William leaned in and started to bump my elbow over and over. I had to shift what was left of my drink to keep it from spilling.
"See, that's the problem with women. They get over fifty and they think no one wants to look at them anymore. Come on Sally, you could give him the thrill of a lifetime."
Sally shook her head and wandered off. I saw his eyes follow her. His head gave a tilt to the side.
"Still got a damn nice ass for her age." He looked over at me and winked. "Carl? Where is your bathroom?"
"Down that hall. First door on your right." I told him pointing.
The racks of ribs went out just as all the other meat was coming in. I noticed that two of the older guys seemed to have taken over the working of the grill. When I carried the ribs out they started thanking me for the party then asked me about the type of wood I was burning. Somehow I ended up in a discussion about the merits of nut wood versus fruit wood till I was forced by a full bladder to go inside.
When I stepped into the bathroom I could smell the hint of pot smoke.
"Gods, this is just like college," I muttered to my reflection.
As I was washing my hands I heard a tap on the door. When I opened it I felt a hand on my chest and was pushed back a step. Karen's lips were on me in a half-second.
Somehow I found myself with my arms around her back and her kissing me with a fury. She slowly turned us around till my back was to the door. I felt her tongue lick my lips as she broke the kiss.
"Oh yes I need to come over here much more often. Now out cutie pie I've got to turn the water a different color," she said and gave me a little push out the door.
As she closed the door in front of me I just stood there, my lips still tingling a bit.
"Yeah, just like college." I checked the mirror in the hall and cleaned lipstick off my lip and cheek. Passing through the hall I saw several of the guys were moving the fireworks off the pool table.
"Mind if we play on your table?" the guy with the old tattoos asked just before he got a stick down off the rack on the wall.
"Not at all, that's what it's here for. Let me get those out the way." I moved to gather up some of the fireworks.
One of the guys with the Vietnam hat already had an armload and headed towards the garage ahead of me.
"Look out, clear the way, explosives coming through," he warned loudly.
"Oh good lord, who let Dennis around explosives?" I heard from one of the side tables. I think the woman's name was Margie. Yeah, she asked me to go to church with her.
Lord I would never keep all the people straight!
When we got to the garage I hit the light switch with my elbow and gestured with my chin towards my truck. Opening up the back we layed the fireworks on the tailgate and in the bed.
"Man this is going to be a fun lot to set off," he said, grinning. "I can see you like mortars. I got to shoot off the real things about probably the time you were being born."
"Look behind you," I told him, also grinning.
On the wall, when he turned around, he could see the custom-made launch system my friends and I had put together a few years back. Okay, five years back. The tubes spread out in a big zigzag about ten feet long and two-foot wide.
"Oh my. How many will that shoot?" I could see him start to count.
"About ten at a time. A friend of mine took engineering and electronics. He rigged it up so you hook the fuse into an electronic igniter. One person with a remote can shoot ten mortars at a time from a safe distance." I grinned at the look that came to his face.
"Oh yeah, that's going to be fun!"
As I walked back towards the kitchen I looked into my living room and saw Fay. I stopped and just watched her. I grinned a bit when I saw her swaying with the music. I took in and enjoyed the still beautiful curves of her hips and ass. She looked up, caught the expression and shook a finger at me. I saw her mouth the words, "Naughty boy."
I was about to walk over to her and talk when I heard my name from behind me.
"Carl, do you have any paper plates?" Sally asked when I turned around.
After a second I nodded. Going to the cupboard I found them but realized that they were one of the things I left off my list. I pulled out the maybe half stack of plates and handed them to her with a apologetic shrug, then started to point to where I kept my dishes. She stopped me.
"I have some more at the house. Let me go next door and get them," she said, giving my arm a pat. "Wait. Can you come help me? I've got a couple of jugs of unsweet tea I want to bring over as well. A few of us don't need to be drinking this sugared soda."
I heard my stereo switch to a newer song than I knew was on my Mom's list. I looked around the corner as we went towards the front door and saw William at the helm of my system.
"Red alert! Red alert! Battle stations all hands to the bridge." He was turning knobs and sliding the tuner in a way that made me cringe. "We are under attack by Klingons!"
"William, leave his stereo alone before you break something," I heard Pamela say in a huff, hustling the man away. "Carl, can you fix this back to what it was on?" she said when she saw me.
I looked to Sally chuckling. "I'll be just a second," I told her.
"I'll head on over," she said as she turned away. I watched her head out the door then headed over to the stereo. I quickly moved the knobs back to where they normally are then switched tracks.
"That's a hell of a system, man. Reminds me of a sound board I used when I traveled with Sly Stone and the Family."
I looked at the man standing next to me. In him I saw that the hippie hadn't fallen far from the pot plant. I gave him a grin when he adjusted a dial just a bit.
"I'll be damned that sounds better." I told him after a second of listening.
"Oh yeah man, I was good at this kind of thing once. Here, let me take a look while you go do what you got to do," he shooed me away and started to look things over.
I saw Pamela and nodded towards the guy at the stereo. She kind of gave me a 'He's harmless' kind of look.
Stepping outside, I took a deep breath as I crossed to Sally's house. I realized as I crossed my driveway into her yard it had been a while since I had been around a large group of people I didn't know. When I poked my head in through her open front door, I called out, "Sally?"
"In the kitchen," she answered.
Walking through, I saw that her house was made kind of similar to mine. It took me only a second to find the kitchen. When I walked in I was greeted with the sight of her bent over in a cabinet. She does have a nice ass for her age.
She stood up with a groan and rubbed her back. "Carl could you get those plates? They slid into the back of the cabinet." she said.
I moved over and dropped to my knees next to her. I leaned in and fished my arm into the back till my fingers found them. When I sat back up, I noticed I was on level with Sally's breasts.
Nice. I'm mean for a lady her age... no to hell with that, they were nice.
She saw my eyes and looked down. She sighed and shook her head.
"Men! You're all worse than boys," she said, giving my shoulder a light pop. "Come on help me get the tea out the pantry."
I followed her into a walk-in pantry and she clicked on a light. Then she went to lift down two heavy gallon jugs of tea.
"I'll get that," I told her as I held out the stack of paper plate towards her. "Here, you carry these. I'll get the tea."
I moved forward and as I went to slide past her I found myself looking down into her eyes. Her face was upturned towards mine. For a half second I saw a look of surprise cross her face as my eyes lingered. Then she smiled, patted my chest, and headed out the pantry.
My house was rocking hard when we got back.
"Tommas! Were all going to be deaf as Calvin if you don't turn that down!" Sally called out as we passed through the living room.
The old hippie gave a wave and turned it down a bit.
"George Carlin," I said softly.
"What? George Carlin?" asked Sally, looking back at me.
"I've been trying to place who that guy reminds me of. The guy at the stereo."
"His name is Tommas," she kind of looked at him for a second then nodded. "Yeah, I can see it. Pam, we found the plates."
Following her with the tea, I found my kitchen being run by three ladies like it was a restaurant on the strip. Food was moving out to people at a furious pace. Setting the tea by the cups of ice, I moved out the way, then took the plate that was handed to me with a hamburger and two hot dogs. I was then pointed to my side table where I saw every condiment I had in the house, plus a few, arrayed in easy order.
I jumped when a hand caressed my ass in passing. I saw Karen wink at me with the tip of her tongue between her front teeth.
I could taste the wood smoke on the meat and the bun I noticed had been toasted.
"Okay... better than college," I said under my breath, going to get some chips and something to drink. Pam handed me a napkin and a soda with a smile. I fished a couple more of those cheese wrapped olives onto my plate and went back towards the living room. Somehow I found a seat.
Nodding his head like a rave DJ, Tommas gave me a thumbs up.
Grinning, I dug into my food.
I was feeling so very miserable by the time I was done eating. I had a helping of the ribs when they came off the grill, as well as the burger, hotdogs and chips. Then, foolishly, I had a bowl of Sally's banana pudding.
"I want to shoot something off," I heard Dennis say from near the garage door.
"That's what I've been trying for, for most of the afternoon," I heard William call from by the kitchen.
Chuckling and groaning at the same time, I went to find the bag with the barbecue lighter and headed towards the garage. When I stepped through the door, Dennis was following me almost like a puppy, so eager it was almost scary. The big outside door rolled up and I grabbed down the home made rack.
"Oh good lord, what is that?" I heard Sally ask when I carried it to the bottom of the driveway. Looking at my front door I saw a few of the people had come outside to smoke. She was standing there talking with some of them while fanning her face with a paper plate.
"Don't know but Dennis looks far too happy," said Fay from next to her. She stubbed out her long thin cigarette then blinked as several of the pool players came out past her and the others to help with the fireworks.
I showed them once how to set the fuses on the mortars and they seemed to instantly know how to do it better than I could. Leaving them to it, I went to get a pipe from the garage and drove it into the ground for the rockets.
When the first ten mortars shot upwards, firing within seconds of each other, I heard a shriek from behind me. Then a loud "ooh... ahhhh" With half of them doubles and at least one triple, the sky lit up with more than twenty huge star bursts overhead.
I watched the display for a second too long and the control of the rockets ended up in the hands of the old biker guy. I stepped back near the others and just watched as a rocket screamed out the tube heavenward, to be chased by at least five mortars. They exploded within moments of each other in a huge display that fell like purple, red and blue rain. The people behind me clapped and cheered.
Suddenly feeling sad, I walked back into the garage to my truck and gathered up some of the various empty packaging. I looked with a grin to these people I had just met having a wonderful time because of me. I turned the slightly sad feeling over in my head and wondered if it was because my friends had missed out on what had become one of the better parties I had been to in years or if it was something else...
"Carl?" I heard Sally say behind me. Turning, I saw her looking at my face. The mortar popped behind her. "Damn it! That thing scares the hell out of me. Carl, are you alright?" she asked, coming up next to me.
"I'm fine, just..."
"Missing your friends?" she asked with an understanding that was near perfect. " I understand how that is. There should be about five more of us here... but they can't enjoy parties any more." I saw a sad look cross her face then she looked at me and smiled. "Come on, you're still young, no moping... oh, leave that. Us old hens will help you clean up before we leave."
Sally took my arm and pulled me back out to watch the rest of the show. I didn't turn loose her arm, nor she mine. Her fingers clutched at me every time the mortar rack launched. I smiled when I heard her gasp in wonder.
"This is just as good as any professional show I ever saw," she said quietly next to me between rounds.
About to say something back I looked up when I saw one of the people leaving the party. He walked towards his car parked in Sally's driveway with Pam walking next to him.
"That's Jackson," Sally said softly next to me. "I'm really surprised he stayed as long as he did after the fireworks started. He has trouble with loud noises."
Glancing to my left I watched Dennis walk over to him just before he could get into his car. The two old men talked quietly. I saw Jackson flinch when the biker guy whose name I had yet to learn set a rocket off. After a second, Dennis was walking back towards the mortar rack with Jackson at his side. I watched Calvin, who had been standing closest to the fireworks all night hand Jackson the remote.
I felt Sally's hand tighten on my arm.
The old man's hands trembled, then went steady. When he pushed the button all ten tubes sounded out like Gabriel's trumpet. When the display began a few seconds later I knew that they had loaded it with all triples. The thirty sky flowers erupted in every color of the rainbow lighting the sky in a huge pattern of star bursts. Looking around, I saw that every yard nearby was crowded with people watching. I also saw a red and blue light in the distance coming closer.
"Oh shit man, it's the fuss."
Tommas went almost running into the house. Dennis and the other vets grabbed up the launcher and hustled it inside. The garage door rolled quickly down. By the time the police pulled up the only fireworks going off were bottle rockets out the pipe.
I had to keep the smile off my lips as Marcel and several of the others spun a tale of horrible young teenagers with mortars being shot from the back of their truck, and how they had been scaring the old folks here trying to have a little... cotillion.
When Calvin moved forward claimed to have gone deaf from all the noise, Sally turned into my arm and just started to giggle her head off into my sleeve.
The officer took tons of notes about what type of truck they were in, what color it was, what they looked like, and how long ago they left. He then went tearing off to look for them. As his lights disappeared, the seniors bust out laughing like a bunch of naughty school children.
Tears running down her face, Sally pulled out the front of her top and fans her breast with the paper plate. She stopped when she saw William trying to peek over the top. With a shake of her head she turned and took my arm again.
When we got back inside I found that a few of the people were gathering up their coats and wishing everyone a good night. Several of the ladies were in the kitchen shuffling plates and dishes around. There was a large garbage bag quickly getting filled with empty paper plates and plastic cups. Pam had people moving in every direction.
Sally left my arm and went to help.
Stepping through the ordered chaos and out into the backyard I found the pair of old ladies with walkers, sitting next to the grill. I watched them holding their hands out to the warm drum.
"You haven't come to turn off our heat, have you young man?" asked the one closest. I think her name was Marion.
"No, mama. I just wanted to see if you two beautiful ladies needed anything to drink," I asked grinning. They both cackled with laughter.
The older of the two then turned to me, grinning.
"Now young man, don't you be teasing an old lady. If I was forty years younger I would be casing you around your bedroom tonight for that kind of talk."
"Forty? Hell, AnneMaude, thirty years younger," said Marion grinning.
"Nope, forty. I'm ten years older than you."
"You are not!"
Grinning, I walked back to the house just listening to them cackling.
Into the kitchen I was assaulted by a dozen questions from all sides. Then Pam and Sally took over and through them I showed people where things normally go. My haphazard system of organization was put to rights, then improved upon in a matter of minutes. I heard a vacuum cleaner running in the other room.
Before I could ask anything or protest, I was shooed out the door and into the front yard where the guys were standing around talking. William welcomed me in and put an arm around my shoulder. I looked over and saw Jackson was still shaking and looking towards the sky. He would every once in a while catch Denise's eye and make himself stop.
"Carl, this has been wonderful," Marcel said with his soft voice. "I haven't had this much fun or..." he placed his hand on his stomach, "so much good food in ages. Thank you."
I looked up to see his wife Willow come walking gracefully over to us.
"Alright boys, I need to steal my husband from you. He's got a painting to do tomorrow if we are going to pay the bills this month."
"But Willowy, you never even got naked!" said William with a hurt tone. "What kind of nudist are you that you can spend the whole night in clothes?"
"The kind that doesn't encourage sixty year old adolescents. Now good night, gentlemen." She linked her arm with Marcel, and with him grinning, pulled him towards their car.
"Fay!" William went running from beside us over to where the woman I knew from a few years ago, but almost didn't recognize because she had clothes on, was leaving. "Fay, come on. The night is young. Dance for us! We can get enough bills together to make it rain."
"William, like I told you, I got smart enough to get out the rain a long time ago. You give it a try and you might learn to do it before you're seventy." She looked over at me. "Carl, would you walk me to my car?."
Going over to her side I gave William a smile, and with my arm to give her guide, I walked her down to her little coup.
"Carl, it was good to see you. With my clothes on for once!" I smiled with her at that. "I want you to do something for me. I remember you from back then. You always had a joke that could relieve my boredom. A lot of the times I would look down and you would be looking at my face. With almost everything else on display you looked at my face. I'm going to take that as a sign you like older women. I mean, I was no spring chicken even then."
I gave a hesitant nod remembering the kissing assault from Karen earlier.
"Help Sally. She has been god awful lonely since her husband passed away two years ago. I can see it when she's sitting by herself. Just... keep her company whenever you can. I know a young man like yourself will have a lot of things to do but when you can see to her. Maybe invite her over to dinner once in a while."
I looked then at this woman who I gave so much money too and I saw her for the first time. After a few seconds, I gave her a nod of promise.
"Good. Now if you want a piece of advice, go get Dennis to get William out your house before he's here all night." She gave me a smile and stepped into her car.
To get William to leave in the end took the combined efforts of Dennis and the biker guy who I finally learned was nick named Yank. He didn't say what his real name was and no one seemed to know. They convinced him to go with them to a strip club up the coast a ways.
Finally it came down to Sally, Pam and myself. When I walked back into the house after receiving a goodbye grope from Karen, I saw the two of them sitting at the kitchen table resting. Looking around I didn't think my house had been this clean since I bought it.