The Last True Fan Ch. 02byNigel Debonnaire©
Dan Harris looked down the tree filled bank carefully, working hard to see without being seen. The mid afternoon sun shone hard on the vegetation, making the late spring greenery glisten with vitality, and the water of the little pond at the bottom of the hill he called Peachtree Lake shoot flecks of accusation his direction. It seemed nature itself knew what he was doing was wrong.
Swimming in the water below was Brenda Kearns, a once famous actress whose life had led her to Dan's little world. Her grey hair spread out in a fan as she swam just below the surface, and plastered itself to her head as she surfaced to breathe. Her skin was a little darker than when she arrived, and her body slightly thinner. Dan had a direct view of most of the lake, and watched as she swam nude back and forth, ducking down from time to time and rising up again.
She got out of the water and walked to a small bit of grass on the bank next to the water. Laying on her front, she offered her body entirely to the sun to dry it. She was average height and weight for a woman in her early 50's, her breasts sagging and her skin beginning to wrinkle. He watched her, leaning around a tree trunk, his eyes glued and almost unblinking. Her body made sensuous flesh colored curves that augmented the gently sloping lawn, and he dreamed as his eyes traveled every slope of her backside. It was almost an Eastern meditation to watch the sun gradually dry her hair.
When Brenda arrived in Dan's trailer park three weeks earlier, he was shocked to find that her career had taken a nosedive since her series was cancelled in the '70s, and more shocked to find the woman he adored would have no interest in him sexually. His direct experience with lesbians was minimal during his career in the Air Force, but he knew enough to know she was running a Mac program and he was a PC.
Yet, the night they met, she was overwhelmed by his devotion to her career, and gave him a topless late night show outside his window. He tossed and turned that night, not knowing what to think, his libido confused and his heart beating a love call unknown to him for 20 years. She was a fantasy that sustained him through many lonely times, when his quest for feminine companionship failed time after time. Her face stimulated him when no other stimulation was near, and helped him discharge his pent up energy when his batteries were full.
They fell into a routine: they left for work and returned at different times, so it was easy to leave things for the other without direct contact. Dan left a couple of tomatoes and other spare vegetables from his little garden on her kitchen counter every morning before he went to make his rounds driving the OATS bus. He would return from work to find a fresh flower in a vase and two chocolate kisses on his counter. She went swimming in the pond every day just after he returned from work, and after she was safely in the water, he would take his hidden spot behind the foliage to watch her play in the water and sun herself, taking care to return to his trailer when she put on her clothes to come back up the hill. If they were outside at the same time, she working on her flowers, he in his Victory garden, they would chat about local happenings and the weather, and he would fill in the gaps of her knowledge of small town America.
A prick in his armpit woke Dan from his reverie. Feeling the skin, he found the tick that fastened into his flesh. This was part of the price for his voyeurism: ticks grew very well in the trees near his trailer, but not close to the water for some odd reason. He pulled it out expertly, and crushed its head between his fingernails. When he would fish the pond for crappie, catfish and bass every morning, he never had to protect himself; when he began watching Brenda's daily sunbathing he would have to pull two or three off each day he forgot to use his repellant.
This day was different. It was a Wednesday, almost three weeks to the day after their first encounter, and Brenda had just returned from a mysterious trip. She had disappeared the previous Sunday evening and returned late Tuesday night. That morning, in addition to the flower and chocolates, he found a framed, autographed picture of her from her youth, inscribed: "To Dan, my most faithful fan, with all my love, Bren."
She turned over, brushing herself off. Her tummy had gained a little more definition in the past weeks, her legs thinned, and her face more lean. "This place is agreeing with you, Brenda my dear," he whispered to himself as a breeze tossed the branches for a moment. Her breasts rolled outward, her nipples settling almost in the crook of her arms, making her sternum seem abandoned. His pants began to tent, and his breathing grew a little more heavy.
Glancing at his watch, Dan withdrew from his hiding place and ducked inside for a quick sip of water before starting his truck for a second trip into town that day. He'd taken a temporary job driving a bus: every dollar he could make was important, every dollar he could save a necessity. As his truck wound its way down the track that led to the rest of the world, her figure lurked in his mind, bewitching him more than she bewitched his imagination in her prime.
When he returned after midnight, the other two trailers in his little park were dark. Turning on the light as he entered his trailer, he found a note on his counter: "I need your help. BK" For a moment he was worried, then concerned what she might need. He almost went across the lot to knock on her door, but remembered she had to work early in the morning, and if she needed immediate help, she wouldn't have turned out the lights and gone to bed.
Dan entered Josie's the next morning around 9:00AM and waved hello to her. She smiled and came over to give him a big hug, which she had never done before. "How're ya doin', Dan?"
"I'm fine, Josie. How're you?"
"Doing just fine, Danny boy, just fine. Ya want coffee?"
"Have a seat in th' usual place and Bren'll set ya up." Dan looked around the diner, and found only two other customers, a couple on vacation sitting at the far side of the restaurant, completely involved with one another.
Brenda came out in her clean uniform, a big smile on her face and a cup of coffee in her hand. "You want a menu, Dan?"
"I'll put that in, then I want to talk to you."
Dan started sweating: "she's found out I'm snooping on her and wants me to quit," he thought to himself. "I'm just a sawn off little runt who's 68 years old and been lonely too long. How many women want a grey haired man who's life's mostly over. Either she'll gonna call th' sheriff, or move 'less I straighten up." He looked around nervously, but the couple across the way still ignored him, and Josie smiled at him as she folded silverware into napkins.
Brenda came back out and sat down across from him, looking at him with concerned eyes. "Haven't seen much of you this week, Dan. Where have you been the past three nights?"
He shifted nervously in his chair. "Been takin' a church group to a revival 70 miles away. Lotsa singin' 'n prayin' 'n preachin' and people waving their arms in the air, babblin' like babies, shoutin', hollerin' 'n fallin' over. Damn near wore me out. Din't get home 'til late."
"Did they cause you any trouble?"
"Hell yes, that damn preacher tried to stiff me. Asked: 'Haven't you felt uplifted by this experience? Hasn't it be a joy and a privilege to be part of this awesome, Spirit filled movement. Don't you want to donate your fee to our church for the privilege of being part of this inspiring experience?' I said 'shit no, I got bills to pay. Gimme my money.' Took the bastard forever to stick a crowbar in his wallet, but I waited him out last night. He finally peeled off th' greenbacks and thanked me for my service."
She sighed and patted him on the hand. "Do you have to go again tonight?"
"Hell no, I'm done with them."
Looking aside and taking a deep breath, she said: "I have to ask a favor of you."
Here it comes, he thought. "Yeah?"
"My washing machine broke down last night, and I don't know what to do about it. This is my last clean uniform, and I had to wash it out by hand last night. Have you got a washing machine?"
"Yeah," he said, trying to hide the inward relief he felt. "But I kin take a look at yours later today."
Shaking her head, she patted the table top to punctuate her words. "Oh no, no, no, that's not what I was asking."
"Don't worry 'bout it," he replied with a shrug. "Worked on it for Miz Gladish a coupla years ago 'fore she died. Always had good luck tinkerin' with appliances and engines, that's why I was a Master Mechanic in th' Air Force."
A look disbelieving look was his reply, and she paused several moments before answering. "I'd appreciate that, Dan," she said, giving his hand a squeeze. "That would be more than I could ask for."
"Don't worry 'bout it. You gettin' home same time as usual tonight?"
"No, I've got to do some business at the courthouse after work. Driver's license, car registration, that kind of stuff. I can give you a little more space."
"Don't matter, I'll be done 'for ya git home."
Shaking her head and smiling, she touched his hand again. "You're so sweet."
He waved her off dismissively. "Don't worry 'bout it."
"Be right back with your breakfast," she said, getting up to bustle back to the kitchen. Several more customers entered, the daily coffee crowd, and they waved at him in greeting. Brenda didn't have another chance to chat with him before he finished his breakfast and left.
After returning home, he got his toolbox out of his truck. Her little part of the 3 trailer park had changed since she arrived. Neat rows of various flowers flanked her trailer, with two small shrubs in pots by the door. Long buried stepping stones from the front stairs to the car park were disinterred and shone in the sunlight. The grass all around the trailer park was neatly trimmed with no trash visible, even over by Alan Drake's trailer, which still looked like an abandoned landfill.
Dan entered Brenda's trailer, pulling the screen door shut and leaving the inside door open. Her trailer was immaculate, neat and orderly, no dirty dishes in the sink, and even spots that inhabited the walls and floors for a decade had been banished by her domestic art. Finding the washer, he noticed it needed the same repair he did two years earlier. A slow murmur told him the toilet was leaking, and a quick glance told him the flapper was shot; a steady drip plinked in the kitchen sink, and no tweaking the taps stopped it. "This time we gotta git things right," he said to himself, almost running headlong into a mountain of a man as he exited the trailer.
Alan Drake was 6'5", 425 pounds and resembled an aging grizzly bear freshly awakened in the Spring. He wore a plaid shirt and dingy white shorts over brown socks and sandals, and held a can of cheap beer. "Howdy, Dan," he growled sloppily.
"Hello, Alan," Dan said calmly. "How's it goin'?"
Alan swayed slightly; his eyes were bloodshot and his cheeks red. "Okay, a'guess. You workin' on thet lil girl's trailer?"
"Yeah. Washin' machine gave out. Gonna git a part from town."
"She's purty. Ah lahk it when she mows th' yard wearin' her boob toob."
"Yeah. Kinda like the PX girl we knew in Germany."
"Shit yeah," he nodded, his face modulating to rare reflection. "Fucked her a long time 'fore we got transferred."
Dan shook his head. " No, can't b'lieve that. You dated Greta?"
"Nope. Jus' fucked her. She'wuz a great lay."
Taking a moment to clear his head, Dan focused himself and turned to go. "Okay. Alan, I gotta git to town agin."
As Dan tried to pass, Alan put out his free hand and stopped him. "Betcha wanna fuck thet lil' girl. I wood."
Dan shook his head. "She's not int'rested Likes women."
Alan shook his head and took a long pull from his beer. "She a carpet muncher? Lesbo?"
"Yeah, Alan. We got no chance, not even with your donkey dick."
He let out a huge, juicy burp and finished his beer. "You been lookin' at her nekkid when she's swimmin'. I seed you in th' afternoon, then I seed her walking up in thet robe with her butt stickin' out. Mebbe she let us watch her an' her girlfren' make out sumtime." He bent over and stepped aside, with his eyes closed and a few gargled chuckles shaking his big frame.
"Yeah. I gotta go." Dan finally maneuvered around Alan's bulk as he was lost in his mirth, and made his way across the yard to his vehicle. "Go have 'nother beer, Alan."
"Yeah. Bubye, Dan." He shambled back to his trailer as Dan started his truck.
It took a little over an hour for Dan to find the past he needed, and when he returned he got straight to work. The washing machine was done in half an hour, the toilet took 5 minutes, and the kitchen faucet was a quick job as well. He noticed a whole near the floorboard in the living room with a piece of cardboard taped over it; finding a scrap of metal in his closet, he screwed it over the hole. Finally, he got his ladder and reoriented her TV antenna to get better reception. All this was done and the tools put away before her old van lumbered down the track to its roost.
He took off his shirt and settled down with a glass of iced tea in front of the fan to cool off. His ribs showed, his skin was wrinkled and splotched, his chest hair scraggly grey. The front of his pants quivered anticipating Brenda's return and his daily voyeur session; a half hour after he settled down her van rattled home and she got out with a few items in her arms. It took a few moments longer than usual for her to emerge; Alan often sat at his window to glimpse her going by and he was there that day. Usually, she changed into a short blue robe that came up to the curve of her ass to go swimming: the sight alone made Dan excited. But that day she had changed into a white tube top and pink shorts and came directly to Dan's front door.
Dan sprinted to put on a t-shirt, panicked that her intention was to visit him. He just got back as she reached his door. She knocked and entered to sit on a chair at his kitchen table. Sitting down, her hands trembled and she looked at him amazed. "I think you're a saint, Dan," she started quietly.
He shook his head. "Just tryin' to help. We all help each other out here."
"You sure do. What you did, I, I, I can't believe it, so much more than I expected. You didn't just fix my washer, you fixed the sink and the toilet, too."
"Don't have much water 't waste here. Easy stuff, no problem."
"I'm not used to this, not used to somebody working this hard without being asked. Guess we come from different places in the world: if this were California, or New Mexico, or any large city, I'd have to wait a week for the man to show up, three days for parts to come in, and even then there'd be no guarantee the work would be right. But you, you, you wonderful man. Well, you're a saint." He shook his head no. "Anyway, would you like it if I cooked you supper tomorrow night?"
Shrugging his shoulders, he put his palms up. "Okay."
"You like burgers?'
"Anything you really don't like?"
"Cooked carrots. I kin eat'm raw all day, but hate it when they're cooked."
"It's a date." She got up to go, and turned to talk to him standing by the door. "Oh Dan, I'm just overflowing right now and I need to get something off my chest. Can I talk to you about something?"
"I guess." Now it comes, he thought.
"It's about the trip I just took into the city. Being gone the first part of this week. Made me think a bit."
His eyes looked around, seeking an escape; he was an ordinary guy who had few deep sober conversations, and this looked like one. The last time a woman said "Can I talk to you?" to him, she wanted a divorce. He shook his head and looked back at her. "Ya sure you don't wanna talk to Josie? She's way better at girl stuff."
"No, no, she doesn't know about, about, about the real me. Don't want to burden her with all this, and you know about me already. Besides, you're such a good listener, and I don't need you to say much." She walked over and touched his cheek. "Would you listen to me?"
He nodded his head slowly, and sat up straight to focus his attention. Looking up at her, he was puzzled, but ready to do what she asked of him.
She stood up and started to pace as far as the small room would let her, wringing her hands. "I went to find kindred spirits this week.. Josie gave me a couple days off and a full tank of gas, so I went to see what the. . .scene was like there."
"Scene? What'cha talkin' 'bout, Brenda?"
"Oh, I did the culture thing: went to museums and libraries, walked around the local university and read the bulletin boards. Wanted to get a feel for the town, get a feel for where I could fit in. You know how it can be living out here: needing to go into the City to find what you can't here. Found a couple of bars."
"Bars? Nothin' wrong with bars."
"Gay bars, lesbian bars. I was looking for love, or at least some new friends to keep me company. It's tough to be alone after you've been in a relationship for 25 years. There was a whole community out in New Mexico, a group I was part of. Sometimes I miss them more than I miss Becky, especially when I'm pissed at the self-centered bitch." She looked away, and her voice dropped to a near whisper. "Can't face them anymore, not by myself, not even if they wanted me. Not after I was dumped like that."
Her head drooped for a minute, and he still looked at her bleakly, silently. She got a glass out of his cabinet and filled it with water. "Do you mind?" He shook his head. "Haven't been in a bar for decades, used to love them when I was young. So much fun cruising for chicks with a gang of friends, getting drunk and high, doing outrageous things in public, it's a miracle the gossip magazines never heard about what I did, but most of the crazy stuff happened before I got _Grape Stompers_. Funny, every time I wanted to get laid so badly I could scream, I wouldn't get anywhere close."
"Kinda like bein' in th' Service," Dan murmured. "Out with th' boys, dodgin' the MPs in off limits dives, God some o' them was real shitholes. Bringin' Alan was like bringin' yer own floor show: he could tell ya wild stories if he could 'member 'em. Din't have much luck, not like Alan over there, I was too shy. Ifa went with friend ta have a good time, that was OK; if I was lonely and wanted to find somebody, I was still lonely when they closed."
"Guess it's the same both sides of the street. It's so different now, trying to get into circulation. Oh, it's nice to be more open about being lesbian, finding people like you so easily without trying to be discreet. But I'm not young anymore, and these kids haven't had to worry about much in their lives. I found some nice kids, funny, beautiful, but they were so different. Kids, I'm talking about anybody under 45! The past few months have changed me too much, I can't be part of the bar scene anymore. I can't float around looking for somebody. It's like I'm from another planet now, I don't fit anymore."
Dan nodded, and looked down. "Too many years, too much water under th' bridge. Not th' same as when we was kids, when we had fun and was lookin' for the first time.. I used ta be somebody else, 'specially when my little Danny was a boy. Tried ta find 'nother woman, wanted more kids, but it's like I din't know how. Miracle I got married once: Mary left after'a coupla years. Danny was everythin' till he left home, then he got married an' moved away, then he was gone. . ."
She smiled and chuckled in spite of tears running down her cheeks. She went out the door without a word and crossed the yard quickly to her trailer, her body bouncing with every step, indifferent to Alan's blood shot leering eyes.