Caleb’s son Jack was off to college at Tulane, playing in his second year as a wide receiver on the Green Wave’s prime roster. I’d never played much ball myself, but Caleb had been an off-guard tackle in his day; short, squat, and flush mean, pound per pound.
I was sitting here on the edge of his son’s bed with a cup of Joe that was steaming thick and good. I could smell hominy, grits and bacon and a lot of other tidbits coming from the kitchen. Bethany if anything was one of the best cooks I’d ever had the pleasure to have a sit with and exchange insider information of certain old time recipes. She was really good.
I couldn’t take a shower now. I needed some of that good food.
She’d fry up some of her perdu – or, day old French bread in lard with slabs of thick cut bacon, and a honey and cane mixture that would light a mind for a year. Topped it off with rice, grits, hominy and sweet potatoes with a touch of homemade mayhaw jelly and fig preserves, and some dipped peppers deep fried in buttermilk and cornmeal and I was fit to be tied. Then came the cooked onions, garlic, bell pepper and celery with the sea bass and shrimp or crawdads in a creole that would send me to hell happy. All of these fixings that would have made any grown man crawl on his knees begging her to marry him. Shame she was already taken, and to my partner Caleb, too. Dam. Well, a good dam at that.
After slurping down a few more hot steaming cups of Joe she gave me some towels and told me to march my ass off and get cleaned up. I said: “Yes, Mam, right away!”
She grinned at me like I was just an overgrow oaf, saying: “You ain’t so tough, you just think you is. Now get out of here, I got to clean this man mess up. Go on, go on… Get!”
She pushed me out of there and the sliding door closed with a thud behind me. Of course Caleb was sitting there reading the Sunday paper looking up shaking his head at me.
I laughed and proceeded to the shower stall.
“Hurry up, we got to talk!” He hollered as I shut the door and turned on that hot steam. He could wait, this couldn’t.
* * *
– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.
Notes: This is one of those I’ll come back to add more context and vocals, figure Bethany should have something to say to him, a little advice, etc. Women down home love to give advice, let you know what your life is, and what it should be, and how you need to get away from moping, etc. Work, work, work is always the answer down there, until you so exhausted and the money is on the table then she’s happy.
Comments are welcome and needed. This is my getting wet in noir, a first stab at this genre, and all the insight I can gather (likes, dislikes, whether its too sentimental, gritty, etc.) will help out. Obviously as I’ve said before this is a fast storyline mode for the first run through. Just getting the ideas and story down day by day. I’ll come back on the 2nd draft and start filling in details of character and setting, but for now the story itself is driving things. So if you’d be so kind drop me a comment, tell me honestly what you think.