” At this cue, Dave and the others start talking to Lora, engaging her with some colorful colloquialisms. I am speechless, and acutely aware of his scent. No after-shave or cologne, just the well-scrubbed smell of soap and masculinity. As a matter of fact, it looks like he hasn’t shaved in a week. He towers over me in my stool, although from his movies, I know he is not that tall, I just feel small and weak. “How did you enjoy the set,” he asks again, his raspy Australian accent rubbing me exactly the right way.
“Oh, I only got to hear that last song, uhhh, what was it called, ‘What’s Her Name’? Yes, very good, I had no idea…” I trail off, afraid of the inevitable rambling I will do when nervous.
“Speaking of which, what is your name?” He asks as he lights another cigarette, gray smoke occluding his blue eyes, already half hidden from his heavy, squinty brow.
“Erica”, I say, staring at his cigarette. “You know, those things will kill you,” I say and laugh nervously at my lame attempt at humor.
“Yeah, I’m a big fan of irony,” He says, with that ‘I’ve never heard that one before’ look on his face. “So, I guess that answers that question,” he says with the first of many smiles that stop my breath.
“Yes, I do know who you are. I was quite surprised to find you here. We thought we were getting away from it all, coming out here, and well, here you are.”
“So I’m supposed to be the personification of all the corruption and dirtiness of the real world?” He grumbles, adding the second smile I’ll never forget.
“Yes. Well, no, not you, personally. I didn’t mean to imply you’re a sell-out -- because you aren’t. I just…”
“Insulted me.” With this he takes my hand, and says, “Another hour before my next set, come take a ride with me, sun’s setting.” I am off my stool and waving goodbye to Lora in one movement, and out the door.
We’re out around the back of the building so quickly, I didn’t have time to realize that I never even consented to this-- Not that I could imagine that any sane woman would refuse him. “Hey, is that a ’48 Chief?” I say, not believing my eyes. “It’s totally restored. My dad had and Indian, but not nearly in such good condition. It’s yours?”
“Rock and roll, lady. Good eye.” He climbs on with the grace of an athlete and gestures for me to follow. I climb on the back less than easily and put my hands gingerly on either side of his waist.
“Naw, not like that.” He seizes both my wrists roughly, and places my left hand on his chest, the other lower on a stomach that could only have been sculpted from a piece of marble. He feels and looks like a man should. His skin is brown and his hands have calluses. His shirt isn’t made of silk or linen. It is plaid flannel, well worn and pilling with age. I suddenly give in to an irresistible urge and kiss the back of his neck. He tastes exactly like he should.
“Hold on, now. I’m going to give you the ride of your life.” We take off fast, kicking up bitumen in our wake. I hold on tighter and start to really feel him beneath my hands. He’s no skinny waif like some in his business. He has the mass that your late thirties bring-- a solid maturity that comforts and excites me. My hands move all over him now, rudely grabbing what I want to be mine. The buzz of the engine between my legs is almost pornographic. I press my breasts against him and grip his body with my thighs. I take my hands off his torso, and move them to his arms. They are compact and powerful, not over-stuffed or lab-created. I want to touch his thick wrists badly, but I can’t quite reach them. The tightness of his body surprises and warms me.
We drive toward the sunset on something that could only loosely be described as a road. The sky is arid and cloudless and makes for a fiery sunset. I burn this sight into my retinas and this moment into my mind. We ride for about twenty minutes and stop when we meet a fence.
“I live out here sometimes. When it all gets to be too much.” He turns to me, and I slide off so I can face him.
“That’s funny, ‘cause I came out here because my life was not enough,” I say, facing him now. He puts his left hand around my throat and almost encircles it. He squeezes gently and pulls me too him, decisively. He lets me kiss him until I get my fill. He doesn’t pull away or react in any meaningful way, but he lets me suck his lower lip and part his lips with my tongue. He allows me to touch him in the most familiar ways. I choose to hold his face in my hands and smooth his eyelids with my fingertips.
“Gotta go back now, but thanks for the ride,” He says. My heart falls as my mind realizes this is the end of one of those moments-- The ones that never quite happen again in your life.