Saturday, August 09, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 38:
the short life of becky turner

whenever i wuz larnin to drive frum mr deeanjello, the wurst thang bout it wuz the way he got all upset on a counta i had to larn how to doot befor i could doot rite, so once i gut back to tennessee, i made it a point of showin all my bruthers n sisters how to drive. i speck larnin frum daddy could be dangerus, so startin with eli, i wurked my way down to maisie.

whenever me n brew had to give up the house in kingston n move back into mamas, maisie wuz jes about to turn 16. the two of us had a speshul relayshunship on a counta i wuz the oldest n she the youngest n thay wuz many a time i wuz lef in charge n had to uphold fer her till she gut to whar she could uphold fer her ownself. n frum that we had a speshul closeness that tutherns dint.

i member whenever we wuz lil befor i had lef home, we used to play sumthin called the 'tickle test.' the way it wurked wuz i wood hold her down n ast wuz she reddy n whenever she sed she wuz, i wood cummence to ticklin her n i wood keep on till she gut to whar she wudnt laffin inny more. i spoze twuz a cruel game to play lookin back on it now, but she lacked to doot, so we did. thang wuz, she dint trust innybidy else so much that she wood let em tickle her.

seem lack she wuz rite proud of me also, n whenever they had em open house at her skool, she wood ast me to cum, n i did, n twuz a bit odd that she ast me but she never ast nobidy else, not even mama or daddy.

as ye mite know, carbide in them daze had em sumthin called the savings plan. best i kin member, way it wurked wuz ye could put in up to a sartin percentage of yer earnins to the program n carbide wood match whutever ye put in. then ever two years it paid off, n everbidy knew when twuz about to happen, n thay wood be sales at downtown oak ridge n ye could git ye loans so ye could have yer money early, n the hole place wuz reddy fer it whenever it cum.

it paid off in the summer i wuz livin at home, so i deecided i wood git me a nuther motorsickle. twooda been better to git sum kinda portable keyboard, mayhap a rhodes lectrick peeano, but seem lack i never made the sacrifices ye wood have to make ifn ye wonted to be a sangin star, so i spent sum the money on a motorsickle n deecided i wood use the rest to record a album, witch that plan dint wurk out, n i dint git my furst album reecorded till 2001. but thems thangs ye kin see lookin back that aint so obveeus a goin forwurd.

innywho, i gut me that motorsickle, n seem lack maisie wonted to be perched on the back of it jes bout whenever i wood let her. that purty much mint weekends on a counta me wurkin graveyards, n thay wuz times folks probly thought she wuz my gurlfrien she rode with me so much. n we gut a lot closer durin that time.

fack is, she gut to whar she wonted me to know her bes frien, n that wood be becky turner, witch she lived way out on the west end of oak ridge on a counta her folks had money, but becky never ackted lack she wuz no bettern nobidy. she also tole me bout a lot of uther thangs a'goin on in her skool, n twuz purty clear she wuz a'gonna git into usin drugs purty soon, so we talked that'n out in grate deetail.

thang is, ye couldnt git the truth frum them that owed it to ye, witch that wood be our gummint. in sted of tellin the truth, they wuz trine to find sumthin rong with pot n to do that, they had to make sum thangs up. n once kids figgered out they wuz line, then thay wernt no reason to bleev em when they wuz a'tellin the truth, witch the truth is that sum of the drugs on the street is much more dangerus than otherns.

so i tole maisie that she could probly smoke pot ok, but she had better never try thangs lack heroin or morfiend or angel dus or ye name it, i mentshunned it, n i had tride mos of em by then. i tole her fer me the downer side of thangs wuz useless on a counta i jes went rite to sleep n never enjoyed em. n even tho i wuz always a bit on the hyper side of thangs, i kindly lacked the speedy drugs. but long story short, i tole her twood be better ifn she insisted on gittin hi if she did it in a place that wuz safe n with sumbidy that wood keep her frum freakin out, n she wonted me to show her, so i did.

so she larnt how to git hi frum me, n purty soon she wonted to show becky how to doot, n that mint we gut to whar we wuz hanging out, the three of us, mos ever fridy n saterdy nite.

now ye mite could wunder why i wood wonta hang out with my lil sis n her frien. thang is, even when i wuz livin the wildest part of my life, a part of me wuz always a'wontin to turn frum that n walk the strate n narrow path. n maisie n becky wuz young n innocent n all, n it gut me to thankin bout livin a better life n all.

corse, it helped that maisie's frien becky wuz so purty. she had hair that wuz so far on the red side of brown that now n then ye wood thank twuz red. n she wuz as sweet as a purson kin git, n ye could tell she wuz sweet on me. n i wuz sayin to myself that she wuz jes the kind of a gurl i should be thankin bout on a counta she wuz not only purty n lots of fun but also smart n seryas bout life n death n the hereafter.

thang she lacked to do bes whenever we wuz a gittin hi wuz to drive out to the graveyard near the old solway bridge, witch they hadnt torn it down then. thay wuz a speshul gravestone she luvd the best, witch it had three angels on it.

we wood drive out thar round midnight n wood find our stone n sit on three sides of it, one of us pointin east, one south, n one west. n we wood pass us a joint n talk bout whuther thay wuz ghosts thar in that graveyard n whuther ye git life after death, n that kinda thang. n sumtimes we wood lie on our backs on the graves n look at the stars n wunder ifn them ghosts had the same view we wuz a'gittin.

n sumtimes we wood stay at home n listn to music n purty soon becky wuz a'wontin to dance, n maisie wood tease me till i danced with her. n then becky wuz a wontin to larn kissin, so we practiced that a time or two, n i had to add mitt, she dint need much teachin, n fack is, she wuz on the verge of becumin a woman, lack a tite lil rosebud that wuz a fixin to burst into bloom, n the beauty that wuz unfoldin in her wuz sumthin to behold.

fack is, i wuz a'tellin myself i should wait fer becky to grow up a lil n then i should set my sites on her. we gut to whar we wuz havin us loads of fun ever weekend, n thay wuz times i wuz glad maisie wuz with us on a counta thangs coulda got out of hand otherwise. n becky gut to whar she wood joke bout her n me a'gittin marrd sumday. we wood be sittin out under that gravestone n lookin at the stars n talkin, n fer a joke, she wood ast wood i wait fer her n i wood tell her i wuz dun alreddy a'waitin. n they wood both laff so twuz played fer a joke but i thank we wuz both serius.

twernt to be, tho, on a counta maisie gut ast to the prom n after she n her beau had dun been toot n the dinner after, they drove out to the parkin place tween oak ridge n olver sprangs, n whenever they wuz dun thar, they drove back up illinois avenue, n rite at the top of the hill, they met thar fate when a drunk run the redlite as they wuz crossin hillside n broadsided em. killt em both.

maisie ast me wood i cum to the funeral with her, n of corse i dun it. twuz a awful thang on a counta all the chilren frum the hi skool wuz thar, n twuz a rude way to larn that ye gone half to die sumday. i cant figger how they gut her to lookin so good. ye wood thank she wuz jes restin her eyes n wood open em inny mint. n thay wuz more crine n carryin on than i had ever seen befor.

best of all, whenever they buried becky, twuz within site of that gravestone she luvd so well. n maisie n me knew she wuz glad twuz thar they put her.

even so, maisie tuck it hard, n seemed lack all i could do fer her wuz to take her out to that same gravestone, whar we wood sit n smoke n wunder bout the brevity of life.

n thay wuz times when it seem lack becky wuz thar with us, n moren once it give us a chill. n maisie ast me did i thank becky wuz still alive n still able to here us. n i tole her i doubted it n i gut to talkin bout biolgy n fizicks n all. n then i herd she wuz a crine, so i changed my tune n sed i figgered she wuz with us rite then.

n we gut quite as could be till we could here the creakin of the trees as they bent in the breeze. n we thought we could here sumthin else, sumthin ye couldnt quite place. n maisie sed she could here becky n couldnt i here her too. n i looked at maisie's lil face n the tears that wuz still porin frum her eyes, n i tole her becky hadnt never left us a tall n she wuz thar even then. n i knew i wuz line, but twuz fer a good reason.

then thar cum a sudden crash of thunder, n we both nearly jumped out of our skin, but then we held hands n whenever it cummenced to rain, we dint do nuthin but sit thar till we wuz compleetly soaked.

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