Posts Tagged ‘Federal Government’

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 11, 2013

Forearm Bar Mark

Back on the Farm, Continued.

(Episode 22)

(When we last heard from Harriet, she said:

            “If any of them come sniffin’ around here, what am I supposed to say?”  Harriet dipped the gun at Stan demanding an answer. )

 

“I really don’t like telling other people what to do,” Stan replied.  When Harriet just kept looking at him, he added:  “They oftentimes won’t do what I say anyway.  Or they can’t understand.  Or they get it wrong.  Or they just ignore me!”  Stan’s demeanor changed.  His voice rose.   However, in a moment, had had calmed himself.  “…Or they misunderstand.  Or they just don’t have the wherewithal to bring it off.  Or they’re just damned lazy.  And mostly, it’s just a real bother and a waste of my time.”

“You kill people.  Isn’t that like telling them what to do?”  Harriet lifted the gun barrel.

“No.  That’s like telling them to stop.”

Stan took a long pull from his cigarette and then put it out, right there on the table.

Bob was surprised as hell it didn’t get him shot.  Especially when he looked right up at Harriet while grinding it out.  That little whisp of smoke which marked its extinction, Bob fully expected to match Stan’s extinction.  ‘Shit,’ he was married to her, and he wouldn’t have tried that.

“If I hadn’t just asked you a question and was expecting an answer, Mr. Cool-as-a-Cucumber.   I would blow that grin right through your face,” Harriet growled.  “That, plus, I am trying to understand the charm you hold and can sway over this dimwitted husband of mine.”

“Now Harriet…  Ya got the gun.  Do you have to provoke people likewise?”  Bob protested.

“Shut up!”

“Apparently I do,” Harriet barked.

“I’ll take that as a good thing.”  Stan nodded.

“You kin take it anyway you damn want,” Harriet retorted.  “But before I blow you right outta that chair there, I wanna know – just outta curiosity, and maybe for a good laugh – just what your idea about what your further plans here might be?”

“Further plans? ” Stan laughed at the gun.  But Stan was watching Harriet’s eyes.

“You know, I don’t believe I’ve ever noticed a man studying my eyes so thoughtful like before?  Perhaps I shoulda started out my female career pointing a gun at more men.”  Harriet glanced at Bob.

“A sure attention-getter.  I’ll give you that,” Bob admitted.

“And then you can shut the hell up! again,” Harriet repeated.  “Now what is it?  What are your plans here?

The hired man, Stan, took his time, wiped his mouth with the paper napkin.  He took the soiled napkin and gathered up the squashed cigarette and ashes into it, folded the bundle, and placed it neatly to the side.  He smiled at Harriet.  Harriet smiled back, and checked to make sure the safety was off.  Stan nodded.

“You know, this idea that you think hard about what you want to become in life, and then study to become it, and then you go out and find a way to make a living doing it, and then you either succeed or fail in the attempt for the most part – isn’t really how it works.”

Harriet raised her brows.   “So how did it work?  Let’s say, I’m curious.”

Stan’s brows furrowed, as if he were annoyed a bit at being interrupted.

“What more often happens is that you are doing something – which you think is going to make things the way you want them, more or less – when something happens, something comes along, usually completely out of the blue, and you have to make a choice.  And then that choice decides what you’re actually going to do with your life.  And after that, you really haven’t a lot of say about it.  Excepting maybe, how long you intend to continue.”

Harriet nodded.  And Bob nodded, as he relished his pork chop.  Bob was getting kind of lulled by Stan’s soft words and unconsciously had begun to relish his unfinished meal.  Bob reached for his fork.

“And don’t you move another inch.”  Harriet swiveled with the gun towards Bob.  “And also, shut up!”

“I didn’t say a thing!”  Bob jerked his paw back quick as a puppy could.

“I am just reminding you.”

“So what happened to me was,” Stan continued in a soft voice.  So soft in fact that each of Harriet and Bob had to lean closer to hear.  “I had a run in with the Federal Government.”  Stan rolled up his left sleeve and turned his arm palms up to reveal a bar code molded in somehow to the underarm skin of his left forearm.

Bob leaned in.  And Harriet appeared almost to have forgotten the gun, resting it on the table as she leaned over closer to have a good look, too.  And for a time the two of them just looked on the seamless skin patch of Stan’s with wonder.

“Why that looks just like something on the side of a package of Wonder Bread,” Bob said, poking it.  Harriet nodded.

“How much does something like that cost?”  Bob asked, with some admiration.

“Shut up!!!”  Harriet barked, emphasizing this by slamming the gun on the table.

Stan looked at the embedded tattoo of sorts somewhat wistfully with the regard of a old veteran for a platoon logo.   Bob moved his lips while mumbling the numbers printed up the side.  Harriet seemed to be the only one who registered that this was suddenly turning very strange.

“Who are you?”  Harriet said.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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