Gazing into the mirror, Sylvio quietly combed his black, oily mustache with his fingers. At this point in time, it was really more of a caterpillar than a piece of facial hair. Encircling his left arm was a barbed wire tattoo. After he slipped into his white wife beater, Sylvio flexed his muscles one last time and turned off the bathroom light.
Sylvio was a carnivorous Capricorn who owned and managed the local burger joint. The job provided him with enough dinero to afford a small house, but not enough to upgrade from his navy 1984 Oldsmobile. It wasn’t as if he would ever want to get rid of it anyway. In his prime, Sylvio entertained the company of many chicks in that Oldsmobile, blasting Led Zeppelin IV with all the windows down. In many ways, Sylvio was trapped in 1984. That was the year Linda left him for good.
Sylvio and Linda had known each other growing up in Southern California. They went to high school together and had their first sexual experiences together. Linda was the first girl Sylvio ever truly loved. She had tried convincing him over and over again to move to New York with her. Sylvio had other plans. He was going to start a rock ‘n roll band.
Twenty-some years later, Sylvio had settled into his position as owner of an In-N-Out Burger in Oakland. It had taken him years to attain the title, partly because he was lazy but also because of his reputation as a skeezy guy. After numerous changes in management, Sylvio was finally accepted into the hierarchy of hamburgers. The man that signed him off as official owner had a mustache, too.
The majority of Sylvio’s female employees resembled Linda in one way or another. Many of them were blonde and large-breasted. Sylvio was notorious for cornering them in hopes to “talk about their careers” and getting close enough for them to smell the leftover whiskey on his breath. The In-N-Out Burger had a high turnover rate, as any self-respecting girl would not put up with Sylvio’s behavior, which wasn’t quite harassment, but pretty darn close.
Sounds of neighborhood dogs barking in the evening could be heard every night Sylvio pulled into his driveway. He would slip out of his polyester uniform, into a pair of cheap flannel night pants, and pop the top on a Keystone Light. Sinking into his easy chair, the blue of the TV light waltzing upon the walls, he would think of her. It was a ritual to him; the only thing that could calm him down.
Some nights he would think back to the times they skipped class to smoke in the parking lot. The sun seemed to dance on Linda’s neck when she leaned back on the hood of his car and laughed. Other nights he would remember the first time they ever made love. It was at Linda’s house, upstairs in her bedroom. She was scared her father would find out. The next morning, she came chasing after Sylvio as he walked out onto her front lawn. She jumped into his arms, barefoot, the green grass staining her feet as she told him she loved him.
All this, everyday.