The dream is always the same. The sun is hot and bright as I enter the tool
shed at Uncle Doyle’s place. The old, uneven boards are rough on my bare feet.
I can hear the squeaking from the old bed with the dirty mattress in the back where it’s dark. The voices are barely audible to my ears.
“Now turn over while I take real good care of you honey. C’mon baby doll its
good an’ you know it.”
“You ain’t gonna tell my Daddy are ya?”
“Naw, you just be a good little girl an’ everythang’s gonna be alright. Hell, I’ll even get you another Barbie doll.”
“Shush, what wuz that?” the young female voice said.
“Must be them damned cats fuckin’ and fightn’ up in the crawlspace again.”
Just about then I knock over a can of nails. It always happens, can’t avoid it.
Hey! Who the hell’s there? Is that you Jeremiah? Get yore ass in here boy. I wanta show you sumptin. We’s gonna make a man of ya ain’t we Doreen?”
Doreen giggles and I hear slurping sounds.
I feel myself pulled towards the speaker, Uncle Doyle. He’s about 50. He takes me fishin’ sometimes. Uncle Doyle let me drink a beer once when we was fishin’ on the lake. My Aunt Lily plays the piano in Church and makes good apple pies.
She’s a nice lady. The girl is Doreen Stokes. We ride the school bus together. She lives down the way with her widow mother Elberta. Doreen was twelve a ‘couple
of months back.
As I move towards the back of the shed it’s dark and my eyes can’t adjust. I hear the slappin’ of sweaty flesh hittin’ together. It kinda sounds like a hog fartin’.All I can make out is two bodies laying on the dirty mattress movin’ in
ways that make me squirmy.
“Are you comin’ boy? Where you at? Aww, there ya are. Come over an put
yore hand on Doreen’s butt.”
I hear my ten year old voice shakily saying, “Uncle Doyle, I don’t wanna touch Doreen’s butt.”
“Boy, I told ya to get over here an grab Doreen’s butt or I’m gonna whip yore
I start to do it. One part of me wants to an’ the other part don’t. Then something like a fire alarm goes off. I piss my shorts.
The alarm clock is jangling and the wife is hollern’ for me to come into the
kitchen for breakfast. The kids (Jerry jr’s eight and Lori’s six) are fightin’ over who gets gets the Cheerios first.Manda, my wife, is tellin’ ‘em to shut up an’ eat or they’ll miss the school bus.
I’ve got it real good; decent marriage, happy kids, money-making business. Not bad for a “Bubba” who’s only got two years of junior college. There’s still
that rotten place in me deep down I can’t talk to nobody about. God help me.
After a cup of coffee an’ some raisin bran I give Manda a kiss an’ a big hug—tell Jerry junior an’ Lorri if they do good in school this week we’ll go out
fishin’ on the lake.
I love my family. They make the pains of when I was a kid growin’ up a little easier—even though they don’t know it.I know its time for another trip
outta town.These days I don’t want to do it.I know it ain’t right. But I got to.
The dreams stop for awhile when I do.
My daddy was the one who took me down to Knoxville for my first time with the
young ones. “You don’t shit where you eat,” he said. So I go to Knoxville. I can’t hold my head up though— look folks in the eyes.
After I eat I head to the shop an’ make sure Mike, my head mechanic,
made it into work an’s got something to keep him busy for the rest of the day. I tell him I got to go to Knoxville to get some parts for a Mustang that’s been
sittin’ for three days. Mike gives me a sly smile and says “sure Jeremiah,
anything you say.” He don’t know shit.
I took off south down the four lane to Knoxville. Cruisin’ along at 70 per,
I wonder what it could have been like. Got married right after graduation; first kid came along ten months later. Inherited the garage that the old man started when
he got home from the war; hell I’m even a member of the Rotary. Seems like it
don’t mean nothin’ though.
Made good time. Got off the four lane onto East Magnolia. Cruised past the bus station an’ there they wuz. Hell, they wuz always thare. All dressed up
an’ hot lookin’. My hands were shakin’ a little; ya know, kinda anticipatin’.
Who knows ware they come from. They got to have the money to smoke their crack.
Makes ‘em feel good. Makes ‘em want it.
I cruise past a couple of times checkin’ for cops. If ‘n ya look careful, you ken see the cop spy van parked down the block. They got ta have ya on tape or it won’t stand up in court. Nope, not today.
I slow up ‘side a little blonde honey. She’s cute. Gotta little polk-a-dot mini on with a black low cut top. Hmmm, something ain’t quite right though.
“Hey, how you baby? How much ya lookin for ta get ya some new clothes?”
“It’s a hunnert dollars mister. Fuck an’ suck till yure done.”
“Maybe next time doll baby. I’m lookin for a red head today.”
“Wanta buy some weed?”
“No thanks baby. Beer’s more my style. Later.”
Further down the street I spot her. This one’s got bright red hair done up with a pony tail. She’s wearin’ one of them red shorty cheerleader-like dresses
with a halter top to match that shows off what she’s got real good.
“Hey! Where you been honey?”
“Why mister I jus’ got into Knoxville last week. You wanna party?
“How ‘bout I get ya some new clothes sweetie?”
“I think I could use ‘bout a hunnert dollars worth okay mister?”
“Get in baby”
We cruise to one of the cheap flops I use further down Magnolia Avenue.
In the room, I tell her to strip.
“Gimme my hunnert dollars first mister,” she replies.
“Strip first cutie ‘cause I gotta know if you got a mic or sumptin’ on ya.”
She takes ‘em off and I marvel how much she looks like Doreen looked in high
school when we’d skinny dip at the blue hole on the little Doe River. Doreen would
stand on top of the rock we used to dive off, her body just a shinin’ in the sun. Made my heart ache for her. Hell, my tallywacker shore did.
I pay her and we do it. It’s always too quick. Soon I’m on the four lane headed north.
I get back to the shop with the parts—had ‘em stashed in the back of the dually from gettin’ ‘em yesterday over at the NAPA place. Mike’s workin’ on a transmission in a pick-up.
“Got the parts for the mustang boss?”
“You can start work on the mustang tomorrow boy. Why don’t ‘cha take off early ‘an go home to that cute wife of yore’s?”
“Thanks boss. I guess I’ll see ya tomorrow.”
I go in the office, shut the door, ‘an take the .38 snubbie out of the drawer. It feels warm an’ real in my hands. What the fuck. I stick it in my
mouth an’ pull the trigger.