It's Friday, and that means free flash fiction. I'm really digging the new job and schedule - this whole having time to write is pretty nifty. I even managed to see Deadpool with the family. Great flick, by the way, though all the hype about Ryan Reynolds doing a full frontal scene was totally overblown. Trust me, if there'd been something to see I would've paid the price for several more tickets. *wink*
That said, this week's piece was inspired by 1950's Hollywood, and my favorite film comedy of all time. Not saying anything else - if you're into vintage cinema (or you watch a lot of TCM) you'll recognize it.
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DRIVING SEX; by Tucker McCallahan:
"Wake up, Lanch."
The voice coming from the walkie-talkie startled me. Swearing under my breath I took one last drag from my Winston and crushed it out in the ashtray. I grabbed the box and keyed it with a thumb.
"Nobody does that, 'Over and out,' stuff anymore, old man."
Chuck was laughing at me again. Little turd.
"D'you radio just to pick with me, or is she ready to go? Over."
The motions were automatic. One week on this set and I could've driven through it blindfolded. The Hotel del Coronado was nice enough, but San Diego was so damn close to Mexico it gave me the scratch. All I could think about was a run across the border, and the cherry 58' Buick they had me driving for her was sweet temptation.
The back seat was huge.
I gave Chuck a middle-finger wave as I rolled past him. He shot it back just as Evelyn and Sandra came out of makeup. They looked scandalized, and I was still laughing when I pulled up to the door.
They must've been looking for the Buick, because she came out immediately. She'd put sunglasses on, but not her scarf. I leapt out and grabbed the door.
"Thank you, Mickey."
I controlled the wince. Everybody called me Lanch. Everybody but her and my grandma, and my grandma had been dead for twenty years.
I climbed back into the Buick and we took off. Most of the cast and crew were at the Coronado for the duration of the shoot, but she, Jack and Tony all had houses down the beach. The studio took good care of their stars.
Two minutes later we pulled up in front of her place. I glanced in the rearview mirror. She was pouting.
"Arthur said he'd be waiting for me."
"I'm sure he's inside." I pointed to the driveway. "The other car's here."
"He's mad at Billy, so he's mad at me."
That breathy little-girl voice damn near punched right through my guts. I controlled the urge to storm into the house and drag Art's sorry ass outside. I had no idea what she saw in the guy. I could generally find something to like about any guy–even if it was only for fifteen minutes or so. Not the case with Miller. Guy just rubbed me wrong all over.
As usual, I didn't know what to say to her, so I held my tongue.
The front door opened and Art paced out. Maybe she was right. He looked harassed and irritated. I jumped out and opened her door before he got to the car. Two seconds later he was next to me, bending into the Buick to help her out.
"My pleasure, ma'am."
She threw a sweet smile over her shoulder as he led her toward the house. The instant the front door closed I knocked another Winston free and lit up. Just for kicks I headed back to the set. If they were done shooting Frank would be free. He'd be ready for a shower, cards, whiskey, and a quick fuck–not necessarily in that order. I didn't particularly care. That list in any order sounded swell to me.
Instead of finding Frank packing up cameras, I found Chuck. He was going full tilt; his arms looked like a windmill. I rolled up and turned the engine off. Tucking my smokes in my breast pocket, I climbed out and stretched. Sitting in the Buick all day made my legs stiff. I strolled over.
"–any idea what those cost? Sweet virgin Mary!"
"Whoa, watch that language." I gestured toward where a group of young girls huddled, obviously hoping for a glimpse of Tony. Chuck glared at me.
"Unless you're gonna dump him in the trunk and drive away, mind your own business, Lanch!"
I got a look at Chuck's latest victim and did an abrupt double-take. Christ, it was a kid. A boy, actually, and if he was eighteen I'd re-enlist for another tour with Uncle Sam. He had a good 'ol boy look: square jaw, sandy hair, slight squint. He also looked more bored than upset. Good for him; he'd already figured out Chuck was all bark and no bite.
"Sure." I scowled at the kid. "Told you if you welched I'd find you."
The kid's eyes, as blue as the California sky, widened. Chuck glanced between us.
"He owe you money?"
"Promised it this morning."
Chuck shook his head. Turd was laughing again. It was pathetic that anybody could be so easily manipulated. I kept my mean face on anyway.
"Feel sorry for you," Chuck said to the kid. "Everybody knows what a loan shark Lanch is."
I lit another cigarette.
"You done? Me and him, we need to have a little talk."
"Don't hurt him too bad. Frank will pitch a fit if cameras are short-handed tomorrow."
Somehow I wasn't shocked to hear the kid was on Frank's crew. That man had an eye. Chuck was already walking away. The kid gazed at me, interest and uncertainty pouring off him in equal doses.
I turned and headed for the Buick. He followed me.
"What'd you bust?" I asked, once we were inside.
"Why were you carrying zaps if you're on Frank's crew?"
"Chuck told me to."
"Figures. Where's Frank?"
"He owe you money, too?"
The kid's look was way too knowledgeable. I drew on my cigarette and let my eyes run over the kid the way most men looked at her. Boy wasn't dumb; he knew the score. I offered the kid a Winston and lit it after he stuck it between his lips. The dimple in his chin was perfect. Yeah, Frank had an eye. The kid rolled the passenger side window down and cocked his head.
"How long you been a driver?"
"Since before you were born."
I gave him the hairy eyeball, and a faint blush stained his cheeks.
"You're not a day over eighteen." I blew a plume of smoke out and started the Buick. "If you're even that old."
"I'm old enough."
He looked around, taking in the swank interior, and his eyes got huge.
"This is her car!"
I nodded as we rolled off the set.
"What's she like?" he asked.
"Didn't you just spend an entire day watching her?"
"Jack and Tony take bets on how many takes she'd need to get her lines straight?"
"The costume guy."
This time my laugh was genuine. The kid joined in and for the first time since I'd started driving the Buick, I wished it was a convertible and not the hardtop.
"You staying at the hotel?" I asked. We'd already made a circle of the joint. I wasn't about to keep driving around the place with the kid in the front seat.
"Yeah, got a room with a couple of the C-crew. What about you?"
"How'd you score that?"
"Gotta be available twenty-four hours for her."
"Cause that's what her contract says."
I pulled into space number twenty-one and turned the big V8 off. We got out and walked inside the Coronado with nary another word spoken.
The knock on my door came at just before midnight.
"It's open," I called.
The door opened and the kid walked in. His hair was damp. I motioned him over to the table where I sat.
"Wasn't sure you'd show."
He stood beside me and shook his head when I pointed at the other chair. I stood.
"What time's your call?"
I nodded. I was pretty sure he wouldn't be here past one. I crossed to the bed and let my white hotel towel slip to the floor. When I turned to sit, he was right in front of me, shirt gone, belt undone, fingers working to get his heavy denim jeans unbuttoned. I grabbed the material at the sides and yanked it down, taking his shorts with the jeans.
I don't know if I leapt or he pounced, but we landed in a tangle of arms and legs in the center of the narrow bed. He smelled like smoky lemons and tasted like spearmint. I could've spent hours just touching his skin.
The sex was over too quickly.
I rose and stalked over to my cooler. I got a beer and looked back over my shoulder. The kid stretched out on the bed, his sandy hair tussled and a silly grin on his face.
"You want a beer?"
"I want another go."
I dropped the beer back into the cooler and contemplated grabbing some ice to cool the kid off, but felt a grin as silly as his spread across my face. Another go sounded great, and after all…some like it hot.