A Millenial Childhood

Late June 1994:

Tuesday June 21 1994 On a sunny summer morning, seven year old Marshall Elks was playing outside in his front yard. He was surrounded by two houses. One was vacant and the other had a troublesome neighbor. He lived in the town of Checker which is a suburb of Melody. Marshall was slightly short for his age, skinny and had straight, blond, almost white hair. He lived with his mom; Leah and dad; Barry. They were your typical suburban family people. Leah would spend her days watching soap operas, cleaning the house, and socializing with her girlfriends. Barry worked at a warehouse in the city of Melody, but would spend his free time either in the arms of Leah or playing with Marshall. They were not people to cause trouble and they did a fine job raising their son. The only problem they ever had to deal with was their neighbor, Boyd Bachmann. Constantly, he was causing problems with them. He had frequently thrown cigarette butts and empty beer cans in their yard, harassed Leah, and even beat Marshall on several occasions.

As Marshall was playing in the backyard, his mother was inside talking on her cordless phone to Barry who was on his lunch break at work. They were discussing their plans for the evening. The pay phone had run out of call credits, so affectionately they said their goodbyes and hung up.

A few minutes after, Marshall came in and said, “We have new neighbors coming in.”

Leah went out to greet them. It was a single mother and her daughter. Marshall and Leah walked over to them and introduced themselves.

Leah spoke, “Hello my name is Leah Elks, and this is my son Marshall.”

The woman replied, “Hi, nice to meet you. I am Nadine Rayne and this is my daughter, Elizabeth.”

Marshall looked curiously at Elizabeth as she smiled at him. She was eight years old, had auburn hair and very pale skin.

Leah looked at Nadine and asked, “Is there anything that you would need right now. If you need anything, I would be happy to help you in any way.”

Nadine replied, “Well, if you really want to, could you help me unload all of my fragile glass items?”

Leah agreed, and started to walk over.

Elizabeth added in, “Could I go play with Marshall?-PLEASE”

Leah and Nadine looked at each other then smiled and agreed.

“Stay in the backyard, Elizabeth,” Nadine said with concern.

Leah added in “That goes for you too, Marshall. Now you two watch over each other.”

Elizabeth then took Marshall by the hand and they went play. While unpacking; Leah and Nadine began to talk as if they were old friends.

Nadine said, “I am so glad you helped me, Leah, I haven’t had a friend in a long time.”

Leah replied, “Well, I would like it if we could be friends.” She paused, then continued “You seem like a very decent person and a much better neighbor than the jerk who lives on the other side.”

Nadine simply smiled as she said, “My daughter and I have really been through a lot over the past few months and we are here to hide from my ex boyfriend.” She paused and then continued, “After my husband died I grew lonely. Our daughter Elizabeth should have been enough to fill in the hole he left, but I guess I foolishy didn’t realize that. I guess for years of not having a man I grew very desperate.” She paused, then continued, again, “I found a boyfriend, who at first, seemed wonderful. Unfortunately, not long after, he beat the daylights out of me and Elizabeth. I wasn’t hurt that badly, but Elizabeth has slight brain damage from the trauma. That is why she is a little slow and somewhat overweight.”

Leah began to have tears in her eyes as she said, “My God Nadine, that is horrible.” She hugged her then continued “Why haven’t you gone to the cops?”

Nadine replied “Unfortunately, his family has connections with the sheriff; they won’t doing anything to stop him.” Nadine paused, then continued, “I am so sorry if I am disturbing you or unloading all my problems on you.”

Leah answered, “No, no, don’t worry about that. I am your friend, or at least I would like to be.”

Nadine smiled and then said “Yes, I do consider you a friend. I am glad to have one like you.”

They hugged each other and continued unpacking.

In the course of the conversation, Nadine said, “The cable installer won’t hook up my service today. I wish I could see my stories.”

Leah replied, “I like to watch the stories too, I would be happy for you to come watch them at my house.”

Nadine smile,d and then said, “Thank you. They are one of the few escapes I have from reality .”

After unpacking, Leah and Nadine went in the den and watched TV.

Marshall and Elizabeth were playing in the back yard unaware that Boyd was watching them. He was sitting on his driveway; drinking beer and watching their every move.

Elizabeth was soon full of freshly mowed grass and itching. She asked Marshall to scratch her back.

He did so instantly.

She then said “Thank you Marshall. Can I pay you back with a kiss?”

Marshall said, “Sure, I would like that.”

Elizabeth giggled and kissed him on the lips. Boyd started to approach the property line with an unjustified anger.

Elizabeth asked, “Who is that?”

Marshall answered “That’s Boyd, he is my mean old neighbor. He used to beat me when I was younger.”

Suddenly Boyd began to confront them.

Marshall began to shake.

Elizabeth gave him a hug, then kissed him and said, “Oh, Marshall don’t worry about that mean man. Just walk to my house where he will leave us alone.”

She took him by the hand and began walking him to her mother’s new house.

Suddenly, Boyd bellowed at them, “What the hell do you little bastards think you are doing? You know damn good and well that boys and girls are not supposed to play together!”

Elizabeth replied dismissively “What we are doing is none of your business.”

Boyd roared at them in reply, “Come to me now, little girl. I’ll teach you to talk to me like that. I am going beat your ass.”

Marshall began to tremble as Elizabeth shouted, “No I will not come to you.”

Boyd began charging at them.

Marshall then said, “Let’s get out of here!”

Elizabeth nodded and they ran into the Rayne’s house locking the door behind them. Both caught their breath and let out a sigh of relief.

“That was close, huh!” Elizabeth said.

Marshall replied, “Too close. I am glad that he couldn’t get me this time.”

Suddenly there was a loud banging on the door, along with Boyd yelling “Little girl, you better open this damn door right now!”

Hurriedly Elizabeth and Marshall ran into the her mother’s study room and hid under the desk. They held each other tight as Boyd continued to beat on the back door. Finally the banging stopped as Boyd grew tired and left. From the stress of getting away from Boyd, they were also very tired. Marshall and Elizabeth fell asleep under the desk.

Back at the Elks’ house, the stories on television were ending for the day. Nadine headed back to her house. As she went turned the door knob; she discovered it was locked. She reached in her purse for the house key and unlocked the door. Suddenly she realized that her daughter and Marshall were not in the backyard. Nadine walked all over the house, frantically looking for her daughter. Finally, she came upon the study room and saw Marshall and Elizabeth holding each other under the desk. She placed her hand on her heart and also breathed a sigh of relief.

She watched for a moment, then quickly went back to the Elks house and got Leah, telling her, “Get a camera, if you have one. It’s so cute, Elizabeth and Marshall are snuggling together, under my desk.”

Leah got her Polaroid camera and took several pictures of them.

Both mothers looked at them snuggling, then quietly continued to unpack.

They continued unpacking the belongings until finally the hour of five in the afternoon. Barry was coming in from work and Leah greeted him with a hug and a kiss. She then showed him the picture of Marshall laying down next to Elizabeth.

“That’s my boy!” Barry said happily as he kissed Leah once again. He then walked over and gently tapped Marshall on the shoulder.

Marshall woke up and screamed, “Don’t hurt us Boyd. Leave me and Elizabeth alone.”

Barry calmly held his alarmed son and asked, “What’s the matter Marshall?”

Immediately he calmed down and said “Nothing, I guess I had a bad dream.” Barry took his son home and they ate dinner. Meanwhile Nadine gently woke Elizabeth up and they ate dinner, each a Banqet Spaghetti and Meatballs entree.

After dinner was over, Elizabeth told her mother, “There is a mean man who lives on the other side of Marshall. He came after us today, because I gave Marshall a kiss on the lips.”

Nervously, Nadine asked her daughter, “Did he touch you in any way?”

Elizabeth answered “No, he was about to beat us up, but me and Marshall ran inside the house and locked the door behind us.” Elizabeth continued “He started banging on the door, so we went hide under the desk.”

Nadine said, “That must be why Marshall screamed about Boyd when his dad came pick him up.”

Elizabeth nodded then said, “Marshall said that the mean man beat him up several times when he was younger.”

Nadine then said, “I think we need to go and talk with Marshall’s parents, we can’t have that crazy man bullying you or Marshall or anyone else.”

Elizabeth replied, “I think so too.”

With that they both walked over to the Elks’ house.

Nadine knocked on the door.

Leah answered and asked, “Hey, it’s good to see you again. What’s going on?”

Nadine answered, “It seems there is a problem with your neighbor. I think his name is Boyd.”

Leah replied, “Well, I am not surprised at all. What did he do now?”

Nadine said “Boyd got his draws in a wad because he saw Elizabeth kiss Marshall. He then threatened to beat them.”

Elizabeth continued, “Yeah, and I told him what me and Marshall do is none of his business. He came running after us, until we ran inside my mommy’s house and locked the door.”

Leah called for her husband, “Barry, come see.”
Immediately Barry came out of his workshop and into the kitchen then asked, “What is going on?”

Leah replied, “Boyd is making trouble with the Marshall again and now Elizabeth. He threatened to beat them, simply because they were kissing in the backyard.”

“Durn it! I am sick of that jerk trying to boss the whole neighborhood around. Who does he think he is? If he touched my son again, he will have hell to pay.”

Leah said “Calm down Barry, he didn’t strike Marshall this time, but he sure tried.”

Barry said “Well, that tears it! Boyd has gotten away with way too much. I think the three of us need to go there and confront him.”

Leah nodded in agreement.

Nadine asked, “Can Elizabeth stay here with Marshall while we go? I think they would be safer if they were together.”

Both Barry and Leah nodded in agreement.

Leah said, “I think Marshall would like that. He has grown so fond of Elizabeth already. They are so cute together.”

Nadine smiled and said, “Yes they certainly are.”

Marshall was playing in his room when his parents called him down.

As he arrived Barry said, “Son, Ms. Nadine, your mother and I have to go tend to some business. I want you and Elizabeth to watch over each other, and play nice while we are gone.”

Marshall smiled from ear to ear, so did Elizabeth.

Leah added in, “Don’t open the door to anyone except for us.”

Marshall and Elizabeth nodded in agreement.

Nadine, Leah and Barry then walked over to Boyd’s property. Barry rang his doorbell and he answered them in a mean and drunken state. He angrilly asked them, “What do you dumbasses want?”

Nadine angrily answered, “I want you to never lay a hand on my daughter. I know you tried to earlier today.”

Barry continued “And I am sick and tired of you trying to beat my son. I thought I made it crystal clear to you in the past; you have no right to do anything to my child. If you don’t want to listen to me, I will call the cops and have them re-iterate it to you.”

Boyd angrily replied, “Let me tell all of you that I don’t want to see your children acting like little perverted animals. I don’t want trash like you people bringing my property value down because of the way your kids act. I am good friends with the sheriff. Keep it up with me, and I will call him. OCS will take your children way because you let them carry on like dogs in heat.” Barry answered him “Look you imbecile, what my child or anyone else’s child does is none of your business. AND if you want to talk about bringing down the value of property, you do a fine job of that being the filthy drunken pig you are. How many times have you thrown cigarette butts and empty bear bottles on my property. My child could cut himself on the glass. It’s all you who brings down the value of this neighborhood, but no one else wants to stand up to you!”

Boyd grew extremely angry and socked Barry in the jaw knocking him to the cement floor. Boyd then said “Now, if any of you confront me again, it will be a hundred times worse. Now get your asses off of my property before I get my shotgun.”

He then kicked Barry and latched the door. Leah and Nadine helped Barry up and they walked home in defeat.

Meanwhile; Marshall and Elizabeth were inside home alone.

Elizabeth asked Marshall “Could I give you another kiss?”

Marshall replied with giddiness, “Yes, I would like that.”

She kissed him, on the lips, then he kissed her forehead. Both were greatly attracted to each other, if one could call it attraction.

Marshall asked her, “What would you like to do?”

Elizabeth answered “Let’s go up to your room and play with your toys.”

Marshall nodded in agreement then walked her up to his room, as he said, “We can listen to the radio,” as he pointed to his Blueberry Realistic Brand Flavoradio.

“Then we can dance with each other,” Elizabeth added in, then asked “Would you even want dance with me?”

“Of course.” Marshall said turning on the radio. He extended the antenna out and tuned the dial around until he found a station playing music.

“Yay!” Elizabeth said with excitement.

As if they were two adults, they held each other and danced on the bedroom floor and they kept on until the grownups rang the doorbell. Both Marshall and Elizabeth came down to answer it.

Marshall asked, “Who’s here?”

His mother replied, “It’s us Marshall, you can let us in.”

Marshall undocked the deadbolt and opened the door. Nadine, Leah and Barry all walked in.

Marshall saw the bruise on his dad’s face and asked, “Dad, what happened?”

He replied, “That good for nothing Boyd punched me in the face.”

Marshall replied in anger, “One day, when I am a big man, I am going to beat the living daylights out of Boyd.”

Barry smiled at his son.

Leah giggled for a fractional second. Her laughter was quickly replaced with hot anger towards Boyd as she looked at her husband’s bruise.

She then spoke, “Baby, let me put some ice on your face.” She prepared a dish towel with some ice cubes and handed it to her husband, then they all sat down at the kitchen table. The two children and the three adults all began discussing the situation about Boyd.

Leah said to Marshall and Elizabeth, “Now, kids, if you two want to play together, go in each others room or somewhere safe inside.”

Nadine nodded then said, “Boyd won’t be able to see you and he certainly won’t be able to touch you.”

Barry interjected with frustration, “It is a shame that our kids have to play inside, it is as if we lived in some ghetto.”

Leah looked at Barry and then said, “I know, I know, but you know how corrupt the sheriff is. If he is friends with Boyd and Boyd is our enemy, there is a potential for much trouble on our end.”

Nadine said “The sheriff will only protect those he knows. He also persecutes anyone who disagrees with his cronies.” She paused in distress, then continued “I have to tell all of you something, but promise me you won’t repeat it. After my husband died, I met a man. He became my boyfriend, but he was very abusive. One night he took us into the woods and started yelling at me. He then beat me. Elizabeth being the wonderful daughter she is screamed ‘Don’t do that to my mommy.’ He then drew a gun and told us to lie on the ground. He forced me to the ground and cuffed me, then beat me with a large branch and raped me, in front of Elizabeth. I blacked out, but what he did next was so horrible. He took Elizabeth and pistol whipped her in the head. After he was done he slammed her to the ground. He then un-cuffed me and drove off as he said if an evil laugh, ‘We are done, but if you ever tell anyone about this, I will kill you.'” Nadine paused then continued “He said ‘Don’t try going to the cops either. I know the sheriff personally I will find out and you will wish you had never been born.'”

Barry and Leah were shocked and horrified at what was just told to them.

Barry asked, “Did he do anything sexual to Elizabeth? Because other the state police might come to our aid if he did, despite what the sheriff thinks.”

Elizabeth added in, very frankly, “No he never did anything like that to me, just my mommy. He would beat me though if she didn’t sleep with him.”

Nadine then said, with a tear in her eye, “That is why Elizabeth is like she is, but she has a heart of gold.”

Leah went over and hugged Nadine while she said, “I am so sorry, Nadine. If ever you need to vent about this, come over and talk to me. I will try my best to listen and help you.”

Nadine replied, “Thank you, Leah, you are a true friend.”

Barry said, “Sounds to me if your ex boyfriend knows the sheriff and Boyd knows the sheriff, we are all on the brink of a living nightmare.”

Both Leah and Nadine nodded in a dsitressful agreement.”

Elizabeth then said, “Let’s try not to think about that but instead enjoy our company.”

“You’re right, baby girl,” Nadine replied.

Nadine looked at Marshall, then said sternly, “You know Marshall, when you and Elizabeth start school, the other kids might harass her. I hope you will stand by her then too.”

Boldly, Marshall said, “Of course I will. I’m not a popular kid either, but I think Elizabeth is really pretty and sweet. If any kids pick on her, they’ll have to answer to me!” Marhsall then took off his shirt and made a fighting stance.

Barry smiled with pride and said, “That’s my boy!”

Leah added in, “Don’t hit any girls that pick on her, though.”

Marshall replied, “I know. Instead, I’ll just kiss Elizabeth in front of them and say how Elizabeth is better and they could never have me.”

Leah beamed and said, “That’s my sweet boy!”

Elizabeth kissed Marshall in front of everyone, then spoke, “You make me the happiest girl there is, Marshall!” She kissed him again.

The grownups all smiled as they sat at the kicthen table.

Marshall and Elizabeth sat together on the kitchen floor.

They talked on into the night, as if they were all old friends. Finally, Leah looked at the clock on the microwave oven told Marshall, “Time to go to bed.”

Elizabeth interrupted and asked “Can I kiss Marshall goodnight?”

All of the grownups laughed then, Leah said “Sure, hurry up.”

Whole-heartedly, Elizabeth hugged Marshall tight, then kissed him on the lips.

The grownups giggled once more.

Nadine said, “They are so cute together.”

Barry added in, beaming with pride, “That’s my boy.”

Nadine then continued, “I just hope that Elizabeth can live a normal life after what my ex boyfriend did to her. I know she has brain damage, but we have her teachers and doctors helping her.”

Leah added in, “Let’s just say Marshall and Elizabeth end up together. If he is as sweet to her as he is now, I think they can lead a normal life.”

Nadine answered, “That would be wonderful.” She paused, then said “Well we better get going.”

Leah answered, “Well, come back soon.”

Nadine answered, “I sure will, thank you for being a friend Leah.”

“Sure thing, anytime,” Leah replied.

And with that Nadine picked Elizabeth up and walked home. After putting her daughter to bed she sat down in her living room with a glass of red wine and watched the television.

Not long after, Leah and Barry went to bed.

Leah told Barry as she turned out the light, “I am proud of you for standing up for what is right, I just wish we could get back at Boyd for hitting you like that.”

Barry replied, “I didn’t see it coming I guess, otherwise it would have been him on the floor and not me.”

Leah replied, “No Barry, then you would have gone right to jail, or worse, gotten shot, remember he is friends with the sheriff.”

“That corrupt sheriff is the one who belongs in jail. That goes for Nadine’s ex boyfriend as well. They ought to take him hang him up by his nuts and then pour honey and red ants all over him. I can about imagine what Nadine is going through. If anyone did something like that to Marshall, I would slit his throat with a good heart.”

Leah stifled him as she said, “Watch your temper, Barry!”

To which Barry replied, “You know I am passionate about protecting my family.”

Leah giggled and asked, “What else are you passionate about?”

He replied “You.”

They at once became intimate.

Later on in the night, Barry and Leah awoke to hear Marshall screaming, “Get out of my room Boyd.”

Barry came in with a 3D Maglite flashlight, actually thinking Boyd was in his son’s room.

He shined his flashlight at his son and said “What is going on?”

Marshall was now awake and said, “I had a night mare that my wall facing Boyd’s house was gone. Then he had walked into my room and was fixing to beat me and Elizabeth. He wanted to beat us because we were dancing in my room.”

Barry said, “Well thank God it was only a dream. Are you okay now son?”

Marshall replied “Yes I am okay now. It seemed so real.”

Marshall closed his eyes and then said, “Goodnight dad.”

Barry smiled and said “Goodnight son.”

At the same time, Nadine woke up to hear Elizabeth screaming, “Leave me and Marshall alone Boyd. We are just dancing and it is none of your business.”

Nadine walked to her daughter’s room and said, “What is the matter Elizabeth?”

She was shaking and said, “Boyd was trying to beat me and Marshall because we were dancing together.”

Nadine replied, “I think you just had a night mare.”

“It seemed so real,” Elizabeth said.

Nadine commented, “I wouldn’t put it past Boyd.”

Elizabeth was falling back to sleep when Nadine kissed her and said, “Goodnight Elizabeth.”

“Goodnight Mommy,” She replied.

Wednesday June 22: The next morning, after Barry went off to work, Leah invited Nadine over for coffee. They were sitting down at the kitchen table discussing different matters when Boyd came up in the conversation.

Nadine said, “You know my daughter had a night mare that Boyd was trying to beat her and Marshall, because they were dancing.”

Leah set down her coffee cup in disbelief as she spoke “Really? Marshall had a similar dream too. He was screaming blue murder for Boyd to get out of his room.” Barry retrieved his Maglite flashlight, because he actually believed that Boyd was in the bedroom. When Barry walked in, Marshall had completely woke up and said something about Boyd was trying to beat him and Elizabeth. What strikes me as odd, is that he too said something about him and Elizabeth dancing.”

Nadine said “Oh, I have read that certain people who have strong emotional ties to each another can experience similar thoughts and dreams-at the same time. I know they are getting close to each other and they are so cute together.”

Leah added in “Wouldn’t it be something if they ended up marrying each other when they grow up?”

Nadine replied “Yes it would be something. I would be happy for them because they would have experienced no heartache, since they found each other at such a young age.”

Just as Nadine finished talking, Marshall was waking up and walking into the kitchen.

Leah asked him, “Hey Marshall, is Elizabeth your girlfriend?” Marshall simply nodded his head, blushed awkwardly and smiled from ear to ear.

Nadine added in, “Are you going to marry Elizabeth one day?”

“I sure hope so,” Marshall answered, blushing even more.

They both laughed and then Marshall said, “Speaking of Elizabeth, where is she?”

Nadine replied, “Oh, she is sleeping, but it is time for her to get up. Do you want to go to my house and get her up?”

Once again Marshall smiled from ear to ear and nodded his head.

“Come on, I’ll walk you there,” Nadine said, then took her house key out of her pajama pocket, as they walked over to the house. Nadine and Marshall walked into Elizabeth’s bedroom.

Gently, Marshall kissed her on the forehead and said “Good morning, beautiful. Time to wake up.”

Elizabeth rubbed her eyes and then realized who was waking her up. She then smiled from ear to ear and pecked Marshall on the cheek.

Nadine giggled at them and they all walked out of the room. The three of them headed back to the Elks’ house.

On their way walking Elizabeth said, “Can me and Marshall play together again today?”

Nadine replied, “Yes you sure can, but I want you and Marshall to play inside, on account of Boyd. The good have to suffer for the bad unfortunately.”

Elizabeth replied, “That’s all right as long as Me and Marshall can play together, I would feel safer if Boyd couldn’t get to us, anyway.”

They arrived back at the Elks house, Marshall and Elizabeth went up to the bedroom.

Leah and Nadine sat in the kitchen and continued talking.

“I’m glad Elizabeth has found someone who makes her happy. She has been through a lot, but it seems that Marshall brings that bright smile back to her face,” Nadine said.

Leah replied, “It is good that they have each other because Marshall needs someone to interact with.”

Nadine nodded, and they continued to talk on through the morning.

Up in the bedroom Marshall and Elizabeth were sitting in the window seat enjoying the view, well except for the fact that Marshall’s window faced Boyd’s house. They saw Boyd sitting in his driveway on a lawn chair drinking beer. Quickly they backed from the window seat and decided to play with one of Marshall’s toys. They opened his back pack and found his Blueberry Falovradio.

Marshall said, “We can listen to music while we play.”

Elizabeth nodded and continued looking through his back pack until she found Marshall’s green and pink Power Ranger figures.

Elizabeth smiled and said, “Look it’s Tommy and Kimberly. We can play like I am Kimberly and you are Tommy.”

Marshall nodded and then asked, “Who is the monster we will be fighting?”

Elizabeth giggled as she answered “That’s easy, we can pretend that Boyd is the monster.”

Marshall nodded and laughed.

They turned the radio on and began to play with the action figures when Leah walked in the room to check on them.

She asked, “What are you two playing?”

Very matter of factly, Marshall answered “We are playing Power Rangers, I am Tommy and Elizabeth is Kimberly.”

Elizabeth added in “Yep and Boyd is the monster we are trying to defeat.”

Leah laughed and then went downstairs to get Nadine. They came back up and Leah told Elizabeth, “Tell your mom what you and Marshall were playing.”

Elizabeth repeated, “We are playing Power Rangers, I am Kimberly, Marshall is Tommy and Boyd is the evil monster.”

Nadine covered her mouth out of shock but began to laugh out loud, then asked, “How are you going to defeat Boyd the monster?”

Elizabeth replied, “The Pink Ranger is going to run away from him and Boyd is going to chase her.”

Marshall continued, “Then Boyd is going to start running really fast and the Green Ranger is going to trip him. Then he will fall down and explode.”

Both of the adults giggled hysterically. They played until the hour of Nine AM, when Leah and Nadine came up to feed both of them breakfast.

Nadine and Elizabeth left the house but not before Elizabeth gave Marshall a kiss.

After Elizabeth and Marshall were done eating breakfast, this time Marshall came over to the Rayne house to play. He brought his transistor radio with him, so they could have music to dance too. Marshall entered Elizabeth’s room and they sat down on her mattress together and talked for a while.

Elizabeth asked Marshall, “Are you my boyfriend?

Marshall smiled brightly and said “Yes.”

Elizabeth then asked, “Even though I am slow and chubby?”

“Of course, I want you forever! And I think you’re beautiful!”

“Are we going to get married when we grow up?” Elizabeth asked.

Marshall kissed her and then said “I would love for us to get married.”

Elizabeth smiled sweetly and hugged him.

Marshall then asked, “What do you want to do now?”

Elizabeth replied, “Snuggle and kiss you.”

The air conditioning unit was running at full blast in that room, so it was quite cold in there. Both of them were shivering. They covered under Elizabeth’s blanket, then kissed several times.

Marshall then told her “You have pretty hair. Could I play with it?”

Elizabeth nodded in agreement.

Marshall began to run his fingers through her hair, gently.

She said “Oh, I like it when you play with my hair, Marshall.”

He kissed her on top her head.

There was a moment of silence, until Marshall asked “Why don’t we listen to my Flavoradio?”

Elizabeth smiled and said “Okay. That would be nice.”

Once again, Marshall pulled out the antenna and tuned the dial around.

He picked up The Pretenders singing “I’ll Stand By You”

Elizabeth said “This could be our song.”

Marshall kissed her and said “This is our song.”

They listened to the lyrics as best as they could. Elizabeth said “You know I was beaten, and now I am messed up in the head and I’ve also gotten fat, which makes me hurt so much on the inside. I try not to show it though. When I am around you Marshall, I feel better. I want you to be my boyfriend forever. I want you to stand by me.”

Marshall kissed her again and said, “I will. I want to stand by you forever.”

Elizabeth threw her arms around Marshall and said, “Hold me tight.” They held each other for a while as Elizabeth cried slightly. She was thinking of what her mom’s ex boyfriend had ruined her life, but also how wonderful Marshall was to her.

Nadine walked in on them and saw Elizabeth with tears in her eyes.

She asked “Elizabeth, what’s the matter sweetie?” She replied “I am hurting because of what your ex-boyfriend did to me. But I also have tears of happiness because Marshall is kind to me.” She paused then said “When me and him grow up, I want to marry him.”

Nadine covered her mouth and was holding back tears herself. She then collected herself and asked Marshall “Do you want to be her boyfriend and no one else’s?”

Marshall nodded and blushed. Nadine continued “Well I am very happy about that. Just make sure you two are good to each other.”

Marshall and Elizabeth sat up in her room until it was lunch time.

Marshall went back home and Elizabeth was fed by Nadine.

After Nadine and Elizabeth finished eating lunch, they went shopping at the Service Merchandise in Melody.

Nadine needed some small appliances and housewares. Marshall stood in the driveway watching them leave and anxiously waiting their return.

Leah came out and said “You miss Elizabeth don’t you?”

Marshall nodded and then said, “She is my girlfriend and she belongs with me.”

Leah said “Well, you come in. I don’t want Boyd making trouble with you.”

Marshall agreed and walked in.

He went up to his room and sat in the window seat. Marshall listened to his Flavoradio, hoping for the song ”ll Stand By You” to come on. He listened to hours, but it never came on. He saw Boyd walking to his driveway and sitting down to drink beer. Immediately he walked away from his window seat, as he didn’t want to be seen. Marshall laid down on his bed and shined his Mini Maglite flashlight up at the ceiling for a while. It came bundled with the bigger Maglite his Dad owned and had bought two summers ago after a tornadic thunderstorm had knocked the current off. He was sad being away from Elizabeth. He began to look in his backpack where he kept all of his toys. He found his set of Realistic FM walkie talkies.

Marshall said to himself, “I could give one of these to Elizabeth, and we can talk to each other from our rooms.” He checked both of the radios for a 9 Volt battery. Thankfully, each radio had a battery installed. Marshall smiled and tested both of them out, to which they worked perfectly. To keep himself busy until she came back, Marshall pulled out his tape recorder. He knew it would be a good idea to tape himself, then give it to Elizabeth as a message.

He pressed the record button, held the microphone to his mouth and began to speak, “Elizabeth, I am so happy that you are my girlfriend. I am so sorry that you had to go through all of those bad things. I want to make you feel better. I feel sad when we are not together. I want to be yours forever. Every time we hug and kiss; I feel wonderful. I wish we could play outside in the grass like the day we did when we met. I wish I could protect you from Boyd. I love you Elizabeth.”

After recording the tape he placed it in its jacket then in his bag. Marshall then went to the other side of the house where he could see Nadine and Elizabeth coming in from shopping. For about 45 minutes he waited. Finally he saw Nadine’s Dodge Caravan coming down the driveway. Marshall walked down with the tape and the two walkie talkies. He greeted Elizabeth and they kissed. He then gave her the tape and one of the walkies. He told her before you go to bed tonight, listen to this tape. Then you can call me over the walkie talkie. We can talk until we fall asleep.

Elizabeth smiled brightly and then asked, “What’s on the tape?”

Marshall replied, “I have message from me to you.”

Elizabeth kissed him again and said, “Thank you for the gifts.”

Nadine called Elizabeth and said, “Come help me unload everything.”

Elizabeth then asked, “Can Marshall come too?”

“He sure can,” Nadine replied.

Nadine opened the back door to her mini van and said, “Now you two bring the goods to my kitchen table and be VERY careful.”

“OK, Mommy,” Elizabeth replied, then continued “Come on Marshall, let’s get to work. After that we can go to my room.”

For the rest of the afternoon, they sat up in Elizabeth’s room playing and talking; kissing and hugging. Nadine checked up on them every so often and sometimes had to fight back tears. The way Marshall brought back the smile to Elizabeth’s face and the way Elizabeth gave Marshall someone to interact with, brought plenty of happiness to Nadine. If it was not for the problem with Boyd, Nadine was willing to admit that her life was wonderful again. It was now time for dinner, so Marshall went home.

As he left, he told Elizabeth “When the clock on the cable box says 8:00 PM turn you radio on and call me. We can talk until we go to bed.”

Elizabeth’s eyes twinkled and she kissed him.

Marshall went home and then ate dinner. Both sat in their dens waiting for the cable boxes to display the time of 8:00 PM. Hours crawled by. Finally, Marshall went up into the loft and turned his radio on.

A minute passed then Elizabeth’s voice came crackling in.

He smiled as they began to talk.

Elizabeth spoke, “What you told me on that tape was really sweet. I am going to keep it close to my heart forever.”

Marshall replied “I meant every word of it. I am your boyfriend and I am going to be the best boyfriend ever.”

Elizabeth replied “I wish I could kiss you right now.”

Marshall replied “Tomorrow we will kiss.”

“Yes we will,” Elizabeth said happily.

There was an awkward silence, followed by a sudden sequence of dial tones. Both were startled.

Soon they heard Sotty’s voice. In fright, they continued to listen. They could only hear his voice and not the voice of the other party.

He spoke, “Hey, I know it is late, but I have a favor to ask you.” Boyd continued “My neighbors have young children and they allow them to act innappropriately. They hug and kiss each other and I find they play inside together a lot too. It is disgusting and it is bringing down the value of the neighborhood.” There was another pause and Boyd spoke again “I would like you to send some of your boys out to just watch them, see if you can arrest them for anything.” “Okay, thank you. That should show those sick bastards.”

They then heard a disconnect tone and Boyd was gone.

Elizabeth came in over the radio “Do you think he is gone?”

Marshall replied “I don’t know but I think you need to tell your mom and I need to tell my parents what we heard.”

Elizabeth replied “Yes, let’s go tell them now.”

They both signed off of the radios.

Marshall walked out of the loft and saw his dad watching television in the den. In distress, he walked up to him and said “I was talking to Elizabeth on the walkie talkies and we heard Boyd talking on the phone. He was telling someone to have his boys watch over the neighborhood because of the way me and Elizabeth play together.”

Immediately Barry took the remote and turned off the TV and spoke with anger, “That control freak has gone too far this time.” He paused then said “Leah, please come see, quick.” Leah came in and Barry continued ” Boyd is plotting against us. Marshall tell your mother what you just heard.” Marshall repeated the events.

Meanwhile Elizabeth went to her mom and explained the situation.

Nadine told Elizabeth, “This breaks my heart and it will break your’s and Marshall’s as well, but until all of this blows over, you two will have to stay apart.” Both burst into tears and hugged each other. Nadine then said “I am going to call Leah and Barry.” At the Elks’s home, the phone rang.

Leah looked at the ID screen and answered “Hey.”

Nadine asked, “Did Marshall tell you and Barry what he heard on the walkie talkies?”

Leah replied, “Yes, Barry and I were just discussing it. I am in complete anger and disbelief that Boyd is plotting against us. I wish we could get a lawyer or something.”

Nadine replied “I am afraid for my life. What if my ex boyfriend finds out where I live?”

Leah spoke in total distress, “I don’t know, I wish there was a way we could protect ourselves.”

Both broke down in tears and hung up.

Nadine, still crying, said “Elizabeth, maybe you and Marshall could send each other a tape recording of each other, every day but you two cannot play together or talk on those walkies. It will get better once school starts though, then you will see each other everyday.”

Elizabeth ran to her room crying.

Back at the Elks’ house, Barry was talking with Leah and Marshall, “I think I know how I can handle the situation. There is a young man I work with, his name is James Ryan. He listens to a device called a police scanner, . It allows anyone to hear what the police are talking about on their radios. As soon as I see him tomorrow, I will talk to him about what I need. I would call him tonight, but it is late.”

THURSDAY June 23 1994: Marshall woke up at 10:00. He sat in his room bored and miserable. He wished he could be spending his time with Elizabeth, but due to Boyd’s hateful actions, he couldn’t. Likewise, Elizabeth was sitting in her room, crying.

Nadine walked in the room and asked “What’s the matter, baby girl?”

She replied “I miss Marshall. He is really nice to me and I want him to be my boyfriend forever.”

“I know, I know.” Nadine said as she hugged her.

Elizabeth continued, “It seemed everything was going woderful and I find Marshall, but that mean old Boyd stops us from being together.”

“I know what I am going to do,” Nadine said.

Elizabeth asked, “What?”

Nadine continued, “I am going to call Leah and see if we can get together and take you and Marshall to the park.”

“You really will?” Elizabeth asked with excitement.

Nadine smiled and said, walking to the phone, “Of course I will. You and Marhsall should be able to be together one way or another.”

Nadine dialed the phone.

Leah recognized the caller I.D. and picked up, “Hello?”

Nadine said, “Are you talking on your cordless phone?”

Leah said, “Yes, hold on, I will switch to the corded one.”

Leah swapped the phones.

Nadine continued, “How is Marshall?”

Leah replied, “Very sad, all he does is lay down in his bed.”

Nadine said “Elizabeth is crying her eyes out here and wishing that she and Marshall could play together.” She paused and then continued “What if we all went to the park? Boyd won’t be able to see us .”

Leah replied “Sure that sounds wonderful. I am going to tell Marshal the good news and have him get ready.”

Meanwhile Barry was at work on his coffee break.

James was walking by drinking a bottle of orange juice.

Barry said, “Hey James, come see.”

“What you got, Barry?” He asked.

Barry continued, “I have heard you have a device which can pick up the police. I want one and would like your advice on how to work it. The cops are making trouble with my neighbor and I am trying to help her.” He paused and then said “She is a widowed mother and has already been through plenty.”

James asked in disgust, “What could they possibly want with her?”

Barry replied, “We live in Checker and that should tell you enough about the sherriff there. He can be quite corrupt.” Barry paused and then said “My neighbor on the other side of me doesn’t like the lady I was telling you about. Unfortunately he is friends with the sherriff. I am trying to be prepared for my family and her and her daughter’s sake.”

James said “Well, I would be happy to help you my friend.”

Barry asked “Could you tell me where I would be able to get one and how much it would cost?”

James said “They are sold as Radio Shack and a good one costs between three and four hundred, unfortunately that is what you need these days.”

“Durn it.” Barry said.

James continued, “I have a charge account at Radio Shack I can buy it for you on time. Just pay me back and it doesn’t have to be all at once. I have money-I guess it’s because I am young and single.”

“That is true.” Barry said, then continued “But my wife and my son are my world and you don’t know what you are missing.”

“Maybe you’re right. I just want to find the right girl though before I make any committments.” James said. He paused, then asked “Do you want to go to Radio Shack on our lunch break?”

Barry said “Sure, that sounds like a plan.” He paused then asked “How ’bout I buy you lunch?”

James said “Nah man, don’t worry about that.”

Barry replied, “No I insist. We can go to Subway and I will get you a foot long sandwich of any kind. It’s even in the same mall as Radio Shack.”

“Well all right, that sounds good to me.” James answered. He finished his bottle of juice, looked at his watch and said “Well, I have to get back to work.”

“Yes, I do too. Thanks again.” Barry said and shook his hand and punched back in.
Where I plan to go with this:

Later that day:
Barry buys a scanner, a Radio Shack Realistic Pro 2022 on James Ryan’s charge account.

They then eat at Subway. Barry buys James a Footlong Turkey Breast while he eats a Footlong Honey and Ham Dijon.

When he gets home, he installs it in his kitchen. He talks to James on the phone on how to program it properly.

Later on in summer:
Barry is listening to his scanner and hears the cops talking about their plan to plant drugs on Nadine and her house. He tells Leah and Marshall. Quickly they warn Nadine to leave as soon as possible. She grabs Elizabeth and a few of their belongings then gets in her car and leaves. This is a very emotional good bye for Elizabeth and Marshall. They don’t see each other again until the summer of 2003.

Barry confronts one of the cops and warns him how he knows what the sheriff is up to. He threatens to alert the feds and reminds the young deputy about the potential loss of his job. Barry also describes Nadine’s situation with her abusive boyfriend she is trying to hide from. Deputy comes to his senses and goes with Barry and Leah.

By this time though, Nadine and Elizabeth are out of contact with the Elks…

Back to “Works of Fiction”

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