SHAVED AND WAXED
I was thinking of taking my Craig’s List ad down early when she answered.
Honestly, I hadn’t expected to find anyone on Craig’s List who would shave and wax my asshole for five bucks, let alone a dental hygienist. I mean, you couldn’t find a six-pack of Schlitz beer for under eight.
I sat around until about seven that evening, and then I couldn’t take it anymore. I emailed her.
“You’re cheap,” I said.
She answered right back.
She said, “Some people aren’t in it for the money.”
She asked when was good for me.
I said three o’clock Friday.
She said seven was better for her.
And maybe she was right. Meemaw would be napping in the basement at three o’clock. If we skipped her nap, I could get her in bed by six and we’d have the whole evening.
Seven o’clock it was.
I ate breakfast at Denny’s all week long to bide my time. High stacks and poached eggs. The Denny’s booths were smooth hard plastic. I told myself they’d probably feel a whole lot smoother once I got my ass waxed.
Thursday came and I had second thoughts. What if meemaw woke up early and wandered upstairs and found me facedown on the ironing board with a mysterious female applying coconut oil to my asssflap? Congenital heart disease ran in the family. Meemaw might have a fit. If she did, it wasn’t technically my fault, but I’d still have to explain it to the judge.
Come Friday I made sure meemaw was in bed by six with a box of Queen Anne cordials and the HSN on full volume. She was sawing wood by six-fifteen. I gave it another fifteen minutes and cleared a space on the living room floor.
I got down a few back issues of People Magazine. I put out a cup of tea and some pillows and a tin of ass wax I’d ordered from a third-party seller on Amazon.
It was ten past when she finally got there. She’d come with a little guy who called himself Durant. Durant claimed to be her assistant. I still didn’t know her name.
Durant said, “Hey, I know you.”
I got this a lot.
I said, “I used to wrestle. Semi-pro.”
“Holy shit,” Durant said. “Earl ‘The Pedestrian’ Wilmer. You’ve lost weight.”
Durant said to the lady who was going to wax my ass, “Pam, Earl used to walk around in circles before jumping on law-abiding, tax-paying wrestlers from behind.”
Then he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry, Earl.”
Before I could ask sorry for what, Durant smacked me in the head with one of meemaw’s vases. He was fast. I hadn’t seen it coming. But it wasn’t enough.
Durant tried picking up the sofa. It wouldn’t budge. He went for the fire poker, but I got to him first. I put the sleeper choke on Durant. Durant wouldn’t go down.
Durant said, “You’ve got to do better than that, Pedestrian.”
“I didn’t do anything to you yet,” I said.
He tried to worm his way out, so I rabbit-punched Durant in the ear and he sort of slumped over into my arms and began to slobber.
Pam screamed: “You killed him!”
“I didn’t hardly hit him,” I said. “And you’ve got to be quiet.”
“You did. You killed him. He’s not breathing.”
It was true. Durant wasn’t breathing.
I said, “You came over here to rob me.”
“It was Durant’s idea,” Pam said.
“Do you even know how to wax assholes?” I said.
“Durant does,” Pam said.
We stood around not saying anything for a minute or two and then I said, “You better get him out of here.”
“I’m not touching shit,” Pam said.
“You better,” I said.
“Or what? Are you going to kill me too?”
Probably, I wasn’t. I’d never really even knocked another man out. Durant was the first, but I’d killed him. So you never knew.
“Is he your boyfriend?” I said.
“What’s it to you?” Pam said.
“Nothing. But if you want, you can dump him in back of the Safeway on Tedeschi Street. There’s no cameras back there. Either that or I call the law.”
Pam began to cry.
I said, “Grab his feet.”
When I got back inside, meemaw was stirring in the basement. She wasn’t a big woman, but she wasn’t quiet on her feet either.
I made meemaw a plate of Oreo cookies and a glass of milk and set them both down on the dining table.
Meemaw ate two Oreos before her eyes started to move about the living room. I knew that vase was special for her. Grandpa had brought it back from China on a selling trip.
“You broke the vase.”
“You little fucking shit.”
When meemaw went back down to the basement, I drove out to the Safeway on Tedeschi Street. I didn’t see Durant by the dumpsters.
I went inside and bought a compact mirror and a waterproof razor and a bottle of Nair hair remover. I got a six-pack of Schlitz beer out of the cooler, and I was wrong.
The Schlitz was four ninety-nine and it wasn’t even on sale.