Well this is it readers. My www access is going away and I’m not sure how long this connection will hold before I never get to talk to you again.
Some of you may remember me writing about the cash and it’s not going to do me any good now so I thought I would let you know where I hid it. Maybe one or two of my more intrepid readers will venture out to retrieve it – if you do please remember the curse and take appropriate precautions.
Ridin’ the train, Johnny on the box
Folsom Prison Blues
Shuckin’ coal, like there’s no tomorrow
The firebox glows and pulses: red, orange, red, orange
The boiler bulges and only a check valve offers relief
We won’t slow down
We won’t let up
Blowing through stations – we turn them into nothing more than
Crowded platforms whoosh past us, rifling my hair
Are we standing still or is it they?
Wannabe passengers wave and smile upon realizing that
This is not their train
This is my train
The old typewriter had a mind of its own, Grandpa warned me.
“Stay away from that boy. Damn thing’s haunted, can’t get rid of it. I have thrown that sucker away, burnt it, buried it deep, back ‘hind the house. I even took a 12 pound sledge to it; busted it up in a thousand pieces.” He cocked his head and squinted.
“Mighta hurt it that time; it was back the next day though, a bit tweaked. You can see the platen ain’t quite straight anymore. I’m afraid I mighta just pissed it off with the hammer and I’ve left it alone ever since.”
“When I was a young man I took a job at the paper. That was my typewriter. Ever time I’d roll in a sheet of paper it would start typin’ on its own – spooky, like a player piano. It always wrote the same thing. It typed:”
“… and finally, I leave all 120 sections of my ranch and all the buildings (with contents not already endowed earlier in this document), roads, and resources found thereon to my Nephew, William Wilson Williams III, on the condition that he remain a good steward and protect all indigenous artifacts, burial sites, and ruins. In addition he must never divulge the location of the dinosaur and other prehistoric bones and/or fossils contained within the boundaries of said ranch property.” The lawyer folded the document in half and set it on the green blotter covering the desk he was sitting behind. He removed his spectacles and folded the temples before setting them atop the document. He squared the papers to the desk edge and squared the eyeglasses to the papers.
After this ritual he peered out at the rest of us in the office. We were seated in straight backed chairs arranged in a semicircle in front of his desk.
“Any questions?” he intoned and looked each of us in the eyes before moving his gaze to the next. My dad raised his hand.
“Yes, Mr. Williams?” the lawyer acknowledged.
“That’s it?” Dad said, “My own brother left me $500.00 and a dry well outside Abeline?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” said the lawyer. “Well there’s also the old, sepia photograph of your grandmother posing with William Bonney. But there may be some question about its authenticity.”
“Shit,” said Dad, “Don’t that beat all?” he stood up and walked out of the office.
The lawyer called after him, “Mr. Williams, if you stop at Miss Grey’s desk she has a packet for you containing copies of all the documents concerning you which are associated with your brother’s estate.” He looked back at the rest of us, “any other questions?” There were none. He looked at me and asked me to stay after the others left so that he could hand me the keys to the house and give me the pertinent documents and information on the ranch.
I was another hour with the lawyer and Miss Grey. In the elevator lobby I found my sister waiting. “Hey Ellen,” I said, “what do you think?”
“I don’t know for sure but I think Uncle Nelson just left me about a million and a half worth of impressionist art. I could never sell it though and I can’t keep it in my apartment.”
“Billy, I live in a one bedroom walk-up in Racine for God’s sake. Will you let me leave them at the ranch and let me come visit them from time to time?”
“’Course I will Elly.” I gave her a hug.
“What are you going to do with the old homestead?” she looked at me.
“I guess I gotta find those dinosaur bones and Indian graveyards,” I said, “I need to know where the things are that I’m protectin’. He never even told me about those.”
I wrote this today for the Book Bandits. I’m not sure what it is but I kind of liked it.
I had 15 minutes to write and the prompt was:
Time pooled around my feet.
I waited until we were alone and then…
I did it –
I asked her.
I could tell that she wasn’t expecting it
she was surprised.
Her eyes widened and
her jaw went slack as she considered the enormity
of what I had asked.
Four simple words that I had so cavalierly tossed out,
in her direction.
Four simple words with the power to change my life.
To change her life.
I tried to pretend that her answer didn’t really matter to me. I couldn’t do it and,
I watched with trepidation as she groped for what she wanted to say.
Time pooled around my feet and stood still.
I waited as she considered – anticipation consuming me.
A rainbow of emotions swirled around our heads
– Kaleidoscopic –
She reached for her glass.
It was empty.
She sat it back down.
Time suddenly kicked into high gear;
Put on running shoes.
The puddles I was standing in grew deeper.
She smiled and raised her hands to her cheeks
her eyes lit up.
Looking at her was suddenly like looking at the sun and I knew what she was going to say!
“Of course” she replied.
We both pulled off our shoes and splashed around.
Agnes straightened up and pushed her glasses back up on her nose. She took a moment and turned all the way around looking at the shop – her shop. Five years ago, when the Bumpersteins had decided to retire and move to Gary Indiana, a place they had always wanted to visit, they offered her an opportunity to buy the shop. She had not believed her good fortune and had jumped at the chance. She sent them a payment every month.
Agnes had worked for the Bumpersteins for seventeen years, worked in this souvenir shop across the boardwalk from the beach that whole time. When they left Agnes had moved into the apartment above the shop where the Bumpersteins had lived. She had redone the floors and painted the walls. New cabinets and a dishwasher had been installed as part of the kitchen remodel. There were two bedrooms but she only needed one to sleep in. She chose to sleep in the back bedroom. The one in the front had a view of the beach. When she wasn’t working she spent most of her waking hours in there, looking out the window, or in the kitchen preparing modest meals.
Agnes had changed very little about the shop. She still sold trinkets, t-shirts, and things that tourists needed; snacks, sodas, beer, wrap-around skirts, calendars, and memory cards for cameras. She had changed the name of the shop though. It was now known as “The Tourist Trap” where it had formerly been called “Bumperstein’s Market”.
Agnes worked seven days a week. She opened at 6:00 am sharp. At 2:00 pm Cindy would come in, Agnes had been pleased when she agreed to stay, and Cindy would keep the store open till 10:00. There was a steady rotation of high school kids who would work on weekends and after school, cleaning, stocking, and the like.
Life is good, she thought to herself as she put the feather duster under the counter and picked up her keys. She turned the sign, so that it read open, unlocked the front door and held it for her first customers of the day, a young family with two kids under ten. They got snack foods, tanning lotion, an inflatable raft, and a newspaper.
“Where you folks from?” she asked the young mother.
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