Post #42 – Memoir and Fiction, Writing Alchemy – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
It’s been a while since Kendra and I have written about Five Points, OK, the community where every person, indeed every thing has a story. And they’re all just waiting for you to bring them to life.
Well, today Johnine M. Simpson shares her continuation of a story that accompanies each copy of StoryMap: The Neverending Writing Prompt.
First, let me tell you a little more about StoryMap.
You’ll find Five Points, Oklahoma exclusively in our StoryMap: The Neverending Writing PromptTM. We’ll provide you with people, places and things to get your creative juices flowing.
Fighting a bad case of Writer’s Block?
Pick up your StoryMap and spend 15 minutes writing. Case cured, and you’ll find it easier to get back to your memoir writing.
Still honing your writing skills?
Spend 5 minutes a day using StoryMap to help you focus on dialogue, character development, sensory description, time and place, or emotions. StoryMap will help you grow as a writer.
Want to practice writing about yourself?
Let your imagination visit Five Points. As you talk with the locals, visit the shops and get to know your way around town, you’ll find that you’ve become more comfortable writing about yourself.
These are just a few of the ways StoryMap: The Neverending Writing Prompt can help you build your writing skills.
We think you’ll enjoy Johnine Simpson’s story inspired by her copy of StoryMap. Today we’re publishing Part 1 of Angel Makes a Discovery. Then come back on Friday for Part 2.
Be sure to leave Johnine a note in the Comment section just below her story. I’m sure she’d appreciate it.
Angel Makes a Discovery
By Johnine M. Simpson
Randy headed out the door of Bad Cat. Then he stooped to tie his boot. Standing erect again, he marched, almost stomped, down Second Street and turned right onto Sage Blvd. “If I go around Five Points Circle and then through the park, perhaps I’ll calm myself down. Can’t risk another close call with Mrs. Harris coming back from Brandi’s.” He smiled at that thought even though he was fuming slightly at the indignity of being attacked by his own small dog. “She better fix up that pooch in jig time.”
Randy turned onto the first pathway that led into the park and was soon nearing the large fountain at the park’s center. “I’m huffing and puffing a like an old steam engine. . . I’ll sit here by the fountain until I catch my breath.” He sat, then ran his hands through his short coarse hair, forcing himself to breathe deeply. ?“I feel calmer. That’s good news.
Well, halloo, what’s the Native American Man from Five Feathers Casino doing over there with a metal detector? I don’t know his name. I don’t think he owns the casino but he’s always there. He’s tall with black hair which he keeps medium length. Today it’s loose around his shoulders. His skin is dark, his features chiseled, and, today, he looks intense, almost worried. He’s wearing jeans and a suede vest with fringe over a striped shirt. He looks kind of scarey. He’s moved off into the wooded area . . .can’t see him any more. Time to move on.” Randy stood and took the pathway to Happy Valley Road and then strode back to his store on the corner of First Ave. and W. Sooner Street. Seeing local sights and hearing familiar beloved sounds, “I really love this town,” Randy concluded as he unlocked the door to go back to work selling lobsters.
. . .
Early in the morning, a week later the phone rang in the Bushey home. Randy picked it up. “Hello. Oh, hi, Jane. You say Angel is all fixed up? What the heck was wrong with her anyhow? What? You say she is too pampered and needs more outdoor time, more adventure? Is that it? And what’s the charge for this diagnosis?” Randy waited for a response. “You gotta be kidding me! Three hundred dollars? That’s highway robbery. What? Yes, you’re right that I didn’t ask the cost. Okay, one of us will be over to pick her up after work. That okay? See you later. Bye.”
He hung up the phone.
Looking across the kitchen at his wife where she was preparing breakfast, Randy said, “Fay, you’ll never believe this. Jane just called from Bad Cat and says it’s gonna cost us $300 for Angel. She says Angel needs more outdoor time and more adventure. I never heard of such a thing. Have you?”
“You know, dear,” Fay responded, “good things are never cheap and that dog has been your pride and joy. I’m glad she’s better but we may want to think about whether to breed her again if that ‘bite em’ trick of hers gets passed on to offspring. You want me to get her after work or will you?”
“Never mind, I’ll go fetch her during my lunch hour and walk her back through the park for ‘outdoor time.’ Sure hope the treatment, whatever it was, helped!”
. . .
Randy left his store promptly at noon and walked to Bad Cat. Jane was ready for him as was Angel. Angel was primped and brushed and looked like a large orange puff ball. “You look beautiful, Little Girl,” Randy crooned as he cradled the dog lovingly in his arms. Obligingly, she looked him straight in the eye and cocked her head as though agreeing with him totally. “Here’s your money, Jane. Thanks. I hope she’s fixed for good now. Can’t afford any more help from you. As I said before, if there’s a next time, and I most sincerely hope there never is, it will be Jim’s Gun Works that gets my business.” He handed Jane three crisp $100 bills, turned on his heel, and walked out of the shop still carrying Angel in his arms.
“Now we’re outdoors and you need to be on a leash so you can walk like a dog, and act like a dog. Apparently this is something you have not yet mastered.” Randy pulled a light-weight leash out of his pants pocket, stooped down, set Angel on the ground holding tightly to her thin collar and hooked the leash into the collar’s metal loop. Then he stood. “There you go, Girl, now let’s be off to the park to be outdoors. Maybe an adventure awaits us.”
The two of them started walking, retracing the steps Randy had taken when returning to his shop after dropping Angel off the previous week. Angel was not used to walking outdoors, let alone walking on a leash. “Come on, Angel, walk along. Don’t make me drag you behind me. Step smartly. Get up here beside me.” He stooped down and gave the dog a friendly pat on the head. “That’s better, Little Girl. Let’s keep going. The park is not too far from here. You can do it; I know you can!”
They walked along without incident and moved onto the park’s path. “Oh, I get it. Now that we’re in the park you’re more interested. Your nose has kicked into gear and you want to stop and smell each new step. Well, Missy, that’s not going to happen. We have to keep going. I’m due back at work.” He gave the leash a tug for emphasis. Angel seemed to give Randy a dirty look as she was dragged away from some olfactory delight. “Good Girl, you are moving right along now.”
Just as he said that, Angel veered off the pathway into the wooded area with a vengeance and strength Randy had not previously experienced. “All right, all right. I’ll follow you this one time but let’s not make this ‘off road’ thing too frequent.”
As quickly as Angel had darted off the road, she stopped in a small, clear, flat spot and began to dig furiously. “What’s this all about, Angel? You’re not usually a digger. I don’t see anything.” Angel kept a rapid pawing and scratching of the soil motion and was succeeding in getting below the surface. “Hang on there, Little Woman, what do you think you’re doing? Digging to China or something?” Angel kept her focus on her digging and seemed to be getting deeper into the ground.
“Whoa there, Angel. Your lovely coif is getting all messed up and my lunch hour is disappearing. We’ve got to keep going – adventure or no adventure.” Randy leaned over, brushed his hand down Angel’s head and back to remove the dirt bits sticking to her fur, picked her up, and resumed walking at a much faster pace than previously. “I know, I know. You are not happy leaving your dig. I promise to bring you back here right after work so you can complete your digging challenge. Just keep the faith.”
Randy and Angel arrived at his store. He carried the Pomeranian into the back room. “Here you go, Angel. You know the drill. I put you in the Princess Crate here in the back room and you rest and relax on a plush red pillow while I put on my apron and sell more lobsters. Be a good girl.”
He grabbed his apron from a hook by the door and went back to work. The afternoon passed quickly with many customers and the usual clean-up, ordering, and book work to do. Just before locking the shop’s doors at 5 pm, Randy phoned Fay. “Hi, honey. Yes, I picked up Angel. She seemed pretty good on the way here though she needs more practice walking on a lead. Oh, and she wanted to dig in one spot in the park in the worst way. I promised her I’d take her back there after work before I come home. So, I’ll be later getting home than usual. Oh, I forgot about your bridge club tonight. Just throw my dinner on a plate. I’ll microwave it when we get back. See you later. Yes, I love you too. Bye.”
Randy once again Hooked the leash on Angel and the two of them left the store. Randy checked the door one last time to be sure it was locked. The trip back to the park was short. “Angel, you are like a woman on a mission. You are trotting along faster than I’ve ever seen you go. The closer we get to your ‘dig’ the faster you want to go. I wonder what’s so fascinating.”
“Here we are. As if I need to tell you. You’re digging already. Is there something under there you want?” The little dog was whirling dirt clods from the ground at a rapid rate. “Wow, you sure can dig, Little Woman. I’m impressed.”
Randy moved closer to Angel’s digging area and watched. “You’re down about 3 inches already and still going. Maybe you are going to China after all,” Randy smiled. He stood straight and looked around. “It’s a lovely evening. I can still smell the lilac blossoms though they’re nearly gone now. The scent of dug dirt is in the air too. Listen to the birds. They must be having a convention somewhere. Sounds like they’re all talking at once. But no human sounds. What a relief. Just nature, nature, nature. How pleasant it is. That’s another reason I love this town.”
He looked back down at his dog, now covered with bits of dirt and other debris from the dig. “You, my dear, are a mess with a capital M. You’ll need a good brushing or perhaps even a bath when we get home.” His eyes moved to the hole Angel continued to dig. He thought he saw something. “Hey, what’s that? Girl, I think you have unearthed something.” He squatted on the other side of the hole from Angel, still holding her leash in his hand, and studied the hole. “Yes, there IS something in there. Good Girl. I think you’ve found some buried treasure. Probably is something exciting like an old soda or beer can but we won’t know until we dig it out.” Angel continued her non-stop scratching and digging.
“I’ll look around here for a sturdy stick or something to help dig and pry with. Should be something that would help.” He turned in a circle in one place looking but didn’t see anything. “Let me tie you, Little Girl, to this tree branch and I’ll wander a bit. Must be something that would be helpful around here somewhere.”
Randy tied Angel’s leash to the branch and moved off to search. On an old tree nearby, he found a branch about two inches thick broken off from a big limb but still dangling from it. “If I give it a good yank, it’ll come off and I can use it.” He did and it did. He returned to Angel with his ‘poker stick’ and reclaimed the end of her leash.
More of the ‘whatever it was’ was showing in Angel’s hole on his return. It seemed to gleam slightly in the remaining sunlight filtering through the trees. “Let me put this stick in here and try to clear out the crud around it so we can get it out.” Angel obliged by moving to a new area. “There, I’ve made a groove around it on one side. I’m moving over, Angel, find a new spot.”
“Now I’ve run the stick around this side. It should be loose enough to get out now. Good, Girl. You’ve done good work here. I’ll push the end of the stick under this thing and see if we can pop it out.” He grunted and twisted the stick as he attempted to get beneath the buried object. It was hard work. “What are you doing just sitting there with your ears perked and your head tipped? Think your work is over? Think it’s my turn now? Or are you laughing at my poor, unusual tool?”
Using the stick like a wedge, he grunted with exertion. An odd, heavy, metal object dislodged itself and was loose in the hole. “I’ll be jigged, Angel, look at that. We did it. It’s some kind of tool or weapon or something like that. Here, let me pick it up.” Randy stepped gingerly into the shallow hole and picked up the object. “It’s pretty heavy,” he stated as he set it on the ground next to Angel. “Here, Girl, you check it out. It was you who found it, after all.”
Obligingly, Angel stood and walked cautiously around the object sniffing every inch of it en route. Then she sat down.
“I think you are proud of yourself, Girl. We’ll have to take this home to show Fay. It’s kind of a funny looking thing. Seems to have a sharp end and a hole on the other end. I wonder if this is something that Native Man from Five Feathers was looking for last week when I walked through here? Maybe I’ll clean it up a bit and take it to him. Maybe he knows something about it. After all, the Comanche Indians have lived here in Oklahoma for a long time. I’ve heard tell that the man I saw in the park is a descendent of the renowned Comanche warrior, Quanah. I’ve heard folks at Five Feathers speak of a Nocona. I wonder if that’s the name of the man I saw.”
Randy picked up the object Angel had found, brushed the dog off the best he could with his one free hand, and began walking toward home. “Let’s go home, Angel. I’m hungry and I bet you are too.” He set a brisk pace down Happy Valley Road to the Bushey home two blocks outside the business district. Angel, however, had other plans. She wanted to sniff and inspect every bush and tree within reach on her leash. “Come on, Girl. Let’s get a move on. I’m guessing that ‘peemail’ is worth checking but my stomach can’t wait.” He tugged on the leash and the dog trotted up beside him, held her head high, and moved along at his speed. They were home quickly.
Randy opened the overhead garage door, placed the object in a plastic grocery bag, set in on a shelf in the garage, picked up the dog brush, and sat on the front steps of the house to brush the dirt off his beloved little dog. “There, Little One, you look better now. Don’t want Mommy to see you looking like a dog from the pound.” He smiled. Picking up the dog, he unlocked the house and went in. From inside the house, he replaced the dog brush and closed the overhead door.
. . .
“Hi, Honey, I’m home,” Fay called as she entered the house through the front door.
“Oh, Fay, glad to have you home. How were the cards?”
“About the same as always, which means Jan and I didn’t do too well. How’s Angel doing?”
“She had quite the adventure this evening. She dug up some funny looking thing. I don’t know what it is. I put it on a shelf in the garage. It’s covered with dirt and crud. You should have seen Angel digging. I never saw her move her little paws so fast and furiously. She loved the digging and practically strutted home because she was so proud of herself.”
“A cruddy ol’ thing you said. What are you going to do with it?”
“I thought I’d take it to Five Feathers and see if someone there can tell me more about it. There was a man with a metal detector in the park the other day. He is a Native America who, I think, works at Five Feathers. I can’t help but wonder if he was looking for this item – whatever it is.”
Fay busied herself washing up the dishes and cleaning the kitchen that Randy had not done. “Oh, that’s interesting, Dear,” she responded distractedly.
“Maybe I’ll take it over tomorrow before work. I don’t know if anyone will be there that can help me at that hour but otherwise it will have to be after work and then the place is usually hopping with the busloads of seniors they bring in each day.”
“Ummm.” Fay murmured not having heard what Randy said.
[Continued. Join us Friday, when we publish the second installment of Angel Makes a Discovery]