Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Strangers

My guineas are being killed.  I wrote this short work of fiction this morning to get my mind off that.  Hope you like the story.

The old woman with her buggy full of groceries hesitated for a moment near the checkout area of the Piggly Wiggly.The store was practically empty and the girl at the express checkout called to her.  "Ma'am, I'll check you out here."

With that the old lady swerved her buggy to the side of the counter and began unloading the groceries.  She had the look of old women you don't often see anymore.  Gray wiry hair that weeks ago had a permanent but was now over grown and slightly unkempt as if it had been carelessly brushed a few times before she left home.  There was no makeup on her face and it was gently wrinkled around her eyes and mouth.  She was slightly overweight.  It showed in her sagging throat, her fatty upper arms and belly.  And she was wearing a dress.

She wasn't aware of the younger man standing next to her buggy until she laid two bunches of bananas on the counter.  He said, "I'm going home with you."
She looked around at him not knowing what to say.  He was a nice looking middle age man, nicely dressed."  The man smiled and quickly added, "it looks like you are going to make banana pudding."
She smiled, "why yes I am.  My husband loves it."
"I do too," the man said.
She continued talking as she and the man unloaded the buggy.  "The doctor says I have to be careful about how many bananas Ed eats, he can get too much potassium."
"If that doesn't make him too bad sick, the pudding is worth it," the man joked.
The old woman laughed a little.
The man loaded the buggy with the checked out groceries while the old woman slowly and carefully wrote a check for payment.  When she was done the man said, "where's your car?"

The old woman grew a little apprehensive.  It was one thing for strangers to be friendly but this was getting out of hand.  The man had a firm grip on her buggy though and she couldn't think of a way to get rid of him politely.
She pointed to the right front doors of store, "this way."
She walked in front of the buggy and the man followed her her quietly.  The noise of the buggy wheels on the pavement seemed uncommonly loud as the silence between them became increasingly uncomfortable.

When they reached the car, she said, "I've never seen you in the store, do you know me somehow?"
The man said, "I'm not from around here and I'm looking for a lady about your age.  Have you ever heard of a woman named Janie Kuykendall?"

A look of wonder came over her face.  Her eyes brightened and widened, mouth parted as she almost whispered, "that was my maiden name."
Tears filled the man's eyes as he extended his arms.  He said, "Mom."


rhymeswithplague said...

Wow. Just wow, David. That's a good story.

You have to tell us more about your guineas. What happened?

David Oliver said...

It began yesterday with the neighbor's dogs. I suspect last night's carnage was my cat's fault. I'll try to write about it when I see what the resolution is. Last count there were five left of the twelve I had yesterday morning before the dogs showed up.

Thank you very much for your comment on my story. It's a bright spot in what has otherwise been an unhappy morning.

The Crow said...


I'm at work, so have just a few seconds. Will read your story later, but had to tell you I'm so very sorry about your guineas. Are you sure your cat did any of the damage? Doesn't sound like cat behavior - almost a rampage kind of thing. Feral dog or foxes or weasels sound more likely.

Regardless, I'm sorry to read your unsettling news.


David Oliver said...

Martha, I am not sure about my cat. He had never shown any inclination to harm them. It was more just curiosity from a distance. This morning however, I saw him chasing one of them. I'm thinking what he may have done is scared them while they were roosting last night and caused them to fly out of the tree. Of course once they were on the ground any number of things could have happened to them.

The reason I think it might have been Leo, my Younger son spent the night and we sat up incredibly late talking. In fact it was 3:30 AM when we went to sleep. The guineas were just outside and we heard nothing and only my storm door was closed.

ADRIAN said...

This is a brilliant short story. An impossible medium for me to even attempt.
Sorry about the fowl. Hopefully the ones you have left will be wiser to the ways of the world and next year breed wiser chicks.

Gorilla Bananas said...

A heart-warming story. Very sorry to hear that your birds are being killed. I hope you can keep the survivors safe.

David Oliver said...

Wow Adrian that is mighty high praise. I don't think it is that good but I surely appreciate you saying it. It seems there is no rhyme or reason to when I can write. I had slept maybe two hours when Leo woke me up and I couldn't go back to sleep. I began thinking about the story and wrote it in about 30 minutes. My kid got up and went straight to the shower. When he got out I told him I had written a story and if he had time would he read it. He said, "sure" and I went on downstairs. A few minutes later I heard him say, "oh yeah Dad it's good." And I thought, "I can work on something for three days and it is okay at best, 30 minutes and it's good." Writing is nuts.

You know Adrian I was just thinking along those lines about the guineas - survival of the fittest or the fastest. If I have any to survive the next few days they surely will have learned how to survive here and teach their chicks.

David Oliver said...

Many thanks Gorilla about the story.

I'm just about powerless to provide any protection for the guineas. If I hear dogs barking it is too late by the time I get out there. And I still don't know what happened last night. I don't really have a good place to "put them up."

If I lose these I won't make the same mistake twice. Next time I'll listen to the preacher and not let them free until they are almost grown.

Helsie said...

Guineas first. Sounds like you need to build them a pen to keep them safe at night. whatever it was knows they are fair game now and will come back tonight so get out your hammer and nails and get moving!
Story next. Loved it ! Heart warming.

David Oliver said...

You are right about the guineas. I had to go buy groceries. All the time I was thinking I should fix something and put them up. I didn't know what exactly and I was exhausted from lack of sleep. The guineas were nowhere to be seen. I was going to take a little nap. I woke up about 6:00 PM. I'll see what I can do tomorrow.

Thank you very much for your comment about the story. It means a lot to me.

A Beer for the Shower said...

What a cool story. That did not go where I was expecting it to. And I say that in a good way.

Poor guineas. I hope you get things all sorted out so you don't have to lose any more.

David Oliver said...

Many thanks guys. I wish I could write funny stories but I can't. It's okay. I can read yours.

Adrian is a smart guy. I think he accurately predicted what will happen to the guineas.

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