Saturday, 29 July 2017

With All In The Fixin's

Slasher fiction is seen in different ways. Chuck has asked us to write one. I had to think about this for a day; and came up with this.


“Celie, I’m not sure about this.” Monty whispered as he slapped the large pieces of meat onto the massive barbeque out the back of Juke Joint; drizzling his famous sauce over it with the ladle.
Squeezing his arm, I looked down at the tenderised meat as it began to cook, “It’s gonna be fine. Just don’t sell any of it to the locals – tell ‘em it’s for the dogs.”
He nodded, “Right.”
I turned, limping heavily – favouring my left leg, because of what that bastard did to me; because of what he did to my friends while we ... I looked to the ground as tears came easily. He didn’t think I was gonna be the lone survivor to get him – and that Monty was going to have to keep this horrible secret until his dyin’ day.
I kept walkin’ up to the Juke Joint, went inside where Jenson and Da Boys were playin’ up the afternoon on their guitars and the piano out on the deck. At the bar I picked up a rag and started cleanin’ the glasses sittin’ on the rack from the kitchen and puttin’ them on the bar, ready to be used by Kenny-ray; the Preacher’s son who worked here part-time but didn’t drink nuttin’. I made sure of that.
“Celie, you okay?” Kenny-ray had seen me limpin’ and his eyes widened as I caught my breath, “Here sit down while you rest a bit.”
“Oh, I’ll be fine in a while, Kenny-ray, thank you all the same.” I took the seat he offered and he poured me a nice cool glass of sarsaparilla.
“My favourite.” I took it off him and sipped it as he took up a tray and cleared my tables for me – as well as his. He was gonna make some lady happy someday; but it ain’t gonna be me, not after what I had done.
The doors to the Juke Joint opened and the police walked in. They took one look at me and they has that smug look on their faces like they knows somethin’ is goin’ on here in my head, like they know my guilt gonna shine through somehow.
Officer Blakely walked over to me, touching me on my shoulder gently, “Celie, how are you?”
My shoulder hurt like you wouldn’t believe from his touch, and I tried not to cringe from it, “I’m doin’ fine, thank you. “Would you like somethin’ to drink? Some sarsaparilla? We have coffee.”
“No, I think I’ll have some nice lemonade if you have any.” He smiled as he walked off toward the deck, and sat just inside the doors of the place. I stood slowly, picked up a new jug of lemonade, two glasses and slowly walked out there with them all on a tray.
Kenny-ray watched me carefully, from the next table, knowing I wasn’t all that stable on my feet. He was gonna be ready to jump in an’ help me if I stumbled.

But I didn’t stumble.

The glasses were nice and clean and I poured out the lemonade into them, set the jug onto the tray on the table and turned to walk away, when Officer Blakely touched my arm, “I smell some mouth-waterin’ steaks cookin’ out back. Is Monty doin’ up some of his famous barbeque and that sauce of his?”
“That he is.” I smiled, “Would you like some with all the fixin’s?”
“Oh... wouldn’t say no, Celie.” He smiled, “And why don’t you join me? We can talk about that limp of yours and why your shoulder is so sore.”
I nodded, “Sure.”
Walkin’ back towards Monty’s barbeque, I wondered how I was gonna get out of this; when I spotted the man hisself watchin’ from inside the back door, knowing what the police officer wanted and makin’ sure I was gonna be able to eat with him.
I followed Monty outside as he flipped over the large steaks, slicing them up into pieces and slapped one onto a large plate and gave one to me. Then, he gave me one which was obviously a piece of chicken so fresh I could tell it had only been killed an hour before.

Our eyes met.

Monty smiled, “A steak with all the fixin’s for Officer Blakely, and chicken for the lady, right?”
I took the two plates up to the Juke Joint with me and Kenny-ray helped me deliver them to the table with a fresh jug of lemonade. I sat down across from Officer Blakely
He sliced into the steak, taking his first large bite of the meat, “Oh, this is the most tender meat I’ve ever tasted, Celie! Wherever did you get it?”
“Oh, we found some wild cattle in the woods without any brands on them. We’ve got some more if you’d like it.” I cut into my chicken, paying close attention to my plate. I couldn’t look at Blakely as he devoured the meat I had served him; and found that Kenny-ray had disappeared to the bar the moment the officer had begun eatin’.

Poor kid will be in confession for months.

Before I knew it, Officer Blakely had finished his piece of steak and had asked for another two pieces, and he was greedily eatin’ them too. I had lost my appetite – something he didn’t notice – and so I drank my lemonade instead.

But, Officer Blakely didn’t stop at those three pieces of steak.

He said he hadn’t eaten breakfast and went through another four pieces of steak. By this time, Monty was bringin’ them to the table from out back with the sauce, and standin’ by, watchin’ on as the last piece was eaten.
“Oh, there’s no more?” he asked, “Such a pity, that was so lovely and tender.” He belched, “Besides, I was gonna ask if I could take some home to the missus.”
Monty shot me a glance, “Well, we have a couple of pieces, but we were holding onto them.”
“I’ll buy them off you for a grand price!”
“They’re all tough and not good for people.” I said
“Well, then, I’ll feed ‘em to my dogs.” He grinned wiping the sauce from his mouth as he stood, “So, then, how much do I owe you, Celie?”
I looked up at Monty, “How much is left?”
“I’ll go and get it.” He picked up his ladle and serving fork, went out the back and brought back the pieces of tough meat on newspaper, “It’s not worth much.”
“Oh, my dogs will love it.” He smiled, “Wrap it up and I’ll take it straight away.” Before we knew it, Officer Blakely was out the door with the rest of the meat and he had paid us handsomely for it.
We never did get to talk about how I was injured.

Two weeks passed by slowly.

Business was good.

Officer Blakely walked into the Juke Joint and sat down with me at the bar. He noticed I was still limping a little, “Are you still sore?”
“Not as much as I was when you were last here.” I smiled, “Would you like some lemonade?”
“No, Celie. I want to talk to you about how you were hurt.”
“Don’t you mean, how I survived?”
“Well, we have a man who hasn’t been home in over a month. His name is Benjamin Pearson. He passed through here-abouts, an’ he stayed in one of the cabins in the woods not far from this here juke joint; but his wife says she was expectin’ him home last week.”
“We haven’t seen him.” I shrugged, turned to Monty who was cleaning glasses to my right.
“How do you know what he looks like? I haven’t shown you a photo of him yet?” he whispered.
I blinked as I heard Monty’s cleaning stop, “Well, when we get strangers through the Juke Joint, they look different to my usual customers.”
“Some of them are very quiet. They are not here to make friends or enemies. They are here to have a quiet drink and so come on in here for a drink and a feed and then leave.” I smiled, “A bit like you did the other week... say how did your dogs like that leftover meat?”
“They loved it! Do you have anymore?”
I shook my head, “Like I said, that was the last of it.”
He stood sighing, “Pity. I’ll see you again. I’ll be back soon.”

A week later, I was counting the money in the tin and Officer Blakely was back with a piece of paper in his hands and more police officers with him.
“We have a warrant to search this place for Benjamin Pearson. This was the last place he was seen.” He let me read it and then sat down with me, “And don’t move.”
“I’m countin’ money... I’m not goin’ anywhere. Go. Look. Search...” I went back to countin’ me money and Monty came and sat next to me with a jug of lemonade and three glasses, “Here Celie.”
“Thank you Monty.” A wallet was slapped down on the table next to me with papers readin’ it was Benjamin Pearson’s wallet. The money was still inside it and a picture of his family too, “Well, looka there. A wallet.”
“That was found at your back door.” One cop said.
I looked up, “We have people passin’ by our back door all the time – as a shorter way to get into town –  and you think I know exactly who goes by there day and night?”
Blakely picked up the wallet, “I’m gonna find him, Celie.”
“No you’re not. He’s not here. He’s not anywhere. And the only thing you’re gonna find is shit.” I turned back to countin’ my money.