Waiting

Waiting

So Jimmy's just standing there, in the last of the twilight, smoking.  He can see Vince through the windows of the trailer, doing something in the kitchen.  Probably doing dishes or something.  There's a blue flicker of the TV in the living room, and he can hear Vince's little brother and sister squealing and splashing in the bathtub, and their mom's dead-tired voice telling them to knock it off. 

Jimmy smokes and waits, watching the fireflies.  His daddy is having one righteous and furious drunk right now, pissed off because somebody - and Jimmy knows who - set fire to the equipment shed behind the church.  Burned up all the junky sports crap and the couple of marquee tents Viggo kept back there for church picnics.  And no way in hell was Jimmy gonna sit there and take shit for what that Section 8 motherfucker Kelly did.  So he mumbled something about getting smokes and was out the door while daddy was still trying to coordinate enough to get up from his chair.

He wants to go find Kelly and kick the shit out of him, but first he wants to find Vince and maybe just take him down to the Kiwanis ball-field.  There isn't a game tonight and the grass under the splintery bleachers is always nice and short, soft under your feet.  He'd like to lay Vince down and lick the summer sweat off him, like to kiss the sweet-sour taste of crystal right out of his mouth and make those long legs quiver as he pushes deep inside.  And then do it again after he's wore Kelly out with a fuckin' two-by

Vince finally stops moving around in the kitchen - wipes his hands on a dishtowel and comes out the front door.

"You go feed the animals, boy, here me?" Vince's daddy yells.

"Yeah, I'm goin'," Vince yells back, letting the storm-door slam behind him.  He comes down the cheap little set of aluminum steps that wobbles under his feet, smiling that smile that Jimmy is starting to think of as his own.  Makes a little 'come on' gesture with his head.

Jimmy sighs, but he flicks the cigarette butt away down the gravel and follows.  In the back of the trailer Vince's daddy Tony has put up a straggling line of cheap plastic garden lattice - a dismal attempt to fence in his property and keep the animals from bugging the neighbors.  'Cause Tony is one'a those kinda guys, the kind that just can't live without fuckin' animals.  He's got close to two dozen wire-thin half-breed hunting dogs back here, and they come out of the cool depths under the trailer and mill around Vince, tails slapping against his legs, mouths dropping open in happy pants.

Vince is bent over a big galvanized garbage can and he stands up with two milk jugs in his fists, the bottoms cut out to make scoops.  They're full of dog food and Vince goes over to a length of rusting, corrugated sheet-iron and pours the dog-food out in two long rows.  The dogs swarm it, snarling and nipping at each other, and Vince turns back for more.  Out of the surrounding shadows come the cats - probably thirty or more scrawny feral creatures, full of ticks and fleas and worms.  Vince pours more food into a row of rusting lunchboxes up on some straw bales, and the cats climb up and dig in.  Vince murmurs happily over some half-grown kittens who hiss and arch but let him pet them, and Jimmy shakes his head.

"Fuckin' things'll give you fleas," Jimmy says, but Vince just smiles at him, pushing his long bangs back out of his face.  The back yard is mostly dirt and stinks of dog shit and rot where the hounds have drug up a road-killed armadillo.  Tony has a cousin who works two counties over at the Purina plant and every couple of weeks he brings a truck-load of spoilage over for the dogs.  Then he and Tony go hunting - coon hunts and frog gigging, or shooting deer and turkey out of season over in the corner of state park that borders the cousins' property.

There's rabbits back here, too, in knocked-together hutches filled with dirty straw.  They mostly eat the rabbits, but if everything goes right, and he's been sober enough to pair the right bucks and does, come Easter Tony'll have a whole box full of little baby rabbits.  White ones that Vince and his mom have dyed with food coloring.   He'll sell 'em on the church lawn and then for two weeks or so half the kids in town'll have little blue and pink and yellow bunnies - until they forget to feed 'em or a coyote or owl or stray animal gets 'em.

Vince pours rabbit pellets into the aluminum pie-plates in the rabbit hutches and checks the water bottles, then uncoils the garden hose and turns it on.  He stands there, filling the old bathtub that the dogs and cats drink from and Jimmy doesn't feel like waiting anymore.  He goes over and stands behind Vince - runs his hand up under Vince's sweat-damp t-shirt, feeling the knobs of his spine and the bumps of his ribs.  Vince arches his head back a little and smiles, looking at Jimmy out of the corners of his eyes and Jimmy leans in close and swipes his tongue up Vince's neck - bites at the underside of his jaw and Vince leans into him like one of those skinny little cats.

"Gonna fuck you," Jimmy murmurs, grabbing Vince's neck in his hand and squeezing - shaking just a little.  Vince's breath comes out of him in a ragged explosion and he blinks over at Jimmy - slips away and shuts off the hose, tossing it over an ancient, rusting cook-stove that Tony has dragged back here.  Jimmy can see his cock, already hard, against the worn crotch of his dirty jeans and Jimmy grins at him.

"C'mon, lets go," he says, and Vince smiles at him, and they go.