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Oddball Ch. 06

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Chapter 1

“Young Insurance,” Michelle’s bored voice answered.

“This is Leah Farmer,” Leah answered when Michelle transferred the call.

“Give her some room,” Cecil ordered as he broke open the vial of smelling salts and waved it under Leah’s nose.

“George’s Garage, This is John,” John breathlessly answered the ringing telephone.

There was no way around it; he was going to have to hire some help. It was becoming overwhelming. Working on cars, answering the telephone, greeting customers, keeping the books. He had no idea how George had done it. And he managed a sometimes quite hectic social life as well.

“Oh, my God no,” John moaned into the telephone.


The ambulance screamed down I-10, heading toward University Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Inside, the paramedic worked on stabilizing the girl’s vital signs.

“Pupils constricted, non-responsive,” he said into the data recorder strapped to his upper arm. “Breathing shallow but steady, blood pressure…”


The sound of the surf came to Theresa and she actually smiled. In the early dawn, the water was a dark green capped with white foam. A bird called out and she turned to see if she could see the bird in the early morning light.

The overwhelming beauty of the beach lifted her spirits and she raised herself off of the sand and looked all around at the pristine beauty. She laughed aloud and walked into the gentle surf.

“I wish Lilly was here,” she murmured as she delighted in the wonderful warmth of the ocean waters.


George’s truck raced toward UMC. John drove as carefully as he could, but it was hard not to jam his foot to the floorboard of the powerful vehicle. His daughter, his precious daughter was waiting for them.

Leah sobbed and prayed as they barreled down I-10. By the time they pulled into the parking lot of the brown brick building, her sobbing was a keening wail.


She felt light, almost floating. She felt happy, an overwhelming happiness enveloped her. The light was dazzling, blinding, but she felt no pain from the blinding light as she looked into it.

—-“Flat line, administering adrenaline,” Dr. Moorehouse said.


Thomas and Britney sat in the noisy front lobby of the hospital and waited. The noise and hubbub around them did not enter their consciousness.

“Be right back; got to pee,” Britney whispered and walked to the ladies’ restroom.

Thomas woodenly got to his feet and asked the flustered girl behind the thick pane of glass if there had been any news about Mary Farmer.

“What room she in?” the girl asked.

“She’s not in any room; they brought her in an hour ago. Got hit by a car?” Thomas asked, trying hard not to get upset.

“Oh, I don’t know,” the girl said, scanning the ER database.

“Fine, fine,” Thomas sighed.

“But I’ll let you know anything changes,” the girl promised.

“Uh huh,” Thomas said. And walked back to his seat.

“Oh, anything?” Britney asked hopefully.

“No, not yet,” Thomas mumbled and sat down heavily.

“Thomas, do you believe in God?” Britney asked.

“Yeah, of course I do,” Thomas, said.

“Let’s pray,” Britney begged and grabbed his hand in a fierce grip.


Grace Breaux smirked as the two police officers showed up in the doorway of her second period class. They scanned the now murmuring students and locked eyes with her.

“Bye ‘Big Bird,'” she heard Hillary Clark snicker as she coolly got to her feet and walked toward the police officers.

She smiled in satisfaction, even though she was sure that her wrist was sprained. Hillary wasn’t snickering now as she held a hand to her swelling jaw.

“Yeah, whatever,” Grace said as one of the police officers read her her rights and the other handcuffed her.

Chapter 2

“Baby, I hope you can hear me,” Leah tearfully whispered to the small girl that lay in the bed.

“We’re here, baby,” John said and clutched the girl’s hand tightly.

“And Thomas and Britney are waiting outside; they’ve been praying and praying for you,” Leah told her.

“Baby, I hope you can hear me,” Thomas said as he looked at her bandaged head. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I didn’t see Grace there, I’m so sorry I wasn’t fast enough to save you.”

Oddly enough, Mary looked serene, almost peaceful as she lay in the bed.

“I love you so much, I really don’t think I can live without you,” Britney whispered into Mary’s ear. “I know I don’t want to.”


The motel clerk took her money and didn’t ask any questions. Theresa took the offered room key and listened to the mumbled instructions on how to find the room she’d rented.

It was reasonably clean and nice and dark and cool. More importantly, there were three clean towels and a couple of small bars of soap.

She stripped out of her tee shirt and bra and shorts and got into the lukewarm spray. It only took a couple of seconds and the lukewarm spray was suddenly scalding hot.

She cursed bitterly; her momentary happiness Maltepe Escort violently wrested from her by the hot water that threatened to burn her skin. The motel clerk, his pimpled face, loomed in front of her eyes. Theresa blamed him for her discomfort as she hurriedly tried to readjust the taps.


She felt so light, almost floating. It was dark all around her, but she was unafraid; there was nothing to fear.

Quiet. It was so quiet as she ebbed and flowed.

“Baby, I love you,” Leah whispered to her daughter. “I know I don’t tell you that enough. I know I don’t tell you how proud of you I am, but I am. I am very proud of you.”

She gripped her daughter’s hand tightly.

Mary felt something in the darkness, warmth a liquid feeling that enveloped her and she smiled happily.


“Eat, eat,” Allison encouraged her daughter.

“Not hungry,” Britney mumbled.

“Baby, I know you’re upset, but you have to eat,” Allison encouraged.

“Mom, you don’t understand!” Britney screamed and slammed the fork down.

“I bet I understand a lot better than you think I do,” Allison said and hugged her daughter tightly, despite Britney’s struggling to get free.

“No, no you don’t,” Britney sobbed.

“You two are lovers, aren’t you?” Allison whispered in Britney’s ear and smiled as she felt her daughter stiffen for a moment, then felt Britney nod her head yes.

“Baby, it’s okay,” Allison said. “It’s perfectly normal, perfectly natural. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“I love her so much, Mom,” Britney sobbed, comforted by her mother’s embraced.

“Well I would hope so,” Allison said. “She’s a beautiful girl and it’s obvious that she loves you too.”

“What am I going to do?” Britney sobbed.

“Pray, Baby, that’s about all you can do is pray,” Allison said.


“Good, Mom,” Thomas mumbled as he shoveled the food into his mouth.

He didn’t really taste it, but knew that she would want to hear that he appreciated it.

She smiled softly and grabbed his large hand affectionately. He looked up at her. For a moment they sat and stared at each other. Then his tears started to fall.

“Why, Mom?” he asked. “Why? Why her?”

“Baby, I don’t know,” she admitted.

Melissa sat and watched. Jim had called her at work, told her about Mary’s accident and she’d come over right after work.

These people were the most wonderful people she’d ever seen. They hugged, they talked, they cried. Her own family was so cold, so distant. There were only two emotions in her house, silent resentment or heated anger. Every now and then bitterness and jealousy made an appearance. No one was ever good enough, nothing was ever good enough.

But these people, they accepted each other, they loved each other. Jim had told her that it hadn’t always been this way; when his dad lived here, they didn’t dare breathe.

“But it was always there,” she said and touched his chest. “Jimmy, you don’t just go from being afraid to be real to being real if it ain’t there.”

She watched her boyfriend be a real man and hug his younger brother as the boy sobbed. Watching him, she knew that she loved him with all of her heart. He was a construction worker; her father would never approve of him. He didn’t have a college degree; her mother would look down her nose at him. But he wasn’t afraid to cry, wasn’t afraid to hug, wasn’t ashamed to be happy, afraid, sad.


James Kowalski muttered obscenities under his breath as he dumped the clothing into the washing machine. He did curse aloud when he realized he didn’t have enough quarters for the machine.

“Ola,” the bored girl said.

“Yeah, I need some quarters, he said and slid the five dollar bill through the tray to her.

She slid him four dollars and seventy-five cents in quarters and pointed to the small piece of paper that was taped to the glass pane. He cursed again as he read that buying change cost twenty-five cents for five dollars and fifty cents for ten dollars.

Two girls giggled and chattered in Spanish, ignoring the middle-aged man.

James looked over at the plump girls and suddenly felt very old, very tired.

He’d been examining his life the past few days. Not hard, not close, the constant bottle of bourbon made hard, close examination a little too taxing.

The motel room had seemed like a bargain at first; thirty dollars a day. But he was still paying a seven hundred and forty three dollar a month mortgage. And the electric bill had just come in; Theresa had called him at the station to tell him about it.

“Then pay the fucking thing,” he had growled into the phone.

“Oh, but James, it’s in your name,” she gaily reminded him. “Who’s the one always saying we need to watch our credit rating?”

The porno movies had been fun; he looked over at the plump girls as they chattered and laughed, last night’s movie had starred a hot looking Latin girl that took a baseball bat in her pussy and ass. But he was quickly getting tired of his hand.

He missed Theresa. Anadolu Yakası Escort He missed a hot meal and a hot piece of ass. He missed having ice-cold beer; there was no refrigerator in the room.

He missed watching football on Saturdays and Sundays with his sons. He missed dinners at the table.

“Hey, mister, you okay?” one of the girls asked him. “Why you crying?”


Grace smiled as her mother ranted and raved. At least she got that monitor off her ankle.

“What were you thinking?” her mother screamed. “You could have killed that poor girl!”

Grace lost her smile. The fucking bitch hadn’t died?

She had hit her pretty good; caught her in mid-stride. She could still see the little body flying through the air, Mary’s little arms flailing like a bird. She actually giggled at the memory of it.

“God damn it, Grace, it’s not funny!” her mother screamed.

Chapter 3

The maid knocked once softly, then again a little louder. She waited then knocked quite loudly.

Theresa tried to will herself to get up, tried to will herself to answer the door.

“Oh!” the maid yelped as she pushed her cart into the room and saw the nude Theresa lying on the bed.

The syringe was still in her arm; the rivulet of blood had dried on her arm. She looked at the maid and smiled.

“Lilly!” Theresa said happily then slid into unconsciousness.


Ebb and flow, ebb and flow. She moved without moving her limbs. Suddenly the dazzling light was there again and she felt so completely satisfied, so completely happy.

“Code blue!” Yolanda paged, forcing herself to remain calm as she gave out the floor and room number.

Mary felt a love that she had never ever known before, a love that was so full, so forgiving, and so complete.

“Father!” she cried out. “Father, I am here!”


Britney went through the paces, forced herself to sit still in class, sit still and do the assignment.

She forced herself to smile as Oscar sat next to her, forced herself to pay attention to him, to whatever stupid video game he was babbling about.

“I thought you hated beets,” Oscar commented.

“I do,” she said and continued stuffing the food into her mouth.

“Then why are you eating them?” Oscar asked and laughed at her when she looked at the tray in confusion.

Thomas reached across the table and lightly touched Britney’s hand. She looked up and smiled at him; he understood.

He too was forcing himself to walk to class, to sit still, to do the assignments.

“Thanks Thomas,” she said.


“My name is John, and I’m an alcoholic,” John Farmer said.

“Hi John,” the Members of the group greeted him.

“My daughter,” he began, than broke down into heartbroken sobs.

“I think, I think we’ll come back to you later, okay?” Claire asked as she dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. “Jamie, you want to share?”


The fare in the cafeteria left a lot to be desired, but Leah knew she needed to eat. She sat down and prayed in silence before picking up her fork.

“Ever since my Britney and Mary have been friends, we pray before every meal, even if it’s just a snack,” Allison smiled as she put her cup of coffee down.

“Thank you so much for coming, I cannot tell you how much that means to me,” Leah said sincerely.

“Of course,” Allison said. “You’d do the same for me.”

They heard the ‘Code Blue’ announcement and Leah’s heart stopped as she recognized her daughter’s room number.

Allison held the woman tightly as she wailed out loud.


He was nervous. Charles had really cracked down, and hard, on drinking on the job, so he was stone cold sober. Charles had actually smiled when James approached him about taking an extended lunch.

“Not a problem, take as long as you need,” he smiled and slapped James on the back. “Hope it works out for you.”

She was beautiful. A few pounds overweight, but so was he. She actually smiled when she opened the door.

“I miss you and I want to come home,” he blurted out.

“Want some coffee?” she asked.

“We had Mary and Melissa over the other night,” she was telling him as he stirred in the sugar.

“Who the hell is Melissa?” James asked.

“Jim’s girlfriend; she’s a beautiful little girl, has such a sweet heart,” Theresa smiled.

“Jim’s? But what happened to, um, that girl, the one with the huge tits?”

“Beth?” Theresa asked. “I suppose she got tired of being treated like a dumb girl whose only purpose in life was to have large breasts.”

“Jim treated her like that?” James asked, surprised. “I, well, that doesn’t sound like him, that’s for sure!”

“It wasn’t,” Theresa said and sipped her coffee. “It was you.”

“Oh,” He said.

“But as I was saying, we had Mary and Melissa over the other night, and it was such a wonderful time and I couldn’t help but think, ‘If James were here, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this; he’d find some way of ruining it.’ I mean, Mary made biscuits, Ümraniye Escort and Melissa helped set the table; she comes over every night now because she believes that we hug each other all the time, and we do. We do hug each other all the time and you can tell she’s in love with Jim and he’s in love with her, but she’d never ever come around if you were here,” Theresa said and put her coffee cup down.

“Oh,” James said, quietly.

His stomach was sinking, sinking fast. Theresa and the boys didn’t miss him at all; in fact they enjoyed his absence.

Chapter 4

Because she was a heroin overdose, she was placed far down on the list of priorities in the Emergency Room. Every now and then, someone would check her vital signs, just to make sure she hadn’t died yet.

The maid helped herself to the six hundred dollars in Theresa’s purse and the desk clerk helped himself to the heroin and cocaine.

The heroin he was able to sell for four hundred dollars and the cocaine he was able to convince the thirty eight year old landlady he had a crush on to give him a blowjob.

Finally a doctor did examine her and did ask her a few questions. A few more questions and he called Accounting to get an MRI cleared.

—-Charles took one look at James’ face and waved him into his office.

“I know that look,” he said, sympathetically. “Didn’t go quite like you’d hoped, huh?”

“No, no it didn’t,” James, admitted.

He didn’t know why; he hated Charles Villeaux, but he spilled his guts to the man. Charles sat and listened; interrupting only every now and then to ask a few questions, offer a few suggestions.

“Goddamn, I been a real son of a bitch,” James finally admitted.

“Ass hole, why bring your mother into this?” Charles asked and smiled.

“You’re right, my Mom had nothing to do with me turning out to be a bitter old drunk,” James laughed.

“Now, now, the question is, what are you going to do about it?” Charles asked.

“I don’t know,” James said. “What do you think I ought to do?”

“Well, the beer and the whiskey has got to go, that’s obvious, huh?” Charles asked.

“Yeah, I guess so,” James agreed.

“James, the man that walked in here this morning, I didn’t like that guy, there was nothing likable about that guy,” Charles said and stood up. “The guy sitting here right now, he’s all right. Don’t know that I’d want to go hunting of fishing with him, jury’s still out on that, but don’t think I’d have any problem having a cup of coffee with him.”

“Looks like I got my work cut out for me, huh?” Games said.

“Looks like it,” Charles said and shook James’ hand. “Let me know if you need any help; I’ll help you. Try to be a ‘tough guy,’ do it on your own, well, then I can’t help you, huh?”


John took one look at the kid and told him they didn’t need any help. He knew Glen’s mother from the A.A. Meetings and knew that his mother suspected he was a Meth addict. The way he looked, John was inclined to believe she might be right.

“Aw, come on, mother fucker!” Glen said. “Fucking ad in the fucking paper says you need a God damned mechanic!”

“Don’t need one THAT bad,” John said firmly.

“Ought to burn your fucking place down, fucking ass hole,” the kid muttered.

“Hey Glen, I know where you live,” John reminded the foul-mouthed kid.

He sighed. He needed help desperately, especially since his little girl was in the hospital, but Glen, with his pants worn hanging around his knees, multiple piercing and tattoos visible, had made him suspicious. And the way the kid was eyeballing all the expensive tools told John the tools would start growing legs with Glen hanging around.

“God help me,” he implored silently.


Leah and Allison alternated between sitting and kneeling in the dimly lighted chapel. They prayed in silence.

Leah took solace in Allison’s presence. Finally she turned to the other woman.

“Where do you and your family go to church?” she asked.

“Saint Richard’s,” Allison smiled. “We usually go to nine thirty Mass. Any earlier and I can’t get the girls moving, but if we go to a later Mass, I can’t find them anywhere.”

“You’re Catholic?” Leah asked with surprise.

Allison seemed to be so warm, so loving, and so full of God’s grace. Of course, Reverend Smith never had anything nice to say about Catholics, saying that they worshipped statues and broke the commandment ‘Thou salt not have any graven images.’

John. Her husband had been Catholic but converted to placate her mother. Of course, it had not placated her mother at all. Her mother had been such a cold, distant woman, almost delighting in hurting others, and doing it in the name of God.

“Would you mind, would it be all right if we, if John and I went to church with you this Sunday?” Leah asked.

“I would love it,” Allison said.


She could feel a sinking feeling. Slowly her limbs felt heavy, her arms, her legs, they felt heavy. A dull ache began to replace the warmth, the love that she’d been enveloped in.


“Ain’t like this in Saint Gabriel,” Precious said as Grace ate heartily of the food Cindy Villeaux, Charlie’s daughter in law, brought in.

“Yeah?” Grace asked.

“Nah, man, them bitches work in the kitchen, they like spitting in the food, just to be bitches.

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