'The Happy Hooker Driver'

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'Drink Up Sugar Lips'

As a single woman living in Philly without any children, or family of my own, I do get fairly lonely at times. and vulnerability becomes my middle name. I have met some really strange characters living here. For instance, while riding on the Subway one morning, I encountered an irate woman who was having an argument with herself! It was just me, and her on the Subway, and I tried like hell to avoid making any unnecessary movements on my part just so that she would not make any eye contact with me to not give her a reason to redirect her argument onto me. I talk to myself quite a bit too, but unlike her I do not get any replies back. Finally, when my stop did come up I was relieved to be out from the confines of that space, but also in leaving I felt compassion towards her, and her undeniable struggles.

One early Afternoon as I was walking in the city I saw a strange character standing on a street corner, and he was holding up a cardboard sign. He was a tall black man, with an Afro; The sign read: ‘$5.00 Needed For Weed.’ I was quite impressed that he was being so honest with what he wanted to use the money for; I did not hand him anything, but I thought kudos to him for having some nerve, and I wished him some luck! A Laundromat for a female alone is a magnet for weirdos. I know that I do not have the best of luck with men, but C’mon...really, an old man in his mid-eighties hitting on me! On top of it all, he slips me his phone number too like I should only be so lucky to have it. “What is so wrong with me?“, I ask myself. That this old fart is the only one to hit on me in a long time. God sure can play some really cruel jokes on people.

After I lost my business, I begun to work temporary jobs to get by. This is where I met Johnny. He would strike up a conversation with me just about anything, but it was always general stuff never anything too deep. At first, I was very intimidated by him, because the guy is in very good shape, he works out all of the time; He is not a heavy duty Weightlifter like the actor Arnold Schwartzenegger was, but he is still a big guy. Finally, after a handful of times of him asking me out, and my desire for some male companionship, I obliged him in his requests. Johnny would see me ride my bike to work. And he knew that I rode it to get around the city too, I like the fact that he would see me on my bike, because it made him think that I was into physical fitness, more than I really am.

I really enjoy it when Johnny comes to my home to pick me up in his blueish grey 4x4 Chevy Pickup. It is such a big ride, that it always makes me feel like I am drowning in it in a good way. I like the feeling of sitting next to him, it surrounds me, and makes me feel safe if only for the time being anyhow. “Sugar Lips”, he says, as he likes to call me that, because I have full lips. “Hey Johnny!“, I say as I give him a giant hug.

We are headed to the park, and I bring my dogs along with us; Johnny enjoys the company of Radar and Shasta, and is even kind enough to bring along some water for the both of them. He puts on some tunes; The Oldies, Creedence Clearwater’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’ is playing, and Johnny sings along to the lyrics, and his raspy voice suits the song very well, but I am too shy, I would only sing if I were all alone. He is about ten years older than me; Divorced with two kids. We get to the park, and my dogs go bonkers from the excitement! Radar likes to act like a bull, and while doing it he kicks dirt up into the air. Shasta gets excited to be in the company of someone other than boring old me, and does her bipedal dance moves! I love it that Johnny grabs ahold of my hand as we walk through the park, because I am craving the closeness that I get from holding hands with a man, and he is a real man in the truest sense of the word.

It is early afternoon when we leave the park. Johnny keeps a tight schedule as far as his working out plus eating is concerned; He eats small meals throughout the day to get his necessary protein intake, and he works out at the gym two to three times per day. He is hungry so we go through a Wendy’s drive-thru; He orders a Grilled Chicken Sandwich Combo Meal, with a Dr. Pepper, and I just go for a medium Chocolate Frosty. For me, the next best thing to coffee is ice cream. I do have a really strange quirk; I do not like to eat on a date, or for that matter in front of other people, it causes me to have anxiety. So, instead I just get drinks, then I end up in the bathroom much of the time. Radar is a food whore, and demands to have some French Fries by being the bull, and Johnny appeases him. We end up making plans for later on tonight for Dinner and Drinks.

I am extremely nervous for this date, so much so that I have butterflies in my stomach, and I feel as if I can jump right out of my skin. I do not enjoy playing dress up as I did when I was a teenager, I think that for me I have become tired of the game, since the players like to cheat! I decide to wear a pair of blue jeans with a boot cut design, and a plaid blouse which buttons down the front, and has two pockets at the chest area. It is 7:30, and Johnny has not been late once yet, but before I can go downstairs to greet him, I have to tell my eager dogs that they will not be coming along this time. Radar’s big dark eyes become smaller, and his erect ears fall down, and as I bend down to give him a kiss on the top of his head he bites at me upset that I am not taking him with me. Johnny looks great as always; He likes to wear tight jeans which show off his fine tight ass, and Muscle T-Shirts.

He takes me to a Sports Bar off of The Benjamin Franklin Parkway. I am glad that it is he who is driving on the parkway, and not me, because I can never seem to merge with on coming traffic to get off of this damn circle. I am someone who does not prefer watching Sports, but I do like the atmosphere of the bar. “Hi, how are you, we’d like to have a table for two, please”, he says to the Hostess. We have to wait twenty minutes until a table is ready for us, and then we are seated. “Can I start you two off with something to drink?“, The Cocktail Waitress asks politely.

I let Johnny order for me, and he orders me a Dry Martini, and for himself he gets a bottle of Landshark Beer. When my drink comes he says: “Drink Up Sugar Lips”; I can swear that he is trying to get me drunk, but I enjoy my drink, and drink up anyhow. As we are talking I get a call on my cell phone from ‘The Escargot Agency’, my phone is on silent, so I let it go to voicemail, but a few seconds later I receive a text message asking if I can drive tonight. I text them back that I am busy, but tomorrow I sure can. I doubt that Johnny even noticed that I had been messaging on my phone, because he is too busy talking to himself. His voice phases out into the background, as my inner voice tells me what a bad little girl that I am. Johnny still thinks that I am working for Temporary Agencies, I can not tell him that now I am working for an Escort Agency. This is Top Secret Information; I feel so important, but at the exact time, so corrupted!

Johnny has a Steak, Plain Baked Potato, a side of Cauliflower with a Buttered Roll, and I have a Garden Salad with a side of Cottage Cheese. He refreshes his beer, and for myself I get a White Russian. “So, Johnny when are you going to introduce me to your kids, that you speak so highly of?” He has a boy age ten, and a girl age 13. “Well, they are not living with me full-time, so I will have to see when that would be possible.” I ask him how his work is going. “I am glad that you brought that up, because I am thinking about going into business for myself again, I used to do Carpentry work.” I say: “Ok; Yes, going into business for yourself is definitely worth the risk, I would just go for it!”

“Let us drink to that then; Drink Up Sugar Lips!” he says, then he realizes that my glass is empty, and he orders me a refresher. By the end of the night, I had had one Dry Martini, three White Russians, and a few sips on his beer. Let me just say that my head is beginning to feel like it is being pulled apart from my skull in order to make room for my brain that is spinning out of control! I have to lock arms with Johnny for the walk back to his Pickup, because the ground below me is moving around so much so, that I cannot stand up straight. Johnny walks me up the three flights of stairs to my studio apartment; He wants to come in, but I make up the excuse that a pipe had broke a few days earlier, and flooded my apartment, and that it still reeks really bad with this musty odor. I cannot tell him the truth that my place is infested with Mice, because I think that he would think that I am lesser of a person for living like this. I watch him walk all the way down the steps before I go to open my door, but as I turn the key the door knob falls off! “Oh, Great! I say out loud to myself, just another thing that has to be fixed in this hell hole that most likely will never be fixed.”

After putting the door knob back on, I make it inside, only to find out that a dead mouse is waiting for me at my front door! Shasta must of killed it, because Radar is a scaredy-cat! I cannot deal with it right now, and will dispose of it in the morning. I am still drunk, and am feeling kind of nauseous! My stomach has never been able to handle Alcohol too well; I think that it is because I may have an allergy to it. Before I had moved in here, my Landlord’s son was living here, and had left behind a Massage Chair; Since, the Mice problem has been getting worse, I no longer sleep on my cot for the fear that they will crawl all over me, or even get stuck in my hair. Now, I go to sleep in the chair, which has been a difficult adjustment to make, because really the chair is too small for me to sleep an entire night in, but having a Mouse stuck in my hair would be much worse! My Nausea does not settle down, and becomes worse, then the Dry Martini and the White Russians come out to play with the Garden Salad as I vomit all over my Plaid Blouse! I do not even get up to change my shirt, I just go into a Drunken Stupor!

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