He saw me pull up in my late model Honda. He shared the expression of his dislike. Another Knollwood boy; in his eyes, I was nothing buy a spoiled rich brat, living off my father's fortune. He could tell by the way I looked. That wasn't the case at all.
So I ignored his disagreement, and continued on in-- paying no more attention as I blew the last five bucks in wallet on scratch-off instant tickets. I'm gonna win big someday, I can feel it-- I'm just not exactly sure when. I conversed with the clerk, I'm a regular there late nights-- the normal security guard wasn't on duty, and tonight, there was a suspicious looking young white guy who made it apparent that he didn't approve of my disposition or my late model Honda. He was outside though. So I asked:
"Everyone seems to have something recently."
"Any big winners shoved in your pocket?"
"No.. I'm saving up. I got like sixty bucks in about 15 tickets in a jar back at the house. I'm thinking of it as a home-made 401k."
The clerk didn't understand my reference.
Thatís when he walked in.
I stood there, somewhat ignoring-- this kid had already greeted me with a bad look out at the pumps. I figured I shouldn't ask for too much more. He looked like he'd been around. I stood there figuring out which five tickets out of fifty to blow my cash on, he paid for gas.
"Two-forty. I think that was it," rather masculine voice might I add.
"Two-seventy. About thirty cents off, buddy."
He dug into his pockets. I took this moment to let my eyes roam. I turned slowly, making sure that no one would notice a little glance here, another glance there. Really powerful legs, that's about as far as I got when he turned to me. I pretended I was staring down, looking at something.
"I only got two-forty," he said to the clerk.
I dug in my pockets, and faced him. "I can cover the thirty cents, if you don't mind taking money from a stranger?"
He voice rose in pitch. "Really.. you'd do that?"
"I'd rather spend my money to get a lad home rather than blow it on cancer-sticks and scratch offs." I extended my hand. Dumped about forty cents in his palm.
He paid the clerk, asked for a receipt, which I was surprised at, and turned toward me. I had already spaced back into the plethora of lottery tickets in front of me. Life's hard decisions.
I felt a pat on my shoulder. "Can I do something for you? Anything you need?"
"Cup-a-coffee?" I offered. "You up for that?"
"Sure. Steak 'n' Shake or Nick's?" He hesitated for a minute. His pitch rose further. "You buying?" He chuckled.
"I can. But it'll cost ya."
"Join my cult. Entry is ritual sex."
The clerk chuckled. He thought I was joking.. ha.
So next thing I knew, I was sitting across from him. I was on my first cup, caffeinated, but I was going to switch after this one. He was on his second-- all black, no sugar, no cream, no bullshit. I got a good look at him now. He talked about school, and his piece of shit car. I paid most attention to his lips moving.
"Yeah," I mentioned, agreeing. I was listening, but not one-hundred percent focused on what he had to say. He noticed, and smiled a bit here and there.
I motioned the waitress to come and fill up. She began with the regular, I moved her to decaf. He asked why.
"I cut myself off caffeine about three years ago. I was involved in a film production, high stress, little sleep-- lots of Mountain Dew."
I put out a cigarette. "I guess the cigarettes don't extend my life too far either. But I figured-- choose one or the other. I chose the Marbies. I used to run a lot, before I started smoking. I guess you can see by how good of shape I'm in that I don't anymore."
He smiled. "I didn't notice."
I smiled. "I did," referring to his disposition. "I'd be dangerous with pecs like yours. I'd consider myself God."
He smiled again. That cute little smile, accentuated by that strong little jaw, extended from that stout but defined little neck, with his little pride chain wrapped around tight. I sat there wondering what in Hell was I doing, but I figured that if this gentlemen cared to sit here in his PacSun threw up on me outfit, but I brushed myself off and went to get some gas, that I wouldn't pick him apart for his wardrobe or his sense of style. Besides, the rosy red in his cheeks and neck revealed to me that his skin was still warm from a late night shower. And I could detect the scent of Lever.
"Well, I appreciate that. Pushing anger into exercise is a positive method for keeping friends."
"So, you make movies?"
"Films-- off and on. Nothing permanent, I'm just drifting through that arena."
"Are you any good?"
"I hope so."
He sat there dumbfounded. "What kind of movies?" He hesitated, again. Shy little boy. I could tell what he was thinking.
"Not porno, Jason, dramatic stuff, mostly. Nothing Hollywood quality, as of yet, but I think I'm working up there."
"That's really cool. You should show me something sometime."
"What do you want to see?" I asked.
He laughed. Now he was thinking what I was thinking.
"Anytime," I offered, in half chuckle, "anytime."
We sat for another hour, drank coffee, and talked chit-chat, life, philosophy, and bullshit. It was getting close to two in the morning, and I decided to mention that I should think about getting home.
"Damn," he muffled.
"I got a place of my own over in Mishawaka. I thought maybe you'd want to come and hang out for a bit. Do you like wine?" He snickered. Get my inhibitions down, eh, lad?
"I like the fruity stuff. Try to give me a dry red wine, and I chuck the bottle at ya."
"Sounds like my kind of guy!"
He looked at me serious for a moment. And I looked right back at him.
Then I woke up.
Aztec Yhessin [email@example.com] lives in South Bend, Indiana, and is yet another 20-yo-bi-dude who's really lonely. Can you tell? He loves to get e-mail from strangers, because all of his friends are getting married, having babies, or too busy shooting coke in the back room. As well, he strongly believes we should all just take a deep breath, and move on. You can visit him on the web at http://www.freespeech.org/aztec.