Pulp Driving LessonbyLyss©
Bette squealed to a stop in front of the Soda Shoppe and cut the engine. Lorraine waved out at the red convertible and pushed her Coke across the counter to the waitress who'd come on when her lunch shift ended. She'd hardly touched it.
Lorraine got up from her stool and tried to look interested but not eager. She straightened the back of the pencil skirt she'd finished yesterday, cut in charcoal gabardine from the Butterick pattern to look like the one in Vogue. She caught a glimpse of the A-line in the plate glass. She still looked twenty, even without a girdle. She smoothed her shoulder-length tresses, the color of Malibu Beach sand, then headed out to the sidewalk.
"Nice to see you this side of the counter, Honey," Bette said, blinking into the October sun and leaning over to open the passenger door. Lorraine climbed in. When Bette reached back to pull the door closed, her wrist brushed Lorraine's breast like a kiss. She didn't apologize. Lorraine felt aware of her nipple, suddenly firm against her nylon slip, then pushed the sensation away, as if slapping her own hand.
"James Dean had a'54 MG, too. Red, like mine. He died in a Porsche 550 Spyder, though. Silver. I'd love to maneuver one of those." Funny she mentioned James Dean. Bette reminded Lorraine of him, with the cuffs rolled up on her blue jeans and that brunette bob framing her unmade face. Bette looked like she could be nineteen or thirty-nine. The only thing girlish about her was the red polish, like the car's paint, on her blunted fingernails, as if Bette and the roadster were a matched set. Lorraine could almost picture a pack of Old Gold's rolled into her shirt sleeve.
"Ready for your first lesson?" Bette asked.
Honey, Bette had said last week as she lingered over her apple pie à la mode, if your husband won't get you behind the wheel, I will. Bette's voice reminded Lorraine of coffee, extra sweet. She was one of Lorraine's regulars, but unlike the fellows who gobbled the same club sandwich on the same stool everyday exactly five minutes after the lunch whistle, she came in mid-morning one day for corned beef hash, late afternoon the next for iced tea. Sometimes she took up two places by the window, turning the pages of Life. Other times she perched near the register. But she always gabbed to Lorraine about what movie star she'd seen crossing Sunset, or what ingenue was dating whom. And whether she'd ordered bacon, eggs and hash browns or tea with lemon, Bette tipped like she'd dined on steak and champagne.
Some days Bette didn't show up at all. That was when Lorraine dragged through refilling the sugar bowls and recounting the nickels in the tip jar, stared out at the cars racing up and down Hollywood Boulevard, and strained for a glimpse of the red MG. Those were the days hyperdrive built from her toes clear up through her cunt.
"Ok, first things first. " Bette turned the key. "Switching on the ignition gets electricity flowing to the motor, which turns the engine's crankshaft. The pistons rotate up and down and start the fuel pumping. Electric sparks light the fuel, setting off a little explosion, which wake up the engine. Got it?" Lorraine nodded.
"In other words," Bette said, so soft Lorraine had to lean in until she felt Bette's breath on her earlobe. "You can have a loaded tank and V-6 swank, but you're nothing but parked if you ain't got that spark."
Bette smiled, then pressed her left sneaker down, pushed the gearshift forward and screeched into eastbound traffic. The force pressed Lorraine into the seat. She reached up to touch her hair, which was blowing in a hundred directions. How could she have forgotten a kerchief? Bette dropped it into second, then veered onto North Vermont. An image popped into Lorraine's mind of Bette yanking that gearshift right out of the floorboards and plunging it into her, over and over. But Bette was a girl and Lorraine was a married woman.
"Don't you love this manual thrust?" Bette yelled above the engine. Manual thrust. That's what Dickie said whenever he finished pretend-tinkering under the Chevy's hood and interrupted her fixing dinner by nudging her dress up. I'd love to give you some manual thrust, he'd say, nodding toward the bedroom. He heaved away while she gazed at the ceiling, rubbing small circles in his back and thinking about her tuna casserole. But when Bette said it, she felt her panties saturate as if they'd been doused in warm honey.
"The clutch," Bette said, pushing in the pedal again, "puts the transmission in neutral. The transmission gears revolve and carry power from the engine to the wheels. Neutral's a kind of no-man's-land where you suspend for a second, as if you're not sure where to go." The ride gentled and softened.
"But we're sure," she laughed, pushing the shifter away from her. The car surged forward, louder now, and darted across Los Feliz toward Griffith Park. They started to climb. Lorraine felt as if they were leaving the whole city behind.
Bette pulled into the far end of the observatory parking lot, set the hand brake, and clicked the key off. They watched the city's first lights snap on without speaking, as if they had to catch their breaths. Lorraine imagined how her lipstick, the color of orange cream, would look on Bette's lips. Then she jumped: Bette had hopped out of the car and was now standing over her, the passenger door open.
Lorraine looked toward the observatory and covered her eyes, like she did as a child when the sun spun off the reflected roof to burn a trio of reverse domes into her eyeballs. She remembered how, when Dickie came home from the service, he whispered, "I love you, baby, I love you," and pounded into her in the back seat of the then-new Chevy. She'd glanced up at the domes then and imagined that the telescope looked right at her, as if it was a giant god who knew how she rocked herself to sleep every night, one forefinger circling her clit, the other hand ramming her cunt from behind.
But Lorraine was no longer a childlike woman without an idea of what she wanted. The domes' copper had mellowed to a patina. And the telescope pointed skyward, as if it had turned its back, so that she could see everything but was invisible to everyone. She felt like the Foucault pendulum itself had turned events inside out.
Lorraine dropped her hand and looked at Bette's, holding the door handle. The red polish on her forefinger had chipped. Bette, what you could teach me about cars, Lorraine thought, I could teach you about manicures.
"Into the driver's seat, Honey." Bette's voice interrupted.
Lorraine stepped out, her skirt hiked and her hairdo kaput. She stood eye to eye with Bette with nothing between them: no counter, no coffeepot, no gearshift, no tip. Lorraine touched her own lips, as if she was checking her makeup in her compact. But instead of staring into a mirror she gazed at Bette and rubbed her thumb back and forth, hard, smearing chiffon outside the careful lines she'd traced only minutes before. She did neither adjusted her skirt nor fiddled with her hair. She walked around to the other side and felt the engine's heat like a blast. She settled at the controls, kicked off her black pumps and closed the door.
Lorraine adjusted the rearview, pushed down the clutch and turned the key, like she'd seen Bette do. She popped the transmission in gear, let the clutch up and pressed on the gas. The car lurched and stalled. Bette laughed out loud.
"First time's the hardest, Honey," she said. "Ease up. But only a little."
First, Bette pointed. Second. Lorraine spun figure eight's around the lot.
"Practice makes perfect," Bette whispered as she began unclipping Lorraine's garters one by one. Lorraine depressed the clutch, screeched to a halt, engaged the emergency break and pushed Bette's hand away. The engine still throbbing, she reached for the button of Bette's jeans. She pulled it open and pushed into the tight space without pausing to undo the fly. She leaned over to bite Bette's top lip, hard.
"Ohh," Bette said, a surprise fading to a sigh.
Lorraine reached past cotton underwear and kinky hair to the warmth stretching to meet her fingers. Bette leaned back, loosened her hips and went for the zipper, but Lorraine needed no help. She grabbed Bette's wrist with her free hand and pinned it against the seat, her hand a vice. She rubbed a finger past Bette's clit and into her cunt. Bette moaned softly.
Lorraine pulled out to open the zipper, clutching Bette's wrist tighter. She moved her face an inch from Bette's, who closed her eyes for a kiss, but Lorraine stopped, and when Bette's eyes opened, she brought her own fingers to her mouth and licked, one at a time, as if she were savoring a lazy summer ice cream cone. Bette inhaled with a ping. Then, as quickly as Bette had lurched across Los Feliz, Lorraine pushed two fingers into her steaming cunt, their faces still close. Bette cried out and jutted her pelvis forward. Lorraine tightened the grip on her wrist as if to threaten, "Don't move."
Lorraine pumped slowly, and imagined settling at a steady speed on Interstate 5. She inserted a third finger, then a fourth. She felt Bette tense her feet, calves and thighs to keep herself still. Bette clenched her teeth, then bit down on her lower lip. Lorraine wondered if Bette would be able to keep herself from shouting.
Lorraine changed the angle of her hand and felt Bette's clit, hard as a pearl button. She yanked her hand out to tease it, strummed a finger back and forth, wound it in circles. Pressed down. Let up. Pressed again. Let up. Bette's legs tensed further. When she pushed back into Bette, it was as if she'd plunged her whole hand into a cup of stove-heated cream. She could hear it sloshing over the sides.
A pulse like electricity tingled Lorraine's fingertips. In. Out. Urged her to speed. In. The way James Dean had. Out. Lorraine's first lesson was almost over. She could feel it. The car was practically driving itself. The electricity surged from her hand straight to her own cunt. She pushed her tongue into Bette's mouth now, feeling as if she were searching for something, then released Bette's wrist and slid her hand into her own panties. She fucked Bette with one hand, herself with the other and Bette's mouth with her tongue until she didn't know whose salt she tasted. They reached crescendo and sustained it, like a straining motor yearning to be released into neutral. Lorraine heard a moan but could not tell whose it was.
Lorraine pulled away, engaged the transmission and eased the car into first. She had in mind the roads that wind along Mount Hollywood, roads she'd never seen, at least not with her skirt up and the top down. She shifted into second gear, then third, and hit the gas.
"Doesn't she purr like a kitten?" Bette breathed. Lorraine ran a finger under her nose.
Roars like a lion, she thought, slamming into fourth.