A Romantic Candlelight… Lunch?

February 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Sweet sticky things)

“You feel me, don’tcha?”

“Every chance I get,” I replied. I’d been listening to co-worker Lucy ramble on about something, when I glanced over to see Rain’s face staring at me.

“I swear, I try to sneak up on you, and you just know I’m there.” She gave me a ‘don’t muss the lipstick’ peck, causing Lucy’s eyes to bug a little. “Imma get some coffee, hon.”

“Well, looks like you got stuff to talk about, so I’m going.” Lucy packed up her stuff and walked outside, leaving only Rain in the store.

I walked over to the coffee counter. Rain was bent over, digging around for a container of creamer. “Well, hello BOO-TAY!” I rubbed one of her lovely buns, checking the door. Nobody? Cool. I rubbed some more, Rain grinding on my hand. I checked the door again.

Nobody. I returned focus to Rain’s ample backside, that’s when I caught something out of place.

Dr T was standing there, politely watching me feel up a customer. He had a huge grin going.

As Rain would say, I did NOT feel him…

Rain fussed around, wiping counters and facing snacks at the counter. Dr T watched, amused. “I can’t help it,” she told him. “I have to keep moving, like a shark.”

“I will never mess with a woman when she’s playing with a man’s nuts. Or meat, for that matter.”

She put the Giant Slim Jim back into its box, and found something else to do. “Imma go now. LOVE YOU HONEY!” In a quieter voice, “Can you give me ten bucks til later?”

“Not right now. I’ll call you.” Her phone rang, a car pulled up, and she left with a blonde woman.

I schmoozed with Dr T for awhile, who tipped me a dollar. (“All donations graciously accepted!” is my store policy.) We made plans to discuss the insurgence the next day, and bid adieu. He passed Lucy on the way out, who was returning for the third time for coffee. Fifteen minutes until lunch. C’mon, clock!

After an unpleasant conversation about the price of Newports from a woman not from the neighborhood, Lucy came to the counter, set her coffee down and repeated the story she’d told me an hour ago. Lucy’s cool, she means well, but she’s an acquired taste. I listen to her because few other people have the time or patience, and I’m getting paid. Psychiatry, five cents.

I looked at my watch. “Ten minutes and counting!”

“Well, I’d better go,” Lucy said for the tenth time. She reached out for her 20-ounce cup of coffee, and spilled it all over the counter. And the floor. And my stack of newspapers. And the candy rack. And the Camel ads. And my three month collection of Rolling Stone mags I’d been saving for a slow night. AUGHH!

I checked my vitriol as I grabbed rags and paper towels. Lucy hurriedly tried to help, pushing more coffee onto the floor, where it crept toward my jacket and shirt. I kept the curse-words inside. I assured Lucy that accidents happen and it was no big deal, but I was hardly enjoying the situation. A bell went off in her head, and she realized it might be best if she just left.

“Hey Lucy, can you loan me ten bucks? I’ll pay you back tomorrow.”

It was the least she could do, she said, and she gave me two five-dollar bills. I tucked them next to Dr T’s lone dollar. I had a plan, sorta.

I cussed and sputtered and vented on the new guy, who was doing lunches. “I’m going to blow off some steam. See you in an hour.” I stepped out, just in time to see the bus, three minutes early. I scurried and jaywalked and caught it. I rode up to 23rd Avenue and deboarded. I meandered through Goodwill while dialing. Rain picked up.

“Hey you, what you doing?”

“I’m sitting here in the dark. Some kind of accident has the power to the whole building out. Where you at?”

“Walking toward your building. Holy crap, you are in the dark!” Her building looked like a post-nuclear parking garage.

“I’ll meet you down by the back door. You can come up, but you’ll have to climb stairs all the way up. No elevator.”

“It’s cool, I’ll take my time.”

I’d never used the fire exit to Rain’s building. (I want management to know who I am, so I *own* the place when I go in; follow rules, don’t tailgate the tenants unless they know me, etc…) This was a different story. I found an exit door, but no Rain. I heard her very recognizable voice hollering in the distance. She had a glow-stick and was flagging me in for a landing like they do on airport runways. Once I found the proper door, it was time to ascend.

The stairs were narrow, so I could span both handrails. I was off like a herd of turtles, waiting for Rain and the flashlight. The only other source of light were the EXIT signs and eerie green glow-sticks hanging off people’s doorknobs. Soon we were upstairs, cozying into her apartment.

“It’s warm in here.” She took off her insulated jogging pants and jacket, leaving panties and a wifebeater.

“Sweet Jesus,” were or may have been my exact words. I forget…

She lit candles around the room, and opened the curtains. “Go ahead and get comfortable!” She hollered from the bathroom.

I took her at her word. When she came out, she found me sans pants in a downturned bed. “Hah! Well, I guess I said-…”

She crawled in next to me. I checked my watch: Half an hour until the bus…

I left her pantsless and smiling in the dark, $11 next to her cigarettes. Without Rain’s flashlight, the trip downstairs was a bit trickier. I have a tiny keyring flashlight that led the way; I stopped for the elderly returning home after being stuck outside, bored to death for hours. It was weird to come around the dark corner of a stairwell and find an old guy in a wheelchair, or middle-aged men who look like skid-row denizens packing free pizzas to hand out to the tenants. When I got to the street, the sidewalk was being torn up. PGE was on it.

The new guy was happy to see me in a better mood, and it didn’t even bother me that we were still finding puddles of Lucy’s coffee. She’d missed my laptop and power supply, so all is forgiven.

I got onto the laptop and checked my ultimate news source, Twitter. Sho’nuff, newspapers and TV were telling of how an electric worker pulled the equivalent of a squirrel in a transformer and had been electrocuted during a power arc. (Yikes.) Lights had been out for about six hours when I’d arrived. I called Rain and read the article to her.

“Thanks for the ten bucks. I’m going to Walgreens and get my hair stuff. Hey, tonight was fun, the candles and all. You should come over sometime and watch a movie with me or something. Something when you don’t have to be gone in an hour…” She was using her sultry voice, which hits me square in the back pocket.

I assured her that I’d love to do that, and rang off.

I texted Dr T. “Rain got her $10, *and* your dollar tip. Lunch was spectacular, BTW” (Add a winky emoticon.)

And to think, a few months back I was grumbling about unpaid lunch hours…

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