“Armoth Ridge”

NOTE: If you didn’t get to this particular part of my site through the post “Personal Writing Challenge”, you will want to go there first to understand what you are reading here. If you’d rather not, please understand that what you are reading on this page is a completely rough, first draft clip of a story, posted as a part of the Personal Writing Challenge article.

That said, whichever you choose, thanks for spending time with me and enjoy!

That awful smell again. Not quite rotten eggs… worse. More like rotten eggs fried in tar. Jo Lynn couldn’t get that smell out of her head, even after she was awake and on her second cup of coffee. She lit scented candles in an effort to give her brain something else to work on in the odor department. Not that she thought it would do any good, it never worked any of the times before.

She sat back down and tried to think of something else. She had lots to do today which wasn’t unusual lately. She had plenty of new things to take care of since she moved out of her best friends house two weeks ago after living five months as marital fugitive.

She had been married for 13 years to the male equivalent of a wet cigarette… completely useless until he dries out, and even then, not worth the trouble. The only difference was that she hadn’t gone to the hospital because of cigarettes yet. Not directly, anyway.

Mark and Regi had been real life savers, literally.

* * *

David Alan Clay was well known in Armoth Ridge even before he began his regular appearances in the police activity section of the paper under DUI’s, assaults and domestic disturbance calls.

His father, William Clay, had been one of the last big land owners to sell out to the city and developers 20 years ago, and he wouldn’t have done it even then except that he was getting on in years and the only child he had would only let it wither and become unusable. By selling it now he figured he could live comfortably for the last few years of his life, the city could continue to grow, and what land was left workable would be in the hands of people who knew what “a days work” meant. If there was any money left when he died his son could do what he wanted with it, it was only money, but he had put too many years into that precious little piece of America to let it fall into the hands of a self-centered fool like David only to be ruined.

After William died a couple of years later, David had no trouble living up to his father’s expectations.

When the papers were final and the money was his, he bought everything he ever wanted, and some of it a few times. He ended up with a comfortable size house on about 5 acres just outside of town and had a huge barn built halfway into the hill that was actually a 12-car garage. There was room to park 8 cars on the top floor and 4 on the bottom with the rest of the lower half turned into a fully functional mechanic’s garage. He wasn’t much of a mechanic, but he loved cars and was determined to spend most of his time learning how to make them go faster, look meaner, and make as much noise as possible.

He bought 4 monster stereo/TV entertainment systems, one for the living room, one for his game room (the old attached, two car garage) one for his bedroom and of course one for the garage workshop. He only drank expensive beer now, imports mostly, and thought nothing of driving to Tulsa four or five times a week with a few of his buddies and dropping several hundred dollars in ones, fives, and twenties for the attention of an exotic dancer or two. At the end of the night he might even spring for a cheap room if he could find the right dancer.

Jo Lynn had met him at the high school football game one Friday night when she was a junior. He was there, as usual, with his only true friend, Ted Post.

High school games were one of Dave’s favorite places to show off his money, cars, and designer sleeveless T-shirts. He was also able to show Ted how a real man in his late twenties could get the “hot young babes” instead of having to settle for the sloppy spinsters near his age.

“Ya know, after women git ta be older than twennyone, they start ta get all flappy and sloppy and stuff. Saggin’ all over. Best ta git ’em while they’re young!” he used to always say.

Of course, that kinda confused Ted a bit because he usually went with Dave to them booby bars and the women there were almost always over twennyone, and not hardly saggy at all. What was even weirder was that the ones he took to the rooms after the bar closed were usually the ones that were the saggiest.

Ted thought that Dave was practically a god. He never put David’s seemingly endless supply of money together with Bill Clay’s death. He didn’t put much of anything together; he wasn’t born with a full toolbox. Even when he did figure out that Dave was doing something wrong, he was either too much in awe of him for doing so well that he could have all those cars and the house, or he was just flat too scared to say anything. He knew Dave’s temper well, long before Jo Lynn.

The restrooms at the high school stadium were right at the bottom of the stairs under the bleachers. Jo Lynn’s only truly sinful vice in high school was smoking, which was the real reason for their frequent trips to the ladies room during football games. The space underneath and between the stairs and bleachers was the perfect hiding place for smoking teens.

Call it fate, or just plain bad luck, but when the lighter that Jo and Regi shared ran out one Friday night, Ted was the only person, that was smoking nearby, and looked safe enough to bum a light from. Even though he was obviously older, he was too weird to be a narc, but didn’t seem scary or anything.

Ted was more than happy to offer his services to a couple of real babes like this on a Friday night! Dave always told him how “the babes think that yer a gentleman if ya light their smokes fer ’em and stuff, and ya stand a purdy good chance at gettin’ ’round the bases with ’em if ya do what they like when ya meet ’em. And if ya do get ta home base, then yer home free! They always fall fer ya once ya show ’em what a real man can do.”

By Friday, the next week, Ted was pretty sure that Dave had shown the dark haired one named Jo what a real man could do.

He didn’t light one cigarette for her, or do any of the other things you were supposed to do to get the babes, and she stayed right with ’em the whole night. And all Saturday night… and the next weekend… and the next… even after the money ran out and the cars started breaking down for good.


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