Message From The DeaconbyMysteryWriter©
I guess I could have just walked up to her porch and rang the bell. That is how my Uncle Deacon would have done it. Deacon could sing that song of his and everyone believed him instantly. If I tried it, I would have gone to jail at the very least.
I had been hanging around the medium size town just east of the Mississippi river for two days waiting for a chance. It came on Sunday after the evening services. I hadn't bothered to go inside, I had seen a thousand screaming Baptist ministers in my lifetime. I had avoided at least as many, I figured I could miss one more without doing too much more damage to my soul.
After the Service, the only slightly overweight Peggy Sue, drove to a restaurant located in the parking lot of the local mall. The parking lot was full, I expected that the food was the reason, rather than it being the only one open on a Sunday night. In my home town I might have thought the reverse. Peggy parked as close to the door as possible, then went inside. As close as she could get, wasn't all that close.
I left the over packed power company style Jeep in the parking lot a couple of minutes later. Inside the brightly lit restaurant I looked for Peggy, she was nowhere to be found. Of course, if you have ever tried to spot anyone in a restaurant you know how hard it is. Since I didn't expect to find her anywhere else, I decided that if I missed her at least I could have a meal that didn't spring from a can.
I followed the waitress past a couple of tables packed solid with grazing people. She led me past the crowded main dining room to the overflow section. The overflow area had not been visible from the door. There was very little difference between the main dining room and the overflow except for the small tables for two. There were four of them, two were located on either side of the door leading from the busy kitchen. Even though most of the dining room was empty Peggy Sue sat at one of those tables.
The hostess led me to the other. When she placed the menu on the table, she didn't seem to realize that she was placing me at arguably the worst table in the restaurant. I looked the waitress, then at the table, then back at the waitress.
"I'm sorry this just won't do."
"I'm sorry sir what did you say?" How dare me question her, was written all over her face.
"I said, I am not going to eat my dinner with the busboy. I would like a table away from the kitchen door."
"I'm sorry sir these are the only tables 'for one' in the restaurant, and this is one of our peak periods."
I looked at the table again, then back at the waitress, then over at Peggy Sue. "Young Lady, how would you like to have dinner on me and at a table where you don't have to hold you iced tea so that it wont be on your mashed potatoes?"
"I'm sorry what?" I could tell she was not only bewildered but extremely embarrassed.
"Ma'am, I haven't had a real meal in almost a week, however I refuse to eat with people tripping over me. I expect that if there were two of us, we could get a better table." I turned my attention to the seating monitor before I asked. "That is true isn't it? If there were two of us we could get a better table?"
The waitress glared at me before she answered, "Yes then you wouldn't be a party of one." I had been told that Peggy Sue was a docile thing, but suddenly there was spark in her eye. I just knew she was going to find her courage for a moment at least.
"I would be happy to have dinner with you Sir." She obviously had noted her chance not only to get away from the kitchen door, where she had probably taken most of her meals in that restaurant, but also her chance at a minor rebellion.
I extended my hand to her. "Martin Burke ma'am, my friends call me Marty." I didn't know at time that it was pushy as hell for a man to extend his hand to a woman. I had a lot to learn. Either Peggy didn't know herself, or she overlooked it. In Peggy's case it was a toss up.
We followed the waitress to a table set with four plates but fit only for two. It was still close to the kitchen door. I expect it was the hostess's try at regaining control of the situation. She had a very small fiefdom, but she obviously planned to defend it.
I walked past her to the best table in the overflor room. It was one of only three by the windows which faced the rear of the restaurant. I chose the only one without a view of the dumpster. The hostess angrily snapped down the menus before leaving.
Peggy Sue actually smiled when she said, "You know they may never take our order?"
"Ma'am, I wasn't kidding everything I've had to eat for the last week has been wrapped in paper and came in a bag, or it was reheated from a can. If she doesn't send someone for our order, I will take it to the night manager personally." She shrank back as though I was about to assault her. I didn't realize how cruel it had sounded.
I smiled to break the mood, "Or I could just go into the kitchen and cook it myself. In which case food poisoning would be in our future'" I smiled broadly to let her know that it was a joke.
"Why?" she asked. She noted my confused look. "You don't look like you should be eating from a can?"
"Oh that, I'm headed west. I've got a cousin living in New Mexico I am off to visit. I'm camping along the way."
"Where are you from?" She seemed to be curious and interested.
"Oh a little town about five hundred miles east of here, you wouldn't know it."
"So how come it has taken a week to go five hundred miles?" She was smiling as she spoke.
"Oh I'm stopping along the way to visit family that has kinda got lost over the years."
"And none of them offered you a home cooked meal?" She seemed a little shocked.
"Not yet, but I'm only five hundred miles into a two thousand mile trip. Someone may take pity on me. Just to change the subject, are you married, got any kids?"
"Separated, with one son Jeff."
"How old is Jeff?"
"Ah Jeff is five, he is with his father this weekend. His family is doing a reunion thing, so Don wanted Jeff to come along." She had looked down at the table as she spoke.
"Are you okay," I asked it because her demeanor had changed completely.
"You don't want to hear my troubles." She said it struggling to keep her grip. I backed off to let her regroup. I definitely was not going to be any good at this task.
"So what do you do that you can just take off, and get away with that beautiful long hair." I had forgotten to mention I had a hell of a lot more hair than she did. It was the early seventies after all.
"Ah the hair is a remnant of my failed college experience, I haven't settled into anything just yet. I'm just on the kind of journey that people write books about. Maybe I will do that." I waited a couple of minutes then asked, "So what do you do?"
"I'm a nurse. I work in the ER at the local hospital."
"Ah an angel of Mercy. I like that." I smiled at her. It was the smile that did it. Hell maybe it was the hair she kept staring at. No matter what it was, I could see her visibly relax.
"Hardly an angel."
"Now I like that even better." The obvious flirty remark convinced her to lighten up a little more. It wasn't until I was deep into dinner, and she had finished the single piece of chocolate cake she had ordered, that she began to really open up. It seemed that the divorce was not going well at all.
It seemed that Donald had fooled her. He had become a tyrant the day they returned from the honeymoon. She could take that, she said, but then he hit her. She took off to a friends house the first time. The next morning he showed up begging her to come home. She surrendered. It became a pattern that just escalated. He would get angry hit her, she would leave. A couple of days later he would come around and be all apologetic and begging her to come home.
"I might could have taken the abuse because I really loved him, but he slapped Jeffie one night. He had no excuse since Jeffie was just trying to get him off me. Most of the time his attacks were just slaps a lot more violent looking than they actually were."
I nodded as I kept packing the groceries away. I did it some because the food was delicious and some so as not to meet her eyes. It would never do for her to see what I was thinking.
"After he punched Jeffie, I left. I got myself one of the ambulance chasers, who hang around the ER. He got me the house and most of the things in it. He did that because my injuries were long term and I had plenty of documentation. The last was a pure criminal charge that I didn't back down on."
"Good for you, it sounds like he needed it."
"Marty, you just don't know. He 'visits' me. There is nothing I can do about it. If I go to the cops, he is going to kill me and Jeffie. They can't protect me. They pretty much told me that."
I nodded because I understood. Those restraining orders get the guy a few more years after he puts her in the ground. Cops and the law just can't convict on what is gonna happen, they need to see it happen. I couldn't think of anything to say so I didn't say anything.
"So there is no one who can help you? Father or brother?" I asked.
"No one," she replied. "I have talked to the pastor of my church but he can't do anything. He just says to pray. Look I'm sorry I don't unload on total strangers. I have no idea why I did it this time. Maybe because I found him in my house waiting for Jeff yesterday. He has started to come and go as he pleases just like he still lived there. I am so upset maybe that is why."
"Well there is nothing I can do but I am glad if it helped you a little to talk about it." I said it while looking out the window. I know she thought I wasn't interested. It was pretty much what I wanted her to think. Her mood suddenly changed.
"If you are going to be around a while, I could show you the town. Not that there is much to see."
"I would like that but I am pulling out after dinner. This is just a stop on my way to where ever I am going."
After dinner I paid for her cake but she insisted on leaving the tip. She probably did pay her own way. I walked her to her car, then drove to the campground. I didn't pitch a tent because I didn't have a tent. I laid out the more or less waterproof canvas then a lightweight blanket over it. After I had rolled up in them I fell asleep. Sleeping in the cold camp was easy for me. I had slept in far worse places.
I was outside Peggy Sue's house the next morning at nine. I waited till two in the afternoon before he showed to drop off Jeffie. Jeffie I noted ran like hell away from the car. I didn't think a ten year old was that happy to be home. My guess was just that he was glad to be away from dear old dad.
When Don drove away, he had a second shadow. The man was a piece of work. He was in a bar ten minutes after he dropped off his son. I went in behind him. I sat at the farthermost barstool from Don. Don was well known at the place. I'm not sure how well liked he was but a couple of the bar flies spoke to him.
As nature would have it Don had to go to them men's room shortly after he started to drink. I waited a reasonable time then went in after him. He was holding his prick and urinating when I entered.
"You gonna have to wait Bud." I stepped quickly up behind him. Wrapped my arm around his neck before he could even finish his business. Just before I twisted his neck I whispered in his ear, "Uncle Deacon sent you a message Don. You need to know who else knows the person you are battering."
When I twisted, his flow stopped and he just sat down. Then it started to run again. I walked deliberately out the back door of the bar. I probably should have recovered the pile of bills on the bar, but then again it might help the bartender forget me.
The phone rang three times before the older man answered. "Deacon it's done. I'm headed on to Ohio. At this rate I am never going to get to New Mexico."
"I'll call my brother, or maybe I shouldn't. He probably doesn't want to know for sure what he caused."
"I wouldn't Deacon."
"Yeah your right. Well drive safely and carefully, you can't afford a speeding ticket."
"Are you kidding, best I can tell I might get a parade."
"Yeah right to the electric chair. Now leave town and don't look back. By the way, did he know?"
"He knew. I told him."
"Good, the son of bitch can tell the rest of them in hell. To bad he can warn the living."
"Wouldn't help Deacon, these kind don't listen."
"You're right but I want them to know why."
"You and your song, they aren't going to be any more dead."
"Are you sure about that son."