TITLE: Redemption, chap 2 1 of 4 11 Feb 15
By Randy Somers
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NOTE: again I struggle with my word procession program not showing italics or paragraph breaks.
“Here you are my mi pequeno chica. A double hamburger, ketchup only, double order of fries.” The small girl smiled at her bounty and picked up a French fry. Leaning down and in a stage whisper, Silvia added, “I have ice cream for a little girl that eats a good lunch.”
Standing up and laughing with Mom, Silvia walked back to the counter. Looking around, she noticed the restaurant buzzed with a good crowd. A contented sigh was interrupted by the chime of the bell, ‘Order up’ shouted Diego. ‘Burned meat all sloppy.’ He laughed at his joke.
Silvia glared at him with love and took the country fired steak order to the customer. As she turned from the table, a bell pinged as the front door opened. Glancing up, she startled to see Buck's blond ghost from last night come in.
Hurrying over to the counter, smiling, hoping to learn answers to part of the mystery, she said, “Welcome to our Little Texas Cafe. Your smile brightens your face. How may my husband and I help you?
Barbara smiled at the cheerful and friendly greeting. “Well after asking around, people steered me to your restaurant as having the best food inside of fifty miles,” Barbara returned a compliment. “I would like a picnic lunch for a take out.”
“We can do that. What would you like?”
Barbara glanced across the street to where Buck worked on the junk lot, “Do you know that man and know what he would like to eat?”
“Buck? Sure we know him. He is one of our favorite customers and friend. He’s a favorite with the town people as well. You seem as if you know him?” Silvia prodded.
“Buck? Is that his name? I didn’t know that,” Barbara mused. Turning back to Silvia she continued, “Yes I know him a little. We met a long time ago.
Leaning forward slightly, Silvia asked, “You gonna renew your friendship?”
“I don’t know. We’ll see." Turning back to Silvia, she asked, "What do you have that he would like?
“From what I know of men in general, it’s all meat and potatoes. How about a good club sandwich, some chips, little potato salad and a jug of sweet tea? I’ll send you some plates and silver ware. You can bring the jug and other things back after your picnic. Sound good?”
“Sure. What kind of meat?
“I’ll mix in some turkey, ham and salami. That OK?
“Sure. Sounds nice.”
"What would you like?"
"Ummm. You can do the same for me, just no salami."
Silvia wrote down the order and turned to Diego. “Hey Amante build two tall ones on wheat. One American, one Italian. Chips to go.”
“You betcha mia dolce guance.”
Silvia turned around and found that Barbara had walked to the window to watch Buck. Silvia walked over and stood next to her. “He’s a God send for this town. Not everyone understands him, but most everyone likes him,” she commented.
“How long has he been here?” Barbara asked.
“Oh, about a year or so. Drifted into town on his Harley. Scary lookin. Many avoided him at first. He stayed around for a week or ten days, just drivin around town and the country roads. He looked like some kinda drug dealer. Scruffy, shaggy beard, long hair. He wore two machetes strapped in an X across his back. Loves that beat up ol’ brown leather hat he wears to work in.
“If you look, you can see he’s wearin those machetes now,” Silvia pointed out. ‘He claims he has to have em to kill the rattle snakes that hide under all that junk. Probably true. About the snakes I mean.”
“Ummm. He’s still scary looking, if you didn’t know him. He’s changed from the last time I saw him,” Barbara mused. “But I can understand that,” she added in almost a whisper.
Silvia caught the whisper. After a sideways glance at the blond, she took up her explanation. “After about a week he spoke to the City Council and bought that block of worthless land full of junk. Rumor has it he paid cash. He just promised to clean it up and make it look nice with a building or a park. Since then he’s worked on that junk. Almost got it cleaned up.”
“Yes, that’s like him. Always trying to help in some way.”
“Oh he’s helped out a lot of people, but they don’t know it. He keeps his givin and servin quiet. Doesn’t like for people to know. He especially loves the kids. Many of the kids have lunches and trips paid at school. He’s provided laptops and IPads, play equipment. Kids just seem to take to him.”
“How do you know all this?” Barbra inquired.
“Listening. Putting two and two together. I watch Buck as he talks with the kids. He stops what he’s doin’ and listens to em. I hear others talk about Buck and what he’s done.”
Barbara grew quiet.
Silvia added, “He saved Diego, my husband and me once. After Buck had lived in town about nine months, three big men came into the café with pistols and tried to rob us. Made all the customers get under the table. They were gonna force us to make them some food too.
“Buck walked in not knowin what was goin on. One of them black men waved a pistol in Buck’s face, threatenin to shoot him ifin he didn’t get under the table. Buck acted faster than a snake. He grabbed that man’s gun hand, spun in a circle and you could hear the man’s wrist snap.
“That man screamed and dropped to his knees, holding his arm. Before the man finished landin, Buck had both those long knives offa his back, rolled and spun toward the closest man and sliced off the man’s hand that held the pistol. That man screamed and tried to hold the blood from pouring out of his wrist. He ran out of the cafe.
“The last man tried to aim and fired off one shot before Buck dove down and spun, stabbing that machete clear through the last one.” Silvia shuddered, “Nasty. Blood everywhere.
“Buck then grabbed the first man and took him outside. We were all stunned and just watched. Buck hit the man a few times, asking him question after question. After a couple of minutes Diego thought to call the police. When the robber heard the siren coming, he tried to break away from Buck. Buck fought with him for a moment, then swung that machete and sliced into the man's neck.
“Three of the women in here threw up at the sight. Buck just stood over the man, breathing hard. He seemed kinda lost at that moment. He stood and wiped off the machetes on the man’s cloths and put them back in their scabbards.
“He came back into the diner and helped people get out, stepping over the mess and body, shielding the childrens’ eyes. He even stayed to help clean up.”
Silvia paused as her memory chilled her anew. “I still wonder about Buck. He is cruel, violent, yet ashamed of his actions at the same time. If I weren’t so upset myself, I would have sworn I saw tears in his eyes. I don’t think he worried about them robbers. I felt that he worried about the customers and what they saw.”
The women stood quietly, watching Buck pick up a large fender from an old car, throw it over his shoulder to walk and stack it on top of other metal.
Silvia venture, “What do you know of him?”
“I think you’re right. He is violent toward evil people. The Ch .. er Buck that I knew would be protective, but not kill so easily. He’s changed. Changed maybe too much.” Barbara stood silent, lost in her own thoughts.
Silvia glanced at the middle aged beauty and wondered again, Who’s hurt who the worst? She started to ask another question when Diego called out, “Picnic up.”
Silvia went behind the counter and pulled out a large table cloth. “Here use this to sit on. That ground over there is just dirty. You can bring it back later.”
Barbara took the offered gifts and food, paid and looked into Silvia’s face. “You seem to know him well. Does he talk to you any about his life?”
Silvia chuckled, “Well most people around here call me Ma Mia, just because. But, no, Buck comes in here all the time to eat, but hasn’t said much about his personal life. I just listen and wait, figurin he’ll talk some time.
“Maybe now that you’re here he’ll open up some, you think?”
Barbara dropped her eyes for a moment. She smiled and left the Cafe. Walking across the street, she wondered how this initial meeting would go. Jesus let this be a start. I’ve got so much to make up for. Let this be a start.
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