School teachers in small rural southern towns shouldn’t wear slutty clothes to the gas station. Everyone knows that rule here in Shallotte. Too bad I broke it July 4th weekend.
My new boyfriend lived 100 miles away. Most of the time, he traveled to visit me on the weekends. This particular holiday , he asked me to come to him. Apparently, it was a big deal for him to introduce me to his friends at a cookout he was excited to attend. Trying to be seductive, I decided it would be fun to have him find me at his door in something scandalous.
I grabbed my lingerie drawer by the handle and yanked it out of my dresser, tossing all of its contents on the bed. My fingers quickly sifted through a tangle of bra straps, garter belts, thongs, and stockings. After great deliberation, I decided the black lace bra, matching thong, and garter belt would give the effect I was going for. I chose the black sheer stockings with the seam down the back. All in all, the ensemble was your standard “give it to me now, big boy” look.
Trying to decide what to wear over it was a bit tricky. The dress needed to be long enough to hide the top of the stocking, but it had to show a lot of leg. I found just the perfect dress in the back of my closet. It was stretchy, short, dark plum in color, low cut, and the neckline allowed me to wear a bra without the straps showing. I tossed on a sheer printed blouse as a bit of a cover up, and slipped on my highest pair of strappy black sandals.
After spending so much time digging through my clothes, I didn’t have time to fix my hair or do my makeup as well as I wanted. I twisted my damp curls into a french twist, and pinned it loosely. Then I smeared on some lip gloss and grabbed my sunglasses. I was running late.
After pitching my bag in the trunk and hanging my dress clothes on the rod over the back seat, I plopped down at the steering wheel and cranked the engine. Wouldn’t you know, the damn car was on empty. I cursed my forgetfulness out loud and decided I needed to get down the road on fumes. I hoped none of my students or parents, or anyone I knew for that matter, would “run into me” in my current “two bit hooker” ensemble.
I made it 10 miles out of town, not far, but as far as the fumes could take me. There was an old timey gas station on the side of the road. The kind you only see in rural North Carolina. It was rather dilapidated, displayed faded old fashion signs, it didn’t have an electrically lit sign on the exterior, all gas prices were scribbled by hand on a chalk board by the pumps. You had to go in and pay of course, they don’t take plastic at places like this.
After pumping gas, I went inside. I was completely humiliated I had to face someone while dressed like a whore. There were a pair of old codgers playing checkers, just outside the entrance that gave me toothless grins, head nods, and one even managed a wink as he spit his tobacco juice into an old glass Coca -Cola bottle.
That screen door at the station, was the loudest alarm I have ever heard. It creaked a sick moan as I tugged the handle. Once inside, there was no escaping its determined slam. Every eye in the station, looked my direction. I pushed my sunglasses higher up on the sweaty bridge of my nose and clip clopped my way to the cashier. She gave me the ole up and down judgmental church lady once over. It was pretty easy to read her thoughts through that smirk and rolling eyes. She took my money without a word.
As I left, I tried my best to ignore the two geezers nudging each other and laughing. I swear I heard one say, ” follow’er, wonder how much she charges?” I promise you, at this point, I felt like the biggest sleaze this side of the Mason Dixon line. My little plan of seduction did not seem to suit me at all.
Of course, I got into my car as fast as possible and pulled out of that pot hole infested gravel parking lot with squealing tires eager to grip the asphalt. It wasn’t a block before I saw that old silver Buick boat pull up behind me. I looked in the mirror and there they were. Ole Gomer and Goober from the gas station, following me like they planned.
I knew my Toyota Corolla could out run these good ole boys if it had to, but I wasn’t planning on meeting any cops like this either. Hell, I knew most of them anyway. Like I said, I lived in a small town. I remember witnessing this sweet little old couple taking a photo in front of the Western Steer sign, like it was the main tourist attraction. The tallest thing in our sky line was the Mc Donald’s arch. I fondly referred to Ash as “Bubbaville” , and frequently told my family I lived in the weeds. My job brought me there, but I was doing all I could to find employment in a more culturally diverse setting.
Now you know, these two rednecks must have pulled up beside me a dozen times between Ash and Whiteville. They manually rolled down their windows and taunted me with gestures and questions of “How much?”, “Pull over beautiful”, “You got a big weekend planned?” I kept my head straight ahead and drove on to Whiteville.
Whiteville is also a small town, but it has some civilization. There is an awkward circle in the middle of town that has four roads leading onto it. The town hall is in the center of the circle. The police station is near by as well. I seized the opportunity to lose my little buddies by speeding up around the loop and exiting quickly . I felt so proud of myself until I heard a crunch. I had a sneaking suspicion my little buddies hit a car trying to make the turn to follow me. I couldn’t be positive without turning around and going back, and there was no way in hell I was gonna do that.
Down the road I flew, trying to make up for wasted time. I knew I was close when I got to “Chicken Foot Road”. Being the songwriter I am, I entertained myself by making up stupid country songs to pass the time. As I was doing my rendition of “Down Chicken Foot Road”, a pack of chickens paraded themselves out onto the street in front of me. I hit the brakes and skidded to a stop, laughing my butt off. I had always wondered how that stretch of black top had gotten a name like that, but I never dreamed it was so dang literal.
The final left turn was land-marked by the KFC and I had it in my sights. My hands primped my falling hairstyle. I smeared a bit more gloss on my lips, and spritzed just a little perfume in my cleavage. I popped an Altoid and sucked it fiercely ’til my tires rolled up my boyfriend’s drive.
I left my bags and things in the car and quickly pranced my sexy self up to his door. He greeted me before I had a chance to ring the doorbell. He was all smiles. With just a hand gesture, he asked me to come in and spin around so he could have a good look. I could tell he liked what he saw.
It was no time before I started babbling about the good ole boys that tailed me to Whiteville. My boyfriend, got so tickled at the thought of those guys. He kept saying “oh, to have been a fly on that ash tray”. Then he imitated the things he imagined them saying with their exaggerated southern drawls. My little comedian of a lover had us both in stitches.
After catching our breaths from laughing so hard, I suddenly felt foolish for dressing up that way. I wasn’t turning my man on at all. I was making him laugh instead. He was perceptive to my reaction and said he would undo that garter belt with his teeth. That is exactly what he did. Needless to say we had a wonderful weekend.
I returned to Shallotte in my usual conservative wardrobe. As I put my clothes away, I had to smile at the realization I would NEVER be wearing that hooker outfit again as long as I lived. Life went back to normal rather quickly, and I didn’t give my Whiteville adventure much thought.
By Thursday of the week after July 4th, I needed gas again. This time I just used the station in town. This station is more modern , has a convenient mart, and you can use your credit card at the pump. Anyway, I went in to get a drink. As I stood in line to pay I heard a familiar drawl. ” I remember you”, a hillbilly croaked loudly from the other side of the store. I cringed at the sight of “Goober” pointing straight at me. How he recognized me in plain clothes, I will never know. Maybe the car gave me away. Nonetheless, he obviously did remember and was intent on getting my attention.
I looked his way and flashed a weak smile and nod. He blurted out, ” you made me wreck my car last weekend”. I turned red, but looked at him anyway. He pointed to his Buick with a duct taped bumper and shattered tail light. I couldn’t help but to laugh. I know I should have been more considerate, but it just bubbled out of me. I felt like Elaine on a Seinfeld episode. My head started writing scripts for a new sitcom called “Bubbaville”. Sometimes, writer’s inspiration comes from the most unlikely sources.