Reunion and Tragedy-Written in May of 2003

I initially wrote this in May of 2003 but edited it many times over. The grammar and wording still need work, but as always please be patient and try not to nit-pick. I tried to capture the raw emotion I was feeling back then but I’m not sure I have done that well. It might not always be a good thing to trade emotion for better wording. My sixteen-year-old self would definitely agree. I guess we all fall prey to the big conformity machine somehow, though some more than others. However, this story still hits close to home in many ways for me. There are some choices my characters in this story make that I would no’t advise doing ever, but my mindset was different in 2003 than it is now (2016-present.)

DISCLAIMER:
Let me first say that most people working in law enforcement are decent and honest individuals who want to make their communities safer. While I do agree that the less-than-ethical ones need to be weeded out, every human being that ever lived has at one point in his or her life been less-than-ethical. But this story isn’’t even about corrupt law enforcement, it just briefly mentions the subject. With that being said, kids and teens everywhere, if you have a neighbor that is abusing you, tell your parents, teachers or another trusted adult. Have them contact law enforcement for you so you will be taken seriously. Don’t ever confront or antagonize abusive people, but rather let the law handle it. Only resort to violence with an abusive person if you feel your life or body is in immediate danger. On another topic: Pre-marital sex is never a good idea (unless the couple plans to immediately get married.) Underage sex is never a good idea either (unless with the parents’’ blessing, preferably with marriage included.) Even if you fail to adhere to this advice, at least realize that true love should ALWAYS be a prerequisite for sex, no matter what! While I will admit that my two main characters did, in fact, have true love for each other, they were still very reckless. Now that I have preached this, please enjoy the story…

Between late May and late July of 2003…
This story starts off with a sixteen-year-old boy named Marshall Elks. He and his mom are preparing to have visitors at their house. They were a woman, Miss Rayne, who went to school with Marshall’s mom and her daughter Elizabeth Rayne who was about seventeen. Marshall and Elizabeth were close friends as young children, though they were quite shy of each other. Unfortunately, they became separated some twelve years ago. Now that you have the background to the story, (look at me I broke the fourth wall) I will bring you into plot already in progress.

“Marshall, you remember Elizabeth Rayne, right?”

“Of course I do. I think about her every day.”

“How would you feel if I told you that she was coming to visit us?”

“I would be overjoyed!”

“Well, she and her mother will be here in about two hours.”

“You’re joking, right?”

“Nope. Serious as a heart attack.”

“Then I’ll get ready.”

“Good idea, Marshall.”

With that, he went into the bathroom where he scrubbed his body and hair, then shaved. Afterward, he brushed his teeth and rinsed his mouth.
Marshall wanted to appear as neat as possible for Elizabeth, as he had feelings for her those years ago. In actuality, those feelings had never left him, but instead multiplied and strengthened. His only hope was that somehow, even after these twelve long years, Elizabeth would feel the same way.

He paced the floors nervously, awaiting Elizabeth’s arrival. Finally, he heard the minivan pulling up and saw Elizabeth stepping out of it with her mom. Marshall watched them through the transom as they walked to the door, then rang the bell. Immediately he opened the door and beheld Elizabeth face to face.

He choked up and blushed but then regained his composure as he spoke to her, “I’ve been wanting so badly to see you again for such a long time.”

Elizabeth smiled from ear to ear and giggled, then embraced him.

Marshall continued, “Do you even remember me?”

Elizabeth hugged him tighter, then looked into his eyes as she said, “I’ve thought about you every single day since we last saw each other. I’ve missed you so much. If only you knew.”

Marshall smiled, and said, “I am elated that we have this chance to meet again!”
He hugged her once more and then they came inside.

The two mothers began talking.

Ms. Elks asked Ms. Rayne, “So what brings you back out here?”

“I got behind on my rent and we were eventually evicted. So we loaded up my van with what we could take and headed back east. I called you on my cell phone but I didn’t want to say we were homeless over the phone.”

“Don’t worry you can stay here as long as you like. I don’t think Marshall would mind.”

“I don’t think Elizabeth would mind either, look how gaga they are over each other.”

“We’re both single parents and I hope they don’t make the same mistakes as us.”

“I think if they did, they would stick with each other, they’re so much in love. If you would have seen their faces.”

“I didn’t need to; you should have seen how excited Marshall was when I told him Elizabeth was coming.”

…So…

After a long drive and a tiring day, Ms. Rayne and her daughter Elizabeth unpacked their few items and settled in at the Elks’ house.

They each took a sofa in the living room and Marshall went lay down in his bed. He tried to sleep, but couldn’t. He was much too excited that the girl he had feelings for so long was finally under the same roof as him. He grabbed his Energizer Find Me flashlight, walked out of his room and saw Elizabeth laying down on the sofa, staring at the ceiling. The yellowish-white glow from Marshall’s flashlight frightened her briefly, but then she smiled from ear to ear when she realized it was him.

“Would it be all right if you came to my room?” Marshall asked with slight nervousness.

Elizabeth brightly beamed and nodded, then hand in hand they walked to his room.

They sat on his bed, awkwardly, but then Marshall spoke, “Elizabeth, you’re just as sweet as I remember and even more beautiful now that you’re a young lady. I’ve been in love ever since we met as children, I just didn’t realize it until after you left. I want you so much right now and my only hope is that we’ll never be away from each other again.”

Elizabeth held Marshall’s hands and pulled his head into her breasts as she spoke, “I too had feelings for you back then. I thought we would always be near each other and grow up together. I was crushed when I had to move far away. But, now, we have a chance to be together again. I cannot promise that we’ll never be away from each other again, but I definitely want to make tonight worth it.”

Their lips met, guided by the glow of Marshall’s flashlight.

Marshall nervously asked, “”Do you mean what I think you mean when you asked ‘to make tonight worth it’?”

Elizabeth giggled gently and nodded her head.

Passionately they then removed each others’ clothes and became intimate. It was the first time for both of them. Afterward, they talked into the night. At sunrise, Elizabeth returned to the sofa without either mothers’ detection.

The next day, Ms. Elks woke Marshall up and said, “Ms. Rayne and I are going shopping. I want you to take Elizabeth to the park and show her a good time.”

He nodded.

Elizabeth was already up and she winked at Marshall.

The two mothers left the house. Marshall and Elizabeth went back and became intimate once again.

After they experienced the beauty and wonder of release once more, Elizabeth said, “We should really go to the park just so our moms don’t begin to wonder what we’re actually doing.”

“You’re right. We can take my old Buick Regal to the park.”

They walked out of the house and began to lean against Marshall’s car and lovingly caress each other until they were confronted by Marshall’s bullying neighbor, Boyd Bachmann.

“Stop that *word I no longer use in my writing* right now!” He shouted at them.

“Just ignore him,” Marshall whispered in Elizabeth’s ear.

She nodded and they continued to engage in their passionate affections.

Boyd came back with a long broomstick and shouted, “If you don’t knock it off right now, I’m going to take this stick and beat both of your *words I no longer use in my writing*!”

“This is none of your business, Boyd, go home!” Marshall shouted.

Boyd replied, “Marshall, I beat your *word I no longer use in my writing* when you were a little boy and I’m not afraid to do it again.”

“I’ll call the cops if you touch him,” Elizabeth said.

“I know the sheriff; his men won’t touch me. Furthermore, I’ll tell any deputies that come here what you and Marshall were doing in that house.”

Marshall gave *half the peace sign* to Boyd.

“Did you just flip me off you little *word I no longer use in my writing*?”

Marshall said, “Yes I did flip you off.”

Boyd then struck Marshall across his back with the broomstick.

“That’ll make y’all stop. Y’all think that y’all can act like dogs in heat, but it’s not going to happen while I’m around. And I’m going to beat both of your *word I no longer use in my writing* again if y’all talk back.”

“Well *word I no longer use in my writing* you, Boyd,” Marshall said.

Boyd punched Marshall in the face, knocking him to the cement, then struck him several times with his broomstick.

“Now, I’m going call the cops on both of you,” Boyd said, then walked back to his house.

Elizabeth said in distress, “Come, on Marshall, let’s get out of here.”

“Can you drive us, Elizabeth? I’m hurt.” Marshall asked.

She nodded and they stepped into Marshall’s Buick and started it.

They drove off but then Marshall saw Boyd’s truck in passenger-side mirror. He began to tremble.

Elizabeth saw his distressed appearance and asked, “What’s the matter?

“That good for nothing Boyd Bachmann is following us.”

“Should I tap your brakes?” Elizabeth asked.

Marshall nodded and Elizabeth tapped his brakes.

Boyd flashed a revolver at them.

Elizabeth saw and sped off. Boyd followed just as fast. There came a change in the weather and it began to storm. Elizabeth slowed down because of the wet road. Boyd continued following them.

“Maybe we can lose him if we get on the freeway?” Marshall said.

“That’s what I’ll do then,” Elizabeth replied.

They approached the on-ramp and began to make the semi-circle. Boyd followed.

They began to switch lanes, but Boyd continued to pursue them. Suddenly Marshall’s Buick struck a Propane truck. There was a huge fireball that overtook the car.

They were both killed in the fire, but they were in love so much it did not matter. Now they are together for all eternity. The fire was like absolute zero compared to the warmth of [the passionate] love they shared.

Back to “Original Stories from 2003”

The Sad Conclusion (Grocer and Writer)

This version is modified from the original which, while statistically correct, was much too offensive.

I hope you, the reader, will enjoy this version just as well.

Here it is without further ado:

I am no longer a grocer.

Now I am a successful writer and I’ve gotten most of my works published.

I quit my God-awful grocery job and never looked back.

With the surplus amount of money I am making, I fixed up my house, bought a new vehicle, a Dodge Ram, and bought an engagement ring for my girlfriend.

Actually, I’m on my way to her parents’ house to pick her up.

Soon enough, I pull into their driveway and park my truck.

Then I step out and ring the doorbell.

My girlfriend answers me with a loving kiss.

“Baby, let’s go to the park. I have a surprise for you.”

Her dad looks at me with a wink and a thumbs up. It is because of him that I secured the resources to become published. He wants me in return to be committed to his daughter and love her only. Most gladly I am doing just that.

I walk her to my truck, then help her into the passenger side.

We then back out and head to the park.

As we are riding, she tells me with concern, “I hope all this money and success won’t corrupt you.”

“Well, to make sure it doesn’t I’ll need you by my side forever, to keep me in check.”

“A lot of girls and women are going to want you.”

“But I don’t want any of them; I just want you. You wanted me, even at my lowest, so now you’ll have me at my highest.” I pause then continue, “You’re the only one who ever put up with my condition and no amount of money or success will make it go away.”

“And you’re the only one who loved me despite my weight, which is basically impossible to lose.”

“Baby, I love to put my arms around you and hold on to you. I think your weight makes you sexy.” I pause, then say, “However, I want you to have the body you want and know that I am in love with your soul and I’ll want you no matter how thin or heavy you become.”

“Oh, I love you so much!”

“I love you too, baby!”

We continue riding to the park. There is a blissful silence between us as we hold hands.

Finally, we arrive.

I help her out of my truck and then we begin to walk on the walking path.

“Let’s go to the bench I was sitting on when we first met.”

My girlfriend smiles and nods.

We then continue walking until we arrive at that very bench.

We sit down together and I hold her close to me.

As she rests her head on my chest, I pull the ring out of my pocket, then show it to her saying, “This is for you.”

“What is this?” She asks with a bright smile.

“It’s an engagement ring. Marry me, baby!” I pause then continue, “I’ve been wanting to give you one of these for a long time, but could never afford one until now. Please, be my one and only, both now and forever!”

She begins to wildly kiss me and then says as her eyes are swelling with tears, “Yes. Of course, I’ll marry you! I’m so fat, I cannot even drive, but you still want me. You’ve treated me better than in my wildest dreams and you’ve always shown me love and affection when every other guy I was interested in so cruelly rejected me.”

“You’ve just made me the happiest man on the planet!” I tell her with a kiss.

Suddenly, I see the deli cook from my former job walking through the park with her children. She just bought some snacks for all of them.

I know what I am going to do; it will make that horrible woman so jealous!

I stand up on my the bench and shout at the top of my lungs, “I just proposed to the girl of my dreams and she said YES!”

Everyone in the park starts clapping and cheering with the exception of the cook and her children.

The cook begins to shout, “But he’s retarded and she’s fat. He quit his job and is on disability now, so they are going to have a bunch of fat, retarded children and all of you are going to have to pay taxes to support them.”

I look at the cook and then say, “Actually, I just got a job as a romantic novelist. That probably means nothing to you though, because somehow you seem like someone who hates reading.”

“Shut your mouth little boy!” The cook says angrily.

“I don’t have to and furthermore if you don’t leave us alone and go back to feeding all of your illegitimate children, I’m going to call the police.”

The cook then pulls a revolver from her purse.

She points it at me then fires.

I’m hit and I collapse to the ground.

The cook then points her revolver at my girlfriend but several bystanders wrestle it from her.

My girlfriend sees me on the ground and begins crying profusely.

She then grabs her chest and shrieks in pain as she collapses on top of me.

My eyes begin to close and my girlfriend begins coughing up blood…

Back to “Grocer and Writer” Stories

Our Sunday (Grocer and Writer)

It’s Sunday and I am slowly waking up.

I’m off today, but most of my paycheck is spent because I went out with my girlfriend last Friday.

Still, I promised her I would try to spend the day with her today and I won’t break that promise to her.

With that, I check my Go Phone for any text messages.

There is one and it reads, “I hope we can still hang out later today. My mom has been on a rampage. She finally crashed, though.”

So, I reply to her, “Of course we can hang out. I’m just waking up, but would you like me to bring you to my house?”

“Sure, that would be wonderful.”

“Say no more. I’ll come get you right now.”

“I can’t wait.”

“Let me just get dressed.”

“I love you, baby!”

“I love you too!”

It’s chilly outside so I cover up well, then I walk out of my house and lock the deadbolt on the front door. Then I leave my yard, lock my hurricane fence and start my car.

Soon I am out of my neighborhood and on the Interstate, headed to the suburbs.

I take the exit to her subdivision and soon I am driving down her street.

There she is, standing in the driveway. She is wearing a cute pink sweater and blue jeans that hug her body and show off all of her features. My God, she is beautiful.

I pull in, then step out of my car.

She sweetly embraces me, and says, “Let’s get out of here.”

I kiss her forehead and rub her back, then say, “Your wish is my command!”

So I open the passenger door for her and she gets in.

Then I enter the driver side and we leave.

“Now my house isn’t the best, in fact far from it,” I tell her.

“That’s all right. At least you have a place of your own,” She replies.

“Now I have to warn you about my neighbors-they are shady. Please don’t talk to them, don’t even look at them.”

“They’re that bad?”

“Yes. They are on drugs.”

“Like my mom?”

“Worse. They’re also in a gang. I don’t think your mom would kill someone for a yes or no.”

“Oh, my.”

“This is what I mean when I say I wish I would have better researched the neighborhood.”

My girlfriend has a look of great distress on her face. She has every reason to be.

In an attempt to reassure her I say, “They never made trouble with me. Of course, I have to overlook a lot of things they do.”

“Like what?”

“Like not call the police when they are blaring that loud vulgar music or parading the streets when they are drunk or high. I just stay inside anyway though, unless I am getting the mail or cutting my grass.”

“Then I’ll stay inside too.”

We then get off the Interstate and are in entering my neighborhood. I am at a railroad crossing and the gates are going down. A train is approaching. We sit and watch it pass.

My girlfriend then says, “I guess this is where the railroad line was relocated. My dad and other people in my subdivision fought to have the railroad taken out of our area and moved to the less fortunate part of the city.”

“It doesn’t bother me that much. In fact, if the economy wasn’t so bad right now, I’d try to get a job with the railroad. The hours would be just a little worse, but the pay would be exponentially higher.”

“We wouldn’t get to see each other as much though. Just let my dad get you published as a writer, he has the connections.”

“You’re right. Then I would be on easy street.”

“Just make sure to always make time for us.”

“Don’t worry I will. I mean if I didn’t how would I have any inspiration?”

The train has now cleared the crossing and the gates went up. Cautiously I begin to cross the tracks and make sure another train isn’t coming.

When I see that it is clear on both sides, I cross.

Soon, I am on my street.

I park my car against the curb, then step out.

Afterwards, I open the passenger door for my girlfriend then escort her out.

I unlock my hurricane fence and hurriedly we walk across my yard and up the steps.

I get my house key and unlock the deadbolt on my front door and we enter my house.

“This is it,” I tell her.

I then walk to my bedroom and raise the target temperature on my thermostat. Seconds later my floor furnace starts up.

Curiously, she looks around then says, “It’s not so bad.”

She then sees my desk with my computer and composition books.

“Is this where you write?” She asks.

“It sure is,” I tell her.

“Could you read your stories to me?”

“I would love to.”

I then get a chair from my dining room and hand her the swivel chair.

We both sit at my computer and I read to her.

Suddenly I hear her stomach growling.

I continue reading to her.

The gurgling gets louder.

I look at her and she smiles at me.

“Are you hungry?” I ask.

“Yes. My mom went on another binge eating episode and I didn’t make any more groceries yet.”

“Let’s go to my kitchen and see if I can feed you something.”

My girlfriend nods then we walk to the kitchen.

We look through my cabinets but all I can find is a can of Always Save Pork ‘N’ Beans.

I show it to her and say, “I hope this is all right with you.”

“It’s fine. I would eat anything.”

“Then I’ll heat it up for you.”

I take a Swiss Army Knife from my kitchen drawer and use it to open the can.

Then I pour the beans into a saucepan and light my gas range. We wait for them to get hot.

I also brew some CDM coffee and chicory blend.

“We can have some cafe’ au lait with some rice pudding for dessert.”

“Thanks, but I’m already so fat and I shouldn’t eat sweets.”

“I think you’re beautiful; body, heart and soul and I would want you no matter what size you are.”

“I wish I could be skinny, but it’s such an uphill battle.”

“Well just know that I love you, no matter what size.”

She throws her arms around me and says, “I love you too!”

Now the beans are warm, so I put them on a plate for each of us. Then I pour some Best Choice Creme Soda.

We then sit down and eat.

My girlfriend is so hungry as she is scarfing down her food.

I can only ponder to myself what kind of mother would let her child starve.

I’ll be more than happy to take care of her with the little that I have though.

After we are finished eating, I ask my girlfriend, “What would you like to do?”

“Snuggle together.”

“Well let’s go sit on the sofa and watch a movie. There’s usually one that plays on Sunday on one of the local TV stations.”

My girlfriend follows me to the living room. We sit down and she wraps her legs around me as we cover up in a blanket.

I turn on the television and pull up the guide feature to find out that Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2 are playing back to back.

We sit and watch, holding hands.

After the movies are over, I ask my girlfriend, “Would you like some dessert? I know you are worried about your weight, but I like to spoil you.”

“I guess I’ll take some. I do have a sweet tooth, maybe that’s why I fell for you.”

With that, I pour the coffee and chickory blend then add some milk and sugar. Afterwards, I get us each a cup of Senor Rico Rice pudding from my refrigerator.

We sit on the sofa and eat, smiling at each other blissfully.

After we are done, it is now dark.

“I hate to leave, but I need to get home before my parents realize I’m gone.”

“I’ll take you home, but I’ll definitely miss you.”

So we leave my house and I lock the deadbolt on my front door.

We walk to my car and I open the passenger door for her, then enter the driver side and start my car.

Sadly we drive through the December night until we arrive at her parents’ house.

“I can’t wait to spend time with you again,” She says, kissing me good night.

“Hopefully, it will be in just a few days.”

“I love you so much!”

“I love you just as much!”

We kiss once more and then she goes inside.

I drive back to my house and get ready for bed as I have work in the morning.

Back to “Grocer and Writer” Stories

Meet His Parents (Grocer and Writer)

We ring the doorbell and my momma greets us.

“Hi, son. It’s been a long time. I wish you’d call more often.”

“Well, I only have so many voice minutes.”

She then looks at my girlfriend and says, “So this is your special lady. She sure is cute!”

My girlfriend blushes then we walk in.

My mom continues, telling me, “Y’all must be tired from your trip. You can sleep in the living room and your girlfriend can have your bed.”

My girlfriend and I look at each other in distress.

I speak up, “Momma, that’s not necessary. We’re both adults.”

“Both adults?” My momma asks, then looks at my girlfriend and continues, “How old are you?”

“I just made eighteen at midnight. I was going to move in with him, then the terrorist attack happened,” My girlfriend humbly says.

“Move in with him? Y’all aren’t married.” My momma then looks at me and says, “City life has corrupted you because we didn’t raise you to live in sin.”

“I would marry her if I could only afford a ring. I might be able to soon if I could just get my foot in the door as a writer.”

“You’re supposed to toil for your wages, not get paid to entertain people with your sinful fantasies.”

My girlfriend then interjects, “His stories aren’t sinful, they are beautiful. In fact, those stories he writes are one of the reasons why I fell in love with him.”

My momma’s face becomes very grim and she sternly tells me, “I’m very disappointed in you. You’re using the written word to charm this young girl into your pants. That’s a far fall from grace and I blame it on living in the city.”

My dad walks into the kitchen, half asleep.

“What’s going on?” He asks.

“Some terrorists derailed a freight train in my neighborhood and we were forced to evacuate, so here we are.”

“Tell him the rest.”

“Momma is mad at me because my girlfriend and I were planning to live together and sleep in the same bed.”

My dad looks at my mom and says, “Honey, don’t be so hard on him. I never thought he would find anyone, because of his condition but now he has, so don’t ruin it for him.”

My girlfriend looks at my parents with slight distress and then asks, “What condition? Is he all right?”

My dad looks at her, then says, “He’s fine, just mildly Autistic, but very high functioning.”

I look at my girlfriend then tell her, “I was afraid to tell you because I thought you would leave me if you found out.”

My girlfriend embraces me then says, “I would never leave you, especially for something like that. You love me for me, when everyone else I was ever interested in mocked and taunted me, so I won’t forget that. You also take very good care of me, even though you have to do without. Anyway, look how fat I am, who else would want me?”

“Rest assured, I want you no matter what. And don’t worry about your weight because I love the feeling of holding you close to me at night.”

My girlfriend smiles brightly, then blushes and hugs me.

“Watch it, son!” My momma sharply interjects.

“Honey, why do you have to be so hard on him?”

“I just don’t want him sinning that’s all.” She then walks to her liquor cabinet and pours a shot of whiskey.

“Isn’t it a sin to drink?” I ask her.

“Don’t be a smart aleck. You’re making me sin because of all your questionable choices.”

My dad intervenes, saying, “Why don’t we all go to bed?”

“Oh, yeah so they can screw out of wedlock under our roof.”

“Honey, please don’t ruin this for him.”

My momma takes another shot of whiskey, then says, “Fine, do whatever you want. You’ll both have a lot to answer for on judgment day.”

My dad shows us to my old bedroom, then says, “Hopefully, she’ll come around, just keep the lewdness to a minimum in her presence.”

My girlfriend and I get under the covers and snuggle for the next few hours.

Back to “Grocer and Writer” Stories

In the Country-Part 2 (Grocer and Writer)

We enter the house and my momma says, “Where’s the heating oil?”

“Right here,” I tell her then hand her the tank.

We walk to my old bedroom and I turn on the bedside lamp.

I put a new bulb in my Ready-Lite. It works again and I’m satisfied. I plug it into the wall socket to charge.

We sit on my old bed and I cut my new flashlight out of the blister packaging. I then install the batteries and turn it on.

My girlfriend and I are amazed by the brightness.

“I really appreciate this gift you gave me,” I tell her, placing it in my pants pocket.

“It’s the least I could do. You’ve bought me a gift.” She says, pointing to her Baby G watch.

“But I still promise to pay you back.”

“I know you will and I am so looking forward to it!” She tells me with a sweet kiss.

My momma walks into the room and says, “So y’all have been screwing even though y’all aren’t married. How long has this been going on?”

“We don’t have to answer that.”

“Either answer me or find somewhere else to stay until the evacuation order is lifted.”

My mom then looks at my girlfriend and continues, “How long have you been committing this serious sin?”

My girlfriend breaks down and answers, “Since this past Christmas Eve. I had fallen so much in love with him and I’m still in love with him, but we had just learned on the news that a world war was about to break out. I was so afraid that he would be drafted and killed in combat without us fully knowing each other. I just wanted to seal my love for him.”

I look at my girlfriend and say, “You don’t have to explain to her or feel guilty about it.”

My mom looks at me angrily then says, “Oh, shut your mouth. You’re going to have a lot to answer for because of the way you charmed this young girl. I don’t know where you learned to do such a thing.”

My girlfriend then says, “He didn’t charm me at all. Yes, he does write those love stories and I find it very attractive, but I wanted him before I knew he wrote such beautiful things. I just thought he was so cute, so I started talking to him. At first, he was hesitant because of our age difference, but eventually, he fully accepted me. No one else wanted me because of my glandular problem but he loves me in spite of it, just like I love him in spite of his Autism.” My girlfriend pauses, then continue, “Any other time I tried to talk to someone of the opposite sex, they would make cow and pig noises, because of my weight. I’ve been dealing with that ever since I was eleven or twelve. When I told your son he was cute, I then asked him if he thought I was cute also or was I too fat and his response was that I was beautiful and not to let anyone else tell me otherwise. If he would have rejected me, I very well might have ended my life. He didn’t reject me though. In fact, he treats me better than I ever dared to dream. No one else was ever so kind to me, so I couldn’t help falling in love with him.”

I then look at my momma and say, “Remember how at one point I had written some stories and all the girls were impressed but their boyfriends were jealous, so they began to spread false rumors about me? I was just reminded of that today in the hardware store. It ruined my reputation hence another reason why I got out of this one horse town as soon as I was able. I’m immensely glad I moved to the city too because I met her and she brings so much joy to my life. All of the suffering I endured prior to meeting her was worth it.”

“You’re lucky those boys didn’t beat you up. Maybe they should have because then you would have learned not to write such sinful literature. All those stories do is cause their readers to have unrealistic expectations of their partners.”

My girlfriend then says, “He reads those stories to me all the time and I don’t have any unrealistic expectations of him, in fact, they usually make me want to love him more. My dad is going to help him get published hopefully soon and he will never have to work at his grocery job again. He is so miserable there, but he keeps the job so he can take care of me.”

My momma sternly says, “Work is supposed to be miserable to remind us that we are sinners in a fallen world. If you enjoy your work, chances or you’ll pay for it in the afterlife. Speaking of work, both of you will do chores while y’all are here to burn off all of that sinful energy. Y’all want to have the pleasures of a married couple, then y’all should have the responsibility of a married couple too.”

She looks at me and then continues, “Go help your daddy in the fields.”

She then looks at my girlfriend and says, “You will help me cook and clean.”

My girlfriend and I look at each other in distress.

My momma then says, “Go on, get to work.”

My girlfriend and I attempt to kiss each other, but my momma says, “Uh-uh, none of that.”

I sulk, then walk out the room, down the hall and out the back door.

I walk through the fields looking for my dad.

It’s cold and damp so I walk to the barn. I enter and turn my new flashlight on.

Suddenly, I hear my dad’s voice, “Wow that flashlight sure is bright for being so small. Where did you get it?”

“My girlfriend bought it for me at the hardware store.”

“That was awful nice of her.”

My dad pauses, then continue, “You’re very lucky to have her, so do everything in your power to keep her.”

“Believe me, I will. I love her so much.”

“She obviously loves you too! It’s as if our prayers have been answered.”

“Y’all have been praying that I find someone.”

“Both me and your momma.”

“Well, then why is she so angry at me?”

“She just doesn’t like to see you all grown up, that is all.”

“You’re probably going to get an earful from several folks in town about my girlfriend and I fornicating.”

“Who are they to judge? How many of them have committed the much worse sin of adultery? We’re all sinners, that’s why Christ went to the Cross, to begin with. I’ve told you that all your life. Now if you did fornicate with this girl and you do indeed love her, then, y’all must get married as soon as possible.”

“Believe me I would if I could afford a decent ring.”

“At least your heart is in the right place, just think of how many young men your age would screw a girl and then leave her the next day.”

“I would never dream of doing that to her. I want her by my side forever!”

“She’s a keeper, that’s for sure. And she bought you that flashlight, I think it is at least as bright as the screw top lantern I keep in here.”

“You still have that old lantern?”

“It’s in here somewhere. I remember you used to come in here to play with it when you were small. I told you to not turn on the main bulb because it runs down the battery quickly, but you could turn the red signal light on.”

My dad reaches into the dark corner of the barn, retrieves the old lantern and hands it to me.

“I always wanted to do some research about this lantern online, but there was no model number written on it that I could remember.”

“I think it is an Energizer 231, or something like that, but I’m not sure. A new battery costs more than the lantern itself these days. So what brings you here?”

“Momma insists that I do chores and she told me to help you with whatever you’re doing.”

“Well the soybean planting is coming up next month, so I’m trying to get all of my equipment in good working order.”

“So what would you want me to do to help you?”

“Well, I have to change the oil and fluids in my tractor and I could always use a hand with that. First of all, go to the breaker panel and turn the lights on.”

“I’m on it.”

I turn the barn lights on, then ask my dad, “Are they still on the shelving unit I made in shop class?”

“They sure are, of course, it might not be as organized as it was when you lived here.”

“I guess that’s one of my more beneficial quirks.”

“You call it a quirk, but I find it useful. I also always appreciated how you were like a walking talking encyclopedia.”

“Well there is one quirk that I have been trying my best not to do and that is yelling at selfish drivers. It takes every ounce of strength in me not to do it though.”

“Oh, I remember how mad you used to get when you were behind the wheel and someone didn’t drive right. What’s made you change?”

“The desire to not use coarse language in front of my girlfriend; I’ve never uttered a single curse word in her presence and I hope to God that I never will.

“You’ve come a long way, because I always knew when the computer was giving trouble, by hearing you curse.”

“Well, when I was trying to write stories or read online articles and the computer would crash at the worst possible time.”

“Yes or if you were listening to the radio during a thunderstorm.”

“Momma would say that the more I would curse the more God would make the lightning flash.”

“I didn’t agree with her saying that and I was always worried that she would turn you off to God.”

“For years I was turned off to Him until I realized how much of a sinner I truly was and how He loved me in spite of it and the great lengths He went to in order to save me. It’s basically what you’ve taught me all these years.”

“Well I’d like to think I did something right, now come on, let’s get those fluids changed. I need that gallon jug of transmission and hydraulic fluid and every quart bottle of the 20 weight oil on the shelf.”

I retrieve the fluid and oil.

My dad then says, “Now go get two five gallon buckets, one to put the spent transmission and hydraulic fluid and the other to put the spent oil.”

“It’s illegal to dump these,” I tell him.

“I don’t dump them. I save them and I use them to coat all of my tools to keep them from rusting. It’s cheaper than buying all those fancy lubricants.”

“Wow, I never thought to do that.”

“It’s an old trick of the farming trade.”

My dad opens up the access points on his tractor then drains the oils and fluids into the buckets.

Afterwards, he pours the new oil and fluids into the tractor then puts new filters on.

He starts up the tractor and says, “Purrs like a kitten, she does.”

“That was quick. I’m sure momma won’t let me off this easy, so what else can I do to help you?”

“You can organize the whole barn like you did when you were a little boy. It’s gotten in disarray since you moved out.”

“My Autism never seemed to bother you.”

“Well, that’s because your momma and I tried to have kids for years, but couldn’t. Then finally she was in her late thirties and I was almost fifty, but I produced you and she carried you to term and we were glad to have you. I read that a man’s seed changes as he gets older and it can cause his offspring to have some issues, but I always thought you were an awesome kid and looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just hope you’ll give me some grandchildren soon and I don’t care whether they are Autistic or not.”

“That means you’re now in your early seventies. Why don’t you retire?”

“I’m waiting for your momma to turn sixty-five, then I won’t have to pay so much for her health insurance because Medicare will kick in. Then we can sell the farm and buy a condominium in the city-yeah right your momma wouldn’t stand for it. ” He pauses, then continues, “Anyways, organize this barn really well and by the time your done supper should be on the table, or dinner as you city people refer to it.”

I get to work. The barn has definitely become unorganized since I moved out, but I can put a fix to that.

I begin by hanging all of the tools in their proper places, on the nails, I hammered into the wall as a child.

Then I organize the fertilizer chemicals not only by alphabet but elemental and molecular values. I also put them neatly in rows.

After that, I take the gasoline and diesel cans, consolidate them and place them near the vent.

I see several cutting blades and realize they are dull, so I take a file and sharpen them.

I look at my watch which indicates that it is 5:45 in the evening. The sun is almost set.

I tighten all of the loose screws on the barn’s doors and walls and finally the breaker panel.

I stack the bags of seeds neatly, then shut off the lights and lock the barn door.

By the light of my flashlight, my dad and I walk back to the house.

We walk in to find my momma and my girlfriend both putting supper on the table.

We are having seared chicken breasts, scalloped potatoes, and steamed green beans.

We sit down to eat, when suddenly both my phone and my girlfriend’s phone display a message of the evacuation order being lifted.

Minutes later, my phone rings.

It’s my workplace number, so I go into my old bedroom and take the call.

“Hello,” I answer.

The assistant store director is on the other end and says, “Okay your time off is over now, the evacuation has been lifted. Come back to work PDQ.”

“I’m out of town, I had no place to go when the train was derailed.”

“Then you have twenty-four hours from the end of this phone call to report back to work. If you don’t, your butt will be terminated.”

“Yes, sir,” I humbly reply.

I walk back into the dining room, to which my mom says, “Don’t people know not to call at dinner time?”

“That was my job calling. I have to be back there in twenty-four hours, so we have to leave as soon as we are finished eating. I have a five-hour drive ahead of me and I’ll also need to be rested up.”

“Translation you want to go back home and screw your girlfriend,” My mom says.

“Honey, for the last time, don’t be so hard on him. He’s very lucky to have her.”

“And I am just as lucky to have him!” My girlfriend speaks up.

“Fine do whatever you want.” My momma says with irritation.

We finish eating, then collect my things and leave.

My dad sees us out and says, “She’ll eventually come around, especially if y’all get married which, I think, y’all need to strongly consider.”

My girlfriend and I look at each other and nod, then I open the passenger door for her.

I then get in on the driver’s side, start my car and we head back to the city.

Back to “Grocer and Writer” Stories

 

In the Country-Part 1 (Grocer and Writer)

My girlfriend and I wake up in each other’s arms shivering. Once I am fully awake and realize we are at my parents’ house in the country, I step out of bed, retrieve my rechargeable flashlight and walk to the thermostat.

I switch my flashlight on, to which the bulb burns out instantly.

So I activate the light switch for the hall light and read the thermostat.

Quickly I realize the furnace isn’t working.

“Come back to bed and keep me warm,” My girlfriend tells me.

“I’m coming right now,” I reply.

We hold each other until the hunger pangs get the better of us.

Slowly we walk to the kitchen.

My mom is putting pancakes and bacon on the table.

We eat in an awkward and tense silence.

I decide to break the silence and say, “I think the furnace is broken.”

“No, it just needs more oil. Why don’t you make yourself useful and go to the hardware store and pick some up?”

I look at my watch, which indicates 7:56 AM, and ask her, “Does it still open at eight in the morning?”

“Yes.”

“Then we’re going right now. I have to get a new bulb for my flashlight anyway.”

“Charge the oil to your dad’s account,” My mom says in a cut and dry tone.

My girlfriend and I get our coats, then we walk to my old Toyota.

I unlock the doors, then open the passenger door for her. Afterwards, I get in on the driver’s side and start my engine.

We drive into town and arrive at the hardware store just as it is opening.

There is a long line, so I browse around.

My girlfriend’s phone rings, so she walks into a corner and takes the call. I hear her talking to her dad.

I continue to browse around and my girlfriend get’s off the phone and walks around the store with me.

Finally, a clerk serves us. He was a classmate of mine in high school.

“Long time no see. What can I get for you?”

“As many First Alert Ready-Lite bulbs as possible and some heating oil.”

“First Alert Ready-Lite, that’s something you don’t hear of anymore.”

“Well, it came with the house I bought in the city.”

“Wasn’t there a terrorist attack there last night?”

“There sure was. We were ordered to evacuate and here we are.”

“That’s a drag. I enjoyed living in the city when I played football at the university on scholarship, but then I was injured and my career was over. Now I work for my dad’s hardware company and try to be the best salesman I can be.”

“It’s a shame how something that happens in an instant can alter a person’s life.”

“Well, I guess it’s for the best. At least you can return to the city when the evacuation is lifted.”

“Yes but to a God-awful job.”

“Where do you work?”

“The Downtown Grocer.”

“Oh yes, I’ve seen their commercials on TV.”

“Don’t let the commercials fool you, they are dirty people. I hate working for them. I’d really like to be a writer.”

“You always did. Some of my teammates knew how their girlfriends were impressed by your writings and were very jealous, so they began to spread false rumors about you.”

“Yes, I am well aware of that. Can we not re-live it? You should have the oil, which I’ll be charging to my dad’s account. Do you have the bulbs or not? If you do, I’ll be paying cash.”

The clerk checks the computer, then says, “I have five packs of bulbs left in stock.”

“I’ll take all five.”

“Could I interest you in a Mini Maglite LED flashlight instead? It runs for five hours on 2 AAA batteries and gives off 111 lumens. Your Ready Lite’s battery only lasts about an hour and there might not be any electricity available at your house to charge it up again.”

“Man it sure sounds tempting, but I don’t have enough cash for both the First Alert bulbs and the Mini Maglite.”

“Charge it to your parents’ account.”

“They’d be livid if I did.”

My girlfriend then says, “I’ll pay for that flashlight with my grocery money.”

“Baby, you don’t have to do that.”

She puts her finger to my lips and says, “But I want to, because I can tell you’d really it. You can pay me back for it the same way you plan to pay me back for the gas money-all night long! Don’t think I haven’t been keeping track!”

I blush, then she kisses me, lovingly.

“All right baby, you know my payment is good,” I tell her.

Several people in the store whisper to each other, then point and stare at us.

I look at the clerk and say, “Charge the oil to my parents’ account. I’ll pay cash for the bulbs and…”

“I’ll pay for that flashlight with my debit card,” My girlfriend interjects.

“Thank you, baby!” I tell her then wrap my arms around her waist and kiss her head.

The people in the store begin to whisper again.

After our items are paid for, we leave the store.

I open the passenger door for her and she kisses me as she steps in.

Then I get in the driver side and I am about to start my car when my phone rings.

It’s my parent’s house phone number, so I take the call.

“Hello,” I answer.

My mom is on the other end and she angrily asks me, “You want to tell me why you and your girlfriend were acting lewd in the hardware store?”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t play dumb. Several people called me and said how she bought you a flashlight and she expects you to pay her back all night long. They all know what that means and it’s disgusting and embarrassing.”

“Who called exactly?”

“That is none of your business because if I tell you, you will mouth off to them and embarrass me more.”

“No, people need to mind their own business, that’s one of the reasons why I got out of the godforsaken country and moved to the city.”

“And I curse the day you moved there too because it ruined your life.”

“But it was a blessing to me!”

“Then why was there a terrorist attack in your city?”

“Because it was a strategic target.”

“No, it was God punishing all of you city dwellers for your wicked ways.”

“Whatever you say.”

“Lose that attitude son and come home with the oil, it’s freezing in this house.”

“All right I am coming.”

We hang up.

I start my car then put it in gear as my girlfriend asks me, “What’s the matter?”

Soberly, I begin to explain, “Now I am not mad at you at all. However, when you are in a small town you need to watch what you say and do in public because everyone is always watching and they are all busybodies.”

“What do you mean?”

“Several people overheard us talking about the flashlight you bought me and how I plan to pay it back. They called my mom and now she is even more angry with us.”

“Oh, my God, what have I done?”

“Don’t beat yourself up, baby. It’s not your fault, you’ve probably never been to a small town, so you just didn’t know that the people would be watching much less how they’d react.”

“I feel terrible, but I’m glad you’re not mad at me.”

“I’m not mad at all. In fact, your awesome combination of kindness and naughtiness turns me on so much that I plan to pay you back all night long and with interest compounded nightly included and tips.”

“I love you so much!”

“And I love you just as much! Now, what did your dad call you for?”

“He was just making sure we were all right because of the terrorist attack and that he’s glad I was with you instead of my mom.”

“That’s a relief. I know you’re eighteen now, but I still want to stay on his good side.”

“Just love me like you do now and I think he’ll have no problems with you.”

With that, we pull up in my parents’ driveway and are confronted by my momma.

Back to “Grocer and Writer” Stories

Evacuation (Grocer and Writer)

“All right, let me just get a few things.” I tell the policeman. He walks to the next house. My neighbors are going to freak when they see him.

“Where could we go?” My girlfriend asks me. “I don’t want to be with my mom.”

“If you don’t want to go there, we can go to the country and visit my family.”

“Are you sure?”

“What other choice do we have?”

“True.”

So I grab, my composition books and my flash drive, my rechargeable flashlight, my phone and charger. My girlfriend grabs her purse, phone and charger as well. God it’s cold. I hope my car can make it out of this wretched city. All I have is a wing and a prayer.

We walk out of my house, locking the doors behind us. Then we walk through my front yard and to the curb then shut the hurricane fence. We get in my car and thankfully it fires right up.

I turn my car radio to the news and information station. My theory is proven correct; this was a terrorist attack. Contraflow is being used on all of the main highways out of the city. Right now it’s bumper to bumper, I hope and pray the terrorists don’t strike again right here. I must get off this Interstate as soon as I can and take an alternate route. That way, there’ll be less traffic and less chance of another attack.

There is a heavy police presence but I guess that is a good thing. I hope and pray that they are not harmed by those damn terrorists.

For forty five minutes the traffic moves like molasses in the dead of winter. She rests her head on my shoulder and I repeatedly kiss her forehead. We are making the best of a bad situation. Finally we are now moving.

“Once we get out of the city, I should get us some coffee and food. I need something to keep me awake.”

“Sure, do what you need to do.”

We are now out of the city and on the Interstate. Thank God, the traffic is now moving. Just as planned though, I will get off.

I see an exit to a dark, but well maintained highway two lane. Right away I take it.

“Looks like we are safe now, but why are you getting off right here?” My girlfriend asks.

“Because, I don’t want to take the chance of someone wrecking or breaking down. If that happens, traffic will back up and the terrorists could possibly strike again.” I reply.

“I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Look, I am trying my best. You must know that I am just trying to get us out of harm’s way.”

“I guess.” She says with irritation.

“Let’s not fight, if we do the terrorists have another victory.”

“Yes, thank God we weren’t away from each other when this happened.”

“You’re right! I would rather die with you than live and us be apart!”

“I love you so much!”

“And I love you too, baby!”

“How much longer from here?”

“About four hours.”

“That’s fine.”

“Yes, I just hope and pray my car won’t break down.” I reply.

“What’s your family like?”

“Let’s just say interesting.”

“I hope they will accept me but I’m afraid of what they will think of my mom’s pill habit.”

“Don’t worry, they’ll accept you. They always wanted me to find love and now I have because of you. They just might tease you about being from the city.”

“What about the pills? Would they judge me about that?”

“No, they won’t. My family has always taught me that no one is perfect and that we all have faults. Plus, you’re not the addict; your mom is.”

“What’s your hometown like?” She asks.

“Boring, flat and quiet. I guess that is a good thing at the moment. It’s not an important place, so the terrorists wouldn’t try to strike there.”

“So you think we’ll be safe there?”

“Yes, there is only a two-lane highway in and out of town and there are no waterways, railroads are airstrips. It’s nothing a terrorist would want to hit.”

“You should call your parents first, to let them know you are coming.” She tells me.

“You’re right. I was going to, but you know I should conserve my minutes, especially for my job.” I reply.

“I don’t think you will be returning to work for a while and, to me, that’s a very good thing. Besides, you can use my phone.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course. I love you and would do anything for you.”

“Oh, I love you too baby! Thank you so much.”

She turns her phone on and I call out the ten digits. She then puts the speaker phone feature on and we hear the ringing.

“Hello.” My mother answers, half asleep.

“Hey, momma it’s me. There has been a terrorist attack in my city and I am headed your way. Put the news on, you’ll hear all about it.” I reply.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes. I am fine, but I have someone special with me.”

“Whom do you have?”

“My girlfriend. I will explain everything when we arrive.”

“Okay, be careful.”

“I sure will.”

“How much longer until you’ll be here?”

“If everything goes right, about four to five hours. As soon as we find a truck stop, I will get some, food and coffee to keep me awake.”

“Okay, you drive safe and I will see you then. I can’t wait to meet this lovely young lady.”

Suddenly the signal fades out.

“Momma, can you hear me?” “Durn it.”

“Your mom seems nice.”

“Oh, she is very nice. I wish I could see her more.”

“It’s a good thing she is not like my mom.”

“The worst she does is take a shot of whiskey every now and then. It’s only to help her sleep.”

I continue to drive. It is cold and dark. The heater is working well for the most part. My girlfriend snuggles next to me and we keep warm.

I see a truck stop sign ahead, so activate my turn signal. We get off the highway, then pull into the parking lot.

We drive up to a pump, then go inside to pay the cashier.

My girlfriend pulls out her debit card and says “Let me pay. My dad deposited grocery money in my account, but I think we need gas more than groceries right now.”

“Thank you so much, baby! I wish I could repay you!”

My girlfriend replies “It’s the least I can do. By the way, when we get back home, you can repay me all night long!” The she tells the cashier and say “Forty Dollars on pump five.”

The young cashier says, blushing “Y’all are so cute.” She then runs my girfriend’s card.

We go out to pump the gas, then come back after we’re done. I desperately need food and coffee, so I ask the cashier, “Is your restaurant open?”

“Well, we were going to close, but could sure use the business.” She pauses then calls the waitress. “There are some customers, don’t shut down just yet.”
We walk into the diner and the waitress greets us.

“What’ll it be?” She asks.

I look at my girlfriend and say “Tell her.”

“I would like some strawberry pancakes if that’s all right.”

“Sure. And for you?”

“Whatever sandwich you can make. And coffee-lot’s of it.”

“Where are y’all from?”

“The city south-east of here. There was a terrorist attack and we are refugees.”

“A terrorist attack?” She asks.

“Yes. Turn your TV on. You’ll learn all about it.” I tell her.

“Can’t. Cable’s out.” She replies.

“Well, these extremist bastards, excuse my language, purposely derailed a train right where the transmission lines cross the tracks. That caused a chemical release and the power in most of the city is out.”

“Good Lord, that’s awful.”

“Yes. And it’s her eighteenth birthday.” I tell the waitress.

The waitress looks at my girlfriend and says “Well since it is your birthday, y’all both eat free. Y’all have seen enough hell for tonight and it’s the least we can do.”

“Thank you so much; I surely appreciate that.” I tell her.

“Yes, y’all are both welcome. Just tell any travelers about this place when you can.”

“I just hope and pray that you’ll get more refugee customers coming from the city, but most are probably on the Interstate. I took a back road so we wouldn’t be caught in all that traffic.”

My girlfriend and I happily eat and converse with the waitress and then we get coffee to go.

“Here’s a thermal mug with our company name on it. Tell everyone you can about us.” The waitress says.

“I sure will.” I tell her.

“Come back if you’re ever passing through again and we’ll take care of y’all.”

We leave the truck stop and get back on the highway. I am now awake and alert thanks to the free coffee. My girlfriend is sleeping on my shoulder. I hold her with my right arm and the wheel with my left. Three and a half hours before I am in my home town…

I see plenty of yellow lines and reflectors and at least my car is running smoothly. Finally I see the junction and turn to go into town.

I pull into my parents’ driveway. We step out of the car and I ring the doorbell. My momma greets us.

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