Quick wind and cold rain
Two lovers run for shelter
Ahead of the storm
He counted the syllables on his fingertips, without actually moving the fingers. Lovers. He wished. It wasn’t much of a storm, either.
Carol started the truck and turned the heater up. She sat with her hands clenched together in her lap and her shoulders hunched forward. Dave slid in the other side and reached behind the seat for his big, green, steel thermos.
Smells of hot coffee,
Crystal forest and wet boots
And woman so close
They were the first people in to the Peabody Creek Campground that year. There was still snow on the road in the places where the sun didn’t reach, and there weren’t any tire tracks in the snow until they drove in.
“Brrr!” Carol said, with an exaggerated shiver.
“Hand me your cup.”
“Thanks. What do you think? Wait it out?”
“Yeah,” he answered. “There’s already blue sky over there. Up to you.”
It was up to her. She was the supervisor. He was seasonal help. It was the third straight year that Dave had worked for the DNR. This year was different. This year he started earlier, and besides getting paid, he was earning college credits. Running a chainsaw and picking up garbage counted as wildlife biology.
Cornflower blue shirt
With three buttons forgotten
And camel toe jeans
That wasn’t a new one. Dave smiled to himself when he remembered it. She didn’t wear those jeans very often. Wranglers. He wondered how she decided when she would wear them. Were they her last pair, and she only put them on when none of her others were clean? Maybe she wore them on days she felt skinny. Or horny. That was something to think about.
Dave took a sandwich from his lunchbox. While he ate he stared out the windshield. The edges were fogged up, but the center was clear.
Rain beads on the hood
Clear and cold as iced vodka
On a thin girl’s chest
Iced vodka? ‘Like salty perspiration’ would fit, but that didn’t sound as appealing. Other fluids came to mind, but that would be gross. He liked ‘a flat girl’s chest’ or ‘a small girl’s breast,’ but he didn’t want it to sound insulting or perverted. ‘On a woman’s breast’ was too obvious.
The rain wasn’t really that bad. They could be out there, but it wasn’t that kind of job. Sometimes Carol felt like working, and sometimes not. Some days she felt like driving around. When she drove, they called it ‘checking culverts.’ This had started out as one of those days when she felt like working. It still might be, but for now it was just the two of them, alone in the warm truck.
Dave knew that Carol was twice his age, but he didn’t think that really mattered. She wasn’t old. He was just young. He couldn’t even buy his own beer yet. She still looked good. Sometimes she looked real good. Like when she had been working in the sun, and had worked up a sweat, and she was wearing just a T-shirt, and then a cold wind came up or they took a break in a cool shady place next to a creek. It wasn’t just her nipples that got hard. It was like her entire tits firmed up. If there was a bunch of guys around, she always put her shirt back on right away. Sometimes, when it was just the two of them, she wasn’t in that much of a hurry to cover up.
Her right breast was within easy reach of his left hand. Her leg was right there, too. She might like that. Maybe that was what she wanted.
He needed the job. He needed the credits. He did not need humiliation.
He poured them both more coffee, then he put the thermos back behind the seat. The truck was too warm. Carol liked it that way. They’d been through that before. He reclined his seat a few notches and let his eyes almost close. Maybe he’d just sit back and let himself think about her. He’d pretend to fall asleep. He had boxers on, and he could get a hard on just by thinking about her. She’d see it, bulging in his jeans. She would at least have to think about it.
It was working already. Shit. Then what was he going to do? Go out in the rain and jack off in the woods?
Dave didn’t look when the truck door opened. He heard the toolbox in the truck bed open, and he heard it close. Carol said, “Dammit!” and then she was back in the truck.
“I almost made it,” she said. “Then one gust of wind.” She shivered again, and pinched the front of her shirt, and pulled, flapping it dry. She pressed her hand again against her chest, blotting moisture from between the two pale, soft, freckled, breasts.
Okay. She was doing that on purpose.
A few minutes later she asked, “You’re doing it again, aren’t you?”
“What?” he asked, but he knew.
“You were writing one of your poems. Your Haiku’s. I saw your fingers moving.”
“I never should have told you that,” he said.
“Tell me the poem.”
“It’s not finished.”
“Not this one.”
“What’s that mean? Now you have to tell me.”
“Let me think.” He did. He thought. He wasn’t going to tell her, but then he realized that when she saw his fingers moving, they were barely moving, and his hand was on his thigh, not six inches from his dick. She was looking.
He said, “Three lucky raindrops. From a storm of nine billion. I envy those three.”
Silence. Then, “Oh, David.” Her voice was soft, and thick with care and concern and compassion. “This is going to be a long summer for you, isn’t it?”
Copyright © 2008 by Conrad Stetson. All rights reserved.
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