Pepe-Part 3

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Here is a short story I wrote awhile back and recently updated. I’ll run it in three parts. Let me know what you think.

Pepe (part 3)

By

Rich Allan

I went to bed early that night right after supper. I tossed and turned, dreaming of a crazy Latino in baggy pants, with a chipped tooth, offering me three wishes, and a large plate of rice and beans.

When I woke the next morning, I felt the same. Did I get my wish or not? I jumped out of bed and raced over to my height measurement chart that I had drawn on the wall ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Standing as tall as possible, I drew another line. I looked at the new mark and hung my head in disappointment…sixteen years old and still only a paltry four-foot ten inches tall.

I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Nothing prepared me for the person who appeared in the mirror…a teenager in his jockey shorts looking like an elf-sized Santa Claus without a beard. I had grown alright…only out instead of up. As I watched in amazement, my outline split, flesh blurred, shimmered like a spirit, and shook like Jello in an earthquake. The two vibrating me’s went in and out of focus, until they came back together, like two cells under a microscope, joining to make a larger entity twice as big.

This pattern repeated itself several times during the next two weeks and despite hardly eating, boot camp exercises, visits to the doctor and trying all the fad diets…grapefruit, low-carb, and jellybeans…I kept gaining weight. Sometimes the shifts were violent, like David Banner turning into the Hulk, splitting out my clothes, and leaving me naked, one time much to the amusement of my coed gym class.

Freak got added to the name calling, along with balloon boy, hippo, tons-of-fun, and so forth. When I outgrew my dad’s clothes, my parents started buying stuff from the big and tall shop. After I outgrew those, Mother started making my outfits from scratch buying material in large rolls because I could change up to two sizes in a single day. Mom practically lived at the sewing machine, trying to keep up.

I quit going to school because I couldn’t fit through the front double doors. It got to the point I couldn’t walk, sleep in a bed, or live in our garage. The fire department kindly let me stay in one of their large bays, reclining on a flatbed tractor-trailer covered with mattresses. I don’t even want to talk about the problems that occurred when I had to go the bathroom.

Finally, fearing the end was near, they towed me to the baseball field and lowered me gently down…filling the entire infield, covering all the bases and home plate. Right after arriving, my stomach flip-flopped, my body shimmered, and I expanded another two inches. I could hear the ooh’s and ahh’s from the crowd that had gathered as they witnessed my latest transition. I held my breath and closed my eyes because I did not want to watch my imminent death.

A minute went by, then two. Nothing happened. I opened one eye and looked around. The onlookers had covered their ears and were slowly backing away. The TV crews and paparazzi raised their cameras in anticipation of capturing the precise moment I blew up…piranhas. I just wanted it to be over.

“Hola, Tom,” a familiar voice whispered in my ear.

A man stood beside me, cleaned shaven, sparkling smile, dressed in Armani and looking like a movie star.

My stomach gurgled. “What happened to Pele?”

He laughed. “Pele is only one of my characters. You probably know me better as Diablo.”

“I’m in trouble here. Where have you been?”

“Rooting for the bulls in Mexico City.”

“Help me.”

“You don’t want to be big anymore?”

“What do you think?’

“Is that your second wish?”

“For goodness sakes, yes.”

He crossed his arms across his chest, blinked and nodded. “I always wanted to do that…every since I saw an episode of “I Dream of Jeannie.”

The crowd gasped as I instantaneous shrank from blimp to ant size and disappeared. Diablo knelt down on the grass. “You okay there, Tom?”

I push aside a dandelion stem and addressed the giant face above me. “You tricked me.”

“One more wish to go. Make it a good one.”

“Just put me back to the way I was when we first met.”

Diablo smiled, snapped his fingers and I returned to normal, spitting out some grass that I had almost swallowed during the transition. The crowd once again shouted their approval of the show.

“No more wishes, Tom.”

I sighed. “So, I’m right back where I started.”

“Not exactly. You signed a contract.”

“What does that mean?” I shouted at him as he disappeared in a flash of lightning, a puff of smoke, and the smell of sulfur, leaving behind only a trail of wicked laughter.”

*   *   *

The unusually short old man came out of the confessional at the same time as the priest.

“That’s quite a story, Tom.”

“I swear it’s true.”

“I worry about you. Are you eating properly? You look so skinny.”

Tom glanced around the church. “No matter what I eat, I can’t gain weight and everything taste like rice & beans.”

“You’re not hitting the sauce again?”

Both Tom’s hands were shaking. He grasped the end of a pew to steady himself. “No more than I need. I keep catching glimpses of him…on the street, at the store…and hearing his creepy laugh.”

“Say three Hail Mary’s and two Our Fathers and you will be fine.”

“Will that give me absolution?”

“You didn’t sign a deal with the devil. You just had a bad dream.”

“For forty years?”

“Go home, Tom, get some rest. And for goodness sakes, eat something.”

Tom, coughing up blood from the cancer racking his body, broke out in a sweat as he shuffled out of the church. He hurried down the street, his coat collar turned up against the wind and the cold. Pulling a key from his pocket, he entered the small apartment, ceiling and walls papered in pictures of Jesus and complemented with large crucifixes everywhere. He locked the door behind him, turned the three deadbolts into place and fastened the double chains.

He sat down in his easy chair and began reading the bible, as he did every night. Was it a dream? Harry died years ago in a car accident and his mother had told him no one had seen anybody out on the baseball field with him. The doctors explained his condition had been caused by a rare gland problem that somehow cured itself.

Tom put down the bible and took a swig from the nearby flask. Another series of coughs shook his whole body. He wiped the blood from his mouth with a handkerchief. It wouldn’t be long now, ten days at most, and then he would know for sure…

-The End-

 

Copyright Richard Allan Jones 2018

Pepe-Part 2

Here is a short story I wrote awhile back and recently updated. I’ll run it in three parts. Let me know what you think.

Pepe (part 2)

By

Rich Allan

Just outside of our Texas town is the Monahans Sandhills State Park, featuring nearly 4,000 acres of sand dunes. When I am feeling particularly depressed, I go there with my one and only best friend, Harry, to “surf” the dunes. Some students use a real surf board, but being poor, Harry and I share a cut up cardboard box we swiped from behind the grocery store.

The dunes average 70 feet high so it takes awhile to wade through the deep sand to the top, but coming down only takes a few minutes and is a lot of fun, unless you go on a windy day because the fine sand really stings when it blows against your face and body.

Anyway, we had made several runs, and were getting tired, when I slipped off my cardboard sled, and plowed into the sand, banging my knee into something hard. I figured finding the only rock in all this sand was exactly the kind of luck I should expect from living my life at the bottom of the food chain. As I sat there lamenting my injury, something metal reflected the sun and caught my eye. I reached down and dug out of the sand an ancient-looking brass teapot, similar to the kind they sell to tourists at the roadside stands near the Tex-Mex border.

Harry joined me to see why I was still sitting in the middle of the dune. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Look what I found.” I held up the teapot.

“What a piece of junk. The lid is rusted shut and the whole thing is tarnished. Throw it away and let’s do another run.”

“We might be able to get a few bucks for it. Let’s see if I can shine it up a little.”

I pulled out a corner of my shirt and began polishing the sides. The teapot started shaking as if it was alive, while smoke poured out of the spout, billowing upward like a miniature tornado. Next came a flash of lightening, accompanied by the rotten egg smell of sulfur, and then poof, out of nowhere, right in front of Harry and me, appeared a swarthy-looking man of Mexican descent, sporting a chipped tooth, three-day growth, baggy pants, and a traditional red serape.

“Gracias, Tom,” he says, “for setting me free.”

Harry and I stare at the apparition in front of us as he pulled off his boots and poured out the sand.

“I hate sand. Two hundred years crammed into that teapot; it gets in your hair, your ears, up your las nalgas, and worst of all between your toes…very difficult to scratch.”

I managed to stammer. “Who the hell are you and where did you come from?”

“From the teapot, mi amigo…and you can call me Pepe.”

I turn to Harry to confirm what I was seeing and hearing, but he had passed out on his back in the sand and a dung beetle was crawling across his face.

Pepe says, “Let’s get down to business. What are your three wishes?”

“Excuse me?”

“Didn’t your mother ever read the classics to you? Here’s how it works…you rub the magic lamp, the genie appears, and you get three wishes.”

“This is a teapot and you don’t look like a genie.”

“You want the wishes or not? I can always give them to Harry when he wakes up, although technically he wasn’t the one who rubbed the lamp.”

“Hang on.”

My imagination kicked into overdrive. Three wishes! I pictured all the usual dreams…big house, fancy car, millions of dollars, rock god, but then I thought about my miserable school life.

“For my first wish, I want to be big.”

“You mean famous like a movie star, captain of industry, or president?”

“No, physically big. I’m tired of being the smallest kid in high school.”

Pepe lit up like a migrant worker on a Saturday night and produced a multi-paged contract and a pen from thin air. “Just sign your name at the bottom of page five.”

“What’s this?”

“Standard genie contract that defines rights, warrants, representations, indemnifications, fornications, and so forth. Don’t worry about it, just sign.”

I didn’t hesitate. Harry, who had regained consciousness, watched me write my name with a flourish. As soon as I did, Pepe, the contract, and the teapot disappeared in another puff of lightning and smoke.

We looked at where Pepe had stood, and then back to each other.

Harry said, “What about your other two wishes?”

I shook my head. “I don’t think he’s coming back.”

Harry looked around. “If he was ever here at all.”

As we walked back into town, we decided not to discuss what just happened, since we had no proof, and knew our story would only result in more teasing. We wrote off our experience to the hot sun and bad cafeteria food.

 

Copyright Richard Allan Jones 2018

Pepe

Here is a short story I wrote awhile back and recently updated. I’ll run it in three parts. Let me know what you think.

Pepe

By

Rich Allan

I don’t know how much time I have left. Doctors say they can’t stop it and my skin is already stretched to the bursting point. I resemble a hydroponic tomato filled with enough water to reach pumpkin status. Last time they weighed me, the truck scale read 1200 pounds.

The bomb squad used a crane to place me in the middle of our little league baseball field and taped off an area large enough to keep people at a safe distance. If I squint my eyes, I can make out my crying mother surrounded by the curious and several fellow students from Monahans High School. The number of people who have showed up is amazing; a bigger turnout than at the Jaycee’s July 4th fireworks celebration. Maybe I should hold a flare in each hand to make my demise, when it comes, more entertaining?

I know I am to blame for my current situation, but I just couldn’t stand it any longer. The kids at my school picked on me constantly. Teasing me online as well as right to my face, with comments like, “Hey runt, stand up when you speak to me,” or “When did they start letting second graders attend high school.” With my tiny frame, bullies had no problem stuffing me into wall lockers or tossing me through the basketball hoop in the gym. I grew tired of always being the last one picked for sports and having girls laugh in my face when I asked for a date.

Jimmy, the bomb squad leader, who helped bring me to my final resting spot, assuming there won’t be enough of me left to scrape up and bury, asked, “Tom, how much longer? I’m due at my bowling league in twenty minutes.”

My stomach gurgled and my circumference increased four more inches. A button popped off my tent-sized shirt, flew toward the crowd, and almost put out a spectator’s eye.

“Any minute now, Jimmy,” I assured him.

Before I leave this life…let me share with you the story of how I got in this predicament.

 

Copyright Richard Allan Jones 2018

Writing a Novel

quill (2)You have to be crazy to write a novel…and I’ve done it twice, so I should know. So why did I decide to start a new series of mystery books after fifteen frustrating years with the first two — writing, proofing, re-writing, proofing, looking for an agent/publisher, proofing, giving up on finding an agent/publisher, and agonizing over the need for never ending promotion? (Assuming you want somebody to read what you wrote).

The flip answer might be I write because I’m lousy at tap dancing, but the real answer is I like to tell stories.

I’ve been making up scenes and characters for as long as I remember, as well as reading books since I got my first library card at eight years old. I like to make people laugh too, so no matter how serious the story, you will find a lot of humor sprinkled into the action.

Example from Identity Check:  “Okay,” she said, “It’s your turn. Strip for me.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Don’t tell me you’re shy. I could put on some music and whistle loudly.”

“To be fair, I never got to see your act,” he said, throwing the clothes in his arms onto a nearby chair, “just the remnants.”

“All right, I’ll let you look, but only a peek. Normal men have been known to lose their sight at such a vision.”

“Have you been flashing down at the blind school again? That’s just mean-spirited.”

“For that cruel comment, you’ve forfeited your shot at a piece of heaven.”

“Okay, I’m taking off my clothes, but, I don’t want to hear any crude remarks from you.”

“Me? Never. Whoa–somebody let the stallion out of the barn.”

“That’s it. I’m turning off the lights.”

My new fictional YA series features a private investigator, nicknamed “Tracker,” that uses his Native American skills to solve mysteries (aided by his teenage nephew). I’m about 25,000 words into the first book about a murder that happens in Crater Lake National Park…and the suspected killer is Sasquatch!

People ask me, “How do you get your story ideas?” My first novel, “Drafted,” drew heavily on my personal experience of being drafted into the US Army during Vietnam…an adventure filled with terror and humor.

I can’t wait to see how it all gets resolved. I don’t do an outline when I write, although I have a vague idea of the direction the story is headed. My technique is to create characters, put them into a situation, and see how they handle it. I’m also big on action and stingy on description. I hate writers that spend three pages describing the wallpaper (unless it is smeared with blood).

Well, back to the computer…another 75,000 words to go…maybe I’ll write a few pages describing the wallpaper.

Identity Check – Excerpt

New exciting mystery-thriller now available on amazon.com on Kindle or paperback. Here’s a scene with Scott and Jessie trying to find his true father…

Jessie parked the BMW in front of 4417 Westbrook Road. Scott stared up at the two-story, shotgun-style home that shared a covered porch with its paint-peeling twin next door. A few feet of calf-high grass separated the duplex from the other deteriorating homes on the block. A single FHA tree provided shade for the uneven broken sidewalk, and a brightly painted ceramic gnome family occupied a corner of the tiny front lawn.

“Are you going to sit there all day, or go knock on the door?” Jessie asked.

“Look at the time. We should come back tomorrow.”

“My watch says five o’clock.”

“They might be eating supper.”

“Or be in the living room half-naked, playing strip dominoes,” she said.

He shrugged. “Possible.”

Jessie got out of the car, grabbed Scott by the hand, and dragged him up the three steps leading to the porch. “Close your fingers into a fist, and bang it against the screen door frame–exactly three times.”

“What am I going to say–hi, I’m the bastard grandson you never met?”

“For an ice breaker I’d suggest, hello, I’m Scott Harold, Jr.”

“No wonder mom always liked you best.” He took a deep breath and rapped loudly on the door. No response. “Nobody’s home, let’s go.”

Scott turned to leave, but Jessie rotated him back. “Knock louder. I hear a TV.”

A few seconds later, the inside door swung open. A pleasant-looking elderly man, wearing leather slippers, smiled at them from behind a torn screen door. He wore a white t-shirt tucked into dress slacks held up by suspenders. The Cincinnati Enquirer sports section rested in his right hand. “May I help you?” he said, looking over his reading glasses.

Scott stood there with his mouth open, but no words came out. Jessie came to his rescue.

“We are looking for a Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Harold. Is this where they live?”

The man said. “You got the right address, but they don’t live here anymore. Are you family?”

“Could be,” said Scott.

The man said, “Either you are or you’re not.”

“If we could speak to them, I could give you a better answer.”

The man frowned. “That makes no sense.”

“Can you tell us where they moved?” Jessie interrupted.

“Sure.”

A couple minutes of silence went by. Scott finally asked, “Well?”

“Sorry, it won’t help.”

Scott said, “Why not?”

“Are you two selling insurance?”

“No,” said Jessie, “we need to ask them something very important.”

“I’d like to help, but you still can’t speak to them.”

“Please?” Jessie said.

“They’re dead.”

“Jesus, is everybody dead?” Scott said, throwing his hands up in desperation.

“I’m feeling okay,” the man offered.

“You don’t understand,” said Jessie, “We’re trying to find out if their son is Scott’s father.”

The man said, “Why don’t you ask him?”

“Who?” Jessie asked.

“Arthur’s son.”

“We can’t,” said Scott, “He died in Vietnam.”

The man shook his head. “Not him, the other one, Billy. He’s the one who sold us this house.”

Jessie said, “Scott Sr. had a brother?”

“The Harold family have been friends for years. Billy took it bad when he lost his kid brother.”

Scott said, “Any chance you have Billy’s address?”

The man nodded. “Sure, he lives in the other half of this duplex.”

*********************************************

Check it out on amazon.com. Honest reviews welcomed!

richallan-300dpi-3125x4167 - Copy

Identity Check – Excerpt

New exciting mystery-thriller now available on amazon.com on Kindle or paperback. Here’s a scene with Scott and Jessie meeting Scott’s mother for the first time…

They pulled up in front of a three-story Victorian mansion that would have cost a fortune located anywhere else in the world. Scott told Jessie how the house had been constructed in the late 1800’s by a railroad tycoon, and that his mother had been able to keep most of the antique furnishings and decorations originally imported from Europe.

Jessie stared at the impressive structure. “You didn’t tell me you lived with the Adams Family. Who do you keep locked up in the tower?”

“Mother reserved that room for you.”

She gave him an indignant look. “Well, don’t expect me to weave any straw into gold.”

Scott tried to find a place to park, but cars lined the street on both sides for three blocks in each direction. All the lights in the house blazed away, illuminating the neighborhood like a Cincinnati Reds night game.

 

“What the heck’s going on?” Jessie asked.

Scott shook his head. “Mother must be entertaining again.”

He squeezed the MGB into a spot half on the driveway, half on the lawn, and turned off the engine.

Jessie snorted. “Look at the size of this place. You guys must be dripping with dough.”

“We do all right.”

“Just you and the Royal Family.”

They climbed the steps to the wrap-around front porch. Scott pushed down on the latch at the top of the s-curved handle and the elaborately-carved, seven-foot high, oak door swung open. A cacophony of conversations, music, and light spilled out into the night.

Jessie grinned. “Sounds like a party.”

Scott led the way through his home. Guests, dressed in their finest, drank champagne and held monogrammed plates loaded with bite-sized cucumber sandwiches, scallops wrapped in bacon, and goose liver on crackers that they had purloined off silver trays carried by an endless number of penguin-like waiters. Other invitees, clustered about in groups of three and four, were busily exchanging liberal opinions or spouting political half-truths.

They arrived at the ballroom–a huge space, with a soaring ceiling, illuminated by a pale blue crystal chandelier. An antique Steinway grand piano sat in the corner, its majestic notes supported an accomplished jazz octet attempting one of Dave Brubeck’s more accessible compositions. A few couples were trying to dance to the tune on the highly polished Carrera marble floor.

“Are you sure we got the right house?” Jessie asked.

Scott’s mother, Christina Harold, swept into the room, wearing the latest designer frock, with a “Kendall for President” button that nearly covered her entire left breast. She immediately descended upon Scott and smothered him in hugs and kisses.

Jessie answered her own question. “Yep, must be the right place, or else people are really friendly in Middletown.”

Several of the nearby guests turned to acknowledge the newcomers for the first time–frowning at their casual attire. Jessie announced with a queenly wave of her hand, “My Paris original didn’t arrive as planned, but they’re flying it over on the Concorde as we speak.” She whispered to Scott, “Should I flash ’em?”

“And you must be Jessica Sterling,” said Christina, extending her hand. “Scott has told me so much about you.”

Jessie did a once over of the attractive, shapely lady in front of her. She stood about five-foot-five, with dark brown hair, and appeared way too young to be the mother of a college junior. But something about her style commanded attention and Jessie found it hard to believe she had remained single all these years.

Scott complained. “Mom, you didn’t say anything about a fundraiser this weekend. I thought we’d spend some quiet time together for you to meet and get to know Jessie.”

“I’m so sorry, darling, but campaign funds for President Kendall are dangerously low, so I had to do it. The primaries are only weeks away. Don’t worry; by eleven at the latest, these people will consume all the alcohol and food, and then simply drift away. Go amuse yourselves for a few hours. I’m sure Jessie can come up with something for you two to do together for that long.”

She winked at Jessie, and then turned away as quickly as she had appeared; floating off to the next group of partygoers, who judging from Christina’s charm and panache, wouldn’t even blink if she asked them to hand over all their cash and jewelry.

Jessie remained looking in the direction Christina had disappeared. “What was that?”

Scott looked at the floor. “Ahh…my mother can be a bit overwhelming when you first meet her, but she’s really quite nice–almost shy.”

Jessie chuckled. “Yeah right, like Attila the Hun. Where’s the food at this party? I’m starving.”

Scott offered his arm and escorted Jessie to the buffet table, where she filled up two plates with slices of chicken, assorted dim sum, stuffed mushrooms, and jumbo shrimp drizzled with cocktail sauce, while he absconded a chilled bottle of vintage white Burgundy and two wine glasses.

Scott said, “Let’s go upstairs for a little privacy and to escape all the noise.”

“I think she liked me,” Jessie shouted over the band, as they climbed the staircase to the second floor, “But hard to tell from–you must be Jessica.”

“Give her a chance. She only acts like that in front of an audience.”

“What’s the big deal about President Kendall anyway? He’s a creep who’s done a lousy job for the country.”

“Don’t let her hear you say that. Mom loves the guy. He’s the reason she got into politics in the first place.”

“I thought all rich people were Republicans.”

“That’s a dirty word in this house.”

“Rich or Republican?” Jessie asked.

“If you mention Republicans, my mother will wash your mouth out with soap.”

Jessie folded her arms. “I’d like to see her try.”

When they arrived at the study, Scott opened a set of French doors and switched on the lights. Antique furniture filled the room, including a roll-top desk and a stuffed empire sofa. Several leather bound books rested on the polished mahogany bookshelves, along with a matched set of deep-blue Venetian vases, and a scattering of family photographs in ornate gold frames. A boxed out semi-circular window seat with a flowered cushion enhanced the alcove on the south wall.

“How do you like this room?” he asked.

“I love it.” Jessie nodded toward the alcove. “Let’s eat by the window.”

The two sat down, overlooking a sleepy row of houses along a tree-lined street below. In the distance, the faint glow of Cincinnati illuminated the evening clouds.

“As a kid, I would play in here, while mom worked at the desk.”

Jessie said, “I can see why you liked growing up here.”

“Yep, this little berg is crime-free and all the neighbors are friendly. We can even claim a celebrity singing group.”

“Who’s that?”

“Middletown is the birthplace of the McGuire Sisters. Remember Sincerely, or Sugartime, big hits back in the 1950s?”

Jessie shrugged. “Sorry.”

Scott said, “Well, they were pretty famous around here.”

Jessie perked up. “You’d like my town too. Venice is one huge beach, the Pacific Ocean, and babes in bikinis skating up and down the boardwalk, dodging a steady parade of local characters and tourists. I’ll bet you can’t find medical marijuana in your town at midnight.”

Scott smiled. “You can’t do anything in Middletown after ten p.m., they’ve rolled up the sidewalks and gone home.”

“Hey, how about giving me a tour of this place? I need to pee like a banshee after all that wine.”

“I’ll make a bathroom our first stop.”

Several rooms later, they returned to the study. From below, Scott could hear a steady stream of guests making loud inebriated farewells and the front door kept slamming. “Sound like the party is ending. My mother should be up soon.”

Jessie walked over to the bookcase and picked up a frame with a picture of a beautiful young woman holding a baby. “Is this you and your mom?”

Scott looked over her shoulder. “Yep, ever see a cuter baby?”

She picked up another. “And your high school graduation?”

“Right again. I’m the one wearing the cap and gown.”

Jessie moved on to the next photo…a soldier standing in a jungle clearing with his shirt off, wearing a red bandana around his neck, and surrounded by ten other young smiling Marines.

“Scott’s father was a Marine,” Christina announced, as she entered the room. “Sorry, it took me so long to clear out the place.”

“No problem, mother,” said Scott.

Christina turned to Jessica. “Has my son been boring you with our ancient history?”

Jessie placed her arm through Scott’s. “I find his life story utterly fascinating.”

Christina smirked. “Of course you do.”

Jessie handed the picture to Christina. “Mrs. Harold, your guy was quite the stud muffin.”

“I prefer to remember Lieutenant Scott Harold as a wonderful husband, soldier, and patriot–not a stud muffin.”

“Sorry, I meant no disrespect, but he’s awfully cute.”

Christina smiled but didn’t respond.

“How did he die?” Jessie asked.

“He was killed in a firefight somewhere near the Cambodian border, but not before saving the lives of three of his men. Scott, Sr. was only twenty-two at the time.” Christina put her hand to her mouth and turned partially away.

“You must be very proud,” Jessie said, “He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.”

Christina sighed. “I am…but regret that Scott Jr. grew up without a father.”

“It had to be hard on you too.”

“We managed.” After a long awkward silence, Christina asked, “So…how did you two meet–Laundromat, bowling alley…brothel?”

Scott frowned. “You know how we met, mother.”

“Oh, Scott, I don’t really care. Lust is natural in a boy, of course, but girls today; with their loose morals and provocative manner of dress. No wonder there are so many unwanted children. I suppose you two will want to sleep together.”

Scott restrained Jessie.

“First of all, I am not sleeping with your son–and even if I were, it’s none of your damn business. Where do you get off making snap judgments of people? I’ve half-a-mind to…”

“I don’t doubt the half-a-mind part, but Scott is my only son and I want what’s best for him.”

Jessie said, “He can make his own decisions.”

Scott interrupted. “Can I say something about this?”

Both women turned and yelled at the same time, “No!”

Christina addressed Jessie again. “You may think I’m an overprotective mother, but I don’t want Scott to climb on the first cute bus that comes along.”

Jessie clenched her fists. “He hasn’t climbed on anything yet.”

“All right, that’s enough,” Scott said. “Mother, you are being very rude to Jessie, and although she can be hot headed at times…”

Jessie shoved him. “Who’s hot headed?”

“…as I was saying, even though her temper flairs occasionally, I love her.”

Jessie said, “Sweet,” to Scott, and then got up into Christina’s face and stuck out her jaw. “See, he loves me.”

Scott forced his way between the women. “You both are acting like children. I expect it from Jessie, but mom you’re the adult here. Now either you two make up, or we’re leaving right now.”

The ladies stood their ground. Scott started for the door.

Christina grabbed his arm. “No, don’t go, I haven’t seen you in weeks.” She paused. “I might have been a bit harsh…”

“You got that right,” Jessie replied.

“Jessie…” Scott warned.

Jessie nodded toward Christina. “I’ll play nice if she will.”

Christina composed herself. “I’m sorry I spoke so bluntly. How about we start over?”

“Please, Jessie,” said Scott.

Jessie went silent for a moment. “Oh, all right. What the hell.”

Christina smiled. “Splendid. Let’s go downstairs for a cup of tea. You can tell me all about yourself, and I can share some of Scott’s little quirks.”

“Quirks, mother?” Scott asked.

“Yes, dear, she’s entitled to all the facts.”

Scott observed in amazement as his mother and Jessie walked off, chatting away like old friends as if nothing had happened. “Don’t worry about me,” he shouted after them, but neither one looked back. Scott would never understand women. He shook his head, had second thoughts about the whole “meet the mom” idea, and then went off to bed–alone again.

*********************************************

Check it out on amazon.com. Honest reviews welcomed!

richallan-300dpi-3125x4167 - Copy