excerpt from the book: Satans Hometown
“About another mile and we’ll be in the city limits.” Dad said. We had driven about four miles. We had always lived in town, as long as I can remember. Never out in the country. Always where you could walk next door and borrow a cup of sugar if you needed to. The town sort of looked like Smallville. Two stores and neither one was a Kroger. There was one gas station and a Dairy Queen. Just outside of town was a drive-in. At least we could see a movie in the summer. That’s going to make winter a blast, I thought. At least we had the VCR and a few favorite old movies on tape.
“Where do you guys want to eat at?” Dad said, like we had a big selection to choose from.
“I want a Big Mac.” Beth volunteered.
“You’ll have to settle for the Dairy Queen little sister, Ronald’s dead.
Beth turned anxiously to Mom. “Is he mama, Is he” she asked.
“Don’t tease your sister Bo.” Mom said.
The Dairy Queen is better than nothing, I thought as we were seated.
“What will it be?” I heard a soft voice ask. I looked up, she was about my age. Her name tag said “
Her hair was long and black and her smile was pleasant. Beverly
Not bad, I thought, as I looked down. I noticed the body was as nice as the face.
“This ain’t such a bad place after all Dad.” I blurted out, then realizing what I had said my face turned bright red. God, I can’t believe I said that, I thought to myself.
“Four cheeseburgers and four orders of fries.” said Dad.
“Do you want a Coke or Pepsi with that sir?” she asked.
“Two of each he replied. We want the real thing and they are the new generation.”
“How corny can you get Dad?” I asked after
had walked away. Beverly
“Not corny enough to dive into the floor, just because someone walks up behind me.”
“You know the high school seems awful large for such a small community, Honey.” mom remarked.
“I guess it’s because most of the people live out of town.” said Dad.
As I looked around the restaurant, I noticed no one else was talking but us. There were only six or seven people in the restaurant, but they weren’t saying anything, not even to the people who were sitting with them. The people behind the counter would speak when spoken to but not much more than that.
“Here you go.” the waitress returned with our orders. “Hope you enjoy it. You people are new around here, aren’t you?”
“Yes, just arrived today.” my father answered.
“Where you from?”
” I broke in answering for him “Have you
ever been there?” Dallas
“No” she answered, “Well I hope you like it here. There’s not much here on the social scene but most of the people here are laid back and easy going.”
Instead of being laid back they ought to be stretched out on a slab, I thought to myself. I had never seen people so quiet.
“I’ll have to say there’s not much work around here. “She told us.”
“I’ve already got a job” Dad bragged “I’m the new Chief of Police.”
“Well in that case this meal is on the house” she smiled.
“Oh, I can’t.”
“It’s alright my father owns the place and he is on the town council. He would insist if he were here today.”
“Well thank you.”
“By the way are there any factories around here?” mom asked.
“There aren’t any. Most of the people either farm or work in the next town,” the girl replied turning to Mom.
“You’re not going to work anyway Claire, so what’s the problem?” Dad asked.
“Well, I just don’t want to get bored” Mom replied.
The waitress interrupted their conversation. “Most of the married women here don’t work and as for getting bored, don’t worry you won’t,” she spoke in a hateful tone and rudely walked away.
We finished our food without further conversation and started out the door. The waitress called out from the counter, “Goodbye” in a cheerful tone of voice.
What a turn about, I thought. As I looked back through the car window, I noticed they were all standing in the restaurant window watching us. As we pulled off, I realized for the first time, something was very wrong here. I could feel it in my bones.
On the way home father asked mom if she’d like some wine to celebrate their new home. She reluctantly said yes. Not wanting us to know she wanted a drink. My folks weren’t heavy drinkers, but once every two or three weeks, They’d ask me to take little sis and get lost for an hour or two. It’s the only time I get the car without a fuss. They were a happy couple and that makes me happy. Most of my friend’s parents were either divorced, or lived together for what they called the kid’s sake. This usually made the kids lives a living hell. After twenty years, in my opinion, my parents were still as much in love as the day they married.
We pulled up to the only liquor store in town. While dad went in, mom turned to me saying that I should spend some time with my sister when we got home. “you ignore her all the time,” she complained. I knew that was coming
“Will you play with me and Barbie?” Beth asked.
“No, we’ll pitch the soccer ball to each other or go exploring. Anything but playing dolls, okay?”
“Okay!” she agreed.
I heard the car door open and dad was handing mom a bottle of wine. On the way home he told us that the guy in the liquor store was a pleasant enough man. The man in the store had told him that their last chief of police had just vanished, disappeared. He had been a single man and they all assumed he had ran off with another man’s wife, or gotten bored with small town life.
As we drove toward home, I noticed how empty the streets were. No people on the corner just standing and talking. Back home, teenagers would cruise up and down the strip and yell and wave at each other. Sometimes everyone that was anyone would park in front of the Western Auto; they’d set on their hoods and shoot the breeze, but not here. The town just looked dead. No smiles. No excitement. Just simple country folks going about their own business.