The crew was happy to be working downtown. The springtime weather made for perfect outdoor working conditions after the harsh winter season. The contract with the city was a big job and the company was happy to have the work.
The water lines in the old town were well over one hundred years old, and the overhaul would be done in phases. Phase one put the crew directly on Main St. On the corner of 7th and Main to be exact.
For the crew, one of the perks that came with working downtown was the showstoppers. That was the term the guys on the crew used when referring to an attractive female. When a “Showstopper” walked by, all work stopped and the elbowing and pointing began. If the guys were feeling especially frisky, a few whistles or cat calls may be tossed about, each guy trying to impress the other with his line. After a few days on the job, the guys were getting comfortable with their new surroundings.
By Wednesday, a routine had been established. The guys took a break at ten, as did the large insurance company two blocks up the street. All work would stop and they would take their places. Sipping Mountain Dews and Pepsi’s, the panel of judges watched the ladies walk down the sidewalk, out for a bit of fresh air after being stuck in their cubicles. Not so quiet comparisons were discussed openly as the cars navigated the detour while frustrated horns were heard in the distance.
One of the more vocal judges on the crew was Freddy Simpson. Freddy was 33 years old and went through life without thinking too hard about anything. He enjoyed NASCAR and NFL football, usually with friends at the local sports bar. Few other things interested Freddy. He showed up for work every day, did his job, and headed out for beers in the evening. This had been his routine for the last 8 years.
Friday morning Freddy and the crew were discussing plans for that evening. They were having a great time ribbing their foreman, Mike, who was married and had 3 kids at home.
"I wouldn't go out with you idiots even if I was single." Mike berated the guys. Truth be told he would give anything to go out just one night and blow off some steam.
“10 o’clock, I’m gonna go grab a drink.” Fred said, pulling up his drooping pants.
“Nobody cares what you’re doing.” Answered Chris, the youngest of the group and a real smartass.
“Your momma does.” Fred retorted, and the guys all laughed.
Coming out of the store, Fred took a gulp from the bright green soda bottle, a few drops spilling on his stained shirt. The guys were already in their break time places. Chris was pointing excitedly to the corner of the street. Just ahead, two very attractive girls were crossing the street, headed over to the store.
They had been watching the two girls all week, debating which of the lucky ladies they would take out first. A few of the guys whistled but the girls didn’t seem to notice. Fred smiled at the guys, brushing his clothes off for dramatic effect. The guys started to laugh, egging him on.
“Go ahead Freddy, that’s all you slick!” Chris yelled over traffic.
Freddy walked towards the guys, stopping halfway between them and the store. Leaning against the truck, he let out a whistle, followed by:
“What’s up ladies? Looking fine today!”
Glancing back to the crew for approval, he continued,
“Come on girl, don't be shy, especially you in the jeans, what’s up for tonight?”
The laughs from the crew encouraged Freddy to continue with the show. He lit a cigarette, setting his sunglasses on top of his head. He sucked in his bulging belly, and took another sip of his soda. He looked back at the guys, nodding his head and laughing.
They were just about inside when the girl wearing the jeans turned around. Looking directly at Freddy, she smiled. Freddy was too shocked to smile back. The guys sat up on their coolers and toolboxes straining to see what was going on.
Freddy, eyes wide, couldn't hide his bewilderment. What was she doing?
“Hi, I’m Ashley, and your name?”
“F-Freddy” Beads of sweat formed on Freddy’s forehead, he tried to play cool. It was not working.
“Hi Freddy, my friend and I wanted to thank you and your coworkers for all of the lovely compliments this week. You guys have really made us feel good about ourselves.”
Her friend was not smiling, she was standing at the door with her arms crossed.. "Ashley, come on. Don't waste your time."
Instead, Ashley continued. “So what did you have in mind for tonight? Any specific plans?”
Freddy laughed nervously, not knowing what to say or do. He instinctively glanced back, a few of the guys were smiling but the group was quiet. They were enjoying today’s show.
“Um, yeah.” He looked down. “No, nothin’ specific. What, what would you like to do?”
“Oh, well you asked what was up for tonight; I was thinking you had something in mind?”
“I-I don’t know, go out?”
“Well Freddy, let's start slow. I would just like to walk down the street without the whistling, the crude comments, and the staring. Now that we've introduced ourselves maybe we can treat each other with just a bit of respect, what do you think?
“Have a great day Freddy; it was a pleasure meeting you.” She turned and walked into the store, her friend smirking. Freddy wiped his forehead and took another sip of his drink. He then walked over to the crew.
“Freddy, you’re the man! What did she say?”
Freddy looked back at the store. Taking a long pull on his cigarette he thought about the one sided conversation he had just had with the beautiful girl. Still sweating, and a little flushed, he exhaled and then pulled his sunglasses back down onto his face.
“I’m pickin' her up at 8!”
Copyright 2012 Pe te Fanning