The Eternal Battle

I was confused more than anything. I sat there in the wetness and ran my mind back over the last fifteen minutes. I looked down and saw my shirt soaked in beer, and further down my soaking crotch with the little lake of fluid caught in the folds of my pants. I looked up and glanced around, suddenly realizing I was a current event, others in the bar looking at me. The men looked on sympathetically and the women looked at me with disdain. The woman who’d just picked up my beer mug and dumped it on me was sashaying out the door. 

The bartender, a woman, came over to me and handed me a bar towel. “You didn’t deserve that.” she said quietly. She took away the empty mug and returned with a full one. “On the house.” she said.

A few minutes earlier, a woman had walked into the little tavern. The place was called The Office and was a typical sports bar with TVs all around tuned into various games. The woman was attractive, from her short, sequined black party dress to her spiked heel open toed shoes she was a looker. She had auburn hair cut on a bob and wore little zircon studs in both ears. She had green eyes that were most definitely bright and feline and was carrying a little fold over purse that matched her dress, which was cut low enough to reveal her build which was healthy, trim and all female. She was, people would say, a looker.

She’d taken a seat three spots down the bar from me, and sat there alone for a few moments. The bartender asked if she was waiting for anyone and would she like to get a table for dinner. The woman said that no, she wasn’t waiting for anyone and asked the bartender for a martini, up. As the bartender passed me, I asked her to put the lady’s drink on my tab. She looked to be someone I thought I might like to know and I figured this might be a good way to meet her. It was, sort of.

The bartender brought the lady her drink and set it on a cocktail napkin. The woman pushed a bill over the bar and the bartender pushed it back and nodded towards me. I gave my best smile and toasted her with my beer. The lady got up and walked to me and I set my beer down and held out my hand to shake and started to introduce myself. That’s when she cut me off saying “I’m not some piece of meat, you tiny dick loser.” Then she picked up my beer and dumped it down my shirt and left the bar in a huff.

I thought to myself, “what the hell just happened?” Couldn’t she have just told the bartender ‘no thanks’ and pushed her money back over? I just didn’t get it. The bartender collected the wet towel I’d used and traded it for another dry one and I continued to dry off my clothes. A guy stood up from one of the tables and came and sat next to me.

“That was pretty intense.” he said. “I take it you and she don’t get along.”

“I have no idea who she is. I just paid for her drink to maybe get a chance to meet her.”

“What the hell did you say to her?” he asked.

The bartender sidled over and told him “he didn’t say a word to her. Just asked me to put her drink on his tab. What can I get you?” He pointed at my mug and she stepped to the tap to pour him a Coors.

“Wow.” said the guy. “Sometimes I don’t get women at all. She came in here all dressed to the nines, you know she wanted people to look at her and like what they see. And she gets pissed when a guy does just what she got all dressed up for? What a bitch.”

I clinked mugs with him. “Maybe she plays for the other team and wasn’t looking to be noticed by a guy.” I said. “Or maybe I remind her of someone. Hell, I don’t know. I just know my evening is pretty much over. I smell like a brewery; I hope I don’t get stopped on the way home.”

“I heard that.” he said. We sat quietly and drank our beer and watched a baseball game on TV. The Yankees were playing the Cardinals. I finished my beer and went home for an exciting evening of frozen dinner and bad television.

The alarm woke me up at 7:00 am and I made my way into the bathroom. My clothes from the previous night were rumpled on the floor and permeating my little one bedroom house with the smell of a bar floor. I stuffed them into the little over-under washer and dryer that occupied about half of the tiny single bathroom and then took a shower. I grabbed a uniform from my dresser drawers and set off towards work with a stop for a McDonalds plasti-meal on the way. I worked at Wakehouse Motors where my bay mate, Aron and I were the Fiat repair department. He was sitting on a roller stool as I walked into the service bay and seeing the McDonalds bag, he snatched it and asked “What’s for breakfast?” He took one of the pair of egg McMuffins I bought and tossed back the bag. 

Our service writer drove into my bay with a pristine white 850 Spyder, a Fiat two seater convertible. “This’uns fer you, Bob.” he said, climbing out. “It wants a valve adjustment and general service.” I nodded and continued to eat my sandwich. Aron was working on a Fiat 128 sedan with a leaky water pump, and doing a 50,000 mile service on it. When we each finished eating we got to work.

An hour or so later the service writer came back in and said that the owner had a few questions about her car. I hated talking to customers, they always seemed to think we mechanics were trying to pull something over on them. The reality was that most of thee wrenches I worked with took their job seriously and tried their best for the owners of the cars they worked on. “Here she comes now.” said the service writer. I turned towards the bay door and here comes the woman who threw my beer at me the night before.

“You!” I said, immediately put out.

She looked at the service writer. “If I’d known you hired perverts I’d have gone somewhere else!”

Angry, I kicked my creeper, a low platform used to slide beneath cars. It sailed under her 850 and under the 128 that Aron was working on where it hit him in the arm as he was shooting grease into a fitting with the power greaser. The grease gun slipped off the fitting and launched an arc of black, graphite impregnated grease that neatly flew over her white Spyder and, as God is my judge, hit her squarely between the eyes. Aron said “Oh, shit.”

The master of tact, I immediately started laughing. Aron rolled out from under the car he was working on and stood up. He lost his balance and caught himself on the back fender of the gorgeous white paint job, leaving a dark smear. Aron made a snort and honking noise that made me laugh even harder, so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. Aron started laughing too, laughing harder when the service writer said “omigod.” The woman stood there, a large glop of grease on her face that oozed down onto her powder blue blouse. That’s when it happened. She stood there for a few beats and then her eyes kind of crinkled and she showed her teeth in a widening smile. She burst out laughing right along with both Aron and I. The service writer grabbed a shop rag from my bench and tried to wipe her face with it. She took it from him and did the job herself as the writer grapped another clean rag and tried to wipe her blouse. Of course, the grease was on her chest and so the service writer froze just as he was about to rub the woman in a private area. This only made Aron and I laugh even harder, and she laughed harder right along with us.

She was guided out of the bay and to the office and Aron and I went back to our projects. I finished up her car and also cleaned Aron’s greasy smear, polishing the paint back to its pearly shine. They’d kept an eye on the bay from the office, and so when they saw the car backing out of the bay, the woman came to retrieve it. She was cleaned up, but still had a black stain on her blouse. Ignoring me, she walked over to Aron who was leaning on the 128 sedan and told him thank you and shook his hand. Then she climbed into her Spyder and drove off the lot. Aron looked at his hand and the note she’d palmed to him and read it aloud.

“Call me. 585-3423 Jeri.”

I snatched up the grease gun and shot him with it.