There’s that weird part of the evening where you can see both the sun and the moon as you look into the sky. Jesse was looking at em from the back porch. She had a cigarette in one hand and a vodka tonic in the other. She sipped through a straw.
It’d be hours ‘fore Mike was home. Working second shift wasn’t his favorite, but it was all that was offered at the garage; lack of seniority was hard on him. Got stuck with all the shit hours, always had to work holidays, and was looked down upon by the foreman, who didn’t like newbies at all. He just wanted to sit back in his office and snooze his whole shift. Didn’t want any questions, or have to do any training. Wanted things to be simple. And Mike tried his best to oblige.
Mike was working on an oil change of one of the City cop cars. Afterwards he’d check the tires, the fluids, send it on its way. He had five more to do while the other garage attendants sat in the lunch room and played cards, took naps, took it easy. Seniority has it’s perks.
As he lowered the car on the racks, he couldn’t stop thinking of Jesse the other night. He wondered what she was running from? And naked? It wasn’t the first time. They’d been together for almost three months now and he still couldn’t figure her out. Maybe she was just plain crazy?, he mumbled. Maybe she wants attention?, he rubbed grease through his locks of black hair and lit a cigarette. Looking outside the garage, he could see both the sun and the moon. He knew Jesse was looking at em too. She was always looking at the sky. Sometimes when it rained she’d go out back and just get soaked as she dreamt along clouds. She was the strangest woman he’d ever been with. And there weren’t that many.
They met at Hank’s Place on a Tuesday night. Hank’s was one of the few dive bars in town. Cigarette butts squished under your feet as you walked in the door. Smoke was thick and the beer choices were limited. A real shot and a beer joint. Nobody wanted to be caught dead in there, but there those unfortunates.
Every other night a fight would break out. Some guy would look at another the wrong way and bam, they were off to the races. Blades, guns, prison made weapons could be found on ’bout everybody in the place. Mike was no exception. The tall wiry man carried. Always had. Had a license for a concealed weapon. He’d never had to use it, but, there was a first for everything. He figured it was ’bout time.
Mike noticed Jesse as he put dollars in the jukebox. Main Street, Hurt So Good, Werewolves Of London, were just a few that he played. Wanted to make sure he had enough to buy beer. Music, he could live without. Beer? ‘Nother question. So, he kept looking at her and she started looking at him. Next thing you know he’s sitting down next to her at the bar, being all suave and cool. He lit her cigarette with a brass Zippo his uncle had given him when he came home from Nam. The uncle went over there with a knife grandad had given him. He didn’t come home with it. Mike kept it polished and in perfect shape. Had a Marine insignia on it. Did you serve?, she asked, drawing in and blowing out. He told her he hadn’t, then proceeded with the story his uncle had told him ’bout the lighter. Didn’t talk ’bout the knife. Not a word. It was grandpa who told the knife story in secret. It was as if he were proud. Or, just happy his son came home alive.
While he talked, Jesse moved in closer to him. He asked what kind of music she liked? Movies? T.V. shows? He was smiling the whole time. She asked if he’d like to come back to her place. That was three months ago