Cafe Au Lait Ch. 02


Part 2 of Cafe Au Lait

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The Passion Pit

I woke the next morning with an erection. I blushed when I thought about it and was running late and did not get a chance to do anything about it but thrash in the shower. In the water thrusting down from the faucet I thought about what I had been thinking the last time my dick had been this hard and came with a shudder with the scalding water cascading down around me.

I dressed in a hurry, chino slacks and a striped shirt and rep tie. They liked us to look prep at the Department Store, and I didn’t mind. I thought I might grow my hair out in the fall when I went to school. But in the meantime I was happy to maintain a low profile and slide through the summer.

Everyone else was long gone. The store didn’t open until 10:00, and they wanted us to open up by 9:45. I had slept late. I poured some of the cold coffee back in the top of the drip percolator and turned it on to give it a kick.

Then I was out the door and buzzing in the little VW down Westbrook Road to the Mall.

I made it pretty much on time and was at my place by the register when the Nerd came by to check.

“I want you to push those new wheat-colored jeans,” he said. “And thank-you for your help with Alexander. I think I will have to watch him, but he seems clever and will do a fine job for us with adequate supervision.”

“I think you are absolutely right, Boss.” He took it as a sign of respect that I called him that. I don’t think he knew I was laughing at him, the pompous shit. Alexander had more going on between his ears than he ever would.

“I have made up a new schedule for you. For the next week or two I am going to have you come in late and be with him to close up at 9:00 each night.” I could see that he didn’t trust the Negro to close up. But I didn’t mind. That meant I could sleep in till eleven in the morning if I wanted to. It was a pity the only thing mildly interesting to do in town was go to the big double screen drive-in.

There was nobody to date and sitting alone in the car drinking a purloined bottle of my father’s homemade wine was hardly my idea of a wild time. Still, it was out of the house and the buzz was good. It didn’t get dark until then, and if I went to the theatre after we closed it was still light enough that they were only playing the dancing hotdogs trailer when I got there.

There were some truly awful movies out that summer. But I must have seen “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” about fifty times. I didn’t mind seeing it over and over and after a while I started to memorize the lines and would recite them along with Robert Redford, looking back at the Pinkertons chasing them down.

“Who are those guys?” I would say. When it was over I let the rest of the crowd gather up their kids or put their clothes back on, whichever category of people they were. Then I would navigate sedately home, lurching over the mounds of dirt that pointed the noses of the cars up so they could see the screen better, trying to avoid the poles where the speakers hung down on the curly wires.

I had to wait patiently through the slow morning traffic for Alexander to arrive. I decided that the images I had of him were just private things. After all, I had never had a black friend and with the shortness of the season before we all moved on, it didn’t seem like this was anything more than a work relationship. I was a little embarrassed by how I had felt, thinking about the feel of him, when I jerked off last night.

Private thoughts, private moment. Just be professional and aloof. You can deal with the homo thing when you get further from home.

That was pretty much how I felt, right up until Alexander actually showed up for work.

He looked just as good as he had the day before. He had a slim build that showed off his shoulders in his Norfolk jacket with the little sewed belt in the back. He had one of the big collar shirts and a wild floral tie. He had slacks that were tight at the waist, showing a suspicious bulge in the crotch and flared nicely at the knee. There was a slight break to the at the well-polished brown shoes. The whole thing was a package of grace and elegance.

“Hey!” he said. “I hear you are going to rescue me from the Nerd from here out.”

“I’ll do what I can. That means I get eleven hours today to get onto the new schedule. I think the Nerd doesn’t want to stay late.”

“And he doesn’t trust the Negro- right?”

“I’m sure that isn’t it. You are just new.”

“Uh-huh.” He shook his head with a knowing look. I think I blushed. I hate it when that happens.

“The Nerd says we are supposed to move the Wheat Jeans today. Let’s get the stacks sorted and get ready for some selling.”

“Yessir, Boss” he said. I gave him that look. “Don’t bullshit a bullshitter, Alexander.”

“Yessir.” Then he Anadolu Yakası Escort gave me that gleaming smile and hit me on the shoulder and we started folding the jeans and stacking them by size.

I felt relaxed again. This guy had a sense of humor and his easy way with the jeans, the way he folded them back into out-of-the-box condition, made things go quickly. We yacked about a lot of stuff that day. He didn’t know much about the city, and though I didn’t know much more, I told him what I could. There was not much of a black population in town, and they seemed to keep pretty much to themselves. I told him how far away the lake was, and which places sold beer to the underaged with fake ID.

“Where do you go to drink?” he asked.

I told him about the field in back of my house. And them I told him about the Drive-in.”

“Oh,” he said. “The Passion Pit.”

“Not here,” I said. “You would need a hot date for that. I just like to go and drink in the car. No one bothers you there, if you are quiet. The block-head Dutch would never suspect there is anything going on there except solid respectable people watching a movie…”

“And young kids screwing their brains out!” he said, laughing. “I know what it was like back home. I thought it was funny, the way they would look at us when we drove out to Glenn Ellyn and they thought we had another five kids in the trunk.”

“Did you?’

“Of course.”

My ass was starting to drag around dinner time. The nerd gave me an hour for a dinner break and I took it. I had an idea. I drove home and got a gallon jug of the homemade wine from the metal storage chest in the garage and put it in the back of the VW. I stopped at the Mickey-Dees on the way back and got a sack of burgers that I shared with Alexander. We put them back in one of the dressing rooms and munched them between customers.

We got to the 8:30 slack time and started to do our tallies. It had not been a bad day, and we had moved some Wheat Jeans. The Nerd had been pleased before he rushed out to have dinner at home with the wifey.

We held down the last half hour on our own. We dealt with a crazy woman who had to have a pair of black slacks for her husband and he was a 40-30. It’s an odd size. We had plenty of 40-34’s, but she wanted them right away and we had to look through everything. We finally found one that was the right size but had a mark on them. She wanted a discount and I patiently explained we were not authorized to do that. She sniffed and bought them anyway.

She wasn’t happy, though, and let us know it the whole time we made the sale. By the time she was gone and the register tape was removed and folded with the tally cards, the grillwork was coming down on the main doors and the place was closed.

“Whew,” I said. “I don’t know why it always gets like that at closing. Makes me all agitated.”

“You handled it fine, Bob. But I would have just given them to her. They don’t have any inventory control here. The Store would never have known.”

I stood there, a little stunned. “I never thought of that.” Jeeze, he was right. And we wouldn’t be minutes late getting out of there.

He picked up his jacket and slipped it over his shoulders. “Got any big plans tonight?” he asked. “I am not looking forward to watching TV with my Aunt until it is time to go to bed.”

I smiled. This was fantastic. “Well, I thought I might go down to the movies and catch Butch Cassidy again.”

“Quite an original mind, Bob. I’m not much of a western guy, but that is a very pretty movie. Mind if I join you? I’ll miss the bus, though, and you will have to give me a lift home.”

“I’d be happy to, Alexander. It will be fun to see it with someone. The dancing hotdog reel for the snack bar is worth the price of admission alone.”

“You don’t know the half of that,” he said with a smile. I didn’t know precisely what he meant by that, but I had a feeling I was going to find out.

Midnight Cowboys

We found the red VW out in the parking lot, back in the rows where Management wanted the employees to park. I loosened my tie, and then unwrapped it.

“Too hot for work clothes,” I said. “I wish I had brought something to change into.”

Alexander looked at he and shrugged off his sport jacket. We stood on both sides of the car, doors open, letting the evening breeze blow the heat out of the car. He folded the jacket neatly and removed his tie and placed them in the backseat. He unbuttoned the sleeves of his dress shirt and rolled them up twice with careful precision. He unbuttoned his collar and two more below it, tugging the shirt so it bloused and hung as thought that was the way it was supposed to look all the time.

“It’s just a question of attitude,” He smiled. He pointed at the jug of home-made wine on the floor behind the driver’s seat. “What is that?”

“It’s wine my old man makes. He does fifty gallons every year. He puts it in any container he can, and he never can keep it organized. It is like a big likker lending library.”

“Is Kadıköy Escort it any good?”

“Well, it is California concentrate and Illinois Concord grapes. It is a little sweet, but it seems to work.”

He looked a little doubtful. “We’ll get ice and some cups at the drive-in. Trust me, it will be fine.”

I got the feeling that homemade wine in paper cups was something he made a point of not doing. I completed my comfort conversion by doing just what Alexander had done. We climbed into the car and I turned the key, fired up the little four-banger engine and turned on the radio.

“Pick any station you want,” I said. “Not that there is much to pick from. You can get both kinds of mucis here. Country and Western.”

Alexander laughed. “Yeah, I get WLS from home at night when they clear the crap off the air at sundown and go clear-channel. It makes me homesick.”

It was not far from sundown now. I was suddenly aware of how close we were in the VW. The failing light bathed his fair skin and brought out light highlights in his tight curly hair. I reached down to the great shift and brushed his arm as he was reaching for the buttons on the radio.

The touch was electric. For me anyway, he seemed unconcerned. I wondered if I would have the nerve to do anything.

I had a crush on a kid in my band class in junior high school. His name was Joe. It was an old fashioned name, and he wore straight-leg corduroy pants, lace-up shoes and a cardigan sweater with plaid shirts in the winter. His skin was sallow and smooth, like a girl. He had big expressive eyes and a sort of sadness about him that I found touching.

The other kids made fun of him because he was slight in build and called him queer. For some reason that excited me, and I looked at him as he sawed away on his violin. His Dad had been a football player, or that was the word, and maybe it his gentle manner came as a reaction to that.

I never had gym class with him. I schemed sometimes on how I could let him know that I liked him, maybe an anonymous note that said I might be wearing some article of clothing, maybe a tie or something, and see if we could start a secret friendship.

I would jerk off, thinking about him, wondering if his dick was long and thin, whether he would moan like one of the girls, and if I could moan like that, too.

I always chickened out, thought and never did anything. By the time we got to high school I was hanging around with the other jocks and my infatuation with the slight boy with the delicate manner had passed.

Or so I thought. Now here I was sitting with a beautiful young black man. I wondered if I would chicken out this time, too. He was so cool looking. And suppose I was wrong? Suppose he was just a nice guy and I didn’t understand.

Then the word would get out that I was a homo and the rest of the summer would be spent with icy coldness from my folks and total isolation at work and it would drag on forever.

I decided it was better to just play it straight and put the homo business aside. It was such a hassle. That would be easier. I could wait to explore this at college, when I was on my own for real. I sighed, pleased that the decision had been made.

“What’s up Bob?” asked Alexander. “Something on your mind?”

I turned and looked at him. Damn, he was good looking. “Nah, I just have some things going on with my folks. I can’t wait to get going for college.”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m eager to get on with it, too. I have to make up my mind about Howard or the University of Illinois.”

“It would be cool to see you on campus,” I said. He smiled and we started talking about the movies.

We were rolling down 31st Street toward the expressway. “It is a western theme,” I said. ” A double feature with True Grit and Butch Cassidy.”

“Maybe you better take me home now,” said Alexander. “I’m not sure I can do two westerns in a row.” I slowed as we neared the Expressway Twin Drive-In.

“Well, there is Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider on the other screen.”

“Let’s do that,” he said. “Though I hate to pull you away from the horses.”

“Pull away, Man,” I said. “I have seen Redford enough. Let’s check out Jon Voight. I haven’t seen that one.”

I turned into the entrance lanes and pulled to the right side. There was a line of ticket booths, set up like toll-gates on the turnpike. The two on the right side served Screen Two, where Midnight Cowboy was going to show.

There were more cars in the Screen One Lot, which was on the other side of the Snack Bar that served both from its position smack in the middle of the compound.

The teen-ager in the booth gave a cursory look in the back seat to make sure there was no one huddled there and I gave him three bucks for the admission. I put it in first and drove slowly along the perimeter road, looking down the lanes.

“Where do you want to park?” I asked.

“Not in the middle. Let’s get over to the side where we can drink in private.”

“Sounds good. Let me pull up near İstanbul Escort the Snack Bar and we can get ice and some cups.” I pulled up in the back row next to the entrance and we got out and walked in through the glass door. There were two girls working the counter and some kids running around with a harried-looking couple getting a cardboard platter of hot-dogs. Alexander rolled his eyes at me, as if to say “how pathetic.”

“We have to get something to eat with a drink or they won’t give us the cups,” I said in an aside. “I get the Sprite and pour it out and rinse the ice in the water fountain.”

Alexander nodded. When the couple got out of the way I ordered a hot dog and a big Sprite, plenty of ice.

“Make it two,” said Alexander. I could tell the girl was checking him out. He was a pretty exotic looking guy in this blockhead Dutch town. I envied him that.

We walked out of the Snack Bar, drank some of the Sprite and poured the rest out. The cool sweet liquid tasted good. I swirled water from the cooler over the ice and cupped my fingers over the top of the cup as I poured it out. He did the same and we climbed back in the Beetle. I drove slowly over the inclines until we were on the far left side of the parking area, well away from the knot of cars in the middle and not on the way to the Snack Bar or the bathroom.

I shut the car off, rolled the window up enough to hook the big gray metal speaker into the driver’s side. The speaker was big enough to intrude a little into the space in the tiny driver’s side and I had to squirm a little to get comfortable. I brushed Alexander’s shirt.

“I love the car,” I said. “But it is a little small. Could you reach the wine in the back?”

“Sure. But I don’t mind the size of the car. At least you have one.” He turned and reached between the seat. I looked down the past the unbuttoned shirt and got a glimpse of smooth hairless honey-colored chest and a nipple that was a dark bud. I smelled him, too, something beyond the faint scent of his aftershave. Something rich and tinged with sweat and something else.

He unscrewed the metal cap on the bottle and I produced my cup from between my legs. He filled it half up and then he did the same for his. We settled in, and unwrapped our hot dogs.

It was not full dark yet, but the projector started and the screen was bathed with pale images of coming attractions. There were three or four of them, but I was fascinated by the way Alexander was eating his hot dog. He brought the bun to his lips and opened wide, seeming to tease the frankfurter with his tongue, and then gently and delicately severing it with his pearly teeth.

I shivered a little. It was so erotic. I ate mine without the same grace, but the symbolism was clear. I looked down at the cup between my legs, finished the dog in a couple gulps. I crumpled up the wrapper and tossed it in the back seat.

“Easy, Bob. You gotta make things last” he said. He resumed his consumption of the hotdog and licked his lips. I sipped the wine as the dancing hot dogs appeared on the screen. The speaker crackled and buzzed, since this segment was shown over and over again. Alexander took a sip of wine, grimaced, and then said “Well, the price is right.”

“Aw, c’mon. It’s not that bad. It will grow on you, promise.”

The dancing hot dogs finished counting down the ten minutes to the feature film, and the wine began to spread a warm glow through my middle. I thought the dancing dogs looked just like thin erect cocks in warm little jackets. I didn’t say anything. I wondered what Alexander was thinking.

“Have you seen this before?” he asked. “I enjoyed it.”

“I heard it was kinda dark,” I said. “I mean, you know, depressing.”

“Stop it. Don’t be so sensitive. It is a real story from the big city. Jon Voight is just like one of the blockheads from here who gets to the big city and has to do what he has to do. Ratso is the Dustin Hoffman character. He teaches Jon the ropes.”

The theme music and the credits started. “Everybody’s Talkin’ ’bout me…” sang Nillson. I liked the song. So far nobody did talk about me, but maybe that was going to change if I hung around with Alexander.

Alexander completed the line: “Can’t hear a word they say!” He smiled.”Do you smoke pot?”

“I’d like to,” I said. “I tried it before we moved here and it felt pretty good. I think it was, anyway. We were pretty drunk.” Alexander squirmed around in his seat and produced his wallet. He extracted a thin hand-rolled cigarette.

“I only brought a little with me from Chicago, so I only get to smoke one a day. I might be able to find more, but it will take a while to make connections.”

He punched in the lighter on the dash. When it popped out it bathed his face in red. He applied it to the end of the joint and inhaled deeply. “You ever had a Chicago Shotgun?” he asked.

“A what?” I asked apprehensively.

“Don’t worry. Here, let me show you.” He took the joint from his lips and inserted the lit end into his mouth. The butt end protruded from his lips and he leaned over to me. I was startled and drew back in surprise. He touched my shoulder and brought my face close to his. He began to blow through the joint and an intense plume of smoke came out. I got the point and leaned in close and began to inhale.