Sunday, September 14, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 55:
the fire

long bout march of 1976 thangs cum to a crisis point with randy. he cum to me one evenin n ast wood i cum on a drive with him n i sed i wood on a counta i needed to talk bout sumthin my ownself. n he wuz always the type to listn moren talk so he did n i tole him bout the lies erin had dun tole bout me.

thang wuz, that took sum tellin on a counta i had to splain bout tellin jimmy jay who i wuz in the band with that his lil gurl joyce wuz frum a differnt father n how that broke up the band.

n i had to splain bout how erin wuznt a'gone away easy n everwhar i went she wood turn up.

n then bout how laura russell, witch she turnt out to be erins close frien frum hi skool, how she tole erin everthang thar wuz bout me, n since she had dun red my diary, she purty much knew more'n innybidy else.

n i splained bout that thar gurl at wurk name of iris brown, witch i hepped her git on at k25 n she wood eat lunch with me near everday, well, i had to splain how one day we wuz talkin bout aborshun n whuther twuz ok in a case of rape n she tole me how she had a a frien of hers name of erin, witch she gut raped by sum guy name of nolan whenever she wuz jes thurteen n i stopped her to ast did she mean erin flynn n she sed she did n that they had been knowin each uther since kindergarten.

n randy had dun herd lots bout erin so he could see that twuz odd this gurl name of iris wood suddenly pop up n i tole him that wuz jes the start of it.

n he ast did i mean barbie? n i sed i did.

reckon i owe ye a lil splainayshun on barbie morris n whut happent twixt us.

ye mite member her furm chaptur 52. she wuz the one that wuz makin eyes at me in shoneys big boy restrunt one nite, witch truth is we wuz a'doin to each other, n y probly member how whenever i lef to go home she ast me did i wonta, yew know, do the deed.

innwho, i drove back frum my last talk with martha anderson feelin down. i knew i had to go back to the farm n do sumthin with barbie. n alreddy by then i dint wonta n i hated her verr name.

but when i gut thar, everbidy had gone n when i cum in she called frum my bedroom n she had lit sum candles n in the dim lite i could see she wuz wearin sumthin sheer that wuz purrfeck fer her bidy n she ast could she undress me n by time she wuz dun i wuznt feelin small no more n tired as i wuz, we dint sleep all night.

turnt out barbie wuz the kind a gurl that claimed she wood only sleep with a man the one time, but she made a excepshun fer me n that mint we spent lots of time in bed on a counta thar wuz no tendin lack we wuz in luv or havin us a relayshunship or nuthin n the only reasun to be together wuz sex n i tole her frum the furst how i wuznt innerested in a relayshunship n i tole her jes whutever i wonted n thar warnt nuthin she dint wonta do n she had her sum wicked idees of her own. n twernt lack i wood ast her to a date or nuthin. she wood cum over ever chants she gut n thar wuz jes the one thang on her mine, mosly.

in feberary she gut kicked out of her parnts home n by then she had made friens with mj so she wood git mj to take care of her lil boy, witch she had her a boy name of jason. n that mint she had her a reason to cum round the farm to drop jason off or pick im up. n lack as not she wood see whut i wuz up to n ifn thangs wuz rite she wood try to stay the nite. n thar wuz times i wood go to bed alone n wake to find her thar.

n after a few weeks of that, she gut to whar she sed she needed to talk bout sumthin only she woodnt never talk bout it n i wood play along n ast whut n then she woodnt say nuthin till i wuz a'gittin frustrayted with her n wood ast her jes to git. n that wint on a while till she sed she wuz a'startin to half them feelins fer me n i tole her she had sed she wuznt lack that n she sed she wuznt only twuz a happenin. so i sed she wuz a'gone half to quit cummin around me.

nex thang ye know, i git a call frum erin n she asts wood i cum to dinner on a counta she wonted to proov how she n me could be in the same room without causin problems. n i wuz mitey sprized at her astin me that n i sed dint she know i had tole her husbin the truth bout thar daughter? n she sed twernt no problem on a counta she had tole him twuz a lie she tole to git sympathy n i ast how did he take it n she sed he bleeved it a corse. n i sed when wuz this dinner n she sed twood be saturdy. so i sed i mite cum but i wood see.

so happent snap wuz thar that saturdy afternoon a lookin fer theevil weed, witch we dint have nun, n she sed i wuz a fool ifn i wuz a thankin of goin n i sed the fool wuz the start of everthang in the tarot n she sprized me by sayin twuz the end too n i sed the end wuz good n i sed i wuz a'goin.

i wuz in the car whenever barbie cum up n parked rite in the way n i gut out n ast whut the fuck did she thank she wuz doin n she lafft n sed she wuz sprized to hear me use the word fuck when i wusnt in bed n mj wuz a'cummin up n herd n lafft along with barbie n they gut to talkin fer a mint till i inner rupted n ast wood barbie move her car.

n she turnt round to say she wood not n thar wuz no way i wuz a gone to erins n i ast why n she sed on a counta n i sed on a counta whut n she sed on a counta becawz, witch ye kin see how she could git a person to the burstin point, n i did, hollerin at her to move her fuckin car out of my fuckin way or i wood ram it with my own fuckin car.

n both she n mj lafft agin. n barbie cum up n put her arms round me n i gut to squirmin n she sed she wuznt lettin me go n i ast why n she sed twernt safe n i sed why not n she sed on a counta jimmy jay had im a gun. n i ast fer whut he had it n she sed twuz to shoot me on a counta erin had dun tole him i wuz the one lyin bout erins lil gurl. n i shoved her rite to the groun n wuz ready to pounts on her but she rolled over n gut up in one moshun n sed i wuz a fool to truss erin.

n then she sed i wuz a bigger fool to let laura read my diary. n that tuck me back on a counta thatn hadnt really hit till sumbidy else wuz talkin bout it.

but mainly i wuz mad at the lie erin had dun tole bout me.

randy musta smoked bout half a pack of marlbros while i tole all the parts he dint know bout n then he ast why dont i let him git me a gun n show me how to use it?

n that made me laff only then i looked at him purty much fer the furst time n the egg spreshun on his face wuz the saddes thang i ever seen so i finely ast whut wuz rong.

n he tole me he hadnt never give up his idee to kill his self n he dun pickt a day, witch twuz march the 15th n i sed that wernt but a week a way n he sed twuz true but he had dun had a nuff n twernt that he wuz mad n twernt that he wuz crazy, but ifn thars nuthin after life, tiz all meaninless n ifn thars sumthin, then taint nuthin to fear in dyin n wurst wuz, he wuz bored by everthang n jes wonted to res frum the pain n boredum n wood i jes hep rite his gravestone n let im be burrd on our land mayhap by the fire place, mayhap acroos by the spot whar all the moss grows.

twuz a lot to say, but i listned n aint no point n trine to git ever bit of it. n i ast did he have inny idees bout whut he wonted on his stone, witch i figgerd bes thang wuz to git his mine offn inny fuss n fite over't while i tride to figger whut to do.

n he sed he had im sum idees. 'peace at lass,' fer instunts, only he wuznt shore twood be peaceful nor ifn thats whut he wonted. or 'burnt out.' or 'bored to death.' n he liked thatn bes, he sed. n i sed they wuz good n he sed thankee.

n he sed he wonted to take a trip on the saturdy befor he kilt hisself, witch he thought he oughta go down n see charleston south carlina on a counta he wuz in the navy n that whar they found he had im that cungentull bone disease n that rite thar changed everthang in his hole life n twuz the lass time he wuz hole so i sed we wood n we ast virgil did he wonta cum n he did ifn he could git off wurk that nite, witch he wuz still washin dishes at shoneys big boy restrunt.

n randy n me spent mos the week drivin round n smokin n talkin bout life n i wuz a'lookin fer a way to make him wonta live agin, n we drove up by norris lake n he tuck me round to sum places he had lived n sum places whar he had 'sun sum wild ass shit.' n we talked bout all that n wundered wuz it a nuff to make life wurth it? n even the grate men of the worl, wuz it a nuff fer them?

on the way home one time we tuck the clinton hiway n deecided we wood stop n eat at the mayflower n befor we gut thar, we passt jim walter homes, witch in them daze he wood build ye a home n park it down on yer land fer ye. so whenever we wuz eatin, i ast randy whut he thought one of them homes wuz lack, n as per ushual, he knew a lot bout it n sed they wuz ackshly purty good n i sed wonder how minny rooms they gut n he sed they had em all kinda differnt plans.

n we finisht eatin n he wuz astin fer the check, but i tuck it n ast the waitress could we have a nuther cup of coffee furst, so he set back down.

n he sed 'whut,' n i sed i wuz wonderin sumthin. n he ast whut agin n i sed i wunderd whut twood be lack to git one of them jim walter homes n set it down on the campin spot, witch thay wuz a nice round flat spot a stretch down the rode frum the fire place. n he lit him a marlbro n smoked it a bit n sed he bet twood be rite purty to live thar, but ye wood have to do sumthin bout the rode.

n i sed he wuz rite, twood probly be impossibull n all but he gut to speckulatin on it n cum up with sum plans lack to pave it or to use gravel or even jes to git a jeep n ifn twuz too bad, ye could jes walk.

n i could see he wuz thankin bout how twood be much better a livin thar than twuz a livin with his parnts, witch twuz one of the thangs bout life that seemed hardest fer him to take.

i dint say nuthin more bout it till we wuz back on the clinton hiway hedded north. we wuz burnin a number lack all ways n he sed, 'whut ifn we wuz to go in together on that house?'

n i felt lack i had dun tricked him jes rite n i sed twood be sumthin. so nex day he went n looked at the floorplans n picked a couple he lacked n sed he mite cum back. n he sed thangs wuz good on a counta we wood only need $2,000 to git it a'goin.  n them jim walter folk wuz eager to git goin with us on a counta we already had the land n they wundered why we should wait.

so i we sed we should go back the nex saturdy. n i thought i had dun solved the problum, only i hadnt figgered how brew wuz a'gone reack. he gut verr mad whenever he herd bout it. i had dun let virgil in on whut wuz a'gone on inside randys hed n he wuz a'gittin to whar he unnerstood n he sed he mite could see a way we could sell randy a plot or sumthin. corse he dint figger on mjs reackshun.

brew n mj wuz so mad they couldnt hardly talk nor spit eethur one. but we had us a unsckeduled fambly council n talkt it all out n splained whut wuz a gone on with randy n once everbidy had herd the hole thang, they gut quite n then i sed whut ifn i wuz to buy the house fer me n rent half of it to randy? n ifn twurked out, h e mite could buy in n ifn it dint, he could move out n i wood jes half to figger out how to pay fer tall. n they knew i wood doot n they wuz wurried bout randy, so we sed we wood.

i tole randy we wood do sumthin fridy nite n that mint drive around n do nuthin but that wuz whut he lacked so we sed twuz a plan.

then i dun sumthin that sprized even me. barbie called up to ast could she cum over fer fridy nite n i ast her why n she sed she needed to be touched by a man n i sed twuz easy nuff to find that without gittin me involved n she sed she needed my touch n i sed how much did she need it n she sed she wood do innythang n i ast her innythang n she sed yes n i sed i dint bleev her n she sed name sumthin.

n i tuck a breath n sed, kindly in a way in knew she wood reckugnize, 'im a'gone say this,' n she laffed n i sed, 'thars a man that could use yer touch,' n she sed that wuz whut she wuz hopin, n i sed this man hadnt had nuthin in a verr long time n she dint say nuthin fer a bit. then she ast wuz it randy n i sed twuz. n i sed twernt nuthin i wood ast her ifn she hadnt tole me she only wood spent the one nite with a man, n she allowed twuz whut she had sed.

then she sed she needed to tell me sumthin n i sed jes tell me dont tell me ye cant n all that. n she sed 'i aint been with nobidy but yew ever since that furst nite.'

i dint know whut to say so i dint say nuthin fer a spell. then she ast, 'wood ye hate me ifn i dun it?' n i sed how could i hate her ifn i wuz astin it. so she wuz quite fer a bit n then she sed, 'and ifn i do?'

n i knew she wonted me to say i wood do whutever she wonted, but i sed, 'ye jes mite save his life. i dont know no woman who knows how to touch a man bettern yew, n i swear to ye, barbie, ye mite save his life.'

n that tuck her back but she sed she had dun fucked over a hunnert so whut wuz one more?

so fridy nite cum n snap wuz thar n barbie n the hole farm only brew n gretchen wuz a'gone to knoxvull to see marshall tucker play n virgil n mj knew the plan wuz to leeve barbie alone with randy long a nuff to do her magick. bit by bit folk drifted away n barbie wuz kindly flurtin with randy n she wuznt wearin no bra n had her a tank top that a body could look down n that jes whut she wuz a'gittin randy to do n then twuz only snap n me n she sed she needed to talk n i ast wood they mind n the dint.

n i spent that nite in the lil house n snap went home.

n nex day, seem lack neethur one wuz too happy n randy ast did i wonta git brakefuss at shoneys n i sed shore. n he dint say a wurd bout the nite he dun had during the meal n after that we went by his parnts house so he could git cleaned up n change cloze. his daddy wuz thar n soon as randy started runnin water fer his  shower, he tuck to splainin how wurried he wuz bout his boy only turnt out he dint know much bout him. he wuz wurried bout him wontin to change his majur frum mathematics to art n i sed twuz a cuncern n listned n wunderd if my own daddy knew as lil bout my life n tho twuz a shock to see how twuz with mr fox n his son, twuz purty much the same with my daddy n me or eli or brew.

then randy cum out n we spent the day drivin n talkin n finely a'goin to see them jim walker homes n twuz ever bit as good as randy had sed.

by the time we wuz a'gittin home twuz near dusk n furst thang i noticed wuz a lode of records in mjs ranchero n i figgered she had dun hit the jackpot on used stuff n i gut to lookin thru them lps n i sed to randy that whoever had this colleckshun had the same taste as me n then i reelized twuz my records i wuz a lookin at n they wuz wet n melted n scorched.

n randy sed cum look whuts dun happent to yer house n then i saw whar thar had been a fire n it had deestroyed all the furntchur in the livin room n everthan smellt lack smoke to whar ye couldnt live thar.

n purty soon here cum virgil to splain that he wuz home on a counta gittin off wurk to go with randy to charleston n since that dint happen, he wuz takin a nap n then he herd the naybor boy hollerin sumthin bout thars a fire n he cum a runnin n mj too n they begun a'puttin it out. n they called the fire department on a counta the windows wuz dun broke n the fie wuz a'lickin the roof, only virgil turnt the hose on it n had it near out whenever the fire chief cum up n checked to see did we have the fire medallyun, witch we dint know ye needed one to git the firemen to cum.

n he woodnt do nuthin n that made virgil take to hollerin n then a'cussin him. n everbidy in walkin distunts cum up to watch n they wuz on virgils side but dint matter nun. virgil tole the guy he wood pay now to git thar hep, but he woodnt do nuthin n dint matter how virgil cussed im. finely virgil sed he hoped the guys karma wood cum back on im. n that made the guy mad to whar he wonted to fite, but virgil sed he wuz busy puttin out the fire, witch he gut it all out jes in time fer the fire truck to drive up so everbidy could laff at em.

we went down to the lil house to talk bout whut had happened. mj sed she had been a'gittin calls frum sum man that wood call on the big house phone n ast fer her n ifn she ansered, he wood hang up, n ifn virgil tuck it, he wood say to tell her richard door the 5th had called. i hadnt herd that n ast why she wuz a'tellin it n she sed the man sounded like erin.

n i sed so, n she sed her mama had thrown her bones n could see thar wuz a coven attackin me or mayhap jes a witch n we all figgered erin wuz one of em. n her mama sed to git buddy don to put together who knows who in all this, he kin probly name all of em. n she sed she couldnt proov nuthin, but she had strong feelins that twuz a'gone be all right.

then we heard a clump of boots on the front porch n brew hollered out knock knock in in cum him n gretchen n eli n we all gut to analyzin it.

n i figgered by then twuz bes to put everthang i had dun been thankin out n see whut they thought. i tole em bout the witch name of gail n how she had tole me bout a cover a'comin after me n how she had named sum names n how i dint bleev her but then i saw whut happened at her house. n that gut everbidy quite as a graveyard n when mj's dog spot gut to barkin we all jumped. n we waited to see who't mite be, but nobidy cum.

then i splain my suspishuns n tole em they wuz jes silly but they made me wunder. twuz lack this: (1) erin knew (2) barbie n (3) laura n (4) snap n (5) iris n (6) betty lou n (7) carla the short gurl. n they had all cum up to me to meet me in the last half a year or so.

n i splained how they wuz after power n then i gut to thanking bout how cumpletely they had cum into my life, laura with my diary n betty loy n barbie in my bed. n i had herd thangs bout a couple of other guys i knew wuz into magick n aleister crowley n they wuz good friends with (8) kenny who wuz marrd to (8) laura n he wuz also in a band with (9) jimmy jay, witch he wuz marrd to erin, so he wuz cunneckted two ways, n they wuz friens with sum tutherns that wuz part of the homer circle gang till i sed i couldnt figger nun of this out. n they knew lots of the stuff from bein round.

n eli sed, 'this aint no coincidents. this is frum god. tiz a battle of good n evil n thar trine to attack yew, bro.'

n i sed how did we scape em ifn thar a coven. n we all agreed how twuz a puzzle. n we gut quite n herd a owl a'hottin n eli sed twuz the devil n then couldnt nobidy say nuthin till i wuz more scared n i had ever been.

then randy sed,  'bullshit, eli. the devil dont give a hoot,' n everbidy lafft lack crazy.

but we all wuz cunfused. fer one thang, we all bleeved by then thay wuz a coven but at the same time, we couldnt keep frum sayin twuz the craziest thang ever.

n ever time we wood git to thankin twuz nuthin, we wood member that fire n purty soon we wood git scairt agin. n we tride to figger whut coulda dun started it. thar warnt no gas nor nuthin lack that, n it looked lack sumthin had been burnin on the rug n charred the walls n caught the drapes on fire n burtn the shelf n both randy smiths killer stereo n my ole thang n melted all the records ceptn the nine beethoven sympathies n we never could figger whut wuz a burnin on a counta dint seem lack nuthin wuz thar. n thonly damage wuz the smoke n all.

n thang wuz, nex day it all seemed crazy n we went about our bizness lack nuthin happent.

that evenin mj cum n sed she had spoke to her mama bout whut i had sed n bout how all them foks, the women in particular, had approached me whenever i met inny of em. n mj tole her mama bout randy a wontin to commit suicide n her mama threw sum coins n tole her twuz a way of controllin me on a counta they knew i wuz the arrogunt type that lacked to pity folks n thank i could save em, n it stung to here that.

but she sed i had ansered it rite n twuz proof of my power. n i ast whut she mint n she sed i had offered to give randy mos everthang i had frum my life to my home to my gurl n i ast mj how did she know that n she sed randy had cumplained bout how awful the nite wuz betwixt em n she put 2 n 2 together.

'thang is, bud', she sed, 'tiz bout the only thang ye dun since i cum back to tennessee that wuz inny good.'

then randy cum n ast wood i go fer a ride n i did n he even ast me wood i drive. n i could see he wuz way down in the dumpsters n i ast whut wuz rong n he sed he felt lack he couldnt even do nuthin rite n i knew he wuz thankin bout how he wuz spozed to be dead by now only thar wuz no way he could doot.

'shoot the devel, bud. im jes too afraid to end it, n i cant say whut tiz that even scares me.'

we drove fer a while till he gut to crine n i give him sum tissue n then i sed i wood git him sum hep n pullt in at shoneys big boy restrunt so i could use the phone.

i called the docter who gut me in to the oak ridge mental helth clink, but he sed they wuz full. n i called the ormhc direckly n they tole me the same thang n sed best thang wood be to take im to the emerentsy room.

so i cum out n tole him bout that, but he dint wonta go n he sed he felt much better now. n he sed, 'i aint attracted to ye in the lease, bud, but i luv yew.'

n i tole him i luved him jes the same n sed twuz good he cride, that tears wuz powerful.

n he sed they wuznt nuthin to the power of luv n he sed he could see whut folks mint bout me.

we never did git that house, but he gut to whar he quit talkin bout killin hisself. n we dun other thangs, n had other add ventures.

i tuck him back home n let him out n he dint even go in, jes got in his car n drove away.

n thar, waitin in the soot n smoke wuz the witch name of gail, n she whispered to me n i jumped fer a mint.

n she stepped out into the yard n cum twards me. twuz the lass day of a full moon n twuz clear her dress, which wuz long wuz also too thin. twuz lackly all she wuz a wearin.

she sed she wuz sorry n i ast fer whut?

she dint say nuthin fer a mint n she stepped up on her toes to kiss me, but i turnt away. n she stood without the lease moshun fer a mint. n she sed she wuz sorry fer the damage.

n i sed, 'whut?'

n she sed we woodnt half to wurry bout that coven no more. n i ast why, n she sed thar never wuz one, that twuz jes sumthin she sed on a counta she knew i wood bleev it. n thang wuz, them folks seem lack they wuz jes folks.  barbie wood still cum around now n then n i wood see iris at wurk. n i saw in the papers whar betty lou had gut marrd. n laura had her baby a lil later in the sprang. i never saw or herd tell of erin agin.

gail sed thar wuz one more thang. i waited.

she drew herself back frum me n sed, 'i'm sorry i couldnt lite a fire in yer hart.'

i turned n i nodded my hed at the black soot on the frunt of the house n sed, 'yew mean?' but when i turnt back, she wuz in her car, n i tride to stop her, but she drove off. n twuz the lass i ever saw of her.

we never figgered out the mistry.

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