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Writing Fiction - Chapter 25B
Here's where Chapter 25A left you.
“Dear?” her raspy voice inquired, “Are you done crying yet?”
I slowly poked up my head quite possibly resembling a swollen-eyed turtle, and Millie immediately thrust a cold can into my hand. “Drink up!” she said and following her instructions I took a giant swig. It was beer. I sputtered. I gagged. I almost spit it out.
I’ve never been much of a drinker. My husband had always teased me and told me I was a ‘cheap date’, and he was probably right. The only drinks that had every appealled to me were the ones that were all fruity and sweet and tasted exactly NOT like alcohol. Beer, most definitely, was not on that list.
“Good, isn’t it?” Millie asked happily, “I told you I knew what you needed. We have the rest of the six pack here, your casserole is heating up AND Myron is babysitting Princess so we can just have a big, old henfest until you feel better.” I was startled to realize that the chuckle she shared after that statement DID sound like a hen cackling.
AND NOW CHAPTER 25 CONTINUES...
I kind of gagged down the rest of my Bud Light, sip by slow sip. Millie was chugging away and had already finished a second can by the time I got to the bottom of my first.
I was fascinated watching an unlit cigarette dangle on the corner of Millie’s fluorescent pink lips as she drank. I wondered what particular law of physics made that even possible.
Half way through the second can she had shoved into my hand, I realized that the liquid was getting less disgusting.
I drank another can…or two…or possibly three. It was hard to keep an accurate count because by then everything had gotten kind of blurred.
At one point my new buddy left and came back with more beautiful cans of beer. I was surprised to realize how pretty the cans looked sparkling in the overhead lights of my kitchen.
We raised a few cans in toasts to each other and as we did, Millie and I bonded. We laughed. I cried. She cried. I laughed. That scalloped potato casserole was the best thing I’d ever eaten. In my entire life.
I made a little pyramid of my beer cans. Gosh, they were shiny.
After a particularly long giggling session, I realized that Millie was my best friend. Or actually my BFF! Did you know that means best friends forever? It’s true!
“Millie,” I told her sincerely, “I can hardly believe I used to hide from you inside my house. Seriously. I can’t understand why I used to make fun of you to my husband?”
“That’s OK, Pearl,” she confessed to me in return, “I used to tell Myron I thought you were a tight-ass! You aren’t a tight-ass at all! In fact,” she giggled, “You’re not really even a butt!”
See? See why Millie is my BFF? Have you ever heard anything so adorable? We giggled together for a while after those little confessions.
After we wiped our eyes from laughing until we cried, Millie leaned across the table with a serious, caring look on her face, “Pearl. So what’s up with your son anyway? He’s not on one of those crab fishing boats, is he?”
I sighed. “Oh Millie, let me tell you. The whole mess with my son is really a tough thing for me. After my husband… ummm…. ummm…”
“Kicked the bucket?” Millie supplied helpfully.
“Yeah, kicked the bucket, that boy just went crazy. You know how he got suspended in high-school for drinking?”
Millie nodded in empathy.
I continued, “Well… after the whole bucket kicking thing, that boy started acting really crazy, blaming me and all…”
I paused. Even with two or four or possibly six beers in me, this was still a hard story to tell.
Millie patted my hand.
“Where was I? Oh yeah, blaming me and all. Saying that it was my fault that his Dad had …ummmm…yeah, kicked the bucket, and then he made that horrible scene at the funeral home. Can you even believe that happened?”
Millie continued to pat my hand and nod sympathetically.
“Everyone at the funeral home said he was drunk on his butt with grief, but still, how could he have acted that way and said those things to me. I’m his mother. Why would anyone be so nasty to their mother? I swear, Millie, that boy has always hated me.”
Millie’s eyes teared up, “Oh Pearl, I don’t think he hates you, I think he was just lashing out, you know?”
My eyes teared up in BFF harmony. “It’s just, Millie, I don’t get it? His Dad and I never drank excessively around him, and…” I glanced at the growing pyramid of beer cans on the table in front of me in dismay, “Well, I mean, I never drank excessively before tonight with you and… What was I saying?”
“Pearl, you were just telling me how your son has always hated you and…”
“Oh yeah, yeah. Thanks, Millie. So, yeah, after he went crazy at the funeral home and tried to get into the casket with his Dad…”
Millie interrupted me. “What? What?!? He tried to get in the casket with his Dad? Wow. That is crazy. Maybe he is nutso after all.”
For some reason this annoyed me. I mean even if Millie was my BFF, what right did she have to criticize my son? The poor guy had been crazy with grief, right? It wasn’t really his fault that he came to the funeral home drunk on his butt with grief. It wasn’t really his fault that he said all those horrible things to me. It wasn’t really his fault that he tried to drive home and…
Millie interrupted my thoughts. “Pearl? Are you OK? You look kind of white. And we’re not even drinking pale ale! Get it? Pale ale? White?” Millie started cackling like a demented hen.
I looked at they pyramid of beer cans in dismay. Darn. Darn, darn, darn. I realized I had been sitting here for who knows how long spilling my guts to Millie! Darn! I’d told Millie my son was expelled from high school for drinking. I’d told her about his craziness at his Dad’s funeral and that he really wasn’t on a crab fishing boat in Alaska. Oh my darn! What else had I told her? How long had we been sitting here drinking Bud Light together?
I tried to think of a tactful way to shoo Millie out of my house so I could think this through but my stomach decided that tact was over-rated. The vomit I spewed all over the kitchen table persuaded Millie more quickly than any argument I could think up, that it was time to flee!
And so she did.
To be continued, Tuesday, March 8.
(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
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