Steele Drivin' Man 8/?
Date: Wednesday, May 09, 2001
Anne Rose <>

Fred's got a lot on his mind! Thanks again to my faithful beta readers, Lauryn and Linda.

Feedback appreciated - permission to archive

Steele Drivin' Man 8/?

January 30, 1983
Mileage: 6,370
Maintenance: Radiator flush, air filter replaced

This week my job description should have read "designated driver for Alcoholics Anonymous".

Tuesday night I was just getting settled in front of the tube for the Lakers game when Mr. Steele called and asked me to come down to the office. He apologized for calling so late, but since he sounded kind of worried I hustled down there. I was just in time to see a mighty strange sight - out came Mr. Steele and Mr. Michaels with Miss Holt between them, but she was horizontal. Looked like she was putting up a pretty good fight, too, because I could hear her hollering as soon as the doors opened. Mr. Steele and Mr. Michaels were both trying not to laugh, but when they set her down next to the car they couldn't stop themselves. That didn't help Miss Holt's mood. When I got close enough my nose told me what was going on - she was totally smashed. Smelled like something in the vodka family.

Mr. Steele told me we were taking Miss Holt home. They wedged her in between them and she started up again as soon as we left the curb. She went on and on about the suppression of women, and how men just used women as
stepping stones as they clawed their way to the top, and how in the end all men wanted the same thing from women. Something like that. It didn't all make sense, that's for sure. But she wouldn't quit.

By the time we got to her house she had pretty much burned herself out. Mr. Steele and Mr. Michaels kinda half carried her to the house, and I was put in charge of digging out her housekeys. Man, I hate going through a woman's purse.

We got her inside, and then Mr. Steele and Mr. Michaels started arguing about who was going to help her get into bed. Obviously neither one was going to let the other out of his sight, and they weren't giving an inch. While they fought it out, I stayed out of the way near the door. Poor Miss Holt looked too wasted to care.

When I glanced outside to check on the car I could feel two sets of eyes on me, and Mr. Steele and Mr. Michaels both had a look that scared me. Mr. Michaels grabbed my arm and told me I was going to help.

Now I've never been one to avoid going above and beyond for my employer, but I thought that this was really pushing it. Before I could open my mouth, Mr. Steele threw her arm over my shoulder, and pointed me to the bedroom. I just hoped Miss Holt was too out of it to remember anything.

Now I like Miss Holt a lot, and she's a good person to work for, but a guy's got to draw the line somewhere. I steered her to the bed and eased her down. She keeled over on to her pillow and I took her shoes off. I threw a spare blanket over her, and that was all I was going to do. I'd rather make an extra trip to the cleaners to get her suit pressed than do anything more than I did.

When I came out Mr. Steele and Mr. Michaels both gave me a big pat on the shoulder and I took them home.

The next morning I picked up Mr. Steele and took him to Miss Holt's. I had to agree with him that she was not going to be in any condition to drive herself anywhere. We went to the door and knocked, and waited quite a while for her to answer. Mr. Steele was just about to get pick the lock when she finally opened the door. If I had ever wondered what death warmed over looked like, I saw it right there.

Mr. Steele didn't seem very sympathetic. He handed me Miss Holt's car keys and asked me to bring her car around, and then I headed back to the office.

Thursday afternoon was when Mr. Steele's problems began, even though it seemed like a good plan at first. It started out with me hefting half a case of wine to the car, all the same kind. Then Mr. Steele gave me a list of names and addresses in Pacific Pallisades and Westwood and away we went. I kinda had an idea that whatever he was up to, Miss Holt didn't know about it. So when we got to the first house and he didn't quite know how to put it, I told Mr. Steele I could take care of Miss Holt. I told him I'd lie, but of course I could also just not answer the phone. He was pleased to see I'd cover for him. Hey, us guys have to watch out for each other once in a while. He told me to treat myself to an oil and grease job, but he didn't know I had just taken the limo in last week. Besides, I thought it would be best to stick around and keep an eye on things. Mr. Steele told me these women had been out with Miss Holt, so I didn't think it was a good idea to leave him alone in this neighborhood.

I sat in the car and read my 'Car and Driver.' A couple of hours later Mr. Steele stumbled down the walk and practically fell into the back seat, before I could even help him. He didn't look so great, and he stunk like a barrel from Christian Brothers. I started up, knowing we still had the list to get through. But either Mr. Steele wasn't paying attention or I hit the gas too fast, because he hit the back of the seat pretty hard. Oops.

By the time evening came Mr. Steele was seriously hammered. I had to help him into the car after the last stop. I haven't seen anyone could drink that much in a long time, at least not since the homecoming Wapatuli party at Larry's house when we were seniors. I just hoped he wasn't going to get sick back there.

I headed back to the office, and that's when Mr. Steele finally started going at it. Boy, I thought Miss Holt could rant and rave when she tied one on, but it was nothing compared to Mr. Steele once he got rolling. He complained about how women just dumped men as soon as they outlived their usefulness, and then picked up another to have handy at the next social gathering. Then he got into how women would callously toy with a man, stringing him along and then giving him the boot just when things looked promising. Then he went on about how certain women just couldn't recognize the possibilities that were right within their reach, and missed out on opportunities for romance because they were too focused. Whatever. I just listened.

He settled down by the time we got to Century Plaza, and he insisted that he could get upstairs by himself, but I at least got him in the elevator and pushed '11' for him. I don't think he could have found it on his own.

I think I'll need to stop at the drugstore tomorrow for aspirin and ice packs.
To Be Continued . . .
To Part 9