Monday, May 11, 2009

Storytime in parts

--Part XI--

Jimmy Robert Cade had a decision to make. He had always been down on his luck and had rarely kept the few meaningless jobs he had ever aquired for more than a few months. In his mind Cade (known by his associates as Jimbob) had always felt that he was under-appreciated. Employers rarely saw the diamond in the rough he was soon to be if he just had a break. If they would just give him some latitude in his work ethic he would show them pretty soon that he was a good worker but few employers were willing or able to see things as Jimbob saw them and now he had to make a decision.

The gun in his coat pocket made him feel powerful. It was the feeling he had never gotten any other way and the sensation was sweeping over him like a fever. It started in his head and had moved down his spine. It puffed out his chest and moved down to his feet that were now moving one after the other without his acknowledgment toward the building. His mind freewheeled over things that had been said to him and done to him. Most of the time he had not protested when he was fired from a job or turned down for an opportunity but some things were beyond his control. When he lost his job at the diner the owner said it was because he was continually tardy but Jimbob's car had broken down and he had yet to fix it. That's all. The owner said Jimbob "couldn't be counted on" and had fired him after only two weeks. "I bet he's not counting on this!", thought Jimbob as he walked down the sidewalk. He reached the door and paused, glancing in the restaurant and taking a deep breath.

Jimbob Cade was thirty years old but looked several years older. He grew his stringy hair longer on one side and combed it over the top assuming nobody would notice the bare spot. He wore a thread-bare gray suit his ex-wife had bought him years ago so he would have something to wear to church but even though Christmas and Easter rarely came around the suit was well worn. He thought he looked good in it and wore it nearly everywhere proudly. He never cared for a tie and usually opted not to shave since he had sensitive skin. He was average height but slightly built with a concave chest and narrow slumping shoulders. When he looked in the mirror he knew that his brown eyes were his best feature. His ex-wife had told him that years ago when they were dating so that is how he knew.

He stood on the sidewalk for a long moment screwing his courage up to a sticking place and letting the memories combine with the newly-felt power. This combination of repression of feelings, oppression of employers and depression of mind had left a lasting impression on Jimbob's psyche that he felt had to be released. At this point he had pretty much made up his mind but if he needed any more motivation to go in the door he saw a ferocious dog approaching him obviously wanting to do him harm and so he slipped inside the door as much for safety than as to get what he was due.

The bell hanging on the door barely caused any heads to turn and Jimbob was unsure exactly of his next move. He walked over to the wooden counter where the cash register was but there was nobody there. Just then the old waitress called out, "Seat yourself, honey" and continued filling a customer's coffee mug. Jimbob waited by the register with his hand in his pocket wrapped around the small revolver. He waited there for several minutes just feeling uncomfortable. He had seen things going differently than this in his mind. He had seen patrons climbing under their tables in fear of him and the owner crying out, begging him to spare his life. Jimbob was not wanting to hurt anyone. He just wanted them to be afraid, to show him respect but none of that seemed to be happening now and Jimbob was getting anxious.

The waitress finally came over to him and repeated her previous message but when she turned around Jimbob grabbed her by the arm and pulled out the gun. He again expected her to instantly cower in fear but instead she jerked her arm away and looked him in the eye. Not even seeing the gun Jimbob held at waist level, the waitress said, "Hey! What the..." and then finally seeing the weapon, slowly finished her sentence with what Jimbob recognized as disgust in her voice. " blazes do you think you're doing?"

"Give me the money outta the..." Jimbob was mentally over-stimulated at this point and although he was jerking his thumb toward the cash register, he couldn't think of what to call it.

"Gimme the money!" He finally said loudly. All eyes now turned his way. He turned to tell them all something tough like you would see in the movies but the only thing that came out of his mouth was, "Stop it! Shut up!" It did not even make sense. All they were doing was looking at him. Visions of ex-wives and ex-employers all rushed to his already overloaded brain. He felt impotent and foolish and wished he were someplace else. He closed his eyes for a moment and reached up to wipe the sweat away from his forehead with the back of his hand that held the gun and felt the gun scrape against his fingers as it was pulled from his grasp in literally the blink of an eye.

His eyes popped open and he looked at the people in the restaurant. For a brief surreal second Jimbob did not know what happened. He even looked at his hand in disbelief. The gun was gone. One moment he had it and the next moment...he heard "Hey!" come out of his own mouth and then he felt a hand on his shoulder. He whirled around and saw the huge figure of a shabbily dressed man towering over him. He could smell alcohol and, oddly enough, bacon on his breath. The whole scene was more than Jimbob could process and he bolted for the door in a panic. He banged open the door, his every fiber wanting to find release from this situation. He heard the bell clash angrily against the glass door and saw the daylight but then as his foot hit the pavement he also saw the ferocious dog, mouth open and tongue out, waiting to bite him. The combination of momentum, adreneline and lack of natural coordination sent Jimbob flailing more sideways than forward and more airborne than running. He tried to jump over Teddy and turn at the same time and did neither very well. One leg hit the ground and gave him just enough distance to crease the lightpole with his eye socket on his way down to the sidewalk. Just before he passed out he could feel Teddy lick his nose.


The Donald said...

A literary tour de force!

I especially liked the circumlocution and rhythm of internal rhyme as the 'ressions came - not twice, nor thrice, but four times in the fourth paragraph.

Jesse Jackson would be proud.

And, we are all indebted to Kirk.

- Fake Bill Safire

Anonymous said...

I wanted a shootout and a car chase!!!!!!!


Don Dodson said...

I disarmed the paranoid redneck idiot loser, but somehow Teddy is still the hero.

The Donald said...

I think the subtitle, "Part XI", may be Shakespearian.

todd said...

If we should fail?
We fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we'll not fail.

The Donald said...

Ah, carefully camouflaged, like the the Bard wearin' a RealTree hoodie...

You get the points nonetheless for incorporating Shakespeare into SIP.

Anonymous said...

Was Jimmy Robert Cade in Led Zeppelin?