Posted by: rcwriter | February 13, 2009

Kith ‘n Kin, Part 2


It’s Fiction Friday again! This week it’s hosted by The Surrendered Scribe. Here’s part 2 of the story I started last week. Click here to read part 1.

Meet Earl

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My mouth watered as I inhaled the wonderful aromas adorning my mother’s table. She and Aunt Gloria went all out on this Sunday dinner. Moussaka and Pastitsio were surrounded by bean salad, roasted potatoes (with lemon and garlic), and fried mushrooms, zucchini, and sweet peppers. Aunt Gloria’s prized homemade Greek bread, and baked Feta sat in the middle of the table on either side of Mom’s stuffed grape leaf wreath salad. I didn’t expect her to make this. She usually only makes it for special family gatherings. Guess she thinks this is one of them.

Before I could admire the dessert table, I heard the loud blug, blug, blug of Tarzan’s Harley coming down the street. I retreated to the far corner of the dining room, while the rest of the family rushed to the windows. They all slid their fingers between the slats of the blinds. They would have been less obvious snatching the blinds open. Mumblings and gasps of shock ran through the house like the wave at a football game. I just snickered.

Mom, who believes proper manners and etiquette could facilitate world peace (I call her Emily Post’s Enforcer), welcomed Aunt Kith and Tarzan as any proper hostess would. Although, I could tell she was reluctant to shake his hand. She made all the proper introductions using his given name of Earl Barker. His insistence she call him Tarzan went unheeded. I just covered my mouth with my hand, and shook my head. This was definitely going to be a very ‘special family’ gathering.

Once introductions were made, we found our place cards and took our seats. Before everyone could fill their plates, my mother started the interrogation. “So, Earl, what do you do? Do you have a job?’

The glare Aunt Kith gave my mother could have bored holes through her head.

Tarzan heaped a pile of roasted potatoes on his plate and grinned. “I’m a tattoo artist downtown. I have to work to support my habit.”

“You’re habit?”

I could tell Aunt Gloria intentionally left out the word “drug,” and so did everyone else.

Tarzan gave out a hearty laugh. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to sound that way.”

“His motorcycle is his ‘habit.” Kith clarified with a chuckle.

“Yeah, Old Bessie is my bike. Actually, she’s more of a hobby than a habit.”

“Kith, where did you two meet?” The smirk on my dad’s face told me he was enjoying this conversation more and more.

Tarzan and Kith looked at each other and giggled. In unison, they said, “Jail.”

Silverware clattered against plates and several family members choked on their drinks. I couldn’t even glance at Dad, or I’d fallen out of my chair laughing.

Being the ever cool hostess, my mother said, “What do you mean ‘jail?’”

Tarzan took a moment, but his smile never disappeared. He interlaced his hand with Kith’s. “I had heard about this new prison ministry starting up at my church. Since I’m a product of a prison ministry, I felt it my calling to reach others. So, I joined. At the first team meeting, I met this wonderful lady.” He raised her hand to his lips.

For several moments they looked into each other’s eyes silently communicating. It was a poignant moment—but not for everyone else.

Forgoing proper table etiquette, Aunt Gloria propped her elbows on the table. She wiped her mouth and dropped the napkin into her half eaten plate. Things were starting to head downhill.

“Earl, why did you go to prison?” Aunt Gloria’s eyes were stone and her face chiseled.

Kith’s eye’s became just as cold and hard, and her face just as set. “Gloria! Tha…”

Tarzan rested his hand lightly on Kith’s. “Sweetie, it’s all right.” He turned to Gloria and said, “I’ve done things in my past that I’m not proud of. My father took off when I was 6, and my mother, God rest her soul, worked two jobs to keep me and my three brothers clothed and fed. With no fatherly supervision, we were left to try and figure out manhood alone. That’s when my two older brothers pulled me and my younger brother into the biker movement in the 70’s. We went all over the place. Robbed gas stations, liquor stores, transported narcotics, you name it. Then on January 12, 1982—my 28th birthday, my brothers’ and I were caught boosting a liquor store by an off duty policeman. There was a shootout. Two of my brother’s died that night. The other one was shot in the neck and is now a quadriplegic, and I got 20 years in jail. I’ve been out for a little over five years.”

The room fell silent as everyone processed his story. I took a sip of my water and looked at my dad. He winked and smiled. He seemed to be waiting for something.

My mother sat straight in her chair and folded her napkin into a perfect rectangle. “Earl, you say you’ve only been out of jail for five years. Exactly how old were you when you were released.”

A cold chill rolled through me like a brisk January wind. I glanced at my dad. He was still smiling, but he stared into his plate. I did the same.

Before Tarzan could speak, Kith said, “If you’re wondering about his age, he’s 55. So you don’t have to do the math, that’s a 20 year age difference.”

You could have heard a pin drop, that is, after you heard everyone’s jaws hit the floor.

Want to read more great fiction? Go to The Surrendered Scribe for more.

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Responses

  1. I LOVE this. I enjoyed part one last week and was thrilled to read part 2 this week (even if a little late due to company over the weekend). I hope there will be more! (Are these from a book? If so I want it. If not–I still want it, so you’d better write it! :-))

  2. LOL! Such fun to read! I’m glad I got to read a part 2…is there by an chance a part 3 coming up? Loved to hear this family ‘convo’ over dinner. What a hoot! ^_^

  3. Just like the old movie, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”! What a gathering this dinner woudl be…would love to “see” what ahppens next. ( :

  4. Now THAT would be quite the family dinner! oh. my.

  5. Ok…where is the rest! Would love to be a fly on the wall there! Wonderful characterization and story, but I want more!

    Thanks for being a part of Fiction Friday!


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