You Offered To Drive Me Home, a short story

Posted on October 2, 2011


I little while ago I wrote a little story, based on a Craigslist ad.  Here’s the idea:  take a Craigslist ad from anywhere in the world, then write a story that explains how it came to be.  Hardboiled style.  The text of the ad is at the end; worth reading to, honest!  If you, dear readers, enjoy it, I’ll write some more.

Craigslist backstory – You Offered To Drive Me Home

I’d been kicked out of the union – not a friendly heave-ho, see you later pal.  Not these guys.  They didn’t appreciate my lack of enthusiasm for the strike vote.  Told me I was an independent thinker, with a sneer.  After the vote was settled they tossed me out by the loading bay and worked me over.  Rib shots.  Kidney shots.  Shots that hurt but don’t injure.  I said I’d had enough and they eventually agreed, laughed, and left me to roll over and be on my way.

Don’t feel sorry for me, though, really.  I can take a beating.  Not everyone can, but me?  No problem.  I’m no Harry Houdini sissy.

I called Eddie Telasco and I said “Eddie, I need some help”.  Eddie carped about how he was busy, he had these things to do, and so on.  I said “Eddie, I really need some help”.  We worked it out; I said I’d give him a few tips on the Sunday races.  Everyone thought I had inside information.  Get lucky at the track a few times and a legend springs up.  Some legend I was, slumped against a payphone.

Eddie rolled up in his girlfriend’s Chevrolet without delay.  “Jesus… look at you” he said.  I heard a gasp and noticed that Nancy was with him.  She had hair that always smelled so nice you couldn’t believe it.  Nancy made a bit of a fuss over me, and got in the back seat with me.  I played tough, I’m fine, don’t worry.  No hospital.  We started off in the direction of my little bachelor apartment.  I told them no, I need a drink.  So they reversed course and we headed for the Victory Cafe.  I liked it there.  It was dark and always full of lowlifes.  You could melt into the place.

I always had this thing with Nancy.  She was a sweet kid and I couldn’t see what she was doing with a guy like Eddie.  He ate potatoes like they were apples, raw.  He fought with his mother on the phone constantly.  He was obsessed – I mean obsessed – with his hobby radio.  He’d spend the night talking to some geek in another area code and leave Nancy standing around trying on sweaters.  It didn’t make any sense.

We settled into a table at the Victory and ordered a round.  My head was pounding, and it got worse when Eddie started in about his ma, and the crazy ideas she had about what the government was doing to make eggs more expensive.  I couldn’t listen.  Nancy tuned out fast too.  She’s tracing little hearts on the table with her finger and looking at me all doe-eyed.  It’s subtle but I’m sure.  I know women.

Amongst his various character defects Eddie’s also prejudiced against Italians.  I know what you’re thinking, but it’s his father’s last name.  He split when Eddie was a little spud.  It’s some kind of Oedipus thing – that guy who tried to fly too close to the sun.  It’s Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein; complicated stuff that I can’t even try to explain.  Eddie’s hot tempered.  I see two guys with black hair across the room.  They’ve got good tans.  They’ll do.  I make a little face that gets Eddie’s attention.  Those mooks over there, I explain, they keep looking at you and making faces like a gorilla.  I change the subject, but Eddie’s hot tempered.

“Those guys?  Those two punks right there?”

“Yeah” I say, “I saw it”.  Egging him on doesn’t take a lot of effort.

We go around the mulberry bush a bit, and he’s working himself up.  The pain in my side is getting worse while I race to numb it.  Finally Eddie can’t take it and stalks over to the two guys.  He’s half crazy at this point.  Perfect.  Forget about him for now.

I tell Nancy she looks nice.  I tell Nancy a bunch of things, mostly true.  She smiles but she doesn’t blush.  A girl like that is used to a compliment.  She asks me why I can’t stay out of trouble.  I say trouble can’t stay out of me.  The line doesn’t make any sense but she laughs like I’m Shakespeare and I start getting courageous.  I ask her about her dress shop that she wants to open.  She’s going to call it “Nancy’s Fancies” which sounds pretty fancy to me; I tell her it’s a great name.

My plan goes right by backfiring.  The two guys aren’t Italians, they’ve been working a logging camp up north, hence the tans.  They hit it off with Eddie.  Suddenly they’re best friends and slapping backs and toasting each other and having a great time.

She sees it too.  We’re alone.  Out of nowhere I feel her hand clutching my knee and she pours on the eyes, looking straight into me.

“Tom, you’re not well.  Eddie will be busy with his new playmates for a while.  Can I drive you home?”.  As she says it her grip tenses just a bit.  She stretches out the “O” in home.  My stomach is doing barrel rolls and loop-dee-loops.  I can smell her shampoo over the smoke and mildew.

I look over at Eddie.  The guy who bailed me out of more scrapes than I can remember.  The guy who looks after my cat when I’m out of town.  The guy with the perfect girlfriend.

“Ah geez Nancy…  We’d better wait for Eddie.  I told him I’d buy his drinks tonight”

 —————————————–

 You offered to drive me home – m4w – 28 (Victory Cafe)

Just so you know, i was caught off-guard when you offered to drive me home. Don’t think i have to explain why that was.

Anyways…..yeah. Too bad 😦

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Posted in: Fiction