Tag Archives: friendship

Her Name Was Dria

drian

She was robbed of all softness to her, there was nothing about her that screamed she was a woman. In my 21 year old mind I am equating woman with makeup and voluptuousness. I want to meet people from all different walks of life! I have to know everyone’s story! I was working as a Field Organizer for The Kentucky Democratic Party, and it was election night. I had just gotten off the phone with my boss. I found out that I had just been a part of my fifth loss as a democrat in the state of Kentucky. I was in a bar, some hole in the wall in Louisville, Kentucky.

I turned my phone off completely and went up to the bartender, “I need a whisky, three fingers.”

Bartender nods, and I smell a musky odor waft my way. “Been a rough night, eh?”

I look over at the person sitting next to me. She has sandy brown hair, and she was full of way more life than I had at the current moment.

“My name is Dria!” She exclaims. She is roughly 24 years old. She is skinny, and she doesn’t look healthy. She has beautiful, and long curly hair.

As bad of a mood I was in at that moment, her personality was infectious! I threw back the shot of whisky. “It’s nice to meet you! My name is Mae Knight!”

She asks what I am doing in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I was supposed to be celebrating something tonight-no big deal.”

“We can still celebrate!” She screams over the music someone at the jukebox is playing.

She asks where I’m from.

“I currently live in Owensboro, Kentucky. Where are you from?”

Dria laughs, “I’m from everywhere and nowhere! No one can tie me down! I am my own person and I love life and I love living! You do too! I can tell! Something is wrong though!”

I smile, “I try really hard, Dria.” I drop my head down and stare at my whisky. I feel myself start to tear up. I need to be away from this place. I need to be back at my hotel. “Do you live here in Louisville, Dria?”

Dria drops her head in shame, “…I’m homeless.”

I choke back a cry, “Do you need a place to sleep tonight, Dria? I have a motel…. My job paid for it.”

Dria lovingly wipes away my tears, “Let’s get out of here honey!”

We set down on the bed in the motel. Dria starts twirling her hair, and It has knots in it.

“Do you want to take a shower, Dria?”

Dria shakes her head eagerly with a smile.

“I usually LOVE showers! It’s my favorite part of the day! I love the way I feel after taking a shower.” She starts to strip naked in front of me. I am embarrassed. I have never seen a nude female body before. She notices I’m embarrassed.

“What’s wrong honey? Haven’t you ever seen boobs before?”

I start to laugh, “I’ve seen my own!”

I pull out my suitcase, “Do you like adderol, Dria?”

Dria looks at my bottle, “Oh honey! We are gonna have fun tonight!”

She takes three adderols and starts to crush up them up on the back of the toilet. I had only ever read about it, but the whisky is starting to hit me, and I just don’t care!

I take a line and snort it. It hits me all at once and everything feels okay and happy and like eating chocolate or the first kiss I have ever had with my high school crush, or the feeling I get when my favorite song comes on the radio! I was ALIVE! Dria is standing in front of me naked and she is undressed and snorting a line of adderol off the back of a toilet seat. I decide to undress too. No one besides my parents have ever seen me naked up until this point.

She stares at my over weight body. She is not disgusted. She is not embarrassed for me. There is only openness and warmth. Dria turns on the shower, “Why don’t you hop in here with me! It may make you feel better, honey!” I get in the shower. I feel a sense of both release and relief come over me as the water hits my face. The water feels good and Dria starts to wash my back with a rag. I break down in tears. Dria doesn’t stop. She keeps washing me. I keep crying and I hug Dria and she hugs me back.

I stop crying and this rush of magic euphoria washes over me. I smile at her and she smiles back. We change positions and she is standing in front of the shower now. I lather her hair for her, spending what seems like hours on each lock of hair.

I wash out the soap and I put conditioner on her head. I can tell it feels good to her.
“Thank you for this, Mae Knight.” I didn’t know why she was thanking me. After all, she was the one comforting me. We get out of the shower and I have her sit on the bed. Our naked bodies lay back to back and I brush out the tangles from her hair using my favorite green brush! I always hated those stupid motel combs!

I lay down and she lays down next to me, and she cradles me. “Why are you homeless, Dria?”

Dria sighs,”When I was seventeen my mom married an awful man…he did something bad to me…my momma told me to never come back. ME! So, I left, and I got caught up with all the wrong people, did a little heroine,  and now I go to the bar every night, hoping I’ll find someone to take me home…do you hate me for telling you that?”

I start to laugh, “No Dria, that makes me like you more.”

She lets out a large laugh, “Mae, what are you most afraid of?”

I turn away from her, “Two things. One, there is a train that runs right behind my house. It runs like clock work. Every three hours it drives past and it rattles everything in my house. I am afraid one day I am going to feel completely numb, like I do somedays….and then go stand on the train tracks.”

Dria shakes her head no, “You can’t do that! You are too spec-!”

I interrupt her, “Special. That’s the second thing- my whole life everyone has been telling me I’m special. I’m scared I’ll never figure out what they are talking about…I’m afraid that I am going to go away, and all of those people that have been telling me I am special my entire life…they are going to be completely disappointed in me. And that will be it. All my gifts and talents will have been wasted on the wrong person.”

We let the air dry our warm, naked bodies.I let out a long sob. Dria goes to hold me again. At four am we both crash.

I wake up and I feel completely refreshed and rejuvenated. It is a new day! Full of completely new possibilities!

I look at Dria. She looks so peaceful, and I don’t want to wake her. I have to get going and get on the road. I kiss her on her forehead, “Thank you!” I get dressed and I leave Dria with some money and a note.

Dria,

Thank you for saving my life last night! I will never forget it! If you find your way to Owensboro, Kentucky, here is my address: 1712 Thompson Drive Apt A

Love Always,

Mae Knight

I sneak out of the door and head to my car. I know I will probably never see Dria again. I leave knowing that this is one of the most intimate and human experiences I will ever have with another person in my life. I loved Dria without even knowing her, and I left with comfort knowing someone else in the world loved me too.

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Chapter 5: Girls Night Out

Chapter 5: Girls Night Out

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Usually, Mae and Kristel meet at Denny’s on a Saturday morning for breakfast where they cuss and discuss the world and all its antics. This weekend, though, they decided to wait until Saturday night, that a movie would be nice, then go claim their favorite table after. They agreed that they needed a girls’ night out, and settled on the late showing of “The Wedding Ringer” at the Owensboro Cinema, then supper at the Denny’s just down from the theater on Frederica Street.

“I’m here, girl!” Kristel knocked on the door then let herself in. “Let’s go see Kevin Hart and Josh Gad dance the tango.”

Kristel gave Trenton a kiss on the cheak, “Hey bubba! I’ve missed you! “

Trenton loved when Mae and Kristel hung out, he knew a marathon of Pawn Stars was in clear sight. Also, Kristel was like a sister to Trenton. They had played in orchestra at Owensboro Middle School until they were Seniors at Owensboro High school.

Mae kissed Trent goodbye. “I’ll be home before dawn,” she laughed.

“I’ll be sure to warn the rest of the world,” Trent quipped back.

“Hey. We’re mostly harmless,” Mae kissed him again on the cheek then she and Kristel climbed down the steps.

“I’ll drive. I can drop you off here on the way home,” Kristel waved Mae to her car.

“Sounds good.”

At the cinema, they purchased their tickets and a couple of Cokes and a tub of popcorn to share. They had to dodge families and kids on their way to their theater.

Kristel watched on decidedly hyperactive rug rat brushed past her leg. The bump jiggled her arm, and spilled some popcorn on the carpet. “That kid needs his meds.” She and Mae shared a laugh. “I don’t understand why they show kids’ movies this late at night. This should be the time for us big kids.”

“Maybe we could go in to see Strange Magic with them, and bump their arms when they take a drink, and not even say we’re sorry.”

“Oh hell, no.” Kristel pointed to a family going into a theater. “They’re taking those little kids to see “American Sniper.” No wonder we’ve got a bunch of juvenile delinquents running around acting like fools. They get trained from an early age.”

“Those parents’ll pay for it later, what do you want to bet?” Mae nodded. She pointed to their doors. “Let’s go see granny catch on fire.”

Mae and Kristel left the Hall of Sticky Carpets and entered the Stadium of Sticky Floors. Mae and Kristel walked up the stairs to the very top. Mae always loved watching the people’s reaction to the movie as was were watching it -probably more than the movie itself.

Half way through the movie they saw something tiny scurry into the people’s aisle in front of them. There seemed to be three of whatever it was.

“Kristel…did you jus see-“

“Yep.”

The next thing you know people were screaming and running from the movie theatre! “Mice! There’s an infestation! They’re everywhere!” Kristel and Mae looked at each other and kick up their feet up.

Mae belts out a large laugh, “Well, at least we cleared the movie theatre of all those bratty kids!”

***

It was midnight when they pulled up to Denny’s. The parking lot was about half full, and they parked around the side from the front door.

“The trailer is always better than the movie.” Mae said, and opened the door to the brightly lit foyer.

“I know that’s right! I laughed here and there at the one liners and some of the gags, but they could have just made a silent movie, and I probably would have laughed just as much.” Kristel shook her head. “But Kevin Hart can shake it. Even Josh Gad managed to look a little sexy when they were dancing.”

“It was okay, though.” Mae turned to the hostess. “Two. And can we get a half-and-half tabletop? The one that’s half booth and half table?”

“Sure,” the hostess smiled and grabbed a couple of menus. “Right this way.” She led them to their table. It sat near a corner of the dining room where they had a clear view of everything and everyone.

“Thanks,” Mae said and crawled into the booth seat against the wall.

Kristel sat across from her. “All I’m saying is I’d still buy a ticket to see a sexy many in a tuxedo grind it on the dance floor.”

“So let’s go to a male strip club, already!”

Kristel looked as if she might consider it. “We’ll do that next week,” she laughed.

The friends looked over their menus, and their waitress suddenly appeared and placed glasses of iced water in front of them. “Hi, I’m Jennifer, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. Would you like anything to drink?”

“Sweet tea with three lemons,” said Mae.

“Me too,” said Kristel. “Mae, we’ve been coming here every Saturday now for five years. For five years you ask for three lemons with your tea. Why not one? Why not four?

Mae laughs, “I got it down to a science. Three is too many…and one and two is not enough!” She fake crosses her eye at Kristel and they both bust out laughing.

“Are you ready to order?” Jennifer, who looked young enough to still be in school, pulled out her order pad and pen. “The special is, um, just a minute. I’ll go look at the board again.”

“That’s okay. We’re ready,” Mae said. “I’ll have the Bourbon Bacon Burger. She’s in the mood for some ultimate meat.”

“Oh, I know you did not just say that,” Kristel laughed.

The waitress stood there with a blank face, oblivious to the double meaning humor.

Mae and Kristel looked at the her, waiting for any kind of response.

“Girl, you need to get out more and have some fun,” Kristel turned her eyes back to the menu. “I’m going to have… the Meat Lover’s Omelet.”

Mae and Kristel burst out laughing, but the waitress gave a weak attempt at a smile, and wrote their orders down. “I’ll be right back with your drinks.” She vanished behind a partition.

“She’s about as loose as a rusty wind-up doll,” Kristel shook her head.

“Well, after waiting on us, ‘the Jennifer’ will either be wound down or loosened up good.” Mae sipped her water.

While they waited for their food, the bar crowd started to trickle in. An especially inebriated woman with disheveled blonde hair staggered up to the hostess, and when she opened her mouth to tell her how many would be joining her, the hostess turned her head and leaned away.

Kristel watched with a grin and became more amused at the drunken display. “I bet if you squeeze her, you’ll get another quart of 151.”

“I could probably run my car on her breath alone,” Mae agreed.

“There’s three more.” The woman shouted and held up her whole hand.

The hostess smiled her practiced, plastic smile and grabbed a handful of menus and led the woman to a table near Mae and Kristel.

“Did you see that? The hostess chick didn’t even bat an eye,” Kristel said. “And that smile? She’s so fake, I bet if you look on the back of her neck, it says, ‘made in China’.”

Mae laughed with water in her mouth which almost decided to fly across the table, but she made an epic save with her napkin. “Don’t say stuff like that when I’ve got water in my mouth!”

Kristel nodded her head to the door. “There they are.”

Two people, a man and a woman, walked up to the door. The man grabbed at the door handle and missed.

Mae laughed. “Oh, this is going to be good.”

The man tried again and missed. He also leaned forward when he made the try, and fell against the door.

“That’s probably the only thing keeping him up at the moment,” Kristel chuckled under her breath.

The woman, dressed in outdated leopard print spandex pants and an oversized shirt, pulled him back, and he swayed a step back. She said something to him and he waved her to the door. She successfully grabbed the door handle and pulled. It must have opened easier than she thought it would because she staggered back with the motion of the door. The man walked in and stopped at the claw game. He pulled out his wallet while the woman walked past him, mouthing some really bad scolding words. She saw her friend at the table and made her way through the dining room, holding to a chair here, and a waitress there.

Mae watched, hypnotized by the show. “I can’t even read lips, and I know what she said.”

“You know it. He’s going to be in trouble when he sobers up, I bet.”

“Not if she doesn’t remember it,” Mae replied, and they both laughed.

The Jennifer brought their drinks. “Your food will be out shortly.” The Jennifer then turned to the table where the two sloshed women sat. “Hi, I’m Jennifer, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. Would you like something to drink?”

The blonde shouted, “Whiskey sour, no cherry,” and guffawed loudly. She slapped her friend’s arm, and her friend wobbled sideways.

The Jennifer stood with her pad and pen at the ready. She put the pen to the paper then put her head up again. “I don’t think we have that. I’ll go check. Be right back.”

The drunk women leaned in toward each other and bumped heads, loudly. They held their foreheads in pain, but continued to laugh louder.

The Jennifer returned and said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have that on our drink list. We have, um, coffee, tea, juice, and, um…”

“Give’m coffee!” Kristel said loudly enough for The Jennifer to hear.

The Jennifer looked at Kristel, and her eyes widened a little as if she understood what was going on, nodded and started writing on her pad.

“Oh jeez, she’s writing it down!” Kristel and Mae both turned a little more to get a better view.

“I’m going to stand at the door and charge admission for this,” Mae said.

“Yeah!” Kristel said. “We’d make up for how much we spent at the movies!”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

“Nah, but this is better.”

Leopard Spandex grabbed The Jennifer’s hand, the one that was writing on the pad, and the pen made a long, dark line across the page.

“Hey,” The Jennifer pulled her hand away. “I get in trouble if the numbers on the pad don’t match up with what I turn in, and I can’t skip numbers.”

Blondie and Leopard Spandex both blurted out, “Fuck the coffee.”

“Okay, okay,” The Jennifer said, “What would you like to drink? And it needs to be something we have.”

“Strawberry Mango Pucker,” said Blondie.

“Chocolate milk,” said Leopard Spandex.

Kristel turned to Mae. “What kind of odds do you think we’ve got that someone will be puking soon?”

“Ugh, we’re about to eat, and you give me that mental image!”

“I ain’t giving you anything. Those two are giving us everything.”

“Where’s the guy?” Mae craned her neck over the diners and saw him still playing at the claw machine. “Oh dear lord, he’s still at the game. Maybe he fell asleep standing up.”

The Jennifer brought their plates. “Please enjoy your meal.”

“We’re enjoying the floor show more,” Kristel said.

The Jennifer, again, stood still as if trying to figure out what language Kristel was speaking.

“Never mind,” Kristel said. “Thank you,” she said slowly, loudly, and clearly. “We. Will. Be. Fine. It’s. All. O. Kay.”

“Oh, okay,” The Jennifer smiled happily. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

They ate and watched more drunks come in.

“Saturday night at Denny’s,” said Mae.

“Only in Owensboro,” said Kristel.

“Doubt it this time,” said Mae, and she took a huge bite of her burger.

They watched The Jennifer take Blondie’s and Leopard Spandex’s order, and were surprised that they all got it right on the first try.

About the time that they finished their meal, the man at the claw machine finally entered the dining room and joined the women. Blondie high-fived him, but Leopard Spandex slapped him.

“Looks like The Claw ain’t getting any tonight!” Mae laughed.

“Not with what she said to him earlier,” Kristel commented. “He’ll be lucky if he even gets to sleep in the same house.”

The Jennifer brought the bill, and the girls rose to leave. The Jennifer also dropped the bill with Leopard Spandex and Blondie. Spandex handed the bill to The Claw who pulled out his wallet and showed her an empty money slot.

Kristel and Mae sat back down to see the rest of the show.

Leopard Spandex turned to Blondie who had a big bite of eggs and hash browns hanging from her mouth and tried to tell Spandex that no, she didn’t have enough to cover their bill.

Leopard Spandex stood up and began yelling at The Claw who shrank into his chair. He pointed to the claw machine, and began to yell back.

“I just wanted to do something nice for you and get you a nice present, and you’re an ungrateful bitch!”

“You alcoholic, stupid, limp-dick! Can’t even hold a dollar!”

The manager handled it by removing the entire group from the dining room to a vacant semi-private supper room, and calling the cops.

“Ready to go?” Mae asked Kristel.

“Oh yeah. It’s almost time for the puking to begin.” Kristel elbowed Mae, and they headed to the cashier.

They stood at the cashier’s station, waiting for someone to take their money, and Blondie rushed past them into the bathroom. The sound of retching followed.

“Told you,” Kristel said.

Mae said, “You called it!”

“I had my money on Leopard Spandex though. Drinking chocolate milk on top of booze? Not too sure about that.” Kristel handed her cash to the flustered manager behind the counter.

“How was your meal?”

Mae and Kristel looked at each other, then at the manager, and burst out laughing.

***

Mae walked into her home, and found Trenton sleeping on the couch. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

He woke up and asked, “How was your girls’ night out?”

Mae grinned. “It was a great, big heaping plate of an Owensboro Saturday night. Tell you all about it in the morning.”

Mae waved to her friend pulling out of the driveway, and Kristel waved back. “Right now, I want to let you know how much I appreciate you.”

“What’s all that about?”

“Let’s just say that I’m glad your nickname isn’t ‘The Claw’.” She laughed and led Trenton to the bedroom and yawned. “Love you, baby.” They crawled into bed and cuddled.

“Love you too.” Trenton kissed Mae’s forehead and she was asleep before his lips even left her. He sighed. “See you in the morning, then.” He chuckled and turned out the light.

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Trenton Bugs Out

Chapter 3: Trenton Bugs Out

Trent with Chewy in the basket! Yes, that's our Maybe Baby!

Trent with Chewy in the basket lookin like ET!

“If I don’t have coupons, I can’t buy anything!” Mae protested. “Please give me the scissors!”

Trenton gave Mae a tired laugh but held the scissors out of her reach. “Tell me you love me.” He grinned.

“I love you, ya dumbass, now give me the scissors.”

Trent handed them over and received a kiss for ransom. “I’m heading straight for the shower. You wouldn’t believe the day I had.”

He went into the bedroom and emptied his pockets onto his dresser. He yelled over his shoulder back at Mae. “Raul thought he’d be funny and loosened the cap on the bulk jug of red curry. Guess how many gallons of house dressing we had to make to balance out about a cup of the stuff.”

“No idea,” she yelled back.

“Well, considering that we use about a tablespoon per gallon… ” He grabbed a towel from the linen shelf, flung it over his shoulder and went into the bathroom.

“How many?” Mae snipped a coupon for buy-one-get-one-free rotini pasta (limit 12) and set it aside just in case she found a better one.

“Sixteen!” Trenton turned on the hot water and eased his tired muscles under the shower head.

Mae came in with a Pennysaver and her scissors. “Sixteen gallons of dressing?”

“Yeah,” Trent said between soapy splashes. “We won’t be able to use it all. Wouldn’t go through that much before it started going bad. Gonna donate it to a shelter or something.”

“Gonna give’m the lettuce and tomatoes to make the salad too?” Mae quipped.

“I don’t know. I’m sure it’ll work out.”

“Sixteen gallons of dressing,” Mae said with a laugh.

“Can’t hear you!” Trenton had shampoo and soap and hot water running everywhere.

“I said,” Mae yelled, “sixteen gallons of…. OH MY GOD THAT IS SUCH A WEIRD-LOOKING BUG!”

“BUG??” Trenton’s irrational fear of anything with six or more legs overcame his rational need to remain upright, and he lifted a leg to flee the tub. The problem was, his face and beard were covered in soapy water, and the floor of the tub was too.

Before Mae could explain the full situation, Trent was feet up and butt down, and in spite of a probable broken rib, Mae burst out laughing.

“I know it’s not funny, but are you okay?”

“No, I’m not okay,” Trent painfully pulled himself up and wiped the soap from his eyes. He stepped very carefully out of the tub, and looked at Mae’s strange bug.

“It’s just this weird ant,” said Mae. “Look, really.”

Trenton’s breath hitched from the pain in his side. “I just fell over a fucking ANT?”

“Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry.”

“Sorry isn’t going to make this day any better.” He stepped back in the shower. “Had to go in early because the prep guy called in sick, had to stay late because Raul had to be a prankster, now I think I -*ow!*- broke a rib over a…” He leaned out of the shower to drive his point home to Mae face to face. “Because of a freakin’ ANT!”

On the word ‘ant’, Trent’s enthusiasm got a little too much momentum going, and he lost his balance. This time, he managed to pull a disco twirl and almost did the splits before falling (again) on his side (again) and cracking a rib (if not before, then now, again).

Mae rushed to the tub and turned off the water. “Trent! Are you okay?”

He moaned out, “Not really,” before refusing to talk in exchange for focusing on trying to breathe without too much excruciating pain. He pointed to his side and mouthed, “Broke.”

“Shit,” was all Mae had to say. She stood up and looked at her naked husband laying in the tub, covered in soap and water, and holding his side. She bit her lip; she covered her mouth; she even held her nose to see if that would help, but no. She started laughing again.

“You know I’m going to have to get someone to help you out of there and get you to the urgent care, right?”

Trenton rolled his eyes and sent telepathic messages to his dear wife that she’d better stop laughing and just get him some help.

“I’ll call Steve; be right back.”

***

Trent lay in his recliner, and Mae brought him some sweet tea. “Thanks, babe.”

“I’m sorry I laughed, but it was funny.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“How are the pain pills working?” Mae put an afghan over his legs and stroked his forehead. “Is the pain better?”

Trenton nodded. “A bit. Hurts like hell to breathe though.”

“Just relax. I’ll take good care of ya.”

A knock at the door called Mae away. She opened the door and Darlene ran right in.

“I heard about poor Trent. Is he gonna be all right?” Darlene looked around. “Where is he? I wanna tell him to get well soon.”

Mae held on to Darlene’s arm. “He’s resting. Tomorrow might be better.”

“But we just got back from our camping trip at the river, and heard the news, and I came right over. Can’t I just see him a minute?”

“What is it you really want, Darlene?”

“Well,” Darlene gave Mae a sheepish smile, “if it’s not too much trouble, I was wondering if he’d sell me a couple of his pain pills. What’d he get? Oxycodone? Tramadol? Vicodin?”

“He’s in a lot of pain and needs his meds.”

“Oh I’m sure he’ll feel better by tomorrow. Maybe he could spare one or two just for tonight. How about twenty dollars?”

“Darlene.” Mae put her hands on her hips.

“You don’t have to get uppity about it. I just came over to wish him a speedy recovery.”

“Yup.”

“Well, if he changes his mind…”

“Bye, Darlene.” Mae helped her out the door and shut it. “Ugh. Sometimes that woman…”

“Who was it?” Trenton’s painful voice came from the next room.

Mae walked in to him. “Darlene. She wants to buy your pain pills.”

“Figures. Thought she and Randy were camping.”

“Me too. She said they just got back tonight. Anyway, she said to tell you she wishes you a speedy recovery.”

“And my pills.”

They shared a laugh and the door rattled with another knock.

“If that’s her again, I won’t be responsible for my actions,” Mae said and stormed off to the front door.

Steve and Ruth stood there. Ruth held a casserole, and Steve held a stack of magazines.

“Oh, it’s you. Come on in.” Mae opened the door all the way. “He’s in there.” She pointed Steve in the right direction while she and Ruth went to the kitchen.

***

“Hey, man. You look okay to me. Wanna go toss some shoes?” Steve sat down near Trent and put the magazines in his lap.

“Very funny.”

“It was when I got you out of the tub.”

“Oh god, don’t remind me.”

“You’re sexy when you’re naked and wet.” Steve barely kept a straight face.

“If I could move, I’d break your ribs!” Trenton groaned and looked at the magazines.

“I thought you could use something to keep you occupied while you’re fixin’ up.” Steve pointed to the one on top. “That one’s from the barbershop I go to. I haven’t looked in it, but it’s got some travel stuff. Thought you might like it.”

Trenton shuffled through the stack of magazines. “Better Homes & Gardens?”

“Well, that one was from Ruth.”

They heard a knock at the door and Mae’s voice answering. From the other room they heard her say, “I guess so. Come on.”

Maggie and Rob squeezed into the room.

“Oh you poor thing,” Maggie said. “Here. I fixed up some liniment from my grandma’s recipe. It’ll help heal those ribs up in no time. Rub it on three times a day.”

Trent took the small jar and opened it. His nose didn’t get within ten inches before being assaulted by a spicy odor more pungent than a cup of red curry. He slammed the lid back on. “Thanks, Maggie.”

“We just wanted to tell you to get better soon, and if you need anything, just holler.” Rob held his hand out as if to shake with Trent, but Trent just looked at it and gave Rob a look that said, ‘really?’ Rob’s hand went awkwardly to his side. “Uh, well, I guess we’ll go and let you recuperate. Call us, okay?”

“Okay, will do,” Trent said through clenched teeth. “Damn this hurts.”

As Maggie and Rob left, Darlene went right in past them into Trent’s recovery room. “Hey, Trent, I’m so sorry to hear about your accident, and I was just wondering if…”

“Darlene Wheelock, get on back home!” Mae stormed in and pointed to the door.

“Come on, I just want to ask one little question.” She turned to Trent. “How about twenty dollars?”

Trent’s eyes widened. “What the hell?”

“The answer is no; now get on home before I call Randy to come drag you home!” Mae was in her war stance: hands on hips, feet apart, head down, and eyes full of fire.

“Thirty?”

Mae grabbed Darlene by the arm and dragged her to the door.

“Thirty-five, and that’s my final offer!” She hollered up the steps as she was being put down them.

“I’m sorry, but your account is no longer in good standing, and your transaction has been declined,” Mae said, and shut the door in Darlene’s face.

“What was she on about?” Trent asked.

“Guess.” Mae looked at the prescription bottle on the table.

Steve, Ruth, and Trent, all at once rolled their eyes and said, “Ohhh. Yeah.”

“We’d better be going too. Call me.” Ruth gave Mae a little hug and patted Trent’s arm.

“See ya, buddy. But not like I saw you this afternoon. Ever. I hope.” Steve saluted Trent, and he and Ruth went out the door.

Mae locked it and turned out the porch light.

As they got into bed, Mae turned to Trent and kissed his cheek. “Sixteen gallons, huh?”

They grinned, and Trent grunted.

“Shut up. I love you.”

“Love you too. ‘Night.”

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Chapter Two: Maegan Hagan’s Most Wanted

****Author’s Note** I will be releasing a new chapter every Wednesday and Thursday. Please let me know what you think in the comments section of the blog!

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Chapter Two: Maegan Hagan’s Most Wanted

Mae met Huck on a Thursday. She remembered because Thursdays always seemed to not quite fit in with the rest of her week. Mondays were easy to understand; they consisted of coffee and data entry at work . Tuesdays and Wednesdays were business as usual. Fridays were the light at the end of her workweek tunnel, but Thursdays? Thursdays were too close to Friday and too far from Monday. This particular Thursday, she came home from working all day at the bank and pulled into the driveway, noticing a strange man mowing Steve and Ruth’s yard next door.

Ruth came out of her trailer, drying her hands with a dish towel. “Hey, bestie! How was your day?”

The friends gave each other a quick hug. Mae shrugged and said, “It was Thursday.”

Ruth laughed, “Oh yeah, I forgot about Thursdays.”

“Who’s the guy doing your yard?” Mae nodded at the scruffy-haired, shirtless, skinny man who had to pause every four steps to pull up his sagging jeans.

Ruth rolled her eyes. “That’s Huck. He’s a friend of a friend of my brother’s cousin. They asked if he could stay with us for a while. His old lady kicked him out, and he needed a place to stay until he gets on his feet.”

“Get on his feet? How old is he?”

“Forty” Ruth laughed and said sheepishly. “I know, not a kid. But they said he was a good guy, and I couldn’t stand thinking that I could be responsible for him being homeless if we didn’t help.”

“Ruth, sometimes your heart is way too big,” Mae laughed. “Well, maybe we can have him mow for us too. I have to get in now, though. Trenton is working a little late, so I’m going to start dinner.”

“Oh hey, how about we just grub it together tonight? We’ll bring the meat and a jug of sweet tea. You’ll get to meet Huck, too.”

“That would be awesome. I’ll toss up a salad and whip up some tater salad. I think we have some PBR in the fridge. I’ll bring that too.”

The ladies performed their ritual high five followed by a hip bump and wink. “See you around seven, then?”

“Sounds great.”

***

“Trenton, if you had a pet name for me, what would it be?” Mae rolled over in bed and snuggled up against him.

“Huh?”

“Well, like Ruth’s friend out there tonight. Said his name is Huck. I’m guessing short for Huckleberry or something. Funny name, but anyway, what would you nickname me?”

Trenton rolled over and Mae reached up and scratched his bearded chin. “I would call you… Fluffy.”

“Fluffy?” Mae sat up and put her hands on her hips. “I’m not a dog.!”

Trenton sat up and put his arms around her and pulled her back to bed. “Nope. You’re not. But I like your fluffy, round ass.”

He gave her a light smack on her fluffiness, and she giggled, pulled the covers over their heads, and snuggled her fluffiness against her favorite bearded man.

***

“Did you hear about Ace National? They were robbed just a while ago.”

Mae turned to her coworker, Cheyenne. “No. Like, just today?”

“Yeah. The guy got away, too” Cheyenne said matter-of-factly. She then slammed a stack of files down in her cube. Mae had a nagging feeling in her stomach, and something told her to turn on the news. Mae always had a weird sixth sense that no one, (not even herself,) understood. “This is a camera shot of the man who robbed Ace this morning. As usual, it’s a little fuzzy, but his face is fairly clear. Take a good look and call our anonymous tip line if you have any information regarding this robbery.”

Mae looked at the news footage. She looked at the video on the screen and thought the man looked familiar, but in her position, she’d seen every facial shape hundreds of times. Suddenly it hit her-it was Huck.

***

Mae and Ruth sat at the fire pit, sipping sweet tea and catching up on their day. “All I can say is T.G.I.F.!”

Trenton and Steve left their man-huddle on Steve’s stoop. Trenton grabbed the spikes and horseshoes from the Rubbermaid chest behind his trailer, and Steve and Ruth stood in the places where Trenton could hammer the spikes into the ground.

“You know what’s kind of funny?” Mae asked Trenton while she swung a horseshoe to within half a foot of the spike in front of Ruth.

“I can think of a few things,” he said.

“I saw the news with the security cameras at Ace. The guy reminded me of Huck a little.” She tossed a ringer, clapped her hands and put them up in the air. “Yes!”

“Lucky shot,” Ruth teased. “Not surprising. Huck looks like every other freeloader.” She chuckled and picked up the shoes.

“No, really. The more I think about it, the more I really think it was him.”

“Mae, you been drinking Mad Dog 20/20 again?” Steve elbowed Mae at the joke and laughed.

“Nooo. And don’t crack about diabetes from the sugar in my tea, either.”

Trenton stood behind their stake. “If you look at anyone long enough, they start to look familiar, hon. That’s all. It’s just a coincidence.”

“Besides,” Ruth said, “I LIVE with the guy and even I think it was someone else.”

“Just toss, will ya?” Mae played the game, but in her mind she was certain of two things-two plus two is four, AND HUCK ROBBED ACE NATIONAL BANK!

“One more round, then I’ve got to eat something,” Steve said.

Just then, a little Honda Civic pulled up, and a driver in a red shirt and a blue cap got out and carried an armful of pizzas over to them.

“Here ya go. Where do you want’em?”

They heard the trailer door slam, and Huck came out sporting a nice haircut. He joined the group and pulled out a shiny, new leather wallet attached by a long silver chain to his brand new jeans. “I got this. How much?”

“Fifty-seven forty-five.”

“Here’s eighty. Keep the change.”

The driver grinned and thanked him then ran back to his car and took off.

“Y’all have been so nice to me, I thought I’d buy dinner tonight. Anybody hungry?” He set the pizzas on the patio table.

Mae shot a knowing look at Trenton as everyone walked over to the table and whispered, “Still think it’s just a coincidence?”

“Mae, he’s been doing odd jobs; probably got paid cash.”

“Mm-hm.”

“Check this out, y’all. He got the one with hot sauce!” Steve piled a paper plate with several pieces.

***

“Mae, if you’re so sure, why don’t you call someone?” Trenton’s words bubbled from his lips and dripped on his beard as he brushed his teeth before bed.

“Didn’t your momma ever teach you not to snitch?” Mae chuckled and said, “Besides, what if I am wrong.” She towel-dried her face and lightly stroked her night cream on – using the ring fingers because they are the weakest fingers and won’t pull at the skin as much as the others – as she’d been taught by her Mary Kay lady.

“There ya go.” Trenton spit into the sink. “By morning, the two faces will look so different, you’ll wonder why you ever had the thought in the first place.” He walked to the bedroom.

Mae followed. “I still think it’s him.”

“Stubborn.”

“Yep.”

“Love you. Good night.”

“Love you too.” Mae turned off the lamp on her nightstand and whispered, “It’s him.”

She heard Trenton laugh under his breath just before she fell asleep.

In the morning, she slapped her hand on the alarm clock to make it stop blaring. Through blurry eyes she looked at the lighted display.

“Five thirty-two?!” She realized that her alarm was not going off, but several sirens were blaring outside her window. “Trenton! Get up!”

He shot up, straight as a board. “What the heck?”

They ran to the window and squished against each other, vying for the best view.

Outside, no less than five police cars had surrounded their area in the trailer park. Armed police officers, weapons drawn, stood at key locations, vigilantly watching for any trouble.

Trenton and Mae went down the hall to the living room window, and looked at Steve and Ruth’s trailer. One officer stood at their open door while another walked out of the trailer holding Huck by the elbow. Huck walked out with his head hung low and his hands cuffed behind his back.

Mae gave Trenton a love slap on his shoulder. “Told you.”

“I shall never doubt you again.” He kissed her on the top of her head. “I don’t think we’re going back to sleep; what would you like for breakfast?”

“I know what you should eat,” Mae said with a coy, teasing voice. She leaned up and brushed her cheek against his beard and whispered in his ear. “Crow soup.” Mae took off back to the bedroom.

“Hey, you!”

Trenton gave chase and caught her with enough momentum to send them flying onto the bed, laughing. “Only in Owensboro,” he said, and pulled the covers over their heads.

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My Early Twenties

Going through my box of memories tonight. I stumbled upon pictures from the year I worked with the Democratic Party.
I ‘ll never forget the time I shook President Clinton’s hand,  and I looked over at Trent and said, “His hands are refreshingly soft! ”
Those were good times. I was so hopeful, and I believed every word that came from politicians mouths. I would fight you if you had one bad thing to say about Obama, (that still hasn’t changed that much, so don’t get cheeky!)
I think about our apartment on Byers, and people just randomly stopping by.
I’ll never forget the time that I came home from work,  I was dog tired, and I had just gotten in a fight with my boss.  I open the door to find my friend Matt slow dancing with our dog!
People were just so bizarre!  But it was okay because I was bizarre!
That was such a fun apartment!  We had cats living and breeding in the walls. (Trent didn’t believe me until the last day we were in the apartment! )
I was the life of the party. I always have been in one way or the other. If I’m having a good time, then you’re gonna have a good time.
Over the last few years I kind of lost that person. I don’t know if it was because I was trying too hard to be someone I’m not, or if maybe the party was over. Either way, its sad and I hate it.

My early twenties were the best time of my life, I wish I could write a book about them, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
What were you doing in your early twenties?

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