Poltergeist Party


“Morning, Jeb.”  Phil Hawkins eased his way onto the stool one cheek at a time.  He rubbed at his bad knee; flexed it once or twice.

“Phil.”  Jeb lifted his cup of coffee, decaf of course, Jeb’s body not being able to handle caffeine in the usual manner. 

Phil gestured to Bitsy and turned over his coffee cup.  He noticed a ring of wet in the saucer, poured it out onto the paper placemat and watched the water stain the red you are here flag indicating their approximate location in the southeast corner of the state of Ohio.  “We need rain a awful lot.”

Jeb nodded.  “We do.”  Jeb never was one for the small talk.


“You hear about that windmill?”

“Which?”

“The one down to Daddy Sheriff’s a’ course.  Ain’t all that many windmills in Medford, Jeb.”
Bitsy finally wound her way over to Phil’s coffee cup and poured it full—all the way to the rim, just the way he liked it—with strong black coffee.  Caffeinated.  Phil needed the jolt every morning.

“What about it?”

“They say it’s been spinnin’”

“Windmills do that, Phil.”

“We ain’t had no wind, Jeb,” Bitsy observed.  “No wind.  No rain.”

“Dry as a popcorn fart,” Phil added and Jeb chuckled in spite of himself.  Thus encouraged, Phil continued.  “They say it’s the soul of Daddy Sheriff, come back to atone for his sins.”

“Daddy Sheriff ain’t got no soul, Phil,” Bitsy said.  She looked around.  “Hush up, now.  You’re giving the little ones a fright.”  She nodded to a group of boys sitting in the front booth, sipping frozen Coke through thick straws.  Too early for pop, if you asked Bitsy.  But no one ever did. 

Phil took a sip of his coffee and cleared his throat loudly.  “Them kids ain’t a’skeered.”  He looked over at the booth.  “Are you boys?”

“No sir,” Jim Jenkins said.  “We ain’t afraid of nothing.”

Phil smiled.  “I’m fixing to arrange a poltergeist party down there tonight.   You interested, Jeb?”

Jeb shook his head.  “I got the cows to milk.”

“You don’t milk cows after dark, Jeb.  You afraid?  Them boys ain’t afraid, even.”

“I’ll go,” Jim piped up.  “All of us will go, won’t we boys?”

There followed an eager chorus of general agreement. 

“Even your own kid is going, Jeb.  You sure you won’t go ‘long?”

Jeb sighed.  “What time?”

* * *

By nine o’clock Phil had his equipment set up: Tape recorder.  Video camera.  Nikon strapped around his thick and sweaty neck.  He slapped at a mosquito, rubbed its remains on his jeans.  Looked around the field.  “Now where’d them boys get to?”  He asked himself.  “Shoulda’ known they’d chicken out.”  He shook his head, settled heavily into his lawn chair and opened his thermos of coffee.

Despite the coffee, he must have fallen asleep.  He woke with a start to the sound of haunting.  “Phil,” he heard and, upon hearing, the hairs upon his neck stood straight up.  “Phil,” the voice came again, and Phil knew, he knew that Daddy Sheriff hisself was calling. 

“Sweet Jesus,” Phil prayed aloud, even though Phil wasn’t one for praying.  As he watched, a figure came into view at the base of the windmill.  It was white.  No that wasn’t right.  It was see-through.  Phil held up his binoculars.  The figure wore Daddy Sheriff’s cowboy hat; pinned to its white body was Daddy Sheriff’s badge. 

If Phil could’ve sprung to his feet, he would’ve.  Instead, he hoisted himself out of his lawn chair, knocked over his thermos of coffee and tottered to his truck, hoping he wouldn’t wet himself before he made it there.

Phil spun out of the field and drove away in a flurry of dust and prayers shouted to heaven.

But perhaps, had he driven a mite more slowly; perhaps, had he had his window open, Phil would have heard Jeb’s voice settle into a low chuckle.  “Damn it, boys.  We didn’t even get a chance to spin that windmill.”

 This was written for a Studio 30+ prompt.  






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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Poltergeist Party

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Poltergeist Party


“Morning, Jeb.”  Phil Hawkins eased his way onto the stool one cheek at a time.  He rubbed at his bad knee; flexed it once or twice.

“Phil.”  Jeb lifted his cup of coffee, decaf of course, Jeb’s body not being able to handle caffeine in the usual manner. 

Phil gestured to Bitsy and turned over his coffee cup.  He noticed a ring of wet in the saucer, poured it out onto the paper placemat and watched the water stain the red you are here flag indicating their approximate location in the southeast corner of the state of Ohio.  “We need rain a awful lot.”

Jeb nodded.  “We do.”  Jeb never was one for the small talk.


“You hear about that windmill?”

“Which?”

“The one down to Daddy Sheriff’s a’ course.  Ain’t all that many windmills in Medford, Jeb.”
Bitsy finally wound her way over to Phil’s coffee cup and poured it full—all the way to the rim, just the way he liked it—with strong black coffee.  Caffeinated.  Phil needed the jolt every morning.

“What about it?”

“They say it’s been spinnin’”

“Windmills do that, Phil.”

“We ain’t had no wind, Jeb,” Bitsy observed.  “No wind.  No rain.”

“Dry as a popcorn fart,” Phil added and Jeb chuckled in spite of himself.  Thus encouraged, Phil continued.  “They say it’s the soul of Daddy Sheriff, come back to atone for his sins.”

“Daddy Sheriff ain’t got no soul, Phil,” Bitsy said.  She looked around.  “Hush up, now.  You’re giving the little ones a fright.”  She nodded to a group of boys sitting in the front booth, sipping frozen Coke through thick straws.  Too early for pop, if you asked Bitsy.  But no one ever did. 

Phil took a sip of his coffee and cleared his throat loudly.  “Them kids ain’t a’skeered.”  He looked over at the booth.  “Are you boys?”

“No sir,” Jim Jenkins said.  “We ain’t afraid of nothing.”

Phil smiled.  “I’m fixing to arrange a poltergeist party down there tonight.   You interested, Jeb?”

Jeb shook his head.  “I got the cows to milk.”

“You don’t milk cows after dark, Jeb.  You afraid?  Them boys ain’t afraid, even.”

“I’ll go,” Jim piped up.  “All of us will go, won’t we boys?”

There followed an eager chorus of general agreement. 

“Even your own kid is going, Jeb.  You sure you won’t go ‘long?”

Jeb sighed.  “What time?”

* * *

By nine o’clock Phil had his equipment set up: Tape recorder.  Video camera.  Nikon strapped around his thick and sweaty neck.  He slapped at a mosquito, rubbed its remains on his jeans.  Looked around the field.  “Now where’d them boys get to?”  He asked himself.  “Shoulda’ known they’d chicken out.”  He shook his head, settled heavily into his lawn chair and opened his thermos of coffee.

Despite the coffee, he must have fallen asleep.  He woke with a start to the sound of haunting.  “Phil,” he heard and, upon hearing, the hairs upon his neck stood straight up.  “Phil,” the voice came again, and Phil knew, he knew that Daddy Sheriff hisself was calling. 

“Sweet Jesus,” Phil prayed aloud, even though Phil wasn’t one for praying.  As he watched, a figure came into view at the base of the windmill.  It was white.  No that wasn’t right.  It was see-through.  Phil held up his binoculars.  The figure wore Daddy Sheriff’s cowboy hat; pinned to its white body was Daddy Sheriff’s badge. 

If Phil could’ve sprung to his feet, he would’ve.  Instead, he hoisted himself out of his lawn chair, knocked over his thermos of coffee and tottered to his truck, hoping he wouldn’t wet himself before he made it there.

Phil spun out of the field and drove away in a flurry of dust and prayers shouted to heaven.

But perhaps, had he driven a mite more slowly; perhaps, had he had his window open, Phil would have heard Jeb’s voice settle into a low chuckle.  “Damn it, boys.  We didn’t even get a chance to spin that windmill.”

 This was written for a Studio 30+ prompt.  






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4 Comments:

At July 12, 2012 at 8:06 PM , Anonymous Carrie said...

well, clearly I have missed some of the story if Daddy Sheriff is now DEAD!!!

Besides that, fun scene. I like how the quiet one got him in the end :)

 
At July 14, 2012 at 7:37 AM , Anonymous Coming East said...

Again, I love this. Your scenes are so clear, and the dialogue rings so true. I could see your characters on a big screen. You should consider writing a screenplay.

 
At July 14, 2012 at 8:59 AM , Anonymous Erin @Momfog said...

I love stories like this. Small town folks having fun at each other's expense. I like the innocence of it. Great story.

 
At July 15, 2012 at 1:42 PM , Anonymous jaum said...

Love the visit to Medford.. Like Erin states below Small town practical jokes almost like the Eggs of Blue Heron Fame. Love the depth you manage to get into these people.

 

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