As it happened, Jack was short-handed on the loading dock that Thursday, so he was the one who answered the bell for the driver backed up to the overhead door.
By the time he hit the big red button next to the locked entry cage, the delivery man was no longer waiting, but had gone to his truck to begin off loading all the cartons of parts, subassemblies, copy paper, and supplies.
Jack peered out the screened security glass in the door to see nothing but the long line of a muscular leg flowing up to a perfect ass interrupted only by the briefest glimpse of brown shorts. 'Hmmm', he thought. 'So there are extra benefits to the long hours of manual labor that I'm paying my men for.
Just then the guy straightened up, set several packages up on the dock and bent again. This time the load was heavier, and his muscles bunched in his neck and back. Jack had to turn away to stop his salivating. 'What the fuck is the matter with me? I don't drool over men, I'm a ladies man one hundred percent!' he thought. He wasn't kidding himself about the firmness forming in his boxers though. Sweat began to pop out on his upper lip. He swiped at it with the sleeve of his white shirt. 'Oh great, that looks professional!'
With all the freight now on his dock, Jack had no choice but to approach the man, who was actually hurrying toward Jack already, clipboard in hand.
He held out an electronic device, looked to Jack something like one of the first cordless phones, "Morn'n sir, please sign here."
Jack signed his little squiggle that he called a signature, in the small window as indicated, and the man was already handing him the paperwork. "These are your copies. Have a great day." And he was gone.
The rest of the day was filled with two unnecessary meetings, jangling phones; folders full of invoices with their bills of lading attached needing his approval for payment, and schedules to adjust. Even more freight arrived on big rigs that backed right up to the dock and had to be off-loaded by a fork lift and driver. Jack could do that, had done it in fact when he was in school, but he hadn't kept up his own license since all his shipping department personnel were re-certified annually. As an officer of the company, Jack knew their insurance would not permit him to drive the fork lift, never mind OSHA.
His mind had not had time to fixate on the upsetting event of the morning. Until, that is, he hopped into his ride, his classic 1969 Chevy Camaro. It was his newest baby, his pride and joy; he had worked on it nights and weekends for months. He had sunk all his extra cash into her, but on this day he didn't even smell the new upholstery, didn't notice those original chrome parts gleaming in the last of the afternoon sun, as he headed to the house.
Jack was in a trance-like state, not even aware of his surroundings. The image of those sweaty blond curls and the eyes, Oh My God, those brown eyes that nailed him through the chest when he had handed him that contraption to sign, kept Jack boneless and blind till the line of traffic behind him startled him out of his reverie, by sounding like a line of honking geese.
After that, he shook himself mentally, made a commitment to get home safely if nothing else.
Dinner was going to be pasta again. It was simple, and he could dress it up any way he liked. He quickly changed into old jeans that were worn nearly through at the thighs, a blue t-shirt, and flip flops. Jack stepped out his back door to cut some oregano, rosemary and a couple other herbs for his spaghetti sauce. He loved having fresh ingredients when he felt like cooking. Kneeling, he chose the right amount of greenery, and snipped till he was satisfied.
Rising, he looked up at the sky, beginning to threaten rain. 'Better not drive the Camaro tomorrow' he thought and went inside to grab a good sized pasta pot. Jack got the water going and the sauce on simmer. Then went in to look through his closet.
'Everyone says I look best in this blue shirt' he mused as he pulled it forward on the rack. 'What to wear with it?' When he was satisfied that he knew what he was wearing to work the next morning, even down to the socks and underwear he had chosen, he hurried back to stir the sauce.
His solitary dinner was filled with random thoughts and images of brown. He wondered if "the guy" . . . didn't even know a name, liked to renovate classic cars, or attend car shows, or if he was into football, or maybe did he cook? Or garden? 'What the shit is going on?'
'I don't even know if he is gay. And until this morning, I KNEW I wasn't.' Nevertheless, Jack was mentally going forward, hoping to see the man again, maybe talk to him, get to know him a bit.
Just in case, Jack took his Silverado pick up over to the car wash. He wiped down the interior, not that it was dirty, lathered the exterior all over and rinsed well. He used a wire brush on the wheels and polished up the windows. He ran it over to Charlie's Texaco and filled the gas tank, checked the brake fluid, the oil and the wipers, then he filled the window washer till it ran over. 'All set' he thought. 'Jesus H Christ, what am I doing?'
As difficult as it was to settle his mind and get to sleep, he finally managed it in the wee hours. But he overslept on Friday morning, and after a quick shower, he dressed in his chosen outfit, and rushed off to work with no breakfast. Good thing they had bagels in their Production Meeting. It would hold him. The damn meeting lasted until 9:45 a.m.; Jack was frantic, his stomach was in a twist by that time.
He hurried without wanting to appear to do so, out to the Receiving Dock and goddamn it to hell, shit fire, there was a stack of small packages on the dock. He had missed him!
A blue stream of obscenities flew out of his mouth, under his breath, and he kicked at the side of the fork lift. Ouch! He forgot that was his sore ankle.
Just as he was turning to hobble away to his office, a big, boxy, brown truck turned into the lot and approached the loading dock. Not taking any chances at all, Jack went outside to watch and wait.
It was him. No mistake.
The man in brown shorts ran up the ramp carrying one small package. Holding it out to Jack, he said "Musta missed this one when I came earlier. Didn't see you anywhere."
Jack took the package in trembling fingers and signed for it shakily. He thanked the man for his diligence but what he said, he wasn't even aware. Neither was brown.
Jack said "Yeah, my damn meeting ran over."
The delivery man looked at Jack, in his blue shirt, with his blue eyes sparkling, and said, "Y'wanta get a beer sometime, er sumthin?"
Jack snapped back immediately, "Tonight's good. You?"
They agreed where to meet, and both let out a repressed breath they hadn't even realized they were holding.
As he walked away, walking backwards so as not to break eye contact, the driver said "You got a name? I been calling you Blue".
Jack's lopsided grin stretched wide, "I'm Jack. And I'm betting your real name isn't Brown."
"See y'later on, Jack. I'm Ennis." Then he tripped over the concrete abutment and almost went down on his attractive back side.
End of Part 1