Morning First Draft, No. 3

Here is First Draft No. 1 and First Draft No. 2

As usually happens in small towns, life carried on the way it almost always has for John and Karen.  John went to work at the farm and Karen cleaned houses and offices.  Neither complained much.  They just tried to find some happiness together, which they did.  Since they have known each other, they were always the only ones who understood each other.  They were comfortable with each other in their silences and in their arguments.  They were each other’s best friend since they were 13.

Another fall, winter, and summer had passed and harvest was winding down again.  John and Carl were at Bitsy’s on another Tuesday night relaxing and looking back at a long couple of months of grueling work.

“I got something to tell you.”

Carl sipped from his beer and arched his eyebrows at John.  “OK.  What?”

“Karen’s pregnant.”

“Well damn.”

“Doctor told her last week.  She had been throwing up for a few days.”  He let himself have a little smile.

“This round is on me then.  Hey Bitsy, another one for the daddy to be, right here.”  The rest of the bar heard the news and a slight murmur of congratulations bubbled up.

Sam sauntered over from the corner where he and Russell were holding court with some of the others.  “Well, congratulations is in order I guess.”  Sam slid into the seat next to John.  Carl glanced back at Russell who was still sitting at their corner table watching the room like a waiting cat.  “Me and Russell was wondering, who is this baby going to look more like, me or him.”

Carl put a hand on John’s arm to keep him from smashing Sam with his beer.  “Sam, I know you are stupid as a squirrel, but even you wouldn’t come up to a man and something like that without being drunk and without having a friend watching your back with a gun.  Problem for you is this, me and John was Marines in Vietnam.  By the time that man with a gun helps you out, your neck will snapped and you won’t give a shit what happens after that.”

Bitsy stepped over to the three men at the bar and placed the business end of her shotgun on the bar facing Sam.  The shotgun was almost as long as she was tall.  “This here is a place of business.  Peoples come here after work to relax and have a good time.  Now, why don’t you take that cracker and go on someplace else for a while.  Carl here is right.  That white boy’s gun ain’t going to do you no good if you already dead when he pull it.”

Sam leaned back from the bar and threw some money down at the barrels of the shotgun.  “We going.  No need to get all violent.”  He backed away from the bar and towards the door.  Russell followed keeping his right hand to his back as he face the rest of the small room.  “John Barnes, you won’t always have all these people to watch you and your’n.  We’ll be seeing you.”  The two slipped out of the bar and into the night.

“Lucy and Ethel ain’t nothing but a lot of talk.  Don’t worry about them.”

“Yeah, but they also just stupid enough to do something.  I don’t give a shit about Sam.  The problem is that white boy.  He knows we fuck with him all hell going to break loose down here.  You know.  You seen them in country.  The dudes who stopped giving a fuck.  They more dangerous them damn copperheads.”

“You want to get home the Karen?”

“She should be starting home ‘bout now.  Let’s go pick her up.”

Carl started to pay for their beers, but Bitsy stopped him.  “He ‘bout to have a baby.  This is a celebration tonight.  These here beers on me.  Just watch yourself.  Them two might still be out there waiting on you.  I’ll go out and check.”  She was little, but she made her money to open this road house helping run moonshine out of the swamps.  Her limp was cloaked in mystery.  Some say she got bit by a copperhead on the knee.  Some say she got shot by revenuers.  Either way, no body fucked with her or that shotgun.  She came back in from the dirt parking lot.  “They look to be gone.  Russell’s pick out ain’t out there and I didn’t see it hiding anywhere.  Keep an eye out though.”

“Thanks Bitsy.”  The two large black men slipped out the door and used the training they got in the jungles of Asia to get to Carl’s truck.

Later that night after Carl had gone home and Karen and John were alone.  John sat up in the front room with his own shotgun facing the door.

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One Response to “Morning First Draft, No. 3”

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