Very dark. And the end

January 24, 2012


This is the house where I was born. Part Two. Afternoon Shift. Open 24hrs. Stories of moments. Of clarity. Part One. Day Shift. Is published by Smashwords. I’ve got to get this together for epublication. There is a third part, mostly written. Its the Graveyard Shift. Very dark.

I keep remembering a guy I met one summer. Working for my tuition. We were digging a ditch. He was about 50. Told me hopped trains during the depression across the country. And that in one of his stops he had sex with a nun. Depression – a nun – sex. Life is very odd.

………………………………………………………………………………….

THAT’S ALL I WANT FROM YOU. THAT’S ALL I EVER WANTED

 

Mrs. Murphy bobbed up to the cashier. The classic 18 step. With her walker. Shaking those screws and bolts. Rattling. Bones and bones. None of that osseous matter. Something that the Roman Empire could never understand.

Josephine, the cashier, smiled. She loved to see the old lady in her element. Not all her marbles are working but she sure can move those steins.

“Got a tune in your head, eh Mrs. Murphy?” Josephine nodded her head to one side and winked. Like the Andrew sisters. The blond one.

Mrs. Murphy nodded as her head bobbed up and down.

That’s all I want from you.” Mrs. Murphy pursed her lips. She loved to purse. “A lovely song from Jaye P. Morgan.”

Josephine smiled. Then Bea, another cashier, dropped by for a moment. And the two cashiers sang together. A sunny day with bolts up to the sky. A kiss and no goodbye. That’s all I want from you.

The two cashiers laughed. In perfect harmony. Bea moved on. Shuffling her feet. Waving the palms of her hands in the liquescent air.

“You’ve got to have some fun,” Josephine said. Flashing her pearlies. Pieces of dental floss hanging out of her mouth. Like Romeo’s braided twine to Juliet. And never the twine shall meet.

Mrs. Murphy smiled patiently. She loved the song, but didn’t appreciate these kids confiscating her mood. Why do they consider their own thoughts worth expressing?

“I guess every generation has an ipod in their head,” Josephine said. Josephine loved to imagine that she could smooth over any discord. With her sassy observations.

But Mrs. Murphy had no idea what an ipod was. She would have understood jukebox. Making the gap between the generations. A language problem between teenagers from different eras.

“I don’t know about that honey,” Mrs. Murphy said shaking her head, “but I feel like there’s a juke box playing in my head. Those tunes fall into place. Can’t help but put you on your toes. Make me feel like smoking a Chesterfield. Oh boy. What a time we had during the war. The best of times as they say. My goodness how I loved to dance. My mother would have sworn that I’d been swept away by the devil himself.”

Bea stopped by again.

The two cashiers sang, Don’t let me down, Oh show me that you care. Remember when you give, You also get your share. Don’t let me down, I have no time to waste. Tomorrow might not come, When dreamers dream too late.

Josephine giggled.

Bea moved on. Oh that Bea loved to giggle. A jiggle in her jello.

Mrs. Murphy was not so impressed. She watched Bea dance toward the magazine stand. Where she was shuffling in the new magazines. And noticed her ass. Wide load on that carriage.

“She is very annoying, isn’t she?” Mrs. Murphy said. And wondered why people insisted on imposing their silliness on other folks who might have wonderful thoughts in their heads.

“Oh, we’re just having fun. Girls just want to have fun.” Josephine smiled.

“You don’t say,” Mrs. Murphy responded leaning on the counter. Her hand jumping. Her jowls shaking. “You know there are no old people. Some of us just have bad makeup.”

Josephine laughed. That’s very clever.

Mrs. Murphy noticed that the young woman was impressed by her remark, a remark that she had repeated thousands of time over the last few years. After she read it in a Chinese fortune cookie. Still it made her think better of the young woman.

“In your head,” Mrs. Murphy continued, “you’re always 24. God, when you get to my age it seems that the rest of the world are children.”

“I never thought of it that way,” Josephine said as she scanned the diapers designed for seniors that Mrs. Murphy had placed on the counter.

Mrs. Murphy added some toothpaste. For dentures. And some ointment for hemorrhoids. And a brush.

“Or maybe it’s the other way round,” the old lady said caught up in her own nimble wit. “Maybe we’re all old. And being young is an illusion. A joke. A tease.”

At that moment Bea showed up again and the two cashiers finished singing their song. A little love that slowly grows and grows. Not one that comes and goes. That’s all I want from you.

Bea and Josephine laughed. And when they were finished they noticed that Mrs. Murphy had departed. Left all of her things behind. Unbagged. Unpaid for.

“What got into her?” Bea asked.

Josephine shook her head. “She’s just old.”

Bea nodded as her head bobbed up and down.

Bea pursed her lips and Josephine followed suit as they sang. “That’s all I want from you.”

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