Looks Like Freedom, but it Feels Like Death

Previously, on A Young American…

To start at the beginning, go here.

I was going back to Kansas. I emailed Janis and told her that I was newly single and if she was too then meet me at the Wichita Airport at 11:15 that night to pick me up, and then I got on the plane. I arrived drunk and agitated. When I looked out the window all I saw were the same Goddamn grids below,  a spark of light here and there, but it was mostly black. I immediately regretted jumping so hastily, but I needed something familiar to see, and Janis was about as familiar as it got. God I hope she’s there.

I stepped off the plane and walked out front. No sign of any blonde big-breasted beauties anywhere. Up and down the terminal I looked and saw nothing. Now what? I thought just when a silver Nissan Altima pulled up next to me. The window rolled down and Janis bent her head down. “Logan!?  Oh my God!”  She put the car in park and hopped out. She was as stunning as ever, wearing her trademark white sweater.

Her hair was in one long braid, sort of like a Mormon wife. Her cowboy boots fit perfectly with her bootleg cut tight jeans. She ran right up to me and immediately went for tongue. I embraced her and we made out passionately next to her car. She reached back and pulled my hair gently as I grabbed her hips and pressed them against mine. When she let go she looked at me and smiled that smile only people in the Dental industry have.

“I’ve missed you.” She said, glancing down at my lips, “It’s been awhile since I’ve tasted that classic Jack and Coke.” I was relieved at how little she’d changed. Same old sexy Janis. I thought about our sexcapades, and wondered why we only officially dated for the briefest of times centuries past. I looked around and saw flashes of lightning here and there, followed by the faded Thor-like thunder. If there was anything I missed about Kansas, it was those gleaming flashes of light that burst in the night sky on a warm winter’s night.

To sit on the front porch and watch as an almost unbreakable wall of water and electricity danced and exploded for my own amusement was a feeling like no other. Janis and I got into her car, and we sped back to her place, right as the rain started to come down. With a Kansas thunderstorm, it was all or nothing on the rain. It came down hard, fast, and plenty or not at all. We made it to her porch, but not without getting sopping wet.

The best thing about Janis’ taste in clothing was how easy it was to make it practically invisible. I immediately embraced her as the wind picked up, turning the rain on its side. We glared at each other under the warm, dissipating clouds of smoke that escaped our mouths. I started to undress Janis. “Wait, wait.” She said, pulling her top back down, “It’s too cold out here.”  I opened her door and carried her to the bedroom, soaking the carpet in water and mud.

“Better?” I asked, continuing to strip her. I took off my pants and rubbed my wet cock on her pussy. She always enjoyed cold sensations.

She moaned, “Do you have a condom?”  I stopped using them since Barbara.

“Shit.” I said.

“It’s okay. I have some in my nightstand.” I reached over and just as the lightning cut the power I got my raincoat, put it on, and mounted her once again. We fucked to the beat of the storm. With the lights out on the whole block, we couldn’t see anything except for the moments when lightning flashed through the window. For that brief millisecond, I saw Janis with her head back, flowing with my thrusting.

She rolled me over and rode me hard and long. The storm had died down and stopped raining, but lightning still came and went. The last lightning bolt was so close that we heard it tear the air in half, and I swear we felt the jolt through our bodies, which made both of us come with the thunder.

She collapsed at my side and I tried to push away that after sex sadness that flooded my mind with memories of Barbara. I woke up the next morning and Janis was gone. It had to be about noon with the Goddamn sun that was burning through the soft white curtains. The fresh summer air flowed through the room with a smell that only followed a Kansas Thunderstorm. I looked at the clock.

9:15 A.M.

Fuck.

I was already awake, so I reached over and grabbed a cigarette, contemplating last night, until I finally rolled out of bed when I heard Janis come back home from God knows where. “This damn sun woke me up and then blinded me.”

“Well, maybe you should learn to get up earlier.”

“Where’d you go?”

“To the store, I wanted to make us some breakfast. After all, I am the host while you’re staying here.” Breakfast? “So, what do you wanna do today?” She asked, frying up some eggs.

“I don’t care. Nothing really to do in this town except to revisit old stuff to see what’s changed.”

“Oh, speaking of,” Dammit, “they did a complete remodel of our high school. You wanna go take a look at it?” I stared at her. “What?” Those eyes of hers were so big and green and innocent, just like everything else about her. I could never look into them while we fucked.

“I don’t know,” I responded, looking down at my feet. “Just seems a little odd going back to the old high school just to have a look around, you know?”

“Oh, it’ll be fun.” She waved her hand.

“Can’t we just stay at home? And smoke? And drink? And fuck?” She stared at me with those fucking eyes. “Fine, you can give me a tour, but 20 minutes maximum.” She smiled and handed me my breakfast. Afterwards she insisted we take a shower together. “There better be sex involved.”

There was.

By the time we got to the school it was around lunchtime. I always liked the cafeteria lunches. I knew that the food was bad, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying it. Unfortunately it was winter break, no lunch was provided. Just a stupid tour I had agreed to solely because a girl was blessed with Bambi’s eyes. The school looked brand new.

It was as if they just bulldozed the old one and built from the ground up. Janis had been there before, which was sad, but good for me because it made the tour go by faster. It was pretty much as I had imagined it would be: Bigger gym, more classrooms, and wider hallways. It was all very lackluster until Janis showed me the locker area.

I couldn’t give two shits about the lockers, but her loud talking partnered with the echoes of the hallway to draw out the head of this hot little number from her classroom. She peeked out and saw us. I stopped Janis from talking and pointed at the teacher. She turned around, “Oh, I’m sorry. We didn’t know anyone was here. Are we being too loud?” I looked at Janis. We?

“No, it’s fine. You just startled me that’s all.” What a sexy voice she had. It was slightly high, but just a hint of rasp in it, as if a cold was coming.

“Excuse us. She wanted to take a look around that’s all. Are you knew to this school?”  I asked, hands in my pockets. She nodded.

“I am. First year.”  

“What do you teach?”

“Philosophy.”

“In High School?” asked Janis.

“Well, it’s actually a college course seniors can take to get credit and it also helps them figure out what kinds of subjects they’re into. It’s sort of an experimental program. Most schools think the subject is too advanced, but I think it helps students begin to form opinions for themselves instead of just spitting out what’s told to them or what they see in their personalized feeds.” She stepped fully out into the hallway, keeping one hand on the door. “Sorry, I have to hold this open because they automatically lock and my keys are on the desk.”

“Damn Columbine.” I said, and she laughed nervously. Wow, she was something. I wished she had been my teacher. She looked like a fully-grown Winnie Cooper. She was 5′ 11″ and thin as hell, couldn’t have been more than 110 or 120, but a quarter of it had to be in her breasts, because they were big. Well, they were B’s, almost C’s, but on a woman that thin they looked huge. She had on a cleavageless green t-shirt and blue jeans.

Modest women always turned me on, much more than slutty ones. She did a cute little thing with her hair where it was shoulder length everywhere, but the bangs hung just above her eyebrows. And that mouth was big, not freakishly big, but just a bit bigger than normal. Suddenly I felt a death grip on my arm, “Logan look!”

I looked in the direction Janis pointed and saw our old history teacher, Mr. Cooper. He was the Ryan Gosling of teachers. He was British and loved to lay it on thick. Girls would wet themselves daily in his classes. All he had to do was offer them tea or tell them how Britain was so much better than America. He thought The Truman Show was a perfect example of how vain and selfish we are.

“That’s too bad they kicked you out then.” I’d say.

“I’m sorry?” He’d reply.

“If it’s so much better, then you’d still be there, right?  Which leads me to the conclusion that you must have been kicked out. Exiled, if you will.”  

“You’re about to be exiled from this classroom.” I regularly caused trouble for him. It was one of the reasons I started going after Janis. She was easily the hottest girl in our class, and I knew that the day she turned 18, Mr. Cooper would want to have his way with her, so I had to get a crack first. I hated people like Mr. Cooper.

He was probably circling 40 now. Possibly 35, but I couldn’t really tell. All I saw was that he still got Janis soaked. “Mr. Cooper!” She waved. He turned around and his jaw dropped. Janis galloped over to him, and I strolled my way closer to the mystery teacher.

“So, Philosophy, huh?”  I asked.

She looked back up at me and smiled, “Yeah, it’s something I’ve been teaching for awhile, but I just needed a change of scenery.”  

“Well, you’ll probably be needing one again soon, because the sight of nothingness gets old pretty quick.”  

“I don’t know. I think being able to look across the plains and see another person walking from miles away. Plus there’s nothing like a sunset over a flat horizon. ”  

“Ever seen one from the 44th floor?”  

“Good point. I could use an assistant in my class, you know.”

“I had enough trouble with my own papers.” We listened as Janis and Mr. Cooper word fucked each other.

“You have the pleasure of meeting that blowhard yet?” I asked.

“Please.” She kicked the ground and folded her arms, “That guy is a total sleazeball. He walked up to me and said,” She mocked his voice, “I believe you are new to this area. Perhaps we could go for a spot of tea sometime?'”

We snuck a peek to make sure they didn’t hear us before continuing our impressions, “Did you know that the Beatles were British?”  I said. She laughed behind her hand. I could already tell what kind of girl she was. It was clear that Janis would fall for a man of that kind of properness, but this woman was clearly more punklistic.

If I had to guess I’d say back in her day she did little more in her youth than listen to The Ramones while smoking pot in the back of a van. “Well hey, since you turned down the great wooer himself, maybe you’d like to try for second best.”  She gave me a curious look. “I’m asking you to come get a drink with me.” I said more bluntly than I wanted to.

“What about your girlfriend?” She asked, reverting back to her shyness.

“We’re not dating.”  I chuckled.

“You’re not, huh?” She gave me an accusing look.

“Hey Janis!” I shouted, “Are we a couple?!”  

“No!” She said in a disgusted voice.

“See?”  

“Well,” she pondered, “I’m going to be at the coffee shop tonight at about seven. I suppose if you’re there I’ll share a beverage with you.”  

“Great.” I said, “Don’t stand me up.”  

“Don’t stand me up.” She reentered her classroom. I walked back to Janis, who was in the middle of a very intimate conversation with Mr. Cooper. He saw me and stuck his chest out slightly, “Hello…Logan, wasn’t it?”  

“Still is.” I smiled. He sighed and took off his glasses, which I swear were unnecessary, and cleaned them with a fine cloth he pulled from his pocket. I couldn’t hold back my snicker.

“Something funny, Logan?” Janis asked through her teeth. I pointed at Cooper before sliding my hands back in my pockets.

“Mr. Big Stuff.” Janis gave me the ‘Don’t ruin this for me’ look, and I turned around, “I think I’m gonna call up Enterprise and rent a car.” She didn’t care. She turned back to Cooper, biting her lip.

“Well then, in case I don’t see ya; Good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight.”  Part of me wanted to interfere with him and Janis hooking up, but most of me was just excited at the prospect of this mystery teacher, who’s name I had yet to learn. I walked into the old coffee shop. I had been here before in my younger days, back when we drank coffee to be adults.

The alcohol was to be a kid. We came to this coffee shop and hung around the porch, exchanging witty banter amongst each other. We all thought we were whips just waiting to be cracked. We were each a Hemingway or a Thompson or a Bukowski in each other’s eyes.

I remember walking in the shop and smelling the coffee brew at 8:30 at night, fresh as ever. It was too bad soda wasn’t like that. There was always a man who worked there: Jason. He was the happiest man I had ever seen in my entire life. He didn’t shake hands. No, Jason was a hugger, through and through.

He had a beard that would put a mountain man to shame, and he was barely 20, although this was back in High School. I thought for sure he would have cleared out and moved on from this place, but low and behold, he was still there when I walked in the door, and he greeted me the same way.

“Logan!” He shouted and laughed, “It’s been years, man!  Wow!”  He came around the table and embraced me, “What the F have you been up to?”

F…

“I just came back for a visit. Gotta clear my head. Fuckin’ women.”  

“Dude, don’t I know it.” He said, “What’ll ya have?”  

“You remember my usual?” He paused for a moment, and then frowned as if he had caused me great despair. I opened my mouth to remind him, and he smiled again, “A Mandarin Orange and Cherry Italian Soda.”  I smiled back.

“Impeccable.”

“Go ahead and have a seat, I’ll bring it to ya.” I reached for my wallet and he waved me off.

“Don’t worry about it, it’s on me.”  I thanked him and searched for Teach. She was in the lounge area, in front of the fake fireplace. She was bent down, as if she was picking something up. I didn’t want to startle her, so I came around front.

“Hey, there-” She was playing with a kid. It was a little girl with bleach blonde hair, and they were playing cards. She looked up and noticed that I was startled.

“Hey…this is my daughter, Wendy.”  I got over my surprise quickly and bent down.

“Hey Wendy.” I said. She stared at me. All babies stared at me. I don’t know what it was about me, but they would never break eye contact. It’s as if I was the ‘first to blink’ champion, and whenever they saw me they just had to challenge me, if for no other reason than to say they fought the champ.

“Sorry I didn’t tell you about her earlier.”

“I hope it wasn’t because she slipped your mind.” I joked.

“No,” she smiled, “I just didn’t want you to think of it as a turn off or something like that.”  

“So instead you suckered me into a mandatory date.”  

“No, no, it’s not like that.”  

“Relax. I’m kidding.” I was kind of kidding. She sighed relief. She opened her mouth to say something, but Jason interrupted, “Oh, hey Theresa!  I didn’t know you and Logan knew each other.”  And thus was our introduction.

Next Chapter

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