Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Part V: Perry

The drive with Claire wasn't the healthiest - with the cigarette smoke going up my nostrils, the car was full of smoke and ashes. It didn't help that she refused to put the windows down.

"My hair honey", she shouted, "the wind will wreck all the work I've done to it, so keep those damn windows up".

As I drove I pondered where exactly to take her, Hollywood was out of the question, we live in Kansas for Christ-sake. The best place would be where I met her, at my boy Jake’s house. They knew her and would know how to help, shit; I didn't even know what was wrong with her. Alzheimer’s? Or just craziness? Hopefully it wasn't the chocolate, I ate some too.

I got off highway 74 into Craig’s Town; I was heading to the Pearson’s house. An hour of silence passed when Claire woke up shouting, "Oh no, not you, I hate those pink feathers of yours, they make me sneeze, go away please".

There wasn't really much in Craig's Town, the place looked like a scene out of an old western, tumble weeds and boarded up buildings. As I continued driving I spotted a sign "Hospital Half mile ahead". Thank goodness, life lies ahead.

Son of Christ Hospital ~ The Nun’s Welcome You” the sign read. “Claire wake up, we need to stretch, go to the bath room and grab a bite to eat”, I demanded.

“Ok”, replied Claire, “I sure could use a stretch, you go on in, and I’m right behind you. I’m old now, so it takes me a tad bit longer to get my body parts moving,” she said pleasantly.

I drove quickly through the lot, parked the car in the closet spot, turned off the ignition, yanked out the keys, and hurried inside, mother nature was calling.

Tap! Tap! Bang! Bang! Sounds were coming from the trunk. Claire jumped out and popped open the trunk. “Perry Baby” she shrieked, “what a pleasant surprise, I had a feeling you weren’t going to let me travel alone, be careful not to let Honey see or hear you”.

“Claire”, Perry said hesitantly, “Stephen came along too; he didn’t want to be left behind”. Stephen’s head poked out from behind Perry.

“Hi, err, hello, Claire, um, yeah, how are you?” stuttered Stephen.

“What the hell?” questioned Claire.

“I um need to go inside Perry, the circulation in my err legs hurt, I need something from inside, could you move, I, um, oh, yea, I need, I want to get out”, said Stephen.

With Claire’s help, Perry was able to move out of Stephen’s way easily like a yoga master.

“Hurry now, there’s no telling when Adonia will be back”.

So into the hospital rushed Stephen. While Perry waited in the car, he had gone into the hospital to try and buy a pair of black stockings from a nun.

Claire waited patiently for Stephen to hurry back to stuff him back into the trunk.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Part IV: Haddy C. McPherson

Where does one begin when telling Mrs. McPherson’s story? When she and I first met it wasn’t her hat or her bright pink toe nails that drew me in to want to know more about her. There was something familiar about her that was more than the coincidence of Sunshine Valley Nursing Home.

Months after that Christmas day, I was visiting my dad, when I heard and an all too familiar chuckle coming out of the cafeteria. I popped my head in to see, it was Mrs. McPherson playing black jack with a bunch of other “Mrs. McPherson’s”. I tried to pop my head out quickly, as to not catch her eye, but failed at the task.

“Hey Missy, I remember you from Christmas. You’re visiting with your dad huh?" "Come over here and sit next to me, watch me whop these heffer’s at black jack.” I hesitantly did as she requested. I watched and listened as they played. They told stories of when they were young, the boys they dated, and the men they married. Many felt alone and forgotten, other’s felt overwhelmed by all the attention. But Mrs. McPherson’s story was the most exciting. She spoke of the the ‘good ole days and her popularity in the 60’s. She wore miniskirts, well hair sprayed hair, and flashy shoes. She was a sight for sore eyes back then she said.

“I was a model you know Missy”, she told me; “I was in all the magazines and even in a couple of movies, nothing big to most folks, but gigantic to me”.

“Haddy was just not a glamorous name for Hollywood Missy, so I went by Claire, just Claire, no last name needed with a name like Claire. Oh yes that’s right Missy, Claire was my name back then, a name that means famous and bright, like a star, like me!” When I was young, I went to parties, drank and smoked. It was the thing to do to get noticed in Hollywood.

Every time I went to visit my dad, I would visit her, but with each visit I noticed a change in her that I could never quite figure out. One day however, things got weird.
“Looking for Haddy?” the nurse asked, “she said you were taking her out for a nice long ride, check outside, she’s probably waiting for you there, have fun.”

Taking her for a ride? I went outside and found her sitting in my car with a cigarette in hand.

“Mrs. McPherson is everything ok?” I asked. She snarled back at me, “Honey, my name is Claire, just Claire and don’t you ever forget that. Don’t call me that name anymore Honey. Hollywood called; we’ve got to go now.”

I got into my car and drove off; I certainly wasn’t taking her to Hollywood, maybe to my boy Jake’s house. As I drove, Claire chain-smoked and drummed her nails on the dashboard. She sat very quietly, just staring out the window and smoking.

500 words based on a sentence selected by Dive