Authors: Andy Schell
Tags: #General, #Fiction
“It’s the only way. Whether you just picked your nose or not, you gotta take those things in your fingers and shove them on the
stick. I don’t have time to do all that ceremonial bullshit in the aisle with everyone watching.”
She’s the master. I’m the student. “We’re out of decaf,” I tell her.
“Why bother?” she says, grabbing a cup and pouring it full of regular coffee. “Give them this.”
“But they’ll be wired up for Jesus,” I laugh.
“No, they won’t. They’ll think it’s decaf and it won’t do a damn thing to them. Power of the mind, baby, power of the mind.”
When all the cattle have been fed and watered, and we’re all back in the galley, Bart gives me the old line. “I don’t think you’re really gay. You just haven’t had the kind of woman that would show you you’re not.”
Amity winks at me before taking a glass of water out to a passenger.
“That is such a crock of shit,” I tell him, smiling. “You straight people always think you’ve got it figured out. What if you’re gay and you don’t know it because you just haven’t found the right guy?”
“What if?” he says, his accent making magic of the question, his thumbs in the belt loops of his uniform pants, his fingers hanging down to the natural bulge of his crotch. He looks at me with a shit eating grin on his face.
I’d drink this guy’s bathwater and he knows it.
Of course we’re one big happy threesome by the third flight of the day. It truly is a bonding experience to serve little bags of peanuts to people sitting upright in rows of chairs. Amity breaks out the in-flight champagne in Styrofoam, and we illegally indulge while she teaches us that if, ten napkins are stuck together, we should give the passenger ten napkins, because it isn’t worth your valuable time separating them. And even if you’re working a flight to Europe, when someone asks how long the flight is, we should
always say, “About an hour.” And if the captain asks for lemonade, we should tell him we’re out, because it isn’t worth the trouble to fix lemonade for a guy who (in her case) only wants to “stick his hand up my skirt and play grab ass.” And when I ask her what a woman captain wants, she says, “To stick her hand up my skirt and play grab ass.” So we learn that lemonade is out of the question. And finally: “Always have a stick of gum sitting out of the wrapper, close by, to take the champagne off your breath in a hurry.”
By the end of the day, as we approach Stapleton Airport in Denver, the captain tells us that we’ll be landing in a heavy snow storm, and that operations are limited to a single runway, where we’ll make an instrument approach for landing. We circle the city, and all we see out the window are what look like huge shreds of coconut cascading from heaven. “I love snow,” Amity says dreamily “If I ever have to be in a crash, I want to go down in snow.”
Bart and I look at each other uncomfortably. “Could you be in that crash some other time, Amity?” I ask her.
“Yeah, let’s just land and get to the hotel,” Bart adds.
By that evening, on the ground, the three of us are practically best friends, smoking pot in the hotel room, watching HBO. Bart takes the joint, places it between his lips, and asks if I want a shotgun. I nod, bring my mouth to his until our lips barely touch, and he blows the smoke into me while Amity watches; it’s all I can do not to kiss him full on. As I pull my lips away from his, I look over at Amity, who gives me the slightest smile, and I know she’s reading my mind. I’d kill for this guy.
After trudging down the snowy street for a dinner of steak and mashed potatoes, which Amity washes down with champagne, we return to Amity’s hotel room, crank the heater, and settle on the bed, all three of us. We smoke more pot and listen to the Eurythmics on the little radio at the side of the bed.
Sweet dreams are made of this …. Somehow this is all less innocent, more dangerous, than my college cavorting which was solely limited to men. This is the real world, and we all have jobs, and Bart is a straight guy from Texas who played high school football, and I’m a Yankee who doesn’t really understand him or Amity or their intentions at the moment. Bart takes his hand, slides it behind Amity’s neck and pulls her mouth to his. While he kisses her, he slowly places his other hand on my thigh. He doesn’t move it. He just keeps it there while he gently eats Amity’s face. I follow the veins in his hands down to his long, sexy fingers. Should I reach out, take his hand, and move it to where I want it to be? Before I make a move, Bart pulls back from Amity. Turns to me. “Now you,” he says.
I can’t believe I’m going to kiss a real live straight cowboy. And by the way he kissed Amity, I know he’s talented. “OK,” I answer, my voice nervous. I reach my hand toward his shoulder to hang on, but he intercepts it and steers it toward Amity. He leans forward, twists, and pulls Amity to me. “You kiss her,” he says.
Fuck. He’s toying with me, setting me up, trying to see if I can get it going with a girl. I’ve never done it with a girl, and the only time I even came close, my dick made it clear it wasn’t going to cooperate, so I made some lame excuse about not having a condom and bailed out.
“Come on, buddy,” he says, coaxing me.
Shit. If he’s trying to hand me the “right girl” so I can straighten out, I’m not into this. I should get up and go. But what if this is the beginning of all three of us together? If he sees me with Amity, will he join in? Maybe it can work. It would be worth it, seeing him naked, watching him make love. I lean over and place my lips against hers. I haven’t kissed a girl since high school; it feels strange and even abnormal to have contact with such soft pink lips. The lack of beard or whisker stubble on her face makes her alien to me. She’s soft and perfumed, and I try to stay tender with her. She
starts moaning and kissing me harder, her tongue moving freely inside my mouth. I feel the bed move and realize that Bart is rising off the mattress. I continue to kiss Amity, but turn my head, to watch him undress. Instead, he tucks his shirt in. He’s leaving. “Where are you going?” I ask, breaking from Amity. “You don’t need me now, cowboy,” he says slyly.
If he only knew. My dick is softer than a warm stick of butter, and unless he stays and rolls his piece of corn on it, it’s going to stay that way. Why hasn’t Amity said anything? And why did she go along with this whole setup? Did they plan this together on the airplane today? My uneasy eyes slide their gaze to Amity, and she understands. “I think you’d better stay, Bart,” she says breathlessly.
Bart stands there, doesn’t move. He closes his eyes, rubs his eyebrow, looks uncomfortable. For all his swagger and tease earlier, I can tell it’s something he can’t do. “Yes, I think you’d better stay, Bart,” I echo, rolling off the mattress. “And I’ll be taking my leave.”
I walk past Bart, who gives me a single sexy nod of his gorgeous jock-boy head. “You sure?” he asks.
Amity jumps up and walks me to the door, then opens it. “Are you OK, Harry?” she whispers. “I had nothing to do with this.”
I’m embarrassed. I feel clumsy. “I’m fine,” I tell her. “He’s a stud. Go for it.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll do you proud. He’ll be limping home to his stall, darling’.”
I smile, step out into the hall.
“You’re a good kisser, Harry. Are we still friends?”
I nod yes.
She kisses me again, this time on the cheek, and I head into the hall.
I enter my room next door and fall onto the bed, full of conflict and question. The question isn’t whether I’m gay. I am. The question
is whether I could have done it without Bart somehow ” and I think the answer is no. Minutes pass, but I can’t get thought of him out of my head. His thick wrists, the veins in neck, his tongue lapping at Amity’s face. What would his ass look like out of those Wrangler jeans? Do his feet really those big, wide cowboy boots? I’m aroused again, and soon erection is spurred on by the sounds coming from the other side the wall.
I’ve got to hear them. I rip off my clothes and throw them the floor. Then I run to the bathroom, grab an empty water and return to the bed with it. I stand on the bed and place the on the wall, just to the edge of the huge framed knockoff of Gogh’s water lilies, and press my ear to the cold glass, absorbi the echo of Bart and Amity making love.
“Ah, ah, ah,” he moans as if his horse is cantering on the lead over pavement. It’s a rough ride, but he’s thoroughly it.
Amity breaks in, “Oh, baby, you drive me wild!”
The bed creaks and crunches, and I hear one of their moving against the wall.
“Yee haw, baby, Yee haw!” Amity whoops.
Yee haw? Is he tiding on top of her like a horse? Is he on to her hair like reins, his big, sexy forearms flexing as he her right, then left, then pulls back on her? Is she some Trigger, rearing up into his big, sexy chest while he takes her behind? No, wait: She said he’d go to his stall limping, so is she on top? Is he stretched out below her, his muscled legs reachin for miles, his big arms holding her shoulders while she rides him: to the edge of the cliff in a full gallop?
In my excitement, the glass slips from my hand, and as it falls toward the end table, I try to catch it, but in my haste I knock monstrous van Gogh off the wall, and it comes crashing down onto the headboard like thunder and flies sideways onto the end table,
breaking the water glass and smashing into the phone, which flies off the table with a booming ring. I turn to jump off the bed and catch myself in the mirror, naked, horrified, my stick of butter frozen hard.
I carefully step around the broken glass and grab the painting, lifting it away. As I set it on the other bed, I realize the rodeo on the other side of the wall has shut down. Ceased all events. There’s not a sound from the riders. Shit. I can only imagine what it must have sounded like to them. I gingerly place the receiver back on the hook and lift the phone to the table. As I’m setting it down, it
I let it ring. Four times. Then slowly lift the handset. “Yes?” “You all right over there, big guy?” Bart asks. “Yes.”
“Anything broken, Bubba?”
I look at my penis. “No.”
“Well …” he says. I hear Amity giggle in the background. “I’m going to take a shower now,” I tell him. “Keep the water cold, buddy. Keep the water cold.”
The next three days of the trip, Bart holds Amity’s hand when she steps out of the crew van, carries her luggage through the airport, opens any doors for her, orders her champagne at dinner, and fucks her as if she’s a sheep from Kansas.
And the two of them adopt me as their favorite son. We’re one little happy airline family. Our failed attempt at sex hasn’t hurt Amity’ sand my relationship in the least. Nor mine and Bart’ s. On the contrary, we have something to bind us and also make us laugh. And that’s how it is in the airline business, I’m told. People get incredibly close for a few days, and then they don’t see each other for maybe another year or two or five.
But I have a feeling that, if I stick with Amity, I’ll have some kind of a family here in Texas. And that’s what I intend to do.
The night of our arrival back in Dallas, Amity suggests Bart come to her house for a drink. She also enthusiastically invites me to come along, but I decline, since I get the feeling that Bart wants another rodeo ride, and I don’t want to be the clown who the bull this time. Amity and I agree to get together as soon as our days off coincide, and I bid her and Bart good night.
My days at the Mansion are over, my paycheck isn’t enough for me to make a deposit on an apartment, and I can’t spend for even a sleazy hotel room (because my student loan payments are starting, and my hospital bills will be coming in). So I decide to sleep in the one of the four commuter bunks in the flight lounge. It won’t be long, just over a week, before my next paycheck, and until then, I can crash on a bunk.
But tonight, the bunks are all taken, and I’m forced to curl on a sofa in the main lounge while attendants come and go. almost asleep when I hear Amity’s voice. “Christ on a crutch, Harry. What are you doing?”
I open my eyes. “Sleeping,” I say foolishly. “What are you doing here?”
“I was all the way in the parking lot when I realized I left my vest,” she says, grabbing it off the back of a chair. “And of course I’d hate to lose a single piece of this godawful uniform. Why are you sleeping in the lounge?”
I sit up. “I’m a little tight on funds. I need a couple weeks get on my feet.”
“Harry, you’re a Ford, but not an Edsel. Sleeping in the lounge is worse than living below the underpass. Wait here,” she orders. “Where are you going?” I ask.
She calls over her shoulder while gliding out of the lounge, “Bart’s waiting out front I’ll get rid of him.”
“But ” Before I can argue, she’s out the door.
In a few minutes she returns. “Come on. You’re going home with me.”
“I feel guilty,” I tell her, picking up my luggage. “Why? Bart’s got a home you don’t.” “But he wanted to be with you tonight.”
She smiles, holding the door open for me. “Not anymore. I told him I just started my period.”
It’s a white wood-framed, one-story “house that sits on a corner near the Dallas Congregational University campus. As she puts the key in the lock, I cup my hands to the glass door and look past the enclosed porch into the living room. The lights are on, and I see a shiny hardwood floor that looks as if it was polished by hand, a wood-framed lithograph of one of those English horse-and-hound hunting scenes, and a single elegant wingback chair sitting confidently alone. It is so well ordered, so the opposite of my chaotic life at the moment.
“Where’s Jacqueline?” I ask.
“Didn’t I tell you? Jacqueline moved out.”
fast?” I can tell by the quick way she says it there’s something more to the story. “What happened?”
“Girl stuff. I won’t bore you with the details.”
“But you and Jacqueline seemed like good friends,” I protest. Like a Star Search spokes model she sweeps her arms upward and across while moving into the house, her heels barely making a sound on the hardwood floor as she walks. “This is the living room,” she announces, throwing her arms apart. I expect the walls to slide open and reveal a speedboat and a gas grill. She rests her hand on the fireplace mantel the fireplace that has been sealed off and no longer burns wood and looks into the mirror above it. Instead of looking at herself, she looks at the reflection of me and smiles into the glass.