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The Drifter Chapter Nine

When a drifter unleashes the wildness of a shy woman, she runs away with him.

While driving north on Route One, we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic around LA. The so-called expressway was slow and crowded with cars, trucks, motorcycles and buses. Horns were honking and exhaust was rising from cars that moved a few feet and then would not budge for five or so minutes. I thought about the people who drove this expressway everyday to work and then back home and imagined the number of hours they spent in their cars sitting in polluted traffic. This is insane. I bet they spend two or three weeks a year just sitting in their idling cars.

On both sides of the congested highway were glitzy malls, fast food restaurants, car dealerships, billboards advertising hotels, motels, lawyers, vodka, or beer, or whiskey, or soda and they all seemed to have pictures of glamorous, sexy women, holding a glass to their red lips and looking out with seductive eyes. Route Sixty-six had been littered with advertising billboards and florescent flashing lights, but nothing like the sprawling, crowded jungle of signs, buildings and cars around LA.

We drove past the Hollywood sign on the side of a high hill.

“Wow!” Carla leaned forward with her mouth wide open and looked up at it.

"That's probably the most famous sign in the world.”

"I can't believe I'm here. I love movies.”

“I do too, but there's a lot of junk made here that cost millions of dollars to make and it's all escapism.”

“I know, but I like romantic comedies. Sometimes they're silly, but I like to laugh.”

“I never watch romantic comedies—they're so unreal and stupid.”

“I always go with my best friend, Hannah. You'd like her.”

“I would, why?”

“She's fun. She's who I go to bars with. If my mom ever knew where I went with Hannah, she would have a heart attack.”

“Well, you almost gave her a heart attack thinking you were kidnapped.”

“I know, but that's what I mean, she doesn't know the real me.”

“I know the real you.”

Carla laughed. “That's for sure.”

“Tell me about the bars you go to with Hannah. I'm curious. I know you like looking sexy; you told me you like when guys look at you, but then you freeze and don't know what to do.”

“That's true, but I like going to those places with Hannah. I'm kind of her safety net so she doesn't have to go alone. We get all dolled up, you know tight dresses, lots of cleavage. You should see this mini-skirt I have. I feel so sexy in it. You'd get really hard if you saw me.”

“Yes, but if I came up to you and made a play for you what would you do?”

“I'd clam up. I'd blush like I did in the truck when you said you thought I was sexy, but if I have a few drinks, I loosen up.”

“Really, you didn't tell me that part.”

“I don't really like the taste, but you saw what happened when I drank at Anna's the other night. If the guy buys me a drink, it helps me relax and I can handle the flirting. I get horny.”

We were stuck behind a big truck and moving at a snail's pace--stopping, sitting, then starting before stopping again for several minutes—so I was enjoying learning more about Carla. It's funny how you think you know a person, and then they open up another part of themselves and you discover another layer. I remembered being in the truck with her going up to the hayfield and how different it was after I broke through and we fucked in the barn. I remembered her telling me she was insatiable. I didn't say anything when she said that, but I was intrigued and wanted to find out how insatiable.

“So tell me what happens when you relax and this guy comes on to you.”

“Why do you want to know?” She tilted her head and smiled coyly.

“Because I'm curious about you. I want to know who I'm going to Bolinas with.”

“I see.” She nodded, thinking of what to say. “Well, it all depends on the guy. Sometimes I tell him to please move his hand away when he touches my thigh, and sometimes, if I like his looks, I let him move his hand under my short skirt and let him know I'm interested.”

I was getting hard listening.

“Then what?”

“Depends.”

“On what?”

“How hot he's making me and how drunk I am.”

My cock was bulging in my jeans.

Just then horns were blasting in the cars behind us and the truck in front of us was spewing fumes. Carla leaned back and I could see her nipples poking at her tight T-shirt.

“So if this guy makes you horny and hot, what do you do?”

“Like I said, it depends on what he's doing and how many drinks I've had.”

“Okay, so you've had a few drinks and he's got his hand under your skirt and he's rubbing your thigh, what would you do?”

When she saw the bulge in my jeans, she smiled, then bit her lower lip and moved her hand to my hard cock and started rubbing it.

“This is what I'd do and I'd whisper in his ear, “I want this.”

“And...”

“We'd go out to his car and I'd give him a blow job like I did to you in my bedroom, and then we'd fuck in the back seat.” She paused and saw the expression on my face and added, “It only happened once, usually, I chicken out, but I like turning guys on.”

Still, I was surprised to hear what she was saying. She wasn't as innocent as I first believed.

Just as Carla unzipped my jeans and reached for my cock, the truck in front of me started moving. I hadn't noticed until the car in back of me blasted his horn and jarred me back to where we were. She lifted her head and sat back in her seat. “To be continued,”she said.

Traffic started moving faster and I realized there had been an accident when we passed a tow truck and several police cars with their twirling blue flashing lights.

“So you're not the innocent good girl your grandparents and mom think you are.”

“Well, I'm not a slut, Josh. I just like going out with Hannah to a bar every once in awhile. What's wrong with that?”

“I don't think you're a slut. I think it's cool that you let the good girl who wants to be bad out.”

“It's not easy being one way with my mom. It was killing me. The pressure to become an accountant when that's not what I want to be and not marrying Allen...if they knew about my on-line life, they'd be shocked.”

“Really,” I said.

“You're finding out a lot about me, aren't you?”

“Yes, but I'm not surprised. I'm glad you're letting me know more about the real Carla.”

She took my hand and squeezed it .

“I'm glad you accept me. That's what I need...a man who accepts me and who loves to fuck as much as I do.”

I lifted her hand to my lips and kissed her fingers. After over an hour of bumper to bumper, we were able to drive smoothly now that we were away from LA. We drove past dozens of suburban housing developments where all of the houses looked alike and next to them, stood high rise office buildings that gleamed in the late morning sun. I knew at one time this was all farm land or small towns, but now was congested and ugly.

We listened to music on the radio. For awhile, Carla napped with her head against the window. We parked in a rest stop and went into the trailer for lunch. We were tempted to lay down on the bed and mess around, but decided we'd better keep going if we wanted to reach Bolinas before dark.

Carla took over the driving, while I rested. The radio was playing some rock and roll and I enjoyed watching her hands drumming on the steering wheel and bopping her head from side to side. She knew the words to songs I had never heard. She asked me if the music bothered me while I was resting. I told her it didn't and I liked watching her play the steering wheel.

While she drove, we were now in more open space. I looked out at huge farms with long rows of various vegetables growing as far as I could see. Every few rows had huge hoses spinning and spraying long arching gushes of water over the acres of crops. I remembered seeing the trickling Colorado River and knew it had been diverted to irrigate these fields. I was aware of the world's water crisis and saw how these ignorant practices came from greed and desperation. It hurt to think where it was all heading.

It was mid-afternoon when we stopped at a gas station about fifty miles or so south of San Francisco. It was a busy highway with strip malls, and all the fast food places on both sides of the road. It felt good to go into the convenience store and get a coffee and snack and not feel like I was a fugitive.

Next to the gas station we noticed a bar called “The Pussy Cat.” It had a big sign with a red blinking florescent sign that said, “Ten Gorgeous Girls, Nine Gorgeous Costumes.”

“That's a strip joint. What a funny sign,” I said.

“Let's check it out,” Carla said.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. I've never been in one.”

“Me either, but I don't believe you want to go into a strip joint. Why do you want to check it out?”

“I just do. Come on. I've always wanted to see what it's like.”

“I think we should keep going. We're three hours away. I want to get to Bolinas before it gets dark.”

“Let's check it out. Come on. Fifteen minutes and then we'll go.”

I reluctantly said yes and we drove the truck and trailer to the bar next door and parked off to the side. The parking spots in front were all taken with a variety of cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles. Some of the cars were definitely high end ones. I noticed a red Porche and several shiny black BMWs. The sign on the door said No Cover Charge.

“I could go for a beer,” I said when I opened the door.

It was dark inside, but we could see the brightly lighted stage with a long metal pole in the center and a dancer in a skimpy costume holding it with both hands, arching her back with the pole between her legs. She was moving to the sound of a wailing saxophone and an insistent drumbeat. A long bar was on one side and half of the tables were filled with a variety of men, mostly in their forties or fifties, and a few women dressed in tight dresses, showing a lot of cleavage. I was certain they were prostitutes. Two waitresses wearing tight black shorts, tank tops and cat ears on their heads, carried drinks. It was crowded for an afternoon.
 
We found two stools and ordered two drafts from the bartender—a woman with bleached blonde hair, probably in her fifties wearing a tight T-shirt and jeans. I couldn't help but chuckle at the small cross that hung just above her cleavage.

 We clicked glasses and faced the stage and watched the woman with the pole between her legs, sliding up and down with her back arched and her long black hair almost touching the floor, while her large breasts sat on her chest like balloons. She looked out at the audience of men--some wearing expensive looking suits, others in t-shirts and jeans and, at one table, four young, drunk sailors in their starched white uniforms who were watching with their tongues hanging out. One of the women wearing a red dress sat on an old man's lap and played with his white hair and licked his ear. Another was leaning against a bald headed man with a mustache. I could see her hand was between his legs. Several tables were at the edge of the stage and one of the men threw money, while the others sat staring up at the dancer with their eyes and mouths wide open. One man yelled, “Show me your tits!” Another yelled, “Ride my pole!”

I finished my beer and glanced at Carla watching the dancer, while I was watching the men and thought how desperate for sex they must be to come to a strip joint in the afternoon to gawk at a sexy woman earning money by tantalizing them.

“See enough,” I asked Carla.

“Yes, this is kind of weird, but I wanted to see it.”

“We live in a sex-starved culture. Why do you think pornography gets more hits on the internet than any other sites?”

Carla didn't answer.

“And women are no different than men,” I continued. “Most of these men are probably married, or were married and come here to watch a sexy, practically naked woman dancing with a pole between her legs, but women are no different. Many women are just as sex-starved.”

“It's kind of sad,” Carla said.

“Many people are forced to live hypocritical lives. Thoreau said, 'The mass of of men live lives of quiet desperation.'”

Carla finished her beer and hopped off of her stool. “I know about desperation.”

“Me, too.”

Two hours later we were driving past San Francisco and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Route One was still crowded, but I knew we were getting closer when I saw a sign for Stinson Beach. According to my directions, Bolinas was about ten miles away. I knew that Bolinas was a peninsula off of the highway. I had instructions to look for a Mexican restaurant, and then go exactly one mile and look for a small road on the left and take that for two miles and we'd see a farm on the right and then a school building and we'd be in Bolinas.

“Steve's place is on the Mesa,” I said, leaning forward over the steering wheel.

“What's a Mesa?” Carla also leaned forward, looking.

“It's a plateau that leads to the cliffs overlooking an ocean.”

When we found the dirt road leading to the Mesa, it was steep and bumpy with lots of pot holes and gullies. I drove slowly and felt the strain of pulling the trailer. When we reached the top, I followed Steve's direction and turned left on to another dirt road that had huge pot holes. I wondered what this road was like after a heavy rain and the large holes became small lakes.

“I wonder why they don't fix these roads,” Carla asked.

"'Cause people would drive too fast. I bet that's why.”

We drove down the dirt road past several old houses and a sheep farm. When I saw the sign Poplar Road, I knew we were there. I could see the Pacific Ocean about a hundred yards from where we turned into the lane leading to Steve's house.

“What's that?” Carla asked.

I looked up and saw what looked like a huge dark cloud heading towards us and getting closer. It was coming from the ocean and I had never seen anything like that. It covered the sun and darkened the sky, though it was still daylight.

I parked and got out of the truck and watched the thick dark fog getting closer. It seemed ominous and swept over the house, making it difficult to see. I saw a guy walking towards us and wondered if it was Steve.
 
Who ever it was looked like he was coming out of the mysterious dark cloud. Carla stood next to me. When he got closer, he waved and I saw it was Steve. His hair was still long but much grayer than the last time I saw him.

"Welcome to shangra-la,” he said when we hugged.

“Is this fog we're standing in? I've never seen anything like this.”

"Yeah. It gets like this every afternoon around this time, and in the morning, but then it burns off. You'll see. You're going to love it here.”

“I already do,” Carla said and shook Steve's hand. “I'm Carla.”

I was surprised when she said that and saw how confident she seemed to introduce herself before I did.

“That's some trailer,” Steve said, when he looked at it in back of us.

“Wait 'till you hear how we got it. This has been quite a trip.”

“We've got a lot of catching up to do. Come up to the house. Your trailer's fine where it is...we can hook you up to the electricity. It's solar.”

“Great. So you're off the grid.”

“Most people up here are...and we get great wind.”

We walked through the thick fog, and then I saw his house was a white geodesic dome. It was round and surrounded by gardens filled with vegetables and flowers on raised beds. It had a wire fence around it and sunflowers on both side of the path that led through the large, lush garden.

Catherine greeted us at the glass sliding door and hugged me. “You look great, Josh,” she said, then smiled and hugged Carla even before they were introduced and said, “Welcome.”

Catherine is a tall, slender black woman with light brown skin. Her dark hair was braided. She was wearing a long skirt and was barefooted. I always thought Steve was lucky to be married to such a beautiful woman.

“This is Carla,” I said.

“I'm Catherine. You're just in time for dinner.”

“I remember your cooking when we lived in Philly,” I said.

We were standing in the kitchen but saw it was a section of the round open space. A round oak table was in the area next to the kitchen and I looked around at the couches and chairs across from us. The floor was concrete and I could feel the heat and knew it was a radiant slab. On one side of the dome was a small greenhouse attached and I could see rows of green in it.

“Cool house,” I said as I looked around.

“Sit down and I'll tell you about it,” Steve said.

“Can I help you,” Carla asked Catherine.

“You can grab that bottle of wine.”

Catherine had a big wooden bowl filled a colorful salad and placed in the center of the table. Carla was right behind her with the wine. Steve lit the tall red candle.

“It's shabbos,” he said.

I had forgotten it was a Friday night. Both of us were Jewish but not at all religious in the conventional sense.

I poured wine into Carla's glass and into Catherine's, then passed the bottle to Steve.

We lifted and clicked glasses, said L'Chaim, then took sips.

Then Steve said, “On shabbos we say appreciations. Anything that comes to us that we appreciate, we share.”

“I like that idea,” Carla said. “Can I begin.”

Again, I was surprised that Carla offered and didn't seem at all shy. Catherine took her hand and held it as if supporting her. Carla closed her eyes and was gathering her thoughts, then took a deep breath before speaking.

“I appreciate Josh for taking me with him and here we are. I appreciate that I'm far away from home and feel free and no longer have to pretend I'm this someone I'm not.”

I was surprised that Carla was being so revealing with people she had just met. Steve and Catherine listened, and I could see they were fascinated. I knew they would be astonished to hear what we had been through and why Carla was with me. I couldn't wait to tell them about Avalon and Anna Polovona and how we got the trailer.

Catherine took a sip of wine and said how much she appreciated her garden and the how tall the sunflowers were. Then she said, “I appreciate Steve and how he listens to me and I can say what I think and feel.”

Steve smiled at Catherine and I liked how they looked at each other. Then he said how he appreciates Catherine and what a great cook and baker she is and how he appreciates the Mesa and how perfect it was for growing great sensemilla. I knew that Carla didn't know what that was, but I chuckled to learn what he was doing.

When it was my turn, I said I appreciated not having the police after me and that I was no longer being hunted for being a kidnapper. I knew my appreciation would bring them up to speed with my life and also shock them, but it was also a huge relief to be able to put what I was feeling into words.

Suddenly, I took Carla's hand, squeezed it and glanced at her. “I also appreciate how I somehow stumbled into meeting Carla on a small ranch in Oklahoma and what happens when you don't have expectations.”

I chuckled to see her blush.

After we clicked glasses and sipped our wine, I asked how Zoe was doing and couldn't believe she had just turned twenty-one and had graduated from Berkeley. Steve said, “She majored in Anthropology but is working at Starbucks' in San Francisco along with other well educated coffee makers.”

After dinner, we sat on the couches on the other side of the room. Steve rolled a joint and we got pretty stoned. Carla giggled a lot but mostly listened to the three of us speak about our old friends, what was happening in the world. Steve knew a lot about economics and went on a stoned riff about how the whole world economy is on the brink of collapse. I told him about driving on the expressway past all the malls and car dealers.

This whole country is in a state of denial,” he said, then interrupted his statement with, “what do you think of this weed.”

“It's great and I think you're right about denial and wait 'till climate change really hits. You should see what's happening in Oklahoma. Carla's grandfather is afraid of losing his ranch because the drought is getting so bad.”

Carla looked up when she heard me mention her grandfather.

“He wanted to hire Josh but can't afford it and he's getting old. I know he and my grandmother are worried. They all wanted me to be an account and have security. Fuck that!”

Steve and Catherine listened and then looked at me.

“So what are your plans, Josh?” Steve asked.

“Don't know for sure. I'm looking for a place to settle that's far away from where I've been. I've been drifting my way across the country, working here and there and was cutting hay and met Carla and he were are and I don't know what's next.”

“Stay here. You can stay in your trailer and use the house if you need to and help me make this homestead keep us alive.”

“Really, are you serious?”

“Yes, you're a good carpenter and I'm not. Catherine's a great gardener and sounds like Carla has been around livestock and farms. I'm tinkerer and computer geek...web design and repairs. I barter my services for different things. I also harvest a good crop of sensemilla and do pretty good with that.”

“What's that?” Carla asked.

“It's what your smoking. It's the flower buds of marijuana. I just started harvesting.”

“Is that legal?” Carla's eyes widened.

“What if I told you that Al, the chief of police has a crop on his property?”

“The chief of police...are you serious?” I couldn't believe what I heard.

“I am. Also, harvest time can be pretty dangerous around here with guys from other towns trying to rip us off. Most growers keep dogs in their gardens and some sleep out there with shotguns.”

“Do you do that?” I asked.

“No, but I have a set up with one of those motion detectors. If someone goes out there in the middle of the night, a recording of barking dogs scares them off and a spotlight comes on.”

“Wow, that's cool...you always were a peacekeeper.”

Steve chuckled. “It's actually pretty peaceful here. People share stuff and we have an underground economy. We barter, we sell weed...that's our cash crop, but mostly we barter with each other and try to live alongside the other economy...which, as you may know, is bullshit.”

Later that night, we stayed up late and talked. We were both still high and stood outside and looked up at the stars. It was a clear night and a three quarter moon was over the Pacific. I looked at the dome-house glowing in the moonlight and on the gardens surrounding it. Nearby was a fenced in chicken house.

When we went to bed, we made passionate love and I know the trailer must have rock and rolled from our wildness. I think the relief of being there, plus the wine and pot brought our lovemaking and fucking to a place where there were no barrier. We felt free.

Later I asked, “Do you want to stay here and see what happens?”

“Yes, I love it here,” Carla answered. “This feels like home.”

And that's what happened. We've been here going on two years. I work with Steve and built a shop for his computer repair business. Carla works with Catherine in the garden, but she also started painting. She's really good and I remembered Betty telling me about her drawing with the kids when she babysat and telling her she was an artist.

We live in the trailer...mostly for sleeping and share meals with Steve and Catherine. I started writing stories and just had one published in a small literary journal. Her mom and stepfather came to visit last year and though they were shocked, they accepted how Carla was living and I think they accepted me...who knows?

If this book I'm writing sells and I do well, I might build a small house on Steve's land and use the trailer as a studio for Carla. Now, she barters for a studio in back of this rich woman's house by cleaning it once a week. She's starting to sell her paintings.

 I'm on the second draft of this book. It's called “The Drifter” and I'm using my initials and my last name. Who knows? Maybe one day, the name J.E. Wiseman will be well known.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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