Bruce Adkins

632 NW 58th St., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-73112 (USA).
Phone (405) 842-0183 Email—Bbruce847@aol.com
 

 

The Executive and the Good Humor Girl
(Short-story)



Greg Fletcher, wearing a cowboy hat that he hoped would define his new life, drove his Mercedes north out of Houston with Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” blaring from his car radio. Greg hoped he didn’t have another dizzy spell before he got to New Mexico and his 620 acre ranch that his last tenant had recently vacated. He dreaded the long drive, but due to health reasons his doctor advised him not to fly.

Attached to the glove department on the dashboard of his car hung a plastic bag that contained his medicine. High blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, you name it and he had a pill for it.

But outside of his health, Greg didn’t have any worries. He was financially secure. And now at the youthful age of 49, he sought to give up striving to make more and more money. He was determined to forget the pressures, tensions and anxieties he endured for 24 years, most of which was spent serving as a high ranking executive of the Homer. Ramsey Oil and Gas Company. In addition he was tired of women by the dozens chasing after him because of his wealth. His wife died three years ago and he had given up finding another woman like her.

After a long day of fighting traffic jams and road repairs Greg checked into an Oklahoma City hotel, and then stopped off at the adjoining club to have a drink before having dinner and retiring for the evening.

Greg took a seat at the bar and placed his order when a girl squeezed in beside him. “Hey cowboy, buy a girl a drink?” she asked.

“I’m a non social drinker,” Greg said, removing his hat and checking his appearance in the long mirror that ran along the wall behind the bar. The girl laughed and laughed, an outrageous, contagious laughter, Greg thought.

“That’s so funny. What’s your name?” she asked.

“John Wayne,” Greg said without looking up.

“Ah, you’re too fat to be John Wayne,” she said, and laughed so loud that Greg couldn’t help laughing too.

“Would you like a date John Wayne?”

“No thanks,” Greg said, but then it occurred to him that he wouldn’t mind having some cheerful company. He needed some laughter in his life and he didn’t like to eat by himself. “Would you like to join me for dinner?” Greg asked.

She stood up. She was dressed in a red blouse, a white mini skirt and black zip up boots. She was tall, with thin shoulders, a flat chest, clear, dark skin and long black hair. Her lips were painted a bright red and a trace of rouge was still damp on her cheeks.

“I can’t do that,” she said. “I have to work. unless of course you’d like to pay me for my time.”

“All right,” Greg said.

“Are you talking about a romantic dinner in your room or what?” she asked.

She looked to be in her late twenties and so innocent that Greg wondered how got into her profession. “That’s sounds like a good idea,” Greg said. “But you can’t leave off the romantic. I just want some cheerful company.”

“Well, it’s gonna cost you,” she said. “I charge a hundred bucks for that.”

“Ok,” Greg said, as he finished his drink and got up from the bar.

“Up front,” she said.

“You don’t trust me,” Greg said, as he peeled off five twenties from a roll of bills and handed to her when no one was looking.

As they walked to the elevator she stopped abruptly. “Say John Wayne, you’re not one of those violent guys, are you? I’ve never been beat up before and I don’t go in for that kinky stuff.”

Greg turned and examined her up close. Despite all her laughing and confidence she exhibited, she looked timid and scared, he thought. “You can back out,” Greg said. “In fact I’ve changed my mind. You can keep the hundred bucks. I don’t need any company tonight,” Greg said, as he stepped on the elevator without her.

Some twenty minutes later Greg answered the door to his suite. He had just come out of the shower and greeted her in his bath robe. “I came up to have dinner with you,” she said.

A whore with a conscience, Greg thought. “How did you find me?” Greg asked while opening the door for her to come in.

She laughed that contagious laugh again. “You’re the only cowboy registered in this hotel,” she said.

The two room suite was furnished with all the comforts of home. Paintings lined the walls. A vase of flowers and a bowl of fruit decorated the table and a morning newspaper laid on a chair beside a king size bed.

They dined on a variety of fish and vegetables and finished their dinner with a bottle of red wine. Greg, his unruly gray hair combed in place and dressed in red silk pajamas and a white robe, tried to get the girl to talk about herself, but the standing operating procedure as he came to understand was for the customer to do the talking.

“I’m headed back to my ranch in Happy Valley, New Mexico,” Greg began. “I’m tired of all the big city rat race and all the stress, noise and pollution. I’m going to kick back, maybe go fishing, grow a beard and try to lose about 50 pounds. I’m going to get healthy again,” Greg said, smiling. “But I’m running off at the mouth.

What about you?”

“I don’t know your name,” she said.

“Greg, Gregory Fletcher,” Greg said.

“Are you a real cowboy?”

“Well, I’m going to be when I get settled on my ranch,” Greg said.

“Are you gay?”

“No,” Greg said nodding his head.

“Children?”

“No wife, no kids, I’m all alone.”

“Where do you get all your money, Mr. Fletcher? Do you rob banks?”

“I’m a gambler. I make most of my money in investments.”

“Good Lordly, I wish I could do that,” she said, while pulling her legs up under her like she might be performing a yoga exercise. “Well,” she continued, toying with her empty wine glass. “I hope someday to find a husband and have two kids before I get too old. Then, she paused and began talking so fast and Greg wondered if she was reciting her prepared speech. “I’m 27 and my name is Alberta although most people call me Birdie. I got raped when I was nine years old. I married at 15, but my husband got drunk and was run over by a train.”

She continued to tell one tale after another and Greg had trouble separating her facts from fiction. At one point he got so sleepy he went to bed. “Birdie,” he said.

“You can leave if you want to. I’m going to sleep.”

Some two hours later Greg awoke to find Birdie down on the floor doing pushups and watching a late night movie on TV and laughing that outrageous laugh again. Greg sat up and watched her and starting laughing too. Then he turned over and went back to sleep.

Greg awoke the next morning with the sound of coffee brewing. From the shower he could hear Birdie laughing and splashing in the water “Hey, good morning,” she called out when she realized Greg was up.

While getting dressed she told Greg about the television show she watched last night and laughed and laughed. Greg, while watching the stock market report on the television found hiself laughing too, but he didn’t know what he was laughing about.

“Won’t you have some breakfast?” Greg asked a few minutes later when she was finished dressing.

“No, I guess I’ll get going.”

“Do you have a busy schedule today?” Greg asked.

“No, I guess I’ll go back to my room and hang out,” Birdie said.

“Well,” Greg said, turning off the television. “You could ride out to the ranch with me.”

“Are you kidding?’ Birdie said. “You think I’d go out of town with a strange man. The last time I did that I got in trouble. But,” she said, pausing, “you’re a nice man. How much would you pay me?” She wore no make up and her long black hair was combed down below her shoulders. Her brown eyes reflected compassion and good will. She could have been a Sunday school teacher, Greg thought.

Greg smiled. “Oh yeah, I know it’s going to cost me.”

“Oh sure.”

“How much?”

“Well, let’s see. It’s a long way to New Mexico. Maybe about five hundred,” she said

“Just to keep me company?” Greg asked.

“Well, you know it’s gonna cost you,” she said, shaking her head. She looked so pretty at that moment, Greg thought. She stood there measuring him with her big brown eyes and her refreshing child like innocence brought a smile to Greg’s face.

“I’ll give you three hundred,” Greg said.

“No sex, not even a kiss?” Birdie asked.

“Just your company and good humor,” Greg said.

“I’ll take four,” Birdie said.

“Ok, you got a deal,” Greg said.

“Good Lordy! Just to ride with you. It will be like taking a vacation,” Birdie said. “But how am I going to get back?”

“I’ll fly you back,” Greg assured her.

Greg, concerned about being seen with Birdie in her provocative clothes stopped off at a ladies wear store in Oklahoma City and bought her a cowboy hat, boots, shirt and jeans plus a pair of running shoes that she insisted on having.

It was on the outskirts of Oklahoma City that Greg pulled his car off to the side of the road and held his face in his hands. “I’ve got to stop for a minute,” Greg said.
About that time a policeman pulled up behind them. “You can’t park here,” the policeman said.

“He’s sick,” Birdie said.

“Yean, well there’s a walk in medical center just round the next corner,” the policeman said. “You got to move this car.”
Greg put his car in gear and drove up in front of the medical center after stopping with a jolt.

“Your husband has high blood pressure,” the doctor told Birdie a few minutes later. Greg, after being checked over was dismissed with a shot, more pills and a warning to lose weight and cut down on his salt intake.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were a sick man?” Birdie asked when they were back in the road again. “I can’t be playing no nurse maid. How did I get myself in this mess?” she kept asking herself.

By that afternoon they had made their way across Oklahoma into northeast New Mexico. As they approached Happy Valley, located only three miles from his ranch, Greg stopped off at a super market and stocked up on groceries.

The old four bedroom ranch house, sitting well back of the road, looked the same, Greg thought, but he was shocked to discover his land that used to be good for cattle grazing was now filled with weeds and cactus plants. Behind the house were two barns and a big fenced vacant lot where in times past chickens and cows maintained their residence.

The interior of the house was clean, but the furniture badly in need of replacing reeked of a dry musty odor. Greg opened the doors and windows of the house and then tried out the telephone.

They only had two doctors in town. Greg called both of them, but the earliest appointment he could get to see a doctor was three weeks away. Then, while Birdie was putting away the groceries he called the airlines. “You can leave in the morning at four,” Greg said.

“That’s early,” Birdie said.

“You could stay here for three weeks and go to the doctor with me. I might need some morale support,” Greg said.

“Me, stay here three weeks,” Birdie said. “That would really cost you.”

“I might not be able to afford you,” Greg said.

“I’ll have to do some figuring,” Birdie said, but no sum was ever settled on.

After a light dinner they retreated to separate bedrooms. The next morning Greg was shocked to see Birdie standing by his bed dressed in shorts and in her new running shoes. “Want to go for a jog?” she asked/

A jog, a health running prostitute, Greg thought. What’s this world coming to?

“I been thinking you need to lose some weight and maybe I can help you,” Birdie said.

This is not the kind of stress free life I envisioned, Greg thought as he crawled out of bed. Maybe I should tell Birdie to leave.

Greg couldn’t jog, but with Birdie prodding him he managed, despite the hot summer heat, to walk two miles around the weeds and cactus of his ranch before he gave out. The next morning Greg, so sore he could hardly walk, tried to get out of exercising, but Birdie, with no mention of leaving the ranch, kept urging him on.
Birdie proved to be a good cook too, Greg thought, but he wished she would stop trying to starve him to death. She served him a bowl of oat meal, a banana and a glass of skim milk for breakfast, soup and salad for lunch and fish and vegetables for dinner. “I can’t exist on this diet. I can’t exercise,” Greg told her one morning. “I’m too weak.”

In addition to their daily exercise Birdie showed Greg how to plant a flower garden and how to care for a stray dog that had wondered on to the ranch. Later, Greg held the ladder while Birdie painted the eves around the house where the wind and rain had inflicted so much damage in the past.
One night Greg awoke to find Birdie in bed with him and kissing him on the mouth. “You’re a wonderful man Greg Fletcher. Do you know you’re the first man that I ever willingly kissed,” Birdie whispered, but when she got no reaction from Greg she hurried back to her own bedroom located on the other end of the house.
At the appointed time Birdie went with Greg to see his doctor. According to the doctor’s scales Greg had lost 16 pounds and his blood pressure although still not normal, was much improved.

On their way back to ranch that afternoon Greg handed Birdie an envelope. When Birdie opened it she squealed so loud Greg almost ran off the road. “Good Lordy, a check for three thousand dollars, one grand for each week I stayed with you. Is that it?” she asked.” Is this is for me?”

“Yes, but you don’t have to leave. You could stay longer,” Greg said.

The following afternoon when Greg came home from running errands he found his check along with a note on the dining room table.
Dear Greg, the note began.

By the time you read this I’ll be on the bus heading back
to Oklahoma. Greg, staying with you these few weeks
has been the most delightful time of my life. I didn’t know
there were any nice men in this world like you. You have
really opened my eyes. I’m going to find me a good job
and hold out for that husband and two kids that I told
you about. You need to continue your diet and exercise.
Best of luck, Greg. You’re a great guy.

Birdie
PS—I’m returning your check since I don’t want to
cheapen the best three weeks of my life.

How could she turn down three grand? Greg wondered. He wanted to tell her the time she spent with him was the most delightful days of his life too. But maybe it was just as well he got rid of her, Greg thought. She was a cheap prostitute wasn’t she? Yes, but she had no business being a prostitute, Greg reasoned.

The more he thought about it the madder he got. Two weeks later Greg wondered if he was losing his mind as he drove back to Oklahoma City. He stopped at the club where he first met Birdie and hung around there for over two hours, but she never showed up. Finally, the bartender told him he thought Birdie was working at the Hi Way Café located on the edge of town.

The Hi Way Café was a small place filled with loud music and cigarette smoke. “I Didn’t Know God Made Honky Tonk Heaven” was playing on the juke box as Greg was seated in a small booth near the back of the café.

Straining his eyes with every ounce of his energy Greg was disappointed for there was no trace of Birdie. When the waitress came back he asked her if a girl named Birdie worked here.

“She’s in the back,” the waitress said. I’ll go call her.”

A few seconds later Birdie, dressed in a white uniform with her long hair tied up on her head approached Greg’s table. Upon seeing Greg she put her hands on her face and screamed. “Good Lordy, what are you doing here?”

“Can you sit down?” Greg asked.

“I’m the only cook on duty,” she said, “but maybe for a minute.”

“Birdie,” Greg said, holding her hand. “I want you to come back to the ranch. He took a small box out of his shirt pocket and handed it to her. “Go on, open it.”
When Birdie opened the box an expensive diamond ring stared her in the face. “Oh Good Lordy,” she screamed again. Greg took the ring out of the box and placed it on her finger. “Is this for me?” she asked in disbelief.

“I want to make a respectable woman out of you. I want to give you a home and two kids if I can,” Greg said.

“You want to marry me?” she asked. “But why would you want to marry a girl like me?”

“Because I love you, damn it,” Greg said, not caring who heard him. “Come on, we’re leaving,” Greg said, grabbing her by the arm.

“You’ll have to get you another cook. I quit,” Birdie said, grabbing her purse on her way out the door.
Greg, in his blue jeans and cowboy hat and Birdie in her white cook uniform were married a few hours later in a small wedding chapel. Not long after the ceremony they checked into a hotel only this time there was no fooling around. “Come on Greg, we better hurry and have two kids before I get too old,” Birdie said, laughing that outrageous laugh again.

Greg hoped he didn’t have a stroke as he successfully demonstrated his manhood for the first time in over three years. “If I die right now right now,” Greg said a short time later. “I’ll die a happy man.”

“Good Lordy, Greg Fletcher,” said Birdie. “You’re not gonna die now. Our life is just getting started.”

* *

Bruce Adkins, 2632 NW 58th St., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-73112 (USA). Phone (405) 842-0183 Email—Bbruce847@aol.com

 

 

 
     

 

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