Fawnskin

Fawnskin

A Story by Thomas A. Morgan

The woman who picked me up at the bar was sound asleep and didn’t even stir when I got up from the bed and gathered my clothes off the floor and chair, and went into the living room to dress.  I put my clothes on in the dark, imagining how I looked but not really caring since it was now four in the morning and my bus would be heave-hoeing in a couple of hours.  I sat on the edge of the couch lacing up my shoes when the hall light came on.  A moment later she was leaning on the frame smiling in the silhouette dark.

            “Thanks for finding your way up here,” she said.

            “I’m glad you went to the show.  It was a pleasure meeting you.”

            She yawned and fiddled with her hair.  She was a pretty woman, older than me by some amount of years that I couldn’t remember.  We met after the gig and we shared the rounds.  She was drinking a mature woman’s drink that was more alcohol than sweetener, and I was getting lost on mountain air, a few Wild Turkeys, and her pretty smile.

            “Are you going to come back through here again?” she said.

            “Maybe someday.  If I do I’ll look you up.”

            “I’d like that.”  She crossed the room and was even more naked when she sat down next to me and put her arm on my shoulder and leaned into me.  She smelled clean, like spring air.  She whispered something sleepy and kissed my neck.  Her body was hot.  Her naked breast rested on my arm.

            She said, “Do you remember my name?”

            “No,” I said, “but I think it was something pretty.”

            “All girls’ names are pretty when you’re drunk.”

            “I’m not anymore.”

            “You were,” she said.

            “So were you.”

            She agreed and laughed.  Then the room filled in with silence again.  Her hand rested on my knee.  She was breathing heavily.

            “I wish you’d stay,” she said.  “I can tell you my name again.”

            “What is it?”

            “Kelly.”

            “That’s a pretty name.”

            “I’m a pretty girl,” she said.

            “You are,” I told her.

            “Can I at least give you a ride to the station?”

            “You sure?”

            She kissed and caressed my hand and walked to the bedroom.  I stood by the door where I had left my guitar.  When I looked up she was in jeans and a thermal t-shirt, and the black leather jacket that caught my eye just five hours before.

            “Ready?” Kelly said, snatching her keys from the wall hook. I grabbed my guitar and followed her out the door.

            The morning was as cold as the night before.  There was a dusting of snow on the ground.  Clouds hung low and still on the sun horizon.  The air was thin since we were at eight thousand feet.  I could see the town across the lake.

            “How’d you wind up here again?” I said, slipping my guitar into the back of the car.  “Pretty far away from things.”

            “We’re only a couple hours from L.A.,” she said.  “What’s your name again?”

            “Chris Burton.  Everyone calls me Kit, though.”  She drove a mid-90s Camaro with a white rally stripe down the middle.  She told me on the way over that she got it after the accident involving her kid and some guy.  She knew the roads real well up here, but still there was this dusting of snow, so I white-knuckled the door the whole way to the bridge and beyond.

            She said, “Well, Chris, I really am glad you came to play here in Fawnskin.”

            “It’s a nice town.  And I like the name.  It’s sexy.  It’s very sexual.  Fawnskin.”

            “Isn’t it?” Kelly said.  She laughed like a poolhall girl.  She dropped the window and lighted a cigarette.  The CD skipped on a bump.  She held my hand in hers and looked over at me a couple of times.  “What are you doing next weekend?”

            “I don’t know,” I said.

            “Do you want to come on up here again?”

            “I don’t have much money,” I said.

            “I do.  I could pay for your bus.  Can’t be that much.  How much did it cost to get here?”

            “Thirty bucks,” I said.

            “My purse is on the floor there.  Can you get it?”  I picked up her purse.  “Look for my wallet.”  I found her wallet and handed it to her.  “No, check the money.”

            There was a hundred bucks in there, maybe a little more.  I told her this and she said for me to take fifty.

            “I can’t do that,” I said.

            “Take it.  I insist.”  She squeezed my hand tighter and looked at me as she drove.  “Please?”

            “It’s half your money,” I said.

            “It’s half of what’s in my wallet.  Just take fifty and come back.”

            She pulled the Camaro to the side of the road and turned in her seat.  I could see her tight jeans in the morning light but it didn’t matter now because I’d seen her naked.  Her bangs hung down below her eyebrows and she smiled like an angel.

            “You could get a job up here,” she said.  She motored the window down and pitched her cigarette into the road.

            “But we don’t know each other,” I said.  “We’ve been together five hours.”

            “It seems like more.”

            “It does.”

            “Are you going to come next weekend or not?”

            “If I can get off this mountain I promise I will come back.”

            “Only if you want to,” she said.

            “I know.  I do want to.”

            We kissed.  This time it was me kissing her.  I held her face in my hands and she moaned, but it was a subtle kind of moaning, kind of in-the-shadowy-darkness kind of moan.  Yes, she hatched that just for me because she felt me that close and maybe remembered us sobering up in each other’s arms while we made love a few hours ago.  She pulled away and smiled, her teeth like pearls at night.

            She said, “What time does your bus come?”

            “Six, I think.”

            “Put your guitar in the front seat, and join me in the back.”

            I got out of the car and dragged the case from the back and leaned it on the hood.  I looked in and could see Kelly unhitching her bra in the backseat.  She said, “There’s a blanket in the trunk.  Grab it, will you, Chris?”

            “Is it open?”

            “Keys are in the ignition.”

            I reached across the seat and grabbed the keys then popped the trunk.  A neatly folded blanket bulged from a backpack.  I yanked it from the pack and passed it behind the seat to her.

            “It’s friggin’ cold,” Kelly said.  She curled herself in the seat, all wrapped up in the blanket.  I joined her as soon as my boots hit the floor in the front seat.  My guitar stood guard against the hood.

            Kelly angled herself into my arms.  She was warm but her arms and legs were cold.  She shivered and yawned and excused herself.  She stared at me.  The radio light reflected off her eyes.  Her face was full and close.  She pushed me back in the seat and straddled my lap.  The blanket was draped over her like a dark, wooly length of night and her long dark hair fell around her shoulders like mountain laurel.  I felt the warmth of her body against mine.

            She said, “Men don’t stay long enough.  You’d think they would with all this mountain around us.  I seem to let them come and go too much, but I don’t want to be like that anymore.”  She pressed her soft lips into mine and breathed.  “Do you know what I mean?”

            “I don’t think I do,” I said.

            Kelly laughed.  “I wouldn’t expect you would.  You’re the kind that leaves.”

            “I said I’d come back.”

            “Yes, you did,” Kelly said softly.  “Yes, you did.”

            We made love again in the back of her Camaro then dressed and sat on the still-warm hood where I played guitar for her awhile�"something bluesy, something country.  A high lonesome melody for her alone.  And she was all wrapped up in the song, and all wrapped up in the blanket like a roadside Indian and we laughed about that and waved to the cars that passed on the early morning road.  The sky lightened and I was getting more and more tired from lack of sleep and from sex, and she had her head rested against my shoulder and said we should get coffee.

            “There’s a place near the bus station,” she said.

            “What time is it?” I said.

            “We have about forty minutes.”  She kissed me and we got back into the car and drove to Big Bear.

The coffee shop was just opening its doors, so we went in and were all punch drunk.  The deadhead behind the counter was cheerful and sleepy too, and he sat with us as we drank our coffees and watched the sunrise.  He told us that he was from Arkansas and followed the jam band Phish out West one time and just stayed.  He wandered up here with some long-lost hippie girlfriend who walked out on him one Sunday afternoon.  He wound up staying, thinking one day she’d come back.  She apparently never did, and it wasn’t really a downer but I could feel Kelly’s grip tighten on my hand just the same.

The bus pulled into the station across the street and we watched the driver get out and stretch and wave to the five or so people who disembarked with him.  He talked with the station manager and the bus idled, and I had my eyes locked on Kelly’s.  They were filled with tears, and I didn’t know what to say because I was feeling sad too.  She laughed and looked across the street and wiped her eyes.  She shrugged and sniffed, and leaned across to kiss me and spilled her coffee.  She cursed, and the deadhead swept through with the warm rag and cleaned up.  I laid a few bucks of my own cash on the table and we went outside.

We walked across the street to the station�"Kelly tucked beneath me, and me with my arm around her like on the cover of that Bob Dylan record�"and went inside and stood in the short line.  Kelly stood next to me holding my hand tightly.

“Next weekend,” she said quietly.

“Yes,” I said.  We moved up in the line.  She looked around at the empty sadness of the bus station and the impatience of the place pressed around us.

“This damned town,” Kelly said.  “This damned place.  Sometimes I can’t stand this damned place.”

© 2012 Thomas A. Morgan


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Added on April 24, 2008
Last Updated on September 13, 2012

Author

Thomas A. Morgan
Thomas A. Morgan

L.A., CA



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Working on an epic poem called "California Variations". It'll be divided into at least six parts and will be totally free form. I'm pretty excited about it. But the writing--that's where I find mys.. more..

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