Notes from the Edge 05-08-24

 Notes from the Edge 05-08-2024

Humor helps your soul endure…

Yes, I am warped.

Today is Wednesday and I thought to give you a peek at a new short story collection, Mister Johnson now available only on Amazon #FREE with #KindleUnlimited 


MISTER JOHNSON: Short Stories

Copyright 2024 W. G. SWEET, all rights reserved, domestic and foreign

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Sarah hung over the front seat talking to Ann. Bobby patted her backside, and she turned and wagged one finger, laughing. I caught Ann’s eyes and spur of the moment mouthed “I love you.” She smiled and mouthed it back to me. A movement in my peripheral vision dragged my eyes back to the world quickly. My heart leapt into my chest as my eyes slid away from Ann and focused back out the windshield.

The woman was obviously drunk. She had staggered into the crosswalk. The light for me was green. The walk sign for her glowed red. I tried to stop quickly as she lurched out into the walk, but there wasn’t enough time, she collided with the passenger side fender and flew off into the darkness.

The car finally came to a stop. Silence and then…

“What the hell,” Ann said.

“Drunk,” Sarah said.  “Really fuckin wasted.”

“Yeah,” Bobby agreed, “Jesus, do you think she’s okay?”

I could see her, a crumpled shape in the shadows. I slipped off my seat belt and levered my door handle.

“She’s only drunk, baby,” Ann said.  “Be careful.”

I nodded, met Ann’s eyes once more, and then stepped out of the car.

“Miss?” I tried. I was about to ask again when her face turned to me. Her black hair hung over part of her face throwing it in shadow. Even so I could tell she was beautiful. Her eyes were so dark it was hard to tell where her pupils began. It made her look wide eyed.

“Are you okay,” I asked?

She nodded her head at me. Her eyes never left mine as she pushed herself from the ground.

“Be careful as you pass the park,” she said.

She said it clearly, but it was so unexpected I had trouble processing it.

“What,” I asked, before my mind had interpreted the words.

“The river road… Be careful at the park… Slow down… Maybe…” She shook her head. “Be careful, Joe.” She brushed past me. I turned and watched her stagger away. She was gone before I realized she had called me by my name.

“Baby,” Ann called.

I turned and looked at her, her head protruding awkwardly from the passenger side window. Sarah was still leaning over the passenger seat, making google eyes at me. I shook my head and then walked back around the car. I climbed in and saw I had to wait through another cycle of the red light before I could go.

“What did she say, baby?” Ann asked.

“Yeah, baby, what did she say,” Sarah giggled.

I laughed in spite of the feeling of dread that had begun to close around my heart.

“Some stuff about the river road and the park,” I said.

“Oh yeah?” Ann asked.

I shrugged.

“What?” Sarah asked.

I started to answer, but the light flipped to green. I pulled away.

“She said, watch that blonde leaning over the seat, she seems like a smart ass to me,” I told her. Everybody laughed. It was too unbelievable that she really had said my name at the end. She might have said ‘Slow’ or anything at all besides Joe.

“Yeah,” Ann asked laughing.

“Yeah,” I agreed.

“And you’re going to have his children after he just insulted your best friend?” Sarah asked.

“Oh yeah,” Ann agreed.

“Baby, you are a smart ass,” Bobby said from the back seat. Everybody laughed again and Sarah and Ann went back to the conversation they had been having. Something to do with scripting for databases or something like that, that usually puts me to sleep. Bobby and I picked up our conversation on pickup trucks. I liked GMC, he was of Ford man, and neither one of us could afford to buy a second car, let alone a pickup truck. Maybe something used in a few years.

The conversation flowed back and forth, the river road stretched on before us. I pushed the encounter with the girl to the back of my mind. Just one of those things, I told myself. Just one of those things.

The River road unwound before my eyes. The dark waters of the river flowed off to my right. The moonlight glinted silver on the surface. The warm summer air came through the windows, my left elbow rested on the door top. The smell of the river, the sound of frogs off in a swampy area that ran beside the river. A train whistle somewhere far away, all came to me on the night air.

Life seemed to be full, complete, there was nothing in the world I lacked, nothing missing. I had, had times in my life where I felt incomplete. A puzzle with more than a few of the pieces missing. No longer. As I listened to the silver tinkle of laughter as Sarah and Ann talked back and forth, joked and teased, I realized that a great deal of my happiness, fullness, completeness, came from Ann.

I have heard men say they were incomplete without their wife, girlfriend, significant other, and I had always dismissed it as nonsense. Even if I believed that they believed it, I didn’t believe it, but that was before I met Ann and realized how empty my life had been. How much I needed her. What she added to me.

I had grown up in an environment that was short on love. My old man hit the bottle hard when I was still a little boy. My life went from ideal to a nightmare. Most of my childhood I’d felt like an unwilling hostage to my situation. I wondered why things were the way they were. Why my father seemed to hate me unless he was drunk, and when he was drunk all he could do was cry, and his tears could change to a violent outburst in the blink of an eye. I had lived in fear. As a young man I had held hope and fear both in check. There was no joy in my world. Then Ann came along.  

Ann changed everything. She was everything inside of me, everything outside of me. As the warm summer air slipped around me, I realized how much she meant to me. How good she was for me. How alive I felt.

In an instant everything changed. The trees suddenly jumped in front of the car. In reality the tire had blown and the car was split from side to side as it rolled off the road and into the trees.

“Be careful near the park… Slow down… Maybe…” Rolled through my head. I heard her words clearly. The car rolled, the front swiveled, the driver side aiming for the massive tree trunk. I turned my head, but there was not enough time left in the world to turn my head away from the sight of the tree.

The car hit hard. Something flew past me fast, a wetness left behind…


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