Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fiction Friday - I

DNR a writer... of fiction?? Nah, I just play one in my imagination. But I did stay at a Hol... never mind.

These stories (here & here) are fiction. I assume everyone knew that... They were fun to write.

Sometimes when I can’t sleep I imagine a short story. Almost like a movie flashing through my brain. The tough part has been putting the imagined images to words and then digital pen to digital paper.

BUT...

I’ve done it. Not the best thing you’ve read and not real long. Just short stories, a little humor, maybe some dark humor. And a little sarcasm mixed in for flavor. Happy endings, sad endings... a little of everything, after all, they’re my stories. I don’t want to teach anything, there won’t be a moral, just some entertainment.

So with out further delay...


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Rocks In Your Pockets





A few years ago I made a New Years resolution to reach out to someone. Someone misunderstood or shunned by the community. Not to change them but just to learn about their background, and hear their story. So many people have stories to tell if only someone would listen.

I made it a point to run into Louis B. Covington. I had heard several of my neighbors talk about him and laugh. “He’s a strange one” they’d say. “Always has rocks in his pockets”, many a cashier remarked of him pulling out change and having to pick the coins out of the rocks.

I made a point to run into him at the local grocery store and kinda chatted a little with him. Louis and I talked a couple times after that and found that we both loved nature and hiking in the woods. Odd, I thought, he never a commented about rocks.

We made plans to meet at a nearby state park one sunny afternoon. We were planning to walk around and see what there was to see. I was going to take some pictures, he said he just liked walking around in the forest and would be glad to have the company.

I shot about 400 pictures that afternoon and was quite pleased at the collection I had assembled. As we were leaving that afternoon I noticed his pockets were bulging. Laughing, I said “are those rocks in your pockets?”
He said, “yes” and produced a couple.
Trying to hide my surprising desire to laugh out loud and act interested, I said, “wow, what kind did you find?” You would have thought I gave him a kitten or something. His eyes sparkled and he started...
“... this one is sandstone. See the grain on the surface? And this one is siltstone. See how there are a multitude of layers. Both of these are sedimentary rocks often found on the surface here in Indiana where the bedrock breaks the surface....” blah blah blah.

It was almost 2 hours before we got in our cars and left. I think my ears were bleeding.

We met for coffee several times after that and just chatted. Almost always the topic would become rocks...

To say Lou loved rocks was an understatement. Rocks were like Lou’s children. Shinny rocks, flat rocks, rocks, any kind of rock. He told me that as a kid he would put small rocks in a plastic bag with some sand and ‘accidently’ leave them in his pants pockets hoping the washer and dryer agitation would polish them.

He said it all got serious when one day some of the older kids decided to throw rocks at him. He showed me the one, once... unpolished... with the blood stain still on it. He wore it around his neck. And yes, he showed me the scar on his fore head too. Right above his left eye. Said it was Richard Andrews and that some day he’d get even.

A few days ago, heading out to the grocery store, I passed through Lou’s neighborhood and saw a police car down the road he lived on. I turned and went by to investigate. I found there were actually two police cars there and an ambulance. I stopped and asked what had happened.
“Do you know the guy that lives here?” the cop asked.
“Yes, Louis. Louis Covington.” I answered.
“You need to come with me.” He says. And proceeds to lead me inside.

Lou lived in a turn of the century two story. It was well maintained and huge for just one man to live in. The rumor mill in the neighborhood said his mother had left him the house and enough of a trust fund that he didn’t have to work and was able to keep the house painted and landscaped professionally.

As we approached Lou’s house, something looked weird. The house was out of square. It almost looked like it was squatting. Nothing you could really put your finger on, it just looked... weird.

We entered through the side door, and went into the kitchen. It was nice enough. Old appliances but neat and tidy. The floor was a little creaky but hey, it was a 100+ year old house. The floors are allowed to creak.

We turned a corner and entered what should have been the dinning room. Some where in it’s past it had been changed to a library. Beautiful walnut paneling and walnut shelving greeted us as we entered.

Once I was full in the room I could see why the house was straining, what had given it that ‘weird’ look. And what had happened.

Shelving had been built in the dinning and living rooms, making a very large library or rather, in this case, ‘rock display room’. There were thousands of rocks. Everywhere. Anything from raisin size to basketballs. There was even a couple in the corners that were nearly 4 feet in diameter. “How the hell did he get those in here?” I wondered. Most of the rocks and shelving had fallen through the floor and were piled in the root cellar. The EMTs and firemen had uncovered a high back Queen Anne type chair at the bottom of the mess with a crushed body in it

“Is that Louis Coventry”, the cop asked, shocking me back into reality.
“Covington. Louis Covington. Yeah, that’s him.” I murmured. “Except...”
“What?!?” demanded the EMT.
“He’s missing a keep sake necklace. A rock on a chain.” As soon as the words left my mouth I knew... “Good gawd you are a dumb ass”, I said to myself. The EMT looked at the fireman and in unison they shook their heads.
The cop said, “You’re kidding, right?”
I tried to laugh and smile. I squeaked out a “yeah”.

They brought him out, covered his body and took him away. Dead at the scene, crushed by the rocks that he so loved.

The city condemned the house and scheduled it for demolition. Before it could be torn down some kids had stopped by one evening to throw rock at the windows. The police were called and they had to call the paramedics. All four of the future felons swore they heard screaming right after the glass broke. And evil laughter. A mans voice, screaming in terror and wickedly laughing at the same time. One of the kids was bleeding from the forehead; he had a nice cut above his left eye. They were all taken to the hospital and given sedatives. The one bleeding needed stitches. To this day Ricky swears a rock was thrown back at them and that it hit him in the forehead.

The house was demolished the next day.

Last week I was walking the dog in that area and as I waked by, the dog took a special interest in something in the grass. I stopped to look at it. It couldn’t be. I picked up a rock... with blood stains on it... attached to a chain. The same as the one Lou had shown me earlier in the year except this one had a new blood stain on it. My heart stopped and I stared at that rock, my mind racing through all that had happened:
.... Ricky said he was hit with a stone... Ricky is Richard Andrews, Jr... he was hit above the left eye...

6 comments:

ARTEMIS said...

I like reading your stories. I hope there are more to come!

Preposterous Ponderings said...

You are an awesome writer! Keep up the good work!

Jan said...

dnr..my goodness! I had no idea that you could write like this!

You are just full of surprises! :)

CavMom said...

You need to be paid for your writing, seriously!

CavMom

DNR said...

Atemis – Thanks so much!! There will be more, promise.

PP – Thanks!!! I appreciate you saying that!!

Jan – haha!! You are too kind. Thank you!!!

Cavmom – hahahahha!!! Thanks!! Your encouragement means a lot to me!!


All of you, thanks so much! You are the greatest.

k said...

What Jan said.

Seriously.