"Good morning, Jason! I'd like you to meet my friend, Chip Chodesworth!"
Jason had grown so numb to the disappointing morning routine that he failed to feel anything other than apathy as he crept around the corner and into the kitchen. However, he was confused when he entered and saw no sign of this supposed Chip Chodesworth. While Uncle Truck tossed together a tilapia ceviche, Jason scanned the room for an unwanted man. Just when he was about to speak up, he saw two dilated disc-shaped yellow eyes elevate from behind the top of the counter. Attached was a longhaired gray Persian cat with a delightfully grumpy scrunched-up face.
"M'yao," the misleadingly grouchy-looking cat who was incongruously pleasant wished Jason a succinct good morning.
"A cat! Uncle Truck, where did you find him?" While Jason wasn't sure just how she was going to care for another creature considering her financial rut, he was relieved that this new character was not somebody who was just out to fuck his uncle. An animal lover and enthusiast for all things fluffy, Jason massaged his knuckles into the side of Chip's heavily-fuzzed cheekbone. The creature purred and closed its eyes, looking very much like a happy Buddha sculpture if Buddha was covered with fluff as opposed to just being fat. The perceptive cat knew himself to be the first decent, and not homosexual, male that Uncle Truck had invited to the household breakfast since Jason first started his adventure. He knew many things, Chip Chodesworth did indeed. If only Uncle Truck could speak Persian she could have saved herself a lot of heartbreak.
"It's a side gig I just picked up! Mustafa Mangina lives up the street and he is spending a few weeks in Turkey - he's asked me to keep an eye on Chip Chodesworth for the time being." Uncle Truck poured the avocado-green mixture into a saucer and presented it before the feline. With a cautious sniff, Chip accepted the offering and expressed his gratitude through a purr as he chomped away. For the first time, Uncle Truck's home had a family-friendly atmosphere and Jason loved it. As Uncle Truck was pouring Jason's portion of breakfast in front of him, the boy hugged one arm around her back and his other around Chip. He was home.
Jason was happy to have spent the entire day bonding with Uncle Truck with no idiot men present. Uncle Truck introduced Jason to a game she had created some years ago with the help of her sister Marina.
Ass War: (n.) a spontaneously proposed war in which there is never a winner. The initiator of this game thrusts the side of his/her hips into those of an unsuspecting individual. Assuming that the unsuspecting individual agrees to participate in this war and immediately fire back, the ultimate goal is to hurl the opponent slightly further away with each attack. The game is over when both parties are either tired, injured, or have agreed that this activity is unproductive and stupid. An advantage is given to initiators with wide hips and large Sicilian asses.
Uncle Truck's suitably wide hips had been chucking little Jason all over the backyard for the duration of this game. It was most unfair; Jason's straight-down boyish hips were too close to the ground to even have a chance at combating with those of the voluptuous Uncle Truck. For hours, Jason had been flying across the grass in every direction like a bloodied sea lion being insultingly tossed back and forth in a sadistic game of catch between two asshole killer whales. Jason eventually surrendered.
"We're going to have to do a rematch when I'm taller and stronger, Uncle Truck. At this stage in my life, I am no match for your powerful Italian ass." Uncle Truck agreed and shook his hand in an outward display of sportsmanship. She told him he could use the shower first while she read "The Hobbit" to Chip Chodesworth.
"The water isn't working, Uncle Truck." Jason crept up from behind while Uncle Truck was comparing her ex-boyfriends' tendencies to hoard her belongings in their homes after a breakup to the greedy Smaug who hoards gold beneath his massive body when he has no use for it.
"What do you mean it isn't working?"
"It just isn't. The water won't turn on."
Uncle Truck went into a panic. She apologized to Chip and promised she'd continue the story later. She raced upstairs, hoping this wasn't true. There were few things she hated more than not having had a shower in more than a twenty-four-hour period. Toenails. Toenails and feet in general. And olives. Not having a shower probably came close after those three detestable things.
She worriedly cranked and pushed the knob above the tub's faucet… nothing.
"What are we going to do, Uncle Truck? Is it too late to get someone to fix it?"
Uncle Truck paused. "Put your shoes on, hon. We're going to the fountain."
They had packed some soaps and shampoos for their illegal excursion and hoped that nobody would catch them at this dark hour. Uncle Truck wore a pale pink bikini top beneath her "Beavis and Butthead" t-shirt. Beneath her snow-flake patterned pajama bottoms was a boy's pair of underwear with a flaming Hot Wheel's car racing across her ass. Jason was content with stripping down to his boxers.
"What we are doing is wrong, Jason. Do you understand that? I am by no means teaching you that it's ok to use a public fountain as a bathtub. We are just temporarily destitute and we smell like onions and dead animals. We'll get the water fixed tomorrow and bathe like rich people." Uncle Truck rolled up her shirt before dropping her pants to her ankles. She sat on the white concrete edge of the fountain with her feet planted in the water. Greened pennies, nickels, dimes, and the occasional quarter clinked beneath her soles before she lowered herself into the shin-deep pool.
"Uncle Truck… don't the coins make this entire bath useless? They're filthy." The already-immersed Uncle Truck paid no mind as she doused herself in sweet-pea-scented gel. She sighed happily as she massaged fragranced foam into her wet mop of dark hair. Jason decided that he didn't mind smelling like death for a day and refrained from joining Uncle Truck. He opted to stand guard instead. And a few minutes into Uncle Truck's unorthodox rinse, Jason did see a silhouette of a man from beneath a street light. "Uncle Truck! There's a man!" Jason whispered a scream.
She splashed upward, silently startled, and shot her head in the street light's direction. "Shit, shit, SHIT!" Squeezing her sopping hair out, she whispered a scream back at Jason and asked him to throw her a towel. Ironically, the two of them were drawing attention to themselves that they would not have drawn if they never noticed the man, who was standing beside the club that Uncle Truck had disgracefully attended with Roland Rumfart. Now he was drawing near, using his cell phone screen as a flashlight to show him the way. "Jason, I'm sorry I got you into this. This was a terrible idea." Memories of the morning news were flashing through Uncle Truck's mind… she recalled a triple-murder that had occurred in Baltimore and she felt as though her heart was going to burst into an explosion of blood and confetti. At this point, she had forgotten that she no longer lived in Baltimore and being the paranoia-queen that she was, she was absolutely certain that this approaching silhouette was the thug of interest.
"Sir, please don't take her to jail! She's had her water shut off and she was desperate!" Jason begged when the man stood just a few feet away, still a shadow. When he stepped forward he leaned over the wall of the fountain to see a quivering Uncle Truck with her head turned away and her eyes clenched shut as she hugged her knees to her barely-covered chest. The underwater lime-green-tinted lights were glowing around her, exposing every contour of her face and body and just how evidently frightened she was. A nearly-crying frown formed as she lightly hyperventilated, looking very much like a weakened field mouse who had been wedged into a corner by a cat's claws.
"Um, what are you doing?" A somewhat bro-ish voice inquired with a smile in his tone. Uncle Truck slowly turned her head toward the man, whose face was still somewhat obscured by the night. She self-effacingly explained her situation as he gradually bent further toward her, revealing his boyish model-esque face, optimistic eyes and smile, and a long mane of blonde curls. It was the boy in the club from against the wall. Uncle Truck was at a loss for words, anxiously darting her pupils in every direction and wondering how shitty she must have looked without eyeliner on. Watching her blush like a ripe tomato, Jason already knew… she had a juvenile, little-school-girl crush on the stranger. "I remember you, I think. Did I see you with a man who didn't have a chin?" Uncle Truck never followed up on whether or not she was with a chinless drunk, but she did admit to recognizing the lad as well. The blonde smiled and picked up the used towel from the side of the fountain; he knelt and draped it along Uncle Truck's shoulders before he lifted her up from her underarms and guided her goose-bumped body onto the sidewalk. Once out of the pool, he took the corners and secured the cloth around her droplet-coated chest, making her as unexposed as possible. Was this guy real? How was it possible that he could be so handsome, naively compassionate, and seemingly interested in Uncle Truck on some level all at the same time? "What are your names?"
Uncle Truck shyly rolled her eyes up toward the man standing an inch in front of her. He wasn't much taller than she, and she didn't mind one bit; his skinny build and short stature perfectly fit his youthful appearance. "Trakina," she whispered with a timid grin as she slightly turned her head away, avoiding eye contact out of nervousness. She couldn't help but wonder what his name could have possibly been… Archie Assburger? Froderick Frankenfucker? "What is your's?"
Uncle Truck was taken aback and fluttered her eyes in bafflement, "Peter Frampton?"
"Yes, my name is Peter Frampton. Is that funny?" He took no offense to Uncle Truck's shock and he laughed warmly even though he was totally confused. She jokingly asked him "do you feel like I do?" and he said he wasn't sure but he hoped so… still confused.
"Oh, you are young, aren't you?" Uncle Truck twirled her fingers through her hair, as she almost always fidgeted her hands around when she felt ill at ease. "How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?" Evading an answer to the question, Peter Frampton told Trakina that she looked about seventeen, eighteen, or nineteen? Feeling that he was just flattering her, she smirked and told him he'd made her day. She was twenty-five. He told her he was freshly twenty-one.
Peter Frampton invited the two of them to take shelter in his house for the night. He didn't live far from the club, which was his place of work, and he told them not to be alarmed by his snoring aging-hippie mother on the couch. "She has a lot of joint pain, so I feel safer staying at home with her. And she doesn't mind when I bring people over. We're always offering a lending hand to strangers; that's just what we do." So, what next? Did this guy also nurse ill and abandoned kittens back to health in his spare time?
A middle-aged, brittle-haired woman was positioned on her side on a neon blue, shaggy-textured couch. She wore a knee-length, spiraling tie-dye nightgown that fell loose-fittingly over her rounded belly. Peter Frampton shook her shoulder, and her thick-glassed eyelids slightly parted as she formed a small, tired yellowish smile.
"How was work?" She asked through a smoky voice.
"It was alright, as usual. These are my new friends, Trakina and her nephew Jason. I'm going to let them take a shower upstairs." He reached for a mushroom-themed glass pipe on the coffee table and politely asked Jason to step away so he wouldn't be so close to his mother's medicinal smoke. Bringing the piece to her lips, he flicked a lighter on and ignited the bowl as she inhaled.
Coughing out the smoke, she thanked her son and said a quick hello to Uncle Truck and Jason before she nodded off. Peter Frampton leaned down and kissed her on the cheek before he escorted his two new friends upstairs. He led Jason to a hippied-out bathroom, which was complete with a tie-dye shower curtain, bright flower-printed walls, and a framed painting of a melting peace sign. After handing the boy a basket of clear-wrapped, travel-sized toiletries, Peter Frampton closed the door on his young friend and told him he could sleep wherever he liked when he was finished. At last, Jason was in the company of a man who he deemed worthy of running off with his uncle.
Peter Frampton's room was a little strange by her standards; strange in the sense that she had not entered a room quite like this one since the night of junior prom. The bed was a very skinny twin-size, and had she and Peter not been such an unusually small pair, they would not fit to spoon beneath the sheets. Wait, wait! Uncle Truck tried to exorcise those sorts of thoughts from her mind… he was young; he was certainly more interested in youthful girls whose perfect teeth were not being eroded by bulimic acid, right?
Or, maybe not… Uncle Truck was eying a pot-leaf-shaped lamp on his sloppily-painted dresser when she felt the young creature wrap his arms around her from behind. He drew her close as her blushing body grew warm to the touch, "you are extremely beautiful, Trakina." He rested his chin on her shoulder, feeling her vibrate; Uncle Truck hadn't been this shy around a boy in years. The last time she'd been sincerely interested in one of her flings was months ago; and now that long-gone fling's spot was quickly being replaced in Uncle Truck's needy heart. "Is it too rushed if I kiss you?" She listened for the sprinkling shower in the next room, determining that Jason would not be entering soon. As she shook her head, Peter Frampton twisted his neck from behind hers and kissed her, gently pushing her toward his bed. Pivoting himself in front of her, he eased her down onto the springy mattress and continued to caress his lips along her face as she sat upright and he bent down. Oh no… oh no… he was out to screw her, she thought. And if he tried, she worried she'd give in. Her long-deprived body felt magnetized toward the boy's pelvic region. Her arms felt like two fragile twigs that were going to be broken in half by the pressure of the mattress if she didn't reach them out and unzip Peter Frampton's skinny jeans. She knew something was up; he was just too fucking charming.
"I'm celibate." The sex-charged rush whirling throughout her blood siphoned into the air and out of her skin with the confession. She immediately regretted admitting that; fearing this would be the last time she'd ever see him. She wondered if she'd be able to take it back in a matter of seconds, but her previously stimulated libido was now diminished for the time being.
He was silent as he slightly backed himself away. Though the room was dim, Trakina looked up and noticed a relieved, yet stunned, smile on the boy's dimpled face. "You're a virgin too?"
Uncle Truck shook her head. "No. Just celibate."
A trickling-wet Jason entered the room with a towel wrapped around his waist. Peter Frampton asked the boy if he wanted the bed, and Jason politely declined as he made himself comfortable on the shag-carpeted floor. After cushioning a bean-bag-textured pillow beneath the young nephew's neck and tucking him into a Dark Side of the Moon-printed throw blanket, Peter Frampton returned his attention to Uncle Truck in the bed on the opposite side of the room. "I can sleep in another room if that would make you more comfortable." Uncle Truck reached out, letting her hands overlap one another over his thoracic vertebrae. She pulled him near, and the boy slinked himself beneath the covers. He positioned himself, outlining the back of her curved figure with his snake-like anterior. He fell asleep with his lips pressed against the back of her neck. She wouldn't say it out loud, as she knew it was immature and dangerous to feel this way so early, but she was in love for the first time in years.