Maggie Hess: Hoodwinked Vignettes Part 2 (fiction)
Southern Legitimacy Statement: already proved myself Southern once on here. I forget how. Perhaps I showed a picture of my laundry hanging in the sunshine. 🙂 I am proud to live in Bristol Tennessee, just a notch south of Bristol, Virginia. I’d probably be equally happy to live on the other side of the notch. 🙂
Hoodwinked Vignettes Part 2
Mary White sat up in bed, then quickly lay back down and shoved a pillow in front of her face. A stench had brought her back into the world tonight. Really it was just ten but she had gone to sleep very early due to an early morning job putting a little boy on the school bus.
In the other room Mrs. White paced back and forth ready to confer with her daughter. Together their minds raced and they exchanged ideas about what could be the origin of the nasty stink.
Next door, George Oak was wondering two questions. What was the source of the bad smell? And how could he prevent the sounds of his neighbors from reverberating into his living room.
“You think it could be… meth?” Mary White wondered with a hint of anger, not wanting to taint her precious lungs with chemicals unknown, especially drugs against her chosing.
“The pharmaceutical company down the street must be burning illegally.” Coughed back Mrs. White, reaching to find her phone and speed dialing Police Chief Raton.
Coating her voice with her sweetest granny tone, Mrs. White explained that the smell was “chemical.”
Chief Raton was having a slow night in the office, but he made sure to emphasize that he himself would have to call the Fire Department because it was the appropriate party to notify.
“Won’t you then, dear?” Mrs. White was always aware when her requests were ‘pulling a granny’. Often men and women like Chief Raton and the secretary who answered the phone were caught off guard and reminded of a grandmother or mother who had treated them kindly. Little did they know Mrs. White could coat her voice in a certain way just to get the desired response.
Meanwhile, Mary had posted on facebook that this degree of air pollution should not go unchecked.
It took three minutes for Side Alley Moto to respond back. “It must be that pharmaceutical company.” Immediately Mary wondered if it actually was Moto trying to cover up some smell.
The only way the families of Rose street got to sleep that night was to close all of their windows. Eventually the bad smell settled into the night, like the people. In the morning, when the birds starting singing and Mary was up to let Bone and Peewee in the back yard, everyone went on with their life. But the source was never discovered for the bad smell.
Complications of Disability
No one saw it coming when Tim died.
We all saw Christmas coming and we prepared for it’s good cheer with what we had.
Pete seemed so joyful with the gifts they’d found, some kind of flying brightly colored birds (with batteries.)
Short lived were the joys of the toys. Then a craving for candy.
Mary White and Mrs White decided to go to the chapel for Christmas dinner. They wouldn’t have had as nice a one without it, and frankly were tired of cooking.
Twice Mary wondered if they could bring home a box of food for Tim, who lived all by himself, and had called to Mary miserably from across the road just the other day.
His sad voice had called out her name.
But Mary had been busy and tired and tired of helping others.
A couple weeks later, Robert found Tim in his house, frozen to death. His roof had holes, his electricity and water had been shut off. It was the worst day on Rose Street.
For Mary it reminded her immediately of how warm of a hearted man Tim had been. Not many people had looked out for him enough.
No one saw Tim’s death as imminent, but looking back, death must have circled the block an extra time. It really does seem to be the best people who die young too often.
Up street might come across as a bit more honest. There was always a pretty heavy mix of disabled and retired folks in the lower middle quadrant. A bit up the street, three guys work harder than almost anyone might know.
But everyone’s is doing what they can on Rose Street.
For example take this early spring day in the front yard of a condemned home, when a patch of crocuses blossom like mushrooms sporing up around a new fallen log.
Mrs. White discovers the prime flower patch, accidentally recruit her daughter to abscond with the bulbs and blooms. Kind of impressed by Mary’s green thumb, Mrs. White lets her daughter do the work of circling the bulbs with a kitchen knife. Then Mary steps on the knife like a shovel, and up pops the bulbs, one inch from the police department.
“The key idea here is being inconspicuous.” Mrs. White reminds Mary through her jubilation.
Later Mary is planting the bulbs in their yard. She pops in the last set and a distant neighbor comes by saying he would love some spare flowers. Mrs. White tells him her secret, how they came for free.
The stranger responds that it seems a “noble” endeavor.