Archive for : March, 2015

Choices…Part 5

The van rushed in front of her. Two men jumped from the van and grabbed her arms. Before Jordan could scream they slapped a piece of masking tape over her mouth and dragged her into the van. They shoved her to the floor and the van sped away. One man held on to her while the other put plastic handcuffs around her wrists and threw her body to the floor of the van. Her body roll and bumped around as the van hit potholes. The back windows were covered with black and all she could see from the floor were the two men that grabbed her sitting in the only two bucket seats in the van. The driver and the passenger.

“Slow down and let the guy pass.” The man in the passenger seat watched his side view mirror.

The van slowed.

“He’s still behind us and now he’s flashing his bright lights. Like he wants us to stop,” said the driver.

“That ain’t happening. It’s probably some old dude that doesn’t know what to do.”

“Maybe something’s wrong with the van, in the back or something.”

“Naw, he’s just being a jerk. I’ll wave him around.” He stuck his arm out the window and motioned for the car behind them to pass.

But it didn’t. The vehicle began to speed up until it almost hit the back end of the van, then it backed off quickly and swerved from side to side. All the while, flashing bright lights off and on. The vehicle came parallel to the van and revved its engine several time before it dropped off and went right behind the van; the front end of the vehicle hidden in the rear mirrors of the van.

“I’m going to get rid of this piss head.” The driver swerved back and forth in an attempt to frighten his tailgater. The van’s big Michelin tires threw gravel and sand behind it, kicking up quite a dust storm.

“Look at the dust back there, dude.

The driver made a sharp U-turn, kicking up even more dust. Jordan was tossed around the back of the van like a pin-ball ball.

“I’m going to scare the shit out of this guy.”

The dust made it almost impossible for the two men to see anything in front of them or behind them.

“Can you see his head lights”?

“No, dude, I can’t see anything.”

The sat quite for a moment and then the rear van doors were ripped open. Frank and Dodger stepped up inside in a split second. Frank helped Jordan to her feet while Dodger held the gun on the two men.

“Put your hands on the steering wheel. Both of you.”

No one moved.

“Now,” Dodger shouted.

The men did as Dodger instructed, but reluctantly. Frank used electrical tape to fasten their hands to the steering wheel.

“This is bullshit, man,” the driver protested.

Dodger shoved the gun to the driver’s head. “No, bullshit is when you grab a women from the streets and force her to go with you to do God only knows what to her. You boys just relax for a while and think about how you could or should have done things differently. Someone will be here soon to get you.”

Frank snipped off Jordan’s plastic handcuffs and the three of them left the van. Jordan pulled the tape from her mouth.

“How did you find me?”

“We never really lost you. We followed you from the apartment building.” Frank explained. “We could see you needed some time alone so we gave you some space.”

Jordan threw her arms around Frank’s neck. “Thank you. I was so freaked out. I didn’t know where they were taking me.”

“How about me?” Dodger said.

Jordan ran to him and when she reached him he put his hands on her shoulders and kissed her. Kissed her hard, smack dab on the mouth. She melted at his touch. The kiss lasted about sixty seconds and when Dodger released her Jordan stumbled backwards. He caught her arm to steady her.

“Come on. Let’s get out of here.”

“What’s going to happen to them,” she asked.

“We have someone coming for them.”

She didn’t question things any further. She was just happy to be back inside the beamer.


Jordan woke up just as the sun was coming up in the east. Dodger was beside her and sleeping.

“Where are we?”

“Almost to New York.” Frank answered

“New York? City?”

“That’s the one.” Frank smiled.

“I can’t go to New York. I’m due at work.”

“You’re going to call off today.”

Dodger woke up. “Coffee.”

“He’s cranky without his morning coffee.” Frank answered.

Dodger pulled his ball cap down over his face and folded his arms around his chest.

“Wake me when we get some.”

“There’s a rest stop ahead. We can go in there.”

It was evident to Jordan that she wasn’t going to talk Frank into turning the car around and take her home. She had chosen to hang with Frank and Dodger and this is what has happened. Jordan went to the restroom and used her cell to call work. She lied and said she wasn’t feeling well. She had to speak to her immediate supervisor who gave her hell for being sick and said she was needed at work. He finished the conversation by telling her illness was had better only last a day. He made Jordan so angry she threw her phone against the wall. Dumb move. It broke into several pieces. She tried to recover them all but it didn’t really matter. The phone no longer worked.

A word about writing….

Some of you have been following my Short Story Thursdays and if you have seen the last few Thursdays posts you know that I am writing the story Choices as time goes along. I don’t have an ending, what you see from week to week is what I’m writing from week to week. I was writing tonight and realized I’m at a stand still. I found the last 250 words I wrote were nothing but fluff, which means I have no idea where I’m heading with the story.  About 500 words ago I thought I knew exactly where I was headed, but Jordan wasn’t cooperating and headed down a road I didn’t know she was going to take.

That might sound a little funny, but if you do any writing at all you know your characters some times have a mind of their own. I can be writing just as fast as my fingers can move along the keyboard and find out that my characters, in this case Jordan, has made a turn I wasn’t prepared to take. I started typing tonight to get her out of a sticky situation, but for some reason every avenue I thought to take wasn’t going to work. I needed help and so did she.

I thought if I took this short break to tell you what is happening in the story, it might give me enough time to figure out what she is going to do and headed for next. So hang in there with me, with us, it might be a bumpy ride.


I know that if I should ever be low and lying sick that I can recall all my Ahhh moments. Moments like watching the sunset at Captive Island in Florida or the sunset at Crotch Lake in Canada, or the sunset on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Island. They are magnificent and breathtaking. All of us have those special moments in our lives, when it seems the stars must be aligned, and everything is in order. We are content.

My first real experience with contentment was when our daughter, Karen, was only a couple of weeks old. She was born in November, and the November temperatures were leaning more toward winter than that of fall, and we had had a very busy day with family visiting the new baby. It was eight o’clock in the evening, eight being early, but not so much with a newborn because you caught sleep whenever it was available. I had put on my flannels and robe, my husband had rented a movie and it was time to settle in for the night. I fed Karen her bottle, and held her in my arms, watching her sleep peacefully.

I was warm, she was warm and all was right with the world. It was at that time that I was most content in my lifetime. I cannot remember a more peaceful time in my entire life. The stars were aligned. I can remember that time as if it were yesterday.

When Karen was seven, we traveled to St. John, United State Virgin Island for vacation. Even though St. John is considered the United States, it is tropical and located in the Caribbean. We landed in St. Thomas, ferried over to St. John, and rented a rag-top Suzuki for the week. Karen was strapped in the back seat with the luggage on our way to the villa. We had only talked with the airport personnel, the cab driver and with the vehicle rental agent. We are winding our way up and down the hill driven roads, driving on the left as they do there, feeling the warm wind in our faces when a small voice from the backseat said, “I tink I gonna like it here, mon.” Karen had picked up the dialect. Another content and happy moment.

Canada in late July can run hot or cold, literally, but even if the temperature should be 75 degrees in the middle of the day, at night on the lake the temperature can drop 10 to 15 degrees and be quite chilly. We fish day and night. Ernest Hemmingway said it best, “Fish too much, can’t be done.” We have taken several family fishing vacations on Crotch Lake and every single time, I am always wanting more by the time we leave. I am content on the water. It is still, clean and peaceful.

We enjoyed St. John so much we wanted to explore another Caribbean island, and set sail, so to speak, for Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Island. We flew into St. Thomas, just as we did for St. John, took a long ferry ride because Virgin Gorda is much farther from St. Thomas than St. John, and rented a rag top once again. It is a British Island, so driving on the left is normal. It is a beautiful tropical island, and famous for The Baths. The Baths are giant boulders resting on beautiful sandy beaches, with boulder caves to explore. They are above ground caverns. Exploring the caves is like nothing else I have done in my life. You need to be able to climb around rocks, duck through small places and wade through crystal clear water. One of the areas inside The Baths is called The Cathedral. Looking up says it all. It’s a tiny peek at God’s heaven on earth that will make you say “Ahhhh.” Contentment.

So, if I should ever be down and out I need only to recall all the content moments that I have experience so far in my life. I hope there are many more and I hope all of you can rely on your Ahhh moments too.

Choices…Part 4

Lauren stomped on the breaks, but it was too late. The deer’s head came crashing through the windshield. The front of the car buckled against the deer’s massive body and the driver’s seat door flew open on impact. The air bag deployed, but that wouldn’t help Lauren. She wasn’t wearing a seat belt and her body was thrown twenty feet from the car.

“Holy shit! Dodger shouted. He brought the beamer to a screeching halt.

“Oh no,” Jordan yelled. She ran from the car and to where Lauren was lying on the side of the road.

Frank and Haley crawled out of the back seat of the beetle through the passenger door. Blood ran down Haley’s face. Frank examined the top of her head and found a deep gash along her hairline.

“Dodger,” he yelled. “Bring me the kit.”

Dodger brought the first aid kit from the trunk. He immediately went running to Lauren. She was unconscious.

“What do we do?” Jordan was pale.

Dodger felt Lauren’s neck. “She’s got a pulse.”

Jordan pulled out her cell phone and began dialing 911.

Dodger snatched it from her hands.

“What are you doing?” she screamed.

“You can’t call for help,” he said,

“What not?”

“We’ve all been drinking.”

“It doesn’t matter. She needs help.”

“Give me a minute.”

Jordan watched in horror.

Dodger felt around Laruen for any broken bones or open wounds. The exposed skin on her body was covered in road rash. Blood swelled to the surface.

“Give me my phone,” Jordan demanded.

Dodger ignored Jordan and continued to work on Lauren.

This time Jordan screamed as loud as she could. “I said, give me my phone.” She was about to attack Dodger when Frank grabbed her from behind. He put his arms around her so she couldn’t move. She squirmed in his arms but was unable to break free. Haley slowly came to them and sat on the ground. Frank had bandaged her head and she held her chin in the palm of her hand as if she were holding it up.

“Let me go,” Jordan yelled.

“Shhhh,” Frank tried to calm her. “Dodger knows what he’s doing. He’s had training.”

“What is he? Some kind of doctor?”

“Not exactly,” Frank said.

“Then she needs one.” Jordan stomped as hard as she could on Frank’s foot.

“Shit!” he yelled but didn’t let go; he tightened his grip. “No need for that. I’m telling you, he knows what he’s doing. Think about this for a minute. If we call the police we will all be arrested. You don’t want to go to jail tonight, right?”

“No, but I don’t want to see her die either.”

“She’s not dying,” Frank said.

“She sure looks like it.”

Jordan was weak from drinking, her muscles like gelatin. She was unable to get free from Frank’s grip. What took ten minutes seem like an eternity. Lauren finally opened her eyes.

“Hey Lauren,” Dodger said. “Good to see you. Don’t move just yet. Do you know where you are?”

It took a minute for Lauren to answer. “Yes.”

“Where’s that?’

“I had an accident.” She thought for a minute. “I hit a deer.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Where’s Haley?”

“She’s sitting right here beside me, but don’t turn your head just yet.”

“Haley,” Lauren called out.

Haley, still in shock, looked toward Lauren.

“Haley, are you there?”

“Yes, I’m here.”

“Are you okay?”

“I hit my head.”

“Is she okay? She sounds funny.”

“She’s fine. You’ll be able to get up in a minute and see her. You don’t have any broken bones that I can tell. I’m going to sit you up gradually. You can rest against me.” Dodger helped her up and she instantly looked at Haley.


“She looks worse than she is, I assure you,” Frank said.

“Is the ambulance on its way?”

“Not exactly,” Frank answered. “We are going to leave here on our own.”


“We’ve all been drinking.”

“Oh, right.” Lauren looked behind her at her car. The deer still hanging through it.

“What will we do with my car?”

“I’m going to call a friend. He will come and get it and bring it to a nearby auto shop. Then you can call your insurance company and tell them you hit a deer and had the car towed. Do you think you can stand up?”

“I’ll try.”

Dodger helped her up. He held her steady on her feet and helped her walk to the beamer. Once she was in the back seat he went for Haley.

Frank let go of Jordan, who remained steamed over the entire situation. Dodger and Frank talked to the girls all the way to Lauren’s apartment, sizing them up for serious injuries. Jordan fell asleep for some of the ride and had no idea where they were when she woke. She was alone in the car and parked in front of a high-rise apartment building. She reached for her cell but remembered that Dodger had taken it. She rummaged through all the compartments in the car in hopes of finding either her cell or someone else’s phone. Her head was pounding from all the alcohol and probably from whatever pill she popped. She fell back into the leather seat to think. She must be at Lauren’s apartment. She assumed the guys were helping the girls inside and would be back soon. Her choice now was to stay or go. It was 5:00 a.m., still dark and cold outside. She could take off walking but she didn’t even know which way to go since she didn’t have a clue as to where she was. She wondered if the guys were going to take her back to her car or would they want to do something else. She could hardly believe it, but she just wanted to go home. She was thirsty and her mouth felt like it was full of cotton. She had gum in her purse, but it was then that she realized she didn’t have her purse and she hadn’t see it since she had been at The Byre. If she took off now, without her purse, she would be without money, credit card or identification. She could see the guys coming from the apartment entrance. In a split second she decided to go it alone. She got out of the car and ran away from the complex and the car. She was hoping to be out of sight by the time the guys got to the car.

Jordan ran until she became winded, which didn’t take too long considering the night she had been through. She wasn’t used to such partying. The complex must have been on the outskirts of a city because there was nothing around except factories and shops; an industrial area. Car lights approached her the front. The car turned into one of the factories. It was just about shift change, she thought. She began to see more cars, one at a time, coming from all directions driving into the factory parking lots. A van with a loud muffler approached her from behind. It seemed to slow as it came near her. It slowed down to her walking pace and stayed right behind her. She was a little frightened. She became so afraid that she decided to walk through one of the parking lots and enter a factory. Surely it would be safer inside with other people around. But she didn’t get the chance.

My dad wanted boys

It was no secret that my dad wanted boys. Instead, he got two girls. He didn’t love us any less but we all knew he would have loved to come to attend his kids baseball games, show his kids how to use his tools, and show them out to fix their cars. Instead, he had to tell stories of taking us camping in our little pull-behind-a-car trailer and spend the entire weekend filling the water tank up so my sister and I could wash our hair, do our nails and so on. Instead, he had to endure the fights between sports on TV or beach party movies, you know, chick flicks. My sis and I weren’t born with any sports genes. None.

My adult daughter just came to the house to pick up her soft-ball and glove to play catch with her boyfriend. It’s funny, but my sister’s two kids and our daughter have plenty of sports genes to go around. It must have skipped a generation, or come from their dads. My dad lived long enough to watch my nephew and niece play soccer, and they were good! He didn’t live long enough to watch our daughter play soft-ball and help pitch the city league team to the win, or come to her cross country and track meets where she received lots of medals.

My sis and I laugh when we talk about what our names would have been if we had been boys. We can only remember Jeff, not the other name, so we fight over who would have been Jeff. When I worked at the plastic factory, as an adult, the employees there started a softball team. I always joined in things, pot lucks, home décor parties, la-la-la, so a lil ‘ol softball wasn’t going to stop me from joining in, even if I had no idea what I was doing. My foreman, and my friend, also encouraged me to play. She was certain she could teach me skills and I would be somehow be an asset.

Well, this tickled the heck out of my dad. He was finally going to get to see a son play some sports! He was so excited he took me to purchase my glove and bat. Helped me soften my glove and got just the right weight bat for my weight, which at the time was around 103 lbs. soaking wet.

We had practice after practice and I was beginning to see that my foreman/friend was having a bit of difficulty on placing me in the game. I ended up in left field, w-a-y out in left field. (I think I was still on the field) Luckily, no one ever hit a ball my way. I did my ready stance and looked good on the field. This was easy. A couple of games in, dad came to see me play. Well, alright. Now he was gonna be real proud of his daughter/son.

Half way through the opposite teams turn at bat, my foreman yells, left-hand batter. I nod like I know what this means. She says, “Cindy heads up.” I looked puzzled. Was this different somehow? She yells, “Coming your way.” What’s coming my way? Or crap! I get it. Okay then, Dad’s watching and I can do this.

A swing and a miss. Another swing and a miss. One more she’s out. She hits the ball and hits it hard. Hard enough to come all the way out to the very back of the field where I am standing. I run up to get it. I scoop it up from the ground (didn’t make the catch) run in one-two steps because I can see it’s a l-o-n-g way to my team mate at third base. I can do this! For dad! I heave back my arm with the ball and throw it. Throw it as hard as I can.

I throw under-hand. CRAP. Like a real girl. The ball goes straight up in the air and comes straight back down in front of me. The hitter runs home and scores a home run. I yell out a very bad word and throw my mitt to the ground. The third baseman runs out to meet me half way where I can manage to throw the ball to her. Gee-whiz, that was embarrassing. I can see my dad is trying his hardest not to laugh out loud because he knows I am upset. I am upset because I have disappointed my dad. Full circle. My foreman/friend walks out to me, puts her arm around me and tells me it’s okay. “Good try.” She always was good for my morale. She said in some ways I was her best team player because I showed up for all the practices and all the games. Nice.

Well dad never got his boys, but he sure got a lot of good stories to tell the guys at work. I’m sure my sis and I were often the reason for laughter.

Choices…Part 3

“Wild shit.” Dodger added.

Jordan was still shaking when she hopped into the back seat of the beamer.

“Did you see the look on their faces when they saw the gun was real?” Frank laughed.

“Punks.” Dodger huffed.

“The younger guy was on the news. He was arrested for rape.” Jordan opened a new bottle of whisky and took a sip.

“Are you all right, Jordan?” asked Frank. He looked at her through the rearview mirror.

Dodger crawled over the front seat and snuggled in beside her. “It wasn’t even a close call. I’ve got something that will help calm you.” He rummaged in his coat pocket and pulled out a prescription bottle. ”Take one of these.”

“What is it?’ Jordan wanted to stop shaking so she took a pill.

“A light sedative.” She had to take a bigger gulp of whisky to get the pill down. Her eyes watered.

“Frank, you want one?”

“Why not.” Dodger took one too.

“You have a gun.” Jordan said.

“It came in handy.” Dodger answered.

Jordan took another drink. “Stolen alcohol, pills and a gun.”

“America,” Dodger laughed.

The alcohol, the pill, or both were doing what they were supposed to do and Jordan was relaxed. She laughed and took another big gulp. This time the liquid went smoothly down her throat and she felt the warmth all the way to her stomach.

“You boys sure know how to show a girl a fun time,” she laughed out loud and so did the guys. “What’s next?”

“Look who’s getting her adrenaline on.” Dodger said.

“The man of a few words, speaks.” Jordan teased.

Dodge grabbed her by the neck and rubbed her head like she was a child. After all that had happened in a few hours, she thought she should probably be on the alert with the men, but somehow she felt at ease and comfortable.

“I’m in for some music. Are there any honky tonks around here?” asked Frank.

Dodger shook his head. “Who says honky tonk?”

“Would you prefer speakeasy,” Jordan asked.

Frank laughed so hard he snorted. “That’s probably what you’d find in your dry county.”

“Well, I wasn’t exactly kidding. There’s one about a half hour from here.”

“An actual establishment that sells liquor without a license?” He was making fun of her.


“Point the way darling’,” Frank said.

By the time they had reached The Byre, it was like the three of them had been friends for years. Frank snaked the car through a winding gravel road that seemed to disappear into nowhere. Just a big wooded area. The path narrowed to just one car width.

“Are you sure there’s something back here?” The beamer’s headlamps lit up tree, after tree after tree.

“Just up around the bend there. You can barely see the lights.” Jordan pointed to something in the distance.

It was then that the faint rumble and vibrations could be heard and felt from the bass in the music. The old barn building sprung up and appeared as if it was some sort of magic trick. A few dozen cars were parked in no particular order. Jordan jumped from the car just as Frank put it in park. The guys followed and the three of them ran toward the music. They didn’t waste time. Dodger grabbed Jordan by the hand and they headed to the dance floor. Frank found the bar. The music was country and many of the people were line dancing but there were others just doing their own thing. That was Dodger’s style. The dance floor was made from unfinished pine planks and consumed the entire center of the bar. The bar was the entire perimeter of the room with high top tables, double rowed, between the bar and the dance floor.

The bar ran the outer walls of the barn and high top tables in front of the bar were lit by Mason jar candles. Strands of uncovered light bulbs hung loosely covering the barn ceiling. It was beautiful in a rustic sort of way. The place was crowded. People filled the dance floor and lined the bar area three deep. There were five members to the live band, currently performing a Brooks and Dunn song, Boot Scootin’ Boogie.

Frank purchased three beers and found a table to share with a couple of women. Dodger and Jordan joined them after three dances. She learned about the women through Frank who had questioned them with his charm and finesse. Lauren was grill cook at a local Wendy’s and Haley worked at the candle factory on third shift. She and Jordan hit it off talking about all the things that go wrong at work. Jordan, Lauren and Haley were pretty drunk at closing time.

Lauren invited everyone over to her apartment to continue the party. Dodger drove the beamer and followed Frank and the women in Lauren’s car. Once the long exit line of cars were free on the road, Lauren started weaving all over the road. She was going at least fifteen miles over the speed limit. It was a good thing they were on country roads after 3:00 o’clock in the morning. Dodger used the horn when he thought they were too close to the shoulder of the road.

After four or five of those he got out his cell phone.

“What’s up?’ Frank answered.

“She’s not driving too well, man.”

Dodger put the phone on speaker so Jordan could hear too. The girls were signing to a song on the radio and laughing between notes.

“She’s not too bad. She only swerves when she tries to find a new song on the radio.”

“You should take that over then.” Jordan joked.

“It’s too far from the back seat.”

“You and Haley in the back?’ Jordan asked

“Yes, how else could we stretch out?”

“That explains a lot.” Dodger grinned.

“We’re only a few minutes away.” Lauren shouted.

Jordan looked around. “We’re still in the country. I don’t see any houses or apartments.”

Jordan was looking left and didn’t see what was about to happen, she only heard the screech of the tires and Dodger, “Damn!”

Two deer came out of the dark and into the road. Deer number one made it past, but Laruen’s Volkswagen bug caught the other full-on with the front of her car.

A word about Short Story Thursday…

Hey there! I am going to let you in on something. The first two stories for Short Story Thursday where written completely when I put them out there. Not so much with Choices. I had a good start to the story and thought by putting it out there it would make me finish it. It went well for Part 2. Tomorrow is Part 3 and I am still writing that part tonight. So you, the readers, have become part of my work in progress. So I’m not sure at this point how long the story is or when it will be complete. Kinda cool. I’m only behind because my free-from-work hours have been filled as of late.

I am going to ask you to help me with something else, once the story is finished. Choices is a working title and I don’t really like it. So at the end of the story I would love to hear your ideas for a new title.

I’d better get busy writing.

Choices…Part 2

Jordan took the keys and the three of them walked back to the cars in the dark. Jordan’s nagging subconscious told her not to go with them, to get into her own car and go home, but she wasn’t listening.

When they arrived at the state store, it was just as Jordan had said, closed. The store sat along a stretch of abandoned buildings on an old two-lane highway that had been replaced by a four-lane about five miles south. The guys jumped out of the car. Jordan didn’t see the point in getting out. The guys disappeared around to the back of the building where Jordan could no longer see them. She had the car window down and could hear their voices echoing, but couldn’t make out the words. She jumped at the sound of the building alarm and it was less than a minute when she heard the guys hollering and laughing. They came running from behind the building with bottles in each of their hands.

Frank jumped into the front seat, out of breath and laughing. Dodger jumped in the back.

“Drive,” Dodger commanded.


“It doesn’t matter, just get going.”

She did as she was told because she didn’t know what else to do.

“What did you do?”

They didn’t answer, just kept laughing. Dodger opened one of the bottles and took a long drink. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve. He passed the bottle to Frank who also took a drink and then offered it to Jordan. She didn’t know why, but she took the bottle with a shaking hand and took a drink. Vodka. It burned her throat.

“I don’t know where I’m going”

“We are in your hands darling.” Frank said. “Remember, we’re not from here.”

Jordan had just passed Mill Road. She knew the old abandoned mill sat empty so she spun the BMW around and headed back. Mill Road was rocky and a rough ride. Jordan slowly dodged deep pot holes that had been carved by years of torrential rains and winters. The ruins were just as Jordan had remembered. In the midst of all the fragments of buildings was one large red brick and mortar building, with open windows where glass had once been. It was still pretty much intact compared to the surrounding, smaller buildings.

Dodger grabbed a flashlight from the back seat and they headed inside the building. One of the windows overlooked the wheel that once brought water up to the mill from the river below.

“The river is dry.” Jordan explained. “They built a dam about four miles up from here and a reservoir. The river in the park used to flow through here and along the next two counties. There was a major fight between all the counties to make that decision. About half the people were for it and half against.”

Frank passed Jordan a bottle. She took a drink without thinking. This time is was whisky.

“The Hatfields and McCoys,” joked Frank.

“Something like that.” Jordan wondered if he was making fun of her and thought this is surely a hick town, but then she knew it was, so it didn’t really bother her. These guys were used to the city. Restaurants on every corner, bars, clubs, theaters; you name it, the city had it. Her tiny town didn’t even have a movie theater.

There was a shuffling noise behind them. Dodger jerked around with the flashlight. A man lay in the corner.

“Hey, what you all doing here?” His voice gravely from just waking.

Jordan instinct was to run. Frank moved forward to the man.

“We’ve come to visit the mill, sir.” He extended his hand. “I’m am Frank, this is Jordan and the impolite man holding the flashlight in your eyes is Dodger.

“This ain’t no mill no more.” The man sat up and leaned against the wall. He was lying on a make-shift newspaper bed and had piles of things all around him.

“Would you like a drink?” Frank held out the bottle.

“Yeah, what you got?”

“Whisky and vodka.”

“I’ll have a little whisky if you don’t mind.’ He dug in one of the piles and came up with a used Starbucks cup. Frank poured it half full and held the bottle in the air. “Cheers!”

The man nodded and took a drink. “Ah, that’ll warm ya up. I’m Ross.”

Ross dug through some other things and found a kerosene lantern and lit it. The light from the lantern gave the room a warm glow and gave way to see other newspaper beds in different areas of the room; and more junk piles.

“You alone here, Ross?” Frank asked.

“Nope. They ain’t come in for the night yet. I don’t leave too much anymore. I got a bad leg. Don’t let me walk around good,”

The four of them sat around the lantern like it was a campfire, drinking from the bottles and telling stories. Frank was in the middle of a story when they heard the noise coming from the distance.

“That’ll be the folks that live here comin’ now.” Ross explained.

Three men stopped abruptly at the door way when they saw Frank, Jordan and Dodger.

“What the hell is this?” the taller of the men shouted.

His voice startled Jordan, but she had enough vodka in her to sit there sluggishly.

“We got company fellas.” Ross smiled.

“We don’t want company.”

Jordan thought one of the men looked familiar.

Frank stood up and went to them. “I’m Frank” he extended his hand. No one took it.

“I said, we don’t want company. Now you all can just be on your way.”

Jordan got to her feet and headed toward the door. Frank turned to Ross, bowed and said, “it has been our pleasure.” When Frank and Jordan got to the door the familiar looking man stuck out his leg in front of her so she couldn’t pass.

“Well, looky here Paulie. In the bad light I couldn’t tell you were a woman. Maybe they could stay a while longer. You like to party honey?”

Frank stepped beside her and took her hand.

“Thank you for your offer, but we really must go.” He moved forward as if to more around the men, but they didn’t more.

“Let them pass,” Ross said. “They been nothin’ but friendly.”

“I just asked them if they wanted to party some more.”

It was then that Jordan realized where she had seen the man before. It was on the news. He had been arrested about three months ago for rape. He had been accused of waiting outside the Wendy’s for a 22 year-old girl to come to her car after her shift. He hadn’t been to trial as yet.

“You’ll go when we say so.” He never took his eyes off Jordan.

In a split second of silence a click came from where Dodger was standing across the room. Frank smiled.

“Gentleman, my friend has just cocked his Colt M1911 that he carries with him at all times, right inside his jacket pocket. If you would kindly let us pass and go without trouble.”

“He’s bluffing.” The taller man grunted.

“Let them go,” Ross shouted.

Dodger walked over to Ross and placed the unfinished whisky bottle on the floor beside him. He pulled the gun from his pocket and looked at the men. The men slowly stepped aside and let Jordan and Frank through the door. Dodger followed, backing his way outside. Once the three of them were almost to the car and clear of danger, Frank and Dodger high-fived one another.

“What a rush.” Frank exploded.

March 2015