Read My Best Man Online

Authors: Andy Schell

Tags: #General, #Fiction

My Best Man (6 page)

BOOK: My Best Man
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I lok at his card:

JT Reardon

Sales

Fairway BMW …. And only his business number is on the card. Great. He to sell me a car.

Since moving in, I’ve not seen a lot of Amity because she’ been spending nights with her boyfriend, Troy, the guy who her away from the airport the day I met her. I

“Come sit on the bathtub, Harry, and talk to me while I poo for my date with Troy.” Poo up is her phrase for the of putting on her makeup and doing her hair, she explains. I soon find out it’s a minimum two-hour production, and it’s always done with the help of a glass of champagne and a toke off the bong.

 

“What happened to Bart?” I ask, sitting on the edge of the bathtub, watching her from the backside. She wears a pair of men’s boxer shorts and a flimsy camisole. I love that she’s so relaxed in front of me.

“I’m still seeing Bart,” she answers, locking her eyelashes into her eyelash curler. “But he’s hard to get to know, Harry. He still lives with his parents in Piano. I went out to their house, and all Bart wanted to do was watch TV. That’s just not this girl’s style.” St awL She switches the curler to the other eye, causing the strap on her flimsy camisole to fall over one shoulder. “And every time I sleep with him he’s wearing the same boxer shorts,” she giggles, wrinkling her nose. “You change your underwear, don’t you, Harry.” It is a statement, not a question, to extol my virtue and erode Bart’s. She starts extracting the rollers from her hair, and each shock of hair falls and bounces like an uncoiling snake. “You know why his ass looks so good in those jeans, don’t you?” “Why?”

“He buys women’s jeans. They fit his ass better and make his box look big.” She unleashes the last roller, turns, and screams,

“Medusa!” while her coils of snakes fly in all directions. “Don’t touch me,” I beg, laughing.

“It’s too late!” she says, playfully putting a finger on my chin. “Now you know why my last name is Stone!” She starts fluffing out the snakes, one by one, using a hair pick and her hands, and each shock of hair triples in size. Soon she has the whole thing jacked out to there, and I’m sitting under its mass. It’s like when I was a boy, growing up in Kansas, and I would play golf with my father while the afternoon clouds grew larger and larger and closer and closer as they silently exploded over the Western plains, and everything on earth was in their shadow.

I’m amazed watching her transformation. I had no idea how much a product of her cosmetics she is. Not that she’s not beautiful without them, but I realize the Amity I’ve known in these couple

 

of weeks is more of a visual creation than I thought. What’s amazing is that she’s just as unabashed about herself in situ as she is about everything else. She’s not reticent in the least to make the transition from Plain Amity to Glamorous Amity right before eyes and stop in the middle of it all to sit on the toilet and while I sit across from her on the tub and talk. Man, I didn’t know girls were this casual. My mom never peed in front of not sure she peed at all. And she certainly never let me see without any makeup on. The fact that Amity is taking the out of it kind of makes it all the more mysterious.

“He still has a killer ass,” I say, getting back to Bart. I

the idea of this country-boy jock buying women’s jeans, and refuse to let her ruin my image of him.

“I like what’s in front of the ass,” she says, candidly. “Dicks. She goes into her bedroom, and like a puppy with a new master. I follow. “A girl should never kiss and tell,” she says, taking preppy-looking plaid dress navy, maroon, and beige with a white collar off the hanger. “But we’re roommates, right, Harry?” “Right.”

“Bart doesn’t like getting his dick sucked. I don’t know When I get down there he pushes my head away. All he wants do is fuck me. And I just don’t know about that.”

What can I say? I don’t like it when all somebody wants to is fuck me.

“He just doesn’t have the class of say..” a member of the family from Kansas,” she declares.

Shit. She knows about my family. “And what do you know about the Fords?” I ask tentatively.

“Everybody knows about the Kansas Fords, Bubba. momma throws that charity ball every year, and your daddy’s one of the few who inherited wealth but still had a distinguished career.” Then she adds reverently, “God rest his soul.”

My warning flags go up. In college, there was a kid in my dorm

 

who knew everything there was to know about my father and the Fords. It was as if he’d read every mention in every little newspaper column. He’d refer to my mom, dad, and brother by their first names. It only made me steer clear of him. “How come you haven’t told me you know who my family is?” I ask.

“How come you haven’t told me yourself?” she counters.

“I did,” I answer defensively “The day we met. I spilled my guts, if you remember.”

“You didn’t tell me you were a Ford.”

The hair on my neck rises. I hate when people use my family name with emphasis. “I’ve always found it easier to be a regular Joe than an irregular Ford,” I explain, “and I decided when I started this airline life that I’d keep my lineage a secret. Does it matter?” If it does, I’m out of here.

“Not in the least, Harry. Your family isn’t much different from mine.”

I realize I’ve been selfish. I’ve been so wrapped up in my family dramas, I’ve never really taken the time to ask about Amity’ sfamily. “Tell me about them,” I urge.

“I’d rather not,” she answers.

“Come on,” I goad. “What are they like?”

“I’m from money too,” Amity says, stepping into her dress. She faces the mirror, not me, but I see her reflection and her visage is guarded. “But like you, I’m sort of disconnected from my family. They’re from Fort Worth, you know.”

“What’s Fort Worth like?” I ask, the ignorant Yankee.

“Fort Worth is old money, Harry. The good families, families like yours, are from Fort Worth. Not Dallas,” she says with con tempt, “where everyone’s nigger rich.”

It sounds ugly to hear the word niggermparticularly when it’s spoken with a Southern accent. I’ve noticed that the people I’ve met in Texas get away with saying it by not actually using the word to call a black person a nigger, but by using it in phrases. If someone

 

is nouveau riche, as my mother says in Kansas, they’re deemed nigger rich in Texas. Likewise, if something is broken and has been shoddily repaired, it is nigger rigged, rather than jury-rigged.

“You’ve said you have a brother and a sister, right?”

“Right,” she says. “Zip me up.”

I reach behind her back and zip her up. “Are you the youngest, oldest? Fucked-up middle child?”

“Oldest,” she blurts. “I’m very well adjusted. My whole family is.”

“So why are you estranged from them?”

“My own choice. It’s personal, Bubba.”

“But you say your family has money and is well adjusted? What did you do, make them out of papier-mche in kindergarten?”

She smiles, while slipping diamond droplets into her lobes, but her face tightens and looks strange as if she did make them out of papier-mche. “Whoa,” Amity says. “Whoa, Bubba. We’ve talked about my family longer than we’ve talked about yours.” She finishes with the earrings and positions her hands in the time-out signal.

“You’re right,” I acknowledge. “Fair is fair. No more family talk.” Still, hers must be the first moneyed family on earth that is i well adjusted. Hard to believe.

When Troy arrives, she has me answer the door. We shake and head for the sofa in the little sitting room off the kitchen. Ri away I can tell he is friendly, outgoing, thick. Like if you asked’ him what the capital of Texas was, he’d say, “The T.” He is to the nth. A big, blond prep boy in khakis and a plaid button-downl shirt. Webbed belt, polished loafers, the whole nine yards. Not nearly as mysterious as that day I saw him at the airport. Now understand the dress Amity has chosen. And when Amity her entrance, she is the perfect preppy date. I notice she’s reserved, somewhat proper, in her manner with Troy, which really surprises me, because this is the first time I’ve seen her hold back,

 

We all get stoned together on some pot I bought before leaving Kansas, and Troy and I grow stupider while Amity becomes more alert. It is really the most intense pot I’ve ever had I bought it from a town cop, who I assume took it after busting some student. It smells like a ground-up pine tree, and I keep it in a baggie that has pictures of Mickey Mouse on it. After Troy and Amity leave, my beeper goes off. I’m so fucked up I can hardly dial the phone, and I want to die when they tell me I have to make it out to the airport for the last departure to Houston. I can’t even function when I’m stoned.

As usual, I’m assigned to our smallest, least glamorous aircraft, the DC-9. The two girls I fly with, Beverly and Angela, look at me with great suspicion. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I’m sure they know I’m stoned. I’ve doused my eyeballs with Visine, but they’re still redder than diaper rash and drier than lint. I blink every two seconds, and though I keep using Visine, it’s like pointlessly adding water to dead potted plants.

“Are you all right?” All rot? Beverly asks, as we prepare the cart in the galley. She’s a hefty gal with large hips, fat ankles, and heavy earrings. She put her hand to her mouth and whispered about me to Angela after I introduced myself in the flight attendant lounge. “Fine. Why?”

She tells me, accusingly, “Your eyes look funny.”

The truth is, her eyes look funny too. I wonder if Mary Kay has anything left in her inventory. “I have allergies,” I lie.

“Maybe you should see a doctor,” she suggests snidely.

“Maybe you should too,” I answer, fumbling a cup of condiment packets that lands on the floor.

She’s perplexed. “Why should I see a doctor?”

I’m on the floor, picking up these stupid little packets of coffee whitener, and my marijuana-induced paranoia makes me want to hide inside the stinky lavatory until we get to Houston. “I don’t know. When was your last … inspection?”

“For what?”

I don’t know. I’m stoned out of my mind! “Um… your levels.” “What levels?” “Oil.”

“My oil levels? What the hell are you talking about?” she her beefy ankles inches from my face.

“You could be low,” I caution.

“I think your brain levels are low,” she snips. “Come on. need to get these people their drinks before we land.”

I peel the last packet off the scummy floor and stand up

I realize she’s extended the shelf on the end of the cart. My hits it as I rise, and a can of Pepsi falls to the floor and spewing both of us with a spray of sticky soda. She screams clings to the emergency door while the can spins around, Pepsi onto everything in its radius.

Fuck this stupid job. I want my inheritance.

I”

If

I”

 

CHAPTEg

FIVE

[ urry, Harry! I’m so nervous Troy’s going to come home!” It’s the middle of the day. He’s at work, but we’re both nervous. Amity has used her key to get into Troy’s apartment, and we are cleaning out everything that belongs to her. It isn’t much just a few pieces of jewelry some pictures, clothing. But she is throwing it all into a bag as if he were coming up the steps with a gun.

“He just doesn’t understand,” she says, hurriedly grabbing a shirt off a hanger. “I’m not going to marry him. He was afrat boy, Harry. They never grow up. They talk so loud. They chew with their mouths open. They don’t wash their balls. Forget it. Troy just wants a country club wife.” Wawf. “Is that everything?” she asks. “Wait! I’m going to take a couple pairs of his boxer shorts. After all, I bought them for him.” She opens his underwear drawer and helps herself. Then she runs to the kitchen, grabs a diet soda out of the icebox, as she refers to it, and yells, “Let’s go!”

“Aren’t you going to leave him a note or some ming

“I already did. I mailed it yesterday. He should get it today.” To die.

She puts her sunglasses on, and I escort her to the parking lot

 

as if she were a movie star coming out of an abortion clinic. W hustle into my VW and quickly roll away.

“I’m so hungry I could eat the ass end out of a rag doll!” says as we speed down Skillman.

I laugh. “What are you hungry for?”

“Cowboy Bill’ sChick en she says, rubbing her hands to

Her hands are the only thing that don’t match the rest of They’re younger than she is, like the hands of a child, with manicured fingernails. “Rotisserie chicken, Harry it’s the best.” She lets out a big sigh as if she were a stage actress who wants people in the far-off reaches of the balcony to hear her. “What?” I ask, eyes on the road.

“Every time I go to Cowboy Bill’s Chicken, I think about ex-boyfriend Jerod. He was a cowboy artist from Fort Worth. Harry, I loved him so much. I really did. He was wonderful. cowboys from Fort Worth are gentlemen, not like the city in Dallas they’re not cowboys at all.”

“He was an artist?” I ask, stopping at a light.

“Yes. He painted Texas landscapes and did sculpture. Jerod made love to me better than anyone I’ve ever been with. she says breathlessly, putting her hand between her legs.

The light turns green. She moans, her hand between her le “God, Amity, don’t have an orgasm,” I laugh, stepping on the

“Why not?” she asks seriously. As I drive on, she licks fingers and moves her hand inside her blue jeans. “He knew to wet his fingers before putting them inside me,” she sounding like a Texan Marilyn Monroe.

“Shit, Amity. Are you jacking off?” I ask, not believing “Jerod had the greenest eyes,” she moans, working “And his stubble scratched my face till it hurt.” She smiles at memory while moving her hand faster. “He wore sleeveless shirts that showed off his big, strong arms,” she wails, “and loved to spank me if I took too long getting ready to go out!”

 

What am I supposed to do? I’m laughing, I think, out of nervousness, but she’s so steeped in Jerod’s memory she doesn’t care. Maybe I should give her a moment alone. “Do you want me to stop the car?” I ask.

“No! Go faster!”

I step on the pedal, the VW spurts ahead in a jerk, and Amity cries out. I can’t believe she’s jacking off (when a woman does it, is it called jacking off?) right in front of me in my car. Whatever it’s called, I assume they usually do it in private. Obviously my mother is incorrect in telling me that “a woman doesn’t have great needs” or that “as long as you don’t tell her you’re gay, she’ll never notice.” She hasn’t met Amity.

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