Healing Hands of Time
Chapter 3

Copyright© 2010 by Joe J

I gnawed on the suspicion of Lindsey having an affair with Blakemore all day. The more I thought about it, the more likely it seemed, because Blakemore was the Golden Boy.

His full name was William Royce Blakemore, but he earned the nickname 'Wild Bill' during his four years as the Free Safety for the University of Florida Gators and twice being selected an All-American. But Wild Bill wasn't just some dumb jock; he managed to graduate in four years with a GPA of 3.8. He majored in US History and minored in Criminal Justice.

Blakemore was selected high in the first round of the NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. He spent five years on the Dolphins and garnered three Pro-Bowl rings before he blew out his right knee in a freak misstep on a rain slick field. By then though, he'd earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University Of Miami School Of Law. So without missing a beat, Blakemore moved to our city, signed on with Crossman and Fielding, and his legal star has been on the ascension ever since. There was even speculation of a run for political office against our scandal-tainted congressional representative.

Blakemore was an intimidating rival. He was movie star handsome, rich, manly and smart as hell. But you know what? He still put his pants on one leg at a time, and I was never one to back down from a challenge just because the odds were long.

At four that afternoon, I made up some lame excuse and convinced Mitzi to swap vehicles with me for the evening. By five, I was sitting in Mitzi's Toyota on level two of the parking garage adjacent to the Crossman building. My parking spot gave me an unobstructed view of Lindsey's Lexus.

Luckily, I had my pad of quarter inch square grid paper to help keep me amused, because Lindsey didn't arrive at her car until almost seven. And lo and behold, Billy Boy Blakemore came strolling out with her. There were no public displays of affection between them, but they did lean against the car, talking for about fifteen minutes. Then Blakemore looked at his watch and pushed away from her car. Lindsey put her hand on his arm, stood on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. He gave her a warm smile as she slid into her car and started it up.

Blakemore stood there watching her until her taillights disappeared around a turn, then casually walked off. A minute later, he whizzed by me, seated behind the wheel of a silver Maybach 57S.

I'm not that proud of this next little bit, but I'll tell it to you anyway.

Once Blakemore zoomed by me, I fired up the Camry and headed out. I had every intention of going straight to Mitzi's place, until I saw the blinking neon sign of Maybelline's Bar. It just so happens that Maybelline Capers was a friend of mine because J&L construction designed and built her dream home. Maybelline had been after me for months to stop by and have a drink at her bar. A slug of Jack Daniels seemed just the ticket for my broken heart right then, so I squeezed Mitzi's Camry into the right hand lane and swung into the bar's gravel parking lot.

It was just my luck that neither Maybelline nor her husband, Leon, were in the bar that afternoon. They had taken a few days off to visit Leon's ill sister. The daytime bartender was a nice older gal with a sweet disposition. She served me up a double Jack, water back, and was sensitive enough to my mood to leave me in peace.

By the time the evening bartender came on duty, I was on my third double. Since I was sitting quietly at the end of the bar, I guess the older lady did not brief the new tender on my consumption so far. The new gal delivered me two more doubles in the next thirty minutes. The ten very healthy shots of whiskey were about five more than I'd ever had at one sitting in my life, but they didn't seem to be affecting me. I was calm; I was cool; I was in control; I ordered two more.

Somewhere in the middle of double number six, two big, burly, tattooed bikers walked into the bar and copped a squat on the stools to my left. At that same exact moment, someone reached into my head and flipped on the stupid switch.

I didn't appreciate the bikers sitting next to me while I was drowning my sorrow, and I took umbrage when they told the pretty night barkeep that the only real men were bikers and Marines. I spun my bar stool ninety degrees to face them and broke Ranger rule number fifteen, 'never let your mouth write a check your ass can't cover'. I first told them exactly what I thought of Marines, then as a bonus, I made a few pithy remarks about their Mamas and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The biker sitting closest to me took exception to all three things I said. He jumped off his stool and glared at me.

"Stand up and say that, asshole," he said through gritted teeth.

I stood up all right, but instead of saying anything, I hit him with an uppercut that started down at my socks and ended on the point of his chin. He grunted and dropped like a pole-axed steer as I motioned to his partner.

"Next," I said cockily.

For about three minutes there I was in the zone. You guys know what I mean, don't you? I mean that place where, for a short time during the process of getting shitfaced, you are really good at something. Maybe you run the table at pool, or throw three bulls in a row at darts ... or get lucky and knock down some big tattooed biker dude. I held my own with the second biker for about a minute, then we exchanged a couple of hard hits, he hit me upside the head and I hit the floor.

I lay there stunned for a few seconds, then the biker I cold-cocked and I gingerly pulled ourselves up the barstools and sat down on them. I guess this was a normal occurrence in my new biker buddies' lives because they bore me no hard feelings.

"Hey, not bad for an Army puke," biker two says.

They thought it had all been great fun. Me? Not so much. Biker number two was checking out my head as if he were some modern day phrenologist when my cell phone rang. The biker was checking my head because a lump the size of an Ostrich egg was forming where he hit me, and blood was dripping down on my ear from a gash his ring made.

Helpful cute bartender girl answered my chirping cell phone. I listened to one side of the conversation with the ear that wasn't ringing like the Bells of Saint Mary's.

"Hello, Maybelline's," she says.

She listens for a few seconds and then looks over at me.

"You Josh?" she asks.

I nodded that I was.

"Yes, he's here, only he can't talk, on account of the two bikers that beat him up are checking out the cuts on his head."

The bartender made the useless gesture of nodding into my phone a couple of times before speaking again.

"Kay, but you might want to hurry, on account of he don't look so good."

She closed the flip phone and laid it back on top of the wad of cash I'd thrown up on the bar, then fetched me a clean bar towel wrapped around a handful of ice cubes. She handed me the icepack, whisked my half-finished glass of JD off the bar, and thunked down a club soda with a lime floating in it.

"No more loud-mouth for you, Mister," she said, "or I'll be in as much trouble as you with your missus. She will be here to get you in a few minutes and she did not sound happy."

I looked at her owlishly, amazed that her twin sister was standing right beside her.

"That gives me time to buy a round for my new friends, then," I said magnanimously as I laid my beat-up head down on the bar.

I vaguely remember Mitzi and her daughters helping me stagger out of the bar. Dakota had driven her mother to the bar to pick up her car, and Dallas came along for the ride. I also remember tossing my cookies at the base of a palm tree on the way to where Dakota had parked. Because I was a threat to hurl again at any given moment, Dakota took me home in her beat up Jeep Wrangler. Dakota had to stop twice so I could expel some of Mister Daniel's fine elixir. After the second puke call, I mercifully passed out.

I woke up the next morning dizzy and disoriented, with the worst hangover in recorded history. I felt so bad, I'd have had to get better to die. It took me a few seconds to process the fact that I was lying on my left side on the edge of Todd's bed down in Mitzi's basement.

I let out a piteous moan as I recalled bits and pieces of the night before. Then my stomach lurched and I grabbed the waste basket someone had thoughtfully placed by the bed. I had my head all the way in the trashcan, trying to vomit up my spleen, when I felt the bed shift behind me.

"YUCK!" a girlish sleepy voice rasped near my right ear.

I was so startled I dropped the can and fell out of the bed. I jumped to my feet, and when the room stopped spinning, the first thing my eyes focused on was Dakota Morrison lying on the bed, wearing nothing but a tousled look and her underwear.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," I croaked as I backpedaled away from the bed.

Dakota giggled at my sorry state and pointed at my crotch, where, to my eternal embarrassment, my morning erection was pitching a tent in my Hanes boxer-briefs.

"You better get in the shower and get rid of that thing before Mom sees it and cuts it off," she deadpanned.

I left the shower on the coldest setting I could tolerate and forced myself to stand under the pelting spray for ten long minutes. By the time I stepped out, I felt a tiny bit better. There was a toothbrush still in the package lying on the sink, so I brushed a couple of layers of nastiness off my teeth and tongue. With a large bath towel firmly wrapped around my waist, I stepped back into Todd's bedroom, fully expecting to find an enraged mother wanting my neck in a noose.

Instead, I found a still nearly-naked Dakota lounging on the bed. I tried not to look at her, but I couldn't help but notice that she was very well constructed. Hey, I'm an engineer, I notice those things. When I was fully into the room, Dakota hopped out of the bed and hustled towards the bathroom.

"Took you long enough," she groused, "I have to pee so bad my teeth are floating."

I was back in my Dockers I had on the day before when she came sashaying out of the bedroom, still dressed in her matching teal bra and panties. I once again tried to look away.

"Where are your clothes?" I asked.

She stopped walking and stood facing me with her hand on her hip.

"You tore them off me last night, Honey, don't you remember?" she said with a pout.

I moaned and grabbed my head with both hands, wishing the floor would open up and swallow me. Then my head jerked back up when I heard someone clear their throat over by the stairs.

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