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What Would Aristippus Think

By Raziel Moore
Invisible Lines (Novella)

One for the Road
by J. Corvo © 2004

Tears squeezed out of Wendy's tightly closed eyes.  They tracked down her round cheeks and puddled in the hollow of Jack's gray-haired chest.

Jack felt the pool of warm, wet tears hovering over his heart.  They seemed to seep down into his flesh, killing his resolve with their saltiness.  He stroked Wendy's hair absently with one hand.  The other, hidden under the flower-print bedspread gripped a fistful of fuzzy pink blanket so hard his knuckles were white.

She wasn't a pretty woman.  She was fat; her belly rolled around her and rested on her hips like a half-inflated inner tube.  Her breasts had long since gone from head turning to flabby sacks with nipples that looked like brown smears against her pink skin.

The hair under his caressing hand had been bleached and teased so many times he wondered it didn't snap off like dried weeds.  She was a worn-out waitress on her last pair of fallen arches, and she had the best heart of any woman he'd ever met.  It wouldn't take much to love her.  A kiss at just the right moment, some small kindness and he'd stay.  His white-knuckled fist clenched a little tighter.

"Jack, do you have to go? I mean, I know you got a delivery to finish, but can't you come back?"

Her voice had the edge of a tremor in it, and it was slushy with tears.  It tugged at him.

"Baby, you know I can't.  I told you before we started that I wouldn't be staying."

"I know, Jack.  I was just hoping...  Maybe..."

"I'm sorry, babe."

Her voice had firmed up a bit.  It helped.  His grip on the blanket loosened some.  She was quiet, no sobbing, no coughs or hiccups.  Just the steady drip, drip of her tears pooling among his chest hairs.  He wanted to stay.

They lay quiet for a long time.  Sunlight crested the hills beyond the highway and made its slow progress past the trees, over the near silent blacktop with its faded yellow lines.  At last, it came to the rows of trailers and one by one it lit their frosty sides until it reached the last row of the faded, rickety tin boxes.  There it pressed past her bedroom curtains with their bright yellow primrose print.  She seemed to pull herself together as the light touched the expanse of her naked hip.  He felt her find some deeper resolve, and even though she didn't move, or even change the pattern of her steady breathing, he felt this new thing growing in her.  The steady tears ceased in their path to his chest, and the pool began to cool.

For a time, they lay still, breathing quietly and feeling the touch of the sun as it climbed into the sky.  Jack felt the ragged edges of his own heart being pulled apart again.  He wanted more mornings like this one.  Not the tears, or the hurts, but the feel of her heavy head on his chest and the feel of her warm breath tickling his nipples.  He wanted the feel of her hot, sweaty body pinning his to the bed until he felt like he would roast to death.  He wanted the drained emptiness of his loins after a night of lovemaking, and the fullness of his heart when she howled out her coming.  He wanted it so much.  He wanted it way too much to let himself wrap his arms around it.

Wendy lifted her head from his chest.  She made a small sound that might have been a laugh.  A shy half-laugh at the tears that smeared her face and clogged her nose.  She pressed her palm hard against her fat cheeks, first one side, then the other as she wiped away the tears.  She dried her hand on the pink blanket, and then took a corner of it to rub away the puddle on his chest.  She laughed again.  It wasn't a full, hearty laugh like the one that had drawn his eye at the truck stop cafe.  It was more like a thin, fragile shield against the futility of hoping for more than she had right then.  It was an acknowledgement that this moment was about the best you could hope for after a life of short orders, hot plates and filling strangers' cups with black coffee.

She looked down at him.  One arm bridged across his waist.  One of her full breasts lay across his hairy belly like a beached whale with a huge brown nose.  Her eyes held his: she half smiled, made her odd little laugh again, and then found a brighter smile, one that reached past the wet clouds that still lingered in her eyes.

Jack's gripped the blanket for dear life.  He could feel a wetness coming into his own eyes; his throat burned and closed.  He blinked, and felt a traitorous tear squeeze out of the corner of one eye.  It left a hot, then cold, trail down the side of his face.  He didn't know what to do.  Or what to say.

Wendy reached out and captured the tear before it disappeared into his sideburns.  She wiped it away with more affection and more tenderness than he could bear, and he felt another tear fighting its way to the surface.  He wanted to shake it away, but he knew that the moment he moved, there would be more and he would never stop.  It would be like that other time.  He would lie there and shake and tremble and make stupid coughing sounds.  No.  He would never fall away like that ever again.  He blinked hard and drove the tears back inside where they belonged.

He watched her eyes on him.  He saw her take it all in.  Her eyes were like movie cameras recording every moment of his face.  She read his feelings, and reached into his core until she knew what his insides looked like.  She smiled, as if to say it was OK.  She understood something he hadn't been able to say: that knowing he cared for her would have to be enough because she knew it was all she was going to get from him.

"One for the road, then?" she asked.  Then, as if she knew he wouldn't speak, she lowered her lips to his chest and burrowed her nose into the mat of curling, twisting hairs.  He could feel her face, still hot from crying, and still oddly damp despite the tears she pressed away with her hand.  She gave him a small nip, it made him jump and made her laugh.  It was a tiny laugh, happily at odds with the tightness in his throat.  She found the soft roll at the base of his belly that formed the crease where his big belt buckle lived when he was dressed.  She kissed him there.  It was a long, lingering full-face sort of kiss, as if she were drinking him in, draining the moment of his essence so that she would have something left of him when he was gone.  Jack found himself gripping the bed covers with both hands.  He felt he was about to fall off the face of the world again.

Wendy nibbled and kissed her way to his cock.  He could feel her cheek against it.  There was no hardness in it.  It felt empty, lifeless, as though the wild, rampant erections of the night before had been something from another life.  Wendy murmured something to the stupid, lifeless worm.  It sounded like an incantation.  Then he felt the tip of her tongue make a wet search along its wrinkled length.  He thought of someone doing CPR on his dead prick, and he was beginning to think that maybe it needed electro shocks, when, all of a sudden, he felt a faint tingle of life.  It was tiny, and came from somewhere way down behind his balls.  It hurt.  Wendy mumbled approvingly and took all of his mostly limp cock into her mouth.  He fit easily, and her lips rested against his mound and balls.

She bobbed her head, and each time she let him slide past her lips until just the head was in her mouth.  On each down stroke he felt himself grow harder and stiffer and longer.

"Oh, Jesus, that feels good," he called out.  He'd been afraid to open his mouth for fear the hot, burning tightness in his throat would betray him.  He was surprised to find it gone.

From between his legs, Wendy laughed.  It was a deep-bass, right-pleased-with-herself chuckle. "I knew the old boy had another shot left in him.  Now, let's just see what you can do with it, trucker man." She hauled herself up and straddled his hips.  The rolling fat of her thighs and belly all but hid the dark triangle of hair between her legs.  She slid down on him, guiding him with one hand, bracing herself with the other hand on his chest.  Her fingers curled into his chest hair as he entered, and then half tore a patch of it loose as she drove him home.

"God damn, but you feel good in there, Jack."

"Yeah, I do," he laughed, feeling good for the first time since they woke up.

"Do that wiggle thing of yours."

"Penny, nickel, dime, quarter?"

"God, yes.  And make me some fast change while you're about it."

"Penny," he said, and moved to the left.


"Nickel," he said, and moved to the right.


"Dime," he said and pulled as far out as he could without slipping out entirely.  Just the tip of old Buster rested between the very wet lips at the entrance of her pussy.

He held, and held and held.  He gripped her hips with his fierce hard hands to keep her from moving.

"Jack, you bastard, if you don't drop a quarter in me soon, I'm gonna fall on you and smash you flat."

"Quarter!" he yelled and drove Buster in as deep as he could.

Wendy shrieked with laughter. "Do me again, big spender."

"Quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter," he laughed, driving in again and again until they were both laughing so hard he didn't have breath for words.  Wendy fell forward on him like a ton of bricks.  Her body shrouded him, and her breath in his ear was like the chuffing of a freight train going up a long hill. "Hammer me hard," she growled between breaths. "Hammer me, you mother fucker.  Yes.  God, yes."

Jack felt himself coming and fought it as hard as he could, but it was breaking loose and getting away from him.  Wendy's howl began as a little noise deep in her body, and grew, and grew until he felt it would pull the roof down on them.  She sounded like a room full of people, all whooping and hollering and jumping up and down, all at the same time.  Somewhere in all of that, he came, and left what little juice he still had deep inside of her

For a time they lay still, breathing hard, sharing the slick sheen of sweat that spread between their bodies.  They joined in a rhythm as she breathed in and he out, then he breathed in and she breathed out.  He could feel Buster reluctantly shrinking away and slowly creeping out of her.  She contracted around him, holding him as long as she could.  Then with a tiny "pop," more felt than heard, he was out and they both sighed.

When she rolled off, cold air flooded his body.  He could breathe again, it was a relief, but the cold air felt more lonely than pleasant.  He put a hand on her hip, hoping she would put her hand over his, but she didn't move.  He listened to her breathing and knew that her face had settled into the firm lines of a woman waiting for the time he would go, and never come back.

They lay side by side, neither willing to be the first to move or speak.  A semi whined by on the highway.  Then, another followed it.  Out on the road, the day was beginning again, and they both knew he should be out there too.

"You want some coffee and eggs before you go?" she asked.

He lay silent, unwilling to say yes or no and put an end to the moment that had already come to an end.  The silence stretched on until he couldn't hold on to it any longer.

"Maybe some coffee."

Wendy rolled out of bed and hunted for her robe.  She didn't look at him.  He tried not to look at her face.  She grunted and pulled her robe out from under a heap of covers lying on the floor.  He waited for her to say something, but she quietly cinched her robe around her waist and padded, barefoot, down the hall to the kitchen.  He could hear her opening cabinet doors and putting things on the white Formica countertop.  She was quiet about it.  It reminded him of the kind of quiet that hides the need to throw something.  He lay there for a time listening to her, and then got up and dressed.

Once he'd hooked up his big, Western Rodeo Champion Bull Rider buckle and moved it around so it was in a comfortable spot under his belly, he looked around the room.  It was a woman's room.  All flowered things, neat little rows of makeup and perfume bottles; Kleenex boxes with lacy-dressed dolls covering them; six kinds of hair brushes, all neatly lined up.  There were pictures of someone's children taped to the mirror.  He wondered whose they were.

In the kitchen, Wendy was running water into the coffee pot.  He thought about going out to be with her, and then thought about what he might find to say to her.  There was nothing he could think of that would make his leaving any easier.  He looked around the room again and decided to make the bed, more to delay going out into the silence he knew would fill the space around her, than because he had any real desire to make the bed.  He figured she would strip it the moment he left.  She would put the sheets, blankets, and pillowcases in the washing machine and wash away every trace he had ever been in her bed.  The thought made him hurt again, so he fussed with folding the bedspread under the front edge of the pillows.  It ended up looking worse than before, so he decided to hide his clumsy effort at bed making by arranging her stuffed animals in silly poses.  He thought maybe it would make her laugh when she was alone.

He fiddled with it until she called from the kitchen. "Coffee's on."

Jack picked up his hat, and put it on his head.  It seemed wrong, somehow too final, so he took it off again and held it as he walked into the kitchen.  He sort of gestured back towards the bedroom with the hand holding the hat, "I, uh, made the bed for you.  Hope it's OK, I'm kind of rusty at it.  Been a while, you know?"

Wendy's eyes held his for a moment; he couldn't tell what she was thinking.  Maybe she just wanted him to be on his way.  He tried not to fidget with his hat, and after a moment, she smiled and said, "I think you should have some toast and eggs too.  Next truck stop is a ways up the road, and if they still got Eddy cooking for them in the morning ...  well... "

Jack smiled at her, he felt a bit of his old grin coming back to him. "Wendy, I'd sure rather have them eggs with you.  If you don't mind too much."

They ate breakfast in silence.  He ate with his arm on the table and curled around his plate, as if he were protecting it.  She watched him eat, and as he was finishing, reached out and put her hand over his.  She left it there, squeezing ever so slightly until he looked up and met her eyes.

"Jack, I really liked you being here with me.  I wish it could have been for longer, but I know you can't stay." Her voice was soft and flat.  He could tell that there was an invitation hidden deep in her words.  He almost reached for it, and then hid his retreat by making a last swipe of his plate with a triangle of toast.

"I sure liked being with you too.  Maybe I'll come back this way one day." Jack knew he was lying.  So did she.  He knew he'd drive two hundred miles out of his way just so he wouldn't drive by the diner and see her at the counter, and be tempted to come in.

"If you're done with that, I'll throw something on and walk you out to your rig.  If that's all right with you."

Jake nodded, wanting to be on his way, but feeling like he still had to be nice to her.

Before he climbed up into his ride, Wendy stood on tiptoes and kissed him.  It was a small kiss, no more than the brushing of her lips against his whisker-stubbled cheek.  He could smell the salt of the coming tears, but for that moment, she simply smiled at him sadly, and patted him on the shoulder.

"Thanks," she said, "time for you to roll."

Jack watched her in the big mirrors.  She didn't wave or move, she simply dwindled away as he picked up speed and began the climb through the gears.  At the very last, he tooted the air horn, and then she was gone.  He drove in silence for a while.  The rig was warming up, settling into its own rhythm.  A lot like riding a horse, he thought.  Find the rhythm, let the miles roll by.  After a while he hunted around for a radio station.  Nothing fit his mood.  He tried a couple of CDs and then turned it off and drove along in silence.

He thought about Wendy.  He thought about how good it had felt to lie next to her and then make the bed for her while she was making coffee.  He could feel the hotness growing in his throat again.  He knocked it back down by reminding himself that it always started off like that.  Somewhere down the road, she'd turn on him.  She'd talk behind his back, laugh at him, tell her friends how stupid he was.  Call him a lousy lay.  Maybe some other trucker would come in and pinch her ass and she'd go off with him too.  It had been like that before.  He'd given himself as best he knew how and ended up feeling like his guts had been cut out.  He fucking well wasn't gonna live through that shit again.

Jack jammed his right foot down on the juice and listened to the whine of the big engine climb towards the next gear change.  He shifted up and watched the tach wind up again.  He shifted again.  He was cooking down the road, heading away from her as fast as he could go when a new thought struck him.  He was running down the road and he'd been running down the road for years.  He'd fuck women he met along the way, then head down the road and never see them again.  It hadn't mattered before, he couldn't figure why it should matter this time.  Shit, she was just some fat old waitress desperate for someone to give her one last good lay before she got too old and ugly to get any.  The thought had teeth and it bit him hard enough to make him wish he hadn't thought it.  The woman had a good heart.

An East bound U-haul flashed its lights at him and he began to back it down.  There was a weigh station up ahead, and probably more than a few troopers just coming on shift and looking for their first tickets of the day.  Sure enough, around the next turn there was a fat boy in a blind with a radar gun.  Jack flipped him off under the dash.  The rush of "getting by" washed over him and he grinned to himself.  Then he wished there was someone he could tell about it.  Someone besides another trucker with ten tales of his own to tell.  He began to think about Wendy again.  He liked the way she'd laughed in his ear that morning.

At the weigh station, he handed over his log-books and waited for them to be checked.  He was already down four hours, and he had some serious miles to make up.  He wished they would get their asses in gear and let him go on his way, but as he waited, his thoughts kept going back down the way he'd come.  He wondered what she was doing.  He wondered if she was thinking of him too.  When the trooper handed him his books and told him to try and keep it down to ninety, Jack laughed and started to head back out on the road.  There was a pay phone on the way to the ramp and the sign over it caught his eye as he was about to pull past it.  The sign was old and tattered.  Most of it had been torn away, but the part that was left said, "ET, Phone Home." He stopped and stared at it for a while.

"Oh, just fuck me anyway," he said to himself, and climbed down and headed for the pay phone.  He could tell Wendy had been crying, but she tried hard to sound cheerful at the sound of his voice.

"Yeah, Wendy, it's me, Jack.  Look, I know I ain't much, and I've been through some hard times with relationships and shit, but do you think I could see you again when I come back this way next week? I know I didn't leave so good and all, but I sure would be pleased if you'd give me another whirl."

Jack jerked the phone away from his ear, and then cautiously held it close again.

"God damn, woman, you damn near put my ear out with that shrieking of yours.  How am I gonna put food on the table if they take me off the road because I'm deaf? Look, I gotta lay down some miles, but I'll call you at the turn around.  You all right with that?"

Jack hung up the phone and headed back to his rig.  It had been a long, hard run since he'd felt good, but right then, he felt damn good.

© 2004 J.  Corvo.  All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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