I learned a lot working for Big Bob’s Delivery Service. I learned the intricacies and subtleties of carrying boxes, pushing armoires on dollies, cradling priceless pieces of art, and lifting baby grand pianos up spiral staircases. I learned how to drink coffee in a turbulent truck without spilling a drop. I learned the ancient trucker’s art of feng shui-the most efficient manner of stacking misshapen things into the back of a truck. And true to its slogan (“We deliver everything except babies!”), I learned the proper way of delivering everything you can possibly imagine.
Most of the time, I learned these skills the hard way. But no lesson came harder than the time I learned to use deodorant.
Being 13 years old, my body hadn’t yet developed the stink that surrounds those entering puberty. But being that I wasn’t so much “strong” as I was “cheap labor,” the heavy manual work took its toll on my glands. My boss, Big Bob, was kind enough-or stinky enough himself-to not mention my manly vapors.
But, like most truckers, Big Bob was an eccentric fellow. You would never meet a nicer, gentler guy, and yet he wouldn’t hesitate a moment to scream out his window “SHAKE WHAT THE GOOD LORD GAVE YA!!” to any decent-looking woman, or to ANY woman for that matter. He could go days without talking, only listening astutely to whatever was on your mind, sometimes offering insightful fatherly advice. But there were also days when all he did was sing along to the Eagles at the top of his lungs while hitting you in the chest, shouting, “THE EAGLES ARE THE FUCKING BEST, HUH!!!!”
My point is that Big Bob was, in general, an amazingly nice, laid-back guy, and it was only at random moments that his trucker instincts would kick in. Normally, even in his macho state, he was funny and happy-go-lucky and charming, and it was only once, and I’ll never forget it, when his ribbing became mean-spirited.
That day Big Bob picked me up, and as usual I asked about the job.
“We’re helping someone move,” he said.
“No, just a person. From one apartment to another.”
Now, Big Bob only took big jobs. Whole houses, offices, buildings… We moved pianos, entire galleries, libraries. You could charge those people a lot, and they didn’t have much choice. But apartments? That was a waste of a day-the people didn’t have much money and it’s a day’s work of moving little shit pieces around.
As usual, I kept my mouth shut… that is, until it dropped open and everything made sense. Out of her three-floor walk-up appeared one of the hottest girls I had ever seen in real life. Tall, dark Asian, with the most unbelievable bod somehow poured into tight jeans and even tighter sweater. And she was young and spunky-big sunglasses, big grin, big tits. She was like Tia Carrera and Asia Carrera wrapped in one. She was so fucking cool.
“Heya, Big Bob!” she said, smiling radiantly, clasping him on the shoulder. “You ready?”
“I’m always ready for you, sweetheart,” he said smoothly. Damn, he was smooth. I also noticed he didn’t introduce me.
We got to work, or I should say, I got to work. Sure enough, it was little shit pieces, up and down a three-floor stairwell. Since none of the pieces were incredibly heavy, and since the stairwell was narrow, Bob decided to get out of my way and use the time to chat up the hottie. After two hours of up-and-down, up-and-down, the truck was fully loaded. I was exhausted, dirty, smelly.
The hot girl spoke: “Okay, Bob, I’ll meet you at the other apartment!” and she headed to her car.
“Nah, get in the van, sweetheart,” said Bob.
“You sure? It’s okay?”
“Yeah, the kid will make room for you.”
Now, this was a delivery truck. There are two seats in the front. That’s it. What was she going to do-climb onto my lap?
She climbed onto my lap. She apologized for her weight (what weight?), but I was too shocked to do anything but smile meekly. To get comfortable, she put her arms around me and sat across on my lap. If I wasn’t so tired, I would’ve creamed my jeans, or at the very least, popped a monster boner. Things like this just didn’t happen to your average 13-year-old, especially to a chubby metalhead dork like me.
Bob, either sensing my happiness or her arms around me, decided to do some further cock-blocking.
“Pheewwww!! Is that you, Adam? GOD YOU STINK!”
I did. I really did stink. I had sweat pouring down me, I was wet through my clothes. And my pits had the most awful tuna fishy, rotten meat smell.
The girl said, “Aw, it’s not so bad,” but that confirmed that I DID stink, and I started feeling awful. And nervous. And I sweated more and more.
It was a hot day and a long drive. No air conditioner. The girl began fidgeting in my lap. Worse, she was wrinkling her nose. All the while, Big Bob was going on and on about how bad I smell.
“YOU GOTTA GORGEOUS GIRL ON YOUR LAP AND YOU SMELL LIKE SHIT! WHAT ARE YOU, A RETARD? DON’T YOU KNOW HOW TO USE DEODORANT?? AND HE SMELLS LIKE THIS EVERY DAY! KID, TAKE YOUR MONEY TODAY AND BUY SOME COLOGNE!! HOLY SHIT!! I THINK THE GIRL IS GONNA PUKE ALL OVER YOU, YOU STINKING BASTARD!!!”
Between my stink and Big Bob’s ranting, the girl spent the trip in quiet discomfort. When we drove up to her new apartment, she actually LEPT out of the truck, almost falling to her face.
I spent the next few hours moving her stuff in. She didn’t talk to me, didn’t even offer some water. When Bob asked her if she needed a ride back to her car, she couldn’t say no thanks fast enough.
The next day, I bought my first stick of deodorant.