The alarm clock in Harland’s head blared through a pounding headache. He pulled himself up to his feet with every bone in his body popping, groaning, complaining. Caleb lifted his head with a start and stared at Harland in disbelief.
“Didn’t want to bring this up last night, Caleb, but I’m going back out to Beastly’s to finish, with or without you. I’d prefer that you would help me, son.”
“Harland, this is the second time in less than twenty-four hours that you’ve called me son. Did you knock your head at the job site while I was gone yesterday?”
“No, no I didn’t.”
“Well, so long as you don’t expect me to call you dad, I’m pretty much okay with whatever you call me.”
“So, you’re coming?”
“Yeah, Harland, I don’t understand your logic, but I’ll come.”
“I’ll explain it all to you on the way out to Beastly’s.”
They arrived at the job site just as the first rays of sunrise were bouncing across the desert floor. All the chainsaw work was out of the way. Harland finished detailing the mesquites with a pole pruner while Caleb liquid fertilized every shrub in sight. They were quiet as church mice not wanting to wake Curt Beasley, not so much out of respect for his sleep, but to save themselves the sound of his voice, which was like fingernails on a chalkboard. At nine o’clock that voice was heard.
“Harland. What the hell are you doing here?”
“Well, Curt, we had a deal, remember?”
“Harland, you ignorant, fucking hillbilly, the whole town’s in an uproar over you. The highway patrol has got every road into A-B blocked trying to keep your motorcycle buddies from getting in. What have you got your low class ass mixed up in?”
“Curt, what I may or may not be mixed up in has nothing to do with finishing this job, and getting paid tomorrow. I’m here, just like I said I’d be, and we’re getting all the work done.”
“That’s all well and good that you and your half-breed son are getting things done, but who said anything about payment tomorrow?”
“Why you did, Curt.”
“Harland, I distinctly said, I’d see about it.”
“Well, Curt, my advice is to look real good.”
“I might as well get what I can out of you before they cart your ass off to jail. Get what you can done today, and we’ll worry about payment tomorrow when it gets here.”
“It will get here sooner than you think, Curt, and when it does, I’ll be expecting payment.”
“I said, I’ll do what I can.”
“Yeah, Curt, and you can consider this fair warning, again. I’ll be expecting payment tomorrow.”
“I’ll see what I can do, trailer trash!”
Harland knew Beastly fully intended to fuck him out of the money, but he also knew two other things. First, that he and Caleb would do a stellar job, and second, he had had enough of the prick. If Beastly tried to stiff him, he would take it out of his hide. He didn’t say another word to the man. He just went back about his work. Caleb tried to give the superintendent fair warning:
“Mr. Beasley, what with the bikers and all, Harland’s just plain at the end of his rope. He, we both are, working our butt’s off. It would be nice not to have to go through any unpleasantness tomorrow.”
“Fuck you, you glorified juvenile delinquent. As if I give a shit.”
They finished out the day without incident. Sheriff Sanders rolled in at sunset, just as they were finishing packing up.
“I need to take you both in for questioning, Waverly. Cynthia told me where you were, and
why, this morning. I’ve left you alone all day, but now we’ve got to do this.”
“Fine with me, Sheriff, but are we under arrest?”
“No, at least not yet, but if multiple rumors are true you’re gonna’ be up a creek without a paddle. Caleb, looks like you’ll finally be graduating up to the big house.”
“Looks can be deceiving, Sheriff.”
“Better hope, for your sake, that they are, son.” Jesus, why is everyone calling me son?
At the Sheriff’s station, Officer Sanders took their statements. He scanned skeptically over the paper work. There had to be more to it than this. Harland made blowing up 16 Harleys sound no more significant than children setting off fire crackers on the Fourth of July. Caleb seemed to recognize the severity of the situation far better than his stepfather did. Or, he wasn’t as good at bluffing.
“So, Harland, you’re telling me that last night’s unfortunate incident was merely the cause of careless cigarette smoking?”
“That it was, Charlie. It’s a filthy nasty habit. By the way, have you kicked the habit yet? It could add years onto your life.”
“It isn’t the cigarettes I’m worried about. It’s you, and rednecks like you, that have me worried, Harland. Always taking matters into your own hands and making them worse.”
“Sure thing, Charlie, what’s worse than some drug dealing bikers being off the street?”
“The fact that their buddies are going to retaliate.”
“Let em’, Charlie. Son-of-a-bitches need to get run out of town once and for all.”
“Harland, I’m not going to let your beef with this scum endanger the town.”
“I hear you loud and clear, Charlie. I don’t want any innocent people mixed up in this either.”
Caleb interrupted the standoff of what he viewed as a circle jerk of jacking off with words.
“Can you tell me, Sheriff, where we stand? I mean, has anybody pressed any charges?”
“Not yet, but they could at any time.”
“And until they do?”
“You’re free to go, but don’t leave town.”
Harland interjected, “Who could ever leave this Eden, this virtual garden spot of the Colorado Desert?”
“Caleb, Harland, get your asses out of here.” As they shuffled out his office door, Sheriff Sanders contemplated his next move. Best thing is to keep them and those bikers separated. Now, if I only knew where those grease balls were.
Harland and Caleb went back over to Cynthia’s pad. All they wanted was a hot shower, a meal, and to sleep for the rest of their lives. Harland figured that two out of three would suffice, which was aligned with Cynthia’s thinking, as she jumped him as he came out of the shower, threw him on her bed, and mounted him before he could protest.
“Looks like your little head’s thinking faster than your big head, Har.”
“He’s starved for affection. All the inactivity has got him riled up quick.”
“Shut up, Har, and slide off these panties. They feel good to you? Do they?” Harland cupped her vaginal region in his rough hand. The silkiness of her shiny panties tingled on his knuckles. He didn’t want to let go, but Cynthia’s ass was in an uproar. She pulled off her blouse, unsnapped her bra, and pushed her tits down into his face saying, “What’s the holdup, Harland? You, all of a sudden, decided to be a gentleman? Foreplay never meant a goddamned thing to you before. Now get a move on before you go soft on me.”
His cock swam up her vaginal channel like a torrent of warm water from a desert cloudburst pours into a dry, thirsty desert wash engulfing and submersing and pushing away anything in its path. She grew warmer and wetter and slipperier with each passing second. She rubbed her nipples across his and swished her smooth brown hair side to side across his face.
“You’re curling my toes good, Cynthia. Jesus, I’m going to explode.”
“Hold it just a moment longer, Harland. Let me get into position.”
She must have found it, because she started sliding on him like a jockey in the stretch run of the nightcap at Del Mar. Her breathing became rushed and insistent and then momentarily stopped before she let out a cry that was his cue to shoot his wad and wrap his arms around her as the rest of his load slithered out.
Harland didn’t really know how bad he needed it until he got it, and he didn’t want to do or say anything that would keep him from getting it again. Cynthia’s tears rolled down his chest, followed by the trickle of cum emitting from her vagina onto his buzzing thighs.
“How was that, Harland? Did that make your brain scramble? Was the pussy good?”
“You’re the one purring like a kitten, Cyn.”
“I know. Sex was never our problem, Harland.”
“Yeah, you’re right, but you’re the one that always let the problems get in the way of sex.”
“I know. I know. It’s just I wanted more out of life than a good roll in the hay every once in a while.”
“Jesus, Cyn, most people would be happy with that.”
“You would think so, Harland, but I was raised to want more. You’re always struggling. It never seems to be your fault, mind you, but you’re always up against it. The pressure radiates out of you and onto me like a blast furnace. You’re just too hot to be around sometimes. The heat is so intense no one can get near you.”
“That’s it huh? Anybody comes near me, gets burned?”
“Sorry to say, but yes. That’s it. That’s exactly it.”
“Cyn, you suppose we oughta’ get cleaned up before we get stuck to each other?”
“Sure, Harland. You go wash off, and then I’ll take the next shower.”
“Can I sleep in here with you tonight?”
“Give you an inch and you take a mile.”
“Well, can I or not?”
“Sure, Harland, but no snoring after midnight. And, sweetheart, no pee hard-ons at three a.m. It’s the real thing or nothing.”
“See, Cyn, that’s it, you’re already imposing too many god-damn rules. Can’t you just let things develop?”
John C. Krieg is a retired landscape architect, landscape contractor, and certified arborist. He remains a social malcontent, bordering on loose cannon. John has always been a tree nut in general, much preferring them to people.