Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Dribs and Drabs #3

It'd been months since he'd gotten out of San Diego, so when Doug asked him to go to Fresno and retrieve his car, he didn't stop to think that a repo job maybe wasn't the best excuse for a road trip. He wasn't one of those guys who enjoyed the kind of confrontational, macho antics that could well develop by asking someone for their car keys, even without implicitly saying anything about their credit-worthiness.

He had seen Karen, the woman with the car keys, around town with Doug once or twice, though he couldn't really say she'd made any kind of impression, aside from her towering blonde hair and prominently-displayed boobs. Deke smiled. San Diego always was a good town for boobs. He wasn't too surprised when his friend told him that Karen was taking over the payments on his Camero while he was on WestPac. Doug wasn't the first petty officer trying to figure out how to keep from going broke from bills back home while out at sea.

He walked past the rinky-dink baggage claim and looked around for Karen. He wasn't sure what he was going to do if she didn't show; he didn't have her address or phone number. He shrugged; he could probably take the bus home if it came to that.

When he had seen Doug and Karen going out together, he'd assumed that she was just another easy lay in Sailor Town. When he read the letter from Doug explaining the situation—that Karen and her boyfriend had neglected the last two payments—and asking Deke to go to Fresno and get the car, he wondered, Boyfriend since when? Knowing Doug, Deke could imagine this cabron might not be too happy to lose his (borrowed) ride back to the man humping his bleach-blonde beach babe.

"Hey, Karen." Christ, that was lame. He was torn between forced cheerfulness and grim responsibility, and ended up sounding stupid.

"Hey, Deke. Do you just want to take the car keys, or...?"

An out! Karen looked, if not pleasant, at least not hostile like her silent, sullen boyfriend. "Yeah, if that's okay." Stupid! "I've got a long drive back."

"Sure thing." She nudged her boyfriend and he reached into his pants and pulled out a keyring. He handed it to Karen and she silently handed it to Deke.

"Thanks. I guess that's it, then." Deke thought about extending his hand for a friendly, no-hard-feelings handshake, took a second look at the now-scowling boyfriend, and turned it into a half-hearted wave as he turned around and got the hell out of there.

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