Leaning Lady

by Doug Holloway

The old JALOPY sat on the side of the house for what seemed like an eternity. Ms Nettie'd look out the window everyday to make sure it was still there. The caramel colored '53 Cadillac roadster was always there. It'd been there since Big Ben bought it brand spanking new at BUD DAVIS Cadillac. Ben might've driven that car a month before he was drafted and sent to Korea where he was killed the first week he was in the country.

Ben had kick the rag top back and put on his Sam Cook tape. He thought he was something struttin his stuff like that, and loaded up so many girls it looked like a mobile HAREM. Oh he'd strut around with his conked hair, in his "stingy brim" Stetson hat, tailor made suits and Stacy Adams shoes, all caramel colored to match his caddy of course, like the cock o the walk!

Ms Nettie was so proud of "BIG BEN." He was the one who was gon take the family to the next level. They hitched their wagon to his star and it shone brilliantly for years. He had that tall, dark, handsome attitude of a man with a sure fire plan, who would never turn a WRENCH, like his daddy. Everybody loved him, men and women, but no one loved "BIG BEN" like Ms Nettie.

Ms Nettie washed and waxed that car once a week, every week, religiously, for years. Didn't matter if it was 92 degrees or 16, she made it her business to put her BROCADE scarf over her shocking grey hair, her full length black overcoat, the one Big Ben bought her before he left and her galoshes, or her "WIDE BRIM" straw hat, obviously too small calypso shirt and pedal pushers, depending on the weather, and go out and work on the car. It didn't matter to her that in the years of her doing her routine, a 35' oak tree had grown straight up through the center of "Big Ben's" caddy. Even when "LIL BEN," BIG BEN's brother tried to tell her, "mama come on in the house, that car is ruined and Big Ben ain't never coming back home, he's dead!" She acted like she didn't hear him and went right on with her routine.

Ms Nettie's husband, we called him "SLANG SHOT DADDY," would sit on the porch in the hot sun in the summer and sit on the porch in the cold northern wind in the winter, and shoot marbles at little children who crossed the railroad tracks in front of their house. He did this for years and it was sort of a tradition that if you're going to take the short cut, across the tracks, you'd better watch out for "SLANG SHOT DADDY!" He was a quadraplegic who just sat there and smiled. He always seemed like an old man. Generations of kids who crossed those tracks, never saw him with that slang shot in his hands, but saw the shattered near misses, or felt the sting of the steelies and cat eyes that seemed to come out of nowhere. He'd sit there with his ole hound dog on the left side of his chair and a porcelain PELICAN with a broken bill on his right, and none of them ever seemed to move. They were always out there it seems. The UNION between Ms Nettie and "SLANG SHOT DADDY" was perfect it seems, for them.

Ms NETTIE, SLANG SHOT DADDY, LIL BEN & BIG BEN are all gone now. MS NETTIE died in 1996 in the fire that burnt down the shot gun house, with the chickens in the yard, that sat in the curve, by the tracks where they lived. Some say she refused to leave the house when the fire department got there because she was still waiting for "BIG BEN" to come home from Korea and take the family to the next level. "SLANG SHOT DADDY" died from complications of diabetes, the same diabetes that cost him his legs. They say they found a sack of marbles of all kinds and 16 homemade wooden sling shots underneath him when they removed his body from the wheelchair. LIL BEN died in prison where he was serving a life sentence for the torture, rape and murder of a 6 year old girl in 1964. It seems he fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck. His cell was on the first floor. And poor "BIG BEN" was killed in action his first week in Korea. People who knew him there say he was actually caught rolling crooks in a crap game and a sore loser cut his throat. He was given a military funeral with all the pomp and circumstance accompanying a returning hero at the National Veteran's Cemetery. Strangely, no family members were present.

Oh yeah, the caramel colored '53 Cadillac roadster and that old oak tree were both destroyed in the fire that burnt down the house in 1998. The only thing that was salvaged was the hood ornament, a golden "LEANING LADY," as it was called.


This piece was created for the Serendipitous Nouns Game from the TimBookTu Discussion Board utilizing the following words: union, jalopy, harem, pelican, wrench, brocade.

Leaning Lady by Doug Holloway

© Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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