Home > Funny Stories by Dick Oakes > Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

I was waiting for a bus when I saw her. Across from Grant’s they had a closed car dealership and she pulled in there. I leaned back a little against the front window. Grant had a bunch of old cakes in there that had melted and some patriotic bunting that was creased and tattered to hell. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

It was hot and the little bit of breeze did nothing but blow dust everywhere in this fuck-all town. I looked up at the little faded bus sign and wondered if the damn thing was ever going to come.

I looked back at the girl. She had put on an enormous straw hat that hid her face but was really selling a black strapless number and she had great legs. You’re a bum Oakes, a bum with fucking sores on your legs and nine dollars in your wallet. I thought about the night before, in the motel room. Couple of foreigners screaming at each other upstairs and me in the bathroom with a razor to my neck. Easy now. Easy. I had backed away, gone upstairs and told the assholes to can it. They did.

And now here I was, in the daylight watching a pretty girl with amazing legs cross a baked desert road at high noon.

She stopped under the overhang and looked at the cakes. I turned around and as I did, one of the cakes collapsed into the bunting.

“What a queer event,” she commented.

“Something you don’t see everyday, a cake collapsing into some bunting.” Oakes, you stupid shit. You got nothing else to say to this woman?

“How is the food here?”

I got a look at her face then. It was an exotic face, only pushing thirty but there was pain on it. The eyes were large and distant.$_57

“It says good food on the banner.” Oakes, for fuck’s sake, you’re one king hill asshole.

“Do you suppose they mean it?” she asked. She eyed the cake again– it was melting quickly into the bunting. Nobody gave a damn.

“I figure they might. Why don’t we see about that?”

“What is your name?”

I thought about that. Dick Oakes– not a strong name someone had once told me.

“It’s Buck…” I was floundering. “Buck Tubbs.” You Christ-all stupid shit. You shoulda’ done it last night, Oakes. You shoulda’ done it.

“Buck…Tubbs?” she said. She removed a cigarette from a little pink case and lit it. The smell was agonizing– it had been days.

“What sort of last name is Tubbs?” she said. A little wry smile appeared at the corners. She offered me a cigarette and I could have married her right there.

“Skip it. Let’s go inside.” I thought about the nine dollars in my wallet, the bus ticket that was only good for the next ride, whenever the hell that came. I thought about how the bus would slow down and there wouldn’t be anybody and it would pick up speed and bust off in a fury of dust and smoke. It didn’t matter none though. Here was a girl that didn’t come along everyday.

We got a booth in the back by the air conditioner. The waitress was wearing a white uniform with a giant stickpin shaped like a basketball. I couldn’t figure on it. We ordered and she went off somewhere.

“You married?” I had noticed the ring on her finger.

“No. Well, yes.” She took out another cigarette. “My husband was killed in a challenge six months ago. I can’t get the ring off.” She looked down at it. “I think my hands have grown fatter.”

“Everything else looks just right.” Steady boy, steady.

She tossed me a little smile. A garden salad was brought.

“He was kind of a turd. He threw trash everywhere. Toilet, kitchen sink, behind the radiators. I don’t miss it.”

“Sounds like a Class-A asshole.” I took a cigarette from the case and sat back in the booth. I glanced down and got a good look at my slacks– they were bright orange and stained to hell. You got no business sitting here, Oakes. No business.

“He was terrible in bed,” she said suddenly. She stared out the side window at a parking lot alongside a hardware store. Some guys pulled up and quickly unloaded a piano against the store. Then they peeled out of there. YOU MOTHERFUCKERS, the hardware store owner screamed, running after them. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

“He was interested in everything in the world but me.” She crushed out the cigarette. “A little crack in the ceiling could occupy him for hours. I’d just be lying there waiting and he’d be worried over that little crack. It grew tedious.”

“A slob and fastidious at the same time, huh? What do you call that, a conundrum?”

“Yes, yes, a conundrum!” The steaks were brought.

We ate. I thought about asking her to marry me. You gotta get some high-end pants first, buddy. 

I excused myself and went to the counter. The waitress was back there fooling around with some ketchup containers that were shaped like tomatoes.

“Where’s a men’s store?”

“What, you mean, like a place that sells them magazines?”

“No, no, a clothing shop. For men.”

She thought about it. It wasn’t coming easy.

“Maybe two, maybe three towns over.”

“Alright.” I went back to the table.

I didn’t have no money anyway. I looked at her gnawing the tough steak. Made me start thinking about a job.

  1. Jade Gorman
    June 1, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Great story! The unknown woman is a bit of a riddle. Her speech is mild-mannered and she chooses her words carefully. I was surprised when she used the word “turd” in reference to her dead husband. But “turd” is more tactful than “shit.” Writers are painstaking in word choices and “turd” gives a clue to this woman’s character. Likewise, I was a little shocked when the woman said, “He was terrible in bed.” My feeling is that this woman has an open personality and doesn’t hide behind the veil of a persona.

    The most interesting thing the woman says is, “A little crack in the ceiling could occupy him for hours. I’d just be lying there waiting and he’d be worried over that little crack. It grew tedious.” The now-dead husband was either shallow and consumed with possible structural damage to his house or he was experiencing existential contemplation. Neil Simon uses a crack in the ceiling of the Plaza Hotel as a metaphor for how our world is falling apart, it’s coming apart at the seams of our society. “Only we’re not noticing it. It’s right there in front of our eyes but we’re missing it.” I apologize for going on and on about a crack in the ceiling but the image stood out to me.

    The mystery woman and Mr. Oakes make their first spark of a connection over the word “conundrum.” The word might forebode future conundrums and mysteries in the plot.

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