Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 24th Installment

         The next one to hit the slightly cooler water would be little sister Vicki. Edith would run everybody out to the back room and add more hot water. Then Linda, the oldest, would take her turn which seemed to take forever. Then Russ or sometimes I would get to jump in next, soap up, rinse off and dive into a towel all in a less than 2 minutes. The remaining hapless bather would be grimacing because the water was nearly cold and so dull you couldn't see a red apple on the bottom through six inches of milky water.

         Subsequently, when the new house under construction was almost built, Russ and I would run from the old shack we lived in over to the basement of the new house stampede down the stairs to a makeshift shower. It was amazing to have warm water spraying out of a pipe onto our heads. It wasn't a finished shower but the guy helping with the house plumbing had put some valves on the pipes and interconnected them with a shower head. There were no walls, just a floor drain, but it was deliciously new to us. The lights hadn't been installed, so we hung an old iron lamp from a truss brace and used a pull chain to turn it on and off. Once, when Russell had shut off the shower dripping wet, he padded over to the light, reached up and grabbed the chain. Zzzziit! The light shorted, and then blacked out and Russ was being electrocuted. I swear to this day that Russ was giving off a tiny bit of light and I could see his skeleton; then total blackness as the fuse blew.
I remember telling him I didn't know whether to laugh or fall apart if he were dead. However, departed men don't groan, so I was able to find him in the dark and get a grip on his slippery wet body to help him up. I told him that I saw his skeleton just like in the comic books, and I thought it was awesome. He didn't think it was humorous… in fact he moaned, “I could’ve been killed.”

Chapter 4
         The yell for us to “get up” on the first school morning came early for us, and I was dragging tail having stayed up late the night before. I rolled over and my mind and body zoned out in an instant like a baby.

         “Let’s roll,” Russ said with a kick delivered to my back side.

         “I know,” and I did know.

         The one time I didn’t get up on the first call and went back to sleep, I woke up to the Old Man, yanking off my blanket, glaring at me, with the razor strap poised and ready to strike. I’d enough time to roll up in a ball before I received a couple of very painful stripes with the leather strap. Vernon never told any of us kids twice

500 more words tomorrow

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