Construction workers Rick and Dave are unemployed and broke. While the repo man prepares to tow Dave’s rig, a guy in a flashy red sports car makes them an offer they can’t afford to refuse. All they have to do is participate in a specialty film that involves a lot of oil and nude wrestling. The only question is, how far are the guys willing to go to secure the cash they need for a fresh start?
I reached into the pocket of my jeans and felt the edges of the crumpled envelope. I had memorized its contents. If I didn’t come up with three hundred and fifty dollars in back payments by noon today, my truck was history. In exactly one week, my apartment was going to be the same story. I was out of work and flat broke. The construction firm I worked for had gone bankrupt, throwing more than a hundred guys out on the streets. I’d pounded the pavement for months with no results. My benefits had run out and the only reason I’d stopped by the unemployment office today to check for jobs was force of habit.
I looked up and saw a compactly built man with ice-blue eyes and an unruly mop of copper-colored hair. It was Rick Weaver. Rick, who’d been the foreman of my construction crew, got laid off when I did. I hadn’t seen him around for several months and just figured he had left town. He was a cool guy. He always treated his crew like rational adults, which was a hell of a lot more than I could say for some of my former bosses. Rick was tough as nails, but he was fair. He listened when a man had a suggestion to make about getting the job done more effectively. If the idea was a good one, he always made sure the guy who’d made the suggestion got the credit for it.
“Hey, Rick. How’s it going?” I made an effort to smile, but my heart just wasn’t in it.
“Man, you look low.” He made his way through the crowded room until he stood at my side.
I slouched down a little to look him in the eye. Rick’s head only came up to my shoulder. I don’t know what it was about him, but I always had the feeling that I was too tall rather than thinking he was too short. Maybe it was the force of his personality, or the steady intensity of his gaze. Whatever the case, he was a force to be reckoned with.
“To be honest, I’ve been better. How about you?”
“I’m not doing so well myself. I can’t find work in this damned town. Hell, I can’t even land a job flipping burgers. I didn’t have all that much saved up and I burned through it quick enough. I’ve been sleeping on my sister’s couch for the past two months. I signed my damned truck over to my brother-in-law and he’s making the payments. At least I didn’t lose it.”
“Lucky you.” Without even giving it a second thought, I took a deep breath and blurted out the bad news about my truck. I hadn’t told another soul because I was ashamed about it. I guess I trusted Rick to understand. He listened attentively, his piercing blue-eyed gaze never wavering.
“That’s the pits,” he agreed when I finished my tale of woe. “Believe me, if I had the cash I’d loan it to you in a heartbeat.”
“Listen, man, I wasn’t asking for a handout.” My face got hot.
“I said a loan, Dave, not a handout.” He gripped my shoulder and the heat began to spread beyond my face. When he shifted his hand and his fingers grazed the nape of my neck, I shivered. I was flustered, but I made no effort to break the contact between us. “Have you tried selling your truck? Hell, anything would be better than letting the repo man have it.”