Arizona Heat Pt. 01a

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Part 1a: Kate’s Story

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It was June 21, 1980 in Phoenix Arizona, and I was headed out early on a warm Saturday morning to check out the garage sales in the neighborhoods west of Metrocenter, the big mega-mall in the northwest part of the sprawling desert city. I wanted to get an early start so I could finish up before the peak heat of the day arrived. The weatherman had predicted a high of 120 degrees in the shade.

Back in 1980 I was a petite 5’4″ 18 year old with long curly red hair and green eyes. I had a good figure ever since the 6th grade, thanks to an early developing bust and hips, but I was also cursed with an “Irish complexion” of pale skin and freckles. After my family moved to the area from Athens Georgia in 1976, I was teased mercilessly in grade school on account of my accent and my freckles. Mark, my boyfriend, loved my southern lilt, and said he though my freckles were cute, especially the splash over the bridge of my nose, but I hated my freckles and always envied girls with creamy complexions and nice tans.

I never had much luck with boys in grade school, and was always getting my heart broken by crushes that either ignored me or turned out to be jerks. Because of that, my first sexual experiences were with other girls. In seventh grade there was Alison, a pretty, shy blonde who I kissed on a dare at a slumber party after a glass of Boone’s Farm. The next weekend she invited me over to her house to listen to records and threw herself at me as soon as we were alone in her room.

Alison was my first love, I suppose. We carried on for about 8 months till her mother caught on and transferred her to a Parochial boarding school in mid-term. I was devastated. I never even got to say goodbye. Then there was Yolanda, a bubbly Latina who loved to kiss, but was a strictly above-the-waistline sort of gal. Finally there was Betty, the athletic softball player. Aggressive and a budding full-bore lesbian, she taught me a lot but became possessive and cruel. Our breakup was ugly, and she started several nasty rumors that made me a pariah at school.

I had hoped to make a fresh start in High School, but enough of the gossipy bitches from my grade school were in the freshman class to ruin my reputation from the get-go. Once again I was shunned. I briefly dated Ernie, a nerdy guy in my English class, but he was a terrible kisser and had bad breath so I moved on. The nadir of my lesbian phase came when I met Becky, the Capitan of the varsity girl’s basketball team and a total bitch. I foolishly let her fuck me in the back of her brother’s van on the understanding that she would get me a place on the freshmen cheerleading squad next semester. I wanted to be a cheerleader so bad. What was I thinking? She of course did nothing — except threaten to blackmail me.

Everything changed my second semester when I saw Mark on the first day of music class. He was so beautiful; tall, dark wavy hair, lean – like a young Jim Morrison. It was love at first sight, and my heart started breaking out of habit. He was in his Sophomore year, and I was sure I would be invisible to him. But three days later, as if sensing my gaze, he turned and looked across the room, right into my eyes. He later told me that it was love at first sight for him as well, and I like to believe him. He asked me out then and there, in the first week of class, and we have been together ever since. When word reached Becky that I had a steady boyfriend, she informed me that the price of her silence was another session in the van. I told her to try fucking herself instead.

That afternoon I went to Mark and tearfully told him everything. He was so incredibly cool and understanding. He not only said there was nothing to forgive, he actually said it was OK for me to have the occasional lesbian fling while we were dating if I felt the need, as long I kept nothing from him and used “good judgment”! He was angling for a future three-way, the scamp, (as he later admitted to me) but what are you gonna do? Boys will be boys. His support for me at this time was priceless, and I was head over heels in love.

When Becky came to confront us at lunch the next day, Mark shot that bitch down hard. Before she could open her mouth, He stood up and told her that he knew everything, didn’t care, and that if she didn’t leave me alone he would write a song about how evil a backstabbing bitch she was and he and his band would tour with it to every high-school in the valley. That was the end of that. How he survived the fucking I gave him that night, I will never know.

By the end of my first year of High School I had developed a distinct preference for the company of guys — high school girls can be so bitchy, and I was sick of the drama. I hung out with Mark and his friends and started dressing in a tomboyish rocker-chick style, especially after he asked me to be take over Bass guitar in his surfabilly band. Playing Bass meant no more long fingernails, so Şerifali Escort there went the last vestige of girliness for me — not that I cared that much at this point. My usual outfit was now a concert shirt, denim cutoffs or a short skirt, a bandanna to keep my unruly red hair in check and flip flops or boots as the season demanded, much to the horror of my mother.

Today I was driving the “Bandmobile,” a white ’74 Ford van that we hauled our gear to gigs in. Mark let me use it pretty much whenever it wasn’t doing band duty, which was great since I didn’t have a car of my own. The van was a beater, but he had recently installed a kick-ass air conditioner to help keep the instruments in tune. With all of the vents pointed at me, and a 32 oz “Big Gulp” full of ice cold Coke, I was in my own little oasis of cool despite the scorching heat outside.

For my shopping day I was dressed to beat the heat in a short white cotton halter-top. I was going braless today and my perky 34 C’s were enjoying the breeze. Below a few inches of bare midriff a short denim skirt with a black studded leather belt showed off my lower curves. My long red hair was tied back with a black skull and cross-bone bandanna. Flip-flops and a pair of mirrored aviator’s glasses completed the ensemble.

By 11:30 I was heading back to Mark’s place, as the temperature headed north of 110. My early morning shopping expedition had netted me a few tops and belts, but my prize find was a wicked-cool pair of black leather knee-high boots with 4-inch heels. I couldn’t wait to show them to Mark. I had nothing else to do today, so I headed back to the house he shared with band-mates Shane and Jeff. I fancied a swim in their pool now that the peak heat of the day was coming on. As I pulled away from the last garage sale of the day, Rush’s “Freewill” came on the radio. I cranked it up and sang along loudly – Geddy Lee, bass player extraordinaire, was my idol.

As I turned south onto 51st I saw a sedan sitting on the side of the road surrounded by a cloud of white steam.

“Bummer,” I said to myself, “hell of a day to blow a radiator.”

Back in 1980, 51st was the edge of town, the border between a growing suburbia to the east and the cotton fields and orchards that stretched out to the Air force base to the west. There wasn’t much traffic, so I slowed down as I passed the steaming derelict to see if anyone needed help. The car, a tan Chevy Malibu, seemed abandoned — the hood was closed, as were all the doors and windows. There was no one in sight.

As I started to accelerate away I glimpsed something out of the corner of my eye — a woman slumped over the steering wheel! I spun the van around and pulled up behind the steaming sedan and turned off the engine.

“Oh shit!” I exclaimed to no one in particular.

I had taken a Red Cross Class back when I was in the Girl Scouts, and I was desperately trying to remember what to do as I jumped out of the van and ran over to the driver’s side of the car.

I approached the driver’s side window, tapped on the glass and peered in.

“Hey! Are you OK?” I shouted.

To my relief, the woman sat up and seemed to gather herself. She looked to be in her early twenties, with longish strawberry blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. She was dressed like a secretary or office worker. I breathed a sigh of relief that there was no sign of blood or injury on her, but my bitchy side bridled when I saw her unnaturally large and full cleavage as she sat back.

“Scottsdale is to the East, bimbo.” I muttered to myself as she opened the door.

Although she showed no signs of injury, it was obvious that she had been crying.

“Hi.” She said, dabbing her eyes with a wadded up tissue. “Do you know anything about cars?”

I glanced at the steam escaping from under the hood.

“I know enough to recognize a blown radiator,” I replied. “Not much you can do till it cools down. Do you need a ride somewhere? Metrocenter isn’t far, and it’s air-conditioned. You’ll bake if you stay here.”

“I live just a few blocks north of here, just past Cactus Road,” she said, “If you could take me there, I would be so grateful. I’m having a hell of a day.”

I had no pressing business, so I agreed.

“Sure,” I said with a shrug, “grab anything you need and lock’er up. If you come back in a few hours with a couple of gallons of water, you should be able to get her to a garage.”

“Thanks,” the woman said with a weary smile. “You are the first good thing that has happened to me all day. My name is Jenny, by the way.”

“Kate.” I replied, awkwardly shaking her proffered hand.

As she got out of her car I saw that she was taller than I had guessed, at least 5′ 8.” She had a pretty face, even with her puffy, tear stained eyes and smeared mascara. Her figure was pretty good too. Curvy below the waistline, but with a narrow waist and well toned arms and calves. Her enhanced bosom was a bit much, I thought, but it Şerifali Escort Bayan did give her a very striking appearance. I especially envied her smooth complexion and nice tan. She was dressed in a sleeveless white blouse, matching knee length skirt and sensible white shoes.

I returned to the van as Jenny gathered her purse and a small orange gym bag before locking her car and joining me. I had started up the van to get the AC going, as Jenny seemed to be in pain and was moving slowly. I vaguely remembered something about heat stroke from my Red Cross class, and wondered how long she had been sitting in that car in the sweltering heat. She opened the passenger side door and gingerly took her seat, wincing slightly as she adjusted the shoulder strap to the seat belt.

“Are you sure you’re OK?” I asked.

“I’m just a little…” she said, blushing, “No really, I’m OK. Thanks.”

“Here,” I said, offering her my Big Gulp “You look like you could use a cold drink.”

Jenny gladly accepted the soda, took the straw between her lips and drank deeply. She sighed and closed her eyes.

“Kate,” she said wearily, “did you ever have one of those days when everything went wrong?”

“Hell,” I said with a grin, “I’ve had months like that.”

We shared a laugh as I put the van in gear and headed back north. On the way to her place we exchanged small talk. I told her about myself, and my boyfriend’s band, and she told me a little bit about herself.

Jenny was twenty-one, married two years as of May, and had a ten month old baby boy named Max. She grew up in San Diego, and had only moved to Arizona four months ago when her husband’s company transferred him to Phoenix. She had recently taken a job as a receptionist at a dental office to help make ends meet, and was driving home from her job for lunch when her radiator blew. Her husband, Tom, was in Nevada on business till Tuesday, so she felt completely helpless when she found herself stranded.

As we talked, I decided she was all right. She seemed to have a good sense of humor, and a quick wit. I reckoned her swollen bosom was probably the result of her pregnancy, and not a boob job. I silently chided myself for being bitchy and jumping to conclusions so quickly. I got the feeling that she was a bit lonely, and was missing her friends back in San Diego. I suppose it’s hard to make new friends when you have a baby and a day job.

Her parents, who had moved to the nearby retirement community of Sun City three years ago, seemed to be the only people in her social circle. Her mom delighted in spending time with her grandchild, and often babysat Max when Jenny had to work. She had picked him up this morning, taking him with her to Sun City for the day. Jenny laughed and said that her mom was probably showing him off to friends, neighbors and any strangers who couldn’t outrun her.

We arrived at Jenny’s street in a leafy suburban development just before noon. I pulled up in front of the house she indicated and prepared wish her luck and be on my way, but Jenny insisted that I at least come in to refill my Big Gulp with fresh soda and ice. I gladly accepted her offer, as I was enjoying her company. I was even considering offering to hang out with her for a few hours while her radiator cooled, then taking her back to her car to fix it. The boys had showed me a few things about auto repair. I let Jenny out at the curb then pulled around and parked the van in the shade of a giant cottonwood tree across the street from her house to shield it from the blazing mid-day sun. I grabbed my drink and stepped into the stifling heat as I locked up the van.

“I wonder if she has a pool?” I thought to myself as I eyed my swimwear bag.

Jenny was rummaging in her purse for her keys as I crossed her lawn, the dry Bermuda grass crunching under my flip-flops. The only other sounds were the incessant buzz of the cicadas and the hum of swamp coolers. The sauna-like heat was growing oppressive, and I was relieved when Jenny finally got the door opened and welcomed me inside.

“Oh wow,” I said as I stepped into the cool, dark hallway, “real air conditioning!”

“I insisted that Tom installed AC,” Jenny said as she closed the door, “I was not about to go through an Arizona summer with one of those evaporative coolers — they make a house so humid.”

As I took of my sunglasses and my eyes adjusted to the lower light, I looked around Jenny’s home. It was a cozy little ranch style house, typical of the developments in this part of town. The doorway opened onto a short hall, which led to a comfy looking den with a long couch facing the far wall, which had small fireplace nestled between sets of built-in shelves, and a color TV. The room ended in a bay window that faced the front yard, with a pair of recliners set in front. A coffee table in front of the couch held a few magazines and candles. Heavy dark drapes were pulled shut, keeping out most of the light, giving the room Escort Şerifali a cool, cave-like feel.

Past the den a short hall led to a small utility room with baskets of laundry sitting atop a washer and drier. The hall then entered a formal dining room with large windows overlooking the back yard. Opposite the front door was the kitchen, one end of which opened to a small bar facing the den. The house was carpeted with deep gold-brown shag, typical of the time. I looked around curiously as I kicked off my flip-flops and left them by the door.

“There’s soda in the fridge Kate,” Jenny said as she disappeared down a hallway to the left, “help yourself.”

I walked into the kitchen and smiled as I saw the photo of a plump, happy baby taped to the fridge door.

“This must be Max.” I called out.

“Yes,” came the answer from down the hall, “It was taken about a month ago.”

“He’s adorable!” I called back, as I opened the fridge door.

After a quick search I spied a six-pack of ice-cold cans of coke behind a stack of about half a dozen small plastic milk bottles, which I assumed were formula for the baby. I grabbed a can and closed the door.

As I scooped ice into my Big Gulp from the freezer, I could hear Jenny rummaging through a closet in the hall, muttering to herself in a tone of rising frustration. I walked over to the kitchen counter by the window and gazed longingly at the pool in the back yard as I fastened the plastic lid on my cup and sipped. Jenny came into the kitchen with a concerned expression on her face, and reached for the phone that was mounted on the kitchen wall next to a calendar.

“Jenny, where’s the bathroom?” I asked, sensing an opportunity to give her some privacy for her phone call.

“Oh,” she replied, indicating the hall she had emerged from, “just down the hall to the left.”

As she started dialing, I slipped past her and walked down the hall in my bare feet, stealing peeks into the rooms as I passed to satisfy my curiosity. There was an office with a desk piled high with stacked boxes, the baby’s room with a crib and stuffed toys, and at the end of the hall by the bathroom, the master bedroom. I’m a terrible snoop, so after a furtive glance back down the hallway to make sure Jenny wasn’t in sight, I opened the door and peeked in.

To my left, a large window covered with heavy orange drapes overlooked the front yard. The sunlight hitting the closed curtains bathed the room in a warm orange glow, like firelight. A dark wood four-poster king sized bed sat beneath the heavily curtained window, its sheets and pillows unmade and disheveled. Mirrored sliding glass doors covered the closets on the far wall, giving the room the illusion of depth. A door to my right led to the master bathroom. Curiosity satisfied, I quietly closed the door and crept back down the hall to the guest bathroom.

When I returned to the kitchen, the phone was back on the hook, but Jenny was nowhere to be seen. I heard a heavy sigh coming from the den. I entered and found her slumped on the couch with her face in her hands. She took another shuddering breath and sighed again as I stood beside her. She looked like she was going to burst into tears.

“Jenny, what’s wrong?” I asked softly, instinctively putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Are you sick Jenny? You’ve been trying to hide it,” I continued, “but I can see you’re in pain.”

“Oh Kate, it’s so embarrassing,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion. “I gave mom the wrong bag this morning. I woke up late and didn’t have time to feed Max, so when my mom came to pick him up this morning I…I packed some bottles for him, but I put them in the bag with my…my breast pump. I can’t reach mom on the phone,” Jenny said dejectedly, “and she isn’t due back with him till six. If Max doesn’t eat enough or I don’t use a breast-pump, my boobs swell up and hurt like hell because my body makes too much milk. My doctor told me it’s called breast engorgement,” she explained. “If I don’t get rid of the extra milk, the tissue can tear and get infected, and…Oh shit, I’m leaking!” she cried.

Looking down at her blouse I saw wet stains around her nipples.

“I’m going to have to go to the hospital!” she sobbed pitifully.

I remembered seeing a box of tissues in the kitchen, so I ran back and brought it to the den. I pulled a few free and handed them to her. “Jenny, is there anything I can do to help?” I asked, feeling helpless.

“Not unless you happen to have a breast pump.” Jenny sighed, as she wiped tears from her face. “Or a really hungry baby.” She added. “It’s no good,” she said dejectedly, “I’m just going to have to go to the hospital. Tom’s going to kill me when he gets the bill.” She looked at me miserably. “Oh Kate,” she said, “you’ve been so nice and so helpful – I hate to ask you for another favor, but could you drive me to the hospital? I’ll pay you for the gas.”

I sat down beside her on the couch and thought for a moment. Going to the hospital sounded like a real pain in the ass. I’d be stuck there for God knows how long, because she would have no other way to get home. Jenny would be stuck with a bill it sounds like she can ill afford, and it seems like it would cause problems with her husband too. And I just hate Hospitals.

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