“TJ, I think I want to go home.  I know you and Sam will take good care of my Harlan.  I want to go home, I would rather he be going home with me.  He’s not is he?”
TJ walked over and knelt down in front of Alma.  Neither of her grown boys had moved, other than to release her hands as TJ knelt.  TJ took her hands into his.
“Miss Alma, can we pray?”
Alma could only nod her head.  One more prayer wasn’t going to hurt.  She didn’t believe it would help anymore. She had prayed herself out.  But the last person she had said that too was shocked and tried to convince her otherwise. She realized it didn’t matter what she thought, others really felt they needed it.  So she had stop saying her own and just listened when others prayed.
“Lord, you have placed a mighty burden on a good woman.  Not just to day, but for the last four years.  I do not believe that she done anything warranting such a punishment. You may not have your hand in this, as some say.  I don’t know about that.  I do know she is hurting. There are gonna be a lot of people hurting over this.  This two men here have lost their Daddy.  The man they went to for advice. This family now has a hole, a big hole.  Lord, fill it.  Fill that hole. Console them as only you can.  Please somehow, ease them through this change of life.  You know their need better than me, probably better than them.  Help them with that.  I trust in you God, Amen”
Alma watched the top of TJ’s head move, shake.  His face expressing his will, eyes closed.  He meant what he was saying.  Almost detached mind, heart, and body, Alma watched, heard, and reacted to this heart felt prayer.  This was going to be the first of many prayers she fears like this. She couldn’t live up to them.  She didn’t know if she could hold her tongue anymore.  Harlan had kept her in check.  HE let her rant privately, rant until she’d dried up.  He knew how judgmental she was deep down.  The only other person in the world that knew her heart was gone.  She had no one to be is all with.  So many people expected the quiet, angelic Alma who was always by Harlan’s side.  Now, she had to be perfect all the time.



“Baby, you know I am right. When have I ever been wrong?”
“. . .Wayne.”
“Ok, when have I ever been wrong about your brother?”
Margaret Leighann closed her eyes and sighed.  He was so annoying when he tried to make her feel better sometimes.  She shook her head before opening her eyes again and nodded.
“Now do you want to know what I think?”
His Leighann kicked off her shoes and went to sit in the chair by the fireplace.  It was early spring, shortly they would be placing her father in hospice to live out his days.  Her burdens were just beginning to become heavier. Wayne moved to raise her feet and seating himself on the ottoman placed her feet on his thigh and began massaging.
“I need you to listen.  This is important.  Hear not only what I say, but what I don’t say.  Ok? ”
Leighann nodded.  Eyes tear filled, lips held between her teeth to keep from talking. If ever her life was complicated before, it was nothing compared what was to come. She knew this in looking into his face.  She loved that face.  She trusted that face.
“Lee, the business is valuable to a lot of people. Who runs it doesn’t matter so much as who owns it. The business could be sold off, parts, pieces of whole.  Typically to settle debts owed by the deceased.”
Tears flowed over the edge of her lower lid, tracking down each side of her face.  Hands gripping the arms of the chair, knuckles white. This was a conversation she didn’t want to hear.  Wayne took a deep breath letting his words settle in her head.  He saw the sinking of her heart reflected in her eyes.  There was nothing he could do to stop it.  He had tried.  He had tried maneuvers to prevent this conversation for months.  He couldn’t fix this.


Alma sat quietly tears running down her cheeks as TJ and Sam entered the room.  On either side of her chair were her two son’s kneeling.  Holding her hands, rubbing her back.  trying the best they could to comfort their mother, not ready to face the reality of their own loss.
Looking up to see the two enter solemnly, Alma smiled.  She took a sharp breath.
“Well, Harlan will be in good hands I see.  I suppose you would like for us to leave?”
“Well, now, Miss Alma, we are going to do this however you want.”
TJ shut the door and nodded to Sam.  They weren’t in any hurry to rush this.  Harlan had been mayor for many years before he retired to just preaching.   His last term, when he announced he was not seeking re-election there was a disappointment.  Harlan had made a decision that saving souls were more important than running a town. Though people still went to him for advice, politically, dealing with the local government and spiritually.  That had always been, but now it would no longer.
Alma and Harlan had decided when his first diagnosis of cancer to keep that to themselves.  His last term had just begun. The reaction created by his diagnosis would have stirred up an already tumultuous time for city government.  Harlan knew then that he would no longer remain in politics.  In his eyes, while the decision was a personal one, and the right thing to do, it was morally a lie of omission.
The treatments had been hard on both of them, Alma recalled, looking at the lifeless body of the man she had been a partner to for sixty years.  It wasn’t as if she hadn’t considered losing him.  First the cancer, then the treatments that weakened him.  Leaving office had lifted his spirits and health back. Last year, the cancer came back. They had done this before, and truth be told, it was both easier and harder than the first.  The first time no one other than the doctors and themselves knew locally.  So they had help they hadn’t at first, which was good.
The bad was the looks and the voices. They hadn’t had to listen to so many stories about how this or that had happened to this person or that person. The stories got on Alma’s nerves.  She knew it wasn’t how people expected her to be.  Alma, a sweet woman all her life, found that this time, she got mean. Ugly even.
How dare this cancer come threaten her life again.  Torment her heart, make her watch as it destroyed the man she loved so much.  It was not fair.  Now it had won.


his should go back after  Sinister 3.
Sam reached down to turn on the stereo, her hand stopped mid air, held in place.  Soft word breathed across her ear.
“I am not there.  Sam, take care of Michie for me.”
The words repeated fading out to no sound at all.  The hair on Sam’s neck stood up, and a shiver went down her spine. The voice was familiar.  It was Harlan’s.  She stopped the car.
Sam’s own voice startled her more than Harlan’s had.  Shaking her head, to clear it, she checked her rear view mirror and no longer saw the lights of the hearst.   She need to get going.  She couldn’t sit here forever.  Sam finished reaching for the stereo, turned it on, and released the break.
Not the time, nor the place, I will think about this later she told herself over the thumping rock beat through the speakers drowning out the quiet of the night.  She switched the station to blues, then turned it off. Quiet was better.

Lucky 13

The only sign of displeasure was the raised eye brown and the thin straight line her lips made.  A sharp intake of breath, chin raised followed by a deep sigh before she spoke on the phone.
“I have told you what I want done. Make it happen.”  She pushed end and tossed the phone lightly on the bed.
“That told ’em Leighann, what was it? Take out again?”
He had snuck up on her again. Used to his efforts to unsettle her over the years, Leighann never turned around to face him. It made no difference, he would dominate, he always did.   He just wasn’t sharp enough to realize Leighann had chosen not to challenge him.  He hadn’t won by default, but by her choice.
“Cat got your tongue again? Giving me the silent treatment? That’s not going to change things Leighann.  Your Dad is going to die.  It’s a fact. You can’t save him now.”
Leighann controlled her breathing as tears came to her eyes.  Glad she had maintained her posture and not turned to face him.  What he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.  She pulled her thought together, sighed and turned to face him.  Her husband of twenty five years.
“Wayne, what brings you home so early in the day?  Did the jury come to a verdict quickly?”
“No, Leighann, the case was dismissed, as I expected.  So what was that call about Leighann, really you should stop making decisions with out Daniel. You should be cluing him into the business.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you, Your father wants the business to go to Daniel.  Didn’t he tell you?  We discussed this after his diagnosis of cancer, what, a year ago?  I even have the it in writing. You know he always wanted Daniel to take over.  Daniel was just sowing his oats, he was convinced of it.”
“He was, or was Daddy helped, Wayne?  You know that Daniel has no interest.”
“Believe what you want Leighann, just realize that I am always right.”


TJ wanted to wait until they had dusted the outside handle before someone let him out. He refused to open the door from the inside.  Paul tried to reason with him, finally in exasperation he yelled.
“TJ, they sure as hell didn’t drag that body and gurney through the driver’s door. Open the Goddamn door and get the hell out so they can tow this thing!”
TJ unlocked the door, and Paul opened it.
“Damn it Paul, if we don’t find that body and catch who ever took it, BEcause you had to have your way, I will never forgive you.”
“TJ, you still haven’t forgiven me for flipping that canoe at camp.  I think I will survive.  Just add it to my bill.”
Paul walked away to calm down and allow TJ time to calm down.
The panic that TJ had held in until now, was let loose. Yelling at every person between him and Paul’s cruiser.  TJ had fond feelings for the former Mayor.  Like family, as he was to many citizens in the city, county and from far across the state.  It was a hard enough moment for him to have to take the man’s body away from his wife and family.  Grief had not yet struck the little community.  Everyone was keeping a tight rein on the events. The death alone was a shock.  The insult was the loss of the corpse.
TJ made it as far as the cruiser and stood.  Confused and the tears started.  Talking to himself about manhood and admonishing himself to suck it up and be a man, TJ folded his long body into the car, and buckled in.
“Last thing I wants to hear is for him to tell me to buckle up. He’d probably just as soon set me in the back, with the cuffs on.”
Paul left the scene in the hands of his best investigator. The state crime lab was sending a reconstruction team over to assist in the case.  Paul would take TJ to his office to interview and take a sworn statement.  He had already sent another car over to the hospital to begin taking initial statements and set up interview room to take official statements before those working left their shift.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: