Previous story parts can be found here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4


WALKIN’ BLUES

Would you trust a guy that lied to you when people were
shooting at him?

That’s what I asked myself as I stood by the side of the
road, an old red bandana tied around my forehead, my thumb pointing north.  Why did Bill tell me those people in Portland weren’t shooting
at him when they obviously were?  And
why, after he made his dishonest nature so clear, did I spend the next six
months with him?

But here’s the thing. 
We had a great six months.  Since
nothing ever happened in Crossroads before noon, I didn’t have to show up at
the newspaper early.  So I went to Bill’s
gigs at The Kitchen, swilling Tequila
Sunrises while he crooned the blues along with his methodical guitar
picking.  After the show we went back to
the Clean Linen, as we called the rooming house we lived in, and cooked
middle-of-the-night omelets, filling them with whatever Mrs. Perkins, the
landlady, had left in the fridge. 

Mashed potatoes and turkey gravy made a very filling
omelet.  Bleu cheese and black olives
tasted divine.  Capers and walnuts were
strangely salty and crunchy.  It didn’t
matter.  We ate omelets every night,
damned our poor cholesterol clogged arteries, and laughed, first muffled, then
louder, until Mrs. Perkins banged on the wall between her room and the kitchen. 

Bill listened while I ranted about the frustrations of the
small town reporter.  I whined about the
city council meeting that ran three hours over because none of those people had
anything else to do, the city council being comprised of the same bunch of old
men that congregated at Ella’s, the
coffee shop, in the morning and at The
Kitchen
at night.  I complained about
the regional school superintendent who never, ever, answered her phone and, I
suspected, didn’t really exist.  I
bemoaned the utter lack of real news, the dearth of excitement, the near total
absence of behavior among the citizens of Crossroads.  Bill nodded, made sympathetic noises, and
praised the magnificent quality of the articles I drafted out of thin air to
inform the public about very little.

He talked to me about music. 
We played Mrs. Perkins’ beat up old radio constantly, always tuned to the
blues station out of Sacramento.  When a favorite tune came on we sang along,
and then Bill told me who wrote it, who played it first, who covered it, and
which version was the very best.  The
next time we heard it, his “best version” had often changed. 

Some nights, I would’ve stayed in that kitchen in Crossroads
forever.  I was warm and safe there,
well-fed, and loved by my editor, my readers, and my friend. 

But there I was on the shoulder, waiting for a ride.  The first car that came by stopped.  I guess hitchhikers are a rarity on that
lonely road.  I slid in the front seat.

“Thanks,” I said. 
“I’ve been out here for awhile.”

“Not too much traffic along here,” he said.  He held out a hand.  “I’m Rob.”

I shook it.  “Jodi.”

“Where you headed?” he asked, pulling the car back into its
lane.

I stared out the side window for a moment, mentally saying
goodbye to Crossroads, goodbye to Bill.

“Portland.”

 

 

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27 thoughts on “

  1. The mysterious Polar Bear watched intently as Jodi climbed into the car with Rob.   He instinctively knew that danger lurked around the corner.  Luckily, the Bear has contacts in Portland who could help.  Storm clouds gathered on the horizon.    

  2. You are so talented.  I am swept up by your prose, and left speechless.  Like all the best novels I’ve read, this has me enthralled to see what’s next.

  3. I’m not arguing against free care as much as I’m arguing that I shouldn’t be forced to pay for it. Making a catholic pay for birth control, or go to jail… it’s stupid.And I think the government would offer “fair market value”. The thing about that is, that property would NOT be for sale for any amount less than what could buy my dad a substantially nicer property for his main residence.

  4. okay, need clarification:  Jodi never had sex with Bill, or is that implied?  dang girl you write a good cliffhanger!!! 
    to the above:  not sure what you’re referencing, but there’s enough Catholics to march at a rally and lobby for whatever ya want.  Geez, ya got the Pope on your side for crying out loud!
    I’ll pay for YOUR birth control if you pay for my health insurance.  deal?  hehehe *this really is a joke, please do not take offense*

  5. ps:  yes I would totally trust a guy who lied to me when people were shooting at him.
    see what happens when ya let kids bring home strays & keep them?  they grow up and keep doing it, LOL!
    Okay, going away now, can’t wait for tomorrow!

  6. RYC: Thanks for stopping by! I commented via my blog to your comment, just because I thought it was an interesting thought you brought up. But I still stand by what I said. I think everyone displays some of those qualities. Even if a person is not religious, there is either a direct effort to NOT be religious, or their are things in one’s life that are ritualistic or spiritual. I think everyone has the potential to demonstrate some of those qualities.

  7. I’ll get premium there instead. However, I think I’ll get a free trial at some point.So, yeah. I think this one will do…
    for now.

  8. EVERY version of “Come On In My Kitchen” is the best one. And “Walkin’ Blues” beat the heck out of “Subdivision Blues” any day of any week. This is great stuff! Write ON!

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