“Hi, I’m Angelo Miltonelli, and I called this morning about the job listed in the paper for an auto repair assistant.” Animal offered his hand shake.
“Hi, glad to meet you. I’m Seth Jr., but Dad let’s me interview, and hire the new guys here. But, if he don’t like ya, he’ll let you go. So far I’ve got a 90% keeper score around here. So, why do you want to be a member of the auto repair team?”
“Your father’s business has a good reputation. I’ve been studying auto repair, and feel I’m ready for some hands on experience. I didn’t go to any of the other repair shops because I want to work for the best. I mean like why train with them, then come here? Skip the middle man, start with the best, then you’re trained right, right from the beginning.”
“Good answer, so when can you work?”
“After school a couple of hours. All day Saturday. During spring break I can work all day, and all day during summer vacation.”
“Sounds good. What should I call you?”
“Animal, kind of a combination of Angelo and Miltonelli. Been called that since I was a kid.” Angelo didn’t believe that at seventeen he was still just a kid.
“Welcome to the team. You can start Saturday at eight a.m.”
Angelo knew the workings of an automobile inside out by book learning. He had studied every auto manual he could get his hands on. It was time to get his hands dirty, and dirty he got. Oh Mama Mia! How is mother fussed! But, it was no time at all before he was earning ten cents an hour over minimum wage. The boy was no slouch when it came to work, learning and retaining, and applying what he learned. He tried to give his parents part of his pay check, just because he heard that’s what other kids did, but they would have no part of it. He had a big pickle jar that he dropped half his pay into each week. He’d have a hefty sum in there before long and when the time was right, he’d crack his nest egg and have Lydia select the biggest diamond ring she wanted. He wouldn’t be a grease monkey forever though. This job was a means to an end. However, only Animal knew what the end would be.
Lydia was still not well after her ordeal. She noticed whether they were at Burger Barn, Patsy’s Pizza or wherever, Jacque Chevalier left with his head down immediately. Donnie, and Jeremy would always stay, and smirk. Animal told her no harm would come to her with him there. And, just like Jack Rabbit, soon they would be suffering, too.
“I don’t remember people calling him Jack Rabbit before, Animal. He acts more like a scared rabbit than he did the night he jumped me.” Lydia whispered.
“Yeah, well, let’s just say he had a little encounter that made him much more cautious about what he does, where he goes, and what he says. He was informed that the name Jack Rabbit would stick, and it has. Everyone knows he does it like a bunny. He’ll be lucky if he can ever satisfy a woman.” Animal laughed out loud. “Even whores laugh about his lack of skill.” Animal talked in a normal voice therefore, spreading the word further.
Tom and Renée walked in Burger Barn, and sat down with Animal and Lydia. They had been out on Rattalee Lake Road celebrating Renée’s new job, but they kept that information private. She did share with them that the family she baby sat for on New Years Eve wanted her to baby sit for Lee so they could take a short weekend trip. The wife was going to have a baby in a few months, and they figured that was the last weekend she and her husband could get away alone before the new baby came. They were going to pay her ten dollars a day, and that was big money!
Lydia’s mind had wandered. It always did when she faced off with the boys that raped her. It didn’t get easier, but she felt better about her relationship with Animal. Physically, they were closer, yet they hadn’t gone all the way. She wasn’t ready, and he didn’t push it. He was spending less time with Delores though, because Lydia would stroke him, which greatly relieved his need. She wanted to talk to Renée, but it seemed as much time as they spent together, there was never any girl talk.
“Can I borrow your car?”
“Can I borrow your car? I want to talk to Renée.”
“Geez Lyd, she’s sitting right here. Can’t you just talk to her?”
“Alone! I’d like to talk to Renée alone. We sit here listening to you guys talk about baseball, football, basketball, other sports, sports cars, cars, food, girls, girls boobs, and boobs. We never say a word to each other.”
Tom was taken aback. He’d never realized it before, but Lydia was right. “Sure. Here. Be careful, and don’t be late. I don’t want to deal with my old man if he goes on the war path.”
“Lydia, I have wanted to talk alone with you ever since those awful boys did harm to you. Are you now doing okay?” Renée wondered.
“A little better Renée. Certain things still scare me, but they may always... Animal is so good to me. He never pressured me about going all the way before, and now he does even less. Sometimes that bothers me.”
“Why does that bother you?”
“I don’t know if he doesn’t want me because he thinks I’m dirty, but stays with me because he feels sorry for me, or if he’s afraid of adding to my fears.”
“Do you feel you are dirty now?”
“You should not feel that Lydia. You did not choose to have relations with three boys in one night. They took from you the same as if they had stolen money. They robbed your feeling of trust, and they gave you fear of what is beautiful to be shared by lovers.”
“You told me a while ago that you would do it with Tommy without being married. Tommy didn’t tell me you two had until the day I told him I’d been raped. He said it hurt you, even though he was careful.”
“We both wanted to feel the joy, but yah, it really did hurt. I can not imagine how it would be to not want it in me, and be forced. Please forgive me if I am out of line for asking, were theirs big?”
“Donnie was first. He, he broke me. He was unmerciful. Jack was bigger, and he moved it very fast. Jeremy was the worst, he may have been the biggest. I was so numb by the time he got to me that I don’t know what his was like, except he was rough. I truly thought I was going to die that night. They all did it to me more than once. Donnie did it three times for sure, but maybe more. I passed out a few times. It went on for hours and hours. It was so dirty, and stinky, and messy, and I couldn’t wash until I got home. The next day I was still bleeding. It stopped for a couple of days, then I started bleeding again, and the other symptoms were causing me to get cramps. That’s why I went to the doctor instead of going to the Valentine’s dance. It has been a nightmare, and I’m not sure it’s over yet. Mostly, I feel bad that I’m not sure I really like it all that much.”
“What happened to you was not the way it is, Lydia. Your body was violated. There is nothing good to say about rape. But, try to think good of yourself. The act of love is good. When you are ready, it will be wonderful because you will be with the one you love. I like it. Back in the old country, when young people are in love, they are encouraged to experiment to be sure that they, um, fit well together. Do you understand what I mean fit well?”
“I do now. Umm, I don’t think this would ever happen, but what if you and Tommy broke up? Would you feel used, or dirty, orrrr...”
“Ruined? No. No I would not. Never. It would break my heart if we were to separate, but I would not feel ruined. If things do not work out, I have experience that will make me better to whomever is meant for me. You will always be a good girl, unless you give yourself without love for your partner. Love is key, Lydia. I have much love for Tommy, and we fit. Mmm, just thinking about his makes me want him that way.”
“Renée... Was Tommy really your first?”
“Yah, Lydia, he was my first, and he is my only. But as I said, we are more... oh, what is right word? Not more, we are less inhibited in our culture. Tommy would not look at me naked until after we had been together a few times.” Renée giggled.
“Guess we are a land of prudes.”
“Oh, I do not know. It is not right to judge what is right, or what is wrong within a culture. In Japan, for instance, families bathe nude together in public bath houses. They do so in Sweden at saunas, also. Norway is right next door, yet my family does not do that. Well, Mama and Papa bathe together.”
The girls continued to chat comparing differences in lifestyles and culture, while their guys played pool back at Patsy’s Pizza.
A seductive voice called out, “Tom-my.”
Tom turned around to see an unknown girl. He thought he recognized her from hanging around his locker at school. She was standing with her sweater wide open exposing her brassier.
“You’d better button up girlie. You might catch a chest cold.” Tom turned back around, and made his shot.
Animal busted up laughing.
“Tom, why don’t you take me up on my offer?”
“What offer? I don’t even know who you are.”
“I’m the girl who keeps leaving notes in your locker. I don’t want your money, I just want a ride in your car. You’ve seen them, I’ve got nice tittles. I’ll let you touch them for a ride. They’re bigger than the tennis balls on the girl you follow around school like a puppy.” She could see she was getting no where. “Well, if you ever change your mind, you know it’s me now.”
“What the hell was that all about?” Animal was still laughing.
“She’s been buggin’ me since the first week of school for a ride in my car. I just never knew who she was until right now. I nearly got my ass beat by my father when the laundry maid found her first note in my pants pocket, and gave it to my parents.”
“He was going to beat your ass over a note someone else wrote to you? You rich son of a bitches sure are weird. What did the note say for crying out loud?”
“Said if I took her for a ride, she’d let me unbutton her blouse. The old man says to me ‘how do you know it’s from a girl?’ I says to him, ‘guys wear shirts’. Sometimes I don’t get the way that old man thinks.”
Animal did, and what Tommy said gave him a ground breaking idea for getting Plan C in gear while he was in training for Plan B.
The girls showed up happy, and smiling. It was time to call it a night. Patsy’s Pizza was ready to shut the doors. Lydia gave Animal a big kiss right in front of her “boyfriend Tom”, then she walked out on Tom’s arm totally confusing the kids in the pizza parlor. Renée hopped on the back of Animal’s Harley, and they all met around the corner. Lydia still wasn’t up to riding on the motorcycle, so instead of trading places, Renée got in the T-Bird with Tommy. Lydia stood outside kissing with Animal for a while until Tom insisted he had to go. Animal zoomed off, Renée was taken to her parents, then Tom drove toward Lydia’s parent’s home.
“Thanks for loaning me your car Tom. Renée and I had a wonderful talk, I feel much better now. Not all better mind you, but much better than before. She’s a great gal. I hope you have a long and happy life together.”
“Thank you Lydia. She’s all I could possibly want in a girl. In less than one year she’ll be my wife.”
“Are you serious?”
“Never been more serious in all of my life.”
At home, Animal bummed some pink perfumed writing paper from his oldest sister. She handed him the pen with matching scented ink when she figured her bad ass biker brother was sweet on someone special.
March 22, 1958
You don’t know me, but I’ve worshiped you from afar for quite some time now. When you come in to the restaurant with Jeremy, I get so jealous I could die. Then I remember, I’ve never shared my feelings, so perhaps I do have a chance. I give good head, and like it up the rear.
Anything a girl can do, I can do better.
Percival (Percy) Badcock
Animal addressed, stamped, and mailed the letter to Donald Worthington, Jr. c/o his father’s office.