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Cherokee Purple

by Rob Hunter

part 6 of 9

Charley Hoskins had constructed a little line of one-room cabins behind his gas station and garage. At the General Longstreet Factory Findings got a rate — three dollars per cabin per week. Six bucks altogether for the General Longstreet’s equivalent of the Presidential suite, including a weekly change of sheets and fresh towels occasionally. The flypaper was for free.

The tractor came to a stop outside my cabin. The ratcheting of a hand brake, followed by a tearing of cloth, a muffled female curse and steps on gravel. A knock.

“Hi there, it’s me.” It was Norma. The tractor’s engine was still running. I pulled on my boxer shorts and stood behind the door. I pulled it open as I backed up reaching for my pants.

“I got caught on something mechanical.” She fussed with torn lace on one ravaged sleeve, gave it up as a bad job and ripped it off. “There.”

She sashayed in the door, smelling of lavender dusting powder. She looked bandbox fresh in a dotted Swiss organdy frock with a deep V-neck and puffed sleeves pushed way off-the-shoulder.

“Aren’t I quite the belle?” She toyed with a long ribbon that depended from a broad brimmed straw hat. She did a little spin, hanging at the threshold for effect.

She wanted an invitation. Ladies got an invitation.

“Ladies get an invitation,” I said, “You are quite the belle. Come in all the way and let’s talk. Watch out for the flypaper.” I was glad I had emptied the chamber pot.

She checked out the cabin. “Very rive gauche. Sauvage, bohemian.”

Well, I guessed so. “They say the General Longstreet brings out the French in a girl.”

Extending a dainty middle finger, Norma flicked at the end of the flypaper. This precipitated a pendulum effect. “Très chic. Too, too, classy.” She was translating as she spoke. It was like meeting Ernest Hemingway — avec flypaper, minus the bulls and the booze. Plus the see-through organdy. With a mournful buzzing, the twisting roll of paper cast weird shadows as it swung under the single bulb.

Proceed to part 7...

Copyright © 2009 by Rob Hunter

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