Saturday, March 18, 2017

HOME VISIT

As Michelle hurries up the stoop, she retrieves a door key that she keeps in secret. On the porch, she opens the door and sees her father flat out, motionless on the living room floor. "Dad," she screams and rushes to him. He moves and looks up at her, grumbles, "what the hell are you doing here?"
"I couldn't get in touch with you over the telephone," Michelle says.
"Damn thing broke and what the shit?" Dad asks.
"What do you mean by that?" Michele asks.
"A son would have shook me to see if I was till alive," Dad says.
"Please, not now Dad and how did you fall out of your wheelchair," Michelle says.
"I was reaching for something and the thing tilted; after I couldn't get up, I yelled for help, " Dad says.
"You know that these old houses are as close to sound proof as can be, and the breeze way between the houses helps muffle noise," Michelle says.
"I forgot about that," Dad says.
She stands the wheel chair upright.
"Wait a minute, how did you get in here?" Dad asks.
"Let's get you in the wheelchair and off the floor okay," Michelle says.
"Think you have enough man muscles to lift me?" Dad asks.
"Yes I do, Dad," Michelle says. She stands behind Dad then bends at her knees, places her forearms under his arm pits then stands, lifting him.
"Did you put the lock on?" Dad asks.
"First thing," Michelle says as she maneuvers Dad onto the chair.
He makes himself comfortable.
"Nope, don't do that because you have to take a bath to get rid of that awful smell," Michelle says.
"A man would have said that I smell like the back alley of a wino's street," Dad says.
"You stink Dad, please take a bath," Michelle says.
He takes off the brakes then wheel himself into the bathroom. She goes to the closet, gets the broom, mop and bucket , begins to cleanup. She finds Dad's telephone and discovers that he let the batteries run down.
"I don't hear no water running," Michelle shouts.
"You will as soon as I flush," Dad shouts.
She continues cleaning then hears the toilet flush and the bath water running. "Need help getting in," Michelle shouts.
"Oh no, hell no, not from you anyway," Dad shouts.
She finishes cleaning then prepares bacon and eggs to cook.

Michelle puts a plate of food before Dad then set a plate for her and sit opposite him. After a short prayer, they eat.
"There not much food left in the frig or cabinet so we could go shopping just like mom would," Michelle says.
Dad snaps. "Don't you mention my wife, damn-it; she would turn over in her grave if I told her what you did to yourself, my son a woman."
"Dad, mom understood it before I did," Michelle says.
"Don't you say that, she would have never encourage you to do that to yourself, never," Dad snaps.
"She didn't and you're right that she wouldn't have because it was my choice to make and I made it," Michelle says.
"My son, a woman," Dad snorts.
"That's right," Michelle says.
"Damn you Michael, Damn you," Dad says with anger.
"My name in Michelle," Michelle says.  
"Not to me it isn't, I don't give a shit about everybody else, to me your name is Michael," Dad says.
Michelle looks at Dad. "You got that one," she says.
"Damn right, I do," Dad says.
"You should buy one of those wheelchairs with a motor," she says.
"In case you haven't noticed, I am the only he-man in the family now," he says then displays his arm muscles and says to mock, "not a damn she-man."
"This she-man picked your ass up off the floor," she says.
"Don't you curse at me," he says.
"I wasn't cursing," she says.
"You said ass to me about me," he says.
"I was talking about that particular part of your body and not your behavior," she says.
"You've become a wise guy," he says.
"Haven't you noticed, I changed," she says.

They finish their meal.
"Your phone should be powered up in a little while," she say.
"I glad you came over and help me off the floor," he says.
"Well, when I didn't hear your grumpiness after my third call, I thought something was wrong," she says.
Dad laughs as he recalls, "I was reaching for something, I can't remember now, anyway, my chair tilted and I must have knocked myself out hitting my head against the floor." He laughs louder that draws her to laugh with him. After a moment, he sighs. "I guess that I need you now more than ever," he says.
"If you say so," she says.
He tells her. "You are my only child and that is it, you are my child. I'll point out to anyone who asks that you are my child and if they asks what is your name, I will tell that you are my child and that is it."
"Okay Dad," Michelle says.
"Damn right, you are my child," Dad says. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

GRANDDAUGHTER

She drives along the roads of Amish country until she stops at the farm that she seeks and parks on the side of the road. As she steps to the house, a tall man appears from the side of the house.
"Are you lost?" He asks.
She doesn't speak, just stares at him.
He walks closer to her. "Do you need directions?" He asks.
"I'm looking for Chester," she says.
"My name is Chester," he says.
"I am your granddaughter, Rebecca; my mother is your daughter, Kate," Rebecca says.
Chester displays no emotion, keeping his long lost grief in him. "I remember what I had to do," he says.
"Does that mean me too?" Rebecca asks.
Chester inhales deep then exhale. "No," he says.
"Thank you," Rebecca says.

In the kitchen, they eat a snack Chester prepared and he listens to Rebecca's recollection of her life with her mother. She asks about her grandmother. He talks about his wife from their marriage to the birth of Kate and then their mother, daughter relationship until his wife's death and how he began both parents until that day when she left him. Rebecca peeks at her wristwatch. "Oh, wow, time just flew by." Chester pulls out his pocket-watch. "Yes, it did," he says in a manner to announce to himself that he forgot to do his chores. She stands. "I have the summer off before college," she says.
"That's good," he says.
"I wonder if I can spend it here," she says.
"What will your mother say?" H e asks.
"It's just a summer vacation," she says.
After a thought, he says, "well, if, your mother approves."
They stand on the porch. He watches her walk to her car then stop.
"I didn't say a word about my father," she says.
"That was good," he says.

"Rebecca where have you been all day?" Kate asks.
"Up state, in Amish country," Rebecca says.
Kate's heart misses a beat. "What on earth for?" she asks.
"To find my grandfather," Rebecca says.
"Did you find him?" Kate asks.
"Sure did and we talked for hours," Rebecca says.
"You should not have gone there without letting me know," Kate says.
"If I told you would you have let me go?" Rebecca asks.
"I always wanted you to meet him but," Kate says.
"Well, at least that problem has been solved," Rebecca says.
"How did you fine him?" Kate asks.
"A year ago, grand-mommy mentioned him and I just started going to Amish markets and asking around and one day, I just got lucky," Rebecca says.
"And, you found my father from that?" Kate asks.
"Yes, and I also found out that Jeb got married to a fine wife and they have a son and daughter, and he took over his family farm," Rebecca says.
Kate has not thought of her Amish suitor in years. He promised to welcome and care for a not yet born Rebecca as his daughter but John was her father so she left the Amish world for his.

During dinner, John learns of his daughter's trip to the Amish country and meeting her grandfather without a display of concern; then, she mentions that she wanted to spend her summer vacation with her Amish grandfather.
"Out of the question," John snaps.
"Why not? She should get to know the other branch of her family tree," Kate says.
"I don't like it; remember what they did to you," John says.
Before Kate can say a word, John says, "we can't visit you."
"Did you pass a road side diner with a blue front," Kate asks Rebecca.
"Yes, I did," Rebecca says.
"We can meet her there," Kate says.
"Your father doesn't have a telephone or a computer; did you see any of that there, Rebecca?" John asks.
"No, but there was a mailbox," Rebecca says.

Rebecca arrives at Chester's egg and poultry farm; during dinner, Chester explains the operations of his free range chicken and turkey farm, growing and storing feed corn and selling eggs to nearby stores.
"You need to get out of those clothes. Your room was once your mother's and I never got around to tossing her clothes. Now, the work day starts early here so I'll wake you until your natural clock begins to go off," Chester says.
It takes a couple of weeks for Rebecca's natural clock to set and her muscle memory to become in the habit of the routine; so much so that by the close of summer, she is an old hand at it and she wants to stay.

In the diner, John keeps his anger in check. "You said, just for the summer," he says.
"I changed my mind," Rebecca says.
"What about college?" Kate asks.
"It doesn't interest me no more," Rebecca says.
"Let her go you said, it will be good for her," John tells Kate.
"I didn't think that this would happen; Did you meet a suitor," Kaye says.
"No, I didn't meet anyone. I'm just happy here," Rebecca says.
"He brainwashed you," John says.
"The life did that," Rebecca says.
"Just like the life of the outside world did for me," Kate says.

Chester sits in the one horse drawn buggy; he follows the ritual, however, he moves the side mirror to see Kate with John saying goodbye to Rebecca. As they walk to their car, Chester moves the mirror to keep Kate image on it; she stops, looks in his direction, wave then blows him a kiss that he catches; tears brightens father and daughter eyes. Rebecca climbs into the buggy.
"Ready grandfather?" She asks.
"Ready granddaughter," he says.





Thursday, March 9, 2017

THE FIRE AT 124 JACKSON PLACE

Lucy and her six-year old son Manny are asleep in the bedroom when the flame in the kitchen erupts and wakes the family dog, a black Chihuahua; he barks at the flames as if it were an intruder and that wakes Lucy.
After the fire department declares the fire extinguished, the Fire Marshal prepares to conduct her investigation. Lucy stands with the fire battalion Captain.
"What happens now?" Lucy asks.
"The fire marshal is going to make an investigation for the cause of the fire," Captain says.
"Will I be able to go back into my house when he finishes?" Lucy asks.
"Oh no, not tonight, a city inspector will have to clear it as safe to occupy and that may not happen until morning," Captain says.
Disappointed. "Oh man," Lucy says.
"Do you have a place to stay tonight?" Captain asks.
"Maybe my boyfriend," Lucy says.
"Well, just in case you don't, come with me and I'll contact the red cross for you to help you solve that problem," Captain says.
"Thanks, but I'll call my boyfriend," Lucy says.
"I'll give you the red cross number anyway," Captain says.

The Fire Marshal stands at the bottom of the stoop of the duplex getting ready to enter. Manny runs up to her. "What are you doing?" He asks. The Fire Marshal does not hear him so he tugs on her trousers. "What is it little fellow?" Fire Marshal asks.
"What are you doing?" Manny asks.
"I'm going into the apartment to check and find out how the fire started," Fire Marshal says.
"I know how it happened," Manny says.
"You weren't playing with matches. were you?" Fire Marshal asks.
Manny shakes his head. "No, no, I was asleep and Chitty woke us up barking," he says.
"Where is your mother?" Fire Marshal asks.
Manny points; "over there," he says.
"Better go and be with her," Fire Marshal says.
"But, I want to tell you who put the fire in my mommy's kitchen," Manny says.
Annoyed, Fire Marshal asks. "Who was it?"
"That man who is my mommy's boyfriend," Manny says.
"Did you see him do it?" Fire Marshal asks.
"No, I was asleep; I told you before," Manny says.
"Well, how do you know that he did it?" Fire marshal asks.
Manny uses both pointing fingers to emphasize, "he and my mommy stopped being boyfriend and girlfriend because he wants to fuss and cuss all the time my mommy said and he said one day that he's going to burn the do-do out of my mommy's house with a fire bottle," he says.
Lucy calls Manny over to her. He hurries to her then he tells her what he told the Fire Marshal. "Oh shit, why did you tell her that?" Lucy asks.
"She wants to know how the fire happened," Manny says.
"You shouldn't have told her that," Lucy says.

Fire Marshal's investigation determines that the fire was caused by a faulty microwave oven wiring. She leaves the apartment after she completed her investigation. Manny rushes to her; "did I tell the truth?" He asks. Fire Marshal does not answer instead she walks to Lucy. Manny wants to know if he told the truth, until Lucy tells him to be quiet. Embarrassed of what Manny said about her boyfriend, Lucy tells Fire Marshal, "my boyfriend and I did have a fight but that was a couple of weeks ago; we made up since then. He even bought me a microwave oven."