Sunday, April 22, 2012

Aunt Clara Part Six

It was almost daylight by the time Yvonne finally won the game of rummy. We were all yawning and I was really glad it was Sunday morning. I didn't have to open the shoe shop. Announcing that she was hungry, Yvonne stood up, threw her arms back, and yawned and smiled at the same time. Aunt Clara looked at her and said, "Come give me a hug, then you and your papa stop and get a bite to eat. Then you go home and rest. It's been a long night, huh? Long, and fun!"
Bzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzz. It was Yvonne's cell phone. If I call Yvonne's cell a song plays, it's Alberta Hunter singing "My Castle's Rockin". If my wife Teresa calls Yvonne a voice says "Mom". But if it's an unknown caller, there is a buzzing sound. She looked at the screen on her phone and gave a quizzical look. "Hmm," she said, "It's only three numbers, hmm."
"What are they?" Aunt Clara asked. Bzzzz, bzzzz, bzzzz. Yvonne said, "Three, four, six." Grinning just a little, Aunt Clara said, "Well, it's my half-brother Jack. Go ahead and answer it, but push the speaker button...please."
Yvonne answered, "Hello?" A voice, my Great Uncle Jack, said, "Hello yourself there, young lady. This is your late, great, and I mean really great, Uncle Jack. Jack is the name, gamblin's my game."
"Well," Yvonne said, "How did you get my number? How do you know it?"
"What do you mean how did I get your number?! I've got your number young lady! How do I know it?! Ha ha ha ha ha. I'm dead! Hell, I know everything! Everything I need to know, anyway! So there!"
Yvonne said, " did you call me instead of Aunt Clara?"
"Because I could!" Jack said, rather loudly. "I talk to Clara all the time. She said you're interesting so I just thought I'd give you a ring...okay?!"
"Alright," Yvonne replied. She was smiling, and Aunt Clara was grinning. 
There was a long pause. Then the voice of Great, great uncle Jack Thomas. "You play poker?" 
"Well, no, but..."
"Well!" said Jack, "You wanna learn how? I can show you!"
Yvonne replied with enthusiasm, "Sure!"
"Okay," Jack said, "But I'm not gonna teach you too good you know. I don't want you beating me like you did Clara and your dad! We'll play penny ante, see, with a one dollar pot limit. I don't want to take all your money! Just most of it! Now, let me talk to your Aunt Clara, okay? ...Please? Good night young lady!" Yvonne handed her cell phone to Aunt Clara, who promptly turned the speaker off. She put the phone to her ear. "Hello Jack." Then a pause. "Yes," she said, "I think that's fine. You're taking a chance, you know, but it's fine with me." Another pause. "Yes, you're right, life is full of chances and sometimes we've got to take them. Yes Jack, I know, Jack's your name and gambling's your game. Yes...I love you too, Jack, and we'll see you here next Saturday night. Okay, see you then."
Aunt Clara pushed a button on the phone and handed it back to Yvonne saying, "I love these cell phones." She spun in her amazing wheelchair and began moving away, towards the other side of the room. "Good night...or good morning...whatever it is. Love you both..." Her voice becoming fainter now, "See you here next Saturday night." The chair reached the far wall and slowly spun around, facing Yvonne and I. It was empty now as we stood gazing and smiling. We walked out the back door of the shoe shop through the alley and across the street to the car. Yvonne said sleepily, "Mmm, biscuits and gravy sounds real good to me." "Me too," I replied. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Normal Conversation

      It was a rainy day I was slipping down the street     
      Goin' down to Mack's to get me somthin' to eat
      By the time I got there my appetite was dead
       I decided what the heck I'll get a beer instead
       I took a big swig and lit a cigarette
       Me and the waitress started chewin' the fat
       Just a normal conversation, everybody knows
       It's, "Whatcha up to? How's it goin'?" That's the way it goes
       "Workin' some, playin' some, same ol' thing I guess"
      Ya shake your head, shrug your shoulders, and get it off your chest

       Well, I knew it was too early but I ordered up another beer
        Put a dollar in jukebox, said, "Whatcha wanna hear?"
        "Oh, it don't matter, play anything at all
       except 145... it drives me up the wall
        And don't play Eminem or any rap stuff
        And don't play Conway Twitty, I've heard that thing enough
        218's alright if ya like that sort of thing
        I think Dylan's pretty good myself...if he'd just learn how to sing"
        Well, I played Knockin' On Heaven's Door
        And somthin' by the Stones I'd heard a thousand times before

        Then the regular lunch crowd started driftin' in the place
        Meat and two vegetables at six bucks a plate
         I sat back down on my stool and ordered up one more
         It was about this time an old best friend of mine wandered in the door
         I wouldn't have recognized him 'cept for the tattoo on his arm
         but I didn't act surprized or show any kind of alarm
         It was plain to see he didn't know me, though I didn't think I'd changed much at all
         His eyes were cloudy 'n he couldn't see straight thru the maze of alcohol
         His shirt was all dirty and ripped up the side
         His barn door was open 'n his shoes were untied

         Well, he walked over 'n sat on the stool next to mine, lookin' the other way
          I wanted to say somthin' to him, but I didn't know what to say
          He ordered up a burger and a beer
          Then our eyes happened to meet in the reflection in the mirror
          He turned to me kinda slow, stuck out a shakin' hand
          He said, "Hey, it's been a long time, how ya doin' man?
          Ya know I knew ya when I first came in the door   
          I didn't think ya knew me or I'd've shook your hand before"
          Then he said, "What brings you back to this Godforsaken town?"
          I said, "Oh, I'm goin' up to West Virginia, just dropped by to have a look around"

         He said, "Man, there ain't nothin' left here for anybody to see
          I been here the past twenty years 'n take a look at me"
          Then there was a moment of silence...seemed like an eternity
          when I had nothin' more to say to him 'n he had nothin' more to say to me
          Well, I called the waitress over 'n ordered us up another beer
          Slipped him a dollar for the jukebox...he said, "Whatcha wanna hear?"
          I said, "Oh, it don't matter, play anything at all
          except 145, cause it drives her up the wall
          And don't play Eminem or any rap stuff
          And no Conway Twitty...she's heard that thing enough
          218's alright if ya like that sort of thing
          I think Dylan's pretty good myself, if he'd just learn how to sing"

         Yeah, it was just a normal conversation everybody knows
          Whatcha up to? How's it goin'? That's the way it goes
          Workin' some, playin' some, same ol' thing I guess
          Ya shake your head, shrug your shoulders....'n get it off your chest.