Keith slept fitfully, Butch and Sundance sacked out beside him. He was on a sun-drenched beach. Some woman, he couldn’t quite tell who, lying there with him. He woke up and knew exactly who the dream was about. Lesli a few months into her pregnancy, having put on weight.
He looked around, caught his breath, put a light on. Across the way, Luis was sacked out. With, surprise, a cutie snoring on his chest. Keith pulled their curtain closed.
It was no time of night to call and wake Lesli’s parents trying to talk to her. He’d get there soon enough. Soon enough, he told himself. Soon enough ain’t now.
Meanwhile, he got up and paced the floor, not a lot of space. Wound up getting on the driver’s nerves. Sat and tried to watch a movie, his favorite standby: When all else failed for peace of mind, Alien worked. Not this time. Couldn’t keep his mind on it. Sighed. A little louder than he’d meant to.
Luis’ curtain rustled. The cutie, a waifish White chick, almost wide in the hips as she was tall, stood, stretched, and went to the can. He laid back down and looked at the ceiling. Life was not working out.
The driver, Barney, said he was pulling over into a rest stop, drew the partition all the way up and, from the sound of things, settled into his compartment, presumably drifting off to sleep. The cutie came back out and sat on the edge of Luis’ bed, leering at Keith. “Who’s a girl got to sleep with to get a drink around here?”
“You just did.” It was clear she knew very well where the alcohol was. Whatever appeal those hips held were now lost on him. “Louie, get your friend something to drink. I’m gonna step out and get myself some air.”
Then, remembering he was nowhere near home or Central Park, thought better of the idea. Went back to watching what was left of Alien. The chick said, “Just being friendly.”
“Yeah.” I sure hope Luis checked her ID, he thought. Knowing that would make too much sense. On top of everything, he had to pee and, as he slept in the raw, getting out of bed would give her ideas he didn’t want to deal with.
He got up anyway, glanced at her staring and was resigned. This is not my day. Night either. Whatever. When he came back, she’d found a beer and was sitting on his bed.
Keith saw red. “If you don’t—” he started. Cut himself off, shrugged, and remembered what kind of wild things came along with the territory. “Darlin, if you don’t get back in bed with Luis, he liable to catch cold. You wouldn’t want that would you?” And gave her looked that was a whole lot less friendly. She took the opportunity to save face and got back behind the curtain, pulling it shut after her.
Keith was by no means anyone’s prude. Like he’d said, though, Lesli had lousy timing. Sex as recreation was no longer an attractive or, for that matter, interesting idea. Love-starved as he was, inviting as her hips were, Keith may as well be a eunuch.
He listened to her rustle around, rousing Luis. Heard them kiss. And wondered what God had against him. This was embarrassing, humiliating, emasculating and every other kind of “ing” Keith could think of.
If not for Luis and whoever she was overhearing, he might’ve cried himself to sleep. As it was, though, he was going to give a certain woman a real piece of his mind. In fact, Lesli might just be in for a good cussing out.
At length, he drifted back off to sleep, dreamless. And woke up wincing, a flashlight shining in his eyes. By reflex, he put his hands up and heard, “We can call that resisting arrest. Don’t need to, but we can. All depends on how this goes.”
The cop continued, “You have a minor female up in here, doing only the Good Lord know what with the both of you. A decent young White woman. A girl. I’d say you boys is in a peck of trouble.”
Next week: Keith kicks Louis off the bus.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.