Cheap Whiskey

Anal

Sam and Matt are regulars at Pete’s – a seedy bar for drinking and not much else. Trains pass every half hour on the three sets of tracks behind the building. Occasionally a crew parks a locomotive near and have a drink, the rumbling engine shaking the building the whole time.

They are into the third whiskey of afternoon, just a few other men not making much conversation at the other end of the bar, when a new fellow walks in with a bit of a limp and an empty sleeve. He might have been lost. He sure didn’t seem like the typical customer here – a little dirtier, a little more down and out.

“Cheap whiskey,” he calls to the bartender.

It was a good thing since there aren’t many other drinks served other than a cold draft beer without a brand. He takes a stool alone, shifting his well-worn Wrangler jeans until his bottom is firmly on the worn red vinyl of the seat. The long sleeve doesn’t move as he leans the other elbow on the bar before drumming his fingers nervously a few times.

“You’re new,” the bartender quizzes, sitting the glass close to the guys hand.

“Yeah, looked like a fine place to have a drink.” He chuckles, hefting the glass to his lips and sipping.

“Good one. You got a name.” He flips a dirty white bar towel over his shoulder.

“Conrad. And you are?”

“Max.”

He turns slightly and introduces Sam and Matt, because they are closer. He ignores the others and they ignore the introductions. After rinsing another glass, he wipes it for a few minutes as if trying to wear it out. He had seen his share of amputees – veterans, drunks, homeless. Even a few that had tangled with a train.

Conrad finishes the drink and sits for a moment staring at Max and the other two men. “Another,” he says, wiping his lips with the back of the hand.

The bartender refills the glass and stands gripping the bottle resting on the well-worn bar. “Live around here?” He pushes away the money offered for the second drink sensing the man’s lack of employment.

“Just passin’ through.” He sips the new drink. “Know where I can find a woman?”

“Maybe.” Max begins drying another freshly washed glass.

“Hook him up with Sally,” Sam says, and then laughs.

“What’s wrong with her?” Conrad quizzes.

“She wears a hook,” Max says with a bit of a chuckle. “Sam’s got a twisted sense of humor.”

“Good one.” Conrad chuckles then sips again. “I wouldn’t mind.” For the first time he moves the arm stump flipping the empty sleeve. It appears the arm might end above the elbow. Finally, the sleeve becomes still.

“Tuff luck.” Max groans. “Your leg too?”

“Uh-huh…above the knee. It’s okay.”

“I won’t ask.” He scribbles on a notepad and hands Conrad the page. “She’s not a raging beauty, but she’s good. If you get my drift.”

“Expensive?” Conrad forces the paper into his shirt pocket the finishes the drink.

“No fixed price. She’ll work a deal.” Max stares at the empty sleeve. “For you, maybe free.”

“Free is good.” He stands and wipes the hand on his jeans, staring a moment at Max. “Thanks. I’ll probably be back another day.”

Conrad walks from the darkness of the bar into the bright sunlight, it had been overcast with a little drizzle. Shielding his eyes with the hand, his eyes gradually adjust. The broken sidewalk makes it difficult to walk as he goes towards the river to kill time. Since losing his job, time is something he has plenty of these days. The flophouse is the last place he wishes to be, but that is better than a cardboard box under a bridge, even if showers cost extra.

“Baby, you want a date?” the black hooker with little fabric over large breasts asks.

“Got no money.”

“I hear ya,” she sings turning away, the long black legs extending from pink hot pants wrapped around chubby hips.

He walks a short distance puzzling over how bad business must be to proposition him. Since the arm amputation, he had not been with a woman and he misses the warm feel of someone next to him. It was unexpected that women would shun him. Not at all, as he imagined. Then the economy crashed and his six-figure lifestyle fell out from under him taking everything – nice apartment, nice car, television – everything. He had lived beyond his means, but the trip overseas and the surgery had been important.

The large oak tree with tended lawn often provides refuge for him and he returns once again to watch the large ships passing from wherever going to someplace better than here. He imagines panhandling for money to pay Sally – ‘Twenty bucks for hooker with a hook’. He laughs, lying on his back trying to get comfortable in the shade.

He didn’t speak the language over there very well, but the women had been beautiful. Several were missing limbs, mostly one leg though a few were missing an arm. He should have stayed. Living was cheaper. That was before the job and his life vanished. Thoughts of taking a tramp freighter back and lounging on the brown sands along the ocean fill his mind. Irma had treated etimesgut escort him well with her chocolate skin and ample breasts. The short stump of her right leg was very nice as well. She had enjoyed his missing leg. That was before the arm came off. He’d wanted to find her on the second trip. He knew she was dead.

The kick of a boot in his side wakes him. He looks around to find the owner of the boot. “Can’t sleep here,” the cop says gruffly. “At least look like you’re awake.” He grunts then walks away, probably to roust another homeless person. At least the cop didn’t arrest him. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Jail was worse than being homeless.

He fingers the cover of the passport thinking of taking a long voyage. How can he put it together? There is no way for a man missing an arm ‘and’ a leg to work on a ship. These days, the lines for every job warp around the city. There isn’t even enough food at the soup kitchens. His money nearly gone, the room at the flophouse will go next – again.

His shirt pocket is thick with the note from the bartender with the address of the corner where Sally hangs out waiting for customers. He only has a buck fifteen, saving that for tonight for a dollar meal at the burger stand. Maybe they could team up and hook together. He quickly dismisses that thought, brushing the grass from his pants.

The neighborhood is less seedy than around the bar or the flophouse, but still seedy. There are rundown warehouses in between businesses that have faded signs with illegible letters. How anyone could know what is inside these places is puzzling, but people do go in and out of a few. Maybe they are workers. He trudges along trying to ignore the pain caused by the ill-fitting socket of the prosthetic leg. His gait is worse with each step forcing him to sit on a bench at the bus stop for a moment.

“Hard day?” the woman asks, more out of habit, or boredom.

“Yes,” he meekly replies, finally looking at her after a moment of silence. She seems out of place for the area, maybe transferring to a different bus line.

She watches him with unexpected interest for a while then looks to see if a bus might be approaching. “Nice weather,” she says, her head turning back towards him.

“I was just by the river watching the ships go by. It made me want to go on a trip.” He laughs.

“I dream of things. Things that’ll never happen.”

She twists on the bench until her whole body faces him a little more. He studies her again. She carries a few extra pounds, but cute in the face and not even close to being fat. Her dark red hair has some curl and hangs nearly to her shoulders. It is obvious she wears no bra, but has nice breasts. The sixties peace symbol on the olive drab green tee shirt takes him back many years when he was living with Gloria, a charming lady missing most of her left leg. She had shown him a new world of sex, rarely giving him a chance to catch his breath before performing some new thing on him.

He lasted nearly a year with Gloria, never minding her missing leg. The crutches and lack of the leg caught his attention one evening at the darkened cabaret with the smell of pot thickly hanging in the air. The walls seemed to move under the pulsing lights. Black lights lit neon colored posters of bands playing in the area. The crutches glowed eerily as she moved about in the short dress with a sandal on her foot.

Both were high, he on magic mushrooms, and her on pot. Others seemed to be tripping on acid and unaware of anything of this world. He’d brush against people and feel a rush of sexual need on the way to speak with her.

“Hey,” he called still a few feet away and having a momentary out of body experience keeping him from knowing how loud he spoke or the distance to her.

She stepped closer and kissed him deeply, a hand resting on his chest. “Hey,” she finally cooed. She kissed him again. “Want to get naked?”

It had been all it took for them to leave and find their way somehow to her pad a block away. In a heartbeat, she was naked and ripping at his clothes, hopping and pulling him towards the bed. There wasn’t much of her thigh left, maybe a few inches. They way it moved had strangely caused as much excitement as the way her firm breasts moved with each hop.

Soon hands and lips were everywhere. “No rush,” she said just before pushing his hand over the stump. “Yeah, baby.”

He had never touched a stump, but thought about it. In high school, a girl in his class was missing a leg and he often fantasized about her naked with him. She was snooty and hung out with a group of lesbians, ignoring the few attempts he made to ask her to the movies.

Now his mouth devoured Gloria’s stump and all that was near.

As much as he had fantasized about sex, his opportunities had been limited before Gloria. She took her time helping him with the wonders of the female body. No spot of flesh was off limits for her. Interestingly enough, her stump etlik escort had been as erotic as her pussy – to both of them.

“My bus,” the woman on the bench says, pointing. He snaps from the daydream unaware of how long it had lasted. She holds a card towards him and he takes it. “Call me. I can help you find work.”

Suddenly the bus is pulling away from the curb and she is gone.

Jane watches out the window finalizing the last memories of the man with one arm and probably one leg. He had been limping badly when he approached the bench and she had seen other men with that gait, usually because of a poorly fitting prosthetic leg. Her gaze follows the man until she can no longer see him, only memories to replay.

The area littered with men down on their luck, occasionally missing a limb, is one of her favorite haunts. It had been three months since she met Carl. He was down on his luck, missing a leg with two badly worn crutches, with a face covered in dirt. That was easy to clean away. She had done it before. The first time had been with Mark almost two years before Carl. It was scary and she was unsure of herself. The demons had control, forcing her to approach him.

There had been four others between Mark and Carl. Clean, they felt good against her at night, especially the remnants of the missing limb. The very word ‘stump’ was more exciting that any other word in the English language, even ones describing sexual parts or acts.

Now she had met her next man. This one more than exited her. Under the grime, he seemed educated and mannered. Some of the others had been street people too long, losing some degree of civility. Had they not been amputees, she would have never associated with them. The bus ride back to work seemed to take forever, one of the reasons she only went ‘exploring’ once a week.

She pulls the smart phone from her purse and scrolls though a few of the pictures she has taken of ‘her men’ as she fondly thinks of them. She stops at a picture of John. He had fallen under a train, losing both legs well above the knee. His stumps were perfect with little scaring. She had been surprised, but devoured him eagerly and often, ignoring the obvious psychotic issues just below the surface. She stayed with him for several months until those problems broke through. It was scary and she didn’t explore for two months.

The bus driver had given Conrad a look like ‘are you getting on?’ before driving away. Conrad sat there another hour looking between the card with only her first name and phone number, and the surroundings trying to avoid the depression that often took hold these days after speaking with a woman.

His leg stump stopped hurting enough to walk and began making his way to the burger place. Kid meals were a few cents more than he had so that was out of the question. It would have been nice for her to offer some money, but the hunger gnawed at his stomach now and all that mattered was getting one of the buck burgers. That would leave almost enough to make a phone call. The question was when.

“Hey, baby. Want a date?” The same black hooker asks him within sight of the burger place.

“Honey, I’d like to take you for a test drive.” He shrugs and imitates turning his pockets inside out.

“My old man would beat me if I gave samples.”

“Yeah, I know. Let me win the lottery.” He laughs and she walks away.

The place is cool inside and line is short as he drops the dollar bill on the counter to prove he has money. The young women smiles as she has the last few days. Kelly seems friendly and not because they would fire her, if she wasn’t. She hands him the burger wrapped in paper without a bag, glancing around. She pushes the buck away and whispers “no charge, Conrad.” He nods, noticing her drop her own money into the register, and takes the food outside to keep from offending the other customers.

The aroma of the warm burger waifs though his nostrils, making his stomach rumble even louder than before. A few people give him a look like he is scum. He remembers doing that in the old days. Not so long ago even. Interesting how events can change one’s perspective. Even if he cleaned up, the missing arm would attract some of the same reactions. His need had been too great, just like Irma’s needs. She worked at the clinic and suffered similar desires, similar demons. It had been a common bond. There had been many nights of passion before her husband found her and stabbed her to death. Conrad was glad he was not with her then.

“Conrad,” Kelly says. When he looks up, she is handing him another burger and a soft drink. “Sorry I can’t do more,” she says before walking back inside.

He thinks about her kindness. A kid making minimum wage takes a quarter hours worth to give him a little more food. “Thanks,” he calls loudly just as she opens the door.

It is slightly out of the way, but he walks by the corner where Sally is supposed to hang out. He even eve gelen escort waits half an hour, but she doesn’t show. He almost walks to the river, instead returns to the flophouse.

“Conrad!” the chubby man behind the heavy wire screen over the cutout to the office yells.

“Yeah?”

“Need the rent. Now!”

“It’s not due….”

“New rules.” The man looks down at the worn duffle bag. “I got your things here.”

“Man-n….”

“No!”

“Do you have a dime? I have fifteen cents and I need to make a phone call.”

“No!”

The man pushes the bag through the office doorway with his foot before turning away.

“Man-n….”

The office door slams closed with the man inside. Conrad slings the strap over the shoulder of the missing arm. It is a light bag, a few articles of clothing and toiletries. There is a road overpass near where he has slept before and he walks in that direction.

Jane lounges casually on the couch watching the small television. She wears nothing with ankles crossed on the coffee table. A hand fiddles with a breast for a moment then she crosses the legs at the knee, a foot on the floor.

Where is he tonight she wonders? She replays the images of the man on the bench several times, expanding on them each time. She stands and walks to the bedroom to dress. She knows the usual sleeping places – the overpass and along the tracks. She had lain beside the tracks several times wonder what it would be like to have the heavy metal wheels roll over her leg. It had both thrilled and scared her. She could easily imagine dying.

Still undressed and holding the worn jeans in one hand, she realizes how dangerous all the possible places he might be are. She knows she needs to wait for tomorrow. Maybe he will call. She should have given him money for food and to make the call. He may not have any money.

She sits with a foot pulled under the hip, rubbing the folded knee as if it were a stump. The fantasy of having one leg often seems as strong as being with one of the men, playing with his stump. Each has added to her knowledge of what life would be like if it were for real. She has never been afraid of losing the leg. Now those demons threaten to overtake those that make her want to be with amputee men.

Lying back with her thighs apart enough to touch between them, she feels the growing wetness and arousal. Three fingers fill the opening, pounding hard towards the pending climax while thinking about each man.

Hunger returns to Conrad long before the sun rises. Under the overpass, he never sleeps deeply – too many dangers, too much fear. Recently, he woke just in time to catch someone reaching for his prosthetic leg lying near. The poke of his knife blade had resolved that problem. Danger on the street was always there. Even thoughts of Irma weren’t enough to hide it some nights.

As he rubs the sleep from his eyes, thoughts of her come back strongly. She is usually there, but now she is all that is in his mind. She had been petite and slim with full breasts he could hide his face in between. Naked beside him was a dream, but out in pubic was great too. On the beach, she often wore a skimpy thong, sometimes without the top. It was overwhelming.

At the water fountain on the side of the gas station, he rinses his face and swirls the cool liquid in his mouth before swallowing.

“Hey, you!” the husky man barks then flips his hands as if he is chasing a stray dog away.

“I need ten cents for the phone.” He holds the three coins up. Finding money to call Jane seems more important than resolving the growling stomach. Again, the man flips his hands and grunts something before going back inside the garage.

He limps the ten long blocks to the burger stand, hoping the young woman might be there to help. Standing in the parking lot, he watches though the windows not finding what he is looking for. He drops his duffle bag beside where he plans to sit. Everything stinks and he can hardly stand being around himself.

After two hours, Kelly has not appeared and no one has been willing to help. A car with body panels painted different colors, the passenger door taped shut, parks at the back of the lot. The woman gets out and walks towards him rather than the employee entrance, which is closer.

“Conrad,” Kelly says, looking at her watch, and then sits with a small distance between them.

“I stink. You don’t have to sit so close.”

“I only have a few minutes.” She secretly hands him a five one-dollar bill folded several times. “You must be hungry.”

“Starved.”

“I wish I could do more.”

“No, I understand. You’re probably just a few bucks away from being like me.”

“Close. My bills are all behind. Thank god my car is paid for, even if it is about to self destruct.” She pats his hand. “Come in when you’re ready. Wait in ‘my’ line.” She smiles then walks away.

He sits until he sees her at the counter helping customers. When the line is shorter, he goes inside.

“Two sausage biscuits,” she calls loudly without waiting for his order. “That’ll be just a minute.” She quotes a price for just one, grins and takes the money, returning the change.

“Thank you again. Maybe someday….”

“No, don’t even think about it. My pleasure.” She pushes the sack across the counter to him.

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