Waiting for the Sun
by A. Frank Bower
Part 1 appears|
in this issue.
Mosimi stopped at a next package store and bought a twelve-pack. When he walked out of the doorway he saw a man leaning against his Ford. Thin, of average height, he looked roughly like Buffalo Bill or perhaps Freewheelin’ Franklin.
The hippie thing’s been dead a long time.
The man spoke while Mosimi approached. “Do you suppose I could catch a ride with you?”
The instant he heard his voice Ron knew he was gay. Well, it’ll be a first. Anything for sensation’s quest.
“Sure.” He raised the twelve-pack. “Do you drink?”
“’Cuz I drink a lot. I’d better get more.”
“Oh, don’t. Why don’t we stop somewhere and raise some hell?”
Mosimi smiled. He opened the door of the Ford. “If it’s rowdy the man wants, it’s rowdy the man’ll get.”
The thin man said, “I’m Ray. And bored.”
Mosimi looked at him across the roof of the car.“I’m Ron. I don’t believe in boredom.” He rolled a can of beer to Ray across the Ford’s roof.
Ray caught it, opened it and held it aloft as a toast. “To madness, the cure for boredom!”
Ron acknowledged the toast with his own beer. “You’re all right, Ray. Get in. Let’s get crazy.”
They drove on, guzzled beer and spoke in sentence fragments, Mosimi got more aggressive and insulting each mile.
“So; how long have you liked guys?”
“A long time. Women are boring.”
“Not if you don’t take them seriously.”
“I don’t take them at all.”
“Never tried a man, myself,” said Mosimi. Master game-playing bastard.
Ray looked at him, intent; he got the game signal.
“You know what Lenny Bruce said about men in prison.”
“No,” said Ron, “I don’t. What did Lenny say?”
“If you put a man in the slam long enough he’ll schtup anything... mud.”
Mosimi laughed. “True, so true.”
Ray grabbed his cue. “Would you?”
Mosimi drank more beer, finished his can, and opened another. All to lengthen the wait for his answer. He grinned. “Anything.”
Ray killed his beer and opened another. “Anyone?”
“Anything, anyone, any time.”
Ray held silence a moment. “I want you in me.”
Flash of lizard.
“All in due time.”
Ray chose a lighthearted approach; he got cute. “Promises, promises.”
“Hey, dig!” snapped Mosimi. “When I try new things I move at my speed, got it?”
“I don’t mean to be pushy.”
“No, you mean to be pussy. Don’t forget who the man is in this pair.”
Ray held in his hurt. “Oh, I won’t.... Hey, I thought we were going to get crazy.”
Mosimi enjoyed exercising his power. He also liked Ray. He also needed some real alcohol if he was to follow through with this proposition.
“I got it; let’s go to a strip joint. Get rowdy with some chicks.”
Ray knew what Mosimi played and let him have his way. Fun was worth it.
“Whatever you say, Ron.” He did another toast.
Ron chugged heavily. “Look out, girls! The boys are coming!”
It was like hundreds of other joints around the country: sleazy attractive women with a few too many drinks in them paraded their bikini-bottom clad bodies around a color-lit dance floor and titillated libidos of two dozen men, each of whom had a tale to tell if anybody cared. It was the luncheon crowd. It was quiet.
Mosimi wanted it noisy. Can I get Ray and one of these girls to go at each other?
He noticed the girl dancing was wearing leopard-spotted panties. He leaned into Ray’s ear, pointed to her and said loudly, “Look: pecker tracks!”
Ray answered, “Someone was too drunk to aim!” That should get her pissed.
Ron did not consider boredom of noon hour for the women. The dancer looked at them with a question mark eyebrow. She danced to them and said, “Got a problem?”
Mosimi snapped off, “Just boredom, honey. Makes time drag. Nobody needs that.”
Without intent, he had said the right thing. The girl hesitated, smiled.
“Really,” she said in agreement.
She danced away. A few seconds later, she was at the jukebox. While she selected songs, she glanced on occasion at Mosimi and Ray.
Turning away from the juke, she yelled, “Give me a drink, Frank!”
The bartender made her a drink; another girl delivered it. The dancer pointed to Mosimi.
“It’s on him.”
Ron nodded acceptance. A waitress came for payment.
“Want anything else?”
“Yeah, two more drinks for each of us. And one for you.”
When the waitress returned he turned to Ray.
“Well? Pay the lady.”
Ray handed her a ten and a twenty and said, “Keep the change.”
She nodded and smiled.
They got drunk.
Mosimi maintained control, as usual. Ray got sick in the parking lot. Ron thought it was funny.
He consoled, “Look at the bright side: they didn’t kick us out.”
Ray came up for air; he laughed. “A good time was had by all.” “Yeah, let’s go.” Ron helped Ray to the car.
Ray said, “The brunette sure liked you. I thought for a minute there...”
Mosimi stopped him. “Nah, I’ve already got a promise.”
It was the nicest thing Ron ever let himself say to anyone.
They drove on through dusk, still drinking. Ray sipped; Ron guzzled.
Daylight left. Mosimi pulled off road. Ray leaned against him, asleep.
Mosimi shook him. Ray opened his eyes dreamily and snuggled up to Ron. He shut his eyes again. Ron interrupted his slumber. “Blow me.”
Ray opened his eyes, looked at Mosimi’s face, awoke and complied.
When he finished, Ron reached across Ray and opened the passenger door.
Ray moved slowly, but moved. When he was out of the car, Mosimi closed the door, rolled up the window, threw his head back, laughed and drove off. That’s his dues. No one listens to verbal messages... Does anyone get these?
At the next town, he pulled up next to a taxi and hailed the driver.
“Where can I get laid?”
The cabbie looked at him a long moment.
Mosimi held out a twenty. The cabbie took it and named a hotel four blocks away.
Ron parked a block from the hotel, ambled to it, entered and approached the desk. The paunchy, middle-aged man behind it looked like he lost all interest in life a decade earlier.
Ron was direct. “Room with a girl.”
The man cocked his head sideways, suspicious.
“What’s the matter? You never get a hard-on when you’re travelin’?”
The man hesitated and said, “Twenty dollars for the room.”
Mosimi handed him two twenties.
“I’m into quality.”
“Any special color?”
“Nope.” Ron made a show of putting away his wallet. “But if she’s good, I haven’t paid for the room yet.” He put out his hand; the man put a key into it.
“Sixteen, two flights up. Left.”
Mosimi headed for the stairs. He turned around and said, “How long?”
“Twenty, thirty minutes.”
Ron nodded. “Thanks.”
The girl was similar to yesterday’s hitchhiker. She didn’t knock on the door; she opened it and trod in. She sized the straightness of the situation at a glance: Ron lay on the bed fully clothed, hands behind his head, legs crossed. She closed the door and kicked off her shoes.
“Thirty, fifty, eighty.”
“Unusual; a bargain.”
The hooker smiled. “What’ll it be?”
“That’s unusual; no head?” She smiled again.
Ron laughed. “I warmed up already today. I need exercise.”
“No fancy stuff?”
Mosimi watched her undress.
Before she finished, he stopped her. “You could make more.”
The hooker cautioned, “I don’t do kinky. Let’s hear it.”
“I want to make it at the movies.”
The girl’s look said another nut.
“Doesn’t matter. Just a fantasy, ya know?”
She shrugged. “I get ’em all. Sure, what the hell. Just remember: if we get caught, you’re my boyfriend.”
“Of course. But we won’t.”
Mosimi said, “Tell me about yourself.”
“I mean it; I’m into relating.”
“What story do you want to hear?”
“The real one.”
The girl laughed once. She shook her head.
“Something tells me it isn’t,” said Mosimi.
Suddenly she laughed again.
“Nothing. Just a thought.” She looked at him intently for a moment. “Popcorn?”
“If you want.”
“Good for you. You just won a freebie.”
The hooker smiled again. “I mean, no extra for the change of place.”
“That’s decent of you.”
Once more she laughed. “With my luck, we’ll find a western.”
What a childhood trip. Feelies in the balcony.
Mosimi played out his fantasy. Too well. He bumbled like an adolescent; the semblance of sex started as fun for both of them. But he was acting. It was bad.
The hooker played his game; it was common; but she thought he became what he was acting. He confused her physically and verbally.
Ron watched the movie screen intently throughout. He gave her the most left-handed compliment she’d ever heard: “The camera should be on us.”
Mosimi stood in front of the movie house, perusing posters.
The hooker said, “I’ve got to go. It’s been... different.”
Ron spoke to her offhanded, like an old friend, not looking at her.
“Sorry it wasn’t good. My head was elsewhere.”
“It’s okay; I’m not paid to enjoy myself.”
Mosimi looked at her for a second. “Good show,” he said, tapping a poster. “Be good. I’ll see you in the pictures.”
The hooker nodded. “Yeah, take care.”
Ron watched her walk away. He glanced at movie posters; he looked skyward.
Like a not so instant replay: the Ford drifted lazily along the highway, Mosimi’s mind flooded with his usual visuals: news headlines, factories, alcohol times, bodies of water, deserts, disembodied genitals — the ever-present reptiles. More: scenes of loving couples, mothers and children, fathers and children, incoming tides, sunlit beaches.
She walked along the roadside, moved just like Sandy two days earlier. She turned: she looked like Sandy, too.
Mosimi smiled; he reveled in the scent of karma. If I had it all to do over again. He laughed aloud.
Mosimi picked her up the usual way. Eerily, they related without words.
His sense of time was compressed. They spent days and nights together, but it felt to Mosimi mere minutes elapsed. It felt like he thumbed through a photograph album of stills from his present adventure.
Snap: Mosimi and the hitchhiker lunched on Big Macs.
Snap: He and the girl folded clothes in a Laundromat.
Snap: Them driving past a river.
Snap: A supermarket.
Snap: A beach.
Snap: A forest.
They picnicked by a river. They were together for so short a time, yet so long. Both felt their feet itch. She said it first.
Mosimi said, “Weird.”
“Why?” she said.
“I was going to suggest it.”
She laughed. “I guess that’s it.”
“Not yet. I have something for you.”
Ron reached under his shirt to the small of his back. His hand reappeared with his pistol. He leveled it at her head.
“Yes, it’s all over,” he said.
“Well?” she said.
Mosimi was stunned; the girl seemed to accept the concept of a bullet in her head as readily as breath in her lungs.
Somebody knows. No wonder she made the first move.
He pointed the gun upward and fired it. At first, she looked puzzled; next, smiled. Mosimi didn’t know if he could trust words.
“We’re...” he started. Wishful Sinful played inside his head.
Ron left the girl. He stood at water’s edge and watched the river flow. He said to himself, “Yeah. I’m not alone. Others can break through.”
He threw the pistol into the river.
The girl came to him. It was a partly cloudy day. They stood together; it began to rain. They stood, talked in fragments and did not mind rain. They were capable.
She began, “Oriental?”
“And maybe Egyptian?”
“Everyb... well, like Sol, soul.”
She continued, “Siddhartha?”
Mosimi answered as if she had called him by name. “No, I... seek. I don’t reject.”
“I mean, living.”
Ron turned to look at her.
She said, “Let it go.”
“The other force. Whatever’s been helping you. You’re ready.”
He took a few steps away from her.
“Yeah,” he muttered.
“Let it go!” she screamed. “You owe nothing. It was a gift.”
She smiled. “You know best.”
Mosimi nodded and closed his eyes. The rain stopped; she again came to his side.
Ron raised his face and released his oldest mentor: a formless wraith rose from his midsection and soared skyward. He smiled beatifically. The girl touched his arm.
“You belong now,” she said.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Mosimi said, “I’ve waited long enough.”
She said “We’re both ready.”
It was pleasant to say adios, not goodbye. Ron let the girl off on the open road, as she requested.
“You’re all right, Ron Mosimi, Jr.,” she said as she left the Ford.
He nodded. “Now.” He pulled away from her.
A few miles further along the road, Ron pulled off onto the shoulder. He sat immobile for a few moments, relaxed and stared through the windshield. Dozens of images came to him. None rushed. He saw the dying Indian smiling. He saw birds in flight. He saw people hurt and help each other. He saw reptiles and laughed.
He took a pen from his pocket, found a piece of paper on the floor of the Ford. He wrote on it: En route to garage to get car towed. He placed the note on the dashboard facing outward, got out of the car and locked it. Gingerly, he pocketed his keys. He nodded and smiled at the Ford. Next, he looked upward, still smiling. The clouds moved away.
Ron began his stroll.
Soon a car came by. He stuck out his thumb. Mosimi continued to smile. The car slowed.
The sun came out.
Copyright © 2009 by A. Frank Bower