Saturday, August 17, 2013
Dear Jon - Chapter # 3
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-two years, my daughter who is seventeen, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, two dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info and links about me and my work, check out the Bio tab up above.
Being a fan of music – and many other things - from the 40`s I thought it would be keen to include the links to the songs mentioned in this story. Here`s Benny Goodman with Gotta Be This Or That. Feel free to play them as you read for atmosphere or wait until you’re done.
Packing had been sadly easy. I had nothing of great import – aside from pushing back the art show I had planned – to take care of. Not even a goldfish in a bowl could be found in my personal space behind my studio. Not wishing to dwell on what that meant, I rolled down my window and fumbled with the radio until I found something from Benny Goodman. Hearing Gotta Be This or That made my jaw loosen enough to shove a Pall Mall between my lips. Using my knee to steer my knackered up `39 Ford coupe I managed to get a match lit and a hand cupped. The first inhalation made me relax. Dropping my knee my fingers found the huge steering wheel. I drove and smoked and tried to ignore the knot of unease growing in my gut.
Shit. What was I supposed to do with a kid? Why the hell had Betty done this to me? Rolling across sloping hills thick with green I tossed the last half of Turkish and paper to the road. The sky was overcast, threatening rain which I prayed wouldn`t come. The convertible roof of my old Ford was damned ratty. I had enough cash laid back for a new car. Thing was, I was still in that rationing mindset, I guess. I`d done without for so long to help the cause I figured I`d run the old gal until she dropped. Or I drowned in a sudden downpour.
Every mile marker meant I was that much closer to Hannity Hills. Fingers nervous I grabbed another smoke. I didn`t usually chain like this but I could feel the town reaching out for me. Like some hateful octopus from a Jules Verne story Hannity Hills was. All tentacles and snapping beak, ready to sucker anyone who wasn`t normal in and chew them up like a wayward crab. I had to pull over to light the fucking Pall Mall my hands were shaking so badly. I spit the loose tobacco to the side. The landscape was already turning rural. Long gone were the skyscrapers of New York. Now all you saw were cows, farm houses, and kids starving for something more.
Or maybe that was me I saw. Roaring back onto the road I resigned myself to not looking at the kids stranded in the middle of Repressionville. If I didn`t look at them, I wouldn`t hear the hatred that rolled down over me, threatening to bury me under the landslide of my father`s disgust and disappointment in his only son. I wished I had a fifth of something. I blew past the quaint sign welcoming people to Hannity Hills, Pennsylvania, Pop. 1,398 like a man with a demon on his ass.
The town hadn`t changed much. I lit another smoke. The general store still had American flags snapping in the wind. The movie theater was still playing flicks for a nickel according to the sign. Looked like White Pongo starring Richard Fraser was on the silver screen. I had an overwhelming urge to either vomit in my lap or gas the Ford. Maybe, if I were lucky, I`d take out the theater and the Lenity’s Men’s Wear next door. I didn`t gas her though. I pulled respectfully into the office of Bartlett & Bowen.
I turned the key. The engine quieted. I sat there and stared at the sedate brick building, hands sweaty and tacky. Not knowing how else to handle it I forced my hand to snake out and find my hat - A matching brown Fedora with a dark red band to go with my suit - very upper class despite the long golden hair dancing over my shirt collar. An urge to rip off my respectable tie and run up and down Main Street shouting ‘I`m a Fairy!’ overtook me. Wisely, I just lowered my head and walked into the law office.
The receptionist wasn`t happy, I could tell from the way her mouth never curled into a warming smile. She was mad about being forced to stay here an hour past closing. I was mad about being forced to drive five hours just to get another kick in the crotch. Maybe she and I should compare sob stories someday. Laying aside her tube of lipstick she rose. She was a tall woman, nearly as tall as me. Sober though, with penciled eyebrows and outlined lips and an aura of pure ‘If I had a husband I`d tell you to fuck off, you fruit!’ painted on her mug as thick as her make-up was. I introduced myself.
“Mr. Bartlett is waiting for you, Mr. Porter,” she said, coming from behind a wooden desk that weighed as much as my `39 coupe outside. I followed because I didn`t dare not. I feared she would turn around, find me dawdling with my shoes or my tie, and reach out and rip my balls from my body with one of her grotesquely clawed hands. Smiling weakly when she whipped a look over her shoulder I ambled along in silence. I nearly rear-ended her when we stopped. “Go right in Mr. Porter, I`ll bring more coffee and milk.”
With that the door was opened and the bitch hurried off, her freedom in sight. I stepped into the office and was nearly bowled over by the eyes of one sandy-haired kid. He was seated in a leather chair that nearly swallowed him. It was his eyes that knocked the wind out of me. They were Betty`s eyes and my father`s eyes. And they were the same eyes that looked back at me every morning as I dragged a razor over my mug.
I never heard the coffee arrive.