Jim Earl headed to town bright and early, his patience waning at getting Ginny to her doctor appointment. The antiquarian white-knuckled the wheel at “2” and “10” as if loosening his hold would end disastrously.
Passing drivers never suspected that cowboy hat brim covered a dome with only a few remnant hairs. Jim Earl kept laser focus on the road ahead, his love’s ailments outweighing his own.
An undetected stroke brought on oxygen-deprived dementia, except Jim Earl never went to the doctor himself. Not even his beloved realized. Getting lost that day was the first of many times to come.
Daddy and Junior got that coon off the road before it started to stink. The July rain they’d gotten and high temperatures four straight days made a quick inevitability. A virtual certainty. It was gonna reek.
Albert would eat it nonetheless. Anything stood fair game on his half-barrel BBQ grill. Leastways without too many flies or ticks.
Them rescuing road-pizza for Albert prompted little chatter around town, as people were used to their quirkiness.
He might draw the line at maggots. They got to his gut one time. Otherwise, his seasoned stomach took it. Some sauce made all the difference.
Passersby likely suspect the eerie little house. The overgrown yard in a shaded wood within that isolated area lends to its rot being practically sensible by smell. She’d just been unfortunate enough to hit an animal when driving past and not simply write an apologetic note to the pet’s potential owner.
A final suspiration left her lungs as the man pulled her inside the sagging door frame after answering her knock. The woman scarcely deserved punishment for such a deed of Good Samaritanship. Not only would the dog she had fatally struck expire that morning but she would as well.
Tiny red and blue dots vibrated inside Joleen’s eyelids and fixated her in a false somnambulant stupor. Her consciousness stopped at the intersection of wakefulness and sleep when the screen door’s slap brought her bolt upright.
“What the hell are you doing?” Jed asked.
“Catching some z’s before tonight’s party.” She blocked an offending sun ray with a skinny arm gone tingly from its perch across the porch swing’s back. She gave him that suspicious sidelong glance often given people like him who can’t read without their lips moving.
“Don’t worry,” she assured. “”I’ll be ready to lap-dance soon enough.”
My 22nd birthday blurs into distant memory’s oblivion. Ancient history, it seems. Why did I ever trust that drunken punk enough to fly down a county highway on the back of his crotch rocket? Woe to imagine our parents’ horror at having to identify the remains in morgue boxes had one gravel slide caught narrow tires just right.
Naive bravado haunts me, though. The innocent ignorance of not caring about a possible tomorrow, just the next beer tab to be popped. A boy to kiss. No future prospects considered. Yet another night of fun.
I saw my mom outside today, although she died last year. Kind of supernatural how she draws me outdoors. Almost serendipitous.
A doctor said I’m okay, just grieving. Actually recommended
this therapy. I’m going back again to make sure.
These moments of self-professed genius are her doing. Practically a doctor herself, just without the initials. Said so herself, passed on that confidence. Had to find it somewhere. Mother was my biggest cheerleader, champion actually.
Now I hear her calling me through nature, a cardinal’s trill, dirt under my nails. I’m glad springtime is here. And kindly brought Mom with her.
“Damn!” Mandy hollered when the sharp-nozzled vacuum hose cascaded to meet shinbone flesh already scarred by early-teen shaving hacks. “That’s gonna hurt me,” she lamented.
Stooping to retrieve the utensil, she peeked under her armpit in case anyone witnessed her sucking up passenger glass Pam kicked out the night before. “Just act casual. Can’t have anybody see me clean the blood.”
A high cost would come with suspicion of just what evidence was actually being purged. “A little bird might sing to the cops,” Mandy mouthed under her breath as she pulled of the Quick Wash and onto the street.
“The most bitter irony of my situation,” Kelly told the intake counselor at the homeless teen shelter, “is that Roderick broke up with me. Now I’ll have to live on what strangers give me.”
The social worker’s face seemed genuinely compassionate, as far as she could tell, doubting her instincts now. Her father supposedly loved her but sent the girl packing after finding her ex-boyfriend’s text message.
Dad knew his family though they were from the other side of town. “My daughter will not mix with blacks,” he’d said. “You’re no longer my child.”
Pain in her toes grew the longer Casey remained hidden in that secret spot up her favorite climbing tree. Wintertime made sitting on its fork all the more arduous a wait for the time-sensitive inevitability of another sibling getting in trouble inside to make her transgressions be forgotten.
Her skin went from a healthy pink to a near-frostbitten red there in the elements.
Mother demanded, “Go out and pluck your own switch. I’m gonna to blister your behind.” That whole matter of finding a birch branch in the snow only added insult to injury.