It was a whole week before I saw the bread-truck fellow again. It made me wonder, but when I asked about it, first chance I got, he said on other days he had other routes to run. Come Thursday again, though and there he was. I had nearly reached the artesian well when he came rolling along; he didn't stop, but went to wait until I got there. Smiling secretly to myself, I took my time. I knew that silver quarter would keep.
He was standing in the open doors of the truck. He reached one hand to pull me up, and the minute the doors were closed, he grabbed me so tight I couldn't breathe. He laid his hands under my ass to hold me close, and he was kissing my face, just shaking all over. I let him do as he pleased for as much as a minute before I moved away.
"You know it's gonna take another quarter," I warned him.
"All right, all right," he said impatiently. His old Thing was bulging his pants something awful.
"Give it here, then," I said, holding out my hand.
He put a quarter into my palm. I looked at it, folded my hand tight, and placed my books on an empty shelf. I looked at the aisle between the shelves, pleased with what I saw. It had not only been swept clean, but there was a nice army blanket all spread out. So I just laid down backward, hiking my skirt and pushing down my drawers as I did so.
"Here It is," I said. "Come and get It."
He was so stirred up to gaze on my offered nakedness that he looked like he was going to be sick, his face was drawn, and his body was trembling like he had the chills and the fever. He didn't take time to pull off his white coveralls, either, but fell on me like a hawk on a chicken.
Lord, he was so frantic. I wrapped my arms around him, trying to soothe him down, talking, telling him he didn't have to be in no such a rush, there was all the time in the world because he had done paid his quarter, hadn't he? It didn't do no good. I reckon he was so caught up he didn't hear what I had to say; at least, he spurted it so quick It was over before he had hardly poked his old Thing at me. Then he just collapsed, his breath coming so hard I thought he was crying, like Papa always cried.
So I held him, though his used-up little old Thing had slipped out; and we lay so for a long time. Gradually I noticed that he was coming back to himself; so I reached down and found enough to tuck inside where it belonged to be. I cherished his Thing with my pussy while it grew and grew, and all the time he was gazing down into my eyes, feeling what I was doing to him. Remembering how much pleasure he had got out of it the time before, I put my mouth on his breast nipple. A ragged sound came from his throat. I held him with my legs so he couldn't hardly move, and took it away from him like taking candy from a baby.
"Good God, girl, where did you learn to do It like that?" he asked after he was finished.
"I don't know," I said. "I just do It, that's all." Then I said, most reasonably, "After all, you've got to get your quarter's worth, ain't you?"
He sort of laughed, still holding me close and beginning to move his hips around, though as far as I could tell, he didn't have nothing left to do with. Then he started in to kissing me. I pushed him away, saying, "I think you've got It by now, so get up off of me."
He rolled to one side. But when I started to put my dress down, he said, "Wait a minute," and laid his hand between my legs. Well, that was nice of him to think of it, so I let him. He was watching my eyes while he twirled his hand. But when it started making me feel restless, like that sort of thing will do, I pushed his hand away with both my hands and covered myself.
"Don't you want something, too?" he asked, surprised.
"Don't you worry your head about me, mister," I told him. "Just worry about yourself." Then I looked at him sweetly. "Will you bring me another quarter next week?"
"Yes," he said. "Before then, if I can steal the time from another route."
So, knowing I had a steady income I could count on, I was proud of myself as I added the second quarter to the first quarter in my Reynolds-wrap-lined fruit jar; then a third and a fourth, making a whole dollar, both coming in the same week, because he was there on the Tuesday and again on the Thursday.
But I want to tell you, men are hard to deal with. Seems like they ain't never satisfied with what they got. Here he had a nice girl he could count on, and he seemed to like It better every time he came. But it wasn't enough, no sir, he had to start talking about me sneaking out at night so's he could carry me to his place, where we could take off all our clothes and get into a real bed together. The first time he mentioned it, I told him nothing doing right off, because I didn't aim to try no such trick on my papa.
"He'd whale the tar out of me," I said. "You might just as well not talk about it anymore."
He wouldn't shut up about it, though, so that finally I had to say, "If you mention any such a nasty thing to me one more time, I won't take no more of your money. I'll walk right on by your old bread truck with my head held high."
He got a hurt look to his face. "But can't you see that I . . ." He stopped for a minute. Then he said, "Listen. I live all to myself in a house trailer. Air-conditioning and everything. You'd like it there, you really would, and when I'd come home from work at night, we could . . ."
"You talking about me living with you?"
He got an eager look. "Will you do it? I love you, girl, I guess you know that, and I know you like me, else you couldn't be so good doing It with me. You know you like It as much as I do."
Maybe I gave him to believe I was thinking about his idea, because I didn't say anything for a minute. His face got all lit up, and he was holding my arms hard with both hand, and he was starting to shake like he did when I had first raised my skirts for him.
"Get your clothes together and run away tonight. I'll meet you here in my own car to take you home. Oh, love, you'll like living with me . . . we'll be so wonderful together . . ."
I shook my head. "I don't want to live with you," I said. "First thing you know, you wouldn't want to pay me no more."
He stopped dead still, like he hadn't heard right. Maybe he didn't want to hear what I was telling him. Then he got this very serious expression on his face.
"I'll marry you," he whispered. "I'll make you my wife."
Well, that did it. Making him let go of my arms, I moved a step away. "Mister," I said, "I ain't but fourteen years old. That ain't old enough to even begin to think about getting married."
His face was all twisted up with the hard begging. "But I love you. You must love me. Like me, anyway, and once we're married . . ."
"I don't know nothing about no love," I said. "All I want is my quarters. That's all I've got on my mind."
Turn a fellow down and he'll get mean on you every time. He glared. "You're just a two-bit whore. That's all you are," he snarled.
"That's not nice," I said, my voice as sharp as a slap in the face. "If you can't do nothing but talk bad-mouth to me, I'm going home."
I picked up my books and marched right out of that bread truck, him trying to stop me, saying he was sorry, he hadn't meant a word of it, please don't go away mad. But I reckon I know when I've been insulted. So I wouldn't be denied.
He leaned out after me. "Will I see you again?" he said, his voice as tangled as his suffering face.
Mad as a hornet though I was, I had to take some pity. "As long as you got a quarter in your pocket, I'll be here right on time," I said. I couldn't help but add, "But I ain't going to feel half so nice about it, I'll tell you that, not after what you said to me."
I reckon, though, the more he thought about it, the madder he got. I know it for a fact that he meant to do me dirt. I suppose he had to prove to his own satisfaction that he couldn't' possibly be in love with a girl who'd do It for a quarter. I don't know. Sometimes men are hard to understand, except when they've got a hard-on and only It on their minds. Then they're just as clear as glass.
Be that as it may, the very next day, when I come switching my tail home from school, a stranger was waiting at the artesian well. Sitting in the front seat of a big old Cadillac automobile, he had the door open to put his feet to the ground. When he saw me coming, he started to twirling a quarter, tossing it into the air and catching it while looking at me instead of the quarter.
I come close, then stopped.
"Come here, little girl," he said.
I moved nearer still. He was a short little fellow, hardly taller than me, but fat, so that he was wide, too. His belly just bulged out over his belt buckle. His skin was real dark, and his cheeks were fat and hanging down on each side of a small mouth. His nose was large and strong in the middle of all that fat. He was wearing a nice blue suit with a red necktie, and he was sweating in the heat.
Still tossing the coin, turning sparkling in the air, he said, "Want to make yourself a nice shiny quarter, girlie?"
"Where'd you find out about me?" I said.
"Fellow drives a truck for me kept bragging about this piece of tail he had stashed out here on this byroad," he said. "So I thought I'd take a look - see for myself." His eyes, in their folds of fat, showing no bigger than a penny, were bright and greedy.
"You ain't been drinking, have you?" I said.
"Never drink anything but a little wine with my meals," he said, surprised. "What makes you think I'm drunk?"
"It's just that I can't stand the smell of liquor," I said.
"Well, what about It? Want this quarter?"
"Yes sir, I reckon so," I said. I smiled. It was the first time I had felt like smiling at him. "Ain't never turned down a quarter till yet."
"Then come here." He moved his legs, expecting me to walk between them. I didn't move.
"Give me the quarter first."
"That's what I want to do. So come here and let me give you your money."
I went closer. He reached out his short arm, holding the quarter between two fingers over the square neck of my dress. When he let go, it dropped cold into my bra. He watched the expression on my face, then put one hand to my backside and the other one flat against my pussy. I had expected him to be rough, maybe even nasty about it, but he just rubbed me nice and easy.
When he was satisfied that I wouldn't flinch, he dropped his hand to go up under my skirt, and went on that way for another minute or two. I expected him next to seek my nakedness under the flour-sack drawers, but instead he stopped entirely, saying. "Get in the back seat, girlie. I'll be with you in a minute."
I got into the back seat. He looked up and down the empty road - hardly ever any traffic along here - and then got all the way inside and closed the door. He drove the car behind an overhang of vines, hiding it entirely from the road. Made me wonder why the bread-truck fellow hadn't thought of such a thing; but then, nobody's going to pay attention to a bread truck parked alongside the road, while anybody in the world would take note of a Cadillac.
"I want you naked by the time I get there," he said. He was busy getting out of his own clothes.
"I ain't taking off my dress," I said. "That ain't in the bargain."
"Either take it off or I tear it off," he said, as calm as you please.
I couldn't have that, could I? . . . How would I get home? I could just see Papa's face if I come trucking in as naked as a jaybird. So I wriggled around and got out of my clothes, feeling the nice car seat cool and rough on my naked skin.
Leaving the motor running and the air-conditioning on, making it as cool as a body could ask for - it was real thoughty of him, I decided, so then and there I started in to liking him - he got naked into the back seat beside me.
But, Lord, he was so fat and so hairy, thick black hair curling all over his belly, with a swath broadening out over his chest: and though he was short, he seemed to fill the whole back seat. When I got a look at his old Thing, it was so tiny, nestled in all that thick black hair, it looked like something a cute little boy would wave at a cute little girl. I never had liked the idea of a boy, so I wasn't sure yet that I was going to enjoy earning this particular quarter.
He kneeled beside me, gazing on my nakedness. "Nothing in the world liked a beautiful young girl," he said softly. "Oh, you are lovely, my dear. Lovely."
I was lying on the seat, one leg dropped to the floor. Because I wasn't no bigger than a minute, I was so comfortable and cool I could have gone to sleep. I lay still, letting him feast his eyes - which he did to his heart's content before finally he touched my breasts, then stroked his hand down my belly to my crotch. Back again to my breast, then another stroke, like petting a cat. His hand was soft, so gentle, I began to like him all over again, so that I smiled, sleepy-like, and he started whispering, "Oh, yes, you like It, don't you, lovely child, the touch of a man on your body, oh, yes, lovely, lovely. . ."
It was funny, but his voice ha changed, taking on a singsong sort of accent, and part of the time he was talking in a foreign language I didn't know. But that was only after he had snugged his hand between my legs and glued his mouth to the nipple of my breast, so that when he pulled away to talk I could feel the warm breath of his words.
I let him do as he pleased until it began to make me restless. So I stirred myself out from under the petting, saying to him, "I ain't got all day, mister."
He leaned back for a moment, smiling. "There is no time, my dear, at a time like this. Don't think about time."
He went on about his business. As he got himself up over me, I saw that his old Thing had stayed short in getting hard, but had thickened up considerably. Then I didn't have time to think about it, because he had it inside of me, and I was smothering under all his fat, so that I had to struggle to draw air.
Well, I want to tell you something. He might have been so fat and hairy you'd have thought he was a bear instead of a man. But when it come to fucking, he just put the bread-truck fellow in the shade.
He started slow and easy, moving an inch back and an inch forth, slow and easy, slow and easy, rocking himself into me. In no time at all, I was rocking with him, because, taking so long to get started, I figured It would be soon over. I had figured wrong. He was right about there being no time in doing It; he just kept on and on and on, going stronger as he traveled his road, and I want to tell you, a girl can't stand that sort of thing forever, which was how long he looked like making It last. I couldn't breathe, his weight so heavy on me, and I was getting so stirred up I didn't hardly know what to do with myself. So I guess I got sort of desperate to get It done with.
Be that as it may, I just grabbed his old Thing, there inside of me, and started milking. I had to finished him and get his Thing out of my pussy before I just died. He grunted and said something in that foreign tongue of his - Greek, I found out later, he was a Greek - and buried his face in my neck and held his Thing stiff and still and let me have my way. He didn't move even when his Thing started throbbing and gushing, and so that part of It, too, seemed like lasting forever before I had taken all he had to give.
He was kind enough to get right up off of me. Staring at me, he wiped the sweat of honest labor from his brow. Then he smiled, just a beautiful smile, and laid his hand into my neck.
"My dear, you are a great courtesan," he said. His fat belly, the sweat gleaming on it, shook with sudden laughing. "And all for the price of a quarter, the one-fourth part of a dollar."
"What did I do?" I said, interested as I could be. I didn't exactly understand what he meant by calling me "a great courtesan," but it didn't sound nasty and mean at all.
"You don't know what it is you do?" he asked, showing surprise. "My dear child." He slapped his forehead with the flat of his hand. "You have, in absolute ignorance, give me a joy I have not experienced since coming to America. It is a think American women do not seem to learn . . nor many European women, for that matter."
"Thank you," I said, though not understanding in the least what he was talking about.
He leaned over to kiss me. Not wishing to get It started again, you understand, just a friendly kiss, so nice, and I liked it so much I put my arms around his neck to hug him. He kissed me again, then pulled away, saying, "You have great talent, lovely girl. Don't waste it."
So I laughed and said, "I don't aim to. Not as long as there are quarters to be had." I kissed him again, of my own free will, and said, "I got to go now. I need to get the house cleaned up before Papa comes home."
He didn't argue; he climbed out of the back seat and got into the front so I'd have room to get dressed in comfort. As I slid out of the car, books in my arms, I stopped long enough to tell him sincerely, "Mister, you're nice. I hope you'll come see me again."
He smiled. "Don't think I won't child. Don't think I won't."
I'll tell you, it is something nice to be a success in this world. Within the next couple of weeks, it wasn't just a matter of the bread-truck driver - he did come back, though with a hangdog look when he saw what he had started with all his bragging - and of Mr. Greek (that's what I always called him, because I couldn't twist my tongue around his foreign name); why, sometimes there would be as many as four or five men waiting at the artesian well when I came prissing along on my way home from school.
It got to be a regular party. Why, those fellows would bring Cokes and beer - I wouldn't allow no whiskey drinking, let me tell you that - and maybe hamburgers and hot dogs, too, and they'd be sitting there just as friendly, talking and waiting and having their eats and drinks. The minute I arrived, though, there wasn't but the one thing on their minds.
Of course, they tried to make it a problem as to who got to go first. But I took care of that right quick. I just let them know I'd make my choice to suit myself, and if they didn't like it, they could lump it.
First thing, I'd go around to kiss each and every one. The order in which I kissed them let them know how I'd made up my mind to do It that particular day. Like, the first time the bread-truck fellow came around again, just as sheepish and embarrassed as could be to see the other men - and just a little dicky about it, too - I made him wait until dead last as a punishment, though, truth to tell, I was grateful that he had advertised me enough to tell all these other customers.
Next I'd pick out my vehicle. Sometimes it was the bread truck, sometimes it was Mr. Greek's big Cadillac; best of all, though, was a big camper belonging to a lean, tough fellow, which had an air mattress fitted to the floor. When I climbed in, they started coming with their quarters.
It was an education, all right. Right there, at that artesian well, I learned about men. I found out there ain't no two alike, so that a girl has got to pay attention to their needs and wants, because sometimes they don't even know themselves, or are ashamed to say.
Mr. Greek was the best of the lot when ti come right down to fucking. He was always so nice, so gentle, yet seemed to last forever, even if he was a fat as a pig, and never needed to draw his second wind; besides, he had a silver tongue in his head to praise a girl with, so that he made me feel pretty good just with his talking.
The lean, tough fellow who owned the camper wasn't no slough, either, even if he was mighty rough. It seemed like he aimed to stab me to death with his old Thing, and when he got into the throes, he'd start beating at my head with his doubled-up fist, so that I had to turn pretty dodgy to keep from getting bruised. Afterward, though, he'd say he was sorry in just the sweetest words a girl could ever hear, and tell me how his wife was cold as an old boiled potato, and if he wanted any, he had to take It away from her.
Just all kinds of fellows. One young man, quiet and sweet, didn't want nothing but to talk whilst I held his Thing in my hand. Didn't ever even take off his clothes; and not only told me about all sorts of things, but recited poetry that I thought he was making up out of his own head until he told me he had memorized hundreds of beautiful poems. When he couldn't sleep of a night, he said, he'd hold his Thing in his hand and run through his mind the most beautiful love poems in the English language. He liked it a lot better, though, for me to do the holding. I tell you, I learned more fine English poetry from him than ever I did in the classroom.
One fellow, all he wanted was to take dirty pictures. Brought all this fancy camera equipment, lights and everything, but I wasn't having any of that; told him straight out in no uncertain terms that I didn't want men gazing on my body when they couldn't touch me, because all they'd do then was think dirty thoughts. He offered me as much as a dollar to pose for him, and then when I turned him down, he got pretty horsy. I just marched naked to the door of the camper and called to the fellows still waiting that I figured I needed a little bit of help. They got rid of him, all right; in such a way as he wouldn't feel free to come back.
The good word must have just kept spreading, because nearly every day I'd see the face of a stranger. I didn't mind in the least; those quarters just kept filling up the fruit jar. It got to where I had so much business to tend to I had to start getting up early in the morning to clean up the house, so I'd have time enough in the afternoon at the artesian well.
Now, let me tell you, at that time in my life I didn't know the first thing about protecting myself. So you may wonder how it was that I got by without being knocked up to have a baby. Lord knows, they run enough of that baby-making stuff through me. I just didn't worry about it, that's all; I remember my mama telling, once, that to her way of thinking a woman took a baby when something in her body or her soul wanted to get caught. So I just made up my mind to it, and never had a speck of trouble. Ain't never had no trouble in that way, for that matter.
It got to where I was pretty tired little girl come the time when I had finished with the last man and toted my shiny quarters home to put secretly in the fruit jar. But I was contented with life, except that the same old problem kept cropping up with one or another of the fellows.
It was that, after a while, they couldn't rest content with the good thing they had found; each and every one decided, sooner or later, to cut out everybody else and have me all to himself.
Of course, the preacher who started coming twice a week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, didn't count, because that was just his way, you see, to remonstrate with me for my way of life, even to get down on his knees and pray for my soul to be washed white in the blood of the Lamb so that I would know the sinfulness of my ways and walk the straight and narrow path forevermore, to end up beside the shining throne. That was only his way, like reciting poetry was that other fellow's, because after he was through praying, he wanted me to get down on my hands and knees so he could do it dog-fashion, saying he couldn't stand to gaze into my beautiful, sinful face whilst he yielded himself to the old devil nature that dwelled so hard and strong in his polluted body. So I didn't pay him any mind.
But take Mr. Greek, now, he got serious; decided I ought to move to Pass Robin, work in his bakery during the day and keep house for him at night. He got to where he talked about it all the time, describing the pretty clothes he would buy me, the good life I would lead, and how we could have whole nights together two or three times a week, and he'd just love me to death and keep on paying me, too, more money than I'd ever dreamed of.
I couldn't take to that way of doing. Truth to tell, I liked all those different fellows taking their pleasure of me. So every time he'd tempt me, I'd think about never seeing the bread-truck driver again, or the nice fellow who told me all the good poetry, or even the fellow that never put it in me - he just liked me to suck on his Thing, and when I didn't know what he meant, he showed me, and I swear, you never saw a man enjoying something so much in your life. Though I told him looked like he could find a bull calf to do him in that manner.
So finally, one day, I let Mr. Greek know that if he couldn't stop talking about carrying me to tow, I wouldn't let him come back again, ever. That did serve to shut him up. After a while. First he had to tell me how he had come to love me; meant it, too, because his voice was shaking with the words, and as he kissed me with greedy, nibbling kisses, his face was wet with his tears. Told me he had never in his life known a woman so lovely as me, so warm, and I had to love him too just because of the way I did It with him. I let him know that I did my dead level best with everybody and I just couldn't see it as right to cut out the other fellows and let him have It all.
So he shut up about tempting me to run away from home. But he wasn't the first or the last to try it. When I didn't have the first intention of quitting such a nice trade as I was doing. Why, by the time school let out, I had the quart fruit jar full and had started another one. This one, I knew would fill up even faster, because, actually, school being over made it all that much easier. I could lay around the house all morning, thinking about how good the second half of my day would be; then, after lunch, I'd bathe and dress and fix my hair and take a walk down to the artesian well.
By now I needed the entire afternoon to tend to business. Maybe only one or two fellows would be waiting, but by the time I got started, others would be arriving, in cars and trucks and pickup trucks, and even once in a while one of those great big semis driven cross-country by a trucker. They had got the word, too, and come out of their way. Somebody even installed a picnic table in the shady spot hidden from the road, and the fellows would be playing cards or dominoes, just as friendly as a club, you know, and so I'd kiss them one by one and start to work.
Didn't a man jack go away dissatisfied, either, feeling like he hadn't got his quarter's worth. It did this girl's heart good, I want you to know, to see the glow in their eyes as they raised up off of me. It didn't matter that another fellow had marched in front of him and somebody else was waiting behind; they each and every one believed in their hearts - they told me so many and many a time - that I gave him the best.
It may sound like bragging, but it's the truth. Just like Mr. Greek had told me a thousand times over, I was born to be what he called a courtesan. It was a thing I had to think about; it was just that my sweet little pussy knew what it was the men wanted, and was willing and eager to give it. I can't describe it; they would come with their awful weight on me, and there would be in me every time an answer to the question they asked in all their different ways of asking, boldly or shamefully or timidly as the case may be.
I just knew. That's all. There was the one fellow who wanted me still and quiet, the one fellow who wanted me to bang off the minute he got in me - at least play like banging off, but when you just do It, who's to say whether it's for play or it's for real? Another fellow wanted me to act like I didn't aim to let him have It, to the point where he'd have to chase me and pin me down and take It away from me. I just knew these things, you see, I just did these things. And pleased them.
So I had the second fruit jar full of quarters and was well stared on the third on the day when, just wore out from the ten fellows I had took care of that afternoon, I opened the door one last time, thinking to myself I'd better hurry because Papa would be coming home from work . . . and saw Papa standing there with his quarter in his hand!
It was a shock. I stood naked of body, staring down into his face, whilst, recognizing his onliest daughter, his face went white as bone.
"Papa," I said, backing away.
He come into the camper in one jump. "So it's you," he said. "You I've been told about that I can fuck for a quarter."
His long arm reached out. His hand took a hold of me. And I was afraid like I hadn't ever been afraid of him before.