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Taking Orders

February 11, 2011

This story is what my writing group calls a “floating chunk.”  (I’m in a writing group!)  It started life as a character background for a book.  I’ve cleaned it up a little.  I thought I’d post it here for fun as a first draft.

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Taking Orders

Jason Holbrook didn’t find a summer job he wanted.  The varsity quarterback had waited until school let out before he started looking.  The rural fast-food joint would have to do—at least no one from school worked there.

Jason’s job started after a week-long family vacation.  Only then did he find that Scott Sanders—an upperclassman from school—had been hired at the restaurant the week before.

Scott was everything Jason wasn’t—a singer, an actor, an artist.  Scott was known to have a chip on his shoulder.  Jason’s obvious size advantage seemed to make Scott cockier at work.  The actor took full advantage of his week of seniority on the job, announcing every mistake that “jock-boy” made.

Scott was practically auditioning when the girls from show choir visited.  “I have to show jock-boy who’s boss sometimes.”  The girls huddled in giggling embarrassment across the counter, throwing shy glances at Jason.

Jason stewed as he thought of a retort for every third insult, but he was never quick enough to keep up with Scott’s rapid-fire dialogue.  The continual haranguing drove Jason’s anger inward.  He didn’t complain to anyone about how Scott treated him.  He only had to hold out nine weeks.  He daydreamed about all the ways he could knock Scott into lockers come fall.

Oddly, there was something Jason liked about Scott.  A playfulness in his eyes.  His toothy smile.  Hell, Jason almost laughed at half the insults Scott hurled at him.  There was something that Jason envied about Scott—or wanted.  But it wasn’t clear in his mind, like a conversation overheard from the next room.

One night, Jason and Scott were closing together.  Jason mopped the formed plastic dining room while Scott emptied the registers.  The back of Jason’s neck had been taut all day—from Scott regularly yelling his name and the dread that filled the time between.  He rolled the mop bucket back into the kitchen; the door hit Scott.

“Watch where you’re going, dumbass!”

We’re alone, dumbass.

Jason slung the bucket into a metal cabinet.  The mop handle clacked on the floor.  Scott turned around, ready to shout something.  Jason grabbed Scott’s shoulders and slammed him onto a wall.  Scott swung his hands up in defense.  Jason clamped onto both arms and pinned them to the happy-colored tiles.  He looked into Scott’s winced features with rage that wanted venting.

“We’ll see who’s a dumbass, you little shit.”

“What do you think you’re going to do to me?”

“Whatever I damn well please.”  Jason was transfixed by Scott’s throbbing neck.  He yearned to take a bite of it.

“What about this?” Scott whispered.  He pushed his face into Jason’s.  His lips latched onto the quarterback’s before Jason could pull away.  Shocked and disgusted, he let Scott off the wall and wiped his mouth with his forearm.  Societal condemnation twisted his features.

Scott turned to walk away.  “Get back to work.”

Nothing doing.  Jason would get the best of Sanders one way or another.  He hooked his hand on Scott’s neck and yanked him back around amid panted protests.  Jason planted his mouth firmly on Scott’s and held him there tightly.

Scott moaned and flexed his jaw to engage Jason’s meaty lips more gracefully.  Jason sucked angrily, uninterested in gentleness.  You’re going to take this and like it.

Scott went limp in the quarterback’s arms.  He moved his hand up Jason’s side.  Jason roughly shoved the hand behind Scott’s back, twisting him into an arm-lock.  He pulled Scott’s torso into himself.  Scott grunted and tried to call out, his mouth still engaged with Jason’s.

Jason needed air.  He let go, shoving Scott into the prep table.  They both bent over and gasped heavily.  A flummoxed expression crossed Scott’s face.

Jason was shocked at himself.  Then he … smiled.  Not sneering, not mocking, not forced—a kind of joy was on his face.  Scott hesitated with embarrassment, then smiled back and laughed under his breath.

They stood upright, each heaving a sigh.  Jason shook his head and stretched his thick arms toward the stained ceiling tiles.  He turned again to Scott, who was leaning against the stainless prep table, rubbing his eyes.

Scott met Jason’s stare.  Something had changed in their eyes.  Something subtle, intangible, unexplainable.  Something that wanted more.

“Let’s finish up in here.” Jason said, sensing he should take charge now.

“Yeah.”

They cleaned the kitchen as usual.  But their eyes strayed through the shelves and down the aisles.  Sneaking glances.  Catching each other looking back.  Smiling.

“What are you looking at?” Jason asked, laughing.  He had butterflies in his stomach.  And a discomfort in his pants.

They hurried to finish their chores.  “Keys!” Jason called out.  Instantly he caught the set from Scott.  He locked all the kitchen doors and the drive-thru window.  He met Scott at the back exit and held it for him.  “After you.”  Jason walked into warm, lusty night air that snuck through his clothing and brushed over his face.  He locked the door.

“Gimme my keys back.”

“You’ll have to come get ‘em, boss-man.”  Another smile.

Scott took the bait.  He chased Jason to their cars at the back of the lot, next to a small landscaped hill.  Jason stiff-armed his new playmate and jingled the keys tauntingly with his other hand.

“Come on, punk, come and get ‘em.”

Scott stepped back, ducked down and tackled Jason onto the grass.  They both whooped and laughed as they hit the warm mound.  Scott jumped on top of Jason, pinning his arms.  “Look who’s in charge … again.”

Jason tried to think of something witty to say; he was glad Scott didn’t wait for it.  They were kissing again, now with more enthusiasm.  Scott started to unbutton Jason’s uniform.  The quarterback ran his hand through Scott’s thick hair.

Jason didn’t know what this new feeling meant.  He just knew that he felt it—right then, right there.  He was young, stupid … horny.  He wasn’t looking for a relationship or love.   He certainly wasn’t going to find either in the back of Scott’s hand-me-down minivan in a fast-food parking lot.  They were just having fun.  Jason thought they were both mature enough to know that.

 

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