(I've been trying to make myself sit down and write (rather than waste time on FB and Pinterest) and I am practicing on developing characters- something I don't have to do with a blog. My story is about a fictional town in Missouri called Rebel and the people who live there....
Wesley Byrd's mobile home sat a bit cockeyed. Its north end sagging slightly from an accident with Teddy Boswell's horse trailer. Teddy had misjudged his abilities to back up the fourteen foot rusty monster and chipped the cinder block that balanced the corner of Wesley's 1975 Flamingo double-wide. Luckily there were no horses involved, but only a weeks worth of their manure that Teddy was hauling to his garden spot. Why on earth Teddy stopped by to show Wesley his load of crap was unclear, but with the temps in the 90's and no trees in the entire yard, the stench of equine feces suffocated the countryside for three days.
To aggravate the situation further, Wesley's water bed added extra weight to the already compromised foundation. It was a 1968 model from the local Bed Giant that had seen its share of wild nights and mindless neglect. A few silver stripes of duct tape, a spot of Super Glue and a large plastic mattress pad struggled to keep the stagnant water contained. One more crazy date with Tawny Doggins- and Wesley imagined waking up in a bed of deflated rubber and puddles as big as his ex-wife.
But Wesley smiled to himself. By golly, it would be worth it! Tawny Doggins made a man forget about things. Like: how old his bed was, how he was down to his last two beers, and how there was a chance that Auto Credit of America might repo his old Chevy.
However, at the moment Tawny wasn't there. And furthermore, it was very unlikely that she would be visiting soon. Apparently she had gotten back together with Dick Hill, the owner of the local lawnmower repair shop. The guy only had seven fingers, but he was built like a hillbilly version of Arnold Schwarzenegger- with a tattoo of two dancing ladies on his chest that moved whenever he flexed his hormone-boosted muscles. What Tawny saw in him, Wesley never understood- other than perhaps the fact that the guy had a job, a real house and a good used car.
Wesley sat at the kitchen table alone- the gray Formica still dotted with traces of pizza sauce and yesterday's pancake syrup.
Although it was barely 10 a.m., Wesley chugged one of his beers, barely taking a breath before sucking the last drop from the aluminum can. He had friends, he thought, surely he did.
Outside his mangy pit bull kicked up clouds of dust and rattled his chain against the barbeque grill, barking incessantly at an armadillo who had made a burrow in the nearby creek bed. Inside, his balding parakeet, Crackers, made sick-sounding cheeps from her dirty cage- the poop at least a quarter inch thick and growing- on the nasty newspaper floor. His window air conditioner sputtered a moment and the power surged, leaving his microwave flashing zeros. Time seemed to freeze, too- surrounding him in slow motion, magnifying the sounds and sights and smells of his life.
He rose from the table and gathered the empty cans, crushing them in half with the others in the thirty gallon Rubbermaid trash bin, reserved solely for recycling. He was due for a trip to the salvage yard. He had just about enough cans to earn him another case of beer and a pack of cigarettes. Ahhh...life was pretty good.
Wesley stood over the toilet regretfully relieving himself of his last beer when he heard his mother drive up. There was no mistaking the buzz of her Volkswagen bus, a vintage van still plastered with Grateful Dead bumper stickers and sporting a dusty dream catcher from the rear-view mirror. He smelled her fancy woman cigar before he even saw her.
Bertha Byrd was pushing sixty, but she still wore her bright red hair down the length of her back- a rude contrast to her frosty blue eyeshadow and circles of terracotta blush that stained her wrinkled cheeks. She only came to make sure Wesley had milk, bread, and eggs (as if that is all it took to survive), and to share all the latest gossip about Rebel, Hollywood, Nashville- and all points in between.
Wesley met her at the door and waited for her to finish her smoke. She flicked the cigar butt at the dog house and waved hello at Wesley.
"Ain't you got that weed whacker fixed yet?" she asked,"it looks like a jungle out here."
He ignored her and helped her up the rickety steps into the house, trying to avoid listening to her complaints about the yard, the dog, his clothes and the state of the bird cage.
"Guess what?" she said, clapping her hands together in obvious joy, "I think I got you a job! Talked to Gerty at the post office and she said they was hirin' at the new casino. You jus have ta go fill out an application by Wednesday. I heard they pay real good."
Wesley's heart beat with excitement. A job. A real job? His unemployment benefits were due to expire in a few weeks and the thought of having another bowl of Ramen noodles for supper made his stomach growl.
"What would I do there. Ma?" he asked.
"Oh, they's all sorts of positions still open. Maybe you could bar tend. You like to drink, fer sure," she said, eying the bulging bag of empty beer cans. "Lawd knows ya ain't real good with a broom, but they will need janitors."
"Maintenance men, Ma. That's what they call them at fancy joints like that. And, I could do good at that, I'm sure."
Wesley began to daydream as his mother started in on some honky tonk country singer that showed too much cleavage and dyed her hair way too black.
...He figured with a job he might be able to replace the old water bed, the leaky faucet, the mildewed shower curtain, and pay off his truck. But more than all of that- maybe he could win back Tawny Doggins. Heck, he'd shovel Teddy Boswell's manure for another chance with sweet little Tawny...
TO BE CONTINUED....