/Where you at/
Rolling his eyes in irritation at someone texting him while he was driving Bruce Bixby spared his phone one last glance while he waited for the light to turn green before turning into a parking lot to send his reply. /Wall-mart... you? And why?/
What is a beginning other than the start of a sequence of events Chapter 1
Knowing that his niece was probably at work and not going to reply for a bit the somewhat youthful looking thirty seven year old slipped out from behind the seat of his truck and started making his way into the superstore to do some much needed shopping only to stop short as his phone chirped. Glancing down at the screen he shook his head somewhat unable to comprehend the point of continuous texting when a call could make things ever so much clearer in half the time. Slipping his keys into his jeans he fired off a lengthy reply for a text, thankful that the phone seemed smart enough to help him type out the full words and replied, /I'm back now, heading into wall mart to get some stuff for camping and bug bombs to set off in the camper tonight so it's ready by Friday./
Unmoving from his spot near his tailgate he added, / also running to tractor supply for a new hitch with 4 in drop./
/was seeing if you wanted to go with to pick up Belle pick up at 900 I get off at 5 want mez/
Starting forward in a slow amble along the isle of parked cars Bruce formulated his reply, /Yeah... I'll get Mexican with you and then drive you down to pick up your aunty Chumpette./
/I can drive/
/Naw... I'll drive the truck has more room in case you want to get some sleep unless you don't have to work tomorrow morning. It'll probably be around midnight or so by the time we get back./
/tks didn't think of that./
/fyi the ram. Semi stays parked./
Walking through the doors and grabbing a cart Bruce automatically spared a mom and daughter a polite smile and nod before sending his last reply, /what else are creepy uncles for? Btw 530 at the usual then?/ figuring that reading her next reply could wait until after he was done shopping Bruce leisurely strolled over towards the camping section on a mission of relaxed importance, Somewhere in the back there was a hammock with his name on it... Well, it would once he picked up a new sharpie.
“You know, your grandmother asked me if you were going to make some pot brownies this year. Apparently she has been jonsening for them since last year.” Bruce stated with a casual grin as he placed his truck into drive, “And how's my dog?” he added while reaching over to grab a squeak toy from beside his seat only to squeak it once and toss it in the back.
“Okay first off, My dog... Stay in the back seat June... And since when does grandma like pot?” Noticing that June had climbed onto the middle section between the seats and dropped her toy on the drivers lap she added, “No... No playing, back seat June...” Turning her attention back to the driver who doubled as her uncle she continued, “You shouldn't play with her when driving.”
Shrugging off the chastisement Bruce replied after tossing the toy into the back once more, “It's not so much playing as it is keeping her off of my lap, she's not a little puppy anymore and it can get a bit dicey when I have the window down and she wants to lunge at passing trucks. And not my grandmother, your grandmother aka my mother wants you to bake some pot brownies.”
“Well she should have told me that last week, it's too late for me to make them now. Besides my dad has been begging me for more weed and I'm nearly out... And another thing... No one ever gives me any money for it... My dad just say's he'll get me back later but it's later and he never has any money... good weed is hard to get and costs money I can't be supplying every damm body...”
Wincing a bit at the somewhat shrill put out sound his niece made whenever she got irritated with someone Bruce replied, “Well your cousin Flint will be there and he's usually well stocked, not to mention Brendan, I'm just hoping that there's no shrooms this year cause I really don't want to try to find a new door for my camper, it's too vintage and I still haven't found a new screen from when flint ripped the screen door off the hinges during his bad trip...” Pausing slightly as he pulled up to a stop sign and looked both ways he added, “You know my mom can probably get her own pot with as much as what she's been trying to sell me on it throughout my life, she has to have a supplier... Damm hippie... You know what she told me?”
“No... Back seat June...” Montana replied as she stuck her arm across the seats to prevent her dog access to the front.
“Awe come on, she's fine there in the middle... She told me that I should march right down to the VA and ask them for a script to help me with my pain, its not even legal here yet... And that's besides the point of; I'd lose my job.”
“Well it does help with chronic pain.”
“Perhaps, but I like my job and the VA is trying to help with the pain, I just need to wait until next month to try out the heated acupuncture thing they told me about.”
“What's the appointment tomorrow morning for then?”
“Sit still beak...” Bruce commanded as he stalled his reply by scratching June behind her ears, “Well, it's for pain management, of a sort anyway, It's with mental health, chronic pain can have detrimental effects on the mind and with me unable to take anything stronger than naproxen... Well lidocaine and icy hot somewhat help but it wears off way too fast...”
“You should just get another job, my work is hiring. And how many times do I have to tell you she doesn't have a beak, her name is June...”
“Potato... Tomato...” Bruce replied casually knowing full well that he was misusing and butchering the phrase, “One I like my job, the pay is good, I get to see the country and it relaxes me. Two I'm not going to switch to barely above minimum wage unless the VA tells me I can't drive trucks anymore.”
“Just saying, plus if you did come work for my work you'd be able to spend more time with June and she really misses you...”
Shooting a half grin over to his niece Bruce replied, “Well you know my dear sweet little Montana... Them Bitches all luvs me. I'm not your creepy uncle for nothing you know...”
“No... You're my creepy uncle because you won't let me introduce you as my funny uncle...”
Sniffing in fake offense the elder of the two fired back, “How many times do I have to tell you, a funny uncle has social stigma attached to it and actually loosely means creepy uncle but creepy uncle has no stigma to it and I decided that it means actually funny uncle and not funny in that weird way that gives little girls nightmares.”
Slightly irritated with her Uncle, Montana changed the subject back to an earlier topic, “So how's mental health going to help with pain if you can't take any meds?”
Sighing because he did want to talk about his upcoming appointment but at the same time didn't really want to go into his exact reasoning he replied with, “Well, it's like I said, over long periods of time pain has detrimental effects on the mind and that combined with the half dozen failed relationships this past year that only lasted a little more than a month but in all actuality lasted maybe six days... Well I suppose it's a kinda like a midlife crisis I'm going through right now... Well except for the fact that i'm not quite middle aged...” Not wanting to end with a somber note Bill added, “They do say that 40 is the new 20... and I haven't dated anyone over 29 yet... though to be fair I've only been on a little over a dozen dates since I turned thirty and before last year the last time I went out was when I was 31 and it was a blind date set up by Flint, and that ended badly after my date and I got into an argument about strippers.”
Staring incredulously at her uncle, Montana shook her head, she knew her uncle well enough to know that he was trying to deflect her away from something serious with something ridiculous but likely completely true, “Okay, I sort of want to know about that but I think I'd rather talk about your so called mid life crisis... It can't be that bad, At least you're dating again and I'm sorry about my friend, I didn't think her drinking would be that big of an issue.”
Bruce shrugged as he finally finished the first leg of the trip by pulling onto the interstate, “It wouldn't have been, but I only get a limited time off, she could get piss drunk any day.. She was just too immature, it's what happens when you date younger women apparently. Well, plus she kind of pissed me off by telling me I couldn't come over until she cleaned her apartment two months ago and yet made no effort to clean it up knowing that I would be back in town and consequently we couldn't spend any time together unless I wanted to hold her hair to keep her from puking all over it while she was drunk at the bar.”
“Right...” Montana nodded in agreement somewhat annoyed with her friend for the way she blew off her favorite uncle, “Well, I suppose fixing you up with a drinker wouldn't work that well anyway since you don't really drink anymore. Next time...”
“Actually, I don't really want to be with anyone right now... Montana, I think I need to get myself sorted out and just focus on that.. It's not that I don't appreciate the effort but I'm sort of really struggling with things right now and a relationship or even dating isn't probably all that great of an idea.” Bruce cut in slowly as he considered actually broaching the real subject with his
niece, he knew that she was an adult but at the same time he felt extremely guilty for even considering talking about it to her. She was his niece, 16 years younger than him and he really didn't want her to think any less of him.
“Come on Uncle, we still have two hours to go before we get to the airport, you can talk to me...” Sighing as she considered that he just didn't want to burden her with what ever mental issues he was having Montana added, “You give me advice and help me out all the time, I won't judge you...”
“Montana...” Bruce started somewhat tiredly, “Remember a few years back when you worked at penny's and that guy came in with the breasts? You Judged him, I remember you coming back to your moms and poking fun of him for quite awhile.”
“That's not fair...” Montana pouted slightly while shuffling her arms across her chest, “He was wearing a business suit and had bigger boobs than me...” the young woman claimed while motioning to her own chest and continuing, “I've grown a lot since then and with my current Job I can't afford to be like that anymore... Besides you're family... I guarantee that I've seen weirder...”
Bruce sighed again as he set cruise to 70 mph, “Perhaps... But I wouldn't know... I'm your uncle and it would be super actually creepy to make statements about your boobs.”
“You know what I meant.” Montana huffed with a roll of her eyes.
“Yeah I know...” Bruce commented with a weary sigh, he did want to talk about it but was somewhat terrified that his niece would start narking him out to other relatives like her own mother who in turn would spread it around like wildfire while taking creative license to add whatever she wanted to the story to spice it up. “If I told you... You would not be able to talk to anyone about it, well except for my friend Mandy but you're not fb friends with her, she's the only one that knows. Normally that'd be enough for me but she lives over 300 miles away and it's rare that I have time to stop in for a visit. And it is absolutely imperative that no one not even your mother finds out until i tell them... Hell your mom told my grandma that I did gay porn in the army and blew on the money on cocaine and despite knowing your mothers tenacity for falsifying stories I still can't get her to believe that I never did anything of the sort. I'm not Gay, never have been, don't like cock... Hell I barely touch myself...” Sparing a glance over at his shell shocked niece he added, “Okay so TMI on that last bit... I was just joking about that... Well perhaps...”
“Right...” Montana drawled out before lightly pushing June into the back, “I won't tell anyone, I promise but I really don't see what could be that big of an issue, I mean you talk about anything given a chance.”
“Well true...” Bruce considered while he gently increased speed to 73 mph to pass a slower moving Yukon, “But I hold the stuff that really bothers me back, If I'm open about something it means that more than likely I'm over it.”
“Okay so what are you not over?” Montana asked as she finally relented and allowed June to climb onto her lap.
“Well...” Bruce started as he grasped for a means to get over the initial awkward hurdle, “Remember back a few years ago when you said I wasn't manly enough to date your former boss, that she needed someone like a lumber jack?”
Noting her confusion Bruce steeled himself and softly asked, “Do you think I'm masculine?”
“Well yeah... I mean, you joke around a lot, but the stories you tell.” Montana stated in confusion unsure as to where the conversation was going.
Lighting up a cigarette that he had been fidgeting with for the past half Hour the confused and uncertain man tried again, “So I wasn't masculine enough to date your friend but was manly enough for her younger sister?”
“I'm really not sure what you're trying to get at... And that was different...” Montana started before continuing. “You're masculine though... You drive trucks, you have a mustache and goatee, wear sleeveless shirts and have dated 3 women I knew who much to my horror shared a bit too much about you...”
“Well it's nice to know my hard work was appreciated somewhat... though I suppose not so much for you, I guess that's a drawback of living in a small town...” Bruce considered now somewhat at ease by the fact that his niece was slightly uncomfortable by her own admission. “Sexuality I hear actually is not really that relevant to this, I like the ladies and I'm confident in that like... I just don't like myself... I look in the mirror and I can't stand what I see... Never have been able to... I had hoped that it would just go away if I ignored it... But it seems I can only ignore x amount of things at a time before my control starts faltering. So combine that with the increased pain, the stress from trying to buy a house, my failures with personal relationships and my worsening eyesight that might cost me my job next year and well... It's kind of more than that though...” Ashing his cigarette into the but can and resetting the cruise down to 69 Bruce added, “Oh and that's incredibly sexist, women can drive trucks too... Some of them are even kinda hot... Well as long as they've showered recently, last month I had to go four days just using baby wipes to keep clean because of where I was at and the schedule I had to run...”
“Uncle what are you talking about?” Montana asked still unsure of where the conversation was actually going.
“I'm not sure... It's complicated... But part of it...” Pausing in his halting explanation Bruce tossed on his turn signal and switched lanes to avoid a chunk of semi tire that had torn off and left on the road, “You... Look, it's like there's something missing... My thought's and my reactions to emotional crap are off...”
“Off? How so?”
Shrugging as he put out one cigarette to light another Bruce attempted to explain with, “Well, when my dad was thought to be on his death bed... I didn't really feel bad about it... Hell I actually had to sit down and think depressing thoughts before I called into work so I'd actually sound upset when asking to be routed to Chicago.”
Rolling down her own window partially to light up a cigarette of her own Montana asked, “Yeah but that was a year and a half ago... So why now?”
“Well, the failed relationships come into play there, I was just trying to act normal for them though...”
“So, you think you're acting? I think there's a lot more to you than what you actually want people to realize but even with that skank last year I really don't think you were acting...” Montana stated as she considered the craptastic bitch that her uncle had pretty much taken in off the street because she had done something nice for him once only for her to completely take advantage and then cheat on her uncle while he was out on the road.
“Okay... Let's try this...” Bruce started, “If you can promise me that you can keep an open mind, and that you will not tell anyone what I tell you, then I will tell you... Take in mind that if the wrong person finds out, it could very well alienate me from those that I care about...” Taking in a deep breath and smoking down the cigarette nearly to the butt he added, “This isn't a game... I'm not into all the drama like your mom... And the only reason I'm telling you this is because I want your help...”
Montana sat silently for a few moments while idly scratching behind Junes ears and watching her uncle before asking, “Okay... I won't tell anyone and I'll help you out... Even if it's robbing a bank...”
Signing as put his cigarette into the Butt can in the middle console Bruce lit another and replied, “Good to know but I think we should build up by knocking off liquor stores first... Then again repeat offenders get caught, a blind run out of the blue would probably work best...”
Noting that her uncle had been chain smoking since they had pulled on the interstate Montana became concerned. She knew he smoked a lot, usually when he was in a lot of pain but he hadn't cracked or readjusted his hands, neck, back or shoulders once in the past thirty minutes which meant that he was actually really stressed out about whatever it was that he wanted her help with. Momentarily she was onslaught with a brief bout of guilt as she considered that she rarely had to even consider asking for his help, if he knew something was wrong he always did his best to help her out. Memories of her own first adult Christmas party thrown by her this past year came to mind when one of her guests had stolen 200 dollars in gifts and 40 in pot and without asking he had just handed her money and brought her to the store to replace the items taken.
“Naturally you're going to have to grow out a mustache... It shouldn't be all that difficult, your mom used to rock the best damm stash this side of the Potomac... Tom Selleck didn't have shit on hers... It's even rumored that he shaved his after seeing your moms...”
“What?” Montana asked while subconsciously shooting her left hand up to her upper lip, “My mom never had a mustache...”
“I beg to differ...” Bruce stated causally his earlier nervousness having taken a backseat for the moment as he participated in one of his favorite hobbies, i.e. good naturally harassing his niece, “I do believe that I have photographic evidence to state the contrary...”
“That family photo on your wall that YOU drew curly mustaches on everyone doesn't count.” Montana fired back with a roll of her eyes.
“It is a photo... and in it your mother does have an impressive mustache... Am I wrong?”
“Well then case closed...” Bruce interjected cutting off his nieces reply by adding, “Oh and I've been a closet cross dresser for years and am thinking that it might be more of that so that's why I went to get some mental help and also why I want your help in that hopefully you can assist me in some things... Oh and by thinking I actually mean that I'm fairly sure it is more than that... a lot more... More enough for me to blow some money on hormones that were sitting in my PO box when I got back but now reside somewhere in the sewer... and it's not like this is a new thing, just the first time I actually clicked buy.”
“Wait... What? But...” Montana struggled as she tried to mentally digest the nonchalant bomb that had just been dropped in her lap.
Using the controls on the wheel to slow the cruise setting down in preparation for the upcoming interstate merge they were approaching Bruce shrugged, “I need to figure this out... It's been eating away at me since before you were born and with everything that has been building up I'm not sure I can or want to ignore it anymore. I'm tired of being miserable all the time, I'm tired of being alone... How can I expect a woman to like me for me when I can barely tolerate me on a good day... So I need help... I need to do some major self exploration but unfortunately things like make up and social interaction are a bit beyond me. Mandy lives too far away and well has kids and doesn't go out at all... So as pathetic as what all this seems... Your Uncle need”s your help to figure out who he actually is...”
The ride turned silent for several moments, the only sound coming from the muted xm radio playing softly in the background. Starting to feel uncomfortable with his own revelation to his niece whom he had pretty much taken care of for years before her mother married her husband Bruce started to fiddle with the station settings. It was something to keep him occupied and since buying the truck he really hadn't set any of the presets as it had been tuned to the Lithium station when he bought it and liking that type of music he really hadn't seen a need to change it. Now though he was nervous, and was attempting to not light up again right at that moment.
Deciding to break the silence Montana asked softly, “So you think you might be... what a woman?”
Frowning as he came across a song her had never heard by the singer from Halestorm Bruce turned up the volume momentarily seeming to ignore his niece before picking up his phone and opening up google play to download the song.
Reaching over and turning the radio down Montana tried again, “So...”
“I heard you... Sorry I like that song and wanted to buy it before I forgot about it...” Bruce explained before frowning, “I think so... I dunno... But now that I am actually making good money... Well I'v had these feelings for years you know... Just didn't have the funds to go very far... Now though I can indulge myself and well...” Pausing slightly as he considered what he had just confessed the confused man clarified, “I flushed the pills the moment I got back into town but made the appointment with mental health two days after I ordered them... After all as your great Uncle would say if you're going to do something do it right...”
“Yeah... But maybe you're just really stressed or something...”
“Perhaps... But your great Uncle did say that... Of course he was talking about how only pussies used a pocket knife to slash tires and that if you were going to slash a tire you use a ice pick and wedge that bitch into the side wall and rip the shit out of it... Course he was drunk and stoned at the time but it's still sound advice.”
“That's not what I was talking about.” Montana huffed while sending a irritated glare at her uncle.
“I am really stressed... have been for years, this is just something that I do my best to ignore.” Bruce claimed as he slowed down to the speed limit after noticing a cop on the side of the road up ahead, “Think about some of the things I say for a min, i've been trying to feel out people for years on how'd they react. With you and Chumpette when we're just going to hang out somewhere what do I say?”
“Let's go bra shopping...” Montana answered as realization started to dawn upon her about the things her uncle would say, “I always thought that you were just teasing like you normally do... But now a lot of little things are actually starting to make more sense... the whole thing about the electrolysis you were considering... Why you replied that if you ever had kids that I could be their honorary uncle after I said that I would never be anyone's aunt or uncle... The subtle and sometimes blatantly obvious questions about my lesbian friends...”
“Heavy huh...” Bruce claimed after a moment of silence, “If you're still willing to help, i'll try to explain what i'd like help with.”
“Okay... I'll help, it could be fun though... there are a few clubs that I have been wanting to try out but don't have anyone who wants to drive to them...” Montana replied as she pushed June back into the back.
“I suppose... But baby steps... Hell up until this point I haven't even dressed in front of June... or Moe when I was cat sitting. Hell I never even took it that far, I just draw the blinds and curtains and cut out all the lights. No make up, didn't have shoes till two years ago, just bought a crappy wig that I cant stand two months ago... I've bought tons of cloths though, a lot don't fit... others don't fit because of my build so I had a corset... Actually I don't have that many real clothes, I had thought I just had a fetish for awhile and stocked up on lingerie... a crap ton... probably a bigger collection than most women... But I dunno, it was un-fulfilling I guess... it's hard to explain... Anyway... Awkward... Bet you never thought that you'd be having this type of talk with an uncle...”
So this is technically chapter 1 the previous chapter was intended to show Bruce's actual state of mind vs this chapter shows how he actually relates to others.
My intent is for one chapter a week but that will vary as I don't always have stable internet.
Also I don't have a pre reader and am not sure at the moment if I want one or not, I do know from experience that they do help but at this moment I'm not sure how far I want to take this.
The next chapter will introduce Chumpette into the story as well as a few others and will not be as dialogue heavy,
Finally thank you for reading.
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