Saturday, August 7, 2010

Oak Cliff Confidential: Chapter 11

  Young Sharon was taken aback. She was already dealing with growing suspicions that there was something amiss about the status of her exclusive relationship with Mr. Biggerstaff, and now Trainsly had just uttered a phrase that was uncomfortably close to being a confession.

  Sharon repeated his words, to be certain of her hearing. “You didn’t know what to do with your pole? What is that supposed to mean? What pole? Why did it need to be placed somewhere? Were you, or were you not, singing about Jesus last Saturday night?”

  Trainsley kicked at the ground, an act that was quickly becoming tiresome. “Well, no, I didn’t go to choir practice. And I didn’t go to Theresa’s house on purpose, it just turned out that way.”

  Sharon was now enraged, her hands clenching into delicate fists of fury. “You went to her HOUSE? Trainsley Biggerstaff, there is absolutely no reason for you to do that. I don’t think I even KNOW you anymore!” How could this be happening? And on the day of the Zucchini Festival! Of all times to have troubling relationship issues.

  Trainsley sighed. “Sharon, let’s go sit somewhere and talk about this. I know you’re really mad, but I can explain everything. Come on.” He reached for Sharon’s hand.

  She, of course, chose not to allow tender contact at this moment. She shoved her arms downward, holding them rigidly at her sides. “Where do you want to go,” she queried tersely. “Back in the soda shoppe to see if your new girlfriend wants to be your CABOOSE?”

  Trainsley sighed again, and one of the small recesses of his mind began to wonder just how much sighing lay ahead if he continued his courtship of Miss Horizons, but that mental voice was not loud enough to wreak havoc just yet. That would come later, and would involve much more than a misunderstanding over pole placement.

  Trainsley withdrew his rebuffed hand, then glanced around for an appropriate setting for debasement and groveling. Sighing thirdly, he realized that nothing in the immediate vicinity would do, as any moment Theresa and her duplicitous breasts might burst forth from the soda shoppe and the mayhem would ensue before the groveling was complete. “Let’s just walk down the street a bit, toward Hampton Road.”

  This blind suggestion nearly wrecked the negotiations before they could start, igniting Sharon’s fire again. “Hampton Road? Where Theresa lives? Do you miss her already? Or does she have a sister in need of conquest as well?”

  The little recess in Trainsley’s mind grew a touch bigger, absorbing more detail and updating the relationship spreadsheet. “I just want to get away from here so that people don’t hear us talking. You know that anything we say can be broadcast across town in seconds. Remember, we all knew Lanae Wagner was pregnant before she did.”

  This bit of logic seemed sensible to Sharon, so she nodded her head and began walking west along Jefferson. “But we are NOT holding hands.”

  “I would never dream of it,” said Trainsley, making sure his voice was in its lowest register, because that always seemed to work well with the female population. “My fragile rose is tender and I dare not break the stem.”

  Well, most people would have simply turned and retched upon the sidewalk at hearing such pap, but with Sharon this was just enough syrup to soften her stance. (One day, we might explore the private tale of Sharon discovering the joys of self-pleasure whilst perusing a slim volume of prose. But that story is for another time.) “Fine, then. But you need to walk two paces behind me.”

  “But how are you going to hear-”

  “Two paces! Or I’m going home. I’m not sure that I’m going to be able to forgive you, and if I can’t, I don’t want people seeing us walk together. I only have a few hours to find another date for the Zucchini Festival.”

  Sighing fourthly, Trainsley adjusted his pace until he was baby-stepping it behind Sharon, doing his best to keep his longer legs from gaining ground. And so they went, single file, trotting down Jefferson, having to yell slightly so both parties could receive and analyze the parries.

  Sharon: “Okay, your pole and the tramp. Go!”

  Trainsley:  “Well, we were just finishing up track and field practice, and Coach had wanted me to try the high jump, but we never got around to it. Anyway, he had to run, so he asked me to put away all the equipment. I’ve done this a million times, but it was the first time any of us had seen the pole, and I wasn’t sure where it was supposed to be stored.”

  Sharon: “Odd, slightly surprising, but continue.”

  Trainsley: “Anyway, I decided to lay the pole behind the gym, and just ask Coach about it later. So I’m walking along, holding my pole, when the door to the FFA building opened. And Theresa walked out.”

  Sharon stopped: “Theresa? What was she doing in there?”

  Trainsley: “Apparently she’s a member. I had no idea.”

  Sharon: “Theresa in FFA? Future Farmers of America? I’m not believing you for one second, Train. Who in their right mind would let that little slut touch livestock?”

  Trainsley sighed, fifthly. “It’s true, Sharon. She really is. Anyway, she seemed to be very upset about something, and then she noticed me standing there with my pole. When she saw me doing that, her face lit up.”

  Sharon: “I bet it did. Did she offer to hold if for you?” She turned and began marching away again.

  Trainsley: “Just listen, Sharon. She ran up to me and asked if I could do her a really big favor.”

  Sharon: “Hate her.” Then she picked up a rock and threw it into the street.

  Trainsley: “Said her Daddy’s pickup truck was broke down and she needed somebody to help take her pig home.”

  Sharon stopped walking again. “First, when did Theresa start talking with a country accent like that? And why in the world would she be taking a pig to her house? Not really believing you right now.”

  Trainsley raised his arms in befuddlement. “I don’t know. I didn’t ask. But she was upset. So I offered to run get MY daddy’s pickup. That’s ALL I was doing, was trying to help her. So we took her pig to her house. There really is a pig, Sharon. It’s in a pen in Theresa’s backyard. His name is Brian.”

  Sharon turned and stomped off again. “I don’t know. Why couldn’t she ask somebody ELSE to help her…” Sharon came to another stop. “What is this? I’ve never noticed this before.”

  Trainsley came up behind her, then quickly took two steps backwards when Sharon noticed his nearness and glared at him. “Oh. That’s the Merrifield Cemetery.”

  Sharon was amazed. “But it’s tiny. Hidden in the bushes. I’ve seen the bushes before, just didn’t know there were graves to go with it.”

  Trainsley, welcoming anything that could at least temporarily put aside the unpleasantries of begging for forgiveness, offered “Wanna go in?”

  Sharon considered this. Graveyards were by no means an appealing destination. But this one was almost… cute. “Okay.”

  They stepped forward, and Trainsley showed her the little gate. They stepped inside, and stood staring about the miniscule patch of departure. There were two marked graves for one Joseph Merrifield and his wife, Elizabeth. Surrounding the two were several unmarked graves that-”


  Hexom jumped, nearly spilling his fresh glass of vodka lemonade. He blinked and looked at Sharon, still sitting in April’s styling chair. “What? Why did you stop the story?”

  Sharon ripped off the hair smock thing and clamored out of the chair. “We have to go to Merrifield Cemetery. Right now!” She stomped to the waiting area and lunged for her purse.

  Hexom gulped a healthy amount of his beverage and then set it aside. “Why? Did I miss something?”

  Sharon looked back at him. “The unmarked graves, Hexom. We counted them as I debated whether or not to allow Trainsley to accompany me to the Zucchini Festival after all.”

  Hexom felt his pulse quicken a wee bit. “And?”

  “There were twenty of them. Twenty missing headstones. And I have to find twenty stones.”

  They were out the door four seconds later.

Click Here to Read the Next Chapter.

Click Here to read this story from the beginning.