In memory to an awesome brother and a tribute to one of my best friends.
I stand by your bedside holding your hand. You had always said I would be the one standing by your side when this day came. You even said I would be the one holding your hand. Well here we are and yes I’m holding your hand. I look at your short stocky fingers limp within mine and then my gaze goes to your face.
Your face, even though it has been ravage by the disease, still holds its charm. I wish I could look into your eyes one more time. If only you would open them and I could see that sparkle that had always been there. I could not imagine it not being present even as you came to the end of your journey. What I wouldn’t give to see that Elvis quirk on your lip when you smiled. I used to tease you about how women would chase you. A short stocky man with a badly balding head and still women flocked to you. I would give you such a hard time over that but I have to tell you, I did get it. You were capable of charming a bird out of a tree and you had a magnetism few had. Yes I got it, I simply would never tell you that because your head was big enough.
I can’t help but think about all the years we shared. Our dad passing away when we were so young and you trying to take his place. Oh how I hated you at times. You were determined you were going to play dad and I was just as determined that you weren’t. We fought like cats and dogs. You poor thing, you carried my marks on you more than once when we locked horns. Well if nothing else big brother you taught me to stand my ground and defend myself so that one is on you. Never once though did you ever lay a hand on me in anger. Well there was that one time you turned me over your knee and I totally deserved it. Funny thing was you ended up crying harder than me over that one. Anyway all I can say about all of it is, you must have had the patience of Job.
When we got older we still fought on occasion but never as we had when we were young. We mellowed with age I guess. We also became more than brother and sister. We became friends. We shared our darkest secrets with one another. Oh you were still a pain in my side but I wouldn’t change that. Some of my very best arguments I had with you. You were so funny when you got mad. Absolute reasoning wasn’t your strong suit. I loved the way you would huff and puff and draw up your shoulders when you stomped away. Even now the image makes me smile.
How long have I stood here? I don’t even know. I look at your face for some sign that you are still inside that body and there is nothing. Oh you still breathe but it is a slow, shallow, labored breathing. There’s no movement in your facial muscles, no twitching of your eyelids. I wonder if you know I’m even here.
Suddenly your mouth opens and I think you’re are about to say something but that isn’t it. It has come. The end. You take your last final breath and everything is still.
For some reason I look up and you’re standing there facing the door. You cock your head toward me and it drops a little the way you always did when you were up to something. I see you standing there in your uniform and you’re smiling at me. I can see through you but there is that smile and those big blue eyes with all their sparkle. I see you. Suddenly you straighten up as if you have come to attention and turn your face back toward the door. For some reason you light up and then as if you take a deep breath and an even bigger smile crosses your face, you exit the room.
I walked out of your room and out onto a large upper veranda there at the hospital and as soon as I’m out the door I fall to my knees screaming your name. I cry until there is nothing left inside me. Not even when our parents died did I cry like this. You are gone and nothing will ever take your place my brother, my friend.
It has been over five years since that day and every now and again in the quiet moments I will catch the scent of your cologne. You are with me still.
The interstate is a place of unknown stories. There are millions of them. People coming and going, passing one another as they speed past a car with who knows what going on in the next vehicle. Then sometimes they aren't passing you, they are on your tail and that's where they're staying.
Have you ever sat somewhere and watched the vehicles pass by? Did you wonder about the people in those speeding machine and what their stories might be? Some are on vacation, others trying to get to family members after a loved one has died, for some it might be business requiring a long drive to get to a meeting. There would be those who had jumped and run to get to someone in trouble or maybe they were just taking a long drive to the next town to shop or see a doctor of one type or the other. Some would make their way to their destination safely but a few wouldn’t. Regardless, they drove. Even at night an interstate can be a busy place.
The girl sat in the car in the far corner of the visitor’s center. The nondescript black vehicle blending into the background. She had parked under the cover of a thick stand of trees that on this moonless night enveloped the car in a swath of impenetrable darkness.
The girl watched the vehicles speed past one after the other, some going one way others going in the opposite direction. She didn’t wonder about those people. It wasn’t that she wasn’t a thinker but about most of the people on the road tonight, she simply didn’t care. No, she was interested in only one. The order on this one had come down from the very top, well the top may not be the right way to put it but when the boss told you to get it done, you got it done. Failing was tantamount to self-destruction and when you self-destructed in her business saying it wasn’t pretty didn’t begin to cover it.
Now most would ask how she could possibly pick out one vehicle from another with them going this fast and especially this late at night. The girl was equipped with a nice little sensor that would alert her when the target got within a certain range. She didn’t know what this one had done but he had made the wrong person take notice of him. Whatever it was, it was enough to get him crossways with someone you didn’t even want to give cause to raise an eyebrow. This thought actually made the girl smile a bit.
The little sensor delivered its first indication that the target had come into range. The girl had no problem figuring out how long it would take this poor bastard to be in her sights so she took her time starting the car. The moment the engine turned over the car seemed to slightly shimmer. Slowly she turned the car toward the entrance ramp to the interstate.
The sensor was now indicating that the target was almost up even with her so the car started pulling forward. Again the car seemed to shimmer a bit but unless someone was paying really close attention they wouldn’t have noticed. When the target passed her as she entered the interstate her sensor was beeping so fast the girl felt like it might explode. Immediately she accelerate. Suddenly the car really began to glisten and sparkle as it started from the front bumper the color began changing. The shining deep red that replaced the flat black seemed to caress the car as it spread from front to back. The color wasn’t the only thing to change. Where before it had appeared almost boxy now as the red supplanted the black the car took on the appearance of a fine sleek racing machine that any race car driver would sell their souls for. The top had seemed to peel back as quickly as the red moved along the body of the car. By the time she was only a few car lengths behind the target the car bore no resemblance to what it had before.
As the top detached from the car the girl’s raven hair took flight. Her long dark tresses whirled about her head and face like ebony snakes in a macabre dance trying to escape the confines of the girl’s scalp. The wind played with the black strands erratically blowing them one moment in long streamers flying out behind her and the next whipping them around to first slap then cover her face in silk like ribbons. The girl seemed to be unbothered by the gyrations that would have caused others to have taken action to keep the silken strands at bay. To them the assault would have been a distraction while they drove. The girl never removed her hand from the steering wheel to try and stop the attack to her face. She was solely concentrating on her target. The girl smiled for the second time that night.
After reaching one hundred and twenty miles an hour the girl maintained the exact distance between her and the target for several miles before he evidently noticed he was being followed. He must have pushed harder on the gas pedal of his car because it seemed to jump slightly and began to pull away. She never took her glowing eyes off the target. She allowed her speed to match the man in front of her never allowing the distance to grow between them.
The smile on her face became more obvious. If someone had been asked to give a description of her they might have described her as beautiful, ethereal, even magical maybe. That of course would have been the first impression. The glowing red eyes and the three inch black talons that adorned the ends of her long slender pale fingers would have made them have to reconsider their original imagery of her.
Her almost snow white skin would have been enough to make you look twice but paired with the long raven tresses and the ruby red of her lips against that skin was both captivating and spine-chilling. When her eyes weren’t glowing red they took on a color so dark that it was hard to determine their actual color. You certainly didn’t want to look too deeply into those eyes although it would seem you were almost compelled to do just that. Many a person had died gazing into those dark, endless pools of night.
The smile on those ruby red lips widened as she watched the car in front of her shudder. It had tried to generate another burst of speed but the effort was more than even the high performance car the target was driving could handle. It had put out just about all it had. The girl saw the overturned semi up ahead blocking the entire westbound portion of the interstate. The target must have been concentrating on what was behind him instead of in front and he didn’t see it in time. At the speed they were traveling he never had a chance to take any action to change his forward momentum or speed. The girl did have time to notice the people standing on the side of the road taking in the mangled mess that lay dead ahead. With this entire side of the interstate blocked and everyone stuck where they were the rubberneckers had gotten out of their cars to take in the show. These people had no idea they were about to catch the second act up close and personal.
The target hit the undercarriage of the semi with such force it caused a violent explosion. The results of that blast sent blazing pieces of his car flying in every direction. One flaming sharp fragment flew through the air hitting one of the bystanders in the neck removing his head from his shoulders cauterizing the severed veins and arteries as it went. The carnage didn’t stop there. The man’s head flew from his shoulders bashing his wife in the side of her head so hard that it split open spraying other bystanders next to her with her blood and brains.
When the girl saw the collateral damage of her handy work her only response was, “oops” as she continued to travel in the same direction as the target had. She didn’t however hit the undercarriage of the semi, she didn’t burst into flames, and she didn’t even shatter into flaming piece. She slipped through the obstruction like it were no more than warm butter. Once on the other side of the wreckage, that she had helped add to, she brought her vehicle to a stop in the center of the west bound lanes of the interstate. No one took notice of her or the miraculous feat she had just pulled off. No, no one saw her at all.
The girl stepped from the car and stood in the center of the road as she watched a figure coming toward her from the opposite direction she had come. Her only thought was this could be bad as she watched the ground smolder and burn with each step the dark cloaked figure took. The noxious smoke and fumes that emanated from the figure would have choked and killed the people now running and screaming around the original wreckage if they had been exposed to it. When the figure was only a couple of feet away from the girl it stopped and remained silent for a moment.
“Well my dear I see you have created a scene of total chaos.” The figure finally said in a deep sensual voice.
“Yes Ma’am I did.” The girl didn’t bother to apologize, she knew better.
“Nice.” The figure let out a deep chuckle.
The girl kept any response she might have made to herself.
“Well I have something I want to retrieve. He really shouldn’t have pissed me off.” The figure continued to hover over the girl.
“Yes Ma’am.” The girl knew to keep her mouth shut as much as possible and to keep her mind clear.
“Good job Snow White.”
“Thank you Satan.” Snow White watched as her boss walked toward the mangled smoldering mess in the middle of the highway to remove the last remnants of what was left of the target, his soul.
Windy sat on the edge of the pier that ran out over the lake that bordered the property of her parent’s home. She had cried all the tears she had and now sat there looking at the moon’s reflection on the surface of the lake. The small waves being stirred up by the evening breeze caused the moon’s reflection to appear as if it danced across the water. Tonight the waves seemed tamed compared to what they usually were. Of course the little pier she sat on was set in a little cove from the main body of water. Out there on the main body the waves would be much larger.
Windy couldn’t imagine life getting any worse than it was at this moment. The man she loved, the one she had been engaged to for six months and been in a relationship with for the past two years had called her to tell her that he was ending the engagement. The ass hole hadn’t even been man enough to come home and face her. He had met someone else while traveling with his job and decided that he was in love with this other woman. Of course he had offered her all his regrets and apologies and ending with the bullshit statement that he was sure she would find someone worthy of her.
Really, worthy of her. If she was such an all fire prize why was he dumping her for someone else? How are you in love with someone one moment and the next, oops I made a mistake and I love this person over here? Windy felt the anger build inside as she sat there on that pier.
Below the surface something moved with silent and deadly intent. It too was angry but for different reasons. It had been asleep for a long time but something had called it. Something had needed its services and it didn’t like having to do the biding of another. It was old, as old as time itself. It would rest for hundreds of years and then wake up and bring havoc only to return to its’ long slumbers when it was bored with the creatures that walked the face of the earth The last time he had been called it had been about a hundred years ago He had not had enough rest. Now the same one had called him back but she no longer breathed air. She had ceased to breathe just before he had returned to his slumber or he would have ended up taking her himself. He had been denied that satisfaction when she had called him before but he would not be denied this time. He would claim her when this was finished. He didn’t know how she could again be calling him but she was and this time it would be different.
He was distracted by the two tiny female feet dangling in the water. They were so small and delicate he thought. It made him wonder what the person was like that those tiny little appendages were attached to. He would find out.
Windy continued to stare out at the water. The silence of the night was broken by the sound of a fairly large motor boat that cut through the water toward the middle of the lake. The sound seemed to irritate her more than it should have especially when she heard the trailing sound of a woman’s laughter that has been caught on the breeze and blown in her direction. She couldn’t have told you whether it was the sound of the boat that had disturbed her self-absorbed misery or the fact that it was a woman laughing but right now she hated nearly every one of her sex outside of her mother and her sister.
She would have to start sending out notifications tomorrow regarding the wedding being called off. It was in three months. No it was supposed to have been in three months but now it wouldn’t happen at all. Mindy closed her eyes and tried to shut out the thought of the embarrassment that came with cancelling a wedding. What was she supposed to say? I was engaged to a low life son-of-a bitch who started cheating on me then dumped me for his whore? She actually thought of putting exactly that on the cancellations especially on the ones that would go to his family. Wait, why should she be sending anything to his side. Shouldn’t that be his job? She thought about the money she and her parents were already out over this and she knew one thing she was going to do. She damn sure was sending that bastard a bill for the whole thing and if she had to she would sue his sorry ass.
He slipped under the pier and stopping just short of the tiny feet. He watched them as they seemed to become more agitated. He watched as the surface became choppier from something that had disturbed the surface. He thought the tiny feet would be pulled up out of the water but they remained as they were, kicking lazily in front of him.
He reached out a clawed digit and gently tapped one of the feet. It stopped its movement for a moment but didn’t withdraw from the water. If he had been able to smile he would have. People didn’t pay attention to warnings. He thought about repeating his action but decided he didn’t want to take a chance of the feet being removed. Oh he could take the person attached to those feet on land as easily as he could take her from where she was but he really didn’t like to leave the cover of his watery world. No it was much more fun to watch the look of surprise take over their faces under the surface rather than above. When you took them from above it usually involved them opening their mouths and harsh loud racket would escape from their air-breathing lips. No when you pulled them to you underneath then yes their mouths still opened widely but it only resulted in them expelling blast of bubbles as they drew air into their lungs. They really started fighting then and he liked it when they fought. It was so much more satisfying.
Mindy had become still when she felt something brush up against her foot. She knew there could be anything down there in the dark but she felt sure that it had been nothing more than a curious fish that had gotten too close to her. Her foot had probably scared it more than it had scared her. Her feet went back to their gentle movement as she continued to think of ways to hurt that ass the way he had hurt her.
All thoughts of the cheating fiancé were swept from her mind when she felt something take hold of her ankle. She was taken so much by surprise that she didn’t even scream when she felt something tug hard at her ankle pulling her to the very edge of the pier. She was fighting so hard to keep from falling into the water that her brain didn’t even think to scream as the second hard tug came and she was pulled into the water and jerked underneath. When she opened her eyes and saw the thing staring at her from eyes that glowed green with slits of black down the center it was the first time she thought of screaming. It was too late for it to bring help. Her voice was muffled by the water that she was now completely submerged in. The last thing she saw was this horrible thing open its mouth just before it pulled her toward that gaping maw and shove her head and shoulders inside. The last thing she felt was when its long sharp teeth clammed down on her severing her upper body from the rest.
He like all living things had started out small but had grown over the millenniums and continued to grow. He had no name really but he had been called many things by the humans. Once he had lived in the sea but he had been trapped in this body of water long before the first human was ever born. Some humans had learned how to call on him and get him to do their bidding but they always paid for their arrogance. This time this one would be no different. Of course his taking a member of her blood would serve till then and it would leave her thinking about what she had done.
He finished off the tasty little morsel before he went back to the area of the lake he reclined in. He had been around since the beginning of time. He knew there would be others before he caught the one who had called him. He would take her but he would feast on the bodies of others until that time.
An excerpt from Nightmare Express
The man sat against the trunk of the dried up disfigured tree. The gnarled interwoven branches seemed to be drawing in on themselves while also trying to reach out and ensnare you in its life sucking embrace. The dead tree stood at the peak of a sandy ridge. From where the man sat he could look out over the wasted barren land. What vegetation, or what passed as vegetation here, was like the tree he now leaned against. Everything was dark and foreboding showing no sign of life.
Overhead the sky was filled with angry deep purple and grey clouds that appeared to be at war with one another. Each one shot out steaks of lightening that seemed to be deliberately aimed at the clouds around them as if each was trying to take control of the shadowy expanse overhead. The heavy hot air generated by this constant battle created a skin scorching heat that blew dust devils around everywhere you looked. The dull black sand that was swept up in the heat and wind driven swirls only added to the uninhabitable appearance of this place. No rain fell here, there was no water, no moisture at all. This place was dryer than any desert on any map in another place.
There was existence here but you couldn’t call it life, at least not the type of life that would every make someone feel warm and fuzzy toward it. The things that lived here were as dark and ugly as this land itself. The creatures here were the things of nightmares for living breathing humans. They were as malformed and dark as the vegetation. He watched as a black slithering form reared back and struck at his prey and succeeded in catching the small creeping creature that had tried to escape its unending demise. He thought about how he almost felt sorry for the little monster that had just been devoured by the larger predator because he knew the damn thing would be back tomorrow. In a bit the larger creature would also be taken by an even larger predator and this would continue throughout the day. It was an endless succession of one creature after the other inflicting pain on something smaller. In this dark land the only things roaming here were the shadows of what once was and only existed in this land of shadows born of nightmares. No, there was no life here. These abominable beings would be tormented day after day and there would be no end to this torment that would be repeated over and over.
The man sat there watching the workings in the expanse before him and contemplated what his next move would be. If he decided to go rogue he knew what the ultimate consequences of his actions would lead to. The trick for them was for them to find him and he had learned and learned well how to stay hidden.
His mind began to wonder to other things. He could be walking in places that were green and lush. Places where there was water and live trees, where thing were beautiful and alive. Hell if he wanted he could be walking on the top of a mountain that was clothed in a shimmering gown of pristine white that sparkled and glittered in the reflective rays of the sun that beat down on it. He could be looking out over someplace where the temperature would burn the flesh of a skin and bone being with a mind numbing blast of cold polar air.
The man’s attention was drawn back to the place where he now rested against that hideous excuse of a tree as a dust devil came close enough that the little bits of lava hot sand pelted his skin. He didn’t have to look down to survey the damage because he knew there wouldn’t be any. Oh he felt the pain from the little beads of incendiary grains, he felt them to the bone, but no damage would be done. No he couldn’t be damaged but he could feel pain and oh had he felt pain ever since his transition.
He stood up and winced as he did. The pain was still there but not as bad as it had been and soon it would only be a distant murky memory. The man looked back over his shoulder to more of the same as what was in front of him. The clouds continued their battles overhead while the dust devils spun along their routes twisting and turning and sometimes intertwining with one another, swelling up then breaking apart to resume their random staggering paths.
Turning back in the direction he had been focused on before he again leaned back against the tree. He hadn’t yet stepped so far over the edge that he might not get out of it but he needed to make up his mind. Deep down inside he knew that he couldn’t continue this existence. The constant moving from one place to the other and never connecting to anyone except in that one moment of another’s life. That moment when everything that had gone before only mattered in determining where you went next.
There was an exceptionally loud roar of thunder and he jerked to attention thinking he might have been found but remembered they were blind to him right now. It would have been hard for them to detect him in this place even if he wasn’t off the grid but right now unless he allowed it they couldn’t see him anywhere he went. When they had come to him and told him he would no longer be a collector and would from that point on be a tracker he had tried to refuse. Of course in this, like in all things for longer than he cared to think about, he hadn’t had any say in what he did or what happened. It finally was more than his mind could process. More than he could handle. More than his damaged, twisted, blackened soul could endure.
Now he was thinking about becoming that which he had been tapped to track. Others like him who had found they could no longer follow meekly and continue to be tied to those who controlled their existence. He would, like them, no longer be bound by the tethers of his sins and a contract he had never wanted to enter into.
He like the others would take what he wanted and bring about as much chaos as he possibly could. He would leave a path of destruction that the powers that be will never recover from. He would no longer collect from their list, any list, but his own. Only he would have no list.
The man again looked out at this plane that existed between two others. They had made him a reaper of reapers and he would show them what a reaper was capable of.
He was death and now he was rogue.
Cassie looked at the disc that held all the pictures of the wedding. Everyone had been given a copy just before they had started displaying the many photos commemorating the happy event. As each picture scrolled past she felt like another arrow would pierce her heart. As each one had popped up she had hoped that there would be an image of her but so far not so much as a fragmented image of so much as one of her arms. There of course were pictures of her brother, it was after all, his wedding. There were pictures of her sister, she had been in the wedding although Cassie hadn’t been asked. There were her parents Laura and Frank and even her grandparents. There were lots of pictures of other family members and friends but not so much as one image showed up that she was in. The pain she felt that weighed heavy in her heart only grew as the last picture was displayed and not once had the camera captured one image of her.
Cassie took the disc and quickly buried it in her purse while no one was looking. She not only felt the pain but it was aggravated by the shame and humiliation of the situation. Deep down the shame and humiliation was unnecessary because no one in the group had even taken notice of her presence and wouldn’t. There was no reason to believe they would take any more notice of her absence. It was always that way. She somehow never was in any of the photos at family events either. The last professional family photo the family had taken that she had been in was when she was ten years old. Even then somehow the photographer had managed to get a shot of her with her face half turned and her hair hid what little of her face would have been exposed in the picture. Cassie had thought she looked more like Cousin It than a human child and yet the family had been happy with the picture and displayed it still in the den.
She knew that she was capable of being photographed because she often took selfies with her phone but there was never anyone to share them with. No one wanted a picture of her. When she would send one to someone in her family they would always delete them telling her to stop sending them. Her father called her a camera hog and vain and laughed at her.
Cassie had overheard her parents talking about her once. She had listened as they went on about her being self-absorbed and wondered if maybe they should take her to see someone. That had been four years ago so she had stopped the selfies and she certainly didn’t send photos of herself to anyone anymore. A couple of years after that she had moved out of the house. She lived alone in a small apartment in a not so great part of town but at least there she felt alone because there was no one else there, not because no one wanted her there.
She left the house quietly without saying a word to anyone. She had passed her mom in the kitchen but her mom hadn’t so much as looked her way when she opened the backdoor to exit the house. When Cassie told her mom bye her mother had acted as if she hadn’t heard her daughter. Closing the door behind her Cassie leaned against it for a moment. The tears welling up in her eyes blurred her vision for a moment and she quickly wiped them away.
She made her way to her little second hand compact car. The rest of the family drove some new high end vehicle with all the bells and whistles but not her. She worked as a sales clerk and she was doing good to afford what she had. She worked two jobs just to stay in her run down little apartment and drive her fifteen year old car and put what food she could afford on the table. There were never any family dinners she attended except on holidays. Not even on her birthday was there ever anything done to celebrate that day.
Cassie had something come up one night and she had run home to her parents. She had let herself into the house with the key she still had but her parents had screamed at her for being there. After that she would only go over after they were in bed to raid their fridge if things were too tight and then would make her way to her old room and curl up in a corner there for a short while to try and feel like she was home. She would never stay long and she was always careful to never wake her parents.
When Cassie got back to her apartment she placed her key in the door and tried to open it. The lock wouldn’t budge. She kept rattling the key but for some reason it wouldn’t turn the lock and allow her to enter her small apartment. She reached into her purse to get her phone to call the manager but her phone wasn’t there. It must have fallen out of her purse at her parent’s house. She made her way to the manager’s apartment but no one answered when she knocked.
Could this night get any worse? Now she was going to have to drive all the way back to her parent’s house to get her cheap little phone. God she hoped no one picked it up. If they did she would only be met with someone making fun of her she was sure. Well at least it would be some attention. The problem however was she was almost out of gas and she was going to be sweating bullets all week trying to have enough money to make it till her next paycheck and gas didn’t come cheap.
Laura sat at the table sipping a cup of coffee when Frank walked in.
“What is it Laura?” Frank asked his wife as he poured himself a cup of coffee and joined his wife at the table.
“I was just thinking of Cassie.” Laura’s head hung with her hair covering most of it but Frank knew she was trying to hide the tears that were running down her cheeks.
“Laura she has to learn the truth sooner or later and accept it and move on.” Frank didn’t like it any more than his wife but is was what all the experts had told them they had to do.
“When she was here tonight…” Laura was interrupted by her husband.
“I know honey but what else can we do. This is the only way.” Frank now had the shining glint in his eyes of unshed tears.
“I keep thinking of how much she wanted to make it on her own and not accept any help from us. She moved into that tacky little place on the other side of town and you see what happened?” Laura had fought with her daughter when she had decided to do that. She was only eighteen and just out of high school. She was so independent back then.
“I know Laura but we can’t change that.” Frank hated it when his oldest daughter had moved out.
When the door opened Laura started to go to her daughter but Frank grabbed her and pulled him to her. “No Laura.”
Laura buried her face in her husband’s chest as she felt the spirit of her long dead daughter standing next to her. The paranormal experts kept telling her and Frank that Cassie had to accept the fact she was dead and any sign from anyone would only serve to keep her there and stop her from moving on.
I was sure I had shared this at some point with everyone. The story of the chocolate donut. Now we aren’t talking about any chocolate donut but MY CHOCOLATE DONUT.
Yes that had to be capitalized. You see I have only a few real weaknesses. I still love a good Moon Pie on occasion, a great cup of coffee in the morning, I’m a sucker for well-made bruschetta, and a chocolate donut on very rare occasions. That last one is something I truly don’t indulge in often at all. Once or twice a year if that. So I can only say at this point I find that my actions in the following tale of someone else’s stupidity totally justified if it is honestly what happened.
I was standing in line at a local donut shop waiting my turn patiently and behaving myself as the person who was waiting on customers took care of the gentleman in front of me, yes he was young and attractive, knowing that she would soon turn to me. I watched as she took his two plain sugar glazed donuts, yes I said two and not two dozen, and placed them ever so carefully in a nice little box and handed it oh so gently into the man’s waiting hand.
Finally she turned to me. I start out my order with a chocolate covered éclair, yes that is my true weakness, four chocolate covered donuts, and eight assorted types of the little sugar bombs that none of us need to be eating and paid for them. To my absolute horror this crazy b*^&h proceeds to pull out a large paper bag carelessly jerks up the éclair and drops it like a rock into this huge white paper sack. Oh no this bitch didn’t just do that. Now up till now all that is giving away my horror at this obvious disrespect for me and the éclair and donuts was the look of stunned shock on my face and my mouth hanging open to my knees. At this point my ire came boiling over and I let lose the wrath of indignation. Smoke came billowing out my ears, the flames of hell spouted forth from my nostrils, and the blazing rays of death shot from my eyes.
“NOOO, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”
The place went totally silent, every pair of eyes turned in my direction. A couple of people actually got up and moved toward the door.
“YOU TAKE THAT LUMP YOU JUST DROPPED INTO THAT BAG AND THROW IT INTO THE GARBAGE OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO WITH IT AND YOU GET A LARGE BOX OUT AND YOU PUT EVERY ONE OF THE DONUTS AND ECLAIRE FACE UP IN THAT BOX AND YOU DO IT GENTLY AND CAREFULLY.”
A couple more people stood up and moved toward the door.
This now cowed creature did as she was told and handed me the box hesitantly never once opening her mouth. I took my box and left the store.
Now the actual details of how that went down I’m relating as my daughter, who was with me, relayed it to her dad after we got home. I wasn’t aware that I had done anything out of the way or even raised my voice and informed Gina of this.
“Mom the windows shook in that place when you let loose on that woman.” She wasn’t smiling but was wearing a look of real concern.
Now I think she is exaggerating the whole thing because I simply do not believe that my inner demon managed to make it out that morning but I have to say that on occasion she does raise her little head when she feels she has something to say but come on really. I shook the windows?
Gina to this day stands by her account of that incident and refuses to retract it. That story now gets told every time she is with me and someone says something about what a nice person I am and that happens quite often.
If Gina is with me when that happens she always responds, “So long as you don’t mess with her chocolate covered donuts.”
I felt you. You are there. Whatever you are, you have managed to penetrate my protective barrier of clothing and invaded one of my two holy of holy places hovering between the inside material of my bra and my flesh.
I feel your every tiny movement. Each breath you take causes your body to press against mine. What are you? What six or eight legged little demon are you. I’m afraid to seek you out knowing that I must. Again you move. You’re waiting.
My hand lightly brushes against the outside of where you sit waiting to do me harm. I feel the hard shell of your form. Wait. Oh shit I forgot that I pulled my damn earpiece out while I was outside and didn’t have a pocket and slipped it in the only place I had to keep from laying the damn thing down and losing it. Damn.
No matter how hard you fight, sometimes you just can't win the battle. The small country store of the past is all but completely gone from our societies. Let's hope we don't forget what they once were and the importance they played in the lives of our long gone and too often forgotten relatives.
I looked at the last few remaining remnants of the old store they were tearing down. I glanced at my husband and saw the look on his face and I was unable to stop the tear that softly ran down my cheek. I knew his heart was breaking as was mine.
I had spent years listening to the stories revolving around that old majestic building and felt a knot build up in my stomach. The sweet wonderful man I was married to had tried to save the place but others had stood in his way at every turn.
I had been introduced to the store and the area around it over a quarter of a century ago. I had been listening to the stories for as long as well. No, not repeats of a few stories but hundreds of them. Some were so sad they would break your heart and others had left me laughing so hard it hurt. Each story had burned images in my brain that were like old movies that I often replayed in my head. Sometimes I would see or experience something that would set the mental projector running and off the images would go again. I would see the array of characters who walked in and out of the doors to this social and economic center of the area at one time. The little bits of life brought together in a kaleidoscope of color merging, blending, and then falling apart as new ones entered the doors of that store and others exited. Of course those stories had ended when the store closed its doors for the last time in the early seventies.
The store hadn’t just suddenly closed its doors one day because of some epic issue. No, it had died a slow and quiet death as more and more customers took their shopping to bigger and better places. As the roads improved and bigger and cheaper places opened in larger towns the small little country stores lost their place in our society. They couldn’t compete. Now the building that had once been the center of the social network was coming down piece by piece over several weeks and not with a big bang. It was like watching a loved one go slowly into that night.
“Let’s go.” My husband couldn’t stand to watch anymore and headed to the truck. I silently followed him and we turned toward home.
It was several months before we made our way back to the old store. Actually I should say to where the old store had been. Nothing, and I mean nothing remained. Not only had the store come down but all the wonderful trees, most over fifty years old and some a lot older. The tall straight persimmon trees that had been so prolific in the production of their fruit that had produced some of the sweetest nectar I had ever tasted were also gone. Now there was nothing but open plowed up dirt ready for planting. The grass and trees that had once graced that little corner of the small almost forgotten tiny town nothing more than a bittersweet memory. We didn’t even stop.
For those of you who might read this and think what a sad little story, for me and my husband, a heart breaking fact. I try to hold back the tears that come every time I think of what has been lost.
The way it was back in the thirties.
The way it was before it came down.
When I was in junior high, yes I was once that young, I experienced one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. It left a scar on my poor impressionable mind that has stuck with me over these many, to many for me to want to think about, years. I was at the tender age of fourteen and we all know what a difficult period that is in every human being’s life.
The walk to get from my home to school and back was a one way out and one way in type of thing at a certain point. By this I mean somewhere in between my home and my school you had to cross a major road. There was no way to avoid that. Even where you crossed it because of the way the roads were situated in that area unless you wanted to take a really long way around and the walk was long enough without adding to it. Now at this point somewhere the powers that be decided to build an express way that would cross over this major road so everything on both sides of the damn road was torn up. If you didn’t stay on the road itself you were walking in dirt pits and getting home dirty never went over well with our mothers when we were in our school clothes. Back then girls still had to wear dresses and look like proper little ladies. It has always baffled me a little how we could look like proper little ladies when miniskirts were the in fashion but, we were expected to. This was also the time when young ladies graduated from little girl flats to something more grown up like a higher heel. Yeah we looked like proper little ladies. I mean my daughter came out in a dress the other night that would almost give my miniskirts a run for its money and I almost told her to go back in and change and she is several years older than I was when this little incident happened, well over twenty one in fact. Tell me why the hell our mother’s didn’t tell us to go back in and change back then, wait, it’s because they were all wearing miniskirts. Don’t believe me? Go back and look at pics of your mothers, and if you’re young enough your grandmothers, and if they were under forty during the mid-sixties to early seventies I promise they had at least two of the things in their closets. You would not have been hard pressed to have found one or two of those short little skirts in the closets of even older women as well.
Now to really set the scene. After several days of pouring down rain the sun was shining brightly on this beautiful warm late April, yes I can remember the damn month, and all was right with the world. I’ve got my head in the clouds like most girls do at that age, probably thinking about one of the dingy pretty boys of that time hanging on my wall in my room and I’m totally oblivious to the world around me as I make my way home from school. I come to the street.
I at this point take my head out of the clouds and my ass to check the oncoming vehicles to assure my safe crossing of this very busy street. Remember once across I have to walk on the edge of this damn road. Remember the dirt pits I mentioned earlier? Along that road the powers that be have dug up everything to the very edge of the asphalt and there is about a one foot drop-off to the edge and those frigging dirt pits lay just below. This busy road has also been cut down to a two lane street from a four lane. Remember I said it had poured down rain for several days prior to this? Well those dirt pits are now a mud trap that would have stymied the most experienced off-roader, mudslinging, four wheel driver in the most advanced four wheel vehicle of this day and age. No this is not an exaggeration. Scene set. One little added thing or two here, remember my school clothes I mentioned? You can add to the fact I was a little better put together than most girls my age and didn’t look my age. No again not exaggerating just telling it like it was. I’ll get back to this, to what looks like I’m tooting my own horn, later.
I cross the road. No problem, I make it safely across and continue on my merry little way again with my head in the clouds and up my ass oblivious to the world. Do-di-do, do-di-do. I am keeping one eye on the oncoming traffic because I was smart enough to walk up that side so what was happening on the other side was not important. Not my smartest reasoning I must admit. The next thing I know I hear this loud battle cry and feel this horrific burning pain on the right cheek of my ass. As I jump three feet straight up in the air a convertible is passing me and trying to get back on his side of the road still bellowing out that cry of victory. I remember the man’s face to this day as he turned around to check out his conquered foe. Now of course what goes up must come down right? Well I came down all right but did I land back on the asphalt? Hell no. I landed on the side of the asphalt and sunk damn near to my knees in mud. Now if you think this couldn’t get any worse, boy are you wrong.
What goes with road construction? Construction workers of course and there was loads of them. As I struggled to get out of the muddy mess I found myself in I hear all the great big tough guys laughing while the only success I’m having in my predicament is to manage to sink even deeper in the mud. I’m now up to my knees and sinking deeper by the second. One of the laughing clowns realize evidently that I was good and truly stuck and came to pull me out while still laughing. He didn’t expect to walk up on what he did. With tears running down my dewy little cheeks on my face, I shouted at him it wasn’t funny. It was at this point I think he realized I was a lot younger than I looked and he stopped laughing.
“How old are you honey?” This very large man asked.
I told him my age and I don’t know if he signaled the other men working or what but the laughing all around stopped suddenly. This big mean man wrapped his arms around a very hurt child and told me in a very gentle voice to go on home and get cleaned up and he and the guys were sorry for laughing.
To this day I remember this event in my life with crystal clear clarity. Yes it was traumatic but looking back I have to say that it must have been the funniest thing those dear men had ever seen and I can see why. If I were standing there watching that scene unfold I would be laughing my once burning butt off too.
Back to the well-developed, very curvy, oversized top side of that young, impressionable fourteen year old. Remember ladies those lovely curves and other assets like all thing have to eventually give way to the laws of gravity and end up hitting your knees and or dragging the floor as times passes by. There is a price for everything.
As for that asshole who caused this whole traumatic experience? To this day I would still like to find and kill this…
Barbara stood looking over the rail of the bridge. The body of the young man who had been so full of life before now bobbed face down in the water below. She watched as the body began to drift down stream. Barbara stared at Mark as he drifted away, the tears still flowing from her eyes from earlier rolled off her cheeks and fell into the muddy water below. He looked like a rag doll that had been discarded by some child who no longer wanted it.
When Barbara had walked up on to the bridge a while ago Mark had been fishing on the other side of the river and looked up and waved at her. He had always been nice to her and had even kept other kids at school from picking on her. She had been in love with Mark for a long time but had been afraid to tell him. When she had broken her leg last year Mark had come by to check on her and even brought her flowers, well he had brought her a rose. That had to mean he felt something for her didn’t it? Today she decided to tell him she was in love with him. Surely he would see that he was in love with her as well.
She had gone over and poured out her heart to him. She told him how she felt and what he meant to her. The response she’d gotten was not what she had expected.
Mark had at first simply stared at her then he did the worst thing he could have, he laughed at her. She had been crushed. The tears had burned trails down her cheeks. How could she have been so wrong about him? How could he hurt her this way? She felt her heart shatter in a million pieces in that moment. More than the pain Barbara felt pure anger and in a way she had never felt it before.
Barbara started running back toward the bridge. She heard Mark calling her name as if in a panic. He was chasing her trying to stop her, he must have thought she was going to jump.
The rage she felt had swelled up and now wanted to be unleashed. Barbara stopped suddenly in the middle of the bridge and turned quickly. As Mark came running toward her she put up her arms and pushed him as hard as she could toward the side of the bridge. Mark was taken by surprise and stumbled backwards. He was close enough to the side of the bridge that the railing caught him just below the middle of his back and he lost his balance and went over the side.
Barbara stepped over quickly to the side and looked over in time to see Mark hit his head on one of the pilings of the bridge before hitting the water below then sink down below the murky surface of the river then bobbing up. The blood from the crushed side of his face mixing with the water around him and turning it a pinkish grey. She wondered why if she had loved this boy why she didn’t feel it now. All she was feeling was, good. Barbara straightened up and turned back in the same direction she had come. She would never tell what happened today. It was too embarrassing, besides why should she go to jail because Mark had been mean?