“That’s where Warrior works,” chirped Billy. “Drive her over, man. That’s her car over there.”
Warrior? A gang name? Driving my car?
The blue man whose name was Warrior looked at the tiny blue Honda Civic. The image of him squashing himself into my driver’s seat crossed both our minds. He placed his hand in the small of my back and guided me out of the garage to the driveway. I hate being touched by strangers, but I refused to flinch. He looked through the back vent window to survey my possessions.
“I like a woman who knows how to travel light,” he said in a comforting tone that managed to set me on edge rather than put me at ease. I was beginning to feel awkward and clumsy next to this big, yet graceful, man.
“You don’t have to drive me. But a map would help. Is there any paper here? I’m terrible with directions.”
“Sure,” Billy said, dragging out a greasy piece of paper from under a counter. He licked the point of a stubby pencil and began to draw, a clean, clear drawing that even I could follow. In my head, I got an aerial picture of the neighborhood. The block was huge, mostly taken up by the newspaper. There was a maze of alleys, but there was also a main access driveway to the loading dock.
“Thank you,” I said, taking the paper with my left hand and offering my right for another handshake. Without meaning to, he gripped hard this time. My eyes stung and I gasped. He immediately shrunk back.
“I’m sorry, Sweetheart. Did I hurt you?”
I blinked back a few tears and laughed.
“I’m fine,” I gasped. I turned toward the car holding my precious map, and saw that Warrior had rearranged my things and pushed the driver’s seat all the way back. His blue head was grazing the roof. He got out again and looked to lower the seat, but the car was too old for that feature. I accepted the fact that I was about to be driven.
“Do you always take the keys when you get out?” Warrior asked. “It’s a good habit. I approve.”
He held out his hand for the keys. Not keys anymore. One key for the car. There was nowhere else I was locked out of. I didn’t even know where I’d be spending the night that night, my first night in Phoenix. I handed him the key.
Warrior took off his light riding jacket and threw it on top of my things. The tattoos continued up his arms. I wondered what possessed people to mark themselves so thoroughly and
permanently. My face showed my thoughts.
He turned the key, and my trusty blue friend started instantly. Reliable. We backed slowly and carefully out of the driveway. Was this scary motorcycle man trying to impress me with model behavior? I was confused. I tried to stare straight out the windshield.
“What?” I answered. Had I spoken aloud without realizing it?
“Yes,” Warrior said again. “I’ll be happy to show you where else I’m tattooed.” I flushed. He chuckled softly at my discomfiture, not really laughing out loud. He’d done this before. I realized it was a pissing contest. I was already losing. I needed to get on the offensive.
“You’re used to motorcycle mamas and tattoo groupies, aren’t you?” I asked in my most serious and disdainful voice. He got my message, looking mildly surprised.
“You really were there for directions, weren’t you?”
“What else?” I asked, truly curious.
“You’d be surprised,” he answered, “at how many women just drop by looking for a pick-up.”
“Are you serious?” I asked, quite shocked at the brazen behavior of my fellow women. This time, he did laugh out loud. I wasn’t behaving girlie, I really was girlie. No pretense about it.
“The guy who owns the camper…” My voice trailed off.
“Oh, he’s the master. We all could take lessons from Declan.” No wonder he lives in the driveway. Like Buddha’s assertion, he sits in one place and the world comes to him. Probably bringing food, too. I asked.
“Do they feed him, too?” That tickled Warrior even more.
“Sex and food,” he laughed. “I love women.”
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