I wrote this story at work last week on a notepad while the machine ran. It's mean but I like it until I hate it in about a week. The next story will be happier.
A parable of confused portions.
A little ways back, the same year he got his first new truck, a ¾ ton Dodge, Jeremiah Stallings ran into an old friend, Tysun Slapweld. The two grew up in the same block of shanties on the edge of Clarksdale, running through the Crossroads with nothing but ignorance and youthful enthusiasm.
They went they went to grade school, had crushes on the same girls, learned to fix cars, fish, and fight. By whatever fortunes, Jeremiah ventured into High School and graduated while Tysun stayed behind to fish and drink. He got strung up with a plump and decent woman from Coldwater whom he had three girls with.
Jeremiah got a scholarship to Hattiesburgh and graduated with a degree in business. He took a job in advertising in Memphis but discovered that he couldn't stand a boss so he left after a couple of years and started a local gardening company.
He installed and maintained vegetable gardens for the suits and scrubs that were t0o busy to have one. Mrs. Stallings had always had a garden and figured that,“If you ain't using the rich earth, you are just letting the good Lord down.”
Her son had been working in the inferno of August tirelessly. He had the rough skin of summer and dirt permanetly streaked with sweat swirling around his face and hands, organic tattooes of the working man. After harvesting the remainder of one client's Caspian Pink tomatoes, Jeremiah decided to buy himself a beer.
“Hey man.” Jeremiah was startled by runny molasses accent as he opened the door to the bar. He could feel a push of cold air that made the dim pub all the more inviting.
“Don't waste your money in there. I got a cooler in the truck.” The urban farmer turned to see his childhood buddy, Tysun, leaning out of a battered red truck, sucking down a sweat-cold beer.
“I'll be. How you doing, you old redneck?”
“I ain't old, yet... and you're just as red as me, don't matter how dark you are. Hop in. I've got some shit to do around town. Came up to drop a load of copper off. Got a wad of cash and an old friend so it must be time to get drunk.”
“Yeah buddy.” Jeremiah climbed into the pickup and with a roar, they headed west.
“How's your momma?”
“Pretty good. Her feet are getting real bad but she still gets around.” Tysun handed Jeremiah a beer. “I see your mother in her garden. You come by it honest... Scrapyard gave me two-bucks a pound. Now I got to get to the River for a bit. Found a fellow over in Helena who pays some good money for driftwood. I figured since it got so high and just came back down I'll find a bunch of stuff for him.
“What's he do with it?”
“He makes all kinds of crazy furniture and shit. Jeannie Biminy said that she saw some magazine saying he was the man to have your stuff made if you needed to be hip. He makes some cheese cause I could get 700 bucks for the good load we find today.
Tysun reached below the seat and pulled out a bottle of blue-top vodka. Jeremiah let the breeze blow away his past and heard the sights of his city and saw his friend droll on about everything going on in Clarksdale.
“Where are we going?” Jeremiah asked as they turned north after hitting the river.
“We got a better score in the bluffs above the city, folks pick over shit down here like flies on ribs.”
The flat land picked up some hills and the buildings turned to forests. A few houses lined the road with signs for work and Jesus. They made a left and the new road wound through dripping woods that guarded the truck from the pulsing sun, a blurry circle past thick skies.
They turned again onto a rutted gravel drive. Tysun stopped the truck in front of a plywood cabin, shut it off, chugged on the bottle and handed it to Jeremiah, “Let's go say hey to my pops.”
“You go ahead, I'll stay here.”
“Hell, he ain't leaving his chair. Just stop in and say howdy and we'll get our shit done and finish the rest of our beer."
Jeremiah walked in behind Tysun as he opened the screen door. The room of smelled cigarettes and pus. A box fan tried to bring something of calm to the place as a TV flashed stupidity from a milk crate.
“Hello, Mr. Slapweld,” Jeremiah feigned pleasure and delight.
“I see you still got your nigger friends, boy.”
Jeremiah tried to watch the other side of the fan blades.
Tysun walked up to his decaying older resemblance on a blue-plaid sofa.
“You remember the way you done me and momma?”
Jermiah turned to see the old man rocked back with a broken jaw and Tyrus cocked back for another swing. He sucked on the bottle to silence his brain.
“Let's go get that wood.” Tysun walked by and let the door spring shut with a cheap clap.