CigarBox

    Just playing by the rules they set

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    The mothers met at Fat Eddies the following Wednesday about noon. They sat in the back of the café and ordered the “special” which was always meat, two veggies, a salad, tea and bread. Fat Eddie would brag that he didn’t have an “all you can eat” bar because if his lunch didn’t fill you up he’d bring you more out to eat. They ate their salads in silence and then Barbara spoke.

    “Look, these things happen. God knows June is wild as a cat, but she is just sixteen, and your son.”

    “Don’t tell me about my son Barbara! My son still wanted a truck for Christmas. Your little girl is not a little girl. Everyone in this town knows how she gets around!”

    Barbara was not a coward and would have slapped Claudette, except that the real estate lady still had something she wanted. She was smart enough to hold her temper. June was wild, that was no lie. She did get around, and that was no lie either. Still, the object of this meeting was to work out the wedding. They both knew why they were here. She agreed that Mike needed time to graduate, but just as soon as possible after he walked across that stage down at the high school gym, he needed to walk down the isle down at the church! She decided on a verbal attack as opposed to a brawl.

    “Don’t you look down your nose at me Miss High Falutin’ divorced real estate lady. Your little spoiled wimpy son runs around messin’ with little girls and gets caught, and I want to give him a decent way out. I wonder how he’d do in the county jail? Wonder how them little shorts with the pockets in them would do in there. What do you think?”

    Claudette was surprised at the bitterness in the woman, but she knew the determination, too! This woman meant to marry into her family by any means possible. The reference to Mike’s shorts was recalling a time when he ran around the golf course with tailored shorts with fancy pockets. His stepbrothers wore jeans, but Mike always had to look his best. Apparently Barbara, just like practically everyone else in town, thought Mike just looked silly. Imagine, a west Texas kid with such a get up!

    CigarBox

    “Ok, calm down. We’ll talk it over more. Let’s just agree to let them see each other for now.”

    June’s mother leaned near to Mike’s mom, “Don’t let Ray know. He gets crazy about June. He’s already mad at Mike. Let’s let that pot cool just a bit, and we’ll bring them out of the closet at little at a time. Is Mike coming back to work down here?”

    “No, I don’t think that will be wise. He’s going to work on a construction crew on the weekends. My husband is trying to interest him more in the builder trade.”

    “Good! Just keep it cool.”

    “Ok. Look, we’ll be here Friday. Buddy will be in town visiting and wants to do the catfish thing. Do you think Ray will be here? Maybe if he saw us it might take the edge off just a bit.”

    “Yeah, we’ll try that. How long is your son in town for?”

    “A week. He’ll leave Wednesday.”

    “Ok, see you then.” They finished their lunch and left.

    Claudette would never have met with the likes of this woman under any other conditions, and the idea of this “lady” being in her family in any way was repugnant to her. It had hurt when Barbara threw up the divorce to her, but she’d been called worse things so she looked over it. Barbara was just making sure that Claudette knew that as low as she may have thought Barbara was, she was not divorced! Anyway, Buddy was coming to town, and that would be something nice to look forward to. Buddy had graduated high school and took off to work in Houston. He took night courses and liked the big city life, but he also liked to come home now and again and he especially liked to do the ritual of “eating the cat,” with his family. Claudette realized that she wanted to keep the problem between Ray, and Mike quiet. Buddy was rough hewn like his father and he was the type to pull Ray up and slap him in spite of his so- called reputation.

    As the weekend approached, Claudette began to make plans to have June drop by and see them. She knew that he’d have to watch out for Ray, but that was no matter because Barbara was firmly on the side of June seeing Michael at any opportunity that could be arranged. They planned to eat out on Friday night because Ray would be there with everybody else eating catfish. True to her agreement with Barbara, Claudette steered the family toward the traditional catfish dinner. June and Mike made other plans, however. June had been calling Mike at a mutual friend’s house all week and they had set up a meeting. Late Thursday night June slipped out of her bedroom in the shacks behind the Catfish house and sneaked to City Park, where Michael was waiting near the duck pond. After making sure they weren’t followed, they kissed and talked.

    “We’ll be together soon, I promise,” Michael said, trying to appear “grown up” and in “control.”

    She wrapped her arms around him and held him for the longest time. “I miss you more and more every day.”

    All that was on Michael’s mind was physical, but he played the game anyway. He had chosen a part of City Park far enough away from the main road so as to assure privacy, but he didn’t see the two forms watching from a nearby tree.

    Veronica watched June begin to kiss and hold Michael in the distance. Her spirit guide with her let her watch for a few minutes and then asked, “Did you know what he wanted when you went there?”

    Without looking away from the scene she answered, “Sure, I knew what he wanted. What does any man want? I knew he’d be there. All I had to do was make a promise and he’d be there. Sex will lure and hold a man every time!”

    “Why didn’t it hold him to you in Tennessee?”

    She turned to look at the man. “I thought you were supposed to be an angel. What’s an angel doing worrying about sex for?”

    “I never told you I was an angel. I told you there were things we had to talk about!”

    “My, aren’t we splitting hairs here.”

    “Not splitting hairs, I’m just letting you understand that surprisingly, I may be in the same boat as you. I have things that I have to work out, too. I just have a few miles on you, that’s all. Both of us were put at that intersection. You for your reasons, and me for mine.”

    “I can’t go on without you,” June began.

    She turned back to the scene. “What broke us up in Tennessee happened in Texas. Like I told you, some things are real bad, and it ain’t easy to get around them. Mike couldn’t get around something I did.”

    “Then you’ve got to understand why you did it.”

    Veronica looked at him with a puzzled stare. “I did it because I had done things like that all my life! I didn’t expect to get caught, and when I did get caught I didn’t expect them to all go on like they did about it.”

    “Two sets of standards?”

    “No, a set of standards I inherited. Look, Doctor Angel, I just played by the rules they set. Mike and other men wanted the pretty little blonde and I spread my loving arms and loving legs and they took the bait. They were my toy as much as I was theirs. I think about the only one who took me serious, as funny as it may sound, was Claudette, and dad.”

    “Ray?”

    “Yeah. I seemed to fill a need in him, and not a bad one. It was like I replaced something he’d lost. I pushed him away for a while, but I never felt him push me away.”

    “You look happy enough there,” he said looking at the couple in the distance.

    “We were happy there. It took a lot to break that happiness up, but believe me, if you work on it, you can break it up. I broke it up real good.”

    “How?”

    “Just trying to have it all, Dr. Angel. Just trying to have it all.”

    Within a few minutes, her alter ego was coming out of the trees, adjusting her jeans and blouse and scampering back to the shacks behind the Catfish house. Michael sat in the oaks of City Park convinced that he was totally in love.

    Juan drew the smoke deep within his lungs and let the drug take hold of him. Slowly his mind relaxed into oblivion and he became glassy eyed. Then the soft spot in his head from his infancy opened up and a single dove emerged and flew up into the night air. Flying this way and that, the dove looked for signs of someone who would be recognizable only to it. Someone who was pure soul, yet was not dead yet. Within a moment or two it spied the young June coming out of the bushes and it descended on her. Unseen in the nearby brush, Dreamwalker pulled Veronica back near him
    .
    “Be still! Don’t let him see you.”

    “Who?” her eyes searched the night sky.

    “That dove. That’s the shaman. He’s trying to
    find us. He can’t see you very easily.”

    “What if he finds us?”

    “He will try to force us back to the accident scene
    and continue the accident. It is not good that we do that right at this time. You have to learn some things, see some things before we go back.”

    They watched as the dove discovered that the young June was not what it was seeking and turned, flying back to the body of Juan, still sitting in his home. It returned to his body and he came back from the realm of the unseen, a bit angry that he had not found what he sought. By doing this he had crossed not one, but two barriers. The first barrier being the obvious one of leaving his body and searching such as he did, but the other was the barrier of time. Juan had crossed over the barrier of time and actually gone back looking for the Dreamwalker and his consort. Juan knew they were somewhere, but just where in time had not been made clear to him. It was not like searching in one era which to be honest is rather two dimensional, but searching across time took some doing. That took some real savvy.

    If he could locate the Dreamwalker he had spiritual power over him that could force him back to the accident scene, and his newfound friend with him, but if he could not find him then he would have to just wait and see just what the spirit had up his tuxedoed sleeve.

    The Butcher Shop
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