April 7, 2011 by Ray Yanek
Prompt: Well, April is upon us and that tends to bring up the subject of fools. All of us at one time or another have known a fool, even if we rule out the exception of family. And how is a fool best caught you ask? With his pants down, and that is this weeks prompt. Someone has to be caught with their pants down in either a literal or figuitive manner. Is it a cat burglar, a philandering Senator, or just a kid caught in the cookie jar? Have a little fun with this one and show us a good fool. Sharpen those pencils and undo a buckle…
Gerald Greenway wasn’t into pants. Didn’t like shorts either. To Gerald, a man who wore shorts was akin to a man who wore those shirts that looked like a tuxedo, a man who was trying to cover both sides without committing to either.
Tom Mosbach had heard all those rumors and thought they were bullshit.
He found they weren’t.
As Tom pulled the old Dodge Ram onto the gravel road between the two empty cornfields, he stole a glance at Gerald who sat in the passenger side. Gerald’s gray-brown hair had been pulled back into a ponytail. Stray hairs the rubber band missed hung over his cheeks. Wisps of whiskers that served as a beard blew in the warm breeze coming through the opened window. He was big in the belly and the shirt that was two-sizes too small left the bottom of his gut exposed. And he smelled—well, he smelled like mangoes.
Who in the hell smelled like mangoes?
Whatever. At least Gerald didn’t have an aversion to wearing boxers. What tiny nuances made boxers different from shorts, Tom figured only God and this bloated fuckwit knew for certain.
Tom shook his head. “So seriously,” he said. “You’re gonna steal a truck load of cow shirt in your boxers?”
“Yup.” Gerald didn’t look at him. He kept his eyes on the windshield as the muscles in his jaw worked to produce a toothpick that Tom swore he didn’t have in his mouth before.
Gerald nodded. He reached down to the floorboards, brought up a grimy red thermos, flipped the nozzle open, and took a long suck.
Tom exhaled, leaned towards the driver’s door, and rested his forearm on the wheel. After a moment, Tom adjusted himself in the seat. He flipped his hand up over the steering wheel. “Never?”
Transcribe Einstein’s theories on a white board stashed in whatever barn you crawled out of, Tom thought. “Wear pants,” he said.
“Get arrested much?”
“Don’t go near ‘em.”
Tom shook his head again. Killing this loony bastard was going to be a pleasure.
* * *
Tom squeezed the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. Honest to God, he was going to take the gun he had stashed under his seat and put it to his own head. He resisted the urge though, and pulled the truck over onto the shoulder that wasn’t more than a strip of dirt next to an overgrown ditch. He put the truck in park, sat back, and closed his eyes as the wind changed directions and blew the dust the truck kicked up back over him.
The car door opened, Gerald shuffled his fat ass out, and Tom cringed when he heard the spray of water hitting the ground.
Second time. The second goddamn time in five miles the guy had to piss. Tom checked his watch. They still had plenty of time to make sure the truck wasn’t there when the real owners came to pick it up, but it was the principal of the thing. If the guy couldn’t hold his water, he shouldn’t be chugging from that Thermos.
Inconsiderate. That’s what it was.
But what did he expect? He was working for a criminal enterprise that stole cow manure—not to sell to homegrown terrorists that would make it into bombs or anything romantic and classy like that—but to sell to other farmers in the next county for a discount.
Outside, he heard Gerald groan and name each member of the Holy Family individually as the water splashed louder.
Speaking of classy.
And to think that Lawrence Sawicki—the Al Capone of dung-runners—considered Gerald Greenway his right-hand man.
Downright disgusting. Really then, with things like that going on, he had no choice but to take the operation over. He’d use Mega-Piss out there to make sure everything went fine with the taking of the truck. And then he would send Lawrence Sawicki a little message.
If a whole truck-load of cow shit barreling through the bay windows of Sawicki’s farm implement show room didn’t let him know there was a new man in town, Gerald’s feet sticking up out of said cow shit would.
There’d be no more rustling manure after that. Tom would tap quickly into the drug trade that ran up and down interstate 80, and he would run shit.
Not shit like in the back of the truck they were about to steal, but…hell with it. Tom knew what he meant.
* * *
The first thing the fat bastard did when he got back in the truck was drink from that thermos like he had just finished dredging the Panama Canal—by hand. Tom wanted to reach over and bitch slap the bumpkin right out of him.
Gerald’s time was coming though. He put the truck in gear and pulled back onto the gravel road.
“So that why you’re not into pants?” Tom said, curiosity getting the better of him.
“Is what why?”
Tom scratched his chin. Even though he was going to put a bullet through the fucker’s head, he still wanted to be polite. Kill them, he reminded himself, but don’t become them. “You know, easy access for the weak bladder?”
“It’s a freedom thing.”
Tom eyed him. “You mean so that the boys can—“
“No. I mean I don’t need The Man telling me that in order to be a member of his club I need to restrain my manhood behind a pair of jeans.”
“Let me guess, your mom was a 60’s bra burner.” Who probably thought she was black, too.
“That’s a myth. Them women didn’t burn their bras at first. All that was concocted by the media to make ‘em look radical.” Gerald took another swig off the thermos. “At the Miss America Pageant in 1968, them woman took their bras and girdles and dumped them in a trash can. Weren’t no fires.”
“Seriously. That’s why you don’t wear pants.”
“No. It’s because when I do it chafes me right—“
“Stop.” Tom took his hands off the wheel and pushed his palms towards the windshield to emphasize his point. That’s what he got for asking stupid questions.
“Need to take another leak.”
Of course he did. Tom didn’t bother to cuss or complain. He just pulled the truck over and thought about the future.
“You know,” Gerald said, halfway out of the truck. “You really should learn you some history.”
* * *
They made it an entire three miles before Tom was forced to pull the truck back towards the ditch. He slammed the gear in park, smacked the bottom of his fist against the top of the steering wheel, and gritted his teeth until he felt his face go red.
“Why we stoppin’?” Gerald asked.
“Why the hell you think we’re stopping!”
Gerald looked genuinely perplexed. “You saw a pheasant?”
Tom grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and shook it like he was trying to loosen a Kit-Kat that didn’t drop from a vending machine. “No. I. Did. Not. See. A. Goddamn. Pheasant!”
Oh. Tom swore to God he was going to kill him. Slow.
“We really do need to get along,” Gerald said. “Got places to be.”
Tom didn’t answer. He pulled the door handle, kicked the door open, and slammed it when he got out.
No way in hell was he going to tell that pants-less half-wit that now he had to take a piss.
* * *
This was the part that got Gerald tingling. It was a test of his will, a time to put the virtue of patience to work. Each step he took over the gravel had to be slow and precise so as not to make any sound, but not slow enough so that he wouldn’t get where he needed to be in time.
It was all about timing.
As if Tom understood that, he played right along with it. Tom stood with one hand on the side, his other hand occupied, directing the stream of pee in a high arch. He had his head titled back to the blue sky and Gerald knew his eyes would be closed.
Gerald took another step. Then another.
He couldn’t help but smile. It was almost too easy. He told Tom he needed to learn some history, at least some of Gerald’s history. But the pants thing distracted Tom. The pants thing always distracted them.
Tom’s right elbow jittered as he shook himself off—a time or two too many for Gerald’s taste but guys like Tom would do that. Gerald waited, until the hand that was on his waist moved.
In conjunction with the hand movement, Tom lowered his head and took a look down at himself. Gerald swore he heard him say “yeah baby”.
Gerald shook his head.
This right here though, was what some of them professor-types would call a “critical junction”. This is where he had to time it perfectly.
Tom would tuck it all back inside and then Gerald knew Tom was the type of guy that would stick his ass out and try to stand on his tip-toes to zip-up.
When Tom did just that, Gerald yelled “BANG!”
* * *
Tom screamed like a little sissy-Mary-bitch. He understood that. But he had caught himself in his zipper, for Christ’s sake. Underwear, junk, all of it.
And it hurt.
He screamed again as he tapped danced around trying to get himself loose. His chin jammed down into his chest so he could see both what he was doing and inspect the damage.
Jesus, was that blood?
He thought he might faint. But then he thought about Gerald. What kind of sick bastard would walk up behind a man and do something like that?
Screw the truck, Tom decided. He was going to kill that goofy sonuvabitch right now, right here—just as soon as he got himself situated.
When he heard Gerald giggling behind him, Tom decided he wouldn’t even wait that long. He left his zipper were it was, let the rage and pain build inside him, and then he spun around.
Directly into the sights of a gun. Into the sights of his own damn gun.
“Understand why I don’t wear pants now?” Gerald said, smiling behind the trigger.