Hey, guess what? Fifth-wheel grease stains everything. Also, a microscopic dot of it on your finger will morph into a complete body coating in five seconds if you don’t get it off your hands. Not only does it keep the trailer hitch good and lubricated, it wards off demons with the extraordinarily musky odor it has. (This may be a fabrication, or figment of my imagination, but it really does stink.)
I know all of this because, of course, I touched it.
I have a hard time not touching things people tell me not to touch. I’ve never really received a solid diagnosis, but I think it’s probably because I’m a borderline idiot. My mind does not process the fact that I’ve probably been told not to touch it because, (A) it bites, (B) it’s poisonous, or (C) it’s going to piss George off. The minute someone tells me not to touch something, I revert to the thought that they’re simply trying to impede my personal happiness, and my resolve to touch it becomes that much stronger. Hello, I’m a four-year-old.
The first time George saw me watching raptly as he greased the fifth wheel, he knew I wanted to touch it. And he told me not to. So I didn’t. Until he wasn’t looking.
He was out doing whatever it is truckers do before they leave the lot. I had just walked up from using the bathroom. It’s not often that I even see the fifth wheel — we usually have a trailer on it — but this time it was nakie and we were bobtailing to get a load. It was my perfect chance to touch it. Just a little tap, to see if it really is as yucky as it looks.
George Parker has spidy senses. The very second I put my finger in the goo, he appeared and yelled, “What are you doing?!”
This made me jump, and when I jumped a wad of grease flung off my finger into (what I thought was) oblivion.
“Nothing. Just wanted to see how thick the grease was.”
“Don’t touch that stuff. It’s a mess and it stinks.”
“No problem. No touchie. See?”
I held my hands up for him to see, and got in the truck real quick. We took off, and he didn’t say anything else about my transgression, so I figured that was the end of it. Then I saw the grease smear on the seatbelt. And on my pants. And all over the shoulder of my shirt. In a matter of moments, I had managed to smear fifth-wheel grease all over myself, and I could not figure out where it was coming from. I had wiped my finger off really well as soon as I got in the truck, before I touched anything else.
“It’s in your hair.”
“What? What’s in my hair?”
“There’s a glob of grease in your hair. That’s where it’s coming from.”
“It’s your fault for scaring me.”
“Really? Your touching it had nothing to do with it? It’s all my fault?”
He was really irritated, and he doesn’t get really irritated very often, so I decided to change the subject. “Hey, remember the time I touched poop by accident, because I thought it was a Milk Dud?”
“You really do have a problem, you know.”
“Or what about the time I touched the scarf in the display at Macy’s and the whole mannequin head fell off? There wasn’t even a ‘no touch’ sign! It just fell apart. That was crazy!”
“Just wipe that crap out of your hair before it’s everywhere, please.”
“So it’s OK to touch it now?”
Complete, stony silence.
More icy quiet.
“Hey, is that a Milk Dud?”