No, I don’t know where to start and I be damn if I know where this will end. Let me write down what I can remember before I forget.
After a hard day’s work, I lay down to take a snooze. We were at her Mom and Daddy’s house. I guess I should say her Daddy’s house. They wanted us all to live there. Me, Kay, her kids and her two brothers.
I had my own house. It was good enough for me but I didn’t have the giant screen TV, the microwave oven or the extra large living room. Bowing in to pressure from her Dad, we spent more time there than we did at my house.
This wasn’t my first time around. We had been married and divorced twice. A glutton for punishment is what I am, I guess.
Her argument to me was that her Daddy was getting old. She wanted to be there for him and reminisce about the good old days. Only now instead of sitting in daddy’s lap, she sat in the recliner next to him.
Did I say getting old? It seems like every time he started having health problems he would go to the hospice or nursing home for a brief stay, then return home rejuvenated, looking years younger.
Dewitt had grown up around my Mom’s kin people in South Georgia. He had been best man at my Aunt Alice’s wedding to Uncle John. His sister Doris had been present when my Uncle Roy supposedly killed himself. She was the only witness.
The first time we were married was a brief exercise in futility. She wasn’t ready to leave home and didn’t want to endure the struggles of domestic life. We divorced after six weeks.
Eleven years later, the spark was relit. More her doing than mine. We tried it again. After a year, basically the same results. Even back then, she wanted to spend more time at her parents than she did with me. It was like the Hotel California. You could check out anytime you want but you can never leave.
Back to the present. Her Daddy, Dewitt had just paid another visit to the nursing home. He was back now, some what refreshed but still peaked. I always thought it strange that even at his advanced age, he had a full head of salt and pepper colored hair and long bushy eyebrows. At times, he could be an imposing figure. I never knew what to expect from him.
As long as I went along with the family agenda and did as I was told, everything was alright. He owned a contracting business. I didn’t want to be involved but didn’t have much choice. He needed someone he could trust and his sons weren’t that type. One was lazy and one was as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.
Most work days started out very early, around 5 AM. Today had been no different. After 10 hours in the hot sun, doing my duty, making sure that the job site was left clean, the tools brought home and the trucks unloaded, I was bushed. No, the “bear” didn’t get me that day, but he tried.
I was exhausted,. I needed this nap. In the brief period between sleep and consciousness, I became aware that the house was full of people, mulling around. Someone kept peeking through the door to see if I was still asleep. That bothered me. What in the hell did they want to bother me for? I earned my nap.
I heard strange voices and through a crack in the curtains saw that the yard was full of vehicles. I shook it off and tried to regain my slumber but to no avail. I got up shaking my head trying to rid myself of the cobwebs.
As I entered the family room, I could see DeWitt being put on a gurney. He was laughing and talking, he even gave me a wave. Some of the people looked like EMTs and some looked like family friends, yet there were others that I didn’t recognize.
My entrance seemed to garner attention. I was aware of a group of people closing in on me, like they wanted to engage me in conversation or possibly to keep me from getting away.
The conversation started leaning towards me. It was like I was being told what was expected from me, the things I had to do. It was mandatory. I wasn’t really given a choice. They wanted me to give up my life to join theirs, without really telling me what theirs was all about. Sight unseen.
Feeling a little uncomfortable I followed the gurney out of the room as Kay’s Daddy was put in an ambulance. My followers didn’t leave me alone for a second. They didn’t seem to hide the fact that I was trapped with no avenue for escape. Casually I excuse myself back to the bedroom to change clothes. When I did, I went to open the window for an exit.
A quick glance let me know they had expected me to do that. I could see at least four men just outside the window, as if they were waiting for me. Casually, I closed the window. I wanted to lay back down. Tired as I was, who could blame me. I didn’t see Kay or her Mom but there were several women present that were guiding the efforts to coerce my involvement.
I reentered the large room, walking through the crowd as if there wasn’t anything amiss. Before I could make it to the front door, I was accosted again. This time by a friendly dark haired woman that seemed to know me. She was friendly enough but the way she approached me, reminded me of a snake slithering up to its prey.
The dark haired woman who I’ll call Betty and I were joined by an older blond woman named Doris. Doris was DeWitt’s sister. The same one that witnessed my Uncle Roy’s death. Feeling uncomfortable I tried to casually walk away, but that wasn’t going to happen.
There were at least two fairly large men behind me and a couple of more just outside our circle. In my mind I started wondering what would be the best plan to get out of there. I could hit one guy in the stomach or shove one guy into the other but that left at least 4 or 5 more that I couldn’t handle.
I decided to play along and be friendly. “Hi, how are you?” Just trying to lighten up the moment. One of the guys next to me tried to be friendly. I’ll call him Judas. The other guy wanted to impress me that he was all muscle and an impenetrable force.
Aunt Doris was drinking a martini, with an olive and a toothpick sliding from side to side. She set it down on the coffee table in front of me. While Doris faced with me her fake smile, Betty came at me from the side and grabbed my arm and said, “C’mon, you don’t want to be difficult do you?”
I tried to turn away but there was Judas with his toothy smile, blocking the way. While we were facing away from the others, Judas in a friendly way slipped me two pills. One was gray and the other was white. He told me that if my answer was yes to take the gray one and if it was no, take the other.
The answer to what, I wondered. I didn’t have long to wait. I was told by Aunt Doris that my religion had abandoned me, she added that religion was overrated anyway. She wanted me to join their group and leave my old life behind. It was a now or never proposition. She said I would never want for anything, all I had to do was be a member of the group and do as I was told.
I laughed in her face and told her, ”That shouldn’t be too hard, that’s all I’ve been doing my whole life.” Judas was still at my side, he said that if I agreed to be a part of the group, take the white pill, If I didn’t, swallow the gray one. The big guy was in front of me now. I smiled at him and said, “Sure, no problem.” Then I put the gray pill in my mouth, with my tongue I pushed it in the void where I had a tooth missing in the back of my mouth. I opened my mouth to show that I swallowed it. These seemed to ease the tensions somewhat. Still there was enough electricity in the air to make the hairs on the back of my neck rise.
We left as a group in several cars, arriving shortly at the hospice where Kay’s Daddy had been admitted. I say it was a hospice, it kinda looked like a nursing home. Still surrounded by my body guards, we walked down the hall to Dewey’s room. Wow, the room number was 666. Now I get it, if there was any room for doubt before, there wasn’t now.
DeWitt was sitting up in bed, looking peaked. I noticed that his bushy eyebrows seemed pointed upward on the ends in a way that I never noticed before. He seemed glad to see me. I felt like a sacrificial lamb or more like a goat tied to a stake during a lion hunt. There was a tray of food on the table next to his bed. I noticed that there was a small bowl of pudding. Dewey saw my stare and said, “Go ahead and eat it, I’m not hungry.”
I grabbed the small bowl and put a spoonful of pudding to my mouth, as I was tasting the pudding, I spit the gray pill into the spoon and stirred the pudding as if I was mulling taking another bite. I said, “This pudding doesn’t taste right to me, here taste it and see if it tastes strange to you.” I gave the bowl of pudding to Judas and he eagerly devoured the contents, setting the bowl back on the table as he finished. A few minutes later, after he set the bowl down, my new friend Judas started going berserk. He frothed at the mouth, his face turned red and he bent over coughing. I took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed him by the tie and swung him into the big man, still on my six.
During the melee, I stepped into the hallway. There was an emergency exit door, less than 10 feet away. I opened the door to freedom and heard the bells and whistles going off in my ear. I could see that across the field from me was the real world. Cars and trucks were just a 1,000 yards away. In my younger days, I could make that run, no problem. Now, I’m older and slower, smarter too. I quickly thought that if I made the run, I wouldn’t be so far ahead of the pack that my escape was guaranteed and if I did get that far, what fool in his right mind would stop to help someone being chased from a nursing home.
I stopped and turned around laughing in their face. Wait a minute, I’m in control here. If I wasn’t, they would have already taken me out. “I bet y’all thought I was gonna run didn’t you? Well I’m not.”
Aunt Doris had another cocktail in her hand. I took it from her pretending to take a sip and when I did, I put the white pill in the mix. I threw the drink in her face and when I did, she started screaming, her face dissolving like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. Her screams penetrated my consciousness. I looked up with a start and realized I was still in bed sleeping back at the house. Only this time I had two solid white kittens with blue eyes on either side of me. I didn’t have any white kittens, where did these guys come from?
I woke with a start, thinking how lucky I was to escape that mess. These kittens must be angels sent from God to protect me from my dreams. That was a close one. I wondered what would have happened if I had given in. Was I suppose to be a soul for DeWitt to steal for prolong rejuvenation?
I reached over and gave the two kittens a head rub and said to myself, “I got to know. I laid back down and turned the pillow over. I told myself I’m going back. I got to see the end of this and soon, nodded off to zzzzzleep.