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Me and Clint

by Neila Mezynski

The drive was getting to be tedious and the landscape redundant. It was a long stretch between Albuquerque and Los Angeles and the air conditioning in the old Buick was beginning to fail. Helen was beginning to loose patience especially since it was her turn to drive and Mike wasn’t stopping. He was asserting himself much to her annoyance. Let’s see how long it lasts, she thought.

They had been driving for three hours straight. Helen could feel the beads of sweat run down her neck and into the collar of her new blouse. Her carefully coiffed hairdo was beginning to wilt in the 107-degree heat.

“This heat is ruining my new blouse. I don’t see why you won’t pull over and get me a cold drink, Mike, it’s hotter n’ hell. It’s my turn to drive anyhow.”

Mike sat in stony silence. He was stewing about something. He wanted her to drive and take over as she usually did. He wrestled with a need to be taken care of which opposed his half-hearted desire to be in charge. But Mike didn’t have much practice taking charge. He usually chose overbearing women to do the heavy lifting.

Mike had been raised by a strong manipulative mother and two equally domineering aunts. The odds of his rivaling the manly Clint Eastwood were almost nil. When Mike was a boy his father died, and Mike thought of Clint Eastwood and the Marlborough Man as role models. But he’d had little chance to grow hair on his chest, living in a house full of women ready to stunt its growth or pluck it out. He’d had one male mentor in high school, but not long enough to make much difference; his mother afraid he might injure himself playing sports. Any sport.

“I’ll stop when I feel like it, when I’m good and ready.” Mike made a weak attempt to sound as if he really wanted to be on top. Helen smirked in amusement.

Her preference for weak males started when she was a kid. She witnessed her mom constantly haranguing Helen’s beleaguered dad. Helen’s dad would do anything to dull the viper sharp tongue. Which usually meant catering to his wife’s every whim.

Helen chose Mike. Just like dad: self- deprecating, looking for direction and not confident in the bedroom.

Helen was a fiery red haired beauty, secretly longing to be driven to her knees and whipped within an inch of her life. Shameful thoughts like that had no business seeing the light of day.

Helen and Mike were going uphill. Both pretending they were short-changed yet knowing they had it right. Strange bedfellows; blame-riddled battering rams.

Finally Mike gave in and pulled off the highway and into a small convenience store parking lot coming up out of nowhere.

“I’ll go get a couple of cold drinks. You stay here,” he said.

She purred, “Okay hon, get whatever you want, I’ll stretch my legs.”

The long hot day was turning into dusk and evening was fast approaching. The breezes had a calming effect. Soothing. As if a huge palm leaf was slowly, gently wafting back and forth. Upturned faces. Eyes closed. No thinking. Sweet relief.

They stood there leaning against the old Buick under the star-studded sky in the middle of nowhere in the comforting darkness, drinking in the blessed moments of peace. A good place, that blurring of the lines. You can see things more clearly.

Mike reached for Helen’s hand. They stood there for a long while in the soft dark. “You drive,” he said quietly.

Copyright © 2009 by Neila Mezynski

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