I thought at the time I had the worst luck in the world.
There I was, standing on the shoulder of an interstate somewhere in Western Pennsylvania, eighteen wheelers rumbling by as I stared at my 1982 Toyota Celica. I’d opened the hood to see if I could figure out what was wrong, but had no clue. A few minutes earlier it started making a worrisome thumping sound and then stalled out. I was barely able to maneuver my way onto the shoulder safely.
A state trooper pulled over and called-in a tow for me. Twenty minutes later a battered old tow truck with the words “Roger’s Auto Repair” on the door pulled up. It was driven by a fat man with a long beard and tattoo-covered arms. He asked what happened.
“That don’t sound good,” he said. “Anywhere you want me to tow it?”
“I’m three hundred miles from home,” I said.
“Well, I can bring it back to my garage.” He shrugged. “We’ll see what we can do there.”
“Sure,” I said, as if I had a choice.
He got my car hooked up to the back of his truck. I hopped in the cab next to him, still lamenting my bad luck.
“I’m Roger,” he said. “So, you’re in the army?”
“Yeah. How’d you know?”
“Parking sticker in your window,” he said. “And a training manual in the back seat. I was in the army, went in summer of ’67.”
I nodded, absorbing the implications of when he served.
“How long you been in?” he asked.
“Almost two years.”
We talked about army life the rest of the ride. I watched the scenery go by as we left the interstate. There was nothing but endless farm fields and forests in all directions. This really was the middle of nowhere.
Roger’s garage was at one end of a small-town main street. It was a dingy little place with a single gas pump out front and a bunch of junk cars parked on the side. A mangy German shepherd lay near the front door. Another mechanic was out front under the hood of a Lincoln as we pulled in.
I hung out by the door, the dog eyeing me lazily while Roger and the other mechanic pushed my car onto one of the lifts. I watched as my car rose into the air and they started poking around underneath.
Roger disappeared into his office around back for a few minutes and I could hear him talking on the phone. He reemerged, rubbing his beard like he was thinking something over.
“The bad news is it’s your transmission,” he said. “It’s shot the fuck to hell. The good news is I can get you a used one that works and I can get it cheap, only three hundred bucks. I’ll cut the labor in half and won’t charge you for the tow because you’re a soldier. It’ll still come to five hundred plus tax.”
“Also, can’t get the part until tomorrow,” he went on. “It’ll be an all-day job, but it’ll be ready around five.”
I sighed, shaking my head. For all I knew this guy was full of shit and I was getting hosed. I was totally at his mercy, in any case, and could only hope he was honest.
“All right,” I said, resigned to my three days off being ruined. I stood, grabbing my duffle bag. “Thanks for giving me a break.”
“Don’t mention it.”
We went inside the office. Roger wrote down my information and I signed-off on the work.
“The only motel around is about a mile back the way we came in,” he said. “If you feel like sticking around for a while, I’ll give you a lift.”
“No thanks,” I said. “I’m gonna get a bite to eat. I’ll walk the rest of the way. See you tomorrow.”
I’d noticed a diner in the direction of the motel and headed towards it, duffle bag in hand. It was past one already and I was starving.
I joined the army right out of high school. My parents were working class without a dime extra at the end of every week, but I had ambition and wanted to go to college. According to the recruiter, four years in uniform was my ticket to the cash I needed for higher education. So a week after graduating with the Class of 1993, I signed-up. Next thing I knew, I was Private Steven A. Doyle.
Army life wasn’t so bad, but it was starting to get monotonous and I was looking forward to getting out in a few more years. I also enjoyed whenever I was on leave and could take a break from soldiering.
That’s what my road trip had been all about. I had three days off coming to me and decided to use them to drive from my base in Indiana to Delaware. A girl I knew from high school was going to school there. Jeannie and I kept in touch via the postal service and, more recently, this new innovation called e-mail. When she suggested I come for a visit and stay with her, I jumped at the chance.
My plan was simple. I’d drive the entire first day and get to Jeannie around dinnertime. We’d have that evening together and then the whole day following. I could leave her place early on the third day and drive back. If I read the tone of her e-mails correctly, I’d be getting laid while I was there.
The Bridge Street Cafe looked like any other diner. The sign on the roof said they served breakfast, lunch, and dinner and more signs in the bursa escort window informed passers-by they had pancakes, waffles, and scrapple.
I used a pay phone by the front door to call Jeannie and tell her the bad news. She was upset but there was nothing that could be done.
“We’ll have a chance again soon,” I told her.
“Sure,” she said.
There was disappointment in her voice. She’d been looking forward to the visit as much as me, I realized, and for the same reasons.
Inside was what you’d expect. There was a long counter and a line of booths with those little jukeboxes at every table. There was a gumball machine by the cash register and a pile of newspapers for sale. You get the picture.
I took a seat at the counter, dropping my duffle bag by my feet. I looked over and noticed one of the two waitresses talking to a customer at one of the booths.
It was lust at first sight. She looked around forty, and had long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. She was my mom’s age, but I didn’t care.
She wore a pale pink uniform that fit just snug enough to show off her curves. She was taller than average and probably very slender in her youth, but now had that mature plumpness which has its own strong appeal. Her ass was not fat, but rounder and softer than it had likely been in her twenties. Her breasts were larger than average, too, and my eyes were drawn right to them.
She came over and handed me a menu. She was pretty, with big gray eyes under very fair eyebrows and a cute smile. A few freckles were scattered delightfully over her face, too, and she had plump pink lips that I could tell were quick to smile.
Her name tag said “Stacy.”
“Here you go, honey,” she said. She had a pleasant, almost melodious voice. “Can I get you something to drink?”
I smiled and made eye contact. We held each other’s gaze for a moment.
“Just a coke,” I said.
“You got it.”
Stacy turned away, off to fetch my cola. I watched the movement of her ass under her uniform and sighed. There was something about older women I’d always been attracted to. I didn’t know how to go about approaching them, though.
Stacy came back and took my order. I decided on the club sandwich. She wrote it down and smiled at me before hurrying off. I sat there and wondered if there was something to that last smile, but decided there couldn’t be. I was just a kid to her, not even on her sexual radar.
I had a book in my duffle bag and took it out, reading until my food came. I ate the meal without enthusiasm. Truth be told, it wasn’t that good. At least I wasn’t hungry anymore, I told myself, trying to find some good in the situation.
No other customers were left by the time I finished. Stacy came over and asked if there was anything else I would like.
“No, thanks. I’ll just take the check.”
“Honey, is there something wrong?” she asked quietly. “You stumbled in here with that duffle bag looking like you’d just lost your best friend. I don’t want to pry, but you look like you need someone to lend an ear.”
“My car broke down on the interstate,” I told her. “I’m stuck here.”
She nodded sympathetically and I told her the rest of the story.
“Oh, you poor thing. Let me get you a slice of pie, honey. On me.”
Stacy brought me a slice of something I’d never tried before called shoofly pie. It was tasty. She came back as I was finishing and looked me in the eye.
“Honey, you don’t want to go to that motel,” she said, crinkling her cute little nose.
She paused, still looking directly at me.
“I’m a good judge of character,” she said at last. “I can tell you’re a sweetheart. I’ll tell you what, I’m done here in a few minutes. I’ve got a couch if you want it.”
“I, uh, couldn’t impose.”
“Honey, I couldn’t sleep tonight if I didn’t do something to help you.”
“That’s very nice of you,” I said. “Thank you, ma’am.”
“Wait for me outside, would you? It wouldn’t do good to have people talk about me picking up wayward soldiers and taking them home.”
I paid at the register and went outside. Stacy emerged not long after. We got into her pick-up and drove off.
“I called my cousin while you were eating your pie,” she said. “You know him, Roger at the garage. Yeah, it’s a small town. Anyhow, your story checked-out. Roger said you seemed like a nice guy. Sorry, but I live alone and a girl can’t be too careful.”
“I understand completely, ma’am,” I said. “I really appreciate what you’re doing for me. Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome, honey. You mind doing some grocery shopping with me?”
“Not at all, ma’am.”
Stacy asked me all sorts of questions on the way to the supermarket, like where I was from and where I was stationed. She was easy to talk to.
I was glad she verified my story. If I were a psycho or untrustworthy in some way, I’d have had second thoughts about trying anything. After all, Roger had my name, driver’s license number, and credit bursa escort bayan card information. Plus, Stacy made sure to let me know that Roger knew where I was staying. Good for her.
“You feel like pork chops for dinner?” she asked as we pulled into the supermarket parking lot twenty minutes later.
“Yes, ma’am, that sounds great.”
“Good.” She glanced at me and smiled. “Now stop calling me ma’am. I’m Stacy.”
Stacy did the shopping as I pushed the cart. More than once, I couldn’t help but admire her butt as she walked in front of me. Every time she reached up for an item off a top shelf, I took in her full breasts and suppressed an audible sigh. I daydreamed what it would be like to take her into my arms.
I told Stacy about army life as we drove back to her place. She listened, genuinely interested. We pulled up to a small ranch house a couple of blocks from the diner on a quiet street. It looked tidy from the outside. Around back was a small detached garage.
I helped Stacy bring the groceries inside. Her living room was clean and tidy. My eyes went right to the many multi-colored paintings on the walls. They featured lots of blues and reds in bold contrast to each other, vivid colors in the style of Paul Gauguin. I wouldn’t have been able to describe it that way back then, of course. All I knew was I liked them instantly.
“Those are some cool paintings,” I blurted out.
“Thanks.” Stacy was grinning from ear to ear. “I painted them.”
“For real?” I went over to the nearest one. “That’s awesome!”
“I’m so glad you like them.”
“There’s more to you than meets the eye,” I said, still gazing at the painting. “Have you ever sold any?”
“Just a few,” she said. “There’s a coffee shop an hour’s drive away, near the college. They bought two of them.”
“Well, I love them,” I said. “They should be in a museum.”
“Please! You’re too sweet.”
I helped put her groceries away as we talked some more. I learned she’d hoped to go to art school but got pregnant her senior year in high school. She pointed out a picture of a young man in an army uniform.
“That’s my son Donald,” she said.
“You’ve got a son in the army?” I said, astonished. “Pardon me, ma’am. Uh, I mean, Stacy. You don’t look old enough to have a son in the military.”
“He’s been in three years already,” she said. “He plans to make it a career.”
“Good for him,” I said.
“He’s a good boy,” she said. “His daddy died ten years back, so it was just the two of us since he’s been twelve.”
She sighed. Then, as if by a force of will, she forced herself to brighten up.
“So here’s the deal,” she announced. “I usually go back in the garage to paint after I get home. It’s my mental health time.”
“Please, don’t let me stop you,” I said. “I’ll be fine.”
“Thank you,” she said. “If you want to lay down and rest or watch some TV, go ahead. You really don’t mind if I leave you alone for a while?”
“No, ma’am. That’s fine.”
“Stacy,” she chided gently.
Stacy went back into her bedroom to change and I settled into the living room. I’d just taken my book out and lay down on the couch to read when Stacy emerged again. Her hair was still pulled back in a ponytail, but she’d ditched her uniform for a pair of old jeans which showed off her shapely legs and a faded Steelers shirt with plenty of blue and red paint stains.
“I’m off to paint,” she said.
I looked back at my book, ready to do some reading, but I’d been up since six and fell asleep in under two minutes.
I woke an hour later as Stacy was passing through the living room.
“Oops, sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“That’s okay,” I said.
“You up for some dinner yet?”
“Yeah, sure.” I shrugged. “I could eat.”
“Let me clean up and then I’ll get something ready. You know, it’s been a while since I got a chance to cook for someone else.”
She bounded out of the room and down the hall. I lay back on the couch shaking off the drowsiness from my nap. I heard the water for her shower go on.
My mind pictured what must have been going on in the bathroom as I lay there. I imagined her stripping down for her shower, slipping off her t-shirt and shimmying out of those tight jeans. Then would go the bra. What a sight those big tits must be, I thought.
Next to go would’ve been her panties. She’d slide them off and then step into the shower. I shut my eyes, imagining her under the showerhead. Her eyes were closed and her head back as she let the warm water soak her hair. Her breasts were wet and glistening, drops of water streaming over her belly.
My cock grew hard as I imagined her down the hall shampooing her long blonde hair and soaping-up her body. I shook my head, reminding myself this was all idle daydreaming. However much I was attracted to her, there was no way this woman old enough to be my mom — a woman with a son older than me! — saw me in anything but the most maternal escort bursa light.
The sound of running water stopped a few minutes later. It was replaced not long after by a blow drier. I opened my book and managed to read for a few minutes. Then I closed it, staring at the ceiling as visions of a naked Stacy popped back into my head.
“Damn,” I sighed.
Stacy emerged from her bedroom looking incredible. Her hair was down and it was the first time I’d seen it that way. It was long and curly, spilling over her shoulders. She’d put on a new pair of jeans and a purple top which complimented her boobs perfectly.
“I’ll just get dinner going,” she said.
“Mind if I clean-up?”
“Go right ahead. Bathroom’s at the end of the hall.”
I grabbed some toiletries from my duffle bag and found my way to the bathroom. I stripped down and shaved. Wiping off the shaving cream with a towel, I stood back and took stock of myself in the mirror.
Army life left me lean and toned, to be sure, a hundred and seventy five pounds of bone, blood, and muscle in the service of my country. I allowed myself to admit I looked good. I had a set of washboard abs and well-defined muscles, the epitome of youthful fitness. I also looked insanely young, and wondered again if Stacy could ever look at me and see anything but a kid.
I sighed and turned on the shower. Stepping inside, I got a thrill thinking how Stacy stood in there naked every day. I started to get hard again and gently stroked my cock. I considered jerking off. That would ease the sexual tension I was feeling, but I had a vague notion that it would be rude to jerk off in her house and forced myself to stop.
I put on a pair of jeans and a fresh t-shirt afterwards and went into the kitchen. Stacy was finishing up dinner, broiling the pork chops. She also made instant mashed potatoes and sautéed zucchini. It was nothing fancy, to say the least, but I appreciated it.
“Thank you again for everything,” I said. “You’ve been so nice.”
She smiled and put her hand on my shoulder for a moment. It sent a quiver down my spine.
I helped set the table and Stacy served up two heaping plates of food. She turned and went into the fridge.
“Beer?” she asked.
She brought out two bottles, handed me one, and sat down.
“Hmm,” she teased. “You are twenty-one, correct?”
“Nineteen,” I admitted. “Old enough to drink on base.”
“Old enough to drink anywhere, as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “Active duty military personnel should be considered of legal drinking age wherever they are. Period.”
Dinner was good, and I told her so. It wasn’t gourmet, but it tasted great. The best part, however, was the company. We laughed and talked like old friends. I felt at ease around her and told her about growing up outside Baltimore. She listened, smiling, and told me stories of life in rural Pennsylvania.
We shared a second beer after the food was gone and talked some more. Then I helped her do the dishes. She washed, I dried, and it felt like the most natural thing in the world.
Stacy grabbed two more beers for us and we moved into the living room.
“So, what now?” she asked. “You want to watch TV, or maybe play a game?”
I’d noticed the Scrabble box on the shelf next to the TV earlier. I’d been an avid player since I was very young, even entering the occasional tournament.
“You like Scrabble?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah.” She smiled widely. “Check this out.”
Stacy went over to the other side of the room and brought back a small brass trophy. It was a foot tall and shaped like Scrabble tiles spelling out the word “winner.”
“You won that?” I asked.
“Yup,” she said. “It was only a county tournament at the firehouse a few towns over, but I won. I played the best game of my life that night.”
I looked at her and a sly grin crossed my face.
“Let’s play,” I said.
We set up the board at the kitchen table and got started. She went first and played “epoxy.”
Here was a worthy opponent, I knew at once. As it turned-out, we were well-matched and the game was tight the whole way. I wound up losing by ten points.
“Rematch,” I demanded playfully.
“You got it, honey. I’m having so much fun.”
“Me too,” I said.
Stacy grabbed two more beers from the fridge and we started again. Once more, it was a tight game. I was reveling in the duel, taking delight in an opponent as skilled and determined as me. We kept grinning at each other, delighted to have this in common.
Then the entire tone of the game, and the evening, changed. I was staring at my tiles while it was Stacy’s turn. I had R, N, O, H, O, O, and P. What the heck was I going to do with all those O’s?
Stacy placed her tiles vertically on the rightmost column of the board, spelling out “graphic” with the A on the middle triple-word tile.
“Wow,” I said as she added up her total. “Nice move.”
I looked at my tiles again and then back at the board. The right word to play jumped out at me. I glanced back at my tiles one more time, making certain. Yes, it would fit perfectly. Yet it somehow felt inappropriate to play. What if she was offended? I took a breath and went ahead.