"All you ever wanted was someone to take care of ya
All you're ever losin' is a little mascara
That you cry
That you cry
That you cry
Your eyes out"

 -The Replacements - (1985) - "Little Mascara"

          Fast love, bad love
September 8th, 1985


Sometimes you can look back on your life and pinpoint a single instant in time when your life changed forever and you didn’t even realize it was happening at the time.  You can pinpoint a time when you either first established rules by which you lived your life (and would hereafter live your life) or you modified and added riders to the rules you already had.  Life is just like that, hindsight even more so.   You live and you learn, or you don't live long.  One of those points in my life was the first time that I met Pamela.

She liked to be called Pam.

I was sixteen years old and a junior in high school.

She was eighteen years old and a Freshman at USM.

Pam would be my first.

I would be her second.

Pam was an attractive and nicely built blonde … with long sometimes curly hair down to the upper part of her back and dark blue eyes.  She really filled out a pair of blue jeans in all the right ways but she wore way too much makeup and it was because she really didn’t know how to apply all of her makeup that gave her a rock band groupie look most of the time.  The fact that it somehow actually worked to make her attractive on such a base level was purely accidental rather than the result of her frequent and often frantic efforts to apply it.  The truth was that Pam was the kind of girl that Tom Petty usually wrote songs about and, God help me, I had an affair with her.

It was the Fall of 1985. 

Pamela was from Star, Mississippi; a small rural community on the southernmost outskirts of Jackson … the kind of place that was lucky to have its own zip code and then only as an afterthought.  Pam would have been pretty much forgettable (lost in the fresh group of seasonal cashiers that were hired in the Fall to replace those who left at the end of the university’s Spring and Summer semesters) except that she had a really creepy boyfriend / fiancé named Ingo and their relationship spilled over into each of their work places.  Ingo was nineteen years old and a sophomore at USM.   He drove this beat up, piece of crap, faded orange ‘79 Mercury Capri with a 2.8 liter V6 between the fenders (which equated to the power output of six hamsters jacking off under the hood) and he worked for Domino’s Pizza located way down on Broadway drive just across from Dossett Pontiac, Cadillac, GMC.

Ingo had been Pam’s first.

Pam had been Ingo’s first.

High school sweethearts.

Ingo’s behavior was odd and creepy from the first time that I saw him.  Ingo was overprotective, even controlling of Pam; he would make it a habit to stand in the front atrium-like entrance to County Market, near the ice cooler between the front doors, showing up fifteen to twenty minutes before Pam was supposed to get off from her work shift.  Ingo would just stand there and stare at Pam like she was his personal property, like if he took his eyes off of her even for an instant she would disappear forever.  He never said anything to anybody even if you spoke to him in passing; he would just stand there in the front of the store and leer at anyone else who came up to Pam or talked to her, especially the stock guys when they did price checks for her or replaced some damaged item for a customer who was checking out through her register.  If Pam called for a price check or needed a damaged item replaced or needed a stock clerk to help a customer bag their groceries Ingo would stand there and glower at whoever showed up to answer Pam’s page.

To say that Ingo was jealous, creepy and controlling all at the same time was an understatement.  No one in the store liked Ingo, at all, and after a few complaints from the other cashiers (as well as quite a lot of customers) concerning his disturbing behavior around shift changes Pam was asked to talk to Ingo and tell him to wait on her work shift to end either outside the store or in his car out in the parking lot where he wouldn’t disturb the other employees or bother the customers entering or leaving the store and in this case the word “bother” was used instead of the words “creep out”.

This request didn’t make Ingo very happy so he took to standing out in the fire lane right in front of the store, hands in his pockets, wearing his Domino’s Pizza jacket, his Domino’s Pizza shirt and his Domino’s Pizza cap, staring and leering in the front windows of the grocery store at Pam as she worked.  You started to believe that from the looks of him that the Domino’s Pizza apparel might be the nicest things that he had ever had hanging in his closet.  He would just stand there, even on the coldest nights, rocking slowly back and forth as he watched Pam and waited for her to get off work.  It really was creepy boyfriend behavior.  The stock guys began to hate him because he was always in the way of customers coming into the store, customers leaving the store and employees trying to bring the shopping carts in from the parking lot when we had to round them up each hour.

Ingo seemed determined not to let anything or anyone come between him and Pam.  Whenever Pam got ready to punch out for the night, Ingo would come in and stand right behind her or beside her and lean up on the heavy floor safe near the office while she counted down the money in her register till for the night.  It was hard to tell if he was her stalker, her over diligent bodyguard or her boyfriend, so odd and beyond normal was his personal behavior.  After Pam turned her till in to the office for the night he would follow her closely to the time clock, let her punch out, and then he would escort her out to the parking lot, to her car, and follow her back to her dorm in his car.  When they got back to the dorm, he would watch her go into the dorm making sure that she signed in and went on up to her room on the second floor.  Sometimes after she had gone back to her dorm he would stand there and wait until her light would go out.  Sometimes he would wait a long time, just standing there in the parking lot, watching, staring at her dorm room, to make sure she wasn’t leaving again or that someone wasn’t coming to see her that he didn’t know about and then when he was satisfied in his own way that Pam was there for the night under lock and key he would get in his piece of crap Capri and drive back to his place.  Sometimes he would meet up with Pam and follow her from her dorm at the University to County Market to make sure that she was actually going to work there for a shift before he went on to work his own shift at Domino’s down on Broadway Drive.

I learned all of this from the other stock crew and the cashiers who Pam had willingly told.  Apparently Ingo’s behavior wasn’t creepy to Pam, it was warm and enduring and comforting to have someone like Ingo who cared and was jealous and protective.  The rest of us didn’t see it that way … at all … but to each their own.

Like I said, Ingo was creepy and not at all normal.

Pam told several other cashiers that Ingo would even check the hood and fenders of her car, using the palm of his hand to see if those parts of her car were hot from the engine heat.  If they were warm, he knew that she had gone out somewhere recently without telling him or, I guess, without asking his permission first and letting him escort her to where she was going.  If the hood and fenders of her car were cold, he knew that if she had gone out she hadn’t taken her car when she did.  She thought it was cute that he was so protective of her and she liked that.  Others, including myself, thought that it was just plain creepy … an unnaturally obsessive and controlling behavior on his part.  Ingo soon became the brunt of many jokes at the store, none of them particularly nice.  At the time Domino’s advertising campaign featured an animated court jester that went around spoiling everyone’s fun and their pizza.  This character was called “The Noid”.  We started referring to Ingo as “The Noid” more often than not.

Pam and Ingo’s relationship was a strange one that seriously begged you to wonder who was the more desperate of the two … him or her?

Ingo had almost every other cashier at County Market spooked by his creepy behavior towards Pam and his silent, glowering of everyone else.   The other cashiers were always talking about how creepy he was.  Even the managers didn’t care much for him and after they got tired of him standing in the fire lane every night that Pam worked they talked to Pam, again, about her boyfriend’s really weird behavior and made another request of her that he just wait on her to get off of work in his car out in the employee parking lot and not be near the entrance of the store at all.

After that I noticed that whenever Ingo showed up at County Market to wait on Pam to get off work he would just sit in his faded orange Mercury Capri, always parked next to Pam’s faded gold ’78 Chevy Monte Carlo there on the side of the store.  If other cashiers got off work before Pam, he would glower at them when they left the store, staring at them until they got in their car and even then he sometimes watched them leave the parking lot … watched them with a glare like they owed him something, like their very existence was detrimental to his well-being and like it had been each one of them personally who had gotten him banished to the inside of his car … away from the one thing that he desired most in the world, Pam.  Ingo’s creepiness became so bad that every time that Ingo was outside waiting on Pam some cashiers would ask the stock clerks like me to walk them to their cars when they got off of work … he creeped the female employees of County Market out that much.  He really did.  I know that during that period of time that I was often asked to walk several of the cashiers out to their cars after they got off work just because Ingo was out there, sitting in his piece of crap Capri, glowering like a scorned and cheated pimp.

I didn’t really know the guy but I already had an intense dislike for him.

All of this strange behavior occurred throughout September, October and most of November and the longer it went on, the creepier Ingo’s behavior became.  The more he was chastised for being a nuisance, the farther away from Pam and the store he was asked to wait, the darker and creepier he became.  Every time we forced Ingo to move to a different location to wait on Pam the angrier he seemed to get at all of us but he never said a thing, just stared and that was perhaps the creepiest part about him; his silence and his staring.  In that stretch of time I don’t remember Ingo ever saying a word to anyone.  If he had a voice, if he actually could speak I couldn’t have told you what he sounded like.  I just expected him to one day point at me, open his mouth and start screaming some inhuman howl like Donald Sutherland did at the end of the 1978 remake to “Invasion of The Body Snatchers.”

It was evident that Ingo had some real social problems and that he was one of the most seriously fucked up individuals that I had ever had the displeasure of meeting in my life.  Little did I know just how Ingo and Pam would become a major part of my life in the next few months.

Saturday, October 5th, 1985

I came in ten minutes early for a 4 to 10 shift that night and saw Ingo and Pam in a heated argument, almost shouting at each other, at the corner of the store there at the end of the rows of shopping carts.  This surprised me because I don’t think, up to that time, that I had ever seen Ingo talk or Pam put up any kind of resistance to his strange behavior.  I had actually begun to think that he was mute or capable of only the simplest monosyllabic forms of expression at best, a sure sign that he had only recently evolved from knuckle dragging and grunting. 

Ingo and Pam were sitting on the two wooden benches by the Coke machine at the end corner of the store and I watched this argument go on for a few minutes while I sat there in my red and black ’78 Rally Sport Camaro.  My only regret was that I was too far away to hear what Ingo really sounded like.  It was easy to see that whatever Pam and Ingo were arguing about it was getting heated pretty quickly by the amount of finger pointing going on.  After a while, the argument grew even more heated into obvious chin jutted shouting and arms and hands being thrown in the air for gestured emphasis at each other.  The fact that several customers entering and leaving the store made an effort to avoid that area of the sidewalk told me that the argument was pretty intense.

“Uh, oh.  There’s trouble in paradise.” I mused, chuckling.

I ejected the ZZ Top “Afterburner” cassette, turned off the Kenwood stereo letting the amps power down, got out of my car, locked the door behind me and walked down the hill, across the parking lot towards County Market.

Ingo was such a creepy individual that I had no idea what Pam ever saw in him.  I really didn’t.  I mean, sure he was a college student but he worked at Domino’s Pizza, he drove a piece of crap Capri and if he was ever going to be anything with his life then he was going to have to write Pam one hell of an IOU … the kind that would probably require him to sell his soul to the devil in order to ever be able to make good on it.  I slipped my employee nametag on, clipped my bowtie to the collar of my unbuttoned white work shirt, made sure that I had my trusty box cutter and watched as Ingo stormed off across the parking lot to his piece of crap Capri, fired it up and left the parking lot in a hurry … either going to work at Domino’s Pizza or just getting off from a work shift of his own from the way that he was dressed. 

Like I said, I’d never seen Ingo wear anything but Domino’s Pizza work attire and it reinforced my guess that the work clothes that he had were not only the best thing that he had hanging in his closet but also probably the height of his sense of fashion.  As Ingo left the parking lot, he revved his engine, trying to be macho but for all the intimidation that he had coming from the four banger that was under the hood he might as well have had a little gay man strumming a ukulele between the fenders. 

It was laughably pathetic and I chuckled quietly to myself.

As I walked past the Coke machine there on the corner of the store’s front sidewalk I could tell that Pam had been crying.  That much was rather obvious from the disarray of her makeup and the question again came to mind … who was the more desperate of the two to stay in that kind of messed up relationship? 

Him or her?

“Are you okay?” I asked, pausing as I walked by, not really caring but feeling that I should at least say something.

“What the hell is it to you?” she asked harshly, sobbing, looking up at me and wiping her eyes with a napkin.

Not a damn thing, I thought as I shrugged my shoulders and walked on.

Pam harrumphed at me behind my back and that, I thought, is exactly why I don’t care about other people’s feelings and what happens to them.  I didn’t say another word and walked on into the store.  Whatever was going on was none of my business and none of my interest.  Didn’t know, didn’t care … and the rest of my shift went just fine without another thought given to Pam or Ingo or their strange little relationship and all the drama that it brought to the place where I worked.

Tuesday, October 8th, 1986

A few days later, Lance, one of the new stock clerks, came up and told me that while he was outside pushing buggies that some girl had come up to the store earlier and asked him about my Rally Sport Camaro.  She had referred to it as a Firebird and wanted to know who owned it so he had told her.  When I asked him what she had looked like, he said that she was blonde haired and blue eyed.  I asked him if it was one of the cashiers and he said he didn’t think so and, of course, he didn’t know anything else about the girl.  He couldn’t even remember what kind of car she drove even though she had been sitting in it when she talked to him. 

That was Lance for you, a good worker but otherwise oblivious to the world around him.  I couldn’t remember knowing any blondes that might be interested in me or my car so I just chalked it up to someone else’s mistake, especially since they thought that the Camaro was a Firebird.  I mean, come on!  A Chevy Camaro and a Pontiac Firebird?  How could anyone make that mistake?

Two days after that, Pam found me at work on the Middle Aisle displays and sincerely apologized for her behavior towards me the other day outside at the corner of the store when she and Ingo had been fighting.  She told me that she had stopped by the other day to check her work schedule and had asked Lance who owned the red sports car up on the hill since she knew it was mine but didn’t know my name.  She said it was a cool looking car and she thought it was a Pontiac Firebird.  I told her it was a Chevy Camaro.  When she noted her mistake I left it at that because it was obvious that the difference between the two types of cars was lost on her and I didn’t push the subject because it just wasn’t worth the effort.  For some people, cars were important … for others cars were just … things.

Thirty minutes later Lance found me and told me that the girl who had asked him about my car was this new blonde cashier that was working for us and she was working today!  I thanked him for telling me that and kept on working.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that she had been one of our cashiers for a few weeks now.

I guess it was inevitable that when you put two people together, boy and girl, man and woman, and you put them together often in the same work environment that some kind of attachment will form between one or the other or both because after that, Pam and I got to know each other better at work.  A lot better.  We worked a lot of the same night shifts together … mostly 4 to 10, 5 to 11 and the occasional 6 to 12 midnight.  I guess the office was scheduling us due to our school schedules but it seemed that during the week that she and I shared the same shifts.  Pam worked a lot of weekend shifts, the long ones like the 10 to 7, the 11 to 8 and the dreaded ten hour long 12 to 10 shift which served no purpose other than a grueling test of devotion to your meager paycheck and the need to have money to live.  As such, I often came to work either at the same time or sometime during a shift that she was working.  A lot of times we came to work and left work together at the same time; most of the time Ingo was there, waiting on her when she left and I would ignore him completely … heading across the parking lot, walking right past him to find my Camaro parked on the hill, get in and leave.

I’d already tagged him as a chronic loser and that was about as nice as I could be when it came to describing him.

Pam and I started talking, small talk at first at the time clock while she organized her till and I checked the hourly work schedule for the night, small talk when we met on the aisles with me pulling empty boxes from the racks and her pushing a shopping cart full of stuff that people had decided that they hadn’t wanted when they checked out.  Small talk turned into longer conversations as our time together added up.  Talking led to light flirting.  Light flirting led to taking breaks together in the break room and the back room.  Taking breaks together led to her calling me all the time for price checks at her register, to help customers out to their car with their groceries, and other menial tasks that the cashiers depended on the stock clerks to do.

I soon became her favorite.

As far as work relationships go, while we were on the clock Pam and I were almost dating at work.  It took about two weeks for Pam and I to become really good friends at work and she talked to me a lot about Ingo and their relationship and the problems that they had.  Apparently she thought enough of me to tell me some pretty intimate details of their relationship and apparently I was a good enough listener that she thought I cared.

I’m not sure if I did or not, or if I was just curious to hear as much as I could about what they had because it was so damn creepy and disturbing that I couldn’t help but be drawn into it.  It was like someone describing what it was like to be a survivor of a bad train wreck or an airplane crash or being stuck as a slave in a circus sideshow.  There was a morbid fascination that I held whenever Pam talked about her relationship with Ingo because as weird and controlling and creepy as Ingo was, Pam was oblivious to all of that.  She saw something in Ingo that none of the rest of us could see.

When I explained how creepy and disturbed Ingo seemed to act and how everyone else thought that about him Pam was shocked.  She was literally shocked at how we all saw Ingo because she just didn’t see that kind of behavior from him at all.  It made her mad that people misunderstood him and she told me that people had always misunderstood Ingo, especially in high school.  He was shy, extremely introverted and quiet.  He came from a broken family where his dad had left when he was young and he only had his mother.  That much was obvious from his behavior and how he dressed himself and when I commented on that Pam laughed beside herself.  You could tell that she hadn’t wanted to laugh but the way that she had laughed only made me understand that not only did she think the same thing herself but she thought it was funny that anyone else noticed that fact as well. 

Ingo and Pam had gone to the same high school together and no one liked Ingo so Pam just felt sorry for him and kind of took up with him; two misfits thrown together and finding safety in numbers.  One thing led to another and they had been dating since her junior year and his senior year.

Ingo had bought her a promise ring her senior year and she showed it to me there on her finger.  It wasn’t much or very expensive but to Pam it was priceless because it gave her a ticket to escape from her own dismal family life.  Ingo was her escape plan from her destiny; that of being a small town girl with no real future other than to work at convenience stores or grocery stores or wait tables for the rest of her life until she could find someone rich enough to take care of her all the while hoping that her Prince Charming would come into her life before her looks went.

Pam had been Ingo’s first. 

Ingo had been Pam’s first.

I wonder who had instigated that surrender?  Him or her?  Probably her because as aggressive as Ingo was I really just didn’t see him as the kind of guy who would really know what to do with a woman when her clothes came off.  When I pressed her for who had made the first move she told me that it had been her which is what I had figured had happened.  She also told me that it hadn’t been pretty or enjoyable.  Pam was like that, she confided in me a lot more than I needed to know about her and Ingo’s sexual exploits.
The big news is that Ingo and Pam were going to get married … sometime in the next year or two when Ingo graduated from USM and they were going to live happily ever after because Ingo would get a good job and take care of her so she could stay at home, be the good wife and play house all day long.  Pam was excited about that.  Her younger sister was already married and had been married while in high school and now her younger sister and her husband were living in a mobile home behind her parents’ house.  Her younger sister was already married and Pam didn’t think that was fair!  Her younger sister had gotten married in high school and that really irked Pam because it should have been her that had gotten married first … after all, she was the older sister and she and Ingo had been dating a lot longer than her sister and the guy that her sister married had been dating.

Pam had a promise ring.

It was probably the best piece of jewelry that she owned.  The sad fact was that the promise ring wouldn’t have brought very much money at a pawn shop, if the pawn broker would have taken it at all.

Pam’s wants were simple …

Marriage to someone that would take care of her.

Escape from her destiny of an inevitable life of poverty to something better.

The prospect of living happily ever after.

No worries, just a house to play house in for the rest of her life.

It was such a simple dream, a little girl’s fantasy but Pam couldn’t let it go mainly because I guess it was the only dream that she had.  I listened to all of this, bits and pieces put together from conversations shared during our time at work together and I came to the realization that the creepiness in their relationship wasn’t just always confined to Ingo.  Pam could be creepy sometimes too in her obsession with getting married and finding someone to take care of her for the rest of her life.  Pam’s devotion was for sale, the price was matrimony and, apparently, in that regard, Pam was willing to cut a few corners if need be in order to get what she wanted … even if that meant that she had to sell herself cheap, set her standards low and settle for a total loser like Ingo.

Pam wanted to get married.

She really wanted to get married.

No, Pam had to get married and the sooner the better because she was tired of having to work for a living and of having to go to school.  She talked about this all the time and Ingo was her best chance at getting what she wanted.  I wondered if Ingo knew what he was in store for or if he knew what he had signed up for … Ingo may have seen Pam as his dream girlfriend but Pam saw Ingo as both her meal ticket and her escape from the mundane existence that had been her life so far … and would be her life to come.

Of course, Pam’s commitment to Ingo didn’t stop what we shared together at work and that in and of itself should have been a big red flag to me but I was young and stupid and Pam was hot and desperate.  The more we worked together, the closer we got to each other and whether that was intentional or not, the end result was the same.  It was subtle at first but after a while even we noticed that we were taking up more and more of each other’s personal as well as professional time on the clock.

People started to talk. 

The managers. 

The other stock clerks. 

The cashiers.

The people who worked produce.

The people who worked the meat department.

The people who worked the deli.

The vendors who came to restock their products on the shelves.

One of my cashier friends, Jeannie, even gave me the nickname of “home wrecker” because she knew that Ingo and Pam were wanting to get married and there I was, interfering with their relationship, flirting with Pam and taking Pam’s normally undivided attention away from Ingo.  Even she had noticed not only how much time that Pam had started spending with me but also how much time I’d started spending with her.

Whenever I went outside to push shopping carts Pam would come out and take her break watching me haul the shopping carts in from the parking lot.  When I was working inside and she got a break, she would usually find me and we’d share a can of Cherry Coke, two straws, and a bag of M&Ms or a roll of Starburst fruit chews.  The flirting continued and escalated through the Thanksgiving holidays and up until the end of November.  Even though Ingo had Pam all to himself after she left work I had Pam all to myself every time that we worked together … it was something that I actually began to look forward to … checking the schedule to find when our work shifts coincided or matched and finding myself happy when they did.  More often than not, our two work schedules did match, exactly, and I began to think that someone in the office was arranging the schedule that way … maybe even playing matchmaker to some extent.

I got cocky but that’s easy to do when you’re a 16 year old guy and you’ve got the ever increasing attention of an 18 year old girl.

I even started smiling at Ingo whenever I walked out and found him parked there in the employee parking lot waiting on Pam.  I’d just smile at him, toss my keys in the air, hop in my Camaro and go cruising looking for friends and fun.  I had Pam in a way that Ingo didn’t, there was nothing he could do about it and that made me smile.  In a way, we were both dating her.  Work became like a date for Pam and I, we’d talk, get something to eat, play around, flirt … no strings attached.  When we left work we left what we had at work as well.  I never called her, she never called me and we never did anything outside of work but at work we were a couple.

Then, in early December, something changed for us and between us.

The University let out for the end of the fall ’85 semester and the Christmas / New Year holidays, almost three weeks before students would return to the campus.  Pam went to stay with Jeannie at her townhouse while the dorms closed and Ingo went home to stay with his mother in Jackson.  Pam couldn’t get off of work for the Christmas holidays until late Christmas Eve so she had to stay in Hattiesburg, a fact that depressed and angered her.  I tried my best to cheer her up when we worked together and a funny thing happened … our friendship became something else.  Freed from having to be under Ingo’s stern thumb and creepy attentions all the time Pam became wild and adventurous.  The change in her mood and manner was almost like a spell had been broken.  The Pam that I discovered in the Christmas vacation break of 1985 was not the Pam that I had known since October. 

This was a new Pam and I liked this new Pam a lot.

That holiday season was a really busy one for a grocery store like County Market and with the increase in business and the freedom of schools letting students out for the holidays the work schedule increased noticeably.  Pam and I drew more and more shifts together … both because we were each out of school for the holiday season and because County Market just needed more workers working more often during that time.  It’s hard to get in the holiday spirit when you’re taking care of other people’s holiday needs all the time.

Friday, December 13th 1985

I worked a 4 to 10 shift and Pam worked a 5 to 11 shift; I came in an hour before she did and she had to work an hour later than I did, something that she didn’t let me forget about all through the shift.  Pam was unusually playful during that shift, sneaking up on me, making sure if she had to put back anything that she walked by me in doing so, hitting me lightly with the buggy.  Pam leaned up against the sugar display, her hands in her pocket, cutting eyes at me while I tore down cardboard boxes and put them in the shopping cart so I could take to the back and burn them.  The way she looked at me, head cocked, eyes cut, hands in her pocket, her figure leaned up against the display and this smile on her face …

That night Pam touched me ... a lot.  She would poke me in the ribs or tickle me when she got the chance.  She would bat her blue eyes at me and toss her hair over her shoulder or twist a finger in her hair while she put a finger to her lip all the while smiling at me.  She would squat down to put something back on the shelf or get on all fours on the floor to read a sales tag and she would make sure that I was watching her when she did.  It was the sexy looks and constant teases that she was giving me that were driving me up the wall.

It didn’t take much to realize she was preening for me.

Don’t think that I didn’t enjoy it, either, and I gave as good as I got.  Whenever Pam and I were together or near each other, she had my undivided attention and she drank that in for all I could give her.  I would stare at her and she would blush.

“What?” she would ask softly.

“You’re pretty.” I would tell her as I tore down a cardboard box and added it to my growing stack of cardboard trash in the shopping cart.

“Am not.”

“Yeah.  Yeah, you are.”

And she would blush again before coming back for more.

And that’s how most of my work shift went that night.

Once I got off work I punched out, grabbed a can of Faygo Cherry Cola that I had put in the dairy cooler to chill down and checked out through Pam’s register just to rub in the fact that I was getting to go home and she still had an hour left to work.  She flirted with me a little and asked me what I was going to do now that I was getting off of work.  I told her that I would probably ride around for a while just to unwind.  She then asked me if I was still out cruising in an hour to come back and see her before she got off work.  I agreed, went home and changed out of my work clothes and cruised around Hattiesburg for a good half hour listening to ZZ Top’s “Afterburner” album.  I went back to County Market at 10:55pm to double check my work schedule for the weekend but really just to see Pam again.  Pam asked me what I was going to do that night … I told her that I had been out cruising around Hattiesburg for a while and that maybe I’d go get something to eat now.  Pam asked me if I wanted any company.





Since Ingo was out of town and Pam was free from his creepy overbearing attentions I guess she was testing the boundaries of that situation and maybe the relationship that we shared.  I told her that I wouldn’t mind the company and went back outside to my Rally Sport Camaro to wait on her.  What the hell, I didn’t have anything better to do that night other than cruise around Hattiesburg and look for trouble to get into.  Pam was a special kind of trouble and she was right here, now, and that made her kind of trouble all the more attractive.  If I was going to stay out late tonight I might as well do it with someone attractive in the passenger seat.  Pam and I had become friends at work and if she wanted to move that friendship outside the workplace I didn’t have a problem with that.

I was sixteen years old, a junior in high school.

She was an eighteen year old college student, with long blonde hair, blue eyes, way too much makeup, long legs and a really nice ass the kind of which you could find in just about any issue of Hustler magazine.

Why would I have a problem with that?

Ten minutes after eleven Pam walked out wearing her high school jacket, her white work shirt partially unbuttoned and her work smock in her hands.  She dropped her smock and name tag off at her car and I pulled around to meet her there, reaching over to unlock the passenger side door lock and unbuckling the passenger side seat belt.  Pam hopped in the Rally Sport Camaro, smiling as she clicked her seat belt and we drove out of the parking lot there at County Market.

Pam acted like she was on her first date ever.  She talked and talked about anything and everything.  Family.  High school memories.  Growing up.  She was positively excited; it was like she had found some new type of freedom and she couldn’t get enough of it.  This wasn’t the Pam that I’d come to know, this was a new Pam and I liked the new Pam a lot better than the old Pam.  I treated her to dinner at Taco Bell on Hardy Street near Highway 49.  We sat there and ate and she talked … and talked … and talked.  Freed from the constraints of being on the clock, with no managers to chide us for wasting time, Pam was making up for lost time and using my ears for all they were worth.

Pam was definitely a different person without Ingo around.  She was actually fun, unreserved, and she seemed excited and happy to be with me.  After we finished our meal we spent the next hour just cruising the streets of Hattiesburg going slow, listening to Autograph, Black and Blue, Dio, Judas Priest and other metal bands on my Kenwood stereo system, and she continued to talk about anything and everything that came to mind.

I listened.

What I hadn’t known about Pam I pretty much found out that night. 

Somewhere around one in the morning I took Pam back to County Market and dropped her off at her Chevy there in the parking lot.  She said that she had had a lot of fun and I told her that I had as well.  I said goodnight to her, watched her start her car and let it warm up before driving off.  No, I wouldn’t be following her back to her dorm room to make sure that she was locked away for the night like some ogre guarding a fairy tale maiden kept in a high stone tower.  I laughed at that thought then I went home myself not sure what I had just experienced but knowing that I had liked it.

Two days later we worked together, again, the same shift, so we went cruising, again, after work.  Pam made sure to set up the activities shortly after we punched in while she was organizing her cash till and I was checking my hour by hour work schedule for the evening, almost inviting herself out for the evening with me but I didn’t mind.  Going cruising and spending time with Pam after work was something that I looked forward to throughout the shift.  In fact, over the next week, going cruising after work became a regular end to our many shared work shifts and free of the confines of the workplace our friendship began to expand into something far deeper and far more intense.  I think that we both knew what was happening and I think that we both were enjoying the buildup too much to really put up much of a fight.

I was sixteen and a junior in high school.

She was eighteen and a freshman at USM.

Pam was looking for something that Ingo couldn’t give her.

I was just looking for something I’d never had before.

I was young and stupid.

The second time that we went out cruising we were holding hands while we drove and talked.  It really didn’t seem all that strange to me or her, just a natural progression of what we shared at work, free of the confines of work.  That was a Tuesday night.

The third time that we went cruising after work Pam spent most of the time leaning across the center console, her arms around my right arm, holding my right hand in both of her hands and resting her head on my shoulder as we drove, nuzzling her hair and head against my neck and cheek.  I could smell her perfume and feel her breath on my neck … both were intoxicating.  She was so close …  That was Thursday.

The fourth time that we went out cruising after work Pam got out of her seat and sat in my lap as I drove, her arms around me and her head resting on my left shoulder, cuddling.  My left arm and hand really had nowhere to go so I just wrapped them around her ass and waist and she didn’t say a word.  All I could think at that time was “you’re sixteen, she’s eighteen, and he’s nineteen.  He’s out of town and you’re driving around Hattiesburg with his girlfriend sitting in your lap with her arms wrapped around you and your hand is holding her ass.”

Right then I felt like I was king of the concrete jungle.

Pam jokingly referred to herself as my “cruising buddy” and after that fourth time cruising, we started flirting even harder at work, even taken stolen moments to hold hands and stand slowly swaying in each other’s arms in poorly lit, seldom visited areas of the store that we could be alone together in for a few minutes.  It was those stolen moments together that we both sought out and cherished every time that we could steal them.

“When Ingo gets back, can we still be friends?” she asked.

Huh?  After all that had developed between us so quickly in the past two weeks I had forgotten completely about Ingo and the fact that he would be back at the beginning of the new year and the new semester.  What we had shared had been a lot of fun but our time was running out … we didn’t have much time together left.

“Yeah.  We can still be friends.” I said, even though I wasn’t quite sure what she was asking for or that what she was asking for was even possible given Ingo’s inherently strange and creepy behavior.

I was sixteen years old and a junior in high school.  I had a fast car and worked part-time at a really big grocery store making good money for a teenager.  I had an eighteen year old, long haired, blue eyed, buxom blonde freshman college student who wanted to ride around with me every night, sit in my lap, wrap her arms around me and spend all the time that she could with me.

You would think that I had it made and there for a while I guess I did.

Monday, December 23, 1985

Because of the extra business that County Market was doing that busy season and because of the other employees who were taking off for the holidays (and had asked weeks and months in advance) Pam had the bad luck to have to work all the way through Christmas Eve night even though she had plans to go see her family for the holidays.  For some strange reason, I didn’t have to work December 23rd or 24th but on the night of the 23rd Pam was pulling a 12 to 10 shift.  Knowing this from our conversations and time together I stopped by to see her around seven that night, grabbing a pack of gum and checking out at her register. 

Pam was freezing and shivering, resorting to holding her arms together tight to her chest to try to keep warm there where she stood at her register and even though she had worn a white sweater over her button up white work shirt that was about all the protection she had from the cold; her red work smock was just for decoration, to keep her clothes from getting dirty as she checked people out and to serve as a place to keep her pens, etc. that she used in her cashier chores.  The jacket that she had worn, her school jacket, was little more than a windbreaker and it wasn’t doing very much for her where she was working.

Pam had been put at a register that was right in front of the front doors to the store.  All the human holiday traffic entering in and out of the store was letting what little hot air there was around her register out quicker than it could be replenished by the few vents positioned over the registers.  As such, Pam was visibly shivering, she even showed me that her teeth were chattering when I bought my gum and I got an earful concerning her luckless situation.

Feeling sorry for her in her present situation and knowing that she needed it more than I did, I unzipped my black leather jacket, took it off and handed it to her.  I was wearing a black turtleneck under it and the cold didn’t bother me as much as it seemed to bother her.  She happily took my jacket, surprised at me being willing to let her borrow my leather jacket.  I told her that I would come back at ten to see her and I’d get my jacket then but that she could wear it until then to keep her warm.  She told me that she looked forward to spending time with me tonight after work.

Three hours later, I anxiously sat in my ’78 Rally Sport Camaro in front of County Market, parked just outside the front doors where she could see me when she got off work.  Pam came to the front window, looked out, saw my car and waved excitedly at me.  I waved back.  She was wearing my black leather jacket over her white work shirt, white sweater and red work smock and she was wearing some really tight jeans.

The digital clock on the Kenwood said it was 10:08.  Pam finally left the store, wearing my jacket zipped all the way to the top and her large purse slung over her shoulder.  She looked good in my jacket with her blonde hair sweeping across the shoulders and down her back.  She checked for traffic then quickly trotted across the parking lot towards me, her hair blowing in the evening breeze.  I stepped out of the still running and warm Chevy and leaned on the roof looking over at her.

“Hey!” she said excitedly.

“Hey!” I replied.

“Do you still want to go cruising tonight?” she asked.

“Yeah.  I’d like that.”

Pam smiled.

“Good!  Let me put my smock and name tag in my car.” She said.

She walked over to her Chevy Monte Carlo and I sat back down in the Rally Sport Camaro, put the Chevy into gear and drove slowly over to where her car was parked.  I got out, opened the passenger side door for her and held it open while she got in the Rally Sport Camaro.  Once we were on our way, she realized that she was still wearing my jacket.  She thanked me for letting her borrow it, saying that she had been able to keep warm the rest of her shift.  I told her that I didn’t need it so she kept on wearing it, leaning over the center console, taking my right hand in both of her hands and putting her head on my shoulder.

I could smell Pam’s cheap perfume, her warmth next to me, feel her long blonde hair on my neck and cheek when I tilted my head to rub and nuzzle her.  There was electricity between us tonight, she was holding me tighter than she normally did, she was leaning on me more than she normally did and she was nuzzling up against me a lot more enthusiastically than she usually did.

I asked her where she wanted to cruise and she told me that she would rather find a place and just park.

I was sixteen and a junior in high school.

She was eighteen and a freshman at USM.

Thinking of the closest place that we could be alone and undisturbed I cruised on behind the old abandoned Woolco building itself located right behind the Krystal.  The old abandoned Woolco building, now out of business for about five years gone, had really been allowed to deteriorate.  The local hooligans had even taken to decorating the exterior of the rear of the store with a huge collection of very well done graffiti.  It was an amazing sight to see illuminated in the high beams of the Rally Sport Camaro.  The collage of graffiti ran from one side of the old store to the other and even extended to a small A-frame wood building on the back lot.  Some comedian had spray painted the words “Hall of Justice” on the out building and under that “Superfriends meet here!”

The parking lot of the old store had gone to hell; the seasons had cracked it in a way that was almost volcanic in nature.  Grass was growing out of the cracks dividing the parking lot into some kind of weird map of an undiscovered country; Nature fighting to reclaim Her own and in the absence of man and continual maintenance She was winning, slowly but surely.  The employee parking lot behind the old Woolco store was even worse, if that was possible.  Faded, cracked asphalt had weeds growing out of the cracks and in several places the asphalt had buckled and cratered exposing the dirt beneath.

I carefully guided the Rally Sport Camaro slowly across a landscape that resembled something from a Middle Eastern war zone, angled the Chevy nose down into the old loading ramp at the receiving dock of the vacant store and got as close as I could to the bottom of the long unused loading area.  There, in the shadow of the old store, away from any lights other than the Moon above, the Rally Sport Camaro was all but invisible to anyone passing on the service road that ran around the edge of the property of the old store.

Pam and I sat there, the Rally Sport Camaro idling, warm and toasty as we listened to WHSY Rock 104.5 playing on the Kenwood.  I remember Mister Mister playing “Take these broken wings”, a song that Pam said she really liked and then halfway through the song Pam slipped out of her place at my side and crawled over into my lap, turned to face me and put her arms around me.  The driver’s seat creaked loudly under our combined weight.  There wasn’t much room between the tilt steering wheel and my chest, especially for an eighteen year old buxom blonde cashier turned sideways in my lap which meant that Pam had to get close to me, wiggle, conform, and get close.

Real close.

Her eyes were electric blue.

Her lips were slightly parted, she was breathing hard and her tongue licked her lips as she blinked long at me, batting her eye lashes slowly in obvious anticipation.  Her profile was illuminated in the dim green glow of the Kenwood and she nuzzled me with her forehead, her nose and her cheek … then she rubbed her lips against my cheek, her breath coming hot and fast in my ear.  I put my arms around her, pulled her close to me and our lips met.  Once, twice and then parted as our tongues chased each other’s.  It was our first kiss, our first real kiss.  Our hands were busy too, hers grabbing my head and pulling me to her, my hands roving over her knees, thighs, shoulders and arms.

Classic rock played softly in the background.

It wasn’t long before the windows of the Camaro, every single one of them, were fogged over completely from our fevered making out.  My right hand went slowly to her left hip, then up to her left side, to her stomach, spreading my fingers and feeling her rapid breath as we kissed and groped.  She took my right hand and slid it further up her chest, the tips of my fingers felt the wire supports in her bra through her work shirt.  I stopped just short of her left breast and after another long, deep kiss she took my right hand and put it firmly on her left breast … pressing it down hard with her hand giving me all the permission that I needed for what I had wanted to do for weeks now and that was that.

I was sixteen and a junior in high school.

She was eighteen and a freshman at USM.

Pam was looking for something that Ingo couldn’t give her.

I was just looking for something I’d never had before.

She was my first.

I was her second.

There in the cramped back seat of the Camaro I helped her get her shirt and sweater off, throwing them into the front seat.  My hands beat her hands to her jeans, unbuttoning her Levis and unzipping them but leaving them on.  I put my arms under her and pulled her to me, moving to her breasts.  Pam made noises and sounds I’d never heard a woman make before, her fingers ran through my hair, pulled me into her, and dug her fingernails into my skin.  After I finished exploring her breasts I reached down and started to work her jeans off of her hips.  She lifted up, as best as she could, to help me and then she wore nothing but her panties and ankle socks.  I ran my hands up her legs, across the inside of her thighs, feeling her soft skin.  I caressed her, slowly and she lay there, arms across her bare breasts, looking at me and smiling as I explored her.  I slid my fingers up inside of her panties, feeling her behind the material.  My fingers ran through the rough and soft of her pubic hair and found the warmth of her womanhood now swollen and damp.  Her eyes were closed, her mouth open slightly and her breath was fast and short.

She let me take her panties off but she asked to keep her socks on saying that her feet got cold.  She spread her legs invitingly and I started to take my clothes off.  Pam rose up and helped me, desperate, pulling at my shirt then fumbling with my belt and jeans and then we were both naked.  The cold black vinyl seats, uncaring black carpet and not a whole lot of room to work in or get comfortable with.  We were new to each other; it was the awe of the moment, the pure energy of mutual discovery that made us ignore the hardships we were confined to, that we were expected to work within and allowed us to throw ourselves into each other.

I started to Journey singing “Be good to yourself”, followed by Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings” and finally finished at the end of The Power Station playing their remake of the old T-Rex hit “Bang a gong, get it on”.  That would be a memory that I cherished for years to follow, the sounds that Pam made, the fevered wrestling, the awkwardness of something fully understood but never before practiced.  Sex, up until tonight, had been nothing but understood theory for me.

I held her, as best as I could, for a long while afterwards.  We kissed and let our breathing slow to normal. 

Her eyes were closed and I glanced at the digital clock on the Kenwood.

1:18 AM.

December 24th, 1985.

It was Christmas Eve and I had to get home.

“Hey!  Jeanie’s going to be mad that you’re coming in this late …” I said.

Pam laughed.

“Actually I’m not staying with Jeanie any more, I’m staying out at my aunt’s house in Oak Grove.” She said.  “I’ve been there the last few days.”

I nodded then yawned, loudly.  Pam laughed and smiled.

“Yeah, I’ve got to get some sleep, too.  Found out tonight that I’ve got to work 4 to 10 tomorrow.”

“Christmas Eve?” I asked loudly.  “You’ve got to work Christmas Eve?  Since when?”

Pam shrugged her shoulders and looked down.

“I checked my schedule today and it was written in.  Someone else got sick, called in today.”

“Right.” I said.

Pam shrugged again.

“I thought you were going home tomorrow.”

“I was.” Pam half whispered.  “Now I’ll have to drive home after work …”

That would put her on the highway from Hattiesburg to Star late at night, on Christmas Eve.  I didn’t like that and I know that she didn’t either.

A few words of small talk, a humorous attempt to find all of our discarded clothes, taking turns dressing in the largest space available in the cramped interior … it took a lot longer to get dressed than it had to get undressed.  Once we had crawled back into the front seats we did a slow departure from the loading dock at the old Woolco building.  I drove her back to County Market and her car.  She got out of my Camaro, let me get her car door for her, kissed me once, kissed me again deep, then got in her car and drove off.

I stood there, thinking, lost in my thoughts, long after her tail lights had vanished from sight.  I wasn't just thinking about what we had done, no, I was thinking about what I'd just gotten myself into.

Tuesday, December 24, 1985

Pam had the bad luck to have to work 4 to 10 on Christmas Eve at County Market.  I spent the morning with her helping her pack and spending time with her at her aunt’s house out in Oak Grove then saw her to work, telling her I’d see her when she got off of her work shift later that night.  I went to evening service with my family at Saint John’s Lutheran church and still had time to meet Pam afterwards when she got off work.  She and I went out riding for a little while afterwards and then said our goodbyes for the year.  I didn’t keep her long because Pam was going home to see her parents for the holidays, it was a two hour drive, it was already late and she was tired.  She wouldn’t be back until the start of the New Year and when she came back, Ingo would be coming back with her which meant that what we had shared the previous night had pretty much been a one night affair.

If that was the case then I wasn’t disappointed.  It had been a great month so far with her and if it was over then it had been fun while it lasted.  I thought of Pam often while she was gone that long week but I realized that what we had was pretty much over.  She belonged to Ingo and had for years.  There was no room for me in that relationship.

Our affair was over.

Surprisingly, I was wrong.

Our affair was far from over.

In fact, it was just starting and Pam would see to that.

January 1986

Sometime in early January, right after classes started, Pam broke up with Ingo and started dating me.  We became a couple, at her request.  Apparently she had thought about me a lot as well while she was gone and she had decided to break up with Ingo while they were in Jackson.

Ingo wanted Pam.

Pam wanted me … and she wanted Ingo … but I didn’t know that at the time and neither did I know the hell that Pam was going to put me through over the next seven weeks of my life.  Pam and my little relationship lasted from January when she got back to the end of February and during that time a lot of crazy things happened … I’ll hit on the major events as they played out.

Friday, January 10th, we went to see the Louis Gossett, Jr. movie “Iron Eagle” at the Cloverleaf Mall theater and then cruised around for a while listening to “The Return of the Living Dead” soundtrack. 

We had sex in the back of my Camaro late that night in a cul-de-sac of an undeveloped neighborhood / subdivision off of Richburg Hill road.  It was our second time to have sex, our first time since she had broken up with Ingo.

Saturday, January 11th, we went to the Gulf Coast and spent the day cruising and shopping at the Edgewater Mall then we went to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum that night and saw The Hooters and Loverboy live in concert, part of the “Get Lucky” tour for Loverboy’s new album.  Pam slept in the passenger seat almost all the way back to Hattiesburg.  I was tired as hell, almost falling asleep behind the wheel.  I stopped on the outskirts of Gulfport and bought a Pepsi and a two pack of No-Doze tablets.  I got back in the Camaro, Pam was still sleeping, her head on my leather jacket which was itself wadded up as a pillow against the passenger side window.  I opened my Pepsi and the No-Doze and tried to take one of the tablets but I missed my mouth and I swear that I saw the No-Doze tablet fall into the open mouth of the Pepsi bottle …

“Damn.” I whispered.

I took the other No-Doze tablet, being far more careful with the second one, and washed it down with Pepsi.  I started the Camaro and drove on back to Hattiesburg.  Pam hardly stirred during all of this.  All the way back I kept fighting sleep.  I kept the radio at a low volume so as not to disturb Pam and I found that I had to alternate between air conditioning and heater to stay awake.  Sometimes I’d put my window down to get some freezing cold fresh air then I’d roll it back up and use the heater to refill the Camaro’s interior with warm air.  I was miserable, my eyelids felt like they had lead weights taped to them and then, just when I thought that I wasn’t going to make it back to Hattiesburg without falling asleep behind the wheel and wrapping us around a pine tree we hit the outskirts and two things happened.

My eyelids sprung open and I found that I had more energy than I’d ever thought I could possibly have.

Pam woke up, stretched and leaned there in the passenger seat, eyeing me lazily, smiling.

“Good nap?” I asked.

She tried to say something but it came out as nothing more than a happy sound.

I pulled into the Eagle’s Nest convenience store across from Elam Arms dormitory there on Hardy Street, got out and stretched.  I needed another Pepsi and she said that she needed to go to the bathroom.  I bought a Pepsi and waited on her by the Camaro.  Curiosity got the better of me and I opened the Camaro’s driver’s side door and started looking around for the missing No-Doze tablet.  When Pam came back out she asked me what I was doing.

I told her about stopping for the Pepsi and the No-Doze and how I think the first No-Doze tablet accidentally fell into my Pepsi bottle.  A quick check of the driver’s seat and surrounding carpeted floor of the Camaro showed that the missing tablet was nowhere to be found.

“Two No-Doze?  How are you feeling?”

I told her that I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to blink again.  Pam laughed and put her arms around me.

“So … you’re not tired right now?” she asked in a sultry voice.

“No.” I said.

Pam moved in closer to me, her lips to my ear.  Her hands started to run across my chest, up and down again then around my sides.

“Good.” She whispered in my ear as she put her teeth on my earlobe and nibbled suggestively.

“Serious?” I asked her.

She nodded with a wicked smile on her face.  I pulled her close as my hand dipped down to her bottom and cupped her there. 

“Let’s go back to where we went last night.  I like that place.” She said.

I turned into the cul-de-sac, parked the Camaro at the edge of the cul-de-sac overlooking the lake, and killed the lights.  Pam unbuckled her seatbelt and was on me before I could get my seatbelt undone.  She was hungry, desperate that night and we had sex in the back of my Camaro again.  That was our third time together, our second time together since she had broken up with Ingo.  Experience was making it easier to have sex in the cramped backseat of the Camaro …

I didn’t get home until almost three that morning.

Over the course of the next four weeks we would have sex eight more times anywhere and everywhere we could including twice in her bed in her dorm room at Scott Hall at USM.  Pam’s euphemism for being horny was “toady.”  I never understood the origin of that euphemism but I knew what it meant whenever we were cruising and she said “I’m toady, Christopher.  Let’s pull off somewhere.”  Well, she didn’t have to tell me twice.

Pam and I shared a song that we liked to listen to when we were cruising and it seemed to get her in the mood for sex as well.  That song was “Tonight (we make love until we die)” by SSQ off of the soundtrack for “The Return of the Living Dead”.  Our favorite cruising song was “Partytime” by Grave 45 off of the same album but when SSQ started playing Pam’s hands started wandering … usually to the inside of my thigh and then on up to my crotch.  It made paying attention to the road let alone the act of driving somewhat difficult.

Sunday, January 26th, 1986

It was after the eighth time that we had sex that things started to not be so perfect for Pam and I.

It had been a really good Sunday.  After spending time together that afternoon and cruising around Oak Grove Pam told me that she was really feeling toady so we had pulled off onto an old logging road on Old Highway 42 to park and make out.  One thing quickly led to another and we took our time satisfying our need and desire there in the front seats and backseat of my Camaro.

Afterwards we were headed East on Old Highway 42, back towards Hattiesburg.  Pam was sitting in my lap with her arms wrapped around me, nuzzling on me, nibbling on my ear and commenting on the time that we had just spent together as we drove towards 4th Street in Hattiesburg.  We were hungry and I suggested that we stop at the Sonic on 4th Street to get something to eat … and that’s when Ingo passed us going the opposite direction on that tight, twisty two lane county road. 


Ingo immediately recognized my Rally Sport Camaro, saw Pam sitting in my lap with her arms wrapped around me, slammed on brakes, turned his little Capri around in the middle of the two lane as best as he could, gunned it for all it was worth and started chasing after us as fast as he could.  Pam saw Ingo turn around in the middle of the road and start chasing us.  She freaked out, started crying and rapidly scrambled from my lap over into the passenger seat almost making me lose my grip on the wheel and almost putting us off the road into the ditch.  I told her to chill out and calm down but all she could do was to beg me to keep Ingo away from her and that’s when the tears started flowing.

Given the fact that I had a hopped up 350 cubic inch small block Chevy V8 under the hood and all Ingo had was a 2.8 liter V6 then Pam’s teary eyed request wasn’t a really hard one to grant and I did just that … with my foot pushing the long, skinny pedal flat to the floor.  It really wasn’t even a race, my Rally Sport Camaro with over twice the engine displacement that Ingo’s little piece of crap Capri had quickly put several car lengths distance between us and the gap only continued to widen as the speedometer started reaching towards 85 miles an hour and beyond.  Pam pulled her legs up to her chest in the passenger seat, wrapped her arms around her legs and made herself into a ball as best as she could.

“Why won’t he leave me alone?!” she moaned.  “Why won’t he just leave me the hell alone!?”

If I had an answer for her I was too busy driving fast to give it to her.

We raced down the rest of Old Highway 42 until it turned into 4th Street, quickly turned onto North 38th Avenue, hauled ass down that until North 38th intersected Hardy Street right in front of the University Mall, turned right on red in front of the University Mall and followed Hardy Street to where it merged off onto Highway 59 North.  I had a pretty good lead, having threaded the Rally Sport Camaro in and out of traffic with far more skill than Ingo could.  At the last light on the corner of 40th avenue and Highway 98, we got caught in traffic. 

I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Ingo, six cars behind us, get out of his Capri and start running towards us.  The light on the other side of the intersection changed to yellow and then to red.  Ingo was on foot, two cars behind us, running as hard as he could to reach my Camaro when the light changed in front of us and I floored it.  The rear tires screamed for traction as we leapt off the line from a dead stop.  I looked in the rear view mirror to see Ingo turn around and run back the four car lengths back to his empty Capri … probably with a lot of angry drivers blowing their horn at him while he did so.

What a loser.

Not wanting to stay in heavy traffic any longer and seeing that Ingo wasn’t afraid to abandon his Capri and chase us on foot if we got stuck in traffic I really didn’t want to become stopped in traffic and chance that situation again.  I took the off-ramp from Highway 98 west to I-59 North headed towards Laurel.  Ingo’s Capri was trying its best to keep up with us but he only had half the engine that I did.

On a power to weight ratio between the Capri and the Rally Sport Camaro it wasn’t even a contest but sometimes persistence matters just as much as performance and Ingo wasn’t giving up on chasing us down.  After all, I had the only woman in the world that would ever look at him twice and do anything other than laugh at him when she did so Ingo had a vested interest in getting Pam back, maybe any way that he could.  He couldn’t afford to lose her because she was really all he had or ever would have.  When it came to women, Pam was the best that Ingo was ever going to get, that much was obvious.  Ingo was desperate, the kind of desperate that can drive you crazy or make you so blind with jealousy that you become dangerous to everyone around you let alone yourself.

I had no idea what Ingo would do when he caught up with us but I didn’t want to find out either knowing how creepy Ingo was and the fact that Pam was literally going to emotional pieces there in the passenger seat thinking about what would happen to her if Ingo got his hands on her, especially after she had broken up with him and started dating me.  I fully believed that Ingo would try to ram his Capri into my Camaro if he could get close enough to do so but that just wasn’t going to happen … left gloved hand on the wheel, right gloved hand on the console shifter, my boot flat against the accelerator pedal and the small block V8 under the hood screaming were all going to make damn sure of that.

As I said, Ingo was insanely jealous and the way he was driving showed that, passing other cars at high speed, almost running other people off the road in his attempt to catch up to us there on the Interstate.  I kept the pedal flat to the floor and let the Camaro really stretch her legs.  I could watch Ingo’s little Capri fall farther and farther behind in the rear view mirror.  About a mile ahead was a pair of 18 wheelers, one moving up behind the other and getting ready to pass the slower rig in the left lane.

I had an idea. 

I reached down, picked up my CB radio mike from its clip on the center console and got the trailing 18 wheeler driver’s attention.  I rapidly explained that I would be passing him at a high rate of speed in the next few seconds and that there was a crazy ex-boyfriend behind me chasing his scared to death ex-girlfriend who was in my car.  I asked if the trucker could help us by moving over after we had passed and taking his time to pass the other 18 wheeler thus blocking Ingo and giving us all the time we would need to vanish completely.  The trucker laughed and readily agreed and like that I blew past him at nearly a hundred miles an hour, honking my horn as I passed.  In the rear view mirror I saw him flash his lights, move over and start to slowly, very slowly, pass the 18 wheeler in the right lane.  Ingo almost had to slam on brakes to avoid ramming into the rear of the 18 wheeler and like that we were free and clear … and gone.

Pam couldn’t believe what I had just done.  She unwrapped herself from the ball she had made of herself and wiped her tears as we sped away on down the highway.  She looked back at the two 18 wheelers blocking Ingo and then she looked over at me, awe and surprise on her face.

She thought it was cool as hell that I had been able to talk to the trucker and ask him to move his rig over to block Ingo for us so that we could get away.  I told her that my dad had put a CB radio in every car that we had owned and he had had a CB radio since before I could remember.  I had grown up learning how to use a CB radio long before I had learned how to drive.  Using a CB radio and talking to truckers and other CB radio users was how my family and my friends kept up with where the cops were, where accidents were, etc. 

That day and long into that night I was Pam’s personal hero.

Monday, January 27th, 1986

The next day, Monday, Pam and I worked a 4 to 10 shift together.  I hadn’t seen her all day so I was excited to be working with her and the rush of our shared adventure the previous afternoon was still fresh on my mind.  When we talked about what had happened she told me that Ingo had been really mad when he found out that I had used my CB radio to get the trucker to move over and block him. 

He also said that he thought he hurt the motor in his Capri running it that hard.

Silence as I took all that in. 

When I asked Pam how she knew all of this she told me that Ingo had stopped by her dorm and talked to her after class and that they had lunch together.

Silence as what she had just said settled in.

What the hell!?

To say that I was pissed with Pam’s casual encounter with Ingo would have been a monumental understatement.  Yesterday she had literally gone to pieces when Ingo had chased us, begging me to get her away from him and today she had lunch with him on campus?  She didn’t understand why I was so mad with her after all she had dated Ingo for two years before she and I had ever started dating and they were still friends.



Like she and I had been friends back in November and December when Ingo wasn’t around?  Pam thought that was mean and she chided me on that comment.  That’s when I began to really question my decision to get romantically and emotionally involved with Pam and to wonder just what I had gotten myself into at that point but like I’ve said before I was young and stupid and I was after something that I’d never had before, something that Pam was still giving to me on a regular basis.

Saturday, February 1st, 1986

I pulled up at County Market to pick Pam up from her 4 to 10 work shift.  She had asked to go cruising after work and said she wanted to spend time with me like we usually did after one of our work shifts.  The way she was acting our “cruising” would end up with us parking somewhere and our clothes coming off as fast as we could take them off and she had even said as much when I’d talked to her earlier that afternoon.

When I got there Ingo was sitting in his Capri, parked next to Pam’s Chevy.  He was just sitting there in his car, idling, waiting.

What the hell was that loser doing here? 

I drove by slowly.  Ingo leered at me and I leered back at him, matching his hateful stare.  The only thing right then and there that kept me from throwing my Camaro into park, getting out of my car, dragging him out of his Capri and beating him down in the parking lot was the fact that I liked my job and losing my job over the likes of him wasn’t appealing.

I parked right in front of County Market, locked the Rally Sport Camaro and walked into the store.  I told Pam that Ingo was waiting on her outside and asked why he would be there?  She didn’t know and she didn’t want to see him.  In fact, she started acting really scared that he was there, outside, waiting on her and that was good enough for me.

I went to the office and talked to David, the manager, explaining the situation to him.  I asked him if he could let Pam out the back door near the loading dock when she got off work and I would drive around the back of the store to pick her up.  With any luck we’d be long gone before Ingo figured out that we had given him the slip again.  David agreed and when Pam punched out, David escorted her to the back of the store.

I went out to my Rally Sport, fired it up and slowly drove past County Market, turning onto the service road that ran beside the store, behind it, and connected with Lincoln Road on the other end.  Turning on the service road, I waited until I was past the corner then I killed my lights and quickly pulled in behind the massive grocery store.  I stepped out of the idling Camaro and stood there, waiting.  It was probably only a minute or two but it seemed like just as many years.  A few minutes later, the back loading door opened spilling pale light out.  I had wanted David to let Pam out the main loading dock door but he let her out a secondary door farther back. 

I had parked too far forward to be right there to meet her when she stepped out.

Two figures were there, Pam and David.  Pam thanked David for letting her out the back door.  She looked around, didn’t see me at first then saw that I was farther down than she was.  She waved then then started jogging over towards my Camaro as David started shutting the back door.

You had to give Ingo a little credit, though.  He must have figured out what we were doing because just as David shut the loading door and Pam was halfway between the store and my Camaro, Ingo sped around the corner of the store, the tires of his Capri squealing as they threw up dust and gravel behind him.  He sped past me, ignoring me completely, and drove fast and hard straight for Pam like he was going to run her over.

“Son of a bitch!” I screamed as loud as I could, breaking into a run towards Pam.

Pam jumped out of the way, narrowly missing being run over by less than an arm’s length and Ingo slammed on brakes about two car lengths past her.  Ingo’s Capri rocked on its suspension as he threw his driver’s side door open, hopping out and running towards Pam who stood there, scared to death, illuminated in the dim glow of the spotlight on the back side of the loading dock.

“Ingo!  Leave me alone!  Go away and just leave me alone!” she screamed.

“Get away from her!” I shouted at Ingo, trying to close the distance and fully intent on taking him down with me into a flying fist filled dust roll there on the gravel and concrete loading area behind County Market.

Ingo saw me coming and turned to face me, he looked scared and determined, desperate even, but his attention turned from Pam to me and that’s all Pam needed to break into a run towards me and my Camaro.  Tears ran down her face; she was scared to death, screaming my name, sobbing and almost stumbling as she ran as fast as she could towards me.  Ingo saw that his chance to do anything to her was gone because he turned around and started to run back towards his Capri, then he looked down, picked up an empty long neck beer bottle, turned and threw it as hard as he could at Pam’s back as she ran.  The beer bottle hit her about an inch to the left of her spine, the impact and resulting pain forcing her to arch her back as her knees went out from under her.  Pam’s face contorted in pain and she went arms and face first into the pavement, unable to cry out since the wind had been knocked out of her.  I made it to her just as she started to rise on skinned up palms and dirty knees; she was my primary concern at that point.  I’d deal with Ingo in a minute and when I did I was going to make up for about four months of aggravation with him, including any and all interest that aggravation may have accrued in that time the last of which was considerable.

“Where did he hit you?” I shouted, trying to calm Pam down, trying to hold her flailing arms as she buried her head in my chest.

Pam was gasping for breath, her voice was a gasping whisper that sent a chill through my blood.  She tried to get her wind back and she reached around, trying to point at her back, fear and pain in her eyes.  I pulled up her work shirt and saw a large ugly red mark about the size of a softball just next to her spine.  I stared at Ingo as he hopped back in his Capri and left at a high rate of speed but like I’ve said before Ingo stomping his Capri for all it was worth was worth more for comedy than anything to do with actual performance.

I helped Pam up, helping her hobble over to the Camaro and it took a long time to get her to calm down.  She spent the next five minutes rocking back and forth in my passenger seat, screaming, crying, trying to calm down and scared to death.  She couldn’t believe that Ingo would have done that to her.  She was so scared of him.  She never wanted to see him again.  What was wrong with him?  Why would he act like that to her?  She couldn’t understand it and she kept trying to wrap her understanding around what had happened to her all the while crying and screaming and rocking back and forth there in the passenger seat of my Camaro.  We rode around for a while, together, until she calmed down and her back stopped hurting her enough that she could lean back in the passenger seat all the way.

I helped her to her dorm and told her that she should go see about the bruise on her back at the campus clinic tomorrow.  She told me that she would, hugged me, kissed me goodnight.  We kissed for a long time and she thanked me for saving her from Ingo and for taking care of her when she was hurt.

Two days later it was like Ingo had cast his spell over Pam once again.  All she could talk about was Ingo and how he must be so lonely without her.  The bruise on her back was larger, deeper colored and really tender to the touch and still she kept trying to figure out why he would have tried to run her over there behind the store and why he would have thrown the empty beer bottle at her when she ran towards me.  When I tried to explain to her that she and I were now dating and that I didn’t want her to see Ingo anymore or have anything to do with him she got really defensive of Ingo.  I told her that I was tired of her talking about Ingo all the time and of her seeing him behind my back.  Pam became very defensive and accused me of being too controlling of her, acting exactly like I said that Ingo acted all the time.

I guess that was about all that I wanted from her and Ingo, right then and there.  I had finally had my fill of the three way relationship and I just walked away.  I didn’t talk to Pam for two days after that … I just needed time to think.  We didn’t work together during those two days and I ignored her phone calls to my house.  I just needed time to think and that time was better spent without Pam there to confuse my thoughts.

After the incident at the loading docks behind County Market Ingo started trying to move back in and claim Pam for his own and Pam seemed to be more than willing to spend time with Ingo when she wasn’t with me especially when she was on campus … away from me.  When she was off but Ingo had to work she would stop by Domino’s Pizza and talk to him … for an hour, or two.  It was little things that he would do that really irked me like he would show up at County Market to buy supplies for Domino’s Pizza and check out through her register line, spending more time than was necessary to talk to her.  If we were working together and I was in another part of the store, I’d get paged by one of my coworkers on the intercom that Ingo was in the store buying supplies or that he was checking out through Pam’s register.  I would hear from friends on campus that she had spent time with Ingo when she wasn’t with me.

I was really starting to get pissed and, of course, Pam didn’t see anything wrong with this.  She even started wearing his promise ring again on a chain around her neck.  When I told her that she had to give the ring back to Ingo she reluctantly agreed to … but days later she still wore the ring on a chain around her neck.

That’s when I realized that what Pam and I shared was rapidly coming to an end.

Sunday, February 9th, 1986

Pam and I had gone out cruising for a long time after work and had gone parking again in the now familiar unfinished subdivision off Richburg Hill road.  It didn’t take long for Pam to crawl all over me with the usual end result but that would be our next to last time together.  Afterwards I carried her back to County Market, dropped her off at her car there in the parking lot and said goodnight to her.  She was supposed to have gone back to her dorm room because I trusted her to do so … and that had been my mistake.  Pam taught me a lot about women and trust.

Slowly but surely, whatever there was that had been special between Pam and I, she was bound and determined to strangle a slow death and it all came to a head on Monday, February 10th, just four days before Valentine’s Day.

That morning, before I left for school, I had called Pam to see how she was doing and just talk to her before either of us had to go to class.  Her dorm phone rang and her roommate answered.  When I asked where Pam was, her roommate told me that Pam hadn’t come home last night and that she still hadn’t gotten back.  My blood went cold then and I drove over to Pam’s dorm to see if her car was there but it wasn’t.  I drove around the parking lot looking for her car and she wasn’t there.  She didn’t have to work that day until later that afternoon and I started having this really bad gut feeling … the kind that you get when you know something bad has happened but you don’t want to believe that it really has happened. 

I left the campus and drove back down West 4th Street since I knew that Ingo lived out that way in a house that he shared rent with a couple of other guys on.  I was going to drive down there and see if her car was parked at his house but I didn’t even have to go that far because she was already on her way back from his house.  My heart fell when I saw Pam’s Chevy Monte Carlo coming back from the direction of Ingo’s house and I caught up to her at the stop light near Strick’s.  She saw me and dropped her head because she knew that she had been caught red handed.  I followed her back to her dorm and confronted her as she got out of her car.  She was even wearing the same clothes that she had been wearing the night before!  Yes, she had been to see Ingo.  She went to see him last night at Domino’s after I had dropped her off back at County Market and then she had went home with him after he got off work.

They had sex after that and she had spent the rest of the night with him.

Son of a bitch!

All of this is what she told me when I confronted her.  I could not describe the amount of betrayal that I felt, cushioned somewhat by the fact that I had somewhat expected this given the growing three-way that was happening in our relationship.  I really began to doubt that Pam and I were actually boyfriend and girlfriend and started to suspect that she was just seeing me to get laid on the side when Ingo wasn’t available or that I gave her what Ingo never could.  Despite the fact that we were supposedly a steady couple and sleeping together she was seeing Ingo behind my back and lying to me about it.  We sat there in her car as she cried and tried to explain the situation but the more she tried to explain things the less she made sense in doing so.  Finally I just held up a hand to shut her up mid-babble.

“You slept with him last night?”

She nodded, tears in her eyes.

“You slept with the guy who you’re scared to death of, a guy who you said you never wanted to see again, a guy who tried to run you over behind County Market and then who almost paralyzed you by hitting you in the back with an empty beer bottle?”

“It just happened.” She said.  “I couldn’t help it!”

“Don’t give me that bullshit, Pam.  You had a choice and you made it.  We’re done, doll.  You had your chance.”

And that’s when she really started crying and begging me not to break up with her, reaching over and grabbing my arm with both of her hands and pulling me back into her car.  I don’t know why I gave her a second chance except that I was young and stupid and I really thought if we got over this we would be okay.  Pam promised me that it was over with Ingo and that all she wanted was to be with me.  For the next hour there in her car she made me promises that I somehow knew deep down inside were way too freely given to be anything other than empty but when you’re sixteen years old you can mistake desperation for devotion and it’s all too easy to mistake sex for love.

What I had with Pam lasted for two more weeks to the day. 

We had sex twice more … once in her bed in her dorm room that Thursday night while her roommate was spending the night at her boyfriend’s apartment and once more in the cul-de-sac in the back seat of my Camaro after we had shared a work shift and gotten off of work together.  At that point in our relationship I was already having second thoughts about having taken Pam back.  That last time that we had sex, there in the back seat of my Camaro, it felt like such a meaningless, empty charade.   All the time we were together I was wondering if she had been with Ingo like this in the last week.  Whatever there was between us, whatever there once was that had been so special and so fire hot now felt tainted, spoiled.  I couldn’t trust Pam anymore … whatever it was that we had shared, whatever it was that had made our time together special was past. 

She had betrayed that.

What we had felt was dead, even the sex, and she had killed it.

I tried to throw myself into the act like I could work some kind of sexual bellows to bring what we once had back into a roaring fire but it felt empty, hollow and the more I threw myself into the act, the more I threw myself into her the less it felt like I was doing anything.  I’d always thought of sex as special, long before I actually had sex.  I’d never thought of sex as something just to do for the sake of doing it.  Sex, to me, was something more than special.  It was only shared with someone you cared about, it wasn’t a diversion or something to do if you didn’t have anything else to do.

Pam had ruined that view of sex for me.

Like our relationship, Pam had somehow tainted even our sex because that last time with Pam felt more like a chore than anything else.  I had to work for her and I had to work twice as hard for myself because it was an empty, shallow, meaningless act.  It was a parody of what we had once shared.  For the first time since Pam and I had started having sex together I really didn’t enjoy what we were sharing or what we were doing.

It felt like a chore. 

Pam threw herself into the act but I felt like it was just that, an act on her part.  After a while I grew tired of even pretending that I was interested, rolled off the top of her and we called it quits.  When she asked me what was wrong I told her I just wasn’t into it.  We got dressed in silence and drove back to County Market with not more than a handful of words being said.

A week later, Pam was back to her old tricks of being friends with Ingo and seeing him when she wasn’t around me.  I was finally tired of being young and stupid and I had finally had enough of being someone that Pam held in reserve when Ingo wasn’t available.  I was tired of being a toy.  If my time with Pam had been anything it had been a learning experience, a quick one and not an altogether pleasant one.  My time with Pam had been a crash course in failed relationships, in lies, in cheating, and in meaningless promises.  Pam went far in turning me into the misogynist that I would become in my late teens and early twenties.

I confronted her at work one day after she checked Ingo out through her register and told her that she had to decide; either Ingo or me and whoever that she decided on staying with the other had to drop out of her life completely.  This bothered Pam and she told me that maybe we shouldn’t date anymore if I was going to try to control her life like that.


Pam took her break and asked me to come talk to her in the back room.  A short but heated argument there in the employee break room reminded me of that fight that Pam and Ingo had had outside in the parking lot.  It was an eerie déjà vu moment to be sure.  When I cornered Pam and told her that she was going to have to make a choice between Ingo or me, right now, she said that she had decided not to date either Ingo or me.  We were both far too controlling of her life and she just didn’t like feeling like that.

I was far too controlling of her life?

All I wanted from her was to be faithful, truthful, to ditch her creepy ex-boyfriend that she had dumped two months ago to be with me, to give him back his stupid, cheap-ass promise ring and to stop seeing him behind my back every time he showed up just because she felt sorry for him or he made puppy eyes at her.  I hardly thought that was controlling as much as it was just simple common decency in any serious relationship.  She expected it of me, why couldn’t I expect it of her in turn?

Pam didn’t see it that way. 

In fact, she told me that she was sick and tired of Ingo and me trying to control her life, of trying to tell her what to do and she told me that she just wasn’t going to date either one of us.  In fact, she was going to be on her own for a while which was fine with me as well.  I told her that I had had enough of the heart and head games she was putting me through, that I was more than ready to call it quits with her and that’s when she started acting like I was some kind of bad guy, like all the failings and problems in our relationship had been my fault.  I couldn’t believe what she was telling me so I threw my hands up in the air and walked off to finish my hourly task.  If she wanted to break up with me, fine.

I walked back into the employee break room.

“We’re breaking up, right?  It’s over between us?”

“Yeah.” Pam said.

I nodded, turned around and left.

It was over.

Good riddance.

I really didn’t need this emotional roller coaster crap that she was putting me through.  This wasn’t a relationship … not a real one; it was a three-way affair with a whole lot of lies being used to keep it loosely patched together for her benefit and her benefit alone and I wanted out.  The sex, be that as it may, certainly wasn’t worth the trouble I had to go through in order to get it.

Pam got off work, punched out and left without saying another word to me.  I punched out ten minutes after she did, not believing that just two weeks ago I had given her a second chance to take advantage of me and use me like she had.  I couldn’t believe that I had put up with her for as long as I did. 

“Never again.” I said to myself.

I sat there in my Rally Sport Camaro for a long time after work just thinking and fuming and promising myself that I’d never give anyone a second chance to use me ever again. 

Never again.

Finally, I put the Rally Sport Camaro into gear and went cruising … alone.  I shoved Alice Cooper’s “Constrictor” cassette into the Kenwood and keyed the tape to “Crawling”, a song that, somehow, had struck a chord with me while I had been dating Pam.

I drove slowly down Hardy Street and caught Broadway Drive on the way back, changing out tapes at will.  As I passed the Domino’s Pizza across from Dossett Pontiac I glanced over to see if Ingo was working … and I saw Pam’s Chevy Monte Carlo parked there on the side where the employees parked their cars.  She was standing inside talking to the other Domino’s employees.  I didn’t see Ingo’s Capri anywhere as I slowly pulled into the parking lot and stopped in front of the big front windows.  One of the employees looked over Pam’s shoulder and noticed my Camaro idling outside.  He nodded in my direction and Pam looked over her shoulder, turned and quickly walked out to my Rally Sport Camaro.  There was a shocked look on her face.

“Do I even have to ask what you’re doing here?” I asked her flatly even though I already knew the answer.

“I’m waiting on Ingo to get back.  He’s out on a delivery run.” She said.

I could not believe what I was hearing … or maybe I could.  After all it was Pam and I had come to realize that lying came second nature for Pam; at least it had in our “relationship.”  I gripped the steering wheel tightly in my gloved hands.

“Thirty minutes ago you said that you weren’t going to date either one of us!”

“I can’t leave him, Christopher.  I love him and he loves me.” Pam said.

“He loves you?!  Are you stupid or just desperate?!”


“You don’t understand him like I do.”

“No.  I understand Ingo a lot better than you do.  It’s you that I don’t understand, Pam.”

Pam huffed at me.

“You better leave, now.  Ingo’s out on a delivery run and he’ll be back soon.  You don’t want to be here when he gets back.”

“Yeah.  Yeah, I think that I do!  I want to be here when he comes back.  Let him come back and find me here!” I said, angry.  “He and I have got some unfinished business.”

“I don’t want to see you two fight!” she said.

“Maybe it’s time that Ingo tries to hit someone other than a girl.”

“You leave him alone, Christopher!  Leave us alone!  Just leave!  Get out of here!  Now!  We’re over.”

About then the other workers at Domino’s started edging out towards the front door, staring at me and looking like they were about to step in to the conversation that Pam and I were having.  Maybe they knew our history, maybe they knew about Ingo and Pam.  All I knew right then was if I tried anything with Ingo that I would be outnumbered.  I could have given it a pretty good attempt but being drowned in a sea of flailing fists and feet connected to acne scarred losers who hadn’t had pussy since pussy had them really wasn’t the end of the night that I was looking forward to and Pam wasn't worth going to jail over so I reeled my ego in tight and sighed.

Pam stood back from my Rally Sport Camaro, crossing her arms and fuming.  That’s when I noticed that she was wearing his promise ring on her finger again … back where it used to be when I first met her.  I guess it had been there for all of a half hour or so and I doubt that it would ever come off again. 

Pam’s destiny was set in mediocrity.

“You know, I really thought you were different, that you were some kind of saint …” she said.

I had no idea what she was talking about and I’m not sure that she did either but at the time I guess it sounded good to her.  I had been nothing less than a saint in our relationship, putting up with her sneaking around, lying to me, cheating on me, sleeping around on me … forgiving her for everything and trying to make what we had work.  I had given her everything that I had and she had taken it all.  I don’t know what her definition of a “saint” was but it sure wasn’t the same definition that I or anyone else in the world used.  Pam, I realized, finally, might just be either emotionally stunted or partially retarded.  Either one was not a good base to build a lasting relationship on, at least not for me.

“Fine.  I’m gone.” I said, really not caring anymore at that point.

I shifted the three speed automatic from neutral down into drive, took my foot off the brake pedal and drove out of the small parking lot back onto Broadway Drive.  I didn’t even look back in the rear view mirror as I left.  A block and a half away, Ingo in his little piece of crap Capri passed me going the opposite direction on Broadway Drive, headed back to the Domino’s Pizza where he worked and where Pam was waiting with open arms ... and legs ... for him.  Ingo recognized my Rally Sport Camaro and leered at me as I passed but I didn’t pay him any attention at all other than to laugh at him out loud.

Ingo and Pam deserved each other, in more ways than one.  Pam going back to Ingo was about the best revenge I could ever get on him … and her.  Yes, despite all that I’d been through with Pam, despite all that she had put me through I was still glad that we’d had what we had mainly because Pam taught me one of the most important lessons I’d ever learn in life … she taught me to never give anyone a second chance.  Ever.  That lesson would be invaluable in the years to come in saving me from a lot of heartache and grief with other women down the road, women that I had yet to meet or be with.

Life was too short to give second chances to anyone let alone habitual losers.

Four and a half months ago I had wondered who was the more desperate in their relationship; Ingo or Pam?  I still hadn’t made my mind up but I knew one thing for sure … I wasn’t desperate enough to consider Pam the best that I could ever do when it came to finding someone to spend the rest of my life with.  Ingo and Pam, on the other hand, didn’t have that luxury.  It was just one more thing that defined them as the losers that they would always be. 

As it was, the little affair between Pam and I that had started way back in the Fall of last year was now over and done with.

I was sixteen and a junior in high school.

She was eighteen and a freshman at USM.

Pam had been looking for something that Ingo couldn’t give her.

I had been looking for something I’d never had before.

One way or the other I guess we all got what we were looking for.