Friday, 7 February 2014
I only moved into the town a few months ago, and before long took to frequenting Harry's, the bar just around the corner from my house.
The place was friendly and laid back, and I spent many a Saturday evening propped against the bar chin wagging with whomever I happened to be standing next to.
One night I called in to Harry's, and settled myself at the bar with my usual bottle of Bud.
I glanced down the bar, and the only other customer was a guy named Waxy. Although I had never actually spoken to Waxy I knew his name through hearing the locals talk to him. “Hiya Waxy.” they would say, and always got the same reply. “How's it goin' wit' you?” That was always Waxy's response, no matter how anyone greeted him the reply was always the same “How's it goin' wit' you?”
“Good evening.” I ventured.
Waxy turned to look at me, smiled. “How's it goin' wit' you?” Came the amiable reply.
“I'm good.” I said. “Can I buy you a beer?”
That was the start of a strong friendship, me and Waxy got to be real close over the following months.
A few weeks ago me and Waxy were chewing the fat at Harry's bar, curiosity getting the better of me I had asked him about his name. I thought maybe his surname was Wax, or Waxon, or something similar.
“Hell no, my name is Bill Thornton, everyone calls me Waxy because of what I do.”
“You mean your job? Do you work with wax, or keep bees or something?”
Waxy found this extremely amusing, and it was some minutes before he could talk around his laughter.
“No, I'm unemployed right now, I used to work in the chilled food warehouse, but the jumped up dick of a manager started getting on my wick and so I popped him one, he fired me right off. They call me Waxy because of that thing that I do.”
“Thing?” I asked him, wondering what on earth he was talking about.
“Yeah, that thing. You got a lighter on you, I'll show ya.”
I reached into my pocket for my Zippo, and passed it to Waxy. My mind refused to believe what my eyes witnessed next.
Waxy flicked the Zippo into life, then held his forefinger over the flame. After a few moments his finger began to drip. I continued watching in open mouthed amazement as the drops pooled on the bar and began to solidify. Waxy flicked the lighter shut, then scooped up the semi solid goo from the counter and moulded it back onto his finger again.
“That is absolutely amazing.” I stuttered.
“Well, truth is, it's kinda stood in my way, all my life all I ever wanted to be was a firefighter, bummer eh? Anyway, I gotta dash, I got a date with a hot lady, so catch ya later my friend.”
Waxy regularly left early to meet some hot lady or other, he never said who, and I never asked.
Waxy never showed up at the bar again after that evening. No-one saw him or heard from him. Despite police enquiries and searches he was never seen again, it seemed he had just melted into obscurity. Waxy was the best friend I had in the town, and I prayed that he was okay, wherever he was. It was just possible that he had skipped town ahead of some vengeful husband of one of his 'Hot ladies'.
Yesterday as I was walking home from work I passed a garage and garden sale at the late widow Clarkson's house, sad about her, she died suddenly of a heart attack, only in her forties too. I called in to see if there was anything that would help brighten up my rather spartan home.
I knew the widow's son Frank, a pleasant, hard-working young man that always seemed to struggle to make ends meet, and I thought it would be a neighbourly thing to do putting a few dollars his way.
As I browsed the clutter of pictures, furniture and assorted bric-a-brac I came across a huge lump of wax, it looked like some kind of weird sculpture, there was definitely a face in there, fingertips and elbows poking out at odd angles.
Suddenly the face twitched, the mouth moved slightly. “How's it goin' wit' you?” came the familiar voice, accompanied by a slight wink of one misshapen eye.
I nearly fainted. “Waxy? Is that you in there?” I whispered. “Jeez you look a mess, I gotta get you home.”
Acting as nonchalantly as possible I carried Waxy over to where Frank stood near the fence.
“How much would you like for this?” I asked him.
Frank glanced at the sculpture. “Whatever you think it's worth.” He replied, smiling broadly.
I pulled fifty dollars from my wallet, offered it to Frank.
“That's about forty nine more'n I expected.” Said Frank, looking a bit unsure of himself. I insisted that fifty dollars was a bargain for such a work of art, and he reluctantly accepted the money. He found me a large cardboard box to put my purchase into, I bade him goodbye and set about the task of carrying my friend back to the house.
Once home I pulled Waxy from the cardboard box and placed him on the kitchen table.
“I got a blowtorch in my toolbox.” I said to him. “With a bit of work, and a lot of luck I'll see if I can get you somewhere near back to your old shape. What the hell happened to you?”
Waxy chuckled. “Well, ya know all those hot ladies I kept making dates with? Last time I saw you I was going to meet the widow Clarkson, she was one hell of a hot lady I can tell you, truth is, she was just a little TOO hot for me to handle.”
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.