“Well now, looks like we got us a little situation here son.” He leans back looking at the ceiling and blows a perfect smoke ring, then another.
“Yessir. You got that right.”
He lowers his head and stares at me with his one good eye. The other, the lazy one as my dad used to call them, drifts up above me and to the left. Whatever you want to call an eye like that, I didn’t like looking at it so I concentrate on his mustache for the most part.
“And I ain’t your son.”
“Well yeah, there is that. Thank heaven for small miracles.” He shifts his position on the couch as he speaks and I follow him with the Remington. Des is a rough piece of work. My mother’s latest in a long line of boyfriends. This one was a hard man no doubt, as big as a fuckin’ doorway and not an ounce of fat on him either.
We stare at each other for a bit more.
The grandfather clock in the corner of the living room keeps its regular soft beat and that is the only other sound except the wind coming up under the eaves. There is a high whistle that stops and starts as the storm got closer.
“County Sheriff’s gonna be here, probably ten minutes.” I give him a crooked little smile.
Thunder rolls in from the west, a little louder this time and the wind chirps another high note, then dies out.
“You didn’t call them. You got as much to lose as I do you little turd. If you did call ‘em, you’re dumber than I thought. I don’t want to tell them you did it but I will if I have to.”
“Oh they’re comin’ alright. You went a little too far this time didn’t you? What’d you really do with my mother Des? No more of that bullshit story.”
“I told you boy. She’s layin’ on top of your little girlfriend over at the old Macklin place. You shine a light down into that grain bin and you’ll see‘em both.”
He points at me then, “Where you dumped them, I guess.”
Lightening comes flashing through the living room window and lights up his face for a second. He looked different for that second, like I was seeing what was really under the surface. The man was pure evil.
“I mean, all I know to tell the county sheriff is that I came home last night and you and your momma was having a bad argument. Real loud fight. Right here in this room. Something about her knowing about what happened to Rebecca. I left then, because well, it was none of my business.” He smiles and takes another drag. “That’s just the way I am, I respect people’s privacy and everything.”
“That’s bullshit. Don’t make a bit of sense. Rebecca’s left for St. Louis. Two weeks ago.”
“She never made it sparky. You were so jealous she was leavin’ you, you just couldn’t stand it. Couldn’t stand to have Rebecca dropping you for that Beason boy, and then leave town on top of that.” He smiled at me and that fucking eye did its slow drift here, there and everywhere. “They’ll believe that too, bein’ as you’re so hot tempered and jealous natured. I mean with you beatin’ the stuffing right outta that other boy that was sniffing her up awhile back? That was recent. All a that will add up.”
Now I’m confused on what to do and he’s got me spooked. I guess he saw that in my eyes, saw me falter, because he seems to relax even more.
“Or we can forget all that other story and just play this smart. Your momma’s car is gone, all her clothes, everything. I can promise you they’ll never find any of it. Yep, she just hit the road, sick a you and sick a me. Rebecca? Well, she went to St. Louis and everybody in town knows that. Just stick to that boy.”
He puts up his hands as if he is giving up and then reaches over to the end table to put his cigarette out. He chuckles low. “Hey, let’s you and I go look at ‘em after a bit. You want to? It’s the darnedest thing you ever saw, just a tangle of long hair, arms and legs splayed out ever which way. It’s a hell of a thing looking straight down at them like that. Somethin’ to see.”
The living room was much darker now. Out of nowhere lightning flashed bright and lit up the room again for a moment. Like somebody took an old style picture. A split second later a loud jagged crack rattled the old farmhouse.
“Stand up, we’re leaving.”
“I guess you didn’t call them county boys after all.” He laughs at me, then holds up a thick finger. “Before we go take a look at them women, I forgot something.”
“Fuck you, get up.”
“I been carrying it with me. It’s in my shirt pocket. Can I show it to you without you blowin’ my head off?”
“Slow. Then we’re heading over to the Macklin’s and take a look at an empty old grain bin.”
He reaches into his pocket real easy like I told him to and before he even has the silver chain all the way out, I know what it is.
“Fun while it lasted, a good two days. As they say though, all good things must end. After I strangled that pretty little neck, I just had to have this as a memory. She didn’t go easy mind you, you’d a been proud of her. And you know this a course, but boy howdy, she’s a hot piece of tail. I mean, well, she was.” He dangles the necklace in front of me, the one I gave Rebecca a year ago. Then he gives me that batshit crazy smile again. “I want you to have it instead son.”
I watch the necklace swing back and forth slowly. I can’t believe he did it but he must have. My mind is kind of shutting down now. I’m thinking crazy stuff, old familiar thoughts. I brace myself for the buck of the 12 gauge.
The loudest lightning yet strikes loud and close. Scares the livin’ shit out of me and I almost jerk the trigger. The rain is really coming down now. That high pitched whistling wind is a constant now. The storm cutting loose like this just pushes me right off the edge. Jesus. Forgive me.
I blink twice and decide to end this.
“You did me a favor you know? I was gonna kill that little bitch myself.” It was almost like somebody else was talking.
Des didn’t skip a beat. “Damn right I did you a favor. A couple of them. They both deserved it. You’re mother all but disowned you a long, long time ago. Didn’t take you out of the will yet but she was fixin’ too. She told me that.” He’s shaking his head sadly. “Always blamed you for your Dad’s accident. Yessir, your momma was a wicked thing, in a real bad way.”
He looked at me and winked. “Sometimes, wicked in a good way too.”
I felt funny inside. It was good to feel this way again. My turn to grin.
“I had you pegged boy. We play this right and get through it, the farm is yours. Come spring we’ll go down aways in the dirt with them and you can plant right over ‘em. Corn or beans, your choice.”
A minute or ten went by, I can’t really say, because my mind was kind of floating here and there for a bit.
I finally point the shotgun at the floor and stand up. The wind is just a low moan now. A long deep grumble comes rolling back to us as the fast moving storm tracks off to the east.
Des lights up another cigarette.
“Hell son, there’s plenty a girls out there too. You’ll find them, or they’ll find you. All I expect out of the deal is to be your farm manager and sell a little meth on the side for some spending money. Maybe take care of another Rebecca or two for you. I mean, after you tire of ‘em.”
That lazy eye just rolls and rolls as he talks.
Jim Wilsky is a central Illinois native with a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling. His work has appeared in Beat To A Pulp, All Due Respect, Pulp Metal, A Twist of Noir, Yellow Mama, Plots With Guns, Powder Burn Flash, Mystercial-E, The Medulla Review, Midwest Literary Magazine and others, including several print anthologies. He is supported and strengthened by an understanding wife and two beautiful daughters.
2 thoughts on “Corn Or Beans by Jim Wilsky”
I really appreciate you reading my story and the generous comment. Coming from you, makes it just that much better. Hope all is well with you.
Thanks again, Jim