||[Jan. 23rd, 2007|01:28 pm]
|||||I feel the earth move under my...||]|
Ed and Hank, Chapter 23, Still New Year's Eve Day.
Takin' the long way 'round...
Includes the interlude: Detour ahead...
(Fasten yer seat belts, it's gonna be a bumpy afternoon...)
BTW: If you don't read Ed and Hank's story, but do like some of the interlude/photo montage stuff, just scroll down 'til you get to that part. It's part of the story, but it can stand on its own too.
Disclaimer: Hank told their story to Annie Proulx. Jack and Ennis are all hers. Ed and Hank belong only to each other. $$: No one has sent any yet... Darn... Comments: Always appreciated.
Everything else is here:
Part 23, Still later New Year's Eve Day...
“Ya know damn well what… Did ya find tha’ house with the nativity?”
“Easy ‘nough ta find the house. You were righ’… plenty a signs of a struggle. Weren’t a purty sight. All of ‘em strewn ‘bout like tha’…”
“‘N them folks chewed me out good as Edthedog chewed up tha’ poor baby lamb…”
“Shit… Yer kiddin…? I shoulda gone with ya…”
“Yeah…’m kiddin’… Least-wise ‘bout gettin’ chewed out.” Hank laughed, “Jus’ wanted ta make ya feel a l’il guilty ‘bout makin’ me go alone.”
“Asshole... Wha’ really happened?”
“Them three kings ‘n Joseph ‘n Mary were knocked over… but not chewed up like tha’ plastic lamb. Santa Claus was left standin’ though. ‘N you’ll be relieved ta know the baby Jesus escaped unharmed. Them folks weren’t home. So’s I jus’ stood them figures back up ‘n left a note with our phone number.”
“Santa Claus were part a the nativity?”
“Seemed ta be. Didn’ see no shepherd. Maybe Santa's fillin’ in while tha’ shepherd is vacationin’ or somethin’.” Hank sat down on the couch, pulling his boots off then leaning against Ed and putting his feet up on the coffee table next to Ed's, “So… Ya gonna spill the other part a tha’ story 'bout wha' finally convinced ya ta move in with me… or not?”
“Guess so… Ain’t much ta tell… told ya it weren’t earth-shatterin’” Ed hesitated, clearly thinking about how to start, “Do ya remember tha’ fella I worked with, name a Eddie?”
“Think so… Weren’t he the fella tha’ ya told me jus’ dropped dead one day?”
“Yeah. Tha’ were him.”
“‘N weren’t there somethin’ bout his name?”
“Yeah. Poor guy… Got hired after me by jus’ a few months. ‘N his name were ‘Ed’ too. Caused a whole lotta confusion ‘round tha’ place fer a bit. Not knowin’ which Ed was bein’ called or talked ta. Boss finally jus’ decided ta call me ‘Ed’ ‘n him ‘Eddie’.” Ed smiled, “Damn… He sure hated tha’.”
“Couldn’ they jus’ have used his middle name or somethin’.”
Ed laughed, “His middle name were even worse. He didn’ tell no one but me, but it were ‘Virgil’. ‘Edward Virgil’”
“Tha’s worse sure ‘nough.”
“Guess he kinda took ta me or somethin’. Maybe ‘cause I were the only one could still call him ‘Ed’ ‘n not confuse the whole place. So’s over the years we got ta be purty good friends.”
“Any reason I should start feelin’ jealous ‘bout now?”
“Yeah, dumbass, tha’s wha’ this here story’s ‘bout. Me ‘n Eddie sneakin’ off ta kiss behind the outbuildin’s… Then once the fella I really loved dropped dead weren’t no reason fer me ta stay ‘way from ya no more. So’s I moved here. The end.”
“Okay, okay… I’ll let ya talk…”
“Well… Eddie got this idea in his head tha’ he had ta see New York City. Craziest thing… All the other fellas thought he were nuts. Guess I kinda did too.”
“Wouldn’ mind seein’ New York City ma self…”
“Don’ s’prise me none… Anyways… Eddie started learnin’ everythin’ there was ta learn ‘bout New York City. Drove us all prit’ near crazy. Day in day out… year after year… Talkin’ ‘bout it all the time. Tellin’ us how high all them dif’rent buildin’s were. Still remember… one called the Chrysler buildin’ were his fav’rite.”
“Think I know which one ya mean. Seen pictures of it.”
Ed shook his head, “Remember seein’ on TV a year or so after he died tha’ they lit up the top a tha’ buildin’... too bad he didn’ never get ta see tha’... Tell ya, he prob’bly knew tha’ city better ‘n a lot a folks tha’ live there. Ordered himself a new guide book every year or two… Ended up wearin’ ‘em plumb out pagin’ through ‘em all the time. Always sayin’ this would be the year he’d go. Think he’d spend his days thinkin’ a New York City like I’d spend ‘em thinkin’ on you.”
Hank grinned, “Ya did? Thought ‘bout me a lot, huh?”
“Wouldn’ ‘xactly go sayin’ ‘a lot’… Only ‘bout every chance I got.”
Hank adjusted himself on the couch so that he could put his arm around Ed and pulled him close, “Same here, Cowboy…”
“Anyways, weren’t much stoppin’ him from goin’. Didn’ have no wife or kids. No girlfriend most a the time neither. He were kinda shy when it came ta women. ’N money weren’t the problem. Havin’ jus’ his self ta take care of. Know he saved up ‘n could afford ta go. Coulda taken the time off easy ‘nough too... Finally asked him why he jus’ didn’ go.”
Ed shook his head, “Knew it were hard fer him, but he told me the truth. Tha’ he were ‘fraid ta go. ‘Fraid a travelin’ by his self. 'Fraid a gettin' took advantage of. Convinced he were gonna get mugged or shot or some such if’n he went. All tha’ news ‘bout tha’ ‘Son a Sam’ killer was on the TV back then. ‘N tha’ big blackout they had.”
“Yeah… Remember tha’ stuff. So… Guess the poor guy never made it ‘fore he dropped dead…”
“Who the hell is tellin’ this story?”
“Took him a couple a more years… Told me he were still ‘fraid. Tha’ hadn’ changed none. But said he were gonna go anyways. ‘Fraid or not. ‘N he did. Got a cousin a his ta go with him.”
“’N nothin’ bad happened ta him…”
“You really wanna tell this yer self dontcha?”
“Did end up gettin’ his pocket picked while he were ridin’ on one a them subways. But had most a his money ‘n other important stuff in one a them there money belts under his clothes. Hell… he got a kick outta tellin’ ‘bout tha’ much as anythin’ else.” Ed laughed, “Musta heard tha’ story a hundred times. Think I could still repeat it word fer word…”
“Go right ahead…”
“Nah… Think ya get the idea well ‘nough.” Ed smiled, “He sure ‘nough had the time a his life though. Came back plannin’ ta go again. Sent us all postcards. Took a bunch a pictures. Had a righ’ good time showin’ ‘em off. Most a the fellas got so sick of ‘em they’d high-tail it in the opposite direction when they’d see him comin’.”
“Betcha ya looked at ‘em every time though?”
“Well… yeah… Didn’ wanna hurt his feelin’s. Didn’ hurt me none ta look. Righ’ glad I did. Poor guy dropped dead not more’n six months later. Righ’ in front a me.”
“Wha’ killed him?”
“They said it were prob’bly some kinda blood vessel burstin’ in his brain sudden-like. Don’ know fer sure.”
“Yeah… But least-wise he got ta see New York City… ‘N jus’ made me think… All them things he were so scared ‘bout… none a tha’ come ta pass. ‘N then outta the blue… somethin’ else altogether gets him...”
“Shit… Ed… No disrespect ta Eddie, but… yer damn righ’ tha’ ain’t earth-shatterin’… I’d been tellin’ ya tha’ fer years… over ‘n over again… durin’ every damn argument we ever had ‘bout ya movin’ here.”
“Know ya were… Guess I jus’ never heard it when you said it. Or it jus’ never sunk in or somethin'. But seein’ Eddie drop dead like tha’… seein’ him lyin’ there… somehow it finally did sink in. Man really were scared ta death ta go. But… least-wise he got up the nerve ta do what he wanted ta do most in this world ‘fore he keeled over. Started thinkin’ I should least try ta move ta the town near ya. Be closer to ya. Figured if’n it didn’ work out maybe I could jus' move back, get my old job back.”
“So you tellin’ me if’n this poor guy hadna died… we wouldn’ be ta gether?”
“No… I dunno… Maybe… Sure hope not…”
“’N then… guess tha’ near slidin’ off tha’ cliff were like the final straw… Course wouldna gone over... Truck were slidin’ slow ‘nough tha’ I woulda jumped ‘fore it went over the edge… Still… gave me a righ’ good scare…”
“Was yellin’ fer ya ta jump. Thought ya were frozen or somethin’ ‘n couldn’ do it.”
“Nah… Well… maybe kinda… but… think I woulda jumped when it came righ’ down ta it. Jus’ didn’ wanna get all muddy ‘n risk breakin’ somethin’ ‘lessen it were real necessary.”
Hank didn't say anything, but wasn’t quite sure that he believed Ed, knowing how scared he was of heights.
“So… Iris saved ya from doin’ yer self in. ‘N Eddie made ya move in here with me permanent-like... Anyway I mighta influenced ya over all them years?” Hank was getting a little ticked off.
“Tell ya one thing…sure as hell weren’t Eddie… or even Iris… I were thinkin’ a when I were headed toward the edge a tha’ cliff…”
“Yeah… Bet ya were thinkin’ a Nora… She ain’t figured inta none a this yet… Or maybe my ma’s pie… Betcha had visions a my ma’s pie…”
“Only parts a ma life tha' were flashin ‘fore m’ eyes were the ones featurin’ you, dumbass.” Ed grinned then, “Course I cain’t help it if’n we mighta been eatin’ some a yer ma’s pie in one or two a them flashes. Yer ma made a lot a pies.”
“A lot a good pies.”
“Best pies I ever ate. ‘Fore or since.”
“Well… Lessee… I sent roses ta Iris… But ain’t like it’d make a lotta sense ta send flowers ta a dead man. Maybe we could take a trip ta New York City in Eddie’s honor instead?”
“Don’ go holdin’ yer breath on tha’ one.”
“Ya jus’ got through tellin’ me he went ‘n nothin’ bad happened ta him...”
“Big difference ‘tween bein’ scared ta do somethin’ ya wanna do ‘n jus’ not wantin’ ta do somethin’.”
“Guess I’ll have ta settle fer Chicago then. Fer now, anyway. Sorry Iris is gonna be gettin' too busy again right away. Be a good time fer us ta go now tha’ ev'rybody’s feelin’ good again. When did she say her job migh’ be calmin’ down some?”
“Beginnin’ a March, maybe…”
“Think things’ll be startin’ ta get too busy ‘round here by then?”
“Not if’n it’s the very first part a March. Bill should be able ta handle things. But we can hire someone on temporary-like while were gone if’n we think we’ll need ta.”
“Ya cold, Ed? Jus' felt ya shiverin’ there…”
“Prob'bly from workin' outside before. Got kinda cold. Guess I ain’t quite hundred percent better yet. Took a hot shower when ya were gone ta the neighbors, ‘n tha’ helped.”
Hank got up and threw another log on the fire then grabbed the throw and put it over him and Ed as he sat back down.
“Shoulda waited fer me. Woulda been glad ta hop ‘n with ya ‘n wash yer back… ‘n whatever else needs washin’. Or jus’ tendin’ to.”
“May jus’ take ya up on tha’ next time…”
“So… wanted ta ask ya 'bout… What?!?” Hank had just offered to hop into the shower with Ed out of habit. He had stopped paying much attention to Ed’s answer a long time ago ‘cause he figured he knew what it was going to be. There had been a time when Ed not wanting to shower with him used to bother Hank, but after a while he just put it off to one of Ed’s quirks that he’d never understand or get around.
“Ya serious, Ed? Really?”
“Yeah… But… been thinkin’... maybe first I better tell ya why I didn’ wanna all these years… Jus’… well… in case I cain’t… Think I’ll be able ta… but jus’ in case…”
Hank was worried now, “Ya can tell me anythin’… Ya know tha’.”
“Ain’t tha’ big a deal… Jus’… my folks… Tha’s one a the… one a the ways they’d… uh… they used ta turn on the cold water ‘n throw me in there with all ma clothes on… hold me under tha’ water... make me stay in there in them wet clothes... ‘washin’ the sin outta me’ they'd call it…” Ed snorted, “Summer weren’t so bad. Cool me off damn good. But winter… well … they never ‘xactly kept tha’ house too warm…”
“Shit… Ed… No wonder…” Hank wrapped his arms around Ed. “Ya don’ hafta… We don’ hafta… Didn’ never think it were nothin’ like tha’…”
“No reason ya woulda… But… lately been thinkin’ maybe I been wrong all these years. Avoidin’ it ‘n all. It were a helluva long time ago now. 'N jus' think ‘s 'bout time I swap out them memories fer some new ones. Good ones. With you ‘n me ta gether.”
“Think tha’s a righ’ good idea, Ed. Whenever ya want. We’ll take it slow though. If’n ya ain’t comfortable we’ll stop.”
“Got one condition, Hank.”
“Whatever ya wan’. Ya jus’ name it.”
“Ya gotta stop lookin’ at me like tha’. Like ya feel bad fer me. Jokes on my folks after all. Gettin’ out from under all tha’ ‘n endin’ up livin’ a good life’s been the best revenge. Don’ even matter if’n they know ‘bout it or not. ‘Sides should feel bad fer them not me.”
“Them? Knowin’ how they hurt ya… Cain’t hardly ‘xpect me ta feel bad fer them…”
“Jus’ miserable people leadin’ miserable lives… If’n they’re even still alive... Don’ have no idea… Jus’ don’ understan’ wha’ makes people... Dunno if’n religion can do tha’ on its own or if’n maybe there were somethin’ wrong with ‘em deep down ‘n all tha’ religion jus’ made it worse.”
“Dunno Ed… Cain't even pretend ta understan' it.”
“Still sometimes makes me think they saw somethin' in me even I didn' know were there. Makes me think ‘bout Iris too… Cain’t ‘magine hurtin’ her jus’ ‘cause I thought some so-called holy book were tellin’ me to. Tell ya… not even God his self coulda made me hurt a hair on tha’ girl’s head.”
Ed laughed then, “Betcha if’n my pa had been Abraham ‘n God had told him ta prove his faith by killin’ me he woulda plunged tha’ knife inta me righ’ quick... ‘fore God had a chance ta tell him it was all jus’ a big ol’ practical joke.”
“Jeez, Ed… Tha’ ain’t funny. Tha’ story always creeped me out when I were a kid… Still does. Pretty sick story… blind faith… blind obedience… Ain’t never a good thing.”
Hank smacked his forehead, “Damn… a blindfold! Never thought a tha’…”
“Other nigh’… Remember? When I tied yer wrists ta the bed frame? Think a blindfold mighta made it even better fer ya…”
“Don’ think ma poor ol’ heart coulda stood it.”
“Yer heart’s strong as a bull’s. ‘N fearless too. Think yer the one’s got yerself tha’ fearless heart. Not me.”
“Tha’s jus’ a big ol’ lie. Not like I weren’t scared ta death ta move in with ya. Been scared plenty a times… Jus’ ta day… scared a goin’ over ta the neighbors.”
“Okay then. I got the fearless heart. Yers is brave. Except maybe when it comes ta the neighbors.”
“Ain’t brave neither.”
“Sure is. Fearless means ya ain’t ‘fraid a nothin’. When ya think ‘bout it, fearless is kinda stupid. But brave means ya know damn well there’s plenty ta be ‘fraid of ‘n ya go ahead ‘n do it anyway if’n it’s wha’ ya want. If’n it’s the righ’ thing ta do. Yer heart’s definitely a brave one. L’il slow maybe. But brave nonetheless.”
“Hah… Only brave thing I ever done were ta let ya tie me up the other nigh’.”
Hank laughed. Then a horrible thought suddenly went through his head, “Ed… Yer folks… they didn’ never tie ya…”
“Nope. But prob’bly jus’ ‘cause they didn’ never think a it. Jeez… Hank… Better jus’ tell ya what went on ‘fore ya start imaginin’ all kinds a stuff.”
“Don’ have ta Ed… Weren’t never gonna make ya talk ‘bout this stuff.”
“Migh’ as well get it over with… part a the story after all. Mainly jus’ made sure they didn’ ‘spare none a them rods’. Hit us… sometimes with a belt, sometimes not. Well... didn’ never use tha’ belt on Ruth. ‘N they made us kneel a lot, sometimes outside in the gravel. ‘N tha’ shower thing when they thought the devil were in me particular-bad. Were glad they didn’ do tha’ ta Ruth neither. ‘N there were a lotta bible readin’ ‘n memorizin’ ‘n recitin’.” Ed snorted, “Tha’ would be the Old Testament, a course. ‘N wouldn’ get no food ‘til the both a us got it righ’… Tha’ ‘bout covers it… Know damn well it coulda been a lot worse…”
“Shit... Ed… Still sounds pretty bad…”
“Know wha’ though? Thinkin’ ‘bout it now… maybe if’n they’d a been nicer ‘bout drummin’ all tha’ religion inta me it mighta been a lot harder fer me ta get out from under it. Maybe I never woulda managed. Sooner or later, I mighta gone through with doin’ way with ma self. Prob’bly a lot harder ta figure out it’s poison if’n it’s fed ta ya all nice ‘n sugar-coated by folks sayin’ they love ya.”
“Never thought ‘bout it like tha’. Like all them so-called Christians tellin’ gay folks tha' they love the sinner but hate the sin. Turns out tha’ ain’t even in the bible. Looked it up on the internet after I heard some folks sayin’ it on TV at some protest ‘gainst gay marriage. Turns out tha’ Ghandi fella said tha’. 'N them bible-thumpers jus’ twist it inta a buncha hypocritical bullshit. Makes ‘em feel all holier-than-thou while brandin’ gay folks as sinners. Tha’ kinda crap can eat ‘way at a person. Make ‘em think there’s somethin’ wrong with ‘em jus’ ‘cause they’re livin’ ‘n breathin’. Tell ya though, bein’ gay is jus’ who I am ‘n ain’t gonna let no one tell me jus’ bein’ me is some kinda sin.”
“Dunno if’n I feel the same… Know a while ago I said I think I migh’ be gay… but jus’ ain’t real comfortable sayin’ gay is jus’ who I am…” Ed frowned, “Think I migh' hafta go back ta bein’ queer.”
“Back ta? Funny… don’ recall ya ever bein’ queer in the first place…”
“Ya sure? Know fer sure I ain’t never been homosexual… but coulda sworn I were queer ‘fore I were gay. Maybe yer memory jus’ ain’t what it used ta be.” Ed grinned, “So… How d’ya think them bible-thumpers feel ‘bout queers?”
“Think they like queers even less ‘n they like gay folks.”
“That settles it then… ‘m definitely goin’ back ta bein’ queer.”
“Guess maybe ya are gonna becomin’ a regular activist in yer old age.”
“Maybe... Think ya migh' make me one a them protest signs? Could say ‘Ed’s here, Ed’s queer, ‘n y’all jus’ better get used ta it’.”
Hank laughed, “Yeah? ‘N where ya plannin’ on carryin’ this sign? ‘Cause tha’d sure as hell be a sight I wouldn’ wanna miss.”
“Thought maybe I’d jus’ walk ‘round the barn a few times. Get used ta the idea. Don’ wanna be rushin’ inta nothin’.”
“Trust me… Ain’t no one would ever accuse you a rushin’ inta nothin’…”
“Tell ya... fell fer you purty durn fast tha’ summer… Went up tha’ mountain a fine, upstandin’, god-fearin’, straight boy ‘n next thing I know’d I were goin’ queer all over yer ass... ‘n every other part a ya.”
Hank laughed again, “Yeah. Guess ya did at tha’.”
“Cain’t say tha’ it weren’t kinda a shock ta ma system.”
Hank hesitated, “Sometimes… kinda get the feelin’ ya mighta gone through more on tha’ mountain than ya let on ta me few months ago when I started tellin' our story.”
“Maybe…” Ed paused, “Fer a while there… every time I left ya ta go up ta them sheep… I’d spend the day swearin’ tha’ had been the last time. Even goin’ down on ma knees askin’ fer forgiveness. Prayin’ tha’ the want would go ‘way. ‘Xpectin’… hell… maybe even hopin’… ta be struck down by some kinda bolt a lightnin’… ‘N then every time I’d come back down ta camp I couldn’ keep ma hands off a ya…” Ed laughed, “Even though ya migh’ as well a had a tattoo on yer ass tha’ said, ‘abandon hope all ye tha’ enter here’.”
“Jeez, Ed… Never know whether ta laugh or cry with ya…”
“Think ya should go with the laughin’.”
“Yeah… Guess in this here world if’n ya start cryin’ ya jus’ migh’ never stop.” Hank paused, “So… were it like tha’ fer ya most a tha’ summer?”
“Nah… After a few weeks weren’t so bad... Started ta seem like the God I’d been taught ta be so ‘fraid of maybe weren’t up there. Rest a the world fell ‘way ‘n there were jus’ you ‘n me ‘n tha’ mountain. Course God would scale them peaks jus’ ta torment me every now ‘n again, but didn’ seem like he lived up there full time. Confused me good, ‘cause I thought if’n ya were up tha’ high ya should be closer ta God… practic’lly sittin’ on his doorstep ‘n all.”
“Maybe God jus’ had a cabin up there… ‘n he weren’t really tryin’ ta torment ya… jus’ takin’ the occasional weekend vacation ta get ‘way from all them irritatin’ bible-thumpers down below.”
Ed snorted, “Could be… Think tha’ migh’ be an entirely diff’rent God yer thinkin’ a though.”
“So… d’ ya think if’n ya met me some other place, but not up on tha’ mountain, ya still woulda fell fer me? Like if’n I worked with ya or somethin’, like Eddie did?”
“Hell… I dunno Hank… Like I said… after a while… up on tha’ mountain… got ta feelin’ like we were the only two fellas left in the whole world… ‘n know damn well tha’ made it a lot easier fer me. Withou’ tha’… mighta kept tha’ part a me buried real deep. Ya know all tha’ religion weighed a lot heavier on me once I were back down at them lower elevations.”
Ed grinned, “Hey… never thought a tha’ ‘fore… maybe I weren’t never really in love with ya… maybe all tha’ dizziness, queasiness ‘n not bein’ able ta catch ma breath were jus’ due ta altitude sickness…”
“Yeah… think tha’s whatcha musta had… some kinda high-altitude induced homosexuality. ‘S a real epidemic out West. Gay shepherds everywhere. Cain’t hardly swing a bobcat by the tail withou’ hittin’ one.”
“Yeah… one problem with tha’ theory though… been livin’ at lower elevation fer a long time now ‘n I still cain’t catch ma breath when I look atcha. ‘N ya still make me good ‘n dizzy on occasion too. Ain’t queasy so much no more though. ‘Cept fer this past week, but I figure tha’ were more on account a tha’ flu bug.”
“Maybe all it takes is a visit once or twice a year ta them higher places ta keep it from wearin’ off.”
Ed frowned, “When’s the last time we went? Better make sure we get up there again purty damn soon. Don’ wanna be takin' no chances…”
Hank laughed, “Okay, maybe we can take a drive up there this weekend if’n it ain’t snowin. Now… don’ think ya finished answerin’ ma question...”
Ed sighed, “Jeez Hank, I dunno… Ain't easy ta answer them 'what if' kinda questions... But... fell fer ya so damn hard… prob’bly wouda happened anywheres… though withou' us bein' alone on tha' mountain mighta taken me a whole lot longer ta even figure out what it were and… uh… ya know… fer anythin’ ta happen ‘tween us.”
Hank laughed, “Minute ago ya were tattooin’ my ass with instructions, now ya cain’t even say it?”
“Weren’t instructions, more like a warning label, like they got on cigarettes. Or drugs… ya know… ‘Do not operate heavy machinery if’n ya take this here pill’.”
“Well… I better keep ya ‘way from them there drugs then… ‘cause I think I migh’ be wantin’ ya ta operate tha’ heavy machinery a yers a li’l later on. Maybe do some…”
Ed cut Hank off with a kiss as he pushed Hank down onto the couch and crawled on top of him, “Can start on tha’ job fer ya righ’ now if’n ya’d like fella…”
“No time like the present… but... ya gonna give me some kinda guarantee? Know how some a you contractor-types work…rushin' the job... or startin' a job 'n ya don’ ever finish it... 'n all tha' shoddy workmanship...”
“Think I jus' been insulted here. Finish every job I ever started. ‘N do some real fine work if’n I do say so ma self. Won’ leave the job site ‘til yer good ‘n satisfied… no matter how long it migh’ take.”
“Ya got a license fer tha’ kinda work tha’s valid in this state?”
“Prob'bly not the kind ya'd like. Tha'd be an entirely diff'rent state. But wha’ I got in mind’s been legal fer over three whole years now in this here state. Course it were more fun when it weren’t… but we can still do it under the table if’n ya want.”
“Righ’ here’s jus’ fine. Think Edthedog migh' be sleepin’ under the table.”
Ed pulled Hank up to a sitting position and tugged his t-shirt off then pushed him back down and started on his jeans, “First rule is tha’ there’s no pants allowed. ‘N gotta get rid a anythin’ else tha’s in ma way too. Like ta keep an uncluttered job site.”
“Tha’ rule apply ta the contractor too?”
“Sure ‘nough does.” Ed quickly pulled off his own t-shirt and jeans.
“Looks like tha’ equipment a yers is already rarin’ ta go.”
“Keep it maintained. Like ta be prepared fer any situation tha’ migh’ come up. 'N looks like ya brought yer very own heavy equipment ta the job site.”
"Don' go nowheres withou' it. Got a certificate ta operate it 'n everythin'. Wha' 'bout you... ya got the proper trainin’ required ta drive tha’ thing?”
“Self-taught. At first. Weren't too good at it though. Then this handsome fella I met up on some mountain showed me all kinds a other interestin' things could be done with it.”
"Lucky fer me ya met tha' guy..."
“Nah... more like lucky fer me..."
"C'mere Ed..." Hank pulled Ed down to him, wrapping his arms around him, holding him close, unable to resist moving against him.
"Whoa there, Rodeo... Thought ya didn' wan' me ta rush...? First things first... Gotta inspect this here job site ‘n do a lotta prep work ‘fore I bring any a tha’ heavy machinery inta play… make sure yer good ‘n ready fer it. Ya wan’ me ta start from the top ‘n work ma way down or the bottom ‘n work ma way up?”
“Yer the expert… leave tha’ in yer hands.”
“Big job. Think it’s gonna require more’n jus’ my hands... Looks of it, it’s gonna take a while... Could be kinda dangerous too... Ya sure yer ready?”
"Ready, willin' 'n able..."
“Hmmm… Sure 'bout tha' bein' 'able' part? L’il worried ‘bout this … Lotta moanin’ ‘n groanin’ goin’ on at this here job site. Ain’t real sure if it’s structurally sound ‘nough ta handle tha’ heavy machinery…”
"Ed... Damn... C'mon... Yer killin' me here..."
"Way it always goes... Ya try 'n do a thorough job a it... do the best ya can... 'n then all them unreasonable demands 'n complaints start up. Do it this way. Do it tha' way... bitch, bitch, bitch..."
"Okay, okay... customer's always righ'..."
"Hank... Damn... Hank..."
“... ... ... ... beep, beep, beep… … … … beep, beep, beep...”
“Ed… Wha’ the hell ya doin’ now…? Damn… No… don’ stop...”
“’S a safety precaution. All heavy equipment’s required ta beep when it’s backin’ up…”
“Dammit… Don’ make me laugh…”
“Safety ain’t never no laughin’ matter… beep, beep, beep…”
“Stop it… No not tha’… don’ stop…”
“Make up yer mind… Damn… Don’ think I can stop… Think we migh’ got ourselves a runaway truck situation here…”
“Hank… Jeez… Hank…”
“Damn… Now tha’s wha’ I call earth-shatterin’…”
“Ain’t liable fer any damages caused by the earth movin’. Tha’ falls under tha’ ‘acts a God’ clause in yer contract. Ya did read the fine-print… didn’ ya?”
"Awful nice a ya ta give God the credit, but tha' was all you, Cowboy… In fact, if'n God exists... ‘xpect he jus' stuck a whole passel a gold stars next ta yer name."
Ed laughed, “If'n God exists 'magine he's got lot more important things ta do than spend his time gradin' our love makin'."
"Got a point there... Bet he'd prob'bly jus' say tha' it weren't none a his business neither."
"Now what're ya grinnin' at?"
"Jus' realized ya said, 'love makin'... don' think I ever heard ya put them two words together before..."
"Course I used them words 'fore. Dontcha remember? Tha' second night I come down off a tha' mountain ta ya... remember it word fer word... I said plain as can be, 'Hey, Hank, I'd be much obliged if'n ya'd do me the honor a makin' love with me all nigh' long in tha' there tent over yonder'. Believe I also said please 'n thank-you..."
Hank smiled, "Thought I remembered every single minute a tha' nigh'... but don' seem ta recollect them particular words... As I recall, weren't many words spoken t'all... 'n if'n anyone were sayin' 'please' it were prob'bly me. Ya sure seem ta be rememberin' lot a stuff I don' lately... Guess maybe yer the one tha' shoulda been writin' our story all along..."
"Nah... more fun jus' correctin' ya when yer wrong. C’mere Hank… Still got me some a tha' finishin' work ta do.”
“Love ya, dumbass…”
“Love you too, dumbass.”
Ed 'n Hank don't really smoke.
They used to but they quit a long time ago.
(for each other)