Friday, September 02, 2005

May God Forgive Me

My dad was always best when everything in his life had been taken or wiled away; his mind cleared of all distractions, crutches and possibilities, his friends strewn like ashes about the battlefield in his bloody wake, isolated like a castaway, alone and hopeless. A zen Buddhist atop a faraway peak, with only his god to consult with, seemingly from whom his divine inspirations came.

Only his faithful remained with him through these years, some out of blind loyalty to a proven but sporadic leader, others like wild dogs that follow the alpha male, ever wary of a weakness and a time to strike. Clay was one of the former, a simple man content to cash his paycheck on Friday, pay off his debts incurred the previous week only to re-indemnify himself against his next.

Dad complained about his work ethic, which had over the years declined in direct proportion to his use of cocaine, an interest that he and Anna shared. Dad gave him the floors to sheet on a university job, and it was typical to find Clay fast asleep on a stack of plywood. But when Clay's engine was warmed up, he could get the job done faster than most, and as such, Clay would sometimes work deep into the night to make up for lost time. Dad would have fired anybody else who behaved as such, but with Clay--well, everybody loved Clay, and everybody took care of him.

On our bottommost rung in life, dad finally had his epiphany; he sought and was granted a subcontract on an army base for vinyl siding. Suddenly our group was loaded for a cross country caravan from Washington to New York. Dad assembled the operation with frightening speed and hired everyone he knew, including two of my cousins and an uncle. He was so efficient with the siding contract that the general contractor granted him an additional framing contract, and hired more people, gave raises and promotions to his people, and suddenly we were a major outfit.

Then dad met his next wife, while the one he already had waited in Washington for his return. At the time dad had her brother and two nephews on his payroll, but dad didn't care. He installed me in the front office and put me in charge of the entire operation, and left to pursue his new love. I found out then how poorly managed the business really was, and how angry most of his employees were. I was under considerable strain with no power to change things.

But Anna worked in the office with me during those trying times, and we told stories and laughed while laboring over payroll and reports, getting paid and distributing pay. I don't remember what I said that prompted it, but she tenderly whisked a lock of my long hair from my eyes and told me, "You are so much love."

The business wasn't making enough money to sustain the payroll and the taxes, and I sought outside help. My dad was enraged and fired Anna while I was away, and the report came to me that she buried her head in her hands and ran out crying. I found her later and she tried to hold it in. "I used to be so happy to see your father," she said with big glossy eyes, and I hated my father for being so cruel.

Clay and I both went to work soon after for the Ricks boys, and Dad shut his operation down and got married as soon as his divorce was final. I got a small apartment with a girl friend in Watertown, but she was a friend-friend, that slept with most all my friends. If I was interested at first, her lifestyle quickly dissuaded me.

One night Anna showed up at my doorstep at one in the morning, severely drunk.

"Clay and I had a terrible fight, so I took a cab and came here. I hope you don't mind," she said with a pouty look.

"Of course Anna, come in."

She met my roommate Kathy in the living room, and started to tell her about how wonderful I was, and started giggling uncontrollably. She was as cute as she ever was that night; her personality was bubbly and her laughter was so contagious that Kathy and I were rolling on the floor.

Kathy went to bed and I gave Anna my bed and fixed myself a sleeping bag on the floor next to her. We both were yawning and the conversation got sleepy. She reached over the bed and put her hand on my back.

"Can I touch you?" She asked.

My body wanted one thing, but my mind couldn't stop thinking of Clay. How could I look at him if I did this? She took my silence as an affirmation and scratched my back, slowly and lightly raking back and forth, and from her finger tips electricity threw sparks across my skin and I shook uncontrollably.

"I could sleep with you if I wanted to, couldn't I?"

I felt like a lion, lying in the bush, poised to strike, on the edge of the abyss with just the heels of my feet for support, teetering and resigned to the plunge and my death that followed--all it would take was a little, tiny, insignificant nudge, as from the wake of butterfly wings. May God forgive me, I was helpless to stop it.


jenbeauty said...

Wow, that last paragraph, wow, very nicely written, a good description without being smutty.

Scott said...

Thank you Jen, I try to keep it clean. Have a great weekend!

Trevor Record said...

Uh oh, moving on a coke addict's woman? Man, that's ballsy.

Sadie Lou said...

sexy story!