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Bricklayer

By Larry Gross · September 4th, 2012 · Living Out Loud
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As I started to wash some dishes, I noticed that my bottle of dishwashing liquid was practically empty. I wouldn’t have enough suds to get the dishes done. I looked at my watch. It was a quarter after 6. I figured with it being early evening, Walgreens, up on Madison Avenue here in Covington, wouldn’t be that busy. I’d walk up there and get me another bottle. 

I heard a knock on the door to my apartment building. While I hate playing doorman to other tenants who forget their keys or visitors who want this or that, I was heading out anyway, so for this one time, I didn’t get all hot and bothered by having to open the door.

Standing there was a rather tall woman with a round, pasty face and blue eyes. She had long blonde hair but her black roots were showing.

“Is the bricklayer here?” she asked.

“Bricklayer?”

“I was supposed to meet a bricklayer here at 6,” she said. “I’m a little late, couldn’t find this street.”

“I don’t know anything about a bricklayer living here,” I replied. “Of course I don’t know everybody…”

“He said he would meet me here, said he lived here and all that,” the woman said. “I need some brick work done and he said he could do it.”

I took notice of what the lady was wearing. She had on a faded T-shirt, kind of had stars and stripes on it or it used to. The blue jeans she was wearing were too tight around her bulging stomach. The white tennis shoes on her feet were dirty.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” I said. She extended her right hand to me.

“Name’s Judy,” she said.

“OK,” I said, shaking her hand.

“Judy, Judy, Judy.”

“OK.”

“Judy, Judy, Judy,” she repeated. “Remember Goober Pyle saying that?”

“Goober or Gomer?”

“Goober.”

“I always thought Cary Grant said it,” I replied.

“Oh, no, it was Goober Pyle,” Judy said.

“Judy, Judy, Judy.”

“OK.”

I stood there for several seconds not saying anything else. I was regretting I had opened the door.

“Would you mind if I came in and looked for him?” Judy asked. “I know he has to live here somewhere.”

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that,” I replied, “and I’m heading out. Why don’t you call him and . . .”

“Now I don’t want you thinking I’m the kind of girl who just shows up knocking on doors looking for men,” Judy said. “I don’t want you to think I’m like some of those girls up there on Madison Avenue. I’m looking for this bricklayer.”

“I’m not thinking anything,” I replied, thinking plenty.

“I want you to know I’m a good girl,” she said.

“OK.”

“No, really I am.”

“Why would I think anything else?” I said. “Just call this bricklayer and . . .”

“A girl needs to survive somehow,” Judy said. 

“That’s fine,” I replied, “but I don’t know of any . . .”

“I use the barter system,” Judy said.

“OK.”

“It’s a trade for services.”

“I know what barter means,” I said.

“It’s strictly business.”

“OK.”

“Just so you know,” she said.

Tiring of this weird conversation I was having with Judy, I rethought my plan. I would head up to Walgreens to get the dishwashing liquid after I got this odd woman out of my sight.

“I’m going back in,” I told Judy as I started to close the door.

“I thought you were heading out?” she replied.

“Changed my mind.”

“I don’t guess you would like a little company, would you?” Judy said batting her eyes. I started to feel my stomach turn.

“I thought you said you were a good girl?” I said.

“Oh, I am!” Judy replied. “I’m just wondering if . . .”

“No thanks,” I said, closing the door quickly and feeling good that I had the chance to interrupt her like she constantly did with me.  With the door shut, I yelled out, “Goodbye!”

When I got back inside my apartment, I looked out my window. I watched Judy make a left off my street, heading up to Madison Avenue and then turning left on Madison. That was good. Walgreens was to the right. I wouldn’t have to encounter this bizarre woman again. 

As I made my own walk up to Madison Avenue to get dishwashing liquid, I wondered if there’s a bricklayer in my building bartering for sex. What would he get in return for laying bricks? A blowjob? Sexual intercourse? Then, my mind raced as to who it could be in my building.

Would this neighbor of mine — and I’m assuming it’s a he — get all pissed off at me for not letting Judy in? Would he get angry that I had spoiled all his fun for the evening? I kind of doubt if he would bring it up to me — you know, letting it slip that he uses prostitutes for sex. That’s a little seedy, but, hell, for all I know this “Goober,” this ridiculous woman, could have had the wrong address. 

I shook my head, trying to shake those wondering thoughts away. Entering Walgreens, I looked at my watch. It was now 6:30. I had spent 15 minutes talking to or thinking about Judy — 15 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. I got my dishwashing liquid, went home and washed the damn dishes.  


 
 
 
 

 

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