Sonny’s Fix

Sonny was jonesing as he walked down the path toward Old Man Richardson’s garden. When he got caught, there was usually trouble, but he didn’t intend to get caught. Despite his craving, Sonny had waited patiently in the shadows of his own porch, feigning disinterest in everything, but actually watching the old man’s house. The old man had just gotten in his beat-up truck and taken off down the road. He had been wearing a nice shirt and a tie, so Sonny knew he’d be gone a while. Geezers dressed up to go to the post office and the grocery store, both of which were on the far side of town; he had plenty of time.

The truck and its trailing cloud of smoke hadn’t even disappeared around the corner yet, but Sonny was already halfway down the path that ran along the side of the old man’s house and into his backyard. Sonny’s mind was focused on the herb he knew was growing in the back corner of the garden and his heart raced in anticipation. He used to get it from his old lady but then, refusing to explain, she had stopped getting it for him and he had needed to find another source. The little patch growing in the back of the old man’s garden had been his saving grace. He would have gone out of his mind if he hadn’t gone rooting around in all the neighbor’s yards when they weren’t home and stumbled across it. It wasn’t weak stuff like what his old lady had brought him either, this was fresh, primo shit. He never took more than just a little, knowing that if he took too much, it might be missed.

Sonny made it to the fence and jumped up onto the top railing in a single bound. It was a low, rustic, wooden fence. Sonny wasn’t very heavy, but even still, the fence wobbled under his weight, uncertain if it wanted to hold him up. With a quick glance around, Sonny dropped down into the garden. The mounting thrill of his impending high steadied him and he no longer felt the need to rush. He listened to the distant buzzing of insects and savored the smell of the sun warmed soil as he meandered slowly back towards his destination. He even stopped once to stare down a grasshopper that he caught sitting next to the thin, winding path, hoping the giant beast would just pass by without noticing him. Obviously, the staring contest was short-lived and Sonny declared himself the victor when the insect bound off into a stand of tall tomato plants.

Rounding the last bend, Sonny stopped in his tracks, his jaw falling open. Where previously had stood a tight cluster of the most beautiful plants he had ever seen, there were only a series of shallow holes in the ground. They had been there the day before, but where where they now?

He looked around, not aware that in his distress his breathing was getting heavy. They were nowhere to be seen. He crept up to the closest of the holes and knelt down close to the ground, his eyes beginning to water and his teeth grinding. He was definitely not mistaken about where the plants had been; there were a few little leavings from the bush littered around in the dirt beneath where the plants used to sit. Lowering his face down to one of these, he sniffed it, the familiar, pungent smell rolled into his nose, tingling his brain and letting loose a cascade of desire for more. He picked it up with his tongue and chewed the tiny leaving frantically as he moved to the next little scrap and the next, scooping them up as well. This wasn’t how Sonny wanted it, eating off the ground like some sort of rodent, but he took what he could get.

All the little leavings hadn’t been enough. Most were too old, and all were too small, but it had taken the edge off. He sat in the middle of the patch of barren soil in the sun, thinking.

How dare Old Man Richardson tear up his plants like that and leave him high and dry? He had probably done it because he knew Sonny needed it. Obviously the old man was going to have to pay, but how? Sonny could break into his house and shit on the table… or… better yet, he thought, he could hide under the man’s porch and trip him, making him tumble headlong down the stairs. The old bastard would break a hip at the very least. Sonny smiled with a self-satisfied purr at that thought. Finally, he picked himself up and strolled back down the path away from where the catnip used to grow, his paws carrying him silently across the ground.


Listen to me read it here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ckg6e80x9l07yxf/SonnysFix.mp3?dl=0

Grapevine

Hi all!

The results of last week’s vote to determine when my new weekly posting time determined that… well… nobody cares when I post, so long as I do (I chose to add that last part because it makes me feel good).

Having a schedule, though, helps me. So, after today, I’ll be trying out Mondays at 11am.

Now, enjoy this week’s story. Sorry, no art or audio today.


Grapevine

His blue eyes gleamed hard and tough. Set among thin folds in the sun-beaten skin, they were the only hint that the man was thinking, but they were enough. Marvin waited silently, listening to the wind push a few dry foxtails against the rough siding of the barn. He watched uncle Barrett survey his surroundings and contemplate the question. Uncle Barrett always took a few moments to think before he responded, but when he finally did, Marvin had learned, it was best to listen.

When grandfather had passed away, he left the ranch to his two sons: Uncle Barrett and Marvin’s father Norman. The falling out between the two brothers over the direction the ranch should take had been bad once upon a time, Marvin had heard, but he had only ever seen it as a general disdain and occasional acts of passive aggression – until this week, that is.

Uncle Barrett still ran a herd of cattle, and had recently discovered the small mine that Grandfather had used as a pet project before the two boys were born. Marvin’s father wanted to extend a few of the rows of grapevines – the grapevines taking up a sizable portion of what used to be grazing land, and had been the main point of contention between the two brothers. The problem was that the new section of vines would need to be extended right over the mine entrance, as well as block off one of the routes that Barrett liked to direct his cattle through when moving them between pastures.

Things had gotten heated until Gladys, Marvin’s mother (and the only person on Earth that both men would listen to) had intervened. She was the reason they were all there today. Both men were to sit at the table with her and talk it out while drinking tea.

When Marvin had asked about the tea, she had given him a smile and said “Just like my mamma used to say, make them drink tea instead of beer; tea will keep them civilized.”

Now he stood outside with Uncle Barrett. He had seen him standing out by the barn, staring off toward the grapevines, while his mother and father were in the kitchen waiting.

“Yeah. I’ll be right along, Pip,” he said, finally.

Marvin ran back to the house, only looking behind him when he reached the stoop, to see Uncle Barrett making his slow way after him.

When Uncle Barrett finally made it to the door, his huge frame becoming a dark silhouette in the rectangle of bright sunlight, Marvin and his father were sitting and Marvin’s mother had just set the tea kettle on the table and went back for the cups.

“Have a seat, Barrett,” she said.

Uncle Barrett walked slowly into the room, hung his hat on a hook by the door, and pulled out the closest chair at the table, not looking up to meet his brother’s gaze.

“Thanks for having me to tea, Gladys,” he said, settling down into the chair.

“So,” Marvin’s father started, “you’ve decided you’re too busy playing with that damned, dangerous mine to run the cattle the long way around-”

“Tea?” Gladys interjected, cutting him off, then turning to Uncle Barrett, “Tea?”

Uncle Barrett was sure making eye contact with Marvin’s father now, and it was a look that Marvin had never seen on his uncle’s face, which was always guarded to show no emotion. There was emotion there now, though, and it was something like anger.

Neither man said anything as she slowly placed a cup in front of each of them and filled it with tea.

When she turned to Marvin and started to fill his cup, Uncle Barrett sighed, then said, “Papa wanted us to raise cattle, not those god-damned California Raisins.” He pointed out the door to punctuate his point, to where they all knew the first row had been planted years ago.

Marvin saw his mother cut short the pouring of his tea and bound the two steps back to the counter, where she snatched up a plate of cookies.

“You know as well as anyone,” Marvin’s father said, starting to raise his voice, “they are wine grapes, and they are the only thing keeping this ranch afloat!”

“Cookie? Cookie?” Marvin’s mother interjected again, offering each man the plate. They both stopped and looked at her, but neither moved to take a cookie, so she set it down on the table. Marvin reached out and grabbed one.

“I have half a mind to just plant them anyway, what would you do with your precious cattle then?” Marvin had heard his father do many voices, but he had never heard a sneer before and it scared him.

His mother went back to the counter and grabbed the bottle of honey.

Uncle Barrett shot to his feet, staring down his brother, “Well, I’d herd it THROUGH that grape vine! I’m not about to lose my mine.”

“Honey? Honey?” Marvin’s mother asked.


Listen to me read it here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xq64epzrfc0mvel/Grapevine.mp3?dl=0