OLWG · writing

OLWG# 224- Two Stories

Written for OLWG# 224



General Zao’s Daughter

I first noticed Miriam at General Zao’s Daughter. That’s a Chinese Buffet in OKC. We made eyes at one another over the sneeze guards. After gathering our lunches, we sat together on opposite sides of a double booth. She was beautiful.

Dark hair – Dark eyes – Long-limbed – Possessed of an enigmatic smile, moist lips

She’d go back for more food: Kung Pao, Lo Mein, Char siu, Dim sum, and the like.

Me too. I wasn’t all that hungry but I wanted to stare into her eyes. I wanted to watch her put food in her mouth. I wanted her to keep smiling. I wanted her.

We had to pay again, but we stayed for dinner, and I asked her to marry me. She agreed and moved across to share my bench seat. We held hands, stole kisses, dreamed.

“What do you think?” I asked. “It’s only about 1100 miles to Las Vegas. We could do that in a couple of days, honeymoon along the way, get married in one of those all-night chapels on the strip.”

“Oh, I could never do that,” she said. “I’d need to get married before honeymooning.”

“We can drive straight through.” I urged, “It would probably only take about 16 hours.”

We held hands out to the car park. I followed her to her apartment so she could leave her Prius at home, we’d agreed to take my truck. She had noticed that there was more room in the truck and more room meant a more comfortable drive. I couldn’t argue with that logic.

I topped off the tank on the west side of town, and we got on the road. I-40 W would take us to Las Vegas. Miriam settled in on the passenger side, leaned back on the seat and pulled on her seatbelt. She started talking.

“Daddy, do you mind if I call you Daddy?” she started.

“No, I don’t mind.”

“Would you mind calling me Baby? I’d like it if you’d call me Baby. You can call me either Baby or Fritzie. I’ve always wanted to be a Fritzie.

“Uhm, sure, Baby.”

She smiled.

“How fast are you driving, Daddy?”

I looked down at the dash, “A little over the speed limit.”

“Call me Baby, or Fritzie,” she reminded me and playfully cuffed me on the shoulder.

“Make sure you don’t speed after the Texas line. Those Texas cops, they don’t suffer no speeders.”

“Oh yeah, I know.”

There was a bit of congestion at the Texas state line. Miriam cautioned me to slow down. She told me that I should stay in the right-hand lane. It’s less than 200 miles across the Texas panhandle. Baby talked the whole time. She chatted non-stop across New Mexico, too.

“Not so fast, Daddy…Careful, Daddy, you’re straying over the line… Watch out for that truck, there.”

“Baby,” I said, “you gotta quit telling me how to drive.” She stuck out her lower lip and stared out the window for a while. She mumbled something in baby talk that I couldn’t quite make out.

After a while, she began to hum. Some old Janis Joplin song, “mhmm hmm, hmm, hmm, hm, hm, BOBBY McGHEE!”

I thought we’d never get to Vegas, but Fritzie finally fell asleep. She was beautiful when she slept. So peaceful. We found a wedding chapel down the street from the Flamingo. I pulled up in front, and we jumped out of the truck. A sign on the front of the building read “Parking In Rear.”

“Go in and see how long the wait is Fritzie,” I said. “I’ll park the truck.”

She put her hand on my cheek and batted her big bedroom eyes, “Don’t be long, Daddy.” She hustled through the front door to look for the preacher. I walked back around the front of the truck and got in the driver’s seat. The key turned by itself in the ignition and the engine fired up, then slipped into a low rumble. I gripped the wheel at 10 and 2 and rested my forehead between my hands. I thought about what I was about to do, but only for a couple of seconds. Then I whipped a U-Turn and started driving back to Oklahoma, wiggling my fingers in the mirror, waving goodbye.

I saw Miriam again last week. She was coming out of an antique shop on Western Ave. She didn’t see me though; I managed to turn around real quick like. I’m going to be looking over my shoulder forever, now. A girl like that probably carries a straight razor in her purse. Probably holds a grudge too.



King Duck Szechuan

Miriam Chulaushi sat on the other side of the table from Detective Norcross. “Just tell us what happened, in your own words, ma’am.”

She began, “I first noticed him at a Chinese Buffet, here in OKC. It was the King Duck Szechuan on Gaylord Boulevard. I had stopped for an early dinner. It was almost funny the way he tried to flirt with me over the sneeze guards. I tried to ignore him and picked up a bowl of egg drop soup, a couple of beautiful spring rolls, and a generous helping of steamed vegetables. I took a table by the front window so that I could read while I ate. I was reading ‘The Lifeboat’ by Charlotte Rogan. I looked up and the man was standing next to my table with a tray heaped with food. He introduced himself as ‘Jimbo’ and asked if he could share my table as the restaurant was quite full. I nodded and returned to my book.”

Brown hair – Bloodshot eyes – Broad-shouldered – Not too bad looking but not very well educated

“He kept going back for more food: Kung Pao, Lo Mein, Char siu, Dim sum, like he hadn’t eaten in a week.

“I kept my head in my book and tried not to encourage him.

“After what seemed an eternity of awkward silence at the table he blurted out that he loved me and asked me to marry him. I asked him to please find another table.

“Then he said, ‘Oh, come on, Baby, do you mind if I call you Baby? It’s only about 1100 miles to Las Vegas. We could do that in a couple of days, honeymoon along the way, get married in one of those all-night chapels on the strip.’

“Oh, I could never do that,” I said in an attempt to discourage him. “I’d have to have a husband before I had a honeymoon.

“‘We can drive straight through.’ he urged, ‘It would probably only take about 16 hours.’ Then he snatched my hand and whispered, ‘don’t make a scene.’ He dragged me out to the lot and threw me into the passenger side of a large, red, Ford truck.

“He topped off the tank on the west side of town and got on I-40 W. I remember thinking how unreal it was that I had been abducted. The truck must have had a child lock on the passenger side. I couldn’t open the door. I crouched, trying to make myself small against the side of the truck as far away from him as possible. I hoped he couldn’t reach me. He started talking.

“‘You should call me Daddy,’ he started.

“I nodded my head, afraid to disagree.

“‘Would you mind if I called you, Baby? I’d like to call you, Baby. Or I could call you, Fritzie. I’ve always wanted a Fritzie.’

“He drove like a maniac. Doing at least 95, all the way to the Texas border.”

“I tried to fight. I hit him on the shoulder, the neck, and face hoping to cause him to drive off the road. He seemed impervious to anything I said or did. He only smiled, and we rode west in silence for a time.

“ ’Easy there, Baby, he said at the Texas line. These Texas cops, they don’t mess around. Don’t do anything to draw attention to us’

“All I could do over and over again was ask him where we were going, but he wouldn’t answer that question.

“There was a bit of congestion at the Texas state line, and he slowed down some. He kept it slow and stayed in the right-hand lane. We listened to cowboy music across the Texas panhandle and through New Mexico.

“I stayed quiet and tried to stay small, hoping against hope that he would forget I was there.

“After a while, he began to hum and then sing along with the radio; Eddie Arnold, Johnny Cash, George Jones and the like.

“I fell asleep and woke up outside Vegas when he started slowing down. He stopped at a wedding chapel down the street from the Flamingo and parked in the back.

“Stay put Fritzie,” he said. “I’ll check it out.”

“He put her hand on my shoulder and smiled, ‘you’re gonna be a beautiful bride’. He took the keys and hustled through the chapel door to look for the preacher. I slid over and got out on the driver’s side. I made a beeline down the alley and turned left. I turned right or left every chance I got trying to get away until I finally saw a Las Vegas patrol car and flagged ‘em down.

“That was 27 months ago. He got sentenced to 32 months and then got five off for what? Good Behaviour? I saw Jimbo again last week as I came out of an antique shop on Western Avenue. I don’t think he saw me though; I managed to turn around real quick like. I’m going to be looking over my shoulder forever, now. An asshole like that probably carries a straight razor in his hip pocket. Probably holds a grudge too.”


This week’s prompts were:

  1. my favourite kind of crazy
  2. the bride’s waiting
  3. I nailed the window shut

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 223- A Lesser God

Written for OLWG# 223



Not far outside Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the town of French Village, on Chebucto Peninsula lived an old man. He lived in a shack that hid in the wooded area near the end of Evelyns Lane, which lay south of Peggys Cove. Everyone knew the man as Tom. No one knew his age or last name, and it seemed that he had just always lived there.

Last year, in the grip of the pandemic, the Halifax Herald sent a reporter to interview Old Tom On the 10th of February. About a week before the third Monday, which is Nova Scotia Heritage Day. In 2020 Heritage Day was the 17th. Someone at the Herald had heard that Old Tom was the oldest living resident of the Province. The reporter that they sent was a young, ambitious journalist named Hanah Cote. Ms Cote was a rising star at the paper, an aspiring writer and photographer.

When Hanah found Old Toms house hidden in the trees, it was almost dusk. She rapped on the front door, where the blue paint was chipping, and waited. The porch light came on, and she could make out a stooped old man through the wavy glass in the window. When the door opened, he peered at her with squinted eyes. She saw a mat of grey hair beneath a blue toque. His face looked like it belonged on a fisherman, creased and weathered. He wore a knit sweater with a high neck, dungarees, and fur-lined slippers.

“Yep?” he queried.

“Are you Old Tom?” she asked, and without waiting for a reply, she went on, “My name is Hanah Cote. I work for the Herald in Halifax. We heard that you are the oldest living resident of Nova Scotia. We are hoping to do a feature story on you for Heritage Day.” She gave him her hundred-watt smile and waited.

They stared at each other for almost an eternity until Tom finally pulled the door wider and gestured her inside. “Really?” he questioned, “On me? Well, come on in. Get out of the cold.” Hanah stepped inside. The house was warm and decorated with a nautical theme. Paintings of ships and boats covered the walls. Old floats and traps, now converted into coffee tables and lamps. Crossed oars hung over the fireplace. “Can I get you a coffee?” he asked. Then he winked, “mebbe something a little stronger?”

“Coffee would be nice,” Hanah said.

Tom gestured for her to follow. He turned and headed towards the back of the house, to the kitchen. Dishes overflowed the sink. An old gas stove had a kettle warming on the back burner. Tom turned up the flame and pulled a stack of books and papers from one of the two chrome chairs at a table against the wall. He set the pile of debris so that it blocked the back door.

“Forgive my housekeeping. I live alone. I seldom get visitors, and I kinda know where everything is,” he said.

Hanah nodded her head and sat in the now empty chair, “I don’t even know your last name,” she said. “When we decided to find the oldest resident of Nova Scotia, everyone told us, ‘that’s gotta be Old Tom in French Village,’ so here I am.” She pulled a small notebook from her handbag and looked at him expectantly.

He poured a measure of Folgers crystals into a cup and then poured hot water over them. “Sugar?” he asked.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Sugar?”

“Oh, yes, please. About half a spoon.”

Old Tom looked around on the countertop and finally spotted a teaspoon. He pounced on it and wiped it clean with the ball of his thumb. Then picked up a sugar bowl that looked a bit dusty and set it along with the teaspoon on the table. He placed the cup next to the recently cleaned spoon. Then he sat across from her, waiting and watching as she put two heaping spoons of sugar into her instant coffee.

“Well, Tom, back to the interview. What is your last name, anyway?” All business.

“Mine?” he pointed to his chest. She nodded affirmatively, “My last name is Feinberg. I’m Thomas William Feinberg. When are you going to print this story?” He stood, turned and reached into a high cupboard to remove a pint bottle of whisky.

“Heritage Day,” she answered and pushed her coffee cup towards him.

Old Tom Feinberg screwed the top off the bottle and tipped a bit of brown liquor into Hanah’s cup.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. outside Halifax
  2. no god worth worrying about
  3. selling truth

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 222- Late Night at the Tumbleweed

Written for OLWG# 222



After stepping into the Arkansas Tumbleweed Lounge, Ben Jones slumped against the wall by the front door and surveyed the room. An old guy leaned on his elbows at the end of the bar with a frown on his face. He was talking to a young woman huddled over an overflowing ashtray. She, in turn, was doing her best to ignore him. The old guy looked as if he hadn’t had a good day. He had a shot glass upended on the bar in front of him, and he was nursing the bottom half of a glass of beer.

A middle-aged woman who looked like a librarian hovered at the other end of the bar. She dressed conservatively and tastefully but she was drunk. Waving her hands and shouting at Dominic, who was working tonight. Dominic looked as though he would rather be anywhere else in the world. Anywhere other than behind the bar listening to this manic librarian. Ben was glad he couldn’t hear whatever she was ranting about.

Against the far wall in the last deep booth sat a couple; sitting on the same bench seat, on the same side of the table; their hands intertwined between them, and their foreheads touched. The next booth held a foursome of polyester-clad sales guys, seemingly in town for the night. They were dishing up a lot of verbal insubordination to the piano player. Merv was the entertainment tonight. Merv was a crooner wearing a sequined blazer, the colour of Kambaba Jasper.

Ben decided this might be a good night for country-western music. It was not a night for crooners. He slipped back out the door to the street. Two blocks down, he would find Chubby’s diner. Where he knew that he could get a Salisbury steak and a strong cuppa Joe. They had Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline on the jukebox there. If he had luck on his side, Lanna would be working.

He didn’t think he could listen to Merv tonight.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. ungrateful
  2. another Mr Jones
  3. the colour of Kambaba Jasper

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 221- Lia Vitto of Polignano a Mare

Written for OLWG# 221



Lia Vitto lived in the ancient town of Polignano a Mare located at the top of the boot heel on the Adriatic Sea. Her husband, Enrico – gone now for over thirty years – had been respected and wealthy, a politician and landowner. Money doesn’t last forever, though, and Lia was beginning to run short. The kids were all gone now too. Cesare, dead in 1983, part of the multinational forces in Lebanon. Carolina passed in childbirth, her granddaughter lost at the same time. And, Luca, her baby boy Luca, killed for no reason by robbers in Roma when he was no more than 23 years old.

Lia felt tired. She was old. Her family was gone, she could not understand why she had to outlive her children. It was time to make her famous Berry and mascarpone dessert. The day she selected was fine. The mid-spring temperature was perfect. She went hunting for the fresh berries that she wanted to use. She wanted the black, sweet berries of the Belladonna that grew in the hills above town. Never having used these particular berries before, she was unsure how many she would need. She ended up collecting about 300 grams worth.

Back home, she cooked the berries for about ten minutes with sugar, a splash of water, and a squeeze of limone. Sbattili insieme. She mixed powdered sugar and vanilla with the mascarpone. Lia laboured to whip about 150ml of cream and folded it into the cheese she had already prepared.

Dipping finger biscuits into the berry sauce, she lined about ten of them up on a serving dish. Then spread the mascarpone in a thin layer before sprinkling more berries on top. Three layers of biscuits, cheese, and berries finished off the ingredients. There was only a bit of sauce remaining. She poured it over the top and placed the entire dish into the fridge to chill.

Lia pulled leftovers from the night before out of her small fridge. White beans that she’d simmered with garlic, peppercorns, and sage. She tossed the beans with tuna and splashed them with a bit of olive oil. A glass of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi topped off the meal. She found herself craving the berries and mascarpone but ate only about a quarter of what she had prepared before sitting in front of the window to relax.

It seemed almost no time when she wished she had another glass of wine, but she couldn’t be bothered. She preferred to sit. Her vision was becoming blurry, the world beyond her window glass reduced to a haze. There was a noise behind the front door. It took a while for her to turn her head, but when she looked around, she saw her baby. Her Luca was standing just inside the door. His arms spread wide.
“Mamma,” he said, “Mamma, vieni qui, mia cara, mamma.”



This week’s prompts were:

  1. sacred or grotesque
  2. smoky girl
  3. poor man’s poison

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 220- Candela Sanchez- GSA

Written for OLWG# 220



No thin mints to sell this year
takes it on herself to,
make her own cookies,
decorate brown lunch bags,
w/Crayola Crayons and Sharpies.
Fill them up with cookies,
staple them shut,
sell them to the neighbours and,
in front of Tilled Earth Market.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. Girl Scout Cookies
  2. muliebral
  3. spoiling for a fight

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 218- Trilogy

Written for OLWG# 218



Roxanne Tells Clifton

With a belly full of gin and a heart heavy with regret, Roxanne stumbled into the night. At the edge of the car park, she turned, raised her fist and yelled back, “Fuck you too, LeBlanc Beau-Nasty. I don’t need you!”

 

The Fortune Teller

“No, No, that can’t be true!” Cliff gasped.

“Oh, but it is,” responded the gipsy.

“Your precious and chaste Roxanne truly is with child.”

“I didn’t believe her. Now she’s gone, she left.”

 

The Workhouse

Four-year-old Andy LeBlanc hopped off the hard chair and reached up to hug his mother.

She didn’t lean down as he had hoped.

Instead, she reached down and tousled his dark hair before pulling her wrap tight and turning to leave.

He ran to the window and watched her walk away in the rain.

She paused only briefly at the gate.

 



This week’s prompts were:

  1. watched his mother walk away
  2. belly full of gin
  3. with child

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 217- The Tale of Red Molly and Her Jigsaw, as Told by my Grampa

Written for OLWG# 217



Me and Grampa stood at the overlook, gazing down on the valley that spread out below. The landscape consisted primarily of rocks, cholla, and prickly pear with chaparral (gobernadora) interspersed. Grandpa got that far away look in his eyes like he could see beyond the horizon. I knew that if I stayed quiet, he would tell me a story.

Shore ‘nuff, after a bit, he cleared his throat and pointed towards a mound in the middle of the valley.

“See that rise over there, boy?”

I didn’t speak, but I nodded my head. He must have heard it because he picked back up.

“Look a bit over halfway up the rise by that cluster of big rocks. That there’s where the underworld boss, Red Molly and her lieutenant Jigsaw McCue, will lie for all eternity.” I stopped talking for awhile and I thought that might be all he had to say about it. Then he picked back up, “See – back when I was a young man Red Molly and her Jigsaw controlled all the liquor, gambling and whores in the county.

“I worked for one of her adjutants, a man called ‘Gentle John’ running numbers on the east side. Gentle John was a giant of a man. He stood about six foot, eight inches and weighed maybe two-sixty. One night, just before I was fixing to go home, Gentle John pulled me aside and told me that Jigsaw wanted to see me. Ain’t that the shits? I asked why? What for? John just shrugged his shoulders. Said I was supposed to be at Andy’s around eight-thirty that night. Andy’s was a drinking establishment that Molly owned downtown on Sweet Street. The Jigsaw usually hung out in the back with some of his guys. They played cards, they hassled the ladies, and they drank. 

“That night, in the backroom at Andy’s, only Molly and Jigsaw sat at the card table. They weren’t drinking. They weren’t playing cards. McCue was on the phone, and Molly had a long thin cigar sitting in an ashtray near her right elbow, a curl of smoke drifting toward the light. She smiled when I came into the room.

“Molly told me that she had a job for me to do. She said she and Jigsaw wanted to take me out to the country and show me what needed doing.

“The whole thing made me nervous, but what was I gonna do? Huh? I shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘sure.’ They both got up, Jigsaw grabbed the deck of cards, and we went out the back door into the alley where a long black sedan waited for us. I opened the back door for Ms Molly and let her pull me in by the hand. McCue climbed behind the wheel, and the engine roared to life. We drove west out of town for almost an hour before we turned off the blacktop onto that dirt road.”

He pointed to the right of the mound, where I could see what might have been a rough track at some time, back in the day.

Grampa continued, “McCue pulled around to the lee side of the hill and stopped the car. He opened the boot and pulled out a shovel, threw it to me. Molly was slowly, deliberately, picking her way up the hill towards that pile of rocks. She sat down on one of ‘em, spread her knees apart as far as her skirt would allow, opened her handbag, and pulled out another one of her smelly cigars.  As she held the tip to a kitchen match, she spoke softly, ‘You need to dig two graves over there, Stitch. One of ‘em’s gonna be for you.’

“My blood ran cold. What the fuck had I done? I searched my memory, but I could not come up with anything that warranted my execution.

“I had a drop gun strapped to my ankle, though, so I got to work digging, working slow, waiting for an opportunity. I got the first hole dug. The night was hot, and I had taken off my shirt before I had dug even two feet deep. But I kept going till the Jigsaw told me it was deep enough. By the time that the second was about four feet deep. I felt beat. I was exhausted. The Jigsaw told me to lie down and make sure that I fit, but I didn’t do it. I crouched down instead and removed my pistol. When he came to look, I shot him. Hit him in the neck. Blood was spraying everywhere. Molly screamed as Jigsaw fell into the hole where I hid. I popped up, real quick like and shot her too. She went silent and fell backwards off the rock. She landed with a thump on the dirt.

“The Jigsaw had been real polite and fallen into the hole I had dug. I had to drag Red Molly to the one I had prepared for her.

“I searched her handbag and went through McCue’s pockets. Between the two of them, they had almost seven hundred dollars. I stuffed it in my pocket, covered ‘em both up and stomped the dirt down as good as I could. I drove back to town and parked the car about a block from Tony the Barber’s place. Next day was chaos. Everyone was running around trying to find Red Molly and her Jigsaw man. They found the car, but that was all. Two days later, The Barber went missin’. Never did find out what happened to him.”

Grampa looked at me over his shoulder. He turned and looked back over the valley. From the corner of his mouth, he whispered, “Don’t make me kill you now, boy. I don’t wanna have to do that.”

I shook my head, no.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. dig two graves
  2. not to be avoided
  3. the red cards

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 216- Danivoix

Written for OLWG# 216



Effie McDaniel was nigh-on the best looking woman in Danivoix, but she wasn’t easy to live with; she was thirty-three years old, had no children, had been married six and a half times (if you counted the time when she shacked up with Milton Toker for about six months, right after high school). These days, she was once again living with her Momma and Daddy. They lived not far from the park on Poplar, the one-way street that crossed Mission going south.

Effie’s daddy was desperate to get her out of the house, but he was beginning to think it was never going to happen. Then he met William C. Prentiss, a travelling book salesman out of Salem, and he had an idea.

Now Effie’s momma was named Earlene, and her daddy was called Buck. One Saturday afternoon, Buck and Earlene McDaniel went to the Buffet out on Route 63 for a bite to eat. They ended up working their way through the food line and sharing a booth with William C. Prentiss, who was in town to meet with Danivoix Independent School District representatives on Monday morning at 0945. He was hoping to sell them a few truckloads of textbooks, particularly books for High School English and Algebra use.

“You know,” Prentiss said, practising his sales pitch, “Kids these days need good textbooks more than ever. They need to learn the difference between Numeric Expressions and Variable Expressions.  They need to learn that apostrophe’s don’t make plural’s.” He added, jokingly, “At least I don’t think they do.” The three got along like a house afire, and Earlene invited William over to the house for a barbecue that same evening.

Now, I may have already mentioned that Effie was a stunner. It was she who answered Prentiss’ knock on the door that afternoon wearing a sheer white sundress. In his arms, Prentiss held a bottle of red wine and a bouquet.

In typical Effie fashion, she pulled the door open and spread her arms wide, “You must be Mr Prentiss. Mom and Dad said you were coming.” She gave him a quick and chaste hug before relieving him of his flowers and bottle of Lambrusco (frizzante). “I’ll get these flowers into a vase and grab an ice bucket to chill the wine. Mom and Dad are out back if you want to go through the den and out the slider. Can I bring you a drink? It’s still warm outside, and the beers are cold. We should let the wine chill for maybe fifteen or twenty minutes in the ice.”

William C. was immediately smitten. He took Effie up on her offer of a beer and headed out through the slider to the back patio so that he could greet his hosts. In due time, Effie came out with a tray loaded with a Peroni, covered in condensation and gave it to Prentiss. She had the bottle of Lambrusco on ice and four stemmed glasses. There was already a platter of antipasti on the table. It was a selection of cheeses and dried meats, along with a couple of bowls with olives.

The evening played along without a hitch. The steaks were perfectly grilled, and the company was companionable all around. Effie had conned Bill (he insisted that she call him Bill) into escorting her to church on Sunday morning. She secretly hoped that she could spend an hour or two, after church, lingering over a picnic lunch, under a tree, in the soft grass up by Prism Lake. There were places at Prism Lake where they could be alone. Effie thought that Bill looked like he’d be a good kisser. She wanted to find out.

Buck hoped the two kids would hit it off.

Earlene just kept watch as Bill interacted with her daughter. They seemed to be getting along well. She had already paired them together and thought of them as a couple. Earlene smiled, dreaming of grandchildren.



This week’s prompts were:

  • religion gets her all worked up
  • one way street
  • apostrophe’s don’t make plural’s?

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 215- Two-Step

Written for OLWG# 215



Joy stopped what she was doing and cocked her head to listen. There it was again, a light tapping; apparently, someone was at the door.

“Good afternoon, Ms Carmichael.” Julius Niedermeister, a colourful, local character, was standing on her stoop. He had his long hair brushed and pulled back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. His jeans and fancy western shirt were clean and pressed. His felt hat was clutched in his right hand, held across his chest, the crown pretty well crushed in his fist. He gripped, with his left hand, a brown paper bag. In the crook of his elbow rested a bouquet. There was a collection of red and pink roses that looked exactly like those grown at the courthouse. To complement the roses, he had added a few stems of bright yellow, star-shaped ragworts.

“Good afternoon to you, Mr Niedermeister.” Joy replied. “What can I do for you today?” She smiled.

“Uhm,” he fumbled with his belongings till he dropped his hat on the porch. He left it there and used his now empty hand to free the flowers. He held them out as an offering. “I was hoping that you were home, Ms Carmichael. I brought you these.”

Joy started a grimace but managed to turn it quickly into a smile. As she reached for the flowers, she managed to squeak out a reply, “Why thank you, thank you very much.”

He continued, “I’d also like to ask you, well, if it would be all right with you … I mean if you wouldn’t mind … I’d like to call on you from time to time.” He paused, and she just stood in the doorway smiling. Finally, he cleared his throat and held out the paper bag, “This is a bottle of red that I picked up at Harry and Mickey’s Mobil Station on my way over. They had it in the refrigerator section so, it’s already chilled if you’d like to have some. If it’s too early for you, you, well, you could pop it in the fridge and have it later. I mean, that’s OK with me.” He smiled and stared at her. He waited.

“I believe it is a bit early for me to be having wine. I have coffee on though, would you like to join me for a coffee on the porch?”

Niedermeister handed over the bottle and smiled, “Yes, ma’am. I would like that very much. Can I help you fetch it?”

“I wouldn’t hear of it, sir,” Joy said. She pointed at a pair of old rockers that straddled a low table near the end of the veranda, “Have a seat. I’ll get the coffee.”

He nodded and turned as she had indicated.

She left the door ajar and went back into the house, heading for the kitchen, where she found the remnants of a pound cake, also from Harry and Mickey’s. Quickly, she smeared some butter on it and threw it into the toaster. There was warm coffee left in the pot so, she split it up equally into two cups and put them into the microwave for thirty seconds. “What the fuck?” she thought to herself as she sat the hot mugs on a metal Coca Cola tray. A minute or so longer, and she pulled the pound cake from the toaster oven and spooned some jam on a saucer. With everything on the tray, she took a deep breath and pushed through the screen door, back to the porch.

Neidermeister jumped up and went to take the tray, which he sat on the low table.

Julius, he had insisted she call him Julius, needed no prodding to go after they finished their coffee and cakes. He was quite the gentleman and thanked her before taking his leave. At the pavement, he paused and turned back to her, “May I call on you again, Joy? May I call you Joy? Do you like art? Paintings?”

“You may call me Joy yes, I do like art, and I would welcome the opportunity to sit on the porch and visit with you again, Julius.” She shook her head and watched him two-step down the street until he turned the corner, and she lost sight of him.

 To be continued 



This week’s prompts were:

  • roses and weeds
  • Orleans inspiration
  • red from the petrol station