Monday, July 19, 2010

Harter Union: Part Five; Chapters 8 & 9

I was working silently in the Dish Room and had hardly seen Melissa all night. She spent most of the time at work in the Private Dining Room with Heather so I immediately thought the worst. Neither Melissa nor Heather would tell me what was wrong so with the bad mood the speech last night put me in and possibly losing Melissa, I was not very happy. I was carrying out a rack of cups and ran into Heather. “Hey, Heather,” I said quietly and pushed past her.

“Jeff, I know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong. What Melissa is going through has nothing to do with you,” Heather said, looking up at me.

“So she’s not going to break up with me?” I asked with a little hope.

“Of course not. She’s learned from her mistakes and she loves you way too much to break up with you.”

I smiled at Heather, who quickly hugged me, and went back to the Dish Room. “How come that doesn’t make me feel better?” I asked softly and the hope then vanished. I resumed my post at Dish 3 but soon the dish machine clunked to a halt.

“Something’s stuck,” Nathan pointed out.

I walked over to the machine and opened the first door to see where the object was stuck. It wasn’t stuck behind the first door so I looked behind the second. A blue rack was stuck and stuck good. I tried pushing it out but it was really in there. I moved to the dish machine exit and started pulling. It still wouldn’t budge so I pulled harder until it finally gave. It flew out of the machine, splashing hot water on my face, smashing my hand into a rack of dishes nearby, shattering several plates. My head and back twisted halfway around as I let go of the dislodged rack, slipped on the wet floor and fell, hitting my head on the bottom shelf of Dish 3 and then everything went black.

I awoke in the PDR with my head resting on Melissa’s lap. I slowly got up and rubbed the back of my head which, along with my neck and hand, really hurt.

“You’re finally up,” Melissa said helping me sit up.

“How long was I out?” I groaned.

“Almost thirty minutes. Are you all right?”

“My head and neck hurt like a son of a bitch but other than that…”

“Yeah, you snapped your neck around pretty good and hit your head hard. You also sliced up your hand on some dishes.”

I looked at the blood-stained dish rag wrapped around my left hand. “Nice. And I see you all were worried enough to call 9-1-1.”

“We decided that if you didn’t wake up in thirty minutes, then we would call.”

“I’m sorry, Pussycat. The Bible verse I read last night got me upset and thinking so I needed some air. I should’ve been here with you—like a true boyfriend,” I stood up and rubbed my neck.

“Don’t be sorry. You are a wonderful person and you deserve a lot better than I can give you. You’re one of a kind, Jeff and you have always been there for me and I love you for it,” Melissa stood up and hugged me. It caught me by surprise but I did the same.

“I love you, too,” I said softly in her ear.

Heather and Nathan were peering in from the door and slowly closed it. “So what was Melissa crying about all evening?” Nathan asked.

“I can’t say. She made me promise that it would stay between us until she tells Jefferson.”

“Oh,” Nathan looked back at the door of the PDR and smiled.

Melissa and I were parked at Signal Oak in the back of my Jimmy. I was on top of her and we both had our shirts off. We continuously kissed and pawed at each other. I stopped and rolled off of her and pulled the fresh dish rag off my left hand and we both looked at it in the moonlight.

“I hope it doesn’t scar,” Melissa said, reaching up and kissing the bigger wound.

“I hope it does. That’d be cool,” I said, grinning big.

“No, you have such beautiful, delicate hands and it’d be a shame if they were scarred for life because of one silly incident,” she said and softly rubbed my hand. “You need to stop chewing your nails, though.”

“Are we gonna have sex or not?” I said, hiding my left hand from view and rolling onto my side to look at Melissa.

“Well, I’m not done with you yet,” Melissa pushed me onto my back and clamped her mouth down onto mine. I ran my right hand through her hair and moved my left hand up and down her naked back. “I never should’ve let you go…” she whispered as she undid my pants and pulled them off a little to wrap her cool, soft hand around me. “Do you like that?”

“Of course,” I said softly. She rolled off of me and undid her pants. I removed my pants and kneeled over her and Melissa removed her pants. We looked into each other’s eyes.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked.

“I’m thinking of getting a cat. I think me and Heather need a pet around the house.”

“Shut up,” Melissa ran on hand through my hair, being careful at the back of my head, and the hand took a hold of my penis and placed it inside her. “Oh, God,” Melissa moaned. “I was worried about you and I never want to lose you again.”

Chapter Nine
A month had passed and everything was looking brighter. Darrell ordered new soda fountains along with a new coffee machine, juice machine and several hand-washing stations throughout the kitchen and Dish Room. Another major difference was Jason, who, for awhile, would come to work but distance himself from the rest of the staff and after a couple of weeks, stopped showing up.

“Jeff?” Nathan came into my office and sat down. “Can you come with me and talk to Jason?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“I don’t know. He stays up all night and drinks and listens to music in the basement so I figured he’s depressed about Chrissy being gone and living with that Jesse guy so I thought that since you’ve been screwed over by many women…”


“…that you could offer some advice to him.”

I stood up and headed to the door. “I’m glad when you think of ‘depressed sociopath’, you think of me.”

We arrived at Nathan’s house and hurried downstairs to the basement where I hit my forehead on the low-hanging door jamb. The basement was completely dark and silent except for the radio playing softly. Nathan reached over and turned on the light.

Jason bolted up from the bed, throwing the covers on the floor. “What are you doing here?” he shrieked.

“Just wondering if you’re coming to work today,” I said looking around at all the clothes strewn around and at Jason who had a full beard and was completely naked. “Oh, God.”

“I haven’t been to work in over a week…” Jason said walking over to us, “why start now?”

“Because we’re all worried about you,” I said trying not to stare at his genitals but finding myself compelled to. “Gaah! I can’t do it! It’s like looking into a lava lamp. You talk to him, Nate,” I turned away and walked over to a workbench off to the side.

“Look, Jason, we’ve all been dumped by someone at some time and we all got over it and you’ll get over this, too.”

“No matter how much you don’t want to,” I said picking up a piece of cardboard that was painted gray. I turned it toward the light and looked at Jason. “What’s this, Jason?” I angled it so Nathan could see.

“My child’s tombstone. It’s the only memory I have left.”

Nathan and I looked uneasily at each other. “Is this what this is about? The abortion?” I laid the faux stone down and walked over to Jason. “Why didn’t you just tell Chrissy you didn’t want her to have an abortion?”

“No, we needed to get it but I didn’t even think of the damage that the abortion might’ve caused. Knowing what I know now, I would’ve given it a second thought,” he explained.

“I’m sorry all this happened, Jason but you can either stay down here and wallow or you can join us in the real world. Hopefully you’ll make the right decision,” I turned around and started to leave. “Come on, Nathan, we got to get to work. Maybe I’ll see you around, Jason. And put on some damn pants.”

I finished making my salad and sat down next to Heather. Melissa came in, sat down next to me and slammed a yellow piece of paper down in front of me. “Is something wrong?” I asked.

“I’m being evicted! They’re turning my apartment complex into an assisted living facility,” Melissa said.

“Hey, everybody, look at what I found,” Alyson hollered, coming through the front doors on roller-skates. “Can I wear these on the Line, Jeff?”

Aaron came in from the Line talking with Kepler. “So I found out why my girlfriend hasn’t been talking to me lately. She was kicked by a horse and broke her hip. And I was just about to break up with her.”
Wanda’s foot was on the table and she was picking at a patch of dry skin while talking to Emily. “Malachi has been the only guy whose name I’ve screamed in a long time. It felt good and it made him feel special.”

“I’m not a screamer, more of a moaner. Besides that, I’m pretty quiet,” Emily replied.

“Hey, Nathan? Jeff? Can one of you look at this pimple on my butt?” asked Katie.

“I don’t want to move,” complained Melissa. “I was there first! Those old people can all go to hell!”

“I thought I got rid of my skates when I moved but they were in a shoebox with my vibrator—but I shouldn’t have told you that,” Alyson giggled.

“I’m gonna have to live the park like a hobo!” whined Melissa.

“No you won’t Pussycat, Baldwin hoboes live near the railroad tracks,” I smiled and hugged her. Over by the soft serve machine, Katie had her pants partly down and Nathan was examining her pimple.

“Why doesn’t she live with us?” asked Heather.

“Wanda, please take your feet off the table. What do you mean live with us?” I asked.

“Why do you need a vibrator when you have Nathan?” Stephanie asked Alyson.

“It was for before Nathan. I haven’t used it since I lost my virginity,” Alyson explained.

“I mean, Melissa moves in with us and she becomes our roommate,” Heather dumbed-down.

“We don’t have room,” I said.

“She’d stay with you in your room and from what I saw, she doesn’t own very much.”

“She broke a hip? I thought that was something only old people did,” Kepler laughed.

“She was kicked by a horse, that’d break anyone’s hip,” Aaron argued.

“I guess she could. I just don’t want it to ruin our relationship. Maybe it could be like an episode of Three’s Company,” I joked.

“It better not!” Melissa said.

“Hey, Jeff,” Nathan and Katie came back over to the group and Nathan stood next to me. “I bought this role-playing game the other day and I wondered if you would want to help play. You could be the storyteller.”

“Sure, I guess I could try it out. Honestly, I suck at role-playing games. I was playing Dungeons and Dragons one time and I sucked all the fun out of it,” I said.

“You’ll be the storyteller so you will be able to suck all the fun out from an entirely different level. We can get a small group together—Aaron, Kepler, want to play this game with us?”

“Sure,” Kepler answered.

“Yeah, I guess,” Aaron remarked.

“Great! We can play it after work, downstairs and between shifts,” Nathan seemed enthusiastic about it.

“Alright, we’ll start tonight. Let’s get to work, people!” I shouted.

Aaron, Alyson, Kepler, Melissa, Heather, Nathan, and I were in the game room of the Union. Melissa and Heather were watching TV while the rest of us were setting up the role-playing game: Vampire: En Masse. “To make it easy,” Nathan said, passing out player sheets, “everyone will be 11th Generation but you can choose your own clan and demeanor.”

“This is confusing,” said Alyson. “How do you decide what abilities you have?”

“You roll the dice and sort out the total number between the several abilities,” Nathan exclaimed.

“That doesn’t seem fair,” Alyson complained. “Someone could roll a 16 and someone else roll a five.”

“Yep. It’s a game of chance and luck,” I said.

“Well, that sucks,” she huffed.

I rolled my eyes and laid the book on the table. “I’ve marked the pages of clans and demeanors so look it through and pick what you want.”

“What can we have for names?” asked Kepler.

“Pretty much anything,” I said.

“Can I have Kepler?” he asked with a lot of enthusiasm.

“Uh, I guess that’d be okay,” I looked at Nathan and shrugged.

“Blast,” Aaron said suddenly.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“That’s what I’m gonna name my character. Blast,” Aaron revealed.

“Blast? Interesting name for a vampire,” I said, trying to keep a straight face. “Anyone else have a name?”

“I want Alexandria but this is all so confusing and stupid,” Alyson whined.

“Here,” Nathan spun the book in front of Alyson and started flipping through the clans. “Which clan do you want?”

He ended up on the Lasombra, which featured a tall, thin, raven-haired goddess in a black spaghetti-string dress and big breasts. “This one,” Alyson pointed, smiling.

I rolled my eyes again as Nathan filled out the pertinent information of Alyson’s sheet. Aaron chose the clan Brujah, which had a tall, muscular vampire carrying a big gun and Kepler chose Grengel. Nathan named his character Calthor and the clan Followers of Set while I chose the name Dahrkron and the clan Toreador. We finally got down to rolling the dice and figuring out the attributes, abilities and advantages. Unfortunately, we were all ready to start when Alyson got bored so we decided to call it quits and head home.

"Are you coming home with us?” I asked Melissa, pointing to Heather.

“Yeah,” Melissa smiled. “I think I should get used to living with the both of you.”

It was about three in the morning and I was stumbling through the hallway to the phone. “If this is a wrong number, I am going to jump through the phone and strangle somebody,” I growled. I picked up the receiver and answered, “Someone better be dead!”

“Who is it, Jefferson?” asked Heather, who, with Melissa, was standing in the hallway still half-asleep.

“Sorry, Darrell, I…” I stopped and my eyes widened as I turned toward the girl. “Oh my God. Well, thank you for calling. I appreciate it. I’ll see you at work. Bye,” I hung up the phone, walked over to the girls and hugged them both.

“What’s wrong, Jeff? What’d Darrell want?” asked Melissa.

“Uh, Kathryn passed away earlier this evening. She had a heart attack while watching TV,” I explained.

“That’s horrible.”

“I’m actually going to miss the Red-Haired Dragon. When’s the funeral?” asked Heather.

“Next week in Wisconsin but they’re having a visitation in Lawrence if we want to go. Darrell will give us more info at work tomorrow. I’m going back to bed,” I pushed past Melissa but kissed her on the temple and went back in the bedroom.

“Jefferson seemed more depressed then he really should be…” Heather said to Melissa.

Kathryn's legacy.