Sunday, April 24, 2011

The sway of her hips!

   Her nametag said Betty and she had an inviting sway to her hips as she walked away after Reed ordered a steak sandwich and some fries. Nice legs too, he noticed.
   "Do you want a cold beer to wash it down?" she smiled.
   A short time later as she placed his food in front of him, she asked, "Are you new in town?"
   "Just got here," He said and then flushed under her open gaze,.
   "Where are you from?" She continued curiously.
   "Well, welcome to the south!  I'll leave you now so you can enjoy your sandwich." 
    "So what do you do when your not working, Betty," Reed asked later as she came back to his table,
   "I wish I could say nothing, but I've got two kids so I work another job."
   "Goddamn, that takes alot of energy,  What's your second job?"  He asked then as he took out his wallet to pay.
    "Soon as I finish up here I head over to Tonys and work the dinner shift. You know, you must have seen the place when you came into town.  There's signs plastered all along the freeways that say "Visit Tony's Steakhouse for a Taste of Splendor!"
   "Yeah, I do remember seeing them. I'll have to stop in and see you one might then. For now, thanks for everything."  He could feel her eyes following him as he went out the door.  At at his motel, he called Bernard back.
    "You're in luck Buddy," Bernaed said, "I've got an address on her."
   "Where," Reed asked.
   "Right there, in north Dallas. Mitzi Grover 1620 Grant Street.  But this is a few years back."
   "Might work. Thanks Bern," and Reed grabbed his keys and left the room.  Lights were blinking on around the city as he drove through Dallas. 
   Jesus, you've got to be nuts to live in this town, he muttered as he raced along going at eighty-five miles an hour just to keep up with the traffic. And he wondered, if, this was the right Mitzi Grover, would she be willing to help him find Lindy?
   He ran a hand through his sandy hair as he walked up the staris to second floor and knocked on apartment number four.  The place was quiet and he knocked again harder this time.
   Finally a man's voice yelled out, "Yeah what do you want?" and then opened the door and glared at Reed impatiently.
   "Sorry to bother you, but I'm looking for Mitzi Grover." Reed said.
   "Yeah, why?"  A towel hung over his sholders. Tousled brown hair hung wet and slick down his face.
   "My name is Reed Conners. Just tell me does Mitzi live here?" 
   "So what if she does!" The man's voice cracked. 
   "I would like to leave my number for her to call.  Its important!" 
   "Suit yourself," And the man walked away and left him standing in the doorway.  For a minute Reed had felt like punching the arrogant asshole, but now he just laid his card with the motels number on it on a table and left.
   Asshole, he muttered as he got back in the Corvette and drove away.  With no destination in mind, the whole night lay ahead of him.
   Where was that place Betty said she worked at, he wondered out loud as he drove. A big Texas steak would hit the spot and after driving twenty minutes in the goddamn traffic again, he found the place.
   A large marquee sat atop a brick building and the parking lot was filled with expensive cars; Mercedes, Lincolns and Lexus's.  Exhaust form the kitchen filled the air with mouth-watering aromas of prime steaks and fresh bread as Reed walked in.
   "Whiskey," he ordered and then one of those steaks!"  And as he savored the chilled drink and lit a cigarette he wondered what he would do first when he found Lindy. Would he have her arrested immediately or listen to her story. And he knew she probably would have a good one!
   His stomach hurt!  But was it from hunger or the possibility of being so close.  Goddamn, he mumbled, she'd played him for a fool.  But he would find her!   






Sunday, April 17, 2011

Every thing is big in Texas!

   Reed Conners tossed his leather bag in the Corvette and hit the road.  Mirrored aviator sunglasses sat low on the bridge of his nose. It was a sunny 6AM but the sky soon became overcast. Rain tinged with snow began to slide over the windshield as he turned from the gravel road onto the interstate. He had sat at his desk late into the night and studied the files again from the insurance company.  Everything fit together, everything except Lindy's whereabouts. Goddamn, he had to find her!
   The freeway was quiet this early, although with the drizzle and dropping temps a layer of ice would soon cover it. Country music soothed his frayed nerves as he drove lost in his thoughts, intent on his plans. He figured it would take him three days to make the trip, to get to Dallas and to a suburb called Flower Mound.
Lindy had lived there years ago and had a friend, a nurse by the name of Mitzi Grover in the city. She had come along with Lindy one time and spent some time at Birch Lake and he had also done some legal work for her.
   But would Mitzi still be there after these years?  And would she have seen Lindy?
   Now the rain had turned to snow and the landscape began to take on a fairyland look. Traffic picked up as he got closer to Minneapolis, and after a quick stop for breakfast he was again heading south. The sun was out as he drove through Iowa where the farmers were busily harvesting their corn. After a night at a motel and a good sleep, he slipped a CD in the player and settled into some good music, and the miles flew by as he drove the low slung car.  In Kansas he stopped for coffee and here the scenery was dry and bare on the prairies. Another night at a motel  and he soon crossed into Oklahoma where the sky was jet black with a million stars and the temperature was a balmy eighty degress. Oil wells dotted the landscape as far as his eyes could see.  And the next morning he was finally on the last stretch of his journey and by late afternoon he was in Texas where the temp was now in the nineties. Herds of longhorn cattle grazed lazily in the green pastures and a sign ahead said Flower Mound, five miles.
   "I don't know how long, maybe a week," he said as he registered for a room at a place called the Wagon Wheel Inn.  And after unpacking he dialed the one number he had for Mitzi Grover. And just as he feared her number had been disconnected and Dallas had no listing for her.
   "Bernard," he said as he made another call, this time to his buddy, the computer guy. "Plug in that machine of yours, I need you to find someone for me!"
   "Conners, what the hell are you up to? Where are you?"
   "I'm in the south, looking for a woman by the name of Mitzi Grover. She's a nurse and licensed in Texas. 
   "How long ago?"  Bernard asked.
   "Back about fifteen years maybe."
   "Jesus Conners, she could be dead by now. Oh hell, I'll get back to you,  It'll cost you, you know!"
   "Yeah, yeah, I'll call you back at ten."
   Reed left his room and headed across the street to a coffee shop called Shonneys where a whiff of greasy cooking teased his hunger pangs. The place had a cozy feeling and reminded him of home.  And as he came in and settled into a booth a good-looking brunette drawled, "hello handsome, what'll you have?"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Meet young Johnny Thomas!

   "Do you have to go?"
   "Now Johnny, you know mama has to work. You can go next-door to Merna's at five o'clock and have supper there. Come right home and be sure and lock the door before you go to bed. I don't want someone coming in and stealing something.
   Mrs. Thomas busily applied made-up as the eight year old boy sat on her bed.  Angry voices from the apartment upstairs echoed through the thin floors. Young John Thomas stayed alone when his mother worked, he'd grown used to being scared and sometimes looked for safety in her room. The flowers on the faded wallpaper and the cheap pink rug remined him of the softness he'd once seen in a picture of a family. He'd go in there and just sit. He'd hold her perfume bottles and touch her jewelery, always careful to put her things back in their exact place.
   He thought he loved his mother, but was lonely and didn't remember not being so. He'd never seen his dad, but was sure he had one. One time he'd been snooping in the bottom drawer where his mother kept papers and he'd found a picture. A man in jeans stood with his arms around his mother. Something seemed familiar about him but young Johnny didn't realize he was looking at the exact reflection of himself.  He asked his mother then, "Is this my daddy?"
   She was sitting at the chipped wood kitchen table painting her nails and smoking a cigarette. Her flowered housecoat was washed out and rumpled and her dyed black hair hung uncombed around her lined face. Dirty dishes were piled on the cupboards and filled the sink.
   "You've been looking in my things again, haven't you?" And a slap cracked across his face and echoed in the room. Tears fell down his cheeks.
   "But mama!"  And he wondered, why does she always hit me?
   Sometime later, he awakened in the night to a commotion coming from her bedroom. Alarmed and getting up quietly, he crept out of his bed and opened the door to his mother's room. He saw a man on top of his mother and wanting to protect her, he flew into the room and jumped on the man's back, kicking and hitting as hard as his small limbs could manage.
   "Jesus Christ," the naked man yelled and threw him on the floor.
   "Johnny, how many times have I told you never to come in my room? Now go back to bed!"
   Shamefaced he got up on trembling legs and went to his room.  Now he knew what they were doing. It was called fucking, he'd seen pictures.
   Over the years, after seeing the parade of men and hearing the noises in her bedroom, he realized she was a prostitute. He hated her, he hated everything and when he was foureen he ran away from home, much to his mother's relief, he was sure. His perception of women was that they were all whores and only a means of making money for you. Someway, somehow!
   Years later, as he sat in the Kansas prison, the computer hummed. John Thomas was onto something!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Me, a cowgirl?

   When Dade had opened the door and led me into his home I had thought, my house was big, but I could have fit it into one wing of this place. Hardwood floors gleamed in the large foyer where a round mahogony table stood in the middle of the room with a huge centerpiece of fall flowers. A brilliant crystal chandelier sent prisms of dancing light down over the yellow, rusts and creams of the bougquet.  He led me through a sitting room done in creams and beige. Davanports and stuffed chairs were set in groups through out the room and soft colorful accent rugs were scattered in each setting. 
   "Here, sit down," Dade offered as we went into another wing of the house. "This is my favorite place," he said then. Carmel leather furniture and shelves of books lined the walls. Soft cream colored carpet covered the floor. The room had a woodsey smell from the burning fireplace.
   "I see Sarah has chilled a bottle of champagne for us."  He said then. 
   I sank into the satiny leather chair, hopefully appearing relaxed. And hell, I thought, I could have had luxury like this if I still had my money! 
   That familiar hopeless feeling washed over me again that someone else had what was mine. But---maybe not! I though again of that stop in Oklahoma City. It had been a clever idea and pretty devious. And my craft with a needle and thread came in handy then as I had painstakenly sewn my fortune into the backrest of the passenger seat in the BMW.  Maybe just maybe!  I put a smile on my face then as Dade turned from the bar and handed me a crystal flute of the bubbly.
   "Have you always lived here," I asked him.
   "I was born and raised here Lindy, my grandaddy started the place and then my dad took over. He died four years ago and then my mother went, but my granddaddy is still alive but retired of course."
    "I'm sorry, " I said to him as he leaned on the bar across the room in an alcove. But I really I couldn't feel very sorry for someone who was left with all of this. "Do you have cattle out here?"  I asked then.
   He walked over and sat across from me on a couch.  "That's what I do, I raise beef cattle and palomino horses." 
   Being from a farm tons of years ago, I wondered what a cow was worth now, or a horse?  But I sat demurely and made pleasant conversaton.  "I didn't see any neighbors, don't you have any?" I asked curiously then.
   He had a smug look on his face as he answered.  "I don't have any, I bought up all the land for hundreds of miles around." Then a steely gleam flashed through his eyes as he went on.  "Because I wanted to get rid of the trash."
   I took another sip of the champagne and looked away, and uneasy feeling darted across my chest. I got up then and walked over to the large patio door and looked out where the view was breathtaking. A plush green lawn sloped down to a pond and was bordered on the opposite side with birch and pine trees. Ducks swan lazily around in the softly rippling water. 
   Just then a lady came into the room and announced that lunch was ready.  "Follow me," Dade said and picked up the glasses. "Sarah is the best chef in Texas, so I know she put together something enticing."
And the meal was sumptuous.
    The champagne had finally relaxed the knots of tension in my stomach so I ate with relish. And I couldn't help wondering how I would feel living there and being a part of this kind of life. I certainly wouldn't have to worry about where my money was then, would I! 
   However, Dade also wondered if she would fit in!  And the booming voice of his attorney still vibrated in his ears at last night's meeting as he had shouted, '"Dadelyn, my boy, you've got until the first of the year to straighten out your life. Give up the boyfriend and find a wife, that's a female, or according to your daddy's will, you are out without a cent and everything goes to charity!"'
   Dade smiled at me then for some reason, as we ate our dessert.