Friday, October 10, 2008

Chapter 23 - Turtle's Hooch

October 20, 1948

Turtle hauled the old mattress he’d found into his hooch. It was almost ready for his beloved. He’d heard soldiers back from the war describe the little hideouts the Japanese had made on the mountainsides. Turtle had dug back ten feet into the side of Ghost Light Mountain. He didn’t want to use a regular cave because everybody knew where all the caves were. He knew they’d be looking for Becky when he finally took her.

For a doorway, Turtle had made a lattice of natural branches. He’d covered the lattice with pine and holly branches to camouflage the entrance. Just looking at it, you’d never guess his hooch was there. He was as careful as he was patient. For example, he always coated his shoes with mentholated jelly when he worked around the hooch. He knew it would throw off the hounds if the sheriff sent any.

Ma watched Solomon as he got another bottle of prenatal vitamins out of the cabinet. “Do ye think she’ll come in for an exam anytime soon?” she asked. “It’s been over a month since she freaked out over Nellie’s delivery. She’s halfway through her pregnancy now.”

“She still clams up when I say anything,” he said. “I’m just glad she’s taking the vitamins. She looks healthy. Her energy levels are good. She eats well. She’s eighteen weeks now.”

Ma slipped a tape measure into his shirt pocket. “Maybe she’ll let you get a fundal height.”

“Fat chance,” he laughed.

It was almost dark by the time Solomon got to Becky’s. The fall colors are gorgeous now at sunset. We should spend some time in the tree stand this weekend, he thought.

Becky stepped out on the porch when she saw Solomon walking up the path. She sat in the swing and patted the seat beside her.

“It’s cool this evening,” she said pulling her sweater tighter around her. Solomon put one arm around her shoulder and rubbed her arm with the other. He didn’t think about it before he did it. It was an instinctive move like you’d do to a child. She was apparently comfortable with it. She continued talking without noticing. She was expounding about the advantages of being a primary school teacher over the challenges of being a high school teacher when she stopped abruptly. She put her hand on her abdomen as her eyes focused on the distant side of the yard.

“Does it feel like bubbles?” Solomon asked.

She looked up at his face and shook her head yes.

He smiled and squeezed her shoulder. “Your baby’s moving.”

Becky laid her head on his shoulder and marveled while tiny bubbles fluttered inside her. She followed them with her fingertips.

“Becky,” he said, “promise me that you’ll ask me if you’re ever worried about anything.”

Her head still rested on his shoulder. “Thank you for giving me space, Solomon. I know I need to go see your grandmother soon.”

After Solomon left, Becky felt in the mood for an aromatic oil bath. Her belly was growing, and it felt itchy most of the time. She thought the warm oil would feel good. She turned on the water and mixed it until it was above body temperature. Then she poured lavender oil into the water and swirled it around with her hand.

Turtle’s heart was beating so fast and his breathing was so deep that he worried about her hearing him. He forced his breath under control, and he watched.

Steam rose off the water as Becky slipped the white chenille robe off her shoulders and hung it on the hook on the back of the bathroom door. She stood naked by the bathtub holding her belly. Then she stepped into the tub and eased herself into the water. Smiling, she lowered her body until she was lying in the water up to her chin. She closed her eyes and laid her head back on a little pillow. She played with the water and gently massaged her abdomen.

Turtle felt a surge of anger. I ain’t stupid, he thought. The bitch’s knocked up with another man’s baby. She’s been cheatin’ on me. It’s gotta be Solomon. He’s the most meddlin’ sombitch I ever knowed. And to think, I wuz plannin’ to take care a her. I thought she cared about me, but she’s just a slut! That’s all she is. She’s a friggin’ slut!

He was so mad that he didn’t even want to watch her. He wanted to go get drunk. That’s what I’ll do, he thought. I’ll git my moonshine, and I’ll go see Sally. I ain’t seen Sally since I started watchin’ that red-headed bitch. What’s my friggin’ problem, he thought. Sally’s a hot-blooded woman that loves to party with me. I been a wastin’ all this time plannin’ on takin’ care a that ungrateful slut. “I’ll fix her,” he muttered under his breath.

He swung by his hooch and picked up his jar of moonshine. Then he cut across the meadow towards Sally Dudley’s house. Her husband’s truck was gone. That’s good, he thought. He tapped on the kitchen window. Sally looked up and saw Turtle. She smiled real big and went outside.

“Where ye been, Turtle? I missed ye,” she said batting her eyelashes at him.

“Been busy,” Turtle said. “Where’s your old man?”

“He’s gone to the pool hall in Black Fort,” she said. “Ye know he’s over there ever night.”

“I know he’s a fool,” Turtle said as he pulled Sally over to him and clamped a hand on her breast.

She grinned and asked, “Did ye brang anythang to drank?”

“Does a bear shit in the woods?” He pulled the jar out of his backpack.

He shoved his hand under her blouse and unsnapped her brassiere with his thumb and middle finger. He looked proud of himself. “Are ye my woman?” he asked pulling her tight against him.

“Ye know I am, hon.”

Turtle took a swig of moonshine and handed the jar to Sally. She turned it up and took a swallow. It burned her throat going down. “Ah, that’s good,” she said wiping her mouth on the back of her hand.

Turtle turned up the jar and took some of the liquor in his mouth. He pulled Sally hard against his mouth and squirted liquor into her mouth.

She swallowed it and giggled. She licked his mouth, “Gimme some more Turtle, please,” she whined. She put her mouth over Turtle’s, and he squirted more into her mouth. He got tickled and had to swallow.

“You jest want me for my moonshine,” he teased.

“Huh uh,” she said, “I want you for this.” She unbuckled his belt and unzipped his pants.

Turtle snorted and pushed Sally’s head down to his crotch. She played with it like it was a lollipop. He lay back to enjoy her attentions. He knew she’d drive him crazy, but she wouldn’t let him come until she was good and ready. She liked long sexual encounters.

When Turtle left Sally’s, he took four iron cow stakes from her barn. He planned to twist them into the ground at the corners of the mattress so he could keep the red-headed bitch tied down. I can’t trust the slut to be faithful to me. When I feel like a piece of her ass, I’ll go git me some, he thought.

Copyright © 2008 by Robbin Renee Bridges
Coping with Grief through Afterlife Communication

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