From another short story

Another story I have edited and re-edited a number of times.  Still not satisfied with it but getting closer.

 

Mitch reached his front door and heard the ragged strains of Sweet Home Alabama blasting from a terrible car stereo.  He heard the creaking and rumbling car before he saw it rattle noisily into his driveway and clunk to a stop.  The motor choked dead but the radio blared on as the door screeched open.  Before he heard her first scream, he knew it was Linda.  She released a string of loud profanity as she staggered to shove the door shut and gave up.  She looked the same as always:  Hair half fixed, clothes pulled in all directions, make up smeared, emaciated from not eating, and stumbling over her feet. 

 

Mitch saw the Yeager’s from next door come out on their front porch.  He was about to say something to them when Linda directed her wrath on him.  “Where are the kids?”  She screamed and staggered toward him.

 

Mitch couldn’t resist “How’s recovery going?”  She screamed a long line of profanity in his direction and lurched forward, fumbling in her purse for the bottle.  He knew that she wore the recovery badge almost as proud as she wore the falling-off-the-wagon badge.  She had been in and out recovery and on and off the wagon since they first met.  In her calmer moments she would gladly educate you at length about the merits of whichever one she was in at the time and how she was never going back to whichever one she wasn’t in.

 

“Linda, get back in the car and go home.”  He ventured.

 

“Not without the kids.  You got your chance and you turned them against me.  You and that slut of yours.”  She yelled.

 

“Mitch, everything OK over there?”  Bob Yeager called.

 

Linda wheeled around to the old man “No!  He stold my kids away!  I suffered for years raising them kids without any help from him.  Then he waves money at them and turns em against me.”  She turned back to Mitch and started forward again.

 

“Linda, go home to Cliff.  Call me tomorrow after you’ve slept.”

 

“Cliff’s gone.”  She cursed freely.  “Who cares anyway?  As long as I have the boys.”

 

“Don’t drive back to Indianapolis.  Go out to the motel on the highway and sleep for a while.  I’ll pay.”  Mitch said.

 

Linda fell back against the hood of the rattle trap car and wept loudly.  “He left.  Just like that.  The boys left me, then Cliff.  After all I done for them.”  Mitch couldn’t feel sorry for her.  She screamed curses at her ungrateful children and her man then turned back to Mitch “I need them more than you do.”  She pleaded loudly. 

 

Her rage was returning as Mitch knew it would.  He had a lot of experience with her rages.  She stomped back and forth in front of the car talking and cursing loudly to herself. 

 

“My wife is calling the sheriff.”  Yeager shouted from his porch.

 

“Thanks Bob.  I’m sorry.”  Mitch said while trying to cajole Linda at a distance.  She was working herself up to an explosion; soon she would direct her wrath at him.  Unable to focus, she was attempting to track Mitch down when Sheriff Curtis Marvin arrived.  Sheriff Marvin got all of his six foot six inch, two hundred and sixty pound frame squarely between Linda and Mitch.  Linda calmed down considerably at the sight of the huge black man in uniform. 

 

“Oooh, a real man in uniform!”  She slurred.  Mitch found her attempt at seductive almost as revolting as her screaming obscenities. 

 

“We are now going to behave like adults.”  Sheriff Marvin said to her.  “This your ex?”  He asked Mitch over his shoulder.

 

“Yes, thanks for coming out Curtis.”

 

“He’s got my boys.”  Linda protested weakly.

 

“These the boys you told me about?” The sheriff asked again over his shoulder and got another positive.  “Now ma’am those boys are grown men.  Mr. Sanders doesn’t have anyone.  Tell you what.  Why don’t you go on home and come back tomorrow morning into Jefferson.  You go around and ask anyone and they will tell you how to find the young men.  They live right in town.  Everybody knows them.”

 

“He turned them against me.  Something ought to be done about that.”  She got louder.

 

Marvin got a little more forceful.  “I’ll tell you what I am going to do something about.  I am going to do something about public intoxication and people screaming and carrying on like they have no sense.  I’m telling you to calm down before I have to make an arrest.  Now you turn around, get back in the car and be on your way.”

 

Linda produced the bottle from her purse and brazenly took a long drink.  “You think that badge makes you something don’t you Sam, or LeBron, Tyrone, whatever?”

 

“Ma’am get back in the car.”  The Sheriff ordered and Mitch saw another patrol car pull into the driveway.  He sat down on his front step.

 

Linda continued to argue and took pulls on the bottle.  Mitch could see the Sheriff signal the Deputy and both of them attempted to pin Linda’s arms and handcuff her.  To his amazement she got free, jumped in the car, started it, and backed into the patrol car.  He would have laughed out loud but was more than a little afraid that the handcuffs would turn to him next.  He looked over at the Yeager’s to see them still on their porch, shaking their heads.

 

The handcuffed Linda really started screaming when she was put in the back of the patrol car.  Mitch could hear her kicking at the door of the car while Sheriff Marvin and he talked.  “Don, tell her you are going to spray her if she doesn’t stop that.”  The Sheriff called to the Deputy. 

 

“That your ex?”  Yeager called over after the patrols cars left. Mrs. Yeager stomped into her house. 

 

“Yeah.” Mitch said and sat down on the step again. “Tell Fern I’m sorry.”

 

“Don’t worry about her.  Wow, so that’s your ex?” Yeager asked again and came over to the edge of the yard.

 

“The mother of my children in all her glory.”  Mitch responded.

 

Mr. Yeager chuckled.  “You know, I’ve heard divorce stories before and people spice them up a little.  Like, to make the other person look worse.  I have to say, you did the exact opposite.  That woman is far worse than you ever let on!”

 

They talked for a moment before Yeager went inside.  Mitch sat for a long time looking at the junk car in the driveway and listening to the pleasant sounds of the quiet spring evening.

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From a completed short story

This is rather long for one of my stories.  Runs over 4500 words, 20 some pages double spaced.  One of my few first person stories.  I have submitted a half dozen times, rejected, then rewrote.  I find that my rewrites are becoming really minor corrections.  Which I hope means, I am satisfied with it, which I believe I am.  I think it will find a market sometime, it’s just located that right market.  Anyway, a short passage:

 

Chet tried to get cute about the car once.  I was cleaning it out and working on the back seat.  They came home from some Country Club thing. 

“See any girl action in that back seat Ty?” 

 

“Why girls?”  I countered and kept cleaning.

 

“Huh?”  Chet said. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

I knew what would get him so I straightened up, turned around, had to bend down to stubby Chet,  and looked him in the eye.  “Why does it have to be girls?  What’s wrong with boy action in the back seat?”  I could see Barbara giving me a look.

 

“Hold on a minute!”  Chet fumbles around, getting all red.  “Are you saying…?”

 

“Come on Chet, he’s putting you on.  Trying to get Mommy’s attention.”  Barbara finally butts in.

 

I’m quick on the comeback.  “If I thought it would work, I’d do it for real.” 

 

She lights a cig and raises an eyebrow. “Go for it, maybe it will.”

 

Chet gives this nervous laugh and kind of shrugs it off.  “Course he’s joking.”  He has to reach up a long way and tries to drape an arm around my shoulders.  Now I ain’t big on that sort of thing, I knock his arm off me and pull away.  “Who do you think you are?”

 

Then, I ain’t kidding, he marches right up in my face, all red.  As much up in my face as he can manage anyway.  I’m a head taller. “I’m the one who paid for the damn thing you little snot.”  Spray in my face.  Disgusting.

 

 “Mind your own business and keep your perverted hands off me.” 

 

Mom pulls him aside.  “Knock it off Chet.”  She says.

 

“He can’t say that to me.”  Chet insists.

 

“He can.”  She tells him, He sputters and stomps away.

 

She turns back to me.  “I’m not playing referee and that’s final.”

 

“Tell him, Barbara.”  I counter.  Hadn’t called her Mom for years.  “Anyway, what do you play?  You haven’t played Mom since I can remember.”  Another good one.

 

Bounces off her like always.  “I will tell him.  And now I’m telling you.” 

 

“Fine.”  I turn to the car and start working again. 

 

“Use protection with your boys.”  She says, her heels click evenly on the stupidly expensive cobblestone drive.  I hate her sometimes.