|Thomas Lee McCulloch | Белбог (bornebybliss) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-06-29 10:30:00
|Entry tags:||belobog, pan|
up in memphis the music's like a heatwave
Who: Thomas and Vinnie
What: Greasy scrubby dudes being cheerful af. Also truck repair.
Where: Pax parking lot
When: June 10th, early af
“I am sweatin’ like an altar boy at Pride,” Vinnie proclaimed, apros of nothing save for the tool in his hand slipping for the third time in as many minutes. He made a face at the accent slip, scooting out from under the jacked-up truck a moment later. The assumptions people make about why it’s lifted so high off the ground are annoying (he has nothing to make up for, thank you very much) but the benefit of rarely having to break out the jack to get under it more than makes up for the draw-backs.
“Whatcha say to a break?”
Vinnie’s proclamation brought forth hearty laughter from Thomas, in a ripely pleasant mood despite the increasing temperature. He wiped the sweat and dirt from his brow with an old bandana that had long since ceased to be clean. They’d been working on Vinnie’s truck for what seemed like ages, removing the worn parts and replacing them with new additions which would not only better sustain the truck’s life, but the life of the planet, too.
In the process, the two of them had settled into a comfortable routine of teamwork and good humor, the native Texans scrubby now from head to toe. Thomas leaned back against the truck, after shrugging off a faded button down shirt and draping it over the passenger seat’s window frame. His white tank was wrinkled and covered in oil and grease, a testament to the progress he and Vinnie had made today.
“Sure sounds good to me,” Thomas said with a sigh, smiling despite his state of discomfort. “I reckon we oughta be finished with this ol’ lady come lunch time. It’s goin’ real good, and I think ya might just be a better mechanic than ya first figured.” He looked down at Vinnie, grinning brightly at his new friend.
Ripe was an accurate description for the two men. Between the sweat of hard work and the oil and grease smeared across his old tee, Vinnie knew for a fact he didn't smell beautiful and neither did his new friend.
Thomas had surprised him. The guy hadn't even blinked when Vinnie had opened the door, and if any part of him was uncomfortable chilling with a little brown dude, it didn't show. “Hey, I never said I was a bad mechanic,” he protested lightly as he bent down, tugging the hem of his shirt halfway over his stomach to wipe the sweat and grease off his face. The fabric caught on stubble, and he made a mental note to shave before heading to work tonight. “I've just never done this before.”
Straightening, Vinnie moved over to the bed of the truck and grabbed the lip. With a soft grunt, the younger man hoisted himself up and into the bed proper, landing with only a slight clatter. “Y’thirsty,” he asked, cracking open the cooler he'd dragged out when they'd gotten back with the parts. The ice inside felt like a balm to his hot wrists, and he sighed almost silently. “I got bottled water and beer.”
“First time for everything, I figure,” Thomas said lightly, brightening at Vinnie’s suggestion. “I’m positively parched,” he responded with great emphasis, his current appearance lending weight to his admittance. “It’s like all the moisture went and ran plumb outta me. But I reckon it’ll be worth it,” Thomas added, moving away from the passenger door to fold his arms over the edge of the truck bed instead, much better able to hold a conversation with Vinnie in this manner--as well as accept the offered water.
“It’s a good thing I met ya,” Thomas rambled on, having acquired a bottle of water and downed a hearty swig of it. “Not a lot of us Texans seem keen on savin’ the environment and all, as I’m sure ya likely know. I feel real lucky to be workin’ on this project with ya, just want ya to know that.”
Vinnie hesitated over the beer after handing a bottled water to the man leaning against his truck, but snatches up a water for himself. He did have to work tonight, and tempting as it was to dull the edge with a cold one, the new scheduling dude already didn't like him. No need to give him a reason, and after working with him tonight he’ll probably need one.
“Dude, you’re gonna make me blush,” he answered as he straightened, the unintentional hint of a purr in his voice almost masking the pop of his back. Both were noted, and he made an effort to shove down the flirt when next he spoke. As he spoke, Vinnie cupped his chin in his free hand and pushed it to the side, cracking his neck. “It’s just a truck--a really awesome truck, but it’s not like we’re installing solar panels or anything.” Although that would be something to look into if he ever managed to buy a home; or, more likely, decided to pursue the van-living life.
“I am grateful for the help,” he added, sitting near the edge of the truck bed right next to where Thomas was leaning. “I’ve missed this monster.”
Although Thomas initially began to laugh at Vinnie’s affected modesty, he abruptly stopped, his head tilting slightly as if to check if he’d heard correctly. There it was again, the sound he’d just heard, only this time of a different caliber as Vinnie deliberately fixed a kink in his neck. Thomas hummed thoughtfully to himself, and then momentarily silenced his concerns by taking another gulp of water, glad for its coldness.
“Suppose we were installin’ solar panels, imagine how fortunate we’d be,” he proclaimed, wiping stray drops of water and flecks of dirt from his face with the back of his hand. “And ya know,” Thomas continued, “I don’t mind helpin’ ya one bit at all. A little more elbow grease and we’ll have your truck in good shape.”
He took a quick glance towards Vinnie’s back, which had audibly popped despite the other man trying his best to hide the sound. “Speakin’ of shape, any time ya wanna take care of that poppin’ sound, let me know. Yoga’d do wonders for ya,” Thomas casually offered, though his concern was real enough, despite not having known Vinnie for too long.
“Keep talking, and I’ll drag you out to Illinois to help me install solar panels on my aunt’s place.” The faux threat came punctuated with a mischievous grin, his teeth bright against a grimy face. ’Right around the time I win the lotto,’ he thought and kept to himself, uncertain whether he’d be able to strip the underlying existential despair from his words.
Instead he tilted his head back to take a long, slow gulp of water, balancing his slight dehydration with the desire not to be sick; and if his half-serious conversation with BB crossed his mind, oh well. He’s played a wind instrument for years, it wasn’t as if his lung capacity was exactly a secret. A quarter of the bottle was gone when Vinnie tilted it and his head back down, his tongue darting out to catch stray drops of water. “Yeah, I saw the post,” he answered, an eyebrow quirking upward. “No offence dude, but you are not the kinda guy I picture going in for yoga.”
“I suspect it's due to never havin’ sat in during a class,” Thomas conjectured, taking no offense to Vinnie’s comment. “Happens a lot, likely ya wouldn't believe the kinds of folks that benefit from a proper session. All walks of life, Vinnie.” He was earnest in his explanation, knowing full well the stereotypes that surrounded yoga--and that he came directly from a family entrenched in way too many social and class stereotypes that begged to be dismantled and discarded.
Thomas emptied his own water bottle, although by no means with as much obvious skill as the younger man. “Yoga keeps a man centered,” he said with a smile, twisting the cap onto the empty bottle and setting it down in the bed of the truck to recycle later. “It's good for tonin’ your muscles, and fixin’ backs that pop.” He looked pointedly at his new friend, knowing he needn't drive his message home further but unable to ignore the possibility of Vinnie having a stubborn soul.
“I won't push, ‘cause that's no way to go about convertin’ someone.” He shrugged, his good mood never faltering. “But I've got a spare mat if ya need one. Besides, it might do ya some good.” With a wide grin, he stepped back a couple of feet from the truck to stretch his arms and back, rolling his shoulders to gear up for a second session of mechanical business. “My family doesn't believe in centerin’ their souls, on account of thinkin' the Good Lord is more than enough.” Returning to his spot against the truck, he fixed bright, imploring hazel eyes on Vinnie. “I can hazard a guess ya might have an inklin' of what I mean.”
“Yeah,” Vinnie admitted easily, with a loose shrug. “I was actually forbidden by like, half my friends in New York from trying out yoga. Or belly-dancing,” he added, a fond smile creeping across his face; the friends of whom he spoke were usually the ones he’d fallen into bed with.
The warmth of memory was still on his face when he turned his attention back to Thomas, scant seconds later as the man put his emptied bottle back in the truck bed. Vinnie nabbed it with the ease of habit, opened the cooler to chuck it in with the full ones as though he didn’t see that look Thomas gave him. Despite his outward demeanor, working multiple jobs was rough on a body; even here in California, his back was usually sore at some point in the day. His feet always were, though he hoped getting his truck road legal would alleviate at least some of that. Still, even though the classes were free he didn’t want to think about how much those mat things probably cost, and he couldn’t really justify spending money to go do glorified stretches.
Vinnie turned to give the other man a gentle refusal, only to have his main argument defused before he could open his mouth to make it. Unwilling to admit defeat just yet, he dropped his eyes from Thomas’ beaming face just in time for a great view of the muscles that played underneath his shirt as he stretched. For a split second he felt like a teenager again, watching the football team practice while he burned with equal parts envy and longing. He blinked and the moment was past. “I know exactly what you mean, though I’m pretty sure your family’s brand of religion was more Evangelical than mine,” he answered, pressing his water bottle against his warm forehead and biting back a sigh of relief. A second later it was too cool there, and he began to roll the bottle down the side of his face, letting it rest in the crook of his neck.
Dark eyes met the imploring look in Thomas’ hazel ones for all of ten seconds before the younger man began to feel his will crumble. Dammit, BB was going to have a field day with this. “Nine on Sundays, you said?”