TITLE: Redemption Chapter 1a 9 Feb 15
By Randy Somers
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NOTE: my writing program doesn't always transfer to the box below, ie chapter breaks, indents, italics, etc.
“What’s wrong with you?!” Chad screamed through clenched teeth. The familiar confrontation echoed from the past few months. Frustration seethed behind his eyes and voice. Exasperation forced him to stand behind the kitchen counter to stare at his wife.
Barbara sat at the kitchen table. Oblivious to her husband’s torment, she sat quietly. Deep inside a faint voice echoed, I don’t know. Something is controlling me. I can’t help how I feel. I want what I’m doing. It’s just me now. I like this new me.
She looked up at her husband and said, “Nothing’s wrong with me. It’s just the new me. I like the new me. So I’m going. I’ve got to satisfy the new me.”
Barbara stood and walked out the back door.
The sun set behind the downtown buildings tinting the fine dust a fiery red. Bodies whirled and pounded to the beat of the Country Western band. Couples laughed and sang their favorite phrases. Plywood covered the dirt of the construction site, every Friday night, providing an opportunity for the townspeople to enjoy life. The Friday night dances were a family affair; hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, pies, sodas, lemonade and sweet tea were provided by the new patron saint of Heywood.
Since the first dance six months ago, the numbers have grown. Free food, free local entertainment provided the struggling community a chance to come together, forget the lines that divided them and just have fun. Business owners, city workers, Mexicans, whites, blacks, old and young, male and female and the rich and poorer all mixed in sweat, dust, singing and dancing.
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. She held onto his arms as he tried to reach around her ample waist. Silvia burst into laughter as Robert tried to mesh the Country style Johnny Cash song Ring of Fire with the current popular rap hip hop style dance. Robert worked his arms in imitation of Snoop Dogg smoothly including 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. Enthralled by the music, he moon-walked across the plywood floor to perfect his routine.
Silvia and her Italian husband Diego, raised in Texas, owned the popular Lone Star Café, just across the street from the dance floor. The food and drinks came from their store.
Silvia slid into a chair next to a portable table. Diego saw her and quickly fetched a glass of lemonade. “You look ravishing when you glow like this,” reaching 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 puppy eyes, he leaned forward, “More?” he whined.
Silvia whispered, “Later?”
Diego stood and stretched, twirling his mustache he cooed, “Sì, il mio amore. I tuoi occhi brilleranno come le stelle con piacere.” Hitching up his sagging pants, he waltzed back to the dance.
Watching him strut away, Silvia smiled with love and pleasure. Forty 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, Il mio vecchio marito.
Looking out at the Friday night crowd, Silvia drew a deep breath, gratified, knowing how Buck revitalized this community. Her eyes searched and found him dancing with ten-year-old Sarah. Buck towered above the petite young lady, with all of his six foot plus height. He appeared strong, not heavily muscled, but powerful. His long black hair glistened with persperation in the light.
Slivia 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 to drink. Having saved Buck from being sick, Sarah skipped off to find her grandfather 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 and 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 where the 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 and general trash seemed to have grown into larger piles. The City Council only required that the purchaser to clean it up, remove all the junk and either rebuild on it or turn it into a park.
The City Council felt they had found their patsy in this motorcycle stranger.
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 rough 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; recently adding 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 ridding the farmers and ranchers of feral hogs, plus giving the hunters bold 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 had 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. The resilient 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 town’s records were destroyed at that time. Arguments still erupt over the cause of the fire. Most Heywood gossips liked 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.
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