Book Four - Part 8 - Rhyming Evil - Chapter Two
The Weekend in Montie
Hot. It’s supposed to be hot. It’s July. As people were either at Standing Room Lake swimming, boating, or sunning, other people were on vacation. Several older folks who did none of the mentioned, stayed indoors and enjoyed their air-conditioner.
Other people were active doing something. Playing volleyball, tennis, jogging, having breakfast or a lunch depending on the time, shopping for that one item on sale or a present for an upcoming birthday or wedding anniversary. Yeppers, people were out just doing stuff.
Devon had the weekend off and took his wife, Vanessa, and his daughter, Jenny, to Vermont to see Vanessa’s mother.
J.W. went to the city park, parked his rig, leaving his badge and gun in the glove compartment and locked everything and took a walk until he found a park bench, and just be a people-watcher. Later, he laid out on the grass, and started reading a book titled, “The Doll Maker.” It was supposed to be a frightening story. His kind of read.
About an hour into his day, J.W. spotted a vendor selling hot pretzels, popcorn, and hot corn nuts, and cold drinks. It was the pretzels that informed his stomach he was hungry.
Closing the book, he walked over and with only one person in front of him, waited his turn to order.
Too late to react, the man in front of him turned around too sharply, and being surprised, lost control of both his drink and his pretzel covered with mustard. Both tipped forward where the pretzel pressed against J.W.’s blue polo pullover; the cold drink spilling over the lower part of his shirt and jeans.
“Oh, my God! I am terribly sorry! I feel like such an idiot!”
J.W. just stood there in shocked silence.
The man grabbed several napkins and began to pat down J.W.’s stomach and jeans. J.W. backed away.
“It’s fine. I’ll go home and put these in the wash.”
“Nonsense. This is my fault. Look, I live a block from here. We look to be about the same height and weight; you can change at my place and wash your clothes there. That way, we can hopefully, get the mustard stain out faster.”
J.W. knew he should have declined the offer, but the guy was right about the stain. Wait too long, and the shirt would be ruined, if it weren’t already.
J.W. walked with the man to the Blake Manor Apartments. Just as they made their way to the front steps, “How rude of me, again. My name is Michael Collins.”
“I’m John Roberts, but everyone calls me, J.W.”
Once inside Michael’s apartment, he took to his bedroom as J.W. followed. and went through his clothes, and threw a pair of blue jeans, and a white button-down polo shirt on the bed.
“Change your clothes so we can get the messy ones in the washer. Do you drink coffee?”
“Yeah. I do.”
“Good.” Michael closed the bedroom door giving J.W. a bit of privacy.
As he was changing, he noticed a few photographs on Michael’s dresser. Michael and an older couple together, probably his parents. Another of the three of them, but with another man, maybe his brother. They were all smiling. There was another one of Michael and a woman, too young to be his wife. Maybe a sister, or girlfriend.
Michael’s take-charge attitude impressed him. He never could stand a man who acted like a wimp. Whether he was in a relationship or not.
Suddenly, J.W. found himself drawn to Michael, but he paused that thought. Michael was probably spoken for. After all, he is a very good-looking man. The door flew open.
“Great, you’ve finished changing. Let me get your clothes in the washer. Coffee’s ready in the kitchen. Cream and sugar is on the counter. Help yourself. I’ll be with you shortly.”
After two more pots of coffee and endless conversation, J.W. found out the woman in the photo was his sister, who had died two years ago from breast cancer, and the man was a former boyfriend, who moved and taken on a new job in California. It was more important for him to further his career than it was his relationship, was how Michael put it. J.W. was right about the other picture. They were his parents.
J.W. went on to explain why he came to Montie. Between the loss of his parents (years ago), who had suffered heart attacks within seven months of each other, two other best friends, one to drugs, the other, a motorcycle accident, and then the loss of his best friend and lover. He felt he needed a change, a new climate, a new everything.
J.W. and Michael were fast becoming friends, and after J.W.’s closed were washed and dried, he thanked Michael for his kindness.
“At least allow me to repay you for today. Have dinner with me tonight.”
J.W. accepted. As he was headed back to his rig, he thought, “Amazing what mustard can do (the shirt was ruined, but the yellow part was gone) for a person’s day.”
Out at Standing Room Lake, another couple had finally come to terms with each other. A happy, and excited Johnathan Prescott heard the words, I love you, and yes, I will marry you, from Dianne Andrews.
Dianne felt with all her heart this was the right things to do, to start a new chapter in her life with a good man.
Although not Montie; in New York City, at Seventy-Second and Polk, at the Squire-Inn Restaurant, Patrick was having dinner with Cliff Potter, who, of all people to run into in the Big Apple, also lived and worked in Montie. Cliff managed Baker’s Supermarket.
They met at one of the exclusive gay spas across town, and both instantly recognized one another. It would have been impossible not to, since it was Cliff’s Boxer that Patrick and Terry managed to save, who happened to be one of many animals shot by Fred Creasy and Bertram Ballmate. Patrick would have never guessed that Cliff was gay. He had an oval-shaped face, tear-dropped shaped eyes. His hairline was receding, and he had a small scar above his right eye, just to the right side. But when he smiled, Patrick couldn’t help but warm to what he was finding out to be a considerate and passionate man. Funny, too. All those attributes that were in Daniel, now sat across a table from him. But could this go further? Time would tell.
Back in Montie, as the weekend would draw to a close, Stevie and Ellie actually said, “I love you,” out loud to each other for the first time. They began talking just not about dating, but college, their career’s, possible marriage, and family.
Baker and Ed did their best to answer his questions on marriage, of being a father, and all the other things that create the ups and downs of life.
“Sometimes it’s all trial and error, and when it doesn’t compute, delete it, and try something else until it does work. Just don’t run off half-cocked into believing you can do everything on your own, because the truth is, you can’t. Every marriage takes two bodies, two minds, two hearts to make it work. It takes honesty, truth, and respect. When any of those break down, then it’s time to reinvent your own life’s wheel.
“Your mother did that, and I’m damned glad of it.
“Just know everything that happens, everything we do, is done on purpose and for a reason. God secretly, I suspect, has our roadmap for life pre-planned, therefore, I don’t believe anything that happens, happens by accident. It’s just that sometimes, we don’t know the reason, or the outcome, until we act and react.”
“Bub, all Ed’s saying is just do the best you can. It’s all anyone can ask of you; especially of yourself. So far, you have done better than good at being a good you.”
Ellie was at home pretty much hearing the same thing. “We learn from our mistakes and grow because of them.”
And somewhere in a charming and quaint city of Montie, a poet of sorts, was embarking on a journey, which at the moment wasn’t sure how it would end, but the poet would see this adventure through to its finish, no matter how it may end.