Friday, May 4, 2012

Howlin' Wolf

I was standing on the porch of a cute brick cottage and wondering if I had the right address.  The fact that Pamela's car wasn't in the driveway caused me to drive past a couple of times, but this had to be the house.  So I parked on the street, walked across the front lawn, and rang the bell at what was supposed to be Dawn's house.  Waiting for someone to come to the door I convinced myself that this whole thing was a bad idea-- I kind of hoped nobody would appear.  Then I could take off, find a cheap place to stay, hit a bar or two or ten, get up in the morning, and have a big breakfast at The Country Kitchen out on the highway before making the long drive back to my shitty trailer out in the middle of nowhere.  I'd brought my camera bag and there were only about a million photos to take on the drive back.

A photo safari sounded a good bit smarter than hanging out for the weekend with Pamela and her best friend since their freshman year at college, Dawn.  To start with, my relationship with Pamela was, well, kinda odd.  She was over ten years older than me and married to a guy more than twenty years older than her.  He was the biggest client of the radio station where I was the morning guy and a part-time ad salesman.  I sold Pam a tiny bit of advertising for her gift shop and went by the store every Tuesday at lunch time to service her account.  Early in the week her business was slow enough that she worked alone.  I'd get there right after she locked up for her lunch hour at noon.  Pamela had told me to never park in front of the store-- I figured she was worried someone would notice my van always being there during her lunch hour every Tuesday.  I'd knock on the back door around ten after twelve and she'd let me in.  Every week.

I never much worried about her husband, Donnie Scoggins.  Maybe because I'd listened to too many Howlin' Wolf records and had romanticized the notion of being Pamela's back door man... the men don't know, but the little girls understand.  Or maybe I was young, dumb, and unaware that I wasn't actually bulletproof.  And now Pamela was upping the ante-- meeting out of town at her girlfriend Dawn's house for the weekend.  No, this could go wrong a lot of ways.  Then again, it might go really well and I might just get laid non-stop for a day and a half.

The heavy wooden door opened and a woman stood behind the screen door.
"Hi, I'm looking for Daw..."
Before I could finish she said, "Billy, right?"
As I nodded she said, "You look exactly like Pam described you!  Come on in... sorry you had to wait on the porch but I just got home from work and couldn't get to the door right away... bet you need a beer, huh?"
"Sounds good," I said.
"Is Oly OK?"
"Sure. 'It's the water.'"
She came back from the kitchen with two cans of Olympia.
"Need a glass?"
"No thanks," I said.
We sat down and each took a drink from our beers.
"I thought I had the wrong address.  I expected that Pamela would beat me here and when I didn't see her car in the drive..."
"Oh, Pam-uh-lah got here before I got home from work.  She let herself in, looked in my refrigerator, and went straight to the IGA. I'm not as domesticated as our mutual friend... she always finds my kitchen lacking when she comes," Dawn said, "She'll be back soon, I'm sure."

Dawn was still in her work clothes.  She was wearing a plain, dark dress and the kind of shoes that can't make up their mind whether they're flats or heels. They look like somebody took a band saw and cut off most of the heel.  But even in conservative, unattractive clothes and boring shoes there was no hiding the fact that Dawn had a killer body.  Big-time curves on about a 5'5" frame. Seriously big curves.  Her hair was dark brown, so wavy it was almost kinky, and pulled back with some sort of a clip in the back.  Based on her olive skin tone I figured she was Italian.  I found out later she was about two thirds Greek.  She had a prominent nose and when she looked right at me I had the sensation that her eyes were ever so slightly crossed, as if they were looking at the end of her nose.

I was about half way done with my beer when Dawn said, "Ya know, I think we're going to just go to this neighborhood joint for dinner so you're fine in jeans and a t-shirt but I need to change.  Do ya mind?"
"Not at all," I said.
"I'll just be a minute," she said.
"Don't worry about me," I said.
"There's more beer in the fridge. Help yourself," she said.

I was sitting there by myself opening another Olympia and pondering how great Dawn might look in jeans and a t-shirt when I heard a car pull in the drive.  It was Pamela rolling up in a big-ass blue Lincoln loaner off the used car lot at Scoggins Ford.