Good Pussy and Jerry and Kildow, fiction by William Pancoast

This town got any good pussy? was the first thing I ever heard Kil­dow say. New hires Jer­ry and Kil­dow had joined us on a job 100 miles north­east of Colum­bus seed­ing a golf course and there they were at 7:00 a.m. plan­ning their evening for­ay into the lit­tle burg up the road.

I could use me a fat lit­tle mom­ma.

Squeeze your dick so hard she’ll bring tears to your eyes.

That’s the one I’m look­ing for.

Let’s get this show on the fuck­ing road then.

The show was the first flatbed of straw we would be work­ing. It had bare­ly got below 80 overnight and the bales radi­at­ed the day before’s heat. Jer­ry and I would be haul­ing them to load the straw blow­er Kil­dow had lucked into oper­at­ing because of his small stature. Old Hol­land would be spray­ing seed with the water canon and the boss’s son Jake dri­ving the tank truck hooked to the flatbed and blow­er.

Jer­ry had joined the Army in 1956 when he turned 18 his sopho­more year of high school and spent a year and a half as a cook before being tossed for shoot­ing smack. He nev­er did fig­ure out how it hap­pened. Most­ly just fell in with that crew from the Bronx. But he couldn’t kick it when he got back to Oakridge Ohio and it didn’t take long for his clum­sy bur­glar­ies to lead the police to him. He end­ed up spend­ing two years at the bar­bar­ic refor­ma­to­ry in Cranston. After that ordeal he was clean and hard­ly ever ven­tured past beer in the drug world. Now unbe­liev­ably he lived at home with his old man whose hob­by had been beat­ing the shit out of his kids when he got home from the bar every night but now was burnt out and dis­abled from the booze and cig­a­rettes and steel mill.

Kil­dow was just a badass. He wasn’t a big guy. Five-eight maybe 165 pounds. But he would climb you like a mon­key with over­sized arms punch­ing the face or back of the head at close range while he held on to the neck. Every bad dude has to kick a cop’s ass and he had done that when he was 21. Nobody that knew him both­ered to fuck with him any­more.

Kil­dow and Jer­ry laughed more that morn­ing than I had heard of laugh­ter for the last five years with a machine gun bar­rage of jokes and rib­bings and pussy rants. I found myself drawn to them yet I sensed the dan­ger there. A per­son might ven­ture too far into their fan­ta­sy world and maybe nev­er come back. I just knew I need­ed to hear what they had to say about their world and the plen­ti­ful pussy there.

And then there was just work itself that led me to have enough respect for their world to enter it. The sum­mer before I had been a hod ten­der. My arms and back swollen with sore­ness every morn­ing for two weeks. In high school I had scrubbed the girls’s shit­ter at the J C Pen­ney store while the cheer­lead­ers wait­ed after school to get in and pee and primp. The store man­ag­er knew my par­ents and I learned lat­er that it was his per­son­al inter­ven­tion in sched­ul­ing that had placed me scrub­bing the girls’ restroom while they watched. He want­ed to teach me a lit­tle humil­i­ty. I had the humil­i­ty down. Any­one who ever worked a shit job with no exit in sight has plen­ty of that. I had become a work­ing man by age eigh­teen as much as I could say that I was any­thing. I was intrigued by the antics of Jer­ry and Kil­dow and impressed with Kildow’s charis­ma. I would be one of them.

The first night we went into town around 8 in Kildow’s ’56 Ford. A rat­tly black coupe that he would bet any­one $5 they couldn’t snatch a five dol­lar bill off the dash­board while he was accel­er­at­ing. I got to sit up front since Jer­ry and Kil­dow had tak­en a lik­ing to me because nei­ther one of them had ever known any­one going to col­lege. I laughed and start­ed to say bull­shit but only got the bull out before Kil­dow slammed that baby in sec­ond gear and plas­tered me to my seat. We had picked up a twelve pack and the beer was going right to our heads with the heat and it seemed fun­ny to all of us. I nev­er saw any­thing like that I said. What the hell kind of motor you got in this? Jer­ry was laugh­ing hard­er than any of us and kept say­ing over and over you didn’t fuck­ing believe it did you Whitey? They had tak­en to call­ing me Whitey when they saw me that morn­ing because of my blond hair.

Jer­ry slugged down his third beer through his laugh­ter and became increas­ing­ly ani­mat­ed. By the time we had found the only bar in the cross­roads town of Weber and ordered a piz­za from down the street Jer­ry was get­ting bug-eyed and hap­py as hell.

That day on the golf course had wast­ed all of us. I had lost eight pounds accord­ing to the scale at the truck stop we were sneak­ing into for show­ers every evening. By ten o’clock I saw that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with these guys. Noth­ing was hap­pen­ing at the bar and when I razzed my new friends about the loud-mouthed frizzy-haired lone female in the place they assured me the good pussy would be there lat­er. I set off on the mile walk down the coun­try road to the golf course where we were sleep­ing in a barn used as machin­ery stor­age.

We had set up cots in the barn and even with the end doors open to catch what­ev­er breeze there was the place was hell­hole hot. I sat on the end of my cot think­ing over the day. Might have been the hard­est day’s work I had ever done. It ranked right there with the hay-bal­ing I had done a few times. This was a pre­vail­ing wage job since it was all munic­i­pal and state projects so I could make enough mon­ey this sum­mer to pay all my col­lege expens­es. I climbed in my sleep­ing bag and closed my eyes lis­ten­ing to the crick­ets and some night birds I couldn’t iden­ti­fy and smelling old manure and oil and grease. I felt a plop on the edge of my pil­low. I inched my hand over and felt the fur and then came the flur­ry of bat wings as the sono­fabitch took flight again. I pulled the bag over my head and passed out.

Rise and shine moth­er­fuck­ers was the first thing I heard in the morn­ing fol­lowed by time to shit shine show­er and shave. Laugh­ing I pulled the cov­ers off my head.

Good pussy Whitey. You should have stuck around.

Jer­ry and Kil­dow were already dressed and get­ting it togeth­er for anoth­er day in the field. I had to hur­ry to avoid being left behind as Kil­dow revved that big old motor and spun the tires in the grav­el just out­side the barn. Jake and Hol­land were stay­ing at the motel beside the truck stop and we met them for break­fast there. Jake was get­ting ready to fin­ish his MBA in the fall and all he could do was bitch about hav­ing to work every sum­mer in order to get his col­lege bills paid and a wad of cash in his pock­et for beer and girls at school.

At break­fast Kil­dow got to talk­ing about a Bea­gle he had grow­ing up and which had dug holes all around its dog house to stay cool in weath­er like this. It lived its entire life except when it was tak­en hunt­ing chained to an eye-bolt on the dog house in the back­yard. After he had done six months in the pen for the cop beat­ing he moved in with a girl who had seen him while she was vis­it­ing her broth­er and they had got­ten intro­duced at vis­i­ta­tion. Her place had a fenced in back­yard and he moved his four­teen year old Bea­gle there from his mother’s back­yard. The first week­end out of prison he spent build­ing a dog house. He fig­ured the old girl could make up for lost time in this clean and safe new home. But she fussed over her sur­round­ings lay­ing pained by arthri­tis in the open­ing of the new lum­ber-smelling struc­ture just like she still wore the chain and nev­er strayed 10 feet from the dog house. He had to move out after a cou­ple months when his girl­friend dis­cov­ered what an incur­able cock­hound he was. Left his old dog because of the lit­tle girl who loved her then got a call that she had snapped at the three year old. He went and got his dog and took her out to the reser­voir where he held her under­wa­ter. I just want­ed her to feel what free­dom was like Kil­dow said and ate his pan­cakes.

That day was hot­ter than any I ever remem­ber in my entire life. We sweat so much and then quit. Our skin got dry and clam­my then we sweat some more. Jer­ry was hav­ing trou­ble pick­ing up the bales by lunchtime his hands were so swollen and blis­tered through the cheap cot­ton gloves we had picked up at the truck stop. The sweat dried in salty cir­cles around our eyes and the straw dust coat­ed all the skin bared. Every now and then Jer­ry or I would col­lapse on the trail­er bed and wait for the ener­gy to return then get up and go anoth­er round with the bales. They got heav­ier and heav­ier as the hours passed. I thought hard about how it would be to have this to look for­ward to all my life. Shit work in the hot sun. Jake was rid­ing in the shade of the truck so he real­ly didn’t com­pre­hend how the sun was drain­ing us.

At the after­noon break at 3:30 we had about 15 bales to go on the sec­ond flatbed. Jake want­ed to go until sev­en so we could maybe fin­ish up ear­ly on Fri­day so he could get home to his girl­friend. I was watch­ing Jer­ry when he said that and saw him shud­der. He and Kil­dow nei­ther one were in a posi­tion to call it a day. Hol­land sat sto­ical­ly lis­ten­ing. He would do what­ev­er the boss told him but you could see the numb­ness in his eyes.

We were all in pain and I guessed it was up to me to save us. With­out a union there weren’t any rules in our favor. Sup­pose we just fin­ish that load and call it a day? I said cau­tious­ly.

We need to get this hole done today Jake said. Hol­land? he asked the old man who was real­ly the brains of the out­fit.

Hol­land had been at it for thir­ty years with Jake’s dad who was a con­niv­ing lit­tle man who had fig­ured out how to bid on state projects from books in the prison library. I nev­er quit he said. But I’ve had enough for this day.

We quit at 5:30 and the last thir­ty min­utes into the new trail­er of straw Jer­ry was hap­py as hell. Don’t get any bet­ter than this he said and I saw that the impend­ing ces­sa­tion of pain was what he was refer­ring to. Look­ing for­ward to cool­ing down and get­ting a show­er and hav­ing a few beers to save our lives from this infer­no. We maybe weren’t a whole lot dif­fer­ent from Kildow’s dog I thought one day years lat­er mulling over that day of my life. Maybe all behav­ior is about escap­ing pain.

I got me a nap in an easy chair near the trucker’s lounge after my show­er. That and a steak din­ner at a Lake Erie mari­na restau­rant twen­ty miles to the north had me feel­ing like a human being again. We hit sev­er­al honky tonks on the way back south after sup­per. At the last one when we walked into the chill of a ful­ly cranked air con­di­tion­er Jer­ry elbowed me. There you go Whitey.

Kil­dow led us to a table with three col­lege look­ing girls. I fol­lowed along. Then he leaned for­ward with his Pop­eye fore­arms bulging toward the girls as he placed his hands on the table. Ladies this is your lucky night. Whitey here is God’s spe­cial treat for the female species.

After buy­ing me and the girls enough beer to get us half drunk Kil­dow winked at me and he and Jer­ry left.

I’ll take you home said the one I had tak­en a lik­ing to.

Next morn­ing in the barn I woke to Whitey got him some pussy!

I wasn’t going to tell them I didn’t.

The lit­tle blonde with the nice tit­ties!

Brunette with the hairy box!

Most­ly we talked about soci­ol­o­gy. She was also major­ing in it at Ohio State in Colum­bus.

 

After break­fast I was in the truck with Jake going to help fill the tank with water and mix the grass seed. The old tanker bounced down the fair­way to the water tip­ple by the rail­road and I braced myself to keep from bang­ing my head on the win­dow.

You and that ex-con were tak­ing it pret­ty easy yes­ter­day. I saw you lay­ing around back on the flatbed.

I looked at him through the morn­ing haze the tem­per­a­ture already bump­ing 80. Bull­shit.

Bull­shit? I saw it. I don’t know why the old man keeps hir­ing these fuck­ing bums.

Jake was cute. Dim­pled cheeks unwor­ried face. He had been five years ahead of me in school and drove a new red ’57 Chevy con­vert­ible and had a pret­ty girl­friend to ride around town with him. Us younger kids would see him at the root beer stand or the dri­ve in. He had been some­body we want­ed to be.

But now as I looked at his per­fect pro­file in the morn­ing sun slant­i­ng through the wind­shield I hat­ed him for the spoiled punk that he real­ly was. Nobody fuck­ing off on the flatbed yes­ter­day.

He jerked his head to look at me. I say you were. Ex-con fuck­offs and you.

Fuck you.

He was pissed most­ly prob­a­bly because he had to be here with us bums and pushed his right fist over the seat space and caught my chin. I gave him back a right cross and he leaned away then grabbed me in a head­lock. He was strong from play­ing foot­ball in high school and col­lege and I couldn’t get away. I start­ed punch­ing him and he tight­ened the vise. When we hit a big rut his grip loos­ened and I hit him in the nose and he let go.

Fuck you. I’m quit­ting. You’re a fuck­ing ass­hole.

No no. I need you here.

I saw that he had quick­ly real­ized he would be short­hand­ed and not be able to get the work done for the rest of the week.

Dou­ble our breaks. Two in the morn­ing and two in the after­noon. No work after three when it’s so fuck­ing hot.

He stared at me with the spoiled jock anger jump­ing out of his dark eyes. Yeah. Yeah okay. Four though.

That day and the rest of the week passed a lit­tle cool­er. With our extra breaks and one ear­ly quit day we all recov­ered some and added a lit­tle weight back. Jer­ry was a lost crea­ture with a big heart and I liked him. Fri­day after­noon the talk turned to get­ting home and ready to par­ty. Be at the Grot­to Jer­ry told me. Good time acom­ing!

I had nev­er been to the Grot­to which was an uptown bar full of what us kids had always called greasers losers hill­bil­lies. When I got there about eight the place was noisy and teem­ing with the Fri­day night work­er crowd. Stand­ing at the end of the bar was Jer­ry all lit up and bug-eyed and off to the races. This week was what he did now that his life was straight­ened out. He worked hard long hours with­out the desire or know how to get rich and then he got fucked up and had a good time with the mon­ey that he had earned.

Stand­ing with him was a chunky girl with a white hal­ter top which glis­tened in the strobe lights that acti­vat­ed when the band played. Jer­ry waved me over to join them and hugged me into the girl who had turned to face me and now had her breasts squished into my stom­ach. Man this is Gina he yelled above the noise of the music and squeezed us hard­er. She grabbed my dick and then squirmed back towards Jer­ry.

The evening was a blur with Jer­ry buy­ing drinks for folks he knew and spend­ing up the pay­check advance he had got­ten ear­li­er in the day. I cashed my check and bought us a cou­ple of rounds. Kil­dow got there about ten and it was then I found out that Gina was his girl. She whis­pered into his ear and he winked at me guess you two already met and slapped my shoul­der.

Kil­dow could dance and he got Gina sweat­ed up and sat her down and found a fresh one and kept going. He was smooth like a gym­nast in move­ment and strength. It was after one when they start­ed on the Bac­ar­di 151 light­ing it on fire before they did shots. I had been try­ing to leave for a cou­ple of hours but now my evening was esca­lat­ed as I took my turn at the shots and did two that I remem­ber.

Then it was clos­ing time and Jer­ry said we’re going swim­ming you’re dri­ving and I was jos­tled out the door by six or eight of the friends I had made that night. I got in my ’49 Chevy and sat in the rel­a­tive qui­et of the park­ing lot lis­ten­ing to cars start­ing and revving and Jer­ry said fol­low that Stude­bak­er and I put it in gear.

I wasn’t fit to be dri­ving and was all over the road. I had heard of the place we were head­ed an aban­doned quar­ry about eight miles out of town but guys in my gen­er­a­tion had nev­er par­tied out there. It all seemed like a bad idea. Jer­ry was still cranked and he just shook his head no when I asked if we could call it off. Always got to fin­ish he said.

When we got there and had start­ed along the path through the woods we heard the splash­ing and yelling from the wide expanse of inky water bare­ly lit by the half moon through the haze of clouds. Gina was the only girl there and she hap­pi­ly strolled among the naked guys half of them strut­ting around with hard dicks.

Jer­ry was strip­ping down drop­ping his clothes in a pile. Come on he said.

I took off my t-shirt and dropped my jeans and there was Gina in front of me. Before she could grab my dick again I dove off the bank and joined the oth­ers in the water. The chill of the quar­ry final­ly cooled me after the week of heat and I tread­ed water watch­ing the goings on around me. Kil­dow was behind me hud­dled in the water with one of the guys.

Then we were all on the bank get­ting dressed. I pulled my pants on and Gina put a lip lock on me and grabbed me again. I heard Kil­dow laugh­ing off to the side and then he slapped my shoul­der. Good pussy he said lean­ing into my ear as he and the oth­er fel­low bumped past. Touch­ing Kildow’s girl scared me and I stood still with her hang­ing on to my rear belt loop.

I smelled weed then and took a hit when it came my way. Anoth­er cou­ple hits and I real­ized how drunk and fucked up I was. We were all on the dark path again and Gina was hang­ing on to me and it became appar­ent that she and I were leav­ing togeth­er. I heard Jer­ry jab­ber­ing and he joined us at my car.

I was out of the park­ing lot first and gunned it to show off. Near­ly lost it and head­ed back to town. I was hav­ing trou­ble see­ing now and won­der­ing what the hell I had got myself into. I had me a lit­tle hill­bil­ly girl I was going to fuck if I want­ed to. Jer­ry was talk­ing a mile a minute like maybe he had got­ten some speed in him.

I was going too fast when I came to the curve a mile from the quar­ry and the right front wheel went off the right side of the road. The berm was deep and when I pulled back the steer­ing wheel jerked out of my hands and banged my wrist. Then the car veered clear across the road and I slid into deep grass that ground­ed my frame and stopped us like a para­chute would then spun us loose in a cir­cle. I felt Gina slid­ing away from me and grabbed her arm then watched as Jer­ry slid on out the pas­sen­ger door that had been jolt­ed open.

I got stopped and sat in the qui­et then saw the head­lights behind me. My door was jammed so I pushed Gina out the door and slid across the bench seat. A cou­ple oth­er cars pulled along­side the road and in their head­lights I saw Jer­ry lying at the base of a tree. I got there at the same time Kil­dow did. He turned Jer­ry over and it was obvi­ous his neck was bro­ken. Blood cov­ered his scalp and his eyes were still bugged out.

Gina get in my car he said.

Kildow’s face was calm and lit up by the head­lights behind us. Whitey it’s been nice know­ing you.

I had no idea where he was going with this. Was he going to kill me after what I had done to Jer­ry? Man I’m sor­ry I said.

Shit hap­pens. You get in your car and get the fuck home. You weren’t here tonight. No one ever seen you.

But Jer­ry. The truth is….

There ain’t any truth one way or the oth­er about this. There ain’t any­thing true or false any­where I’ve ever seen Whitey. Stuff just is. I’ll take care of Jer­ry.

I stood and backed through the group and Kil­dow and anoth­er guy already had Jer­ry picked up. They tossed him in the trunk of the ’56 Ford.

The cars were pulling out and head­ing back to the quar­ry. Kil­dow leaned on the win­dow of my old Chevy. Get you lots of pussy Whitey he said and was gone.

I drove slow on the way home. The way I should have been dri­ving ear­li­er. But I was in a dif­fer­ent world then.

I didn’t go back to work the next Mon­day. I had enough mon­ey saved up to get through the sec­ond sum­mer ses­sion and fall and win­ter quar­ter at Ohio State in Colum­bus. I got a room on 12th Avenue and dug into my stud­ies. In the fall I looked up that girl from the honky tonk and end­ed up mar­ry­ing her a year lat­er.

I learned from the home­town paper that Jer­ry had bro­ken his neck at the quar­ry when he dived into a rock in the shal­low area a ways from where we had been swim­ming. I changed my major to phi­los­o­phy that win­ter. Fig­ured I’d find out if there real­ly were true and false things in the world.

As best as I have been able to fig­ure through my bachelor’s degree in phi­los­o­phy and the master’s degree in psy­chol­o­gy and twen­ty years of coun­sel­ing folks and all that I’ve learned as a human being there are some things that are true and oth­ers that are false and some are both.

I had expect­ed to feel bad about what hap­pened to Jer­ry. I want­ed to feel bad. But I nev­er did.

pancoastWilliam Trent Pan­coast's nov­els include WILDCAT (2010) and CRASHING (1983). His short sto­ries, essays, and edi­to­ri­als have appeared in Night Train, Sol­i­dar­i­ty mag­a­zine, and US News & World Report.

 

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