I'm reminded of this short story I wrote many years ago that I never finished. How would you like to see it end?
(your soft porn queen)
The Mason Always Knocks Twice
It was my first sick day in over a year. I was coming down with something, but work had been kicking my ass and it was a good excuse to stay in and catch some bad talk shows and sleazy soaps as well. I made the most of it by getting the girlfriends to go out until 1 am on Thursday night, and I came home and fell into a t-shirt, and into bed.
Instinct made me look at the clock at 9, momentarily panic, and then remember my plan. I only had to leave about 5 voicemails to get the day off. My guilt was somewhat alleviated by the fact that I worked until 7.30 the night before, and it was summer hours, and a half day on Friday at any rate. I rolled over and slept some more, for some reason having very naughty thoughts run through my subconscious haze of REM-deprived sleep.
I was awoken at nearly 11 am by a thunk on the side of the building. Always the worrier, I ignored it and fell back asleep. Ten minutes later I heard a more pronounced thump against my building. Curiosity and annoyance got the better of me. I threw open my dusty blinds facing the street to be encountered by a surprised look of a man right outside my second floor window. Sleepiness and pleasure froze me in place. He had sandy, dishwater blonde hair, bedraggled, crisp green eyes and dirty, dirty hands similarly frozen in place on his ladder.
I stepped back from the window and realized I was clad in only my pink Victoria Secret cotton panties and a tight t-shirt. He seemed to get a grasp of himself, smiled subtly and lowered his eyes. I ran to the bathroom adjacent, forgetting to close the blinds. Which would be the appropriate thing to do.
Stealing into the kitchen I made myself a cup of mint tea and found an errant cigarette on the kitchen table. I tried to gather myself - why is there a man in overalls at my window? I tiptoed to the front windows and saw two utility trucks parked outside. “Lupacic’s Masonry” read the lettering on the doors. Ahh, yes the decorative facades on the 1920s three-flat had been needing some repair. Last week was the final straw, a chunk of one of the lions had fallen onto the sidewalk, almost injuring the teenager who lived in the basement (and loved on the sidewalk after dinnertime). The landlord was finally making a smart investment in his treasure. God, did real masons even exist anymore?
When I snuck my head back into the bedroom, the face and the ladder were gone. I threw on my velour pants and snagged the blinds closed again. The various sounds around the outside of the house were fascinating to me at this point. Where was he? How many of them are there? Marybeth, stop. Wake up, I thought.
After an hour of General Hospital interspersed with TLC at commercial breaks, I decided the charitable thing to do would be to make a big pitcher of lemonade and take it outside to Lupacic and his crew. I would get this whole half-naked thing behind me and show the eastern Europeans how cool I can be with a trivial matter such as this.
I stole a frozen can of pink lemonade from my roommate and begin to mix it up, getting into a strange rhythm, stopping myself. What is up with me today? Everything is charmed, set to a musical beat. I grabbed tumblers from the glass pantry and dumped in huge of chunks of ice from our old fashioned ice cube trays. Stacking them on top of each other, I strolled down the stairs in my bare feet and emerged outside to find the workers. The two trucks were still there, but the noises were coming from the side of the building. I gingerly stepped around bits of stone and broken glass from teenager revelry the night before and found three men on ladders around the corner. They were each eagerly chipping away at the fading decorative work on the outside of the building. Sandy-haired spied me immediately.
“Umm, hi. I was wondering if you boys were thirsty? I had the day off and..sortof made some lemonade.”
There was an awkward pause as all three stopped working and eyed me.
“Ah, yeah. Thanks.” They mumbled in some agreement.
They began to descend their respective ladders and a nervousness I had for some reason not felt just before this moment overtook me. I put the pitcher down on the concrete, not so elegantly, and began to hand out the drinks.
The eldest of the group, a contractor in his 50s, saddled over first with a friendly grin.
“You live here - building?”
“Umm, yeah. Just have the day off, wanted to make sure you guys are all right. Thanks for this. Its such a beautiful place.”
“Ah, yes great work on this. We fix real good. Make good, better maybe?”
Sandy haired god and another brunette hunk joined the old man.
“Hey thanks. Getting warm out here.” Sandy-haired smiled sexily at me.
I took the opportunity to notice exactly how warm it had got. There were well placed sweat marks on sandy-haired, highlighting his chest muscles.
My newfound shyness took the better of me.
“Well, if you boys need anything, just give me a buzz.
Number 2. Casey.”
“Are you Irish?” asked the man who was responsible for my own stains now, wettingly, apparent only to me.
“Just a little,” I taunted, turning on my heel and flouncing back around the corner.
As I dug the keys out of my waistband I cursed myself.
What the fuck was that supposed to mean?
I settled in for a short endurance of humiliation. In the end I was only doing a charitable thing. So what if they saw me as some cliché of American youth, living alone in an an apartment with no husband, trying to make nicey-nice with the immigrants. As I combed through my bar-hair, I remembered that my overalls-wearing hunk didn’t have a trace of an accent. I ventured into the kitchen for a mango, eating it above the sink. Naturally, as the juice was falling from my hungover lips, a face appeared at the kitchen window. Again, I froze in place. He couldn’t see me as I wasn’t making a spectacle of opening window coverings and standing in panties. My jaw went slack and I couldn’t touch the dribble coming from my mouth. He noticed me, and smiled. I smiled back and rose my mango to the air in a mock salute.
Dork. What was that? Happy Mango to you? I felt as if should leave the house in order to let them get on with their work. But the more rational part of me realized that would be foolish. How often do I get to spy such hot ass on a Friday afternoon? I settled into the front windows with my fascinating lexiconic book and another cup of tea. I could hear them still working on the side of the building, and as three p.m. turned to four I realized I was way too caffeinated to sit still and cracked open a beer from the fridge. About a half hour later I heard the buzzer go off.
“Hello?” I questioned.
“Sorry, we seem to have a problem with one piece. Do you have a phone I can borrow?”
‘Sure, come on up.”
Thankfully, I had brushed my teeth and thrown on a pair of my favorite jeans at this point. Sure my hair wasn’t combed and I still wasn’t wearing a bra, but at least it seemed like I made some progress with my day. I opened the apartment door and watched him mount the steps. He looked intrigued and humble.
“Sorry, my brother called off today and he’s got the right tool for this thing.”
‘Sure, the phone is in the kitchen.” Or, the bedroom, I thought, as I watched his taut ass walk away and saw him try not to stamp too much on my hardwood floors through the dining room.
“Christian, you have to get over here and bring the drill. What? You’re drunk already? Dad is going to have a heart attack. We said we’d have this job done in two days and this is all we need. I can’t believe you’re going to....”
I sensed some family discord and politely gave space.
I retreated to the window again and picked up my book. After some inaudible grumbles I heard the cordless being replaced and gentle giant footsteps coming back through the apartment.
“Well, I think we’re done for the day. My brother fucked up again. Oh, sorry. Pardon my french and all. Just that he’s such a bastard slacker.”
“Quite all right. So it sounds like you’ll be at it again tomorrow?”
“Yes, should be all set then.”
“Would you fellas like a beer in the garden? Its quite lovely. Lots of flowers.”
My face turned bright red at this suggestion, but I awaited his response eagerly.
“Yeah. well, let me see if my Dad has any more plans for us. Can I give you a buzz if that’s cool?”
Smiles all around.
“Whats your name?”
“Marybeth Casey. Number. Two.” I swallowed hard.
That’s such an unsexy thing to say. Number. Two.
“OK, well I’ll let you know either way,” he replied with an unbelievable grin. “I’m Mikeal.”
Outside I heard some foreign words I could only assume to be curses against Christian. Ten minutes later, after staring at the same page in my book, I heard the trucks take off. I felt deflated. Bored. What am I doing with my day off?
Then the buzzer again. Fed Ex? Ring and split?
“Hello! Its Mikeal. Is the beer still on offer?”
“Come on up!”