|Beware of Newbie
||[Mar. 1st, 2004|03:09 am]
At first, I was going to join just to lurk, but then I saw silverdwagon's prompt, and thought I'd take a shot.|
What I came up with was a short story without a name. I'm anxious to see what everyone else posts!
"Thank you, boys," said Mr. Pratchett to Todd, Jimmy, and Me. We each had carried a box of groceries to his car: a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle, Midnight Blue.
Mr. Pratchett flipped three quarters in our direction, citing his reason as, "For your troubles, for your troubles," as he settled in and drove away.
It was the summer of seventy-four, too hot and too humid for Illinois. We bested it with iced lemonade and a makeshift swimming pools, also known as fire hydrants.
Mr. Pratchett was a tall, slender, balding fellow. He and his wife, Mrs. Pratchett, were members of the Community Choir.
Neither of my parents were members of a Community anything, but Todd's mother once told us how Mrs. Pratchett, with her deep southern accent and bitter nasal tone, was greatly liked among her peers, despite her lack of vocal prowess.
Back in those days, The Pig was the only reliable source of cold air. Even when the air conditioning was out, which was almost always, the glass-doored freezers always cast the ghostly sillhouette of frostbite around merchants and customers, alike.
Jimmy and I were leaning against one of these freezers, drinking Coca-Cola from a green glass bottle, while Todd read the purchase orders for the day.
"Twelve rolls of clear plastic wrap?" he said, shaking his head. "It's the same thing, over and over. Morton's salt, raspberry jam, twelve rolls of clear plastic wrap. That was yesterday's. JFG coffee - regular, 1 pkg. Charmin, nine rolls of clear plastic wrap."
Todd went over the orders all the way back to Good Friday, now a distant memory after two full weeks.
"Hey, Janice," he called, pulling her out of the monotonous routine of stocking cans of Del Monte Corn with others of their kind.
"What's Mr. Pratchett doing with all this Saran Wrap?"
"Don't know. Didn't say," she said, shooing us out of her way. "Wasn't Saran Wrap, either. Bought Piggy brand."
For the next five days, we caught Mr. Pratchett at the Piggly Wiggly.
"Need a hand?" one of us would say.
The aging man would nod.
"How's Mrs. Pratchett?" would say another.
"Out of town, you know. Visiting her mother. Ill again, I reckon."
"Sorry to hear that."
Five boxes loaded up. Thank you, boys, for your troubles, for your troubles. Quarters in our pockets, and then he was off in the Midnight Beauty.
Next morning, they found her body in the trunk, cowering in a fetal position. She was mummified in cellophane, gagged, and duct-taped. Her face was black where the blood, before it coagulated, had rushed to her head.
Years later, one of us asked another how he endured the smell of Mrs. Pratchett's decay. We'll ponder that for the rest of our lives.