Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bookfield, Betrayal - Part 7

When I awoke, covered with sweat, I realized that the dream was reality. I hurried to the shower to wash away my feelings. I felt a little better. I put on my only other pair of jeans and a fresh tee shirt. Mary and Chris got up and I said, “Good morning.” They replied, and I left to go selling.

I rode my bike slowly southwest to where I had left off. I was in no hurry to begin selling yet. Being upset would not help my sales, and I decided to stop at a diner for breakfast. I had forgotten that I missed dinner last night. I knew that there was a home style cooking place at Five Points that had great food. It would be a real treat to stop for breakfast.

The diner was in a brick building with large square windows on the corner. All but one of the street corners at Five Points were less than 90 degrees, and the brick building’s corner was at whatever acute angle that was. The windows of the diner jutted out from the building. I sat at a yellow Formica booth between these windows to watch the traffic go by.

I ordered a stack of pancakes and coffee from the waitress. I forgot to ask her to hold the grits, but otherwise, my buttermilk pancakes were great. I put my nose over the steaming cup of coffee and thought about what might happen when I called Robbie at noon.

Staying out one night couldn’t be as big a deal as what Mary was doing. Actually I was still struggling with why it was a problem at all. Besides, I had apologized to Mary. Certainly, as a guy, Robbie would understand staying out one night. Regardless of what Robbie would say, I knew that I had to be compliant and accede to his wishes to avoid being fired. But, I hardly thought it would come to that.

I finished my pancakes, and paid the bill. I rode through my territory stopping at each house to sell books. I smiled at every Mrs. Jones and extolled the value of my books. I entered houses and left them. All the while, I worried about calling Robbie at noon. It was a rare thing for me to hope time would stand still in the bookfield.

Before I knew it, it was noon. I rode to a nearby drug store that had a telephone booth outside. I went inside the booth and closed the Plexiglas door, even though it was quite hot and the booth was not ventilated. I took a deep breath and dialed Robbie’s number in Nashville.

“Hello.” It was Robbie who had answered on the first ring.

“Hi Robbie. It’s Sue. You asked that I call you at noon.”

“Sue. YOU’RE JUST FUCKING AROUND ON THE BOOKFIELD!!!” he yelled at the top of his voice. “You’re out there to sell books! How dare you spend a night away from your roommates? Did you think of Mary? Had you considered her feelings? You guys were supposed to be in this together, and then you abandon her to get laid? Give me any reason to keep you out there even another day!”

I just let his insulting and angry words run past me right after the word ‘fucking’. I had to remain in control of myself to get through this without exploding into a rage. I tried to focus on my goal of not getting my ass fired.

“I’ve already apologized to Mary.”

I stopped talking to see if saying this helped any.

“You have?” It seemed to take a little wind out of his sails.

“Yes. I apologized to her as soon as I saw her, before she told me you had called. I also apologized to Chris. I promised both of them that it would not happen again.” I very carefully brought up no other issues, and made no excuses either.

“Well it’s a good thing that you did or you would have been out of there! When is your delivery week?” I was glad that he changed the subject.

“The week after next. I sell the rest of this week and all next week. My last week will be delivery.”

“That’s a lot of books to deliver in a week, Sue. Mary’s going to deliver for two weeks. Have you arranged for someone to drive you during delivery?”

“Not yet.”

“Well, Sue you better hustle your buns and find somebody or you’re not going to make it.”

“I will Robbie. Don’t worry.”

“Okay. Now keep your mind on Mrs. Jones. Bye.”

He hung up. I slammed the phone down on the receiver. “That fucking, goddamned, sexist pig, asshole!” I said aloud. Who the fuck was he with his sexist fucking remarks, and his rapist fucking sales managers, to accuse me of fucking around on the bookfield? I toyed with the idea of putting my fist through the glass of the phone booth. My breathing became heavy as hate derived adrenaline surged through me and clouded all rational thought from my mind. How dare he?

I couldn’t even think of what he might have known from Chip and Gregg about my behavior with them. I couldn’t even entertain thoughts of his calling them to find out more about my sexual behavior on the bookfield. God only knows what they told him. I shut my mind to that, but outrage and humiliation over this insult was galloping across me like a stampede. There was no stopping it.

I felt that I could not go back to the Sanders’ and see Mary. I could have killed her right then for ratting on me. I sat in the sweltering heat and humidity of the phone booth. I felt that I would suffocate from my own anger, as well as the heat, if I stayed in there. I pushed open the hinged door and walked back out to my bike. I grasped its handle bars as if it was the only friend I had in the world. The fresher air helped me to think.

I had achieved my goal in the face of an incredible challenge. I had demonstrated ultimate control even though my comeuppance was far more unreasonable than I thought it would or should be. But, was it the right thing to do? Doubt tugged at me. Could I have stood up for myself with Robbie and still stayed on the bookfield? What if I had said, “How dare you.” and continued by telling him how his sales managers had behaved? Maybe he wouldn’t have believed me anyway. There seemed like there was no knowing if what I had done was the best way. But I was still on the bookfield and that was my goal.

Still on the bookfield, but feeling beyond being able to knock on a door was how I felt. I needed to have some revenge on Robbie for what he had said. That was when I thought of Evan. Mary was taking afternoons off for God knows how long and I was not allowed to spend even one night away from home. What if just this once, I took an afternoon off? I had always worked my 80 hour weeks dutifully all summer. Didn’t I deserve one afternoon off? I decided to let fate decide. If Evan was home, I would take the afternoon off, if not, I don’t know what. I couldn’t quite commit myself to working yet.

I returned to the phone booth and fumbled in my wallet for Evan’s number. I dialed it and Evan answered after only a few rings.


“Hi there. How would you like some afternoon delight?” It was the name of a song popular that summer by the Starland Vocal Band. You know, ‘Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight, gonna grab some afternoon delight… sky rockets in flight, afternoon delight’.

“How fast can you get here?” He had instantly recognized my voice.

“Fifteen minutes.”

“See you then!”

I rode like the wind to get there. I delighted in seeing Evan’s motorcycle outside. I ditched my bike as he swung the screen door open for me. He was wearing royal blue nylon running shorts, and that was it. He began undressing me as we raced up the carpeted stairs to the bedroom. I was feeling aggressively desperate for physical loving; I wanted to fuck and be fucked hard. Evan was there for me in every way I needed.

1 comment:

em said...

that robbie was just as much a bastard to me. i say we track him down and tell him what a scum he was (or is?)

and, i think there was no way to really talk back to him, as they brainwashed us to believe he held all the power. plus, you and i had more motivation to stay on the bookfield than many other folks... and many did quit.

great writing! i'm lovin' it!