Wearing my tight Calvin Klein jeans and tall black boots with a low-cut white top, I pulled into the market’s parking lot.
The Punjabi swung in immediately after.
I climbed into his truck and he smiled at me.
“Very good,” he said, “look very good.”
The drive to Rochester, I tried to ignore him. He droned on about some crap going on with one of his stores. He always seemed to be talking, yet never revealed anything of importance. Like, where we were going.
We arrived at a building in a manufacturing district and parked in the dirt lot.
“Come with me.” He instructed.
His ‘business partners’ met us in the entrance and led us to a meeting room.
“This,” he laughed, “This is my driver!”
“Well, certainly is something to look at, isn’t she? Driving all she does?”
I smiled, but I wanted to punch him.
They got down to business and I spaced out, thinking of what I was going to do with the $250 he was paying me to sit through this. I was so used to being broke, the thought of having a little extra money excited me.
Before I knew it, the meeting was over and the men had invited us to get drinks at a bar just outside of town.
On the way there, I told The Punjabi, “I have to be home BY six. I have to meet my mom.”
“Oh, no problem, we be back early.” He promised.
Inside the dim smoky bar, people stared me down. I wondered what they were thinking as they silently watched us find a seat. The Punjabi’s associates pressed me to drink with them. I wasn’t about to tell them that I wasn’t 21 yet. I repeated, “I’m the driver,” to everyone that asked. But they kept pushing me until I ordered a beer.
I tried to be polite and witty and sweet. I played a game of pool and pretended to be interested in what they were talking about. I laughed at all their jokes and let them light my cigarettes for me. But soon it was nearing six o’clock.
I pulled The Punjabi aside, “You told me we’d be home by now!” I said.
“We go in a bit,” He replied.
“NO!” I got serious. “I have your keys and I’m leaving, whether you are in the truck or not.”
“Oh, settle down, Heartbreaker!” His attitude just pissed me off.
“Thirty minutes, Punjabi – then I’m gone.”
When his time was up, he was ready to go. I smiled and thanked everyone for the nice time and hurried to the truck.
Driving home, I literally had to push him off me. He was slobbering drunk, professing his love to me. “Why you no love me?” He asked. “I too old for you, Heartbreaker?”
“Go to sleep.” I said, the sickened tone in my voice was apparent. He did and thankfully slept the rest of the way.
When I reached my car, I asked him if he’d be okay to drive himself home.
“I be alright.” He said, and he apologized for acting like an ass.
“I just don’t need that in my life,” I replied.
“You need this though, don’t you?” He asked, handing me my pay.
The cash felt good in my hand. It was more than I made in a week, with a little “sugar” on top. And here, all it took was putting up with his shit for a little while.
“I see you later?” He asked.
He knew he would.