Zane’s Big Day! conclusion

George wouldn’t press charges because there were no lawmen on the scene. In the west justice is swift, and there was no need to call the Sheriff. Random acts of violence were a frequent occurrence at the Sweet-Meat, and the locals had grown accustomed to fisticuffs and bloodshed. Charlie was the un-elected local authority when it came to matters such as these. He was the man whom the crowd most respected, and it fell upon Charlie to arbitrate between the warring factions. As per Charlie’s instruction, George was silently led away by two anonymous white boys who helped him stagger back to his pick-up. The three men situated themselves into the cab and quietly drove away. It didn’t take long for the crowd to disperse. Charlie realized his young boy was shaken up by the skirmish and tried his best to calm the boy’s rattled nerves. “I want you to learn a lesson from this son,” Charlie explained as Zane carefully listened. In a constructive tone Charlie said, “Fighting isn’t what it looks like in the movies, and you can’t go around running your mouth off like that. If you’re going to be a man you have to learn how to take your licks!”  Staying close to his father’s side, Zane contemplated what he had learned. The hours ticked by as the father and son team continued peddling their wares. After the selling was done, the vendors began to pack up their belongings. One by one the loaded pick-ups would disappear into the hot afternoon. “Let’s start packing up Spud-Bud,” Charlie casually announced. Zane went about the task of carrying heavy cardboard boxes to his father who was waiting in the bus. Charlie neatly arranged the cargo in a way that prevented his items from becoming damaged in transit. Upon completion, the duo entered into the forward compartment and fired up the faithful engine. Once again Charlie aimed for the huge ‘chuck-hole’ in the dirt. Once again, Zane was tickled by the sudden jolt from the suspension! They drove silently back towards home as Zane lay quietly upon the wool blanket that was neatly tucked under the mattress of his father’s twin bed.

It was just past six in the evening when the pair returned to their humble abode. Before cooking dinner Charlie set about to count his money. As was customary by now, Charlie sat down at the kitchen table with a huge pile of cash. Zane watched in admiration as Charlie proceeded to separate the notes by their denominations. On this particular day Charlie had acquired two Fifty-dollar bills as well as a vast assortment of Tens, Twenties, and Fives. Charlie arranged the bills into neatly piled stacks according to their value. The neatly arranged piles of currency reminded Zane of the card game solitary. Upon completion of his task, Charlie gathered up all of the money and excused himself from the table. He proceeded down the hallway to his bedroom. Upon arrival he placed the loot into a fire-proof lock box that he kept stowed under the bed. “I’ve got a surprise for you Spud-Bud!” He exclaimed as he returned to the kitchen where Zane sat quietly. “What’s the surprise Dad,” Zane asked?  You’ll find out soon enough Charlie informed him, as he went about the task of digging through the food pantry. “First we eat,” Charlie explained as he produced a tin of canned ‘Chinese’ food. It was a tall cylinder filled with delight Zane thought to himself as Charlie wrestled with a hand-held can opener. By the time the tin was opened the cast-iron skillet was already pre-heated. Zane’s father proceeded to dump the contents of the “La-Choy Chinese Dinner” into the hot pan which created an impressive sizzle. “After dinner I need you to take a bath,” Charlie casually announced as his stirred the limp noodles. “I’ll start it for you and help rinse out your hair.” On any ordinary occasion, Zane would scoff at the idea of getting ‘cleaned up,’ but tonight was different. Tonight there was a ‘surprise’ involved, and the boy knew it would not be revealed until he obeyed his father’s request. 

After they finished with their meal, Charlie jumped into the shower. He put a drain stopper over the cavity which led into the sewer pipes in an attempt to conserve water. He intended to just ‘rinse off really quick’ as the water pooled at his feet. About an inch of water accumulated in the bathtub by the time Charlie was finished. He quickly dried off and proceeded to don his best clothes. At this time, Charlie knelt down beside the bathtub. The water was running from the faucet as the water level increased. Knowing that it wasn’t that much extra trouble, Charlie grabbed a half-empty bottle of “Mr. Bubble.” He mixed the soapy liquid into the flowing water as a wonderfully pleasant bubble bath came into being. “Your bath is ready Spud-Bud,” Charlie hollered! Zane, who was pre-occupied with his toys, heard his father from a distance.  He immediately stopped what he was doing and bolted down the hallway which led to the small bathroom. As Zane noticed the unexpected foaming of the white bubbles he thought to himself, “this must be my surprise!” You get your clothes off and jump in, dad instructed as he closed the door behind himself. “I’ll be back in a minute to help get the soap out.”

While Zane was in the bath Charlie walked outside into the early evening. He intended on taking his newly acquired flat-bed into town, because the bus was ‘too hard to park.’ Knowing that the sky-blue Chevy was an oil burner, he popped the hood and pulled out the dipstick. Sure enough, it was two quarts low. Upon adding the supplemental engine oil, Charlie gently slammed the hood shut and proceeded back into the trailer house where his son needed assistance.

As promised, Charlie helped Zane rinse the shampoo from his hair being careful not to get soap in his eyes. Upon completion, Charlie instructed his son to drain the water. Zane obliged as Charlie placed an assortment of neatly folded clothes onto the lid of the adjacent toilet seat. Before Zane could ask if the bubbles were the surprise, Charlie announced, “We’re going to the carnival!” Charlie spouted the words with an elusive youthful enthusiasm which caught Zane off guard! Promptly upon getting dressed, Zane asked for assistance with tying his shoes. “You go get into the truck now,” Dad instructed. “I’ll meet you there in a minute!” Zane didn’t know what the word ‘carnival’ meant but judging from his father’s excitement he knew that something incredible lay in store.

Her red Mercedes stuck out like a sore thumb in the busy carnival parking lot. Louise sat quietly behind the wheel as she silently contemplated her ‘shitty marriage.’ She was a fire-creature, and she was on the prowl. She hated cheating on her husband, but she just couldn’t help herself. Suddenly she took notice of a man and a small child as they strolled past the front bumper of her car. “Someone get me a baby-sitter,” she thought as Charlie caught a passing glance! She decided to keep Charlie in her sights, so she immediately exited the vehicle. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him!  By this time Zane was begging to ride the Tilt-o-Whirl and his father eagerly obliged. Louise strategically placed herself against the vacant corner of a snow-cone vendor’s van, which provided an excellent vantage point. Charlie and his little boy were literally hand in hand as they patiently stood in line. She studied the pair as if they were lab specimens, while sub-consciously biting into her lower lip. Charlie began to laugh uncontrollably, as his boy begged him to ‘spin faster!’ As the whirling ended, the dizzy pair stumbled out of the amusement ride. “Let’s get us a snow-cone Stud-Bud,” Charlie announced in a booming voice! Louise couldn’t believe her lucky stars! “This is going to be easy,” she thought as she quickly poised herself into seductress mode.  Louise couldn’t hold back any longer and found herself being pulled towards the approaching duo. Suddenly she found herself directly in the path of the little man, so she immediately donned her most reliable smile. “Oh My Goodness…is that your son?” She asked the question as she knelt down on one knee in an effort to brush an index finger alongside of Zane’s rosy cheek. “He’s so gorgeous!” Charlie knew when a lady was suffering from a case of the vapors, and as such, he knew how to let them down easy. The fact that he was hopelessly in love with Betty made the whole process a lot simpler. He casually draped his left arm around his young son’s shoulders in an effort to display a gold wedding band. “Oh, so it’s going to be like that,” Louise thought as she slowly returned to her feet. “What are you doing after the show?” asked the flamboyant stranger. Zane thought this was a silly question, but he was too tired to make a fuss about it. At this time, Charlie gazed directly into her eyes and flashed an authentically loving smile as Louise silently melted. She was truly dumbfounded! “This is the most beautiful man I’ve ever laid eyes on,” she thought as she struggled to come up with another come-on. Zane’s Dad saved her the trouble because he explained that he had to get his boy back home to Momma. “You can’t be for real,” she thought to herself. She was unaccustomed to such warm rejection, and it stunned her. “Excuse us,” Charlie said in a respectful tone. “We’re off to get a snow cone. Come on Spud-Bud!” Louise was still reeling, and all she could manage to say was, “it was a real pleasure meeting you.”

Louise, in a state of confused amazement, staggered back to her waiting Mercedes. She had plans to head over to Bob’s Country Palace if the carnival didn’t pan out. On this particular occasion however, Louise drove herself directly to the liquor store instead. She picked up a bottle of Cuervo Gold for her husband who was slated to return in the morning. She was still daydreaming about Charlie’s striking features when a bottle of Pinot-Noir beckoned from the corner of her eye. It was at that moment she knew what had to be done. She paid for the spirits and left the store; she was suddenly eager to return to an empty house where a hot bath and candles were waiting. She couldn’t get Charlie out of her brain.

In the meantime, Charlie made an executive decision to call it. He knew his number-one-son was exhausted and so it was time to head back home. Zane struggled to keep his eyes open while riding shotgun. “Mommas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” was softly playing on the AM radio. The rhythm of the music peacefully resonated throughout the cab of the sky blue flat-bed. The lullaby soothed Zane’s optimistic soul, and soon he was fast asleep. Upon pulling into the driveway, Charlie knew Zane couldn’t walk, so he picked him up and threw the boy across his shoulder as if he were a large sack of potatoes. In the process Zane woke up long enough to realize what was happening, but he was too exhausted to make a fuss over it. With Zane asleep on his shoulder, Charlie unlocked the back door and proceeded into the trailer-house. Charlie walked softly down the dimly lit hallway so he wouldn’t jostle his boy too much. Again, Zane woke up for a brief instant as he realized he was safe in bed. “Could I get some bed milk,” Zane asked? “Nope, not tonight son! You go on back to sleep now.”

Zane’s Big Day

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *