TITLE: Redemption Chapter 1a 27 Jan 15
By Randy Somers
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Silvia wiped a sweat drop from her forehead as she scooted away from the young man who tried to stand taller than his eleven years. Silvia held onto his arms as he tried to reach around her amble girth. Smiling Silvia laughed out loud as Robert tried to keep up with the Johnny Cash song Ring of Fire as he broke into a rap hip hop style dance. Robert worked his arms in imitation of Snoop Dog then smoothly included his robot routine.
Letting go, Silvia gasped, “Robert. I have to sit down. You’re wearing me out. I can’t keep up with your fancy steps.”
Robert smiled at the compliment and continued on alone. Wrapped in the music Robert worked to perfect his routine.
Silvia slid into a chair next to a portable table. Diego, her Italian husband, saw her and quickly fetched a glass of lemonade for her. “You look ravishing when you glow like this,” he reached over for a kiss.
Pushing him away softly, “You always want a kiss.” Silvia pulled him back to take his breath away. Several seconds later she let him go. “Not bad for an old lady, eh?” Diego took a deep breath, “What was the question?” Using his sad dog eyed face, he leaned forward, “More?” he whined.
With a deep chuckle, Silvia whispered, “Later?”
Diego stood and stretched, hitching his pants higher he twirled his mustache, “Sì, il mio amore. I tuoi occhi brilleranno come le stelle con piacere.” He walked back to the dance.
Watching him strut away, Silvia smiled with love and pleasure. 40 years of marriage and he still tingles my heart. ‘My eyes will shine like stars with pleasure’ huh. You’ll be gasping for air when we’re done, my old man.
Looking out at the Friday night crowd, Silvia relaxed in gratification knowing how Buck revitalized this community. Her eyes searched and found him dancing with ten year old Sarah. Buck toward above the petite young lady, with all of his six foot plus height. He appeared strong, not heavily muscled, but powerful. His black hair shown with perspiration in the light.
A dancer he's not Silvia smiled, seeing Buck’s feet stomping and waving around like branches in a storm, kicking high and wide. Lifting Sarah off of the temporary dance floor, he spun her around four or five times. Her laughter echoed louder than the music from the home town band.
Bringing Sarah into a sliding landing, he staggered forward to hear more of her heart lifting laughter. Feigning a faint from dizziness, Sarah laughed and tried to carry his bulk to a chair. After seating him, she ran to get him a glass of sweet tea for him to drink. Having saved Buck from being sick, Sarah skipped off to find her grand father to dance with her.
Silvia watched Buck relaxing and smiling, as he gazed at the young girl. His heart is for the children. Deep inside him, somewhere, is a child’s heart. How did it get buried under the piles of anger and pain? Again Silvia noticed the straggly beard and weathered face that only smiled around children.
Buck had wandered into town just over a year ago on his Harley, long hair, beard with the attitude to match. He wore two machetes crossed on his back. Yet Buck managed to make friends with the Chief of Police. He had stayed to himself, ignoring all attempts at deep friendships or social contacts. Buck had purchased the one city square block that this almost every Friday night dance was held. The City Fathers had been trying to sell this city block since the fire destroyed all of the buildings on it thirty years ago. Over the years, the farm implements, bricks, broken glass, concrete slabs seemed to have grown into larger piles. The one requirement the city council had for the purchaser was to clean it up, remove all the junk and either rebuild on it or turn it into a park.
Heywood, Texas. A city of about 15,000 souls hovered just on the brink of importance. Established in 1850, Heywood had a rich history as a ranch cattle town who fought the Apaches and Mexican bandits. A few of the towns people could trace their ancestry to the Texas War of Independence as they fought and defeated the hated Mexican General, Santa Anna.
A small memorial that used to stand in the now defunked city center, listed the names of those patriots who fought in the War of Northern Aggression, both world wars, Korea and Vietnam; now adding the names from the Gulf Wars. Their Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day celebrations displayed the Lone Star's state pride of country and abounding patriotism.
Heywood, situated about seventy five miles west of Austin, sought to survive on ranching and cotton and grain farming. Tourism has become a growing income factor for Heywood and Surry County. Wild hog hunts attracted men and women from around the United States. This had the double bonus of riding the farmers and ranchers of feral hogs, plus giving the hunters great stories of fearlessly facing down a wild boar. The two dude ranches trick city folk into paying for the privilege of sweating on a working ranch. Old timers grin that Dude Ranches came from the great idea of Huck Finn tricking others into white washing the fence.
The city center once housed a brothel, saloon, bank, hotel, livery stable and a hardware store. Since these structures were made out of wood, they burned down on the average of once every five years. Basements were redug and new buildings erected in their place.
But mother nature has a way of evening the score. Two famous tornadoes came through and leveled this same city square block within twenty years of each other in the late 19th Century. Again the resliant towns folk rebuilt, the last time with brick and steel.
Over the decades and into the 20th century, other businesses came and went. Once a car dealership sprouted where the livery stable and hardware store once stood. This dealership busted in 1942. Another fire destroyed the entire city block and spread to the town hall in 1943. The towns records were destroyed at that time. Arguments still erupt over the cause of the fire. Most Heywood gossips like the story claiming Nazi sympathizers wanted to destroy the records of the German prisoners who were housed at the farms around Heywood during World War II.
After VE and VJ days, Heywood experienced the boom of the 1950s and mostly survived the trauma of the 60s youth rebellion. The Vietnam War still held pain for several families in the county. Political decisions were often settled in the parking lots as the economy surged and retreated.
Now in 2005, the city strained to make its historic down town relevant again. When Buck made his offer to purchase the entire block area, in cash, the City Council felt that Lady Luck had finally returned to their town.
Mayor Paul Myers ruled over this small fiefdom. He now severed his fourth, six year term as mayor. Paul was not an outstanding mayor so much as no one else really wanted the job. Paul kept his job through the practice of appeasement, slight of hand, coercion and staying out of major conflicts. Paul kept his image shiny which deflected any real criticism from finding him.
Small town politics being what they are, once a small power gains control, they usually stay in power until a major disaster unseats them. Handing out candy in parades, kissing babies, hand shakes, implied sexual contact with dissatisfied housewives and half truth promises, keeps the unthinking majority public happy. Any true and accurate criticism is covered by a good dirty offense, obfuscation and the confession of minor errors with the promise to do better.
Secrecy became a strong armed thug with protected Paul and the City Council. Many closed door sessions advance the cause of power and control, which most of the public does not care about anyway. What the average person does not know, they usually do not care to find out.
Rumors thrived over the question of how Buck came about his money. He never said. Some wondered if drugs were the foundation for his supposed millions. Others felt that he worked in some biker gang or mafia and kept most of the money he stole or laundered. Bets were made as to how much time he spent in prison. No one knew. And Buck liked it that way. The less people bothered him, the happier he lived.
His anger comes from deep pain, Silvia thought again. That means a woman somewhere. Maybe children. Dead? Divorce? Chuckling she added, Murder? Must have included children somewhere, he loves the kids around here.
At least he’s not wearing his machetes tonight.
Not many in the city and community knew that Buck donated to any child or school function that somehow deserved his attention. Ipads and computers appeared almost before the need became known. He especially doted on the ‘special needs’ ones that seemed
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