229. Discovery: The Tale

Sky sure is blue, thought Riah,
Tapping on the greasy gear-shift
With her thumb.
No clouds to east, or west.
Tom had gone to shop.
She’d moved behind the wheel,
And wouldn’t leave.
“I feel like sitting,”
She’d said, to his frown.

Glance at the rear-view mirror:
Jeanette, rushing from a store.
“Riah!”–breathless–“Have you heard?”
Riah wiped the dashboard off.
She shrugged.

“I’ll tell her.”
Patty Hines. So self-assured.
Jeanette’s face disappeared.
Patty, in the mirror now,
Her eyes ablaze, her color
High, and her voice vibrant
With bad news and indignation.
“Riah. Here’s
What happened.

“Seems there’s a roadhouse–
I’m sure you don’t know–
Near to Lamesa. Last Chance,
That’s its name. Well,
I guess the other night–I
Should say morning, some say
One o’clock, some two.
Godey Fitch–bought Tally’s place–
Had stopped for coffee.
Back late, from a wake
In Hyman–anyhow, he
Sits and drinks.
No one else, to be seen,
In that bar.
Slow, it starts to come
To Godey, that he thinks
He knows this car
That’s parked outside.

It preys on Godey’s mind–
He knows that car!
But where?
The more he thinks, the more
He can’t recall. Can’t
Be no town car–
It’s a Cadillac!
With fresh paint, white.
Who’d own it, though?
He drinks a second cup.
Then he gets
A flash: the county seat.
Why, that’s the place–
No doubt.

“He casts back, thinking hard.
Extension Office?
No. Not it.
State Office, where they
Process all the checks?
Not there. But checks….
The bank.
“That’s it!” he says.
He’s seen it at the bank,
That fancy car,
At county seat.
Just then–
A door flies open.
Who walks in 
From the back room, tucking
In his shirt, and tying up
His tie, but–
Mr. Macklehouse.

“Yes. It’s him.
The same who fired Bud.
He’s a married man, too, Riah.
Owner says
He’s been out there before.
And–who
Walks out right behind him?”

Riah bowed her head.
She pressed her fingertips
Against her eyes.

“Why–Mrs. Kemp!”

2 Responses to “229. Discovery: The Tale”

  1. Gene Says:

    Oh, this poem captures that dark part of human nature that some people seem to cultivate. I think probably every office or workplace has a Patty who enjoys spreading gossip while pretending to be outraged. Why is this?

  2. sshaver Says:

    Response on Welcome Page comments!

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