Excerpt from The Limits of Respectability
Usually, in the depths of midnight, the truck is silent, but it was the first night of a new tour, and we were not only awake; we were also animated.
We yakked about everything, from our potential stops on the way to what we liked sexually, to our favourite music, but mostly about sex like it was some new fad we all had to have—parachute pants or those clumsy bricks called cell phones. After all, we were young, dumb, and full of cum—horny males, driven more by our testosterone than the truck carrying us. We were dying for a piece of what we went into music for in the first place—the subtle folds of sweet, pink, fleshy orchid-like genitalia, or Chub-stock, as we called it back then.
Wires had a constant halo of smoke, wreathed about his head as he drove—the glowing embers moving silently, yet with forest-fire stealth, along the white paper of another cigarette rendering it to ash. His eyes gazed forward, blinking his nervous blink. For the most part, he was mute. The only words I heard him speak we’re, “we were almost on empty” and would have to “stop at the next gas station.” That was forty clicks and two cigarettes ago.
Space was sitting in the shotgun seat because it was where he parked his ass when he wasn’t sleeping. Magic sat with his knees pulled up to his chest. His back to the engine casing for warmth, he faced Wally, Thumper, Barlow and I, on makeshift mattresses atop the ton of equipment. From where we lay he seemed nothing more than a dark shadow with glowing white teeth, floating on the edge of reality; a Cheshire Cat of nightmares, there to slay us all.
I remember Magic began the conversation, “I like women’s legs, long, smooth, nicely tanned,” he said. “I look for the three of diamonds baby. That’s when you can tell if a woman has what I want.”
Space retorted, “What the hell do you mean—three of diamonds?”
“If you look at a woman from behind when she is standing with her legs together—”
“What chick have you ever known who keeps her legs together, Magic?”
“—Let me finish Space . . .” Magic huffed in frustration then continued, “If you look at where her legs meet, you can see the three of diamonds, one at the ankles, one at the knees, one at the luscious ass.” Magic cupped his hands as if he was holding the world’s plumpest derriere.
“Bullshit. Give me a full set of tits.”
I learned on the pedestal of my arm, propping up my face with my hand as I entered the fray, “Real or fake, Space?”
“Real, puh-lease—I don’t want any flotation devices to choke on. I need something I can get my mouth around and knead, while I lie there and let the bitch work—”
“Sounds like you, you lazy bastard,” Magic said.
“Knead?” I questioned, “Are you making a pizza?”
“—and nipples, oh God, give me nipples I can hang my bandana on.”
“I want a woman who can feed me.” I’d thought Wally was sleeping, but apparently not, as his blond mullet appeared above the covers. His face was shrouded in shadow, but that hair? It roared its dull, primal whisper, like the wind in a field of wheat under a full moon at harvest time.
“Just like you Wally, always thinking of food over women.”
Everyone laughed, even Wires who had perked up and was now listening intently to the free-for-all.
“I want a woman just like my wife, with a good personality.”
The mirth changed to groans with Thumper’s comment.
Magic moaned, “Get the fuck out-a-here.”
“Shut your mouth rookie, only the Man-whores may speak,” Space said. “You can tell it’s your first time out with us, Thumper. Shit, six weeks from now you’ll be singing a different tune, I guaran-damn-tee it.”
“I love my wife, and I love my baby girl.”
“You love your dick too. We’ll see who you love more when the tour is over. You’ll be so erect if you don’t get any, we’ll all be calling you Tripod.” Space had everyone laughing again.
Turning to Barlow, I said, “What about you Doc?”
“Give me a big set of piss-flaps,” he said. He hinged his elbows up, sliding the mantle of his hands under his chin. He wiggled his interlaced fingers to accentuate his statement. “Big lips—the bigger, the better; the kind you can pull over your head.” And like a magician’s big finish, he pulled his imaginary labia over his skull. Ta-da!
“What, you trying to get back into the womb, Doc?”
“You asked me what I like. I’m telling you. Piss flaps, with lots of pubes. We’re talking big hair too, like the women back in the seventies. That’s when women were women; no landing strip, no paedophilic, shaved clam, just bush far as the eye can see. Fields of curly, thick brambles—something you can floss with after you’re done.”
Magic questioned, “Brambles? You’re going to make me sick—”
“Oh, and camel toe—you know, when women wear their jeans so tight they get that indent? That puffy sweet Venus mound parting the pussy down the middle like Mosses is ready to lead the Israelites through it.” He began to wiggle his fingers under his chin again. With his silhouetted features and big hair, he started to resemble a giant vagina waving at me from a break-water of rippling lips.
“That’s enough, Doc. Shit. I’m sorry I asked.”
“So Sparky, what do you like?”
“Same as you guys, women and lots of them.”
Space grumbled, “Cop-out! You’re not getting off that easy. Come on. It couldn’t be any worse than Doc Barlow’s fascination for kite-size vulvas.”
They all had their eyes trained on me and were taunting me to give it up. “There must be something you like about chicks that we have, or haven’t said.”
“OK! I’ll tell you if you all promise not to laugh.”
“Where do you think you are—the dinner table with your family?” Space said. “We can’t make a promise like that, Malveen. Come on, spit it out—?”
“I like feet.”
There was a brief moment of stunned silence while they all digested this information followed by guffaws. “You’re shitting us . . . feet?”
“That’s what I said . . . feet.”
“Tell us, Dr. Scholl. What’s so mesmerizing about feet?” Doc said.
“Women’s feet, not all feet,” I said. I noticed Wally had retracted his under the covers probably for fear I couldn’t contain myself and would be lunging at his toes.
“Alright, woman’s feet. What’s the deal? Spill it.”
“I just think they’re sexy. But feet that are nice and soft, with cute tapered toes, well managed. No hammer toes. No bunions. No deformities. I don’t want a woman who needs sidecars for her shoes because she’s spent most of her life shoving her poor feet into pumps.”
Doc had become very interested, “So, what you’re telling me is, if a gorgeous woman, with ugly feet, walked up to you and said, ‘take me now Angel Drawers,’ you’d turn her down?”
“Exactly, I don’t care if she’s Miss frickin’ Universe, I can’t sleep with a woman who’s got nasty, splayed, banana-tree-climbing, feet.”
This brought on a loud commotion from everyone in the vehicle, except Wires who focused on the road between puffs on his cigarette. Yet, I could tell he was keeping his ear involved in the proceedings.
The questions were coming fast and furious now. “What about toe polish?”
“As long as it’s all one colour and not chipped.”
“Are you an out of the shoe man, or an out of the shower man?”
“Out of the shower—although, I have sipped beer from the odd high heel,” I said.
“When did you first know?”
“Some time ago when I was in high school . . . I think . . . I was in science class dissecting worms. The smell of formaldehyde was in the air. I looked down at Betty Sussman’s feet. She was wearing sandals, and I thought, man, she has really nice feet—massive pant-rock. I’ve never looked back.”
“Do you find it hard to concentrate around women with bare feet?”
“Let’s put it this way. I walk into a lot of walls in the summer.”
“Do you just like to look or do you actually suck on them?” Thumper asked half amused, half disgusted.
“Hey my friends, you have to give them some tongue play. There are twenty-eight erogenous zones on the foot.”
“I shit you not. I’m still looking for the last two, But t-wen-ty-eight. If you know where the pressure points are, you can get a woman to do anything.”
Wally had slipped his hands under the covers and converged into a ball. I could tell he was pressing on his own feet, trying to find an elusive Pandora’s Box of pleasures.
“Je-sus, Wally,” Doc Barlow moaned as he felt Wally’s knobby knees hit his ribs.
“You’d turn down the most gorgeous chick?” Space still couldn’t believe what I had said. “You’re a freak, Sparky—”
“Hey Space, if a woman walked into the bar with her breasts exposed and her ‘bandana nipples’ in your face, wouldn’t you be aroused—?”
“That’s a stupid question.”
“Feet are my breasts, Space, that’s all—”
“Breasts for feet, that’s really strange,” Wally said, still with his toes in his hands, out of sight.
“I just think tits are a healthier obsession than feet—”
“So because I don’t subscribe to your ideas I’m a freak? I happen to think physically, feet are the most sensuous and erotic part of a woman’s body and deserve the attention. Women will let you massage their feet before you get a whiff of anything else and from there the possibilities are endless.”
This sparked a new round of controversy as everyone began to boost their own fetishes. “Legs you idiots—”
“Big tits or give me death—”
“Food . . . In fact, corn, mash potatoes, beef Wellington—”
“I miss my wife—”
“It’s only been six hours Thumper. Christ!”
“Ok tits and ass,” he said.
Doc was wiggling his fingers under his chin again. “Big hairy piss-flaps,” he said.
“—Ten succulent toes. You don’t know what you’re missing—”
“Tits, tits, tits—”
“Wonderful, beautiful, bountiful piss-flaps—”
“Strawberry cheesecake, deep-fried chicken—”
Even Wires had joined in and was now vocalizing his desires. “Moose,” he said.
“—Stuffed pasta shells in a cream sauce—”
“Huge, gigantic flaps—”
“What did you say Wires?”
“What kind of pussy is that—?”
“Maybe he means moose knuckle—?
“—that’s messed up.”
Wires shouted as he slammed on the breaks, “MOOSE!”
Directly ahead of us, the lines on the road were now dripping out of a moose—a gigantic, antlered beast had become alarmingly large in our line of sight. Wires twisted the steering wheel hard to the left as the truck fish-tailed in its skid. The road was slippery, and we could not find traction. The moose stood its ground in our game of chicken, gazing with dark eyes, the devil’s eyes, as we approached.
Wires fought with the Ghost but had lost all control. We braced for impact as the truck skidded sideways toward our foe—slow motion; yelling muffled voices; the sickening thud of the collision; the sudden thrust of bodies toppling over one another to the passenger side of the truck. Then silence.
If you would like to read more of this novel, please go here.