Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Black Widow Part 4

Happy Halloween!


Standing in front of Judge Brown, she pleaded with her eyes, trying to get him to pay attention to what they were doing. Her father poked her in the ribs, whispering mean promises if she said anything, as he winked at the Judge. She was married to Arnold Vogel, a tall, skinny man of 70. He put her to work, stacking cord wood, as soon as they arrived at his log cabin. He ordered her around all day and expected her to welcome him into the marriage bed with open arms. She fell asleep, but he had his wedding night anyway. She may as well have been a knothole in a fence. He took one of his little blue pills every night, even if she was on her monthly, it made more sheets to wash. He taught her how to use the chainsaw, making yet another chore for her to do. She missed Joseph with his kind and gentle ways.

Arnold didn’t have a telephone. One day he clutched his chest and keeled over, she couldn’t call for an ambulance. She would have to try to figure out how to drive his truck; she had seen him do it several times. It was up in the woods. Running to get the old pick-up, it bucked toward the house, but by the time she went back inside the house to get him, he was already dead. She emptied out his pockets, pulled off his ring, and packed her big suitcase. The truck jerked down the driveway as she headed for town, grinding the gears. Freedom was so close. Then the motor made a loud knocking sound, dying on the road in a dark cloud of smoke. Managing to pull it over to the side of the road before it quit rolling, she snatched her suitcase from the back. It was still a ways to the bus stop; her feet would have to get her there. That was when Uncle Carl caught up with her. The nosy neighbors must have called the family when she drove noisily out of the yard.

Spending the time in the basement, had given her a lot of time to think. Without chores to have to concentrate on, her mind was free to fantasize.  Many delightful scenes played, danced, and frolicked through her head. Her thoughts of revenge, tickled her fancy. Visualizing her parents, splayed out on the floor as Arnold had been, made her smile. It was a great thought, but the mystery was how to make it materialize.

The telephone rang; her father answered it, talking quietly so that she wouldn’t hear the conversation. After he hung up, he talked to her mother, whispering. Then her mother opened the basement door and just stood there with her hands on her hips, her silhouette dark against the bright kitchen light.

“We have to go to the lawyer’s office now, Mallory. He has an opening at two o’clock so you better get up here and make yourself presentable,” she said.

“What are you going to do, if I don’t? Are you going to beat me up some more or kill me? Do what you have to do. I am not going through hell again, to make you rich. That should be my money, not yours,” she said with an attitude.

Her mother slammed the door; the plates on the kitchen wall clattered. Then she stomped across the kitchen floor. The argument that ensued between her parents was loud enough for the neighbors to hear. The argument stopped after Mallory heard a heavy thud on the living room floor.

The door to the basement swung open hard, banging against the kitchen wall and her father clomped down the stairs. She stood there waiting, ready to die. He grabbed the neck of her T-shirt and dragged her up the stairs, as she let herself go limp to become dead weight. She had no plans on helping him out; it was her only defense. Her father was a big man, weighing more than twice, what she did. As he pulled her through to the bathroom, she noticed her mother on the living room floor. Blood was draining out of her ear and nose. Her mother’s eyes were open and lifeless, staring into space.

“Wash yourself,” he demanded.

She stood there, gasping for breath from him hauling her by her shirt. Her neck was raw. Looking in the bathroom mirror, she could tell that washing up would not make her look good, let alone presentable. He stood in the doorway with a crazed look in his eyes. Knowing that he had come completely unhinged, she now was positive he had chosen to kill her if she didn’t comply. She hoped that she would give up the ghost quickly, the way her mother had.

Uncle Carl came into the house, his heavy footsteps seemed to pause in the living room then he stood behind his brother.

“What the hell have you done, Ben?” he asked.

“This little bitch won’t clean herself up to go get our money!”

Even Carl could see that his brother had lost touch with reality when he tried to reason with him. She could tell by the look on his face that the wheels in her uncle’s mind were spinning. He tried to sound sympathetic, telling her clean up and he would take her into town. He said that he would put her on the bus as soon as they got their money. She knew he was lying. Carl didn’t have a compassionate bone in his body.

“No, that’s my money, you didn’t have to sleep with that slimy old man, I did!” she said, and that was the last thing she knew until she saw the officer lean over her, to shut off the cold water in the shower.

“We have a live one in here!” he shouted.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Black Widow Part 3

Soon was too soon. They went through the same procedure with Gabriel Coffin. Gabe was seventy-five and very forgetful, not interested in sex as much as looking at her. He made her walk around the house in an apron, nothing else. She spent most of the time posing while he took pretend pictures. If he didn’t like her pose, he used the fly swatter on her butt. The next time she posed the same way, he was pleased. He took her grocery shopping and forgot where he had left her. A very frustrated man, he took his forgetfulness out on her. Once, she hid the fly swatter and she told him he left it somewhere, so he hit her with the slotted metal spoon that left huge welts. The fly swatter magically appeared because it hurt less and didn’t bite into her skin.
She wished that Gabe were not just mentally sick, but he was healthy and she thought that he could go on like this for years. She began to hate him; he knew it and he remembered enough to let her know that if she filed for a divorce, he wanted every dollar of his money returned. It was then that she realized her parents had sold her to him. Her parents would have to sell their new cars and they would take it out on her. She decided he was the lesser of two evils and tried to make it work.
He had an accident and the doctor said he couldn’t drive anymore. She had to take driving lessons and get her license to take him for his doctor appointments and shopping. They bought a used car and she had to hide the keys. They had some awful arguments about it, because he would forget that he couldn’t drive. She felt as if she was living in hell and wondered what she had done wrong to deserve it. One day, he found the keys when she was taking a shower. She didn’t hear him start the car or drive it down the gravel driveway. When she came out of the bathroom, he was gone with the car. She called the sheriff’s office with the tag numbers, explaining the situation. Two hours later, an officer was at the door, Gabe had another accident, wrapping himself and the car around a tree.
After the funeral, the lawyer handed the check to her father; he explained that since she was under-age, he would take care of it for her. She didn’t even get the house, nothing but her clothes. At their house, she accused them of selling her for their gain and it had nothing to do with finding her a good husband. A horrific beating and a night in the basement, made her more receptive to their finding her a husband. She insisted they look for a younger man with a stable mind or she wouldn’t do it. Another beating and two nights in the basement and she became submissive. Mallory was not quite seventeen.
Two weeks later, she was standing in front of the Judge again. The man they picked for her was a little on the chubby side, but he had all of his hair and teeth. She became Mrs. Joseph Rica. He did insist she call him Joseph and not Joe, but he seemed a pleasant sort, a man about sixty. He owned a cute little stucco house on the edge of town with flower gardens in the back yard. She did wonder why he had to pay for a wife when he could find one on his own. Their wedding night was a shock; he explained that if she wanted to back out that now was a good time. He wore a strapped-on prosthesis, telling her they had to consummate the marriage to be legal. Blushing the whole time, he related to her, the account of an angry husband and his erring wife. He had to use a bag, and he had very little genitalia.
Joseph worked and she was on her own during the day, cooking and cleaning. For the first time, she felt like a wife. She would drive him to work on days when she went shopping. They became good friends and were like any other married couple except for in the bedroom. She was happy for a change. It lasted for almost eight months, and then Joseph had a heart attack at work. He passed away after triple by-pass surgery. She was truly heartbroken this time.
Again, the lawyer gave the check to her father and she had nothing but her misery. They left her alone for a while, at least until the cash began dwindling. Her parents had gotten used to living high on the hog. They blew most of the money on vacations, furniture, and gambling. Mallory would break down in tears every time they mentioned finding her another husband. Finally, her father had enough of her crying and gave her a real reason to cry. After a day in the basement and a visit to the doctor for a broken nose, they let her black eyes heal and took her back to the courthouse.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Black Widow - Part 2

She regained consciousness, lying on the basement floor with a horrible headache. Her pockets were empty and her finger was sore, they had wrenched her wedding ring from it. The knuckle was purple and she imagined her face was too. The basement was inescapable; she had tried before. They had the windows nailed shut to keep her inside, it smelled of mildew and backed up sewage. Water bugs and roaches crawled everywhere. She wondered how long they would keep her down here this time. The last time she refused to cooperate, it had only been a day, but they couldn’t take her to town with her face all bruised, swollen, and scraped. They would have to wait until she looked acceptable.
The basement door creaked, and she heard a soft thump on the floor just before the door squeaked shut again. Feeling around in the dim light, she found a brown paper lunch sack with a sandwich and juice pack inside. Eating the peanut butter sandwich, she hoped they had laced it with rat poison. No, she knew she would never be that fortunate.
Two days passed, her mother called down the stairs, “Mallory Borden, are you ready to behave yourself now?”
“It’s Mallory Vogel now, remember?”
The door slammed shut. If she had said, what she had wanted to say, her father would have pounded down the stairs and knocked her lights out again. She anticipated they wanted her to show up at the funeral, and accompany them to the lawyer’s office to collect what they considered their money from the old man’s estate. She would stall them as long as she could. Why hadn’t the authorities figured out what her parents were doing?
She remembered her first marriage when she was sixteen. Shuddering at the mental image, she remembered how Mother had dressed her up in a pretty, white dress, and bought her flowers. She hadn’t met the groom before her wedding day at the county courthouse. John Sawyer was almost eighty years old and a pig; literally, he hadn’t bothered to take a bath or so much as a put on a clean shirt when they stood before Judge. The overweight old man wheezed, and his breath was foul, as if his lungs were rotten. He seemed delighted to get him a virgin bride to share his life with him on the farm. She watched while they signed a bunch of papers, then the Judge married them, and afterward, he gave her father a wad of bills, and she thought the man was wealthy. The old farmhouse he took her to after the ceremony, was in danger of falling apart. Her wedding night was a nightmare. She had no experience, the girls at school had kind of told her about it, but they had not prepared her for what happened. Within a week, she was a widow. He suffered a stroke while he was on top of her, dying before she could work her way out from under him.
She actually cried. The day before, John took a bath for her and brushed his teeth. His brain was simple, but he hadn’t knocked her around as her father had. Mallory thought she could tolerate him. After his funeral, she had to go to the lawyer’s office and her parents made her sign the insurance check over to them.
They had taken her home to mend her broken heart and see the doctor for the infection John had given her. Her mother explained that this was the way of marriages that she had been married several times before she married Mallory’s father.
“It’s just a matter of finding a good match,” she said, “Everybody does it this way. John did not inform us that he was ailing or we would never have permitted it. We will try to find you another husband soon.”

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Short Story in pieces. The Black Widow

I wrote this 3-4 years ago. I'm sure it's full of mistakes, please just read it for the story. I am going to post the parts (5) on a daily basis until completed. I'm trying out the scheduling thingy. ;-)

Black Widow


The heat from the summer sun was intense, causing her pale skin to burn beneath her gauzy, peasant blouse. Beads of sweat trickled between her breasts, down her back, over her forehead and stinging her eyes. The tarmac she walked on felt as if it was burning through the soles of her cheap shoes, searing the bottoms of her feet. She tried to ignore the heat, focusing on the reason for her walk, as she pulled the heavy suitcase on wheels behind her. The old Ford Ranger sat on the side of the road about half a mile back, still belching black smoke. She wished someone would stop, offering her a ride, but the seldom-used country road was vacant and not a single car had ventured her way. The convenience store was in sight, though still quite a distance and she tried to move a little faster. She didn’t want to miss the bus that stopped there every day.

Knowing that she should notify someone that the old man was dead, she had hoped to call the police from a pay phone after she was safely out of town. If only she could get out of the area before they discovered his body. All of his money was in her pocket, even the change and his gold wedding ring, which she planned selling along with her own.

The convenience store did not appear to be any closer, like a mirage it was always in the distance beyond the heat waves rising from the tar. Three buzzards circled above her as if waiting for her to keel over for their lunch. A car was coming from behind her, slowly, she turned around to look, and an invisible pin poked a hole in her hopes and dreams. The car was heading toward her, and her uncle was screaming, “We have you now!” He swerved around and pulled the late model Lincoln in front of her, blocking her path.

“Exactly where do you think you’re going, Mrs. Vogel?” he growled.

“I’m leaving, the old man is dead, and I’m eighteen now. I can go wherever I damn well please,” she said.

“That’s not the way we do things around here and you know it. Put your suitcase in the back and climb in. You have paperwork to fill out. What will your folks say, you going off and not giving your loving husband a proper burial? It’s a shame you have so little respect after all that your parents have done for you,” he said, shaking his head in disgust.

Although tempted to run, she knew they would catch her, and make things even worse. She did as he said, climbing into the back seat as his buddy leered at her. He drove her to her parents’ house instead of the police station. He opened her door and grabbed her suitcase then he jerked her out of the car by her arm, shoving her toward the house.

“Don’t push me like that, Uncle Carl, I’m going in,” she said.

Her parents were sitting at the paper strewn dining room table. Mother seemed satisfied with herself as she tapped the numbers into her calculator with her blood red, fake fingernails. She was chortling, “Quite a tidy little package!”

“How much do you figure we’re going to get, Estelle?” her father asked, setting his beer bottle down on the table.

“Don’t forget my cut, you jokers,” her uncle said.

“Don’t get your shorts in a bunch, you’ll get yours, don’t you worry, Carl,” Estelle said.

“Who have you got lined up for her next, Carl?” her father asked.

“No! You can’t make me do it again. You are all sick in the head, this isn’t right, I want my own life,” she said.

Her father sprang from his chair, turning it over, and backhanded her to the floor.

“You will do as you’re told, or else!”

“Or else, what?” she taunted, “Are you going to kill me? Why not do it now? I say, you should go for it. My life isn’t worth living anyway. Maybe I will do it myself and save you all the trouble.”

“You know we have to do this. How else would we live?” Estelle asked.

“Did you two ever think about getting a job?”