tagGroup SexThe Drifter Ch. 01

The Drifter Ch. 01

byharding©

1: Handyman

I came in over the Rockies in the Spring leaving their snow behind and drove down into the rich California farmland. I found a place to rent on the south edge of Visalia. The area was run down and many of the houses stood empty. No one wanted to buy, so I managed to rent, week on week, which suited me perfectly. The house was small, poorly built with inner walls that shook when you walked across the floor, but it was cheap, it was dry, and there was no long lease. I had been staying in a motel, found the house in a copy of the Visalia Times Delta I picked up on a bench. I was glad to move out of the motel, it was costing more than I could afford, and my sleep was constantly interrupted by the noises coming through the paper thin walls.

With the rent so low, if I could find another job at weekends I might even be able to put some money aside.

I had no plans to stay around long. It was not deliberate, but in the year I had been living this way I knew, within three months, that itch would start up and I'd need to move on. I would get uncomfortable with familiarity. Didn't like it when people think they're getting to know me. I don't why, and don't want to analyze it too much, but suspect it's a flaw in my character. It doesn't worry me much. When the itch arrives, I'll pack what little stuff I have in the back of my pick up and head out in whatever direction appeals on the day.

I picked up work easily - even these days I always manage to find work. I didn't mind what I did, and I didn't much care how little it paid just so long as I could put a roof over my head and eat five days out of seven. A strong back and willing pair of hands could always find someone in need them. This time I'd landed a decent job at a local feed merchants a mile west of town. I started at six and spent all day lifting hundred weight sacks of corn, wheat and cattle feed on and off trailers, hauling them up to the storage racks that soared up inside the tall feed building.

Maybe in a week I'd look around for some bar work. I guess, like all towns, Friday and Saturday could get rough, but I didn't mind using my strength to keep order when drinkers had taken on too many. I was good with my fists as well as my hands, but never went looking for trouble and, thankfully, trouble didn't usually come looking for me. On the few occasions it did, I managed to handle it.

Friday evening I'd read about the house and driven over. A bored real estate woman showed me around, filling the tiny space with her perfume. She asked $400 a month and I offered $200 and she made a show of thinking it over. She wanted me to sign a six month lease but I insisted on week by week. We both knew if she played hardball the place was going to stay empty. I signed some papers, gave her a check for the first month and watched her legs - good legs - as she dipped into her low sports car. She caught me looking and gave me a tired smile.

I had everything I needed already in my truck. I had been paying the motel day to day, so took my single bag inside and unpacked. It took less than ten minutes. Eight pairs of shorts and socks. Three pairs or jeans. Six t shirts. Two good cotton shirts and two pairs of boots. All my shaving gear was in my wash bag. I placed it on the edge of the bath, sorry there was no shower, but I could cope with a bath for a few months.

Saturday evening I pulled one of the beers off the six pack I had put in the refrigerator and took it outside onto the porch. I had an old canvas chair in the back of my truck and I unfolded it and leaned back against the wooden boards, feet up on the rail, sipping beer and watching as the sky darkened and the the stars came out. The evening was warm and the beer felt good going down.

Every now and then a car or truck would go past on the street, the people inside mostly ignoring me, some turning their heads to check me out. I wasn't threatening, I didn't alarm people, even for a tall guy who is in good shape. It was something about my eyes, about the relaxation around my mouth.

As it got full dark the insects grew louder. Scent of flowers came to me on the breeze, and I could hear voices from some of the houses. Across the street a tv was playing a game show and the background drone was punctuated by cheering and applause when someone won.

The house to my right was even more run down than my rental, and the place was dark. I hadn't seen anyone in there yet, and I wondered if they were on vacation or maybe the place was empty. There were a lot of houses around like that, empty, boarded up, somebody's loss.

On the other side was a slightly larger two storey, lights flooding out through small windows, splashing distorted rectangles of yellow across the dusty grass between us. Music was playing, clear through the open windows, a rock band, something I almost recognized. Sounded good, and made me wonder where there was in town I could go to hear some music. There was always somewhere. I'd check it out, but not tonight. Tonight was for indulgence, for more beer and to settle into my temporary home.

It would become claustrophobic eventually, it always did, but I didn't need to think about that now. The pattern had repeated enough times now for me to know it would come, and to know there was nothing I could do about it, so why worry?

I fetched another beer and leaned back again in the chair. On my left the door of the inhabited house opened, spilling light across onto the sidewalk and someone stepped out. They walked to the sidewalk and dumped a plastic bag into the trash can. When they turned back I saw it was a woman, older than me, somewhere in her mid twenties, tall and very slim. She started back to the house and then stopped suddenly as she caught sight of me. She moved her head, looking into her house then back at me then began to walk again. She might have nodded her head, I wasn't sure, but she didn't say anything and the door closed behind her.

Behind the music I heard voices, indistinguishable, but they hadn't been there before, I was sure. Maybe she was telling her husband they had a neighbor.

***

Sunday morning I lay on the queen size bed that almost completely filled the one small bedroom, sweat beading off me and pooling in the hollows of my naked body. Sunlight glowed behind the thin drapes and I pulled myself up on two pillows so I could gaze around at the single room. The door was on my right. If I stretched my six-two length right out I could touch the wall beyond the bed. The door was open in an unsuccessful attempt to cool the place down and I could see into the small living room/kitchen. Just three rooms, the whole place maybe forty feet by twenty. Small. Hot. Good enough.

The shallow roof gave me eight feet of height, which was plenty, but it caught the sun and now, just after ten, the small space had turned into a sauna. At the moment I was enjoying it, lying naked and letting the sweat seep out of me, but I imagined it wasn't always going to be a novelty.

My long body was completely relaxed, my hands linked behind my head, ankles crossed. My dark brown hair was cut a little long and covered my ears, curling even after I wetted it and dragged a comb through. I needed a shave, hadn't used a razor since Friday morning, but would wait until Monday. I usually didn't bother over the weekend, and quite liked the soft stubble that formed by Sunday.

My shoulders are wide and my chest flat, ropes of muscle showing under the skin. I'm probably underweight, but the muscle stopped me from looking skinny.

Curls of dark hair sparsely covered my chest and ran down in a narrow line along my flat belly, widening into pubic hair. My cock lay sideways across my hip, thick and heavy even in repose. My legs were long and gave me most of my extra height. More muscle showed in my thighs, calves tapering down to narrow feet. Dressed in shirt and jeans, with my best boots on, I looked like some old time cowboy as I walked down the street. Now, naked and sheened with sweat I felt ridiculously satisfied with myself. I have a chronic lack of ambition - so much so, I saw it as an asset rather than a flaw.

I looked around the room again, my eyes heavy, and drew the hot air deep into my lungs and stretched. Maybe this week I'd look around, see what action there was, try to get laid. I liked sex - liked it a lot. But I didn't want commitment, and always chose women who would demand nothing of me. Bored housewives were good, those who were thirty and up, whose marriages had settled into routine. It was ironic, I knew, but I came across it time and again where the husband had gone in search of outside pleasure while his wife simmered with suppressed passion. If only those husbands looked under their noses they'd find some of the best sex around. But it was something about grass being greener.

I had no age limit, just an attractiveness limit. It was, I knew, not set that high, because sometimes beauty was more than skin deep. Some of the best sex I'd ever had had been with women in their forties who would not have raised a second glance. But press the right buttons, undo the right buttons, and you found them surprisingly sexy naked, and very dirty minded.

I know, I sound full of shit: self-satisfied - and it's true. Barely twenty years old and I think I've got it all worked out. Ambition's for those stupid enough not to realize we all end up as worm food.

I smiled and watched as my cock twitched and filled, creeping across my hip.

What the fuck, I thought, smiling again and reached down and started to stroke it, feeling it's thickness stiffen and grow inside my palm. I'd look around, maybe find someone in the week, but for now it felt good to rub myself and I lay against the bed, in the heat, and slowly bring myself to a climax.

I let the semen dry on my skin, mixing with sweat. I'd get up in a while, run a bath and then talk a walk. There was nothing to do all day, nowhere to be, no-one to satisfy other than myself. Life was sweet.

***

I didn't see my neighbor again until I came back from work Tuesday evening. I pulled up just after six and locked my truck. I was heading to the front door when I heard the music again: good rock, southern tinged, not Skynrd but something just like. I had the key in my hand when the neighbor's door opened and the same woman stepped out onto the porch. She stood looking at the road, at my truck, then turned her head to me and smiled.

She lifted her hand in a tentative wave and said, "Hi," softly.

I nodded, said, "Hi," back.

"I saw you moving in," she said. Her voice was very soft and she looked away from me when she spoke, only turning back after she had finished.

"Saturday," I said, gazing back at her. I had only seen her briefly in the dark two nights before. Now, in the soft evening light I studied her more carefully, liking what I saw. I knew I would never make a move on her, next door wives were bad, bad luck, but that didn't stop me appreciating her subtle beauty. I thought a lot of men would probably miss it.

She was tall, probably over five-eight, and very slim. Her hair was flame red and cut short and straight around her face. Big bright green eyes. Big lips. Long neck. Her body was lean and she held herself on one foot, balanced and comfortable. Small breasts, no more than 34B, slim hips and legs. She wore a plain t shirt and blue jeans.

"Yeah, Saturday," she agreed.

I nodded at her place and said, "I like the music. Who is it? I don't recognize the band."

"They're local. I don't think they're known out of state, but I really like them. Band of Angels, they're called. I've seen them four times now." Her smile widened, showing her teeth, one of her incisors crooked out of true - sexy.

"They're good," I said, then turned and stepped across towards her. "I'm Mike." I held my hand out as I approached her.

She looked away again, then half turned towards me and put her own hand out. I gripped hers in my rough palm, being careful not to squeeze. But she returned my light pressure and so I firmed my grip and she followed suit. Her hand felt delicate but strong. Her fingers were rough on the ends and along her palm.

"I'm Emily. Emily Michelson. My husband's Troy."

"Nice to meet you, Emily. I don't think I've seen your husband around."

"He works long hours. And he keeps to himself most of the time." Her voice was casual, and I heard no hidden meaning behind her words. That was good. It meant I could allow myself to like this pretty, young wife. She seemed to think for a moment, then said, in the same soft, diffident voice, "I've made coffee. D'you want some?"

I looked down at the paper sac I was holding, then said, "Let me put these groceries away and I'd love some."

Emily smiled and nodded. I pushed the door open with my hip and put the food away: milk and eggs in the refrigerator, bread and fruit on the small side table, more beer left out but three bottles slipped down on a shelf next to the milk.

I had just finished when I heard a soft knock against my door. Emily was standing there with two steaming mugs. "I brought it over, is that OK?"

"Sure. Come in, if you can find space."

She stepped through the door, handed me one of the mugs, then perched on the arm of my couch. She looked around. "You keep it pretty neat."

I sat on the other arm of the couch, turned sideways, putting my feet on the cushions so I was looking at Emily. I laughed softly. "Not a lot to keep tidy, is there."

She smiled back, sipped at her too hot coffee.

I felt unexpectedly at ease with her. She told me she worked at the local market, selling fruit and salad vegetables until 3 p.m. She was twenty-five (older than I had thought) and no kids yet. Troy wasn't sure about kids. And Troy, what did he do? Sold stuff, she said. Any kind of stuff. He tended to move between jobs a lot, she said.

One year he sold aluminum siding, next it was double glazing, second hand cars, trailer rentals... There was no bitterness in her voice as she told me about her husband's peripatetic existence, just a soft acceptance. This was her life. She graduated High School but College was never on the agenda for either of them. I formed the impression she was smarter than her husband, but was OK with that. Life wasn't good, but it wasn't too bad either. They got by, and if any of Troy's schemes worked out they'd be able to buy their own house.

She asked about me, and as I told her a version of my story it sounded in my own ears like I was just a couple of steps up from being a vagrant. I didn't elaborate on why I started living this way: a father who knocked me around, a mother who drank herself into oblivion by mid afternoon. No siblings. No roots. That was kept back, only the result, my wandering, giving some hint to my past.

We finished our coffee and I handed my cold mug back.

"I'd better get Troy's meal on," she said. "It was nice to visit. I liked talking to you, Mike."

"Visit anytime you like, Emily."

"Yeah?"

"Sure."

***

I worked overtime the rest of that week, and by the time I would arrive home it was dark. The lights were always on next door, but I couldn't hear any music through the closed windows. On Friday I put on my good shirt and good boots and drove into town, walked between bars asking about work. Finally, on my fourth attempt I was offered two evenings if I wanted them. I could try out tomorrow, Saturday night, see if it worked out. I thanked the manager and shook his hand, bought a beer and took my bottle over to a table. I sat and watched the room, getting a feel for the place.

The clientele were mostly working men and women, dressed up like me for Friday night, drinking beer and eating burgers that were cooked in the small kitchen out behind the bar. A juke box played rock and country. At one end of the bar was a small stage, but it was empty tonight and spare tables had been set up there to provide extra space.

I finished my beer slowly, said goodnight and walked out into the cool night. It was late, after eleven, and I'd probably had more beer than I should. It was a mile back to my place, but I decided to walk. I couldn't risk getting pulled over.

As I turned into the road most of the houses were dark, but lights still shone through Emily's windows. As I got closer I heard raised voices. A man's voice - the mysterious Troy. To begin with, from a distance, it was noise. A deep voice, raised, angry. As I got closer I could make out words.

"... the fuck you wanna be doing this for... waste of fuckin' time..."

A break. Emily saying something I couldn't hear.

"You're my fuckin' wife, girl, you don't get to have ambitions!"

I reached my door and stood. I couldn't just go in and ignore this. Troy sounded mad, worked up, so I waited where I was.

Emily's voice sounded, raised, but the words were indistinguishable.

"The fuck you will!" Troy shouted. "No wife of mine is gonna show herself up on no fuckin' stage. And as for this piece of crap..."

"Troy, no!" Emily's voice came clearly across the night.

There was a hollow sound, booming, and then a loud crash and splintering of wood. "Now you can't fuckin' show me up, can you."

"Troy!" Emily yelled again, her voice breaking.

There was another loud crash. I stepped away from my door and across to the larger two storey. I rapped loudly on the door.

"Is everything all right in there?" I called out.

More crashing, sounded like a table going over.

I didn't knock again, just tried the handle. The door was unlocked and I pushed it open and stepped inside, the brightness dazzling my eyes.

Emily and Troy were standing at the far side of the room. A small kitchen table was turned over. Troy held the neck of a jumbo guitar in his hands. The body hung loose, dangling by the strings. They both turned to look at me, Troy's face red, Emily's streaked with tears.

"Who the fuck are you!" Troy said, menace in his voice.

"I live next door. I heard the noise." I looked at Emily. "Are you OK?"

Troy looked from me to his wife, then back to me.

"You know this cock sucker?"

Emily nodded.

Troy dropped the broken guitar and took three steps towards me.

"You been sniffin' around, boy? You been after my fuckin' wife?" His face grew redder, fists bunching at his sides. He lifted onto his toes to make himself taller.

I watched him approach and then slow. I relaxed my shoulders and shook my arms to loosen them. Troy was big, but not as tall as me. He weighed forty pounds more, some of it muscle, most of it not.

I held my hands up, "I'm a concerned neighbor, man, that's all."

Troy took another step towards me, and I didn't think the man was listening any longer. Over Troy's shoulder I saw Emily step back into a corner. Her eyes darted between me, her husband, and the broken guitar. She drew the back of her arm across her face, smearing tears and snot.

"Concerned my fuckin' ass. You wanna get into her pants, I fuckin' know what you're like. Actin' all concerned and all you want is some pussy. Well, she's my fuckin' pussy so you can just fuck off outa here right now!"

"When I know she's OK," I said, my voice steel.

"She's none of your business!" Troy stepped forward again, his hands coming up.

I saw the swing coming in Troy's eyes and stepped aside, lifted my arm and pushed the fist aside. Troy followed with another roundhouse and I turned and took it on my shoulder. The man could hit, there was power being the punch, and I knew I didn't want to get into this but it had gone too far now.

Emily's hands were over her mouth, eyes wide above her fingers.

Troy started swinging more punches, stepping close, and I continued to push them away or take them on my shoulders. I was hoping he would get tired and realize there was no real fight going on. But instead my refusal to respond seemed to make him madder. He tried to step closer, but I wasn't giving ground.

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