A Ghost Story

His phone pinged with a text. It was his problem tenant. She was living in the garage apartment that he had shared with his parents when he was a baby. Until age eight or so. His dad and grandfather, both long ago memories, had built it.

“Have an odd question”, the text said. “Do you know if your dad had a sibling that died around the age of 6-9?”

What? After reading it again, he texted, “My dad was an only child.”

“Hmmm…Odd…” came the reply. “What about your mom or grandma, did they lose a sibling young? I know it’s an odd question but I’ll explain here in a second.”

Christ, he thought, don’t answer. He put on his glasses and clicked the lamp brighter. She wasn’t his tenant, really. His mother had rented to her husband with the express instruction to keep his wife under control. It worked for a little while, then all hell broke loose. In the last six months, she had sworn out a PFA against the husband-so he was gone-and she was squatting there with her ten-year-old. Then his mother had finally died, so he had inherited it all. The good with the bad. And he wished there was more of the former.

After a few minutes he texted, “Nope.”

The bubbles appeared on the screen and hung there pulsing. He waited. Then, “Right around when your mom passed, I was awakened by a child in Olga’s room. She was still sleeping right beside me. Heard a dresser drawer slam and this kid had blonde hair with a blanket wrapped around the shoulders so I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl and I watched it dissipate slowly from its head then down to the feet and it always bugged me that whoever was trying to tell me to go to your mom…to help her.”

He read it again. He hated it when she talked about his mother. She did it often-no doubt thinking it would put her in his good graces, but his mother couldn’t stand her and had spent the last two months of her life complaining that she never should have rented to them.

His phone pinged again, “No, I’m not a witch…little hexes here and there LOL but I do get visions and this one is killing me.”

He remembered a story his mother had told him from when they had lived in that apartment. She was in bed, probably in the same room as this one slept in, and she heard a cat screeching outside in the alley. The windows back there are high, so she had to stand on the bed to look out. The cat was easy enough to find; it was on a cracked fence post just outside the yellow glow of the street lamp. The cat called and howled until she saw others coming in from the darkness to join it. They all sat or lay on the alley in front of the main cat who began to meow and chirp as if speaking to them. They were attentive for a moment, no stretching, no grooming, no ass sniffing. Then, when the lecture was over, or the instructions given, the cats all scattered back into the darkness whence they’d come.

His mother told this story often. Especially when someone suggested she get a cat.

He put the phone on airplane mode and switched off the lamp.

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Shadows

(Continued from Night Lights)

Outside, half-naked, the midnight chill braced her. The clear moonless sky was dark enough that she cast a shadow in the glow from the top of the mountain. The grass was damp on her bare feet as she followed her shadow around the birdbath to the mountain laurel just short of the tree line.

The coyotes were quiet or running over the next ridge. When she was little her Pap kept chickens in a pen behind the house. Back then coyotes were worthy adversaries to be battled and beaten at every turn. Now, with no livestock to guard – not even a scruffy mutt or cat – the coyotes were no more than texture. Wonder how they would feel about that? Being relegated to deep background; being off the main stage where capable men plotted against them with guns, traps and poisons? Whatever. Times gone by. Either way, the whippoorwills’ incessant call and response were the only accompaniment to the quiet swish of her feet in the tall grass.

Choosing a spot, she turned toward the house and lifted her T-shirt. Squatting widely, she relaxed and allowed the stream to flow into the grass between her feet gently, not to splash. Her yoga practice wasn’t what it was, but she was still able to hold a squat level and clean without a shake or quiver letting the burn in her thighs build. She dipped a little deeper to feel the pleasant pull in her hip flexors. She should get back to yoga-she could sit in on classes up at the Hideaway anytime. Finished, Lori stood easily, leaving a steaming wet spot on the grass.

Pissing in the yard had started as a joke when she and Uncle Red were watching TV one night. She complained that he was lucky because all he had to do was go out on the porch when he needed to pee but she had to go to the bathroom, take down her pants, miss half the program, yadda-yadda…

“Knock yourself out girlie”, he’d said, a little drunk. “You got a whole hillside right out your door. We’re mountain people. We piss where we want.”

He didn’t look at her but had that cock-eyed smile he got when he was drinking beer. She had taken the dare and scampered off the porch and behind the fat sycamore. It wasn’t that she was afraid of him seeing anything-they were beyond that. It was just what she did. She was wearing tight jeans then and had to wriggle them down and lean in such a way that she wouldn’t wet herself. She remembered giggling as she spattered.

She put the time at between three and four. Closer to four. She tried to add the hours of uninterrupted solid sleep she had gotten all week. No more than three tonight. She couldn’t go on like this, grinding her teeth and digging her fingernails into her palms, forever. Just one cigarette, she thought. Just one, to give her that kick of nicotine that she remembered. If she’d had any, she might have broken, but she didn’t. Back at the porch Lori leaned against the rail digging the feel of the rough wood pressing into her bare thighs.

The resort which butted up against her property on the high side, glistened. Thank you Uncle Red, she said under her breath for about the billionth time. It was the house that her Mom and Red had grown up in.  After her Mom died, she stayed in the house with Red, thinking it would be temporary. It was. It only lasted ten years until he died. Well after she was old enough to move out, had she wanted to. She had stayed with him as her mother had wished and now she owned the house and seven acres.

When what would become the Hideaway Resort began buying properties years ago, her Pap – Mom and Red’s mother – wouldn’t sell. Even when the money was ridiculous for the time. Now it was hers with a standing offer of a million on the table whenever she wanted to sell. She didn’t.

Communion

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“Did ye eat the body?”

“Ye saw me walk up. Of course I et the body.”

“Did ye drink the blood?” he asked with an accusing tilt of his head.

“Ye saw me up there!”

“Yeah, but. Did you actually drink it or jest swish it around in the cup?”

Ah, fer Crissakes, he thought. Then blessed himself. Sorry, he thought, but it’s flu season. “I drank some”, he settled.

“Ye barely put yer lips to it!”

“Fer Gawd’s sake…”

“Don’t ye dare!”

“Did ye not hear all the hackin’ and coughin’ and snottin’ goin’ on all aroun’ us?”

“Say what you will. You dint have a proper communion is all I’m sayin’. Not proper.”

“I didn’t see YOU drinkin’ it!”

“Ye low bastard! Ye know I can’t drink of the blood since I took the cure.”

“Wait a bloody minit! By the time it gets to yer lips it’s not wine anymore, is it? It’s the blood of the Divine.”

“Ya betchyer ass it is. And there’s enough alcohol innit to kill off all the germs yer so fraid of.”

“Wait…what? If it’s blood how can there be alcohol…?”

“Shhh…here comes Father…”

They nodded without really looking up from the nothings they were kicking about.

“Father.”

“Fadder…”

“Boys”, he said and walked on.

“I don’t know if I liked the way he said that.”

“Nor the way he looked just now…”

“Don’t be a mutt-you dint even look up. Why dint ye look a’ him.” He said nothing, just worried the ground with the toe of his shoe. “It’s a ringing indictment it is. Yer feckin’ silence.”

“You got a extra cig?”

“Why would I give you one? You don’ even inhale! Ye jest roll the smoke aroun’ in yer mouth.”

“I don’! I do so inhale!”

“You suck a cig the same way you mouth the Lord’s blood. I’m not wasting a cig on you. Hey! Where you goin?”

“Pub”, he said wandering off down the cobbles.

“Ye know I can’t go in there.”

Thank Christ, he thought raising the back of his hand in farewell.

“Satan has a plan for you, buddy boy…” he said, inhaling deeply. “You’ll see.”

The Colonel Comes Home – Memories

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(Continued from The Colonel Comes Home – 4)

Sylvia Palacios sat on a hard stool in the courtyard of her home and let her eyes flow over the untended garden and the darkness of the ever-encroaching jungle. Years before, they’d cut many trees in clearing this land. What she knew is that trees, like memories, were never gone. You could drop the thickest tree, cut it into logs and send it down river or burn it for charcoal. With a strong mule and harness, maybe a little dynamite, you can be rid of the stump and with dirt fill, the ground would look fine. Would look strong. Would be strong; for a while.

But over the years the roots below ground would be eaten by insects; would rot. Would disappear and become voids where there was once strength. The voids, unseen on the surface, would create sinkholes that lay in wait to twist a knee, crack an ankle or crumble a house. That is what memories are: voids from the never-forgotten past that open sinkholes in the soul and she had fallen into one and gotten horribly twisted.

She could not grasp why she did what she did. Even now, in the light of day, she could barely remember it. But when she finally awoke this morning and found Laurencia gone, she knew what she had done. She was strangely composed as she changed from her night clothes into an old, shapeless cotton house dress: a fitting garment for her last day on earth. She deserved no better. She wore no underclothes in case there would be another whipping before her execution.

Her long hair was tied in a braid to make it easier for the hangman’s noose or, God forbid, the chopping block. She’d heard of beheadings-horrific stories of tribal warfare-but had never seen one. If they were to shoot her, she hoped it would be against the front wall so the last thing she would see was the garden and the purple mountains beyond. That was her preference, she supposed. Antonio had been shot. In battle, yes. But shot.

These were her thoughts as, with a rumble, the soldiers rode into her yard. The first of the riders, a tall one with gray hair, had an axe strapped to the side of his saddle. Had she eaten anything in the previous days she would have lost it from one end or the other. Idle rumination of one’s imminent demise are one thing; seeing the instrument of your own end riding in, is was quite another. As it was, her stomach empty and feeding on itself, she only stared, bowels roiling.

(Continuing…)

The Colonel Comes Home – 3

(Continued from The Colonel Comes Home – 2)

“Fried Christ!” the Colonel grumbled as sweat leaked from his hat band into his eyes. He was glad they had started before sunup but now it didn’t matter. He coaxed his burro over a slight rise then into the darkening cool between two boulders. “Hot!” he called to Diego who was keeping the pace ahead of him.

“It’s good for us, this sun”, he called back over his shoulder. “Wait till you see the crop.”

The Colonel pulled up and lifted his hat to wipe his brow. The poppies weren’t going anywhere-they would wait for him. His foreman went not much farther before realizing he was alone. He turned his burro to find his father drinking from his gourd in the shade. “I’m sorry, Colonel”, he said. “I shouldn’t have…”

“Don’t apologize for doing what every man your age does. Rush forward, run here-run there. It’s your running about-being everywhere at the same time- that makes this estate, and us, rich. Don’t apologize for it. I did it too. Years ago. Now, I sit in the shade when God provides.” Diego took the offered gourd and drank deeply.

Diego had wanted him to see the crop since his return and this trip to the top of the mountain was for him. The boy was proud of his efforts as he should have been. The Colonel liked the flowers, he liked the colors, he liked the clearings hacked, in a single winter, out of the dark jungle-that showed power. But he wasn’t a farmer, this Colonel. None of his people were of the earth. He was a fighter, a soldier, a one-time mercenary, now unquestioned ruler of what once had been the largest regency in the country and owner of the largest estate in the territory. What he liked about this crop was what he liked about everything he touched: the gold that it would eventually yield. His growing fortune. The gold to buy more soldiers. That’s what he cared about. That’s what he had come to see. He sat in the shade until the sweat on his back felt cool then gestured Diego onward.

It was after two when they finally arrived back at the hacienda trudging slowly through the glowing orange trees. He had toured the poppy fields and spent the requisite time with the troops stationed up there. They were always happy to see him and worth the trip but almost nine hours on a burro was plenty for the Colonel and he left his with a groom and turned to Diego. “Join me for lunch? Some wine, perhaps?”

“I would love to Colonel”, he demurred. “But we are slaughtering from the southern herd in the morning. I’m down some caballeros and need to gather stragglers.”

The Colonel smiled and waved him off. “Go to it Diego! We need every cow-it will be a tough winter. I’ll drink enough for both of us.” With a quick, “Adio’” he was off to his cows. The older man walked slowly, straightening a little more each step. Surely, it was his imagination, but he swore he heard his spine groaning like a tree in the wind.

His coming had, of course, been foreseen and the wine, cheese, fruits and bread were at the table. He unbuckled his saber and took off his pistol, thinking about how his hardware grew heavier every year. He was looking directly upward and digging his knuckles into his kidneys when he heard a light tread on the veranda. It was one of the serving girls…Constance, Consuelo…he couldn’t remember. “Yes?” he asked.

“Excellency. The girl…she’s back.” She had nothing else to say.

The Colonel stared blinking then opened his hands to her. “Which girl, daughter? It’s been a busy week.”

“The one whose mother you…whipped.” Her voice dropped at the last word-not wanting to speak it in his presence lest…

“Ah, Laurencia”, he remembered derailing her train of thought. “She’s brought her burro back for a visit. I’ll pet him but not ride him. Enough with burros today. Please, fetch her. Send her to me.” He poured a cup of wine and took it onto his tongue. It was the Rose, served cool from the cellars. He kept it on his tongue before-eyes closed-swallowing slowly and luxuriantly. If the priests served this at Mass he never would have left the Church.

He felt, more than heard the girl cross the patio. He waved to her.  “Come here girl.” Laurencia hung back-only for a moment. Her transformation from almost-woman, back to child was stunning enough that the Colonel had to keep looking at her to ensure that this pretty waif was the same sent to him for carnal pleasure just days before. It wasn’t just the plain housedress either. The girl seemed chastened somehow. He saw something in the way she moved-there was a stiffness. His stomach hardened when he saw what might have been a thickness on her lower lip-as from a blow. He registered it, then ignored it.

The Colonel sat to get down to her level and spread his spindly legs. “Come,” he said, reaching out his hands, beckoning. “I guess there are no eggs for me this trip”, he joked but she didn’t smile. “I’m sorry”, she mumbled. “Come, come”, she took his hand shyly and slipped into the protectorate of his horseman’s thighs. She noticed, of all things, how clean his white canvas trousers were. She whimpered lightly as he turned her but gave into his gentle push to bend slightly over his left leg steadying herself with one hand on the table. She made no sound as he drew up her rough cotton dress behind.

To preserve her modesty, he only pulled the dun colored cloth up her legs but far enough to reveal thick switch slashes that left angry welts and a few cuts on the back of her thighs. He could imagine, but didn’t want to see, what her bottom looked like. His heart raced, and he thought of his saber.

“Your mother did this?”

“Yes Colonel.”

“Why?”

“She was angry.”

“Tell me true girl. Did you misbehave in any way to deserve this?”

“No sir. I was asleep. She awoke me with a stick.”

She was young; inexperienced in the ways of men. She didn’t hear his tone of voice change from sweetly cajoling to hardened steel. He lowered her dress and helped her to straighten. “Buenila!” Being deeply experienced, the old woman recognized the Colonel’s tone and materialized at the edge of the veranda like steam from a fissure in the ground.

“Am I in trouble Colonel?” Laurencia asked timidly.

“No, my dear…Not at all.”

“Buenila, take Laurencia inside, bathe her, dress her wounds…”

“Wounds?”

“You will see them…and feed her. I’m betting she’s hungry, aren’t you daughter?” She answered with a tiny nod. “Go”, he said with a wave of his hand. “Let Buenila care for you. She’s had girls just like you…she’ll know what to do. Go.”

Buenila the crone, barren since birth, never a natural mother, took Laurencia Palacios gently by the hand and led her into the cool darkness of the house. Inside, they moved to the left away from the Colonel’s quarters toward the servants and guest rooms. They passed Buenila’s small cell without comment and came to a room glowing green from sunlight reflected off the leaves through the high window. The bathing room had a handsome teak bathtub, a dressing table, a rattan lounge and small fireplace in the corner.

The girl balked when Buenila tried to undress her, so she left her be and took to filling the tub. The cistern water was warm this time of year but not warm enough so Buenila added from the steaming kettle that was always near to boiling on the fire. The scent of the oils added to the water was as enticing as the old woman’s tuneless humming was calming.

This time, when the old woman pulled at the laces at her neck, Laurencia did not resist and allowed the dress to be pulled up over her head covering her small breasts with crossed arms. Had the Colonel availed himself of what had been so crudely offered he would have found a girl on the cusp of womanhood; her throat long and thin with matted brown hair cascading over almond colored shoulders. Firm as a spring peach, she glowed in the dappled, reflected sunshine.

She pulled back when the old woman tried to pull her arms down. Again, leaving her be, Buenila cupped her hands and reached into the bathtub scooping a deep handful of water into her mouth. Then, cheeks swollen, she looked at the girl, crossed her eyes and pulled her ears spitting a stream of water out of her mouth like a demented swan, splatting Laurencia in the middle of the forehead. The girl froze in amazement then burst into laughter raising her hands to cover her face. Seeing an opening, the crone moved quickly to tickle her under both arms. The girl screeched and, dissolving into giggles, pulled her arms to her sides, her nakedness, at least for the moment, forgotten.

This time, when offered a hand, Laurencia took it and turned stepping gingerly into the tub. The old woman quickly glanced at the crosshatching on the girl’s backside and again raged quietly behind her humming.

“What is that song?” Laurencia asked, wincing as she sat in the tub.

“I don’t know. Mamma sang it. It is the sound of my childhood.”

“That was a long time ago, I bet.”

In my head, thought the old woman, it is still happening. “A very long time”, she said.

The girl allowed her hair to be washed, then to be bathed top and bottom, inside and out.  Stepping out of the tub she stood comfortably, shifting from foot to foot as Buenila dried her with thick cotton towels. Then, led by the hand, she followed the old woman to the couch and lay naked across her lap. The unguent that Buenila applied to the girl’s wounds was an old native concoction made of jungle herbs and weeds.

“This is not so bad”, she whispered interrupting her chorale as she rubbed and ministered to every stripe and mark. “You will be fine…” When finished she moved to help the girl up but heard in her breathing, in her regular and rhythmic snotty, snuffling, that she had fallen fast asleep. Buenila smiled and sat back, her arms protectively draped across the girl.

“That’s all right. Sleep Choochie”, she thought using a name her gramma had called her. “The Colonel will do the right thing.”

(Continuing…)

The Colonel Comes Home

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He sat cracking his neck on the veranda overlooking the river. His bed always took some getting used to after months peacefully rocking in a hammock. He might be done with it; the bed, the house, all of it. Pitch his hammock out here and sleep under nets like everyone else. They seemed happy with it.  Why should those with nothing be content with their lot and he feel so fucked all the time?

The river wasn’t a torrent by any means but neither the low green stream he was hoping for on his return. It ran full and brown-café con leche-filling the banks the way it never did in the summer and covering the marsh grass that deer would eat wading in the cool shade in the heat of the afternoons.

A swollen cow floated by, hooves reaching for the sky, then a couple of chickens. The lowland peasants always take the brunt of the weather. Floods this late in the season would mean hunger in the winter-not famine-there would still be food here in the most fecund valley he knew, but less of it. Without their chickens and corn they would be hunting his hills for game all winter. Which was fine, so long as they steered clear of the poppy fields, which they knew to do.

He had gambled before leaving and had the crop planted high on the mountain. Making the new clearings so far from where he usually farmed had been arduous but the rains which would have washed him out on the lowland fields, drained quickly up there. He had ridden through the fields on his way in and the crop was beautiful and lush. Thus did the rich get richer.

The sun peeking over the ridge downstream colored the trees and awoke the woodpeckers and the crows. Everyplace the filtered light touched him burned slightly, like a warm stick pressed against his skin. It would be hot today.

He heard the soft scraping tread behind him and steeled himself.

“More coffee Excellency?”

When he was sure Buenila couldn’t see, he had spilled what was left in his cup into the brown river. The pestilential rains had ruined the coffee crop and they were reduced to drinking chicory which was better than tea he supposed but worse than everything else.

“Yes, Buenila. Thank you.”

“It’s good then?”

“Wonderful”, he said turning his head slightly toward her but not looking back.

“Good…” she shuffled away.

Below him a pig floated by, tits up and mottled by the sun. His stomach gurgled an ominous reminder of his miseries.

“Wait”, he called back over his shoulder “A glass of Port instead. And a piece of the bread you made last evening.” She would know to bring the cheese without being told. Might as well start the day.

The sun was directly overhead when he pushed the last of the ledgers away and rubbed his eyes. He still had the eyes of an eagle, but they, like the rest of him, were only good for short spurts. Most of the morning had been spent with Diego, who was effectively the estate foreman, responsible for everything when the Colonel was gone on conquest or otherwise indisposed. Small and dark, Diego was young enough to be-and whispered that he was in fact-the Colonel’s own son. Neither man remembered Diego’s mother-she was gone when he was a swaddling babe, left to the capable hands of Buenila. To the Colonel-then a striving Captain-she had been one in a long continuing series of couplings.

While his wiry physic and green eyes could have been a give-away, neither of the men seemed to care about the certainty of his lineage. As a boy, and now a man, Diego wanted nothing more than to sit astride whichever mule or horse the day’s labor called for and do his work. “Nothing between my God and me but my hat!” he would smile doffing his well-worn woven skipper.

They had opened the canopy before noon and he now toyed with the idea of stringing his hammock and taking his siesta right here. Just toyed. While there was a breeze, the thick masonry walls that had survived two earthquakes to his knowledge kept his house cool even at midday. He would go inside.

Before he could push away from the table Buenila appeared at his shoulder.

“A girl from the village is calling, Excellency.”

“The village?”

The crone shrugged. To her, everyone not of the estate was from ‘the village’.

He settled back in his chair. “Send her out.”

Good Lord, he thought as he did when confronted by young girls. Is this my daughter? He didn’t think so-she was too young with striking raven eyes and thick straight hair the color of jungle dirt. Her cheekbones were high disguising the baby fat that still rounded her. She hesitated at the edge of the veranda.

“Come, come”, he said gently.

The girl shuffled closer. He could not ignore her full pouty lips. “What’s your name, daughter?”

“Laurencia”, she answered. “Laurencia Palacios.”

“Come, come…” he repeated reaching out a hand. The girl held back-walking in sand. Palacios, he thought. I know that name. “Do I know your father?” he asked.

“He’s gone.”

“I see, I see… What brings you here to see me today, Laurencia?”

“My mother, your majesty. She…”

He snorted loudly. “There is no crown on my head, sweetheart. I’m a simple Colonel.”

“Yes sir.” Her eyes wouldn’t meet his. “My mother says I should come by. I should make myself…an introduction. I mean…I should make myself available to you….”

An icy hand gripped the Colonel’s chest. There were women, God knows, who approached him-who always approached him-wanting to be close to him and share what he’d won. And God also knows he had a weakness for them which is why there were so many of a certain age across the territory and in his service that had his green eyes, his sharp nose, his wavy hair.

He was used to these clingers and grabbers and had done, in his mind, a reasonable job recently of keeping his distance from such hardscrabble paramours. These days, his victories and powers brought a different class of women to his bed; ones who had their own gold and houses-even husbands-and only wanted to share of his essence if for a night or a week or a month. That was one thing. There was a special place in hell for those who would whore their daughters out for the same reason.

“How old are you, Darling?” he asked covering his rage.

He watched the girl freeze-the truth of fourteen colliding with the lie of seventeen her mother had given her. He had sat on too many tribunals to be fooled by a naïve virgin and her conniving mother.

“If you are contemplating a lie to me, just say nothing. It will be better.”

The girl stayed quiet, then, peeking up at him, “Fourteen, your majes…colonel.”

“Ah, fourteen. Very good. Very good.” He leaned forward conspiratorially. “You weren’t supposed to tell me that were you?”

The girl blushed and looked away.

“No matter, no matter. I’ll make sure I tell everyone you’re eighteen, is it? Seventeen?”

“Seventeen, Colonel.”

“Very good.”

Regardless of her looks and the beginnings of regal bearing, the girl’s accent was of the mud. It was tough to hear such guttural tones coming out of a mouth as wonderful as this.

“Do you read Laurencia?”

“No, Colonel”.

“Numbers?”

She shook her head.

What is this mother thinking? He didn’t know, but he would find out. The girl brightened when he offered her chocolate and a cup of watered wine. She had come up the mountain alone on a handsome burro that she loved and had all her life. The colonel smiled; there is hope for one who loves a burro as the girl loved hers. The words poured about her burro, then her cats, then the dog, then the chickens-the girl who had slinked up the mountain in fear babbled on happily about the animals in her life. Probably preferable to the people she knew. The Colonel had daughters, both known and unknown, native and mestizo, and knew how to speak to girls. What he thought would be a five-minute interview extended to a half an hour of laughter and simple stories.

“Well Laurencia, it was wonderful to meet you”, he said finally. “But I have work…” he gestured apologetically toward the table.

“Yessir. I’m sorry to have taken your time.”, she said primly and stood. “I will go now. Thank you.”

She bowed formally and turned away her pert bottom pressing against the woven dress. They always mature first back there, he thought before looking away.

“Laurencia!” She stopped and turned. “I want you to…” how to say this? He didn’t want to appear to be offering what her mother had sent her for but wanted to ensure that the girl knew she had a place to come to if she ever needed one. “Stop back and see me. I don’t have the time now, but would love to meet your burro. Would you bring him back to visit?”

“Oh yes sir. And I will bring you eggs-from my chickens.”

“You will never be able to bring eggs up the mountain on your burro”, he teased. “They will all be scrambled when you get here!”

“You’ll see. I know how to pack eggs”, she smiled widely and for a moment he saw the woman she would become.

Dios Mio, he thought. Then with a charming smile that betrayed nothing, “Have your mother stop by to see me, would you? Not you, just her. Same time as this tomorrow. High noon. You’ll remember that won’t you?”

“Oh yes Colonel. I will tell her. And remember, I am seventeen!” She laughed like pearls flowing over pebbles.

“Dios Mio”, he whispered as she strode across the patio and was gone. He didn’t feel guilty for his arousal but rather proud that he hadn’t acted upon it.

 

(Continued)

June 16

The first tentative chirps of the morning birds far preceded the dawn. He snapped to and imagined it no later than four. There was a cardinal, the robin at the arbor, the turkeys on the hill and the mourning doves all calling below the stars still spattering the resistant sky.

He smelled eggs boiling downstairs-does the woman never sleep?-and a whiff of coffee. By the stench he knew it bitter and strong-would need heavy doses of cream which he was fairly sure had curdled. She could fuck up a one-car funeral this one.

He’d been dreaming about a train accident that Frank was somehow tied up in. He was being interviewed on the teevee-Frank was-and the camera had inadvertently it seemed allowed his cock into the frame as he was not wearing pants. Why didn’t anyone notice? Could the camera man not see it there hanging listlessly like a sail on a windless lake? Weren’t there editors to prevent such things from getting onto the air? Truth be told though, old Frank’s uncircumcised seven (don’t let him tell you nine) would not be the worst thing to hit telly today.

He’d never get back to sleep now. His own cock was soft and bladder full but as soon as he went downstairs he’d be done for. Maybe piss out the window. Had she brought in the laundry? He fluffed his pillow and lay back in a huff-determined to wait out the night. The bob-white called but he didn’t count-he was up all night the poor bastard.