Snowed – Part 7


snowed cover image for blogThe snow finally stops and Mike gets the sidewalks blown. He’s just walked into his home when his phone rings. It’s Molly asking him to come over and open a jar for her.

Even if it was 40 below out there, I sweated a lot clearing the snow. I put on more deodorant and a fresh shirt and sweater. Grabbing my keys, I trotted next door. It was colder than a witch’s tit outside. My granddad would say, “Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” Not sure if that’s true or not, but by damn it was cold. My breath came in white clouds and my lungs hurt by the time I got to Molly’s door. I didn’t even knock and she opened the door. Warmth, light, music and voices tumbled out the door. Everyone from the apartment complex was there. They all grinned, waving at me, yelling “SURPRISE!”

Admittedly, it was. I thought maybe Molly and Jesse would make me dinner or something. I didn’t expect something like this. Laughing like an idiot, I walked in. My neighbors clapped me on the back, wishing me the best. There must have been at least 20 people there. I gave Molly and Jesse each a big hug and a kiss.

“Thank you,” I murmured. “This is the best birthday party I ever had.”

I swear to God, I wanted to cry. My own family was calling, giving me shit and a whole bunch of people I wasn’t even related to, gave me the best party of my life. We were all drinking like crazy. What the hell, no one had to drive home. They sang Happy Birthday, a whole lot better than my mother, and everyone was genuinely interested in me. I think that was the best part. It was all about me, not my brother, with a side order of Ma. And nobody gave two shits it was Halloween. I couldn’t remember another time that had happened in my entire life.

After the cake and ice cream, I thought we were all done until two of the women went in the bedroom and started bringing out presents. I was stunned. I never saw so many gifts—even at my bar mitzvah. Molly brought out a camera and took pictures while one of the other neighbors kept up a running description for Jesse. These folks hadn’t scrimped on presents either. I got DVD’s, books, CD’s, some of them got together and bought me an e-book reader loaded with all kinds of books with credit for more.

By this time, I was feeling the tears burn my eyes. I made the excuse I had to go to the head and went in there for a quiet cry. I didn’t actually cry full on, but I got those sobbing hiccups and squeezed out a tear or two. Once I was back in control, I went back out where I was greeted like a long lost hero.

One of the guys plied me with alcohol while two of the women sat on either side of me, kissing me in more than a friendly fashion. I knew this kind of action wasn’t gonna sit well with Molly, so I suggested to the women that we take it next door. They offered to help carry my gifts over for me.

Before I knew it, it was me and at least two women in the middle of my bed. Then again, it could have been me and one very aggressive woman, cause I was pretty drunk by that time and couldn’t exactly see straight. I’m not sure who that chick was, but damn! She loved me six ways until Sunday! I might not remember who she was, but I sure remembered the crazy, sorta kinky things we did that night. They will go down in my memories outstanding sexual moments for damn sure!

She was gone by the time I woke up the next day. I was damn glad it was Saturday, cause I’d slept until noon. Realizing that I’d missed my grocery date with Molly and Jesse, I got up and showered. In the kitchen, I found a note from the mystery lady taped to the fridge.

“Mike, I had a great time last night! Wow, who knew you were so much fun? Sorry to skip out like this, but I have to work today. Let’s get together and do this again sometime, huh? Call me! XOXOXO” And no name.

I swore. A lot. I couldn’t remember who she was and she hadn’t left her name or number. So unless she initiated something again, I wasn’t ever gonna find out—unless Molly told me. Which she might or might not do. I knew she wouldn’t approve of how I behaved. She’s pretty religious and I had overstepped those rigorous guidelines just by kissing that girl in front of her. Knowing that I’d had sex with a woman I didn’t remember would probably send her through the roof! I know I’m Jewish, but my Ma was raised Catholic. So I had a pretty good idea I had just stepped onto the threshold of Purgatory and my other foot was hovering over Hell. Not a pretty way to wake up the day after my birthday.

I called Molly to see when she wanted to grocery shop.

“Anytime you’re ready, sweetheart. I didn’t figure you’d be in any shape, so I slept in myself.”

“Hell of a great party, Molly. Thank you. I never had such a good time.”

“Really?” She sounded surprised.

“Gabe’s the golden child. His birthdays were always special. Mine were Halloween parties with birthday cupcakes. They were fun, but he got all the best stuff.”

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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Snowed – Part 6


snowed cover image for blogMike gets his groceries and chats with Deidre, a girl who used to ride his bus. She makes quite a point of letting him know how old she is. He thinks she’s attractive, but doesn’t want to get involved with a much younger woman.

I made the grocery delivery and went back to my place for a nap. It was still snowing and I had to wonder if Halloween trick or treat was going to be postponed. I put away my groceries, set an alarm for an hour and lay down on the couch for a nap. No need to mess up a perfectly good bed. Besides, I’d sleep too heavily if I went to the bedroom and not sleep at night.

I slept heavily anyway, with very erotic dreams. I couldn’t see the woman involved very clearly, but God, could I feel her. It was a very tactile dream. I could feel her skin and smell her perfume. I never had a dream that vivid before. If I ever met that woman, I would know her by her scent. She smelled like fresh flowers, sunshine and pure seduction. I woke before my hour was up, jizzed all over myself. Not my most favorite way to wake. Cussing like crazy, I decided to take a shower. I had intended to wait until after cleaning the sidewalks, but a glance outside told me that the snow hadn’t stopped yet.

It wasn’t even 2:00 and the sky was dark. Halloween festivities canceled, I was betting. No one in their right minds would let kids out in this mess. I went to check on the ladies. They were both at Molly’s and wouldn’t open the door for me. I had to stand on the porch freezing my freshly laundered ass off. Figuring they were plotting a birthday celebration, I went back home and made myself a bowl of popcorn while I watched Grandma’s Boy on DVD. I was dozing off again, the popcorn forgotten on my lap, when my phone rang.

“Hey, Mike!” My brother, Gabe. He never even waits for me to say hello. He assumes I want to talk to him, which mostly, I don’t.

“Gabriel, hi.” I hoped I didn’t sound as unenthusiastic as I felt.

“You got company or something?” He sounded curious and somewhat disappointed.

“No. I was catching a nap. Didn’t have to work today, it snowed.” I realized what I’d said and wanted to kick myself in the balls. I’d told Ma I was working.

“Oh. Um. . . Well, sorry. Thought maybe you’d got lucky.”

I laughed rather rudely. “It’s like 4:00 in the afternoon here, Gabriel. I haven’t had time to get lucky.”

“Well, I called to wish you happy birthday, bro. I got hung up at work. I got promoted, more responsibility.”

“That’s great, Gabe.” How does every conversation always turn into being all about him?

“Ma says she told you our big news.”

“Yeah. Congratulations. Four kids, huh? Big, happy family.”

“Yeah. . . . I’m worried about you, Mike. You need a girlfriend. More than that, man, you need a wife. Someone to take care of you. You’re not a kid anymore.”

“You make me sound ancient! I’m twenty-seven, not Methuselah! You’re only a couple years younger.”

“And I’ve got a career and three kids now. I have a beautiful wife and a big house. You’ve got an apartment and a Jeep.”

“Do we have to do this? It’s my birthday. I’d like for once not to have to get the I’m better than you are lecture.”

“Is that what you think this is?”

“Gabe, that’s what this always is. You and Ma tag team me and tell me what loser I am. Then you go to bed at night knowing you’re better than me. I hope it makes you feel good. Really, I do. Cause this is the last time I’m listening politely. I’m not your bitch or your whipping boy—I’m your older brother. I taught you how to drive and shave and chase girls. I introduced you to your first girlfriend. I told you what to do when you finally got laid. I’m the guy who got you drunk and stoned for the first time—and you’re lecturing me like I’m a three year old.”

“But see, Mike, that’s where your head still is. You’re still the cool older brother getting his little brother high and laid. When are you gonna grow past that?”

I sighed, shaking my head, and hung up on him. I don’t know what made me do it, but I couldn’t continue that conversation. I was too damn tired—and, if I’m honest, kind of depressed.

It had finally stopped snowing. I got my snow blower out and cleared our porches and sidewalks. For the next hour, I didn’t think about anything but how glad I was I lived so far from home. If I was in the City with my family, I would be in Bellevue by now. I don’t much relish the idea that I’d be crazy, locked in a padded room, because my family is dysfunctional.

My phone rang again. This time it was Molly.

“Happy Birthday!” She said loudly. “I need you to come over and open a jar for me, Mike. This cold weather has really got my arthritis acting up.”

“Sure, Molly. I’ll be over in a couple minutes.”

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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Snowed – Part 5


snowed cover image for blogThe day improves greatly after a short visit with Molly, who has his favorite cookies, and Jessamine, her next door neighbor. Mike sets out to run some errands for the ladies.

Laughing, I kissed her cheek. “I’ll be back soon. Don’t go out yet. The stoop is pretty snowy and who knows if the ice has built up. You let me check and sand it down before you go anywhere, even to get the mail.”

“You’re such a good boy.” She patted my cheek.

“You be sure to tell my mother that, huh? She thinks I’m a mess.”

She pursed her lips, shaking her head. “I’m not gonna say it. I truly am not. It’s not polite to speak ill behind someone’s back.”

“Tell it to her face when she comes to visit next week.” With that, I opened and shut the door without saying goodbye.

“You won’t get out of this conversation like that,” she called after me. “You be careful on the road!”

“I will,” I called back.

I own a four wheel drive Jeep. It’s hell on gas, but great for storms. I even put a plow on sometimes and make a little extra cash clearing parking lots or digging out neighbors’ cars. Since I mostly use my bike to get to my bus, it’s not too bad. I buzzed over to the grocery store, got the things Jesse had on her list, picked up shaving cream and toothpaste for myself, along with coffee and half and half. I tossed in a bag of cinnamon bagels and some cream cheese and a pizza for dinner.

The girl at the cash register used to ride my bus. Her name is Deirdre and she’s maybe 17. She is one hot little number, but my over age dick ain’t goin’ anywhere near that delicious, delectable piece of jailbait. For some reason, she thinks I’m hot. I dunno. I’m not bad, but I’m not Adonis. It’s flattering that a girl her age thinks I’m attractive—but I repeat—jailbait.

“Mr. Mike, hi!” She batted her eyes at me. “I guess I can call you just plain Mike now, huh? Since I graduated and all.”

“Yeah, you can. That’s only for high school graduates. Anyone else, they gotta show respect for Big Mike, yo.” I thumped myself on the chest.

Deidre giggled, tossing her head. Long, wispy black hair flew out of her face. I noticed her eyes were a remarkable shade of emerald green and wondered if they were contacts. I was glad we had a conveyor belt and cash register between us cause I was feeling the lack of a social life right about then. I didn’t want her noticing I was suddenly packing heat, if you catch my drift.

“Having a Halloween party tonight?” She had noticed all the stuff for Jesse.

“My neighbor.”

“Bummer. I was gonna ask for an invite. You and me should party sometime, Mike.”

“Deidre, you’re a gorgeous girl, but I’m way too old for you.”

“What? You’re like twenty-five, right?”

“Two years ago. I just turned twenty-seven.”

“No fooling? You don’t look it. In fact, I should really card you for that wine.” She raised an eyebrow at me.

“Come on, D. You aren’t gonna bust my balls over that. I swear, I’m of age.”

“I gotta card you, Mike. I could lose my job if I don’t. You don’t want that to happen, do you?”

“I couldn’t sleep at night if I was responsible.”

I pulled out my license and showed it to her. She studied it a moment or two longer than I thought necessary, then handed it back to me.

“You’re still totally gorgeous,” she said very softly. “And I’m not quite as young as I look. I got held back a year and I have a late December birthday. I’ll be twenty soon. Will you go out with me then?”

I smiled, taking my license back. “You never know, D. Course, I’ll have to card you.” I gave some extra emphasis on that, giving it a little bit of a subtle sexual twist.

She grabbed a little balloon from the side of the cash register, dropped some cash in the drawer and handed it to me.

“Happy birthday, Mike. I hope you have a great day.”

“Thanks, Deidre. You too.”

“Oh, I intend to. See ya.”

I walked out of the store, feeling the eyes of all her co-workers on me. Was it my imagination, or were they all chattering about me as I left? I couldn’t tell for sure, but my neck and ears were burning and I felt like I had molten lava in my pants. I was glad I had on a long jacket, cause I was sporting the boner from hell. I headed to the Jeep in a frigid wind. One good thing, the cold and snow took care of the red hot party in my pants. Nothing like 40 below wind chill to shrink a dick.

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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Snowed – Part 4


snowed cover image for blogMike watches the weather with mounting disquiet and decides to check on the two elderly ladies that live in the duplex next to his. He first calls on Molly before checking on her neighbor, Jessamine.

She watches DVDs of her favorite TV shows. Right now, it was Remington Steele. The show is older than me, but it’s still good. She’s got me hooked on it too.

“I came to see if you want me to police the sidewalks later.”

“Oh, please. I can’t pay you for it, but I got gas for the blower.”

“I don’t need your money, Molly. Pay me out in cookies. I can eat my weight in those.”

She giggled happily, knowing it was true. I’m a pretty good sized guy. I don’t mean I’m fat, I’m solid. About six feet, I weigh maybe 190. It’s muscle though, I want to emphasize. I lift weights, hike, ride my bike around town, do yard work, that kind of thing.

“Hey, you know what? You could give me some tips. My mom and a couple others are coming for a visit. I don’t have any idea what to buy.”

“Will they be eating with you?”

“I dunno. Ma didn’t say. I need some stuff, maybe breakfast, coffee, that sort of thing.”

“I’ll make you a list while you eat your cookies. When are they coming?”

“This time next week.”

“Then we’ll have time to go to the store together this weekend and stock up. I’ll fix some meals for you, if you buy the ingredients.”

“Super, Molly. You’re the best. I swear, if I was older, I’d snap you up!”

“If I was younger and half my size, I’d let you.” She blushed, batting her eyelashes.

We always tease like this. Truthfully, if she was just half her size, I’d do her in a heartbeat. She’s a beautiful woman with a lot of spirit. I could, quite frankly, do a lot worse. But I just can’t make myself seduce a woman who weighs almost three hundred pounds. I’m not that desperate.

She worked on a list, I ate cookies and we waited for the snow to stop. I visited with her awhile, watched Vintage Steele and I went next door to Jesse’s apartment.

Jessamine Williams is a lovely black woman who is old enough to be my grandmother. She’s small, delicate boned, a real lady. Her hair is as dark as night, her smile radiant. I take her shopping too, and the three of us have an awesome time aggravating everyone in the grocery store.

“You’ve been visiting Molly. I smell chocolate on your breath. Those cookies will be the death of you.”

“I’ll work it off later doing your front walk, Jesse. I’ll never gain an ounce.”

“You say that now when you’re a young man. Give you a few more years, you’ll start to pudge right out. Happened to my boys, it’ll happen to you too. My youngest was all skin and bones until he hit thirty, then it went all to fat.”

“I’m not thirty yet.”

“That’s right. It’s someone’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, Michael!”

“Thanks, Jesse.”

“I’ll bet Molly didn’t even say a word.”

I thought back to the hour and a half I’d spent next door. “Nope, not a thing.”

“She didn’t forget. She had those cookies on purpose. They were going to be a surprise. However, we’ve a thing or two up our sleeves.”

“Got your candy for tonight?” I changed the subject, not wanting her to tell anymore secrets.

“All set,” she said with a grin. “What’s it like having a birthday on Halloween?”

I shrugged, forgetting for a moment she couldn’t see me. She has glass eyes that look very realistic. Sometimes I forget.

“I can’t hear a shrug, Michael. Well?”

“I dunno, Jesse. Not so different from any other day, except everyone dressed up in costumes for my birthday party. We always went trick or treating after. I think my brother always felt cheated.”

“Why?”

“Cause his birthday’s in May. Half the time, it’s Mother’s Day. He hates to share.”

“Selfish little prick,” she said in a matter-of-fact tone.

“Truer words,” I agreed with a chuckle. “I need to run some errands provided it’s not too snowy. You need anything?”

She handed me a neatly written list. I don’t know how she can do that when she can’t see a thing, but her handwriting is better than mine will ever be. I glanced at the list.

“These are party supplies, Jesse.”

She put her finger to her lips. “Shh. I won’t tell if you won’t.” Then she winked at me, handing me some money.

© Dellani Oakes 2014

To Buy Dellani’s Books 

amazon page for books

Snowed – Part 3


snowed cover image for blogMike’s day hasn’t started very well. A phone call from his mother, wishing him an almost 30 birthday and the shock of a surprise visit, hasn’t made him the happiest man in Wyoming. Far from it. She has to get her digs in, telling him how successful his younger brother is.

“Your brother has three children—almost four.”

“His wife is pregnant again? Good grief! They never heard of birth control?”

“And you don’t have any.”

“Well, that’s not a for sure. There was that time in Atlantic City I hooked up with that chick at the roulette table and we fooled around most of the night. I could of got her pregnant. . . .”

“Michael! Such a thing to say to me!”

“You’re always wanting to discuss my fruit, Ma. I could have fruit. I could have lots of fruit. I’m a pretty fertile guy, love to sow my seed. In fact, I bet even if Gabe’s been married five years, I’ve sown more seed than he has. Maybe not here lately. . . .”

“We’re bringing someone to meet you,” Ma continued, ignoring my comments.

“Oh? I thought you and Chet were coming alone.”

“Chester. He doesn’t approve of nicknames.”

“Whatever. Who is it?”

“His daughter. She’s about your age. She’s not married. Divorced—very well. . . .”

“Then she’s not gonna want a bus driver for a husband.”

“The point is, he treated her lousy. She needs a good man. You may be a loser, but you wouldn’t treat her bad.”

“I’m not a loser, Ma. This is a career choice.”

“Some career! You drive a bus full of noisy, rotten kids! What kind of job is that for a man your age?”

I sighed, having had this conversation more than once. “Ma, I gotta go. Big day today with the field trip.”

Her only reply was a sniffle. I was supposed to pick up on this and get all tender and sympathetic, but I didn’t care. My life had been laid out in front of me in black and white. Perhaps I’m not too happy with what I’m seeing. Perhaps the worst thing in the world is to turn twenty-seven and be a bus driver in Cheyenne, Wyoming—but I doubt it.

“I gotta go, Ma. I’ll see you next week.”

“Chester keeps kosher.”

I hung up before I said something really grotesque to my mother. If her Chester keeps kosher, why’s he hooked up with a shiksa like my ma? Then again, he may not know she’s shiksa. Then again, he may not care. As long as you don’t eat the pork, you can still give it to the attractive, forty-eight year old shiksa.

“I’m going to hell. . . .” I was convinced of this because of the thoughts I was having about my mother and her kosher keeping boyfriend. “I am going straight to hell. . . .”

Even though I didn’t have to go to work, I was effectively awake. I debated whether I wanted to shave, but as cold as it is outside, I’m thinking of growing a beard. It was still snowing like crazy. I had snow covering my sidewalk about three inches. It occurred to me that the two disabled ladies down the way might need some help. We’re supposed to keep the sidewalks clear, but they can’t get out when the weather is bad. The first major investment I made after getting a car, was a snow blower. I’m not insane. I’m not schlepping a snow shovel.

Our complex is set up like a series of duplexes. Two apartments, side by side, two buildings next to one another, with two more buildings a few yards behind, facing the other way. All of us are grouped around a central courtyard and the lucky folks inside overlook the pool. Those apartments cost a little more, so the ladies and I forgo the view and pay less per month.

Bundling myself up, I walked down to Molly Harper’s apartment. She’s a lady my mother’s age to whom life has not been as kind. Disabled after an accident where a car hit her in a parking lot, she doesn’t get around too well. I take her to the grocery store on Saturdays and do odd jobs around her place. In return, she pays me a little, when I can’t talk her out of it, and fixes amazing meals to stock my freezer. Next to her is Jessamine Williams. She had cancer as a teenager and they had to take her eyes. She’s been blind longer than I’ve been alive.

I tapped on Molly’s door. I heard the couch creak when she got up. Molly is a heavy lady.

“Who is it?”

“It’s Mike, Molly.”

“Michael! How lovely of you to stop by.” She flung the door open. “I must be psychic. I have cookies in the oven.” She grabbed my arm, dragging me in the apartment, slamming the door behind me. “Sit down! Not working today?”

“No, ma’am. It’s a snow day.”

“Oh, I didn’t realize. I’ve been watching my program.”© Dellani Oakes 2014

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Snowed – Part 2


snowed cover image for blogMike Reuben isn’t having too good a day so far. Yes, it’s snowing, which means a day off, but his mother called to wish him a happy birthday. She can’t let the opportunity pass to remind him that he’s almost 30 and hasn’t done much with his life.

“Don’t be adding years to my age. Twenty-seven is not almost thirty!”

“Almost thirty! You’ll be thirty before I get a single grandchild from you. The fruit of your loins, the. . . .”

“Ma! I get the idea.” I totally hate when she starts like that. Fruit of the Loom, maybe I want to discuss with my mother. Fruit of my loins is not on the list of top 10 subjects for parental discussion.

“I called to tell you I’m coming for a visit,” she said quickly and hung up.

“Ma! Ma?”

Cursing loudly, I sat there yelling at a dead phone. I called her back in a New York minute. Her tone was very smug.

“I see. Now you have time to talk to your mother.”

I didn’t say anything. Replying to that remark simply gets me in trouble and gives her more ammunition against me. I haven’t been her son twenty-seven years without figuring out a thing or two.

“I’ll be there this time next week.”

“Do I need to make arrangements to pick you up at the airport?”

“I’m not flying. I’m driving out.”

“What? How? You don’t drive!”

“I have a new friend. I’ll be riding with my friend—In a Lexus.”

“This friend wouldn’t happen to be a man, would it?”

“Why, Michael Aaron Reuben, what a question to ask!” She tried to sound appalled. She was too damn smug.

“But it is a guy. And how do you know this guy? How good a friend is he?”

“If you lived here, you’d know. Your brother has met him.”

“Good for him, Ma. Good for Gabriel, he’s met this mystery man. I’m happy for him.”

I could really care less. My little brother is a snot and I don’t like him much. He’s a couple years younger than me and the biggest suck up on the face of the Earth. If he could have his lips glued to our ma’s ass and stay there forever, he’d do it. The only woman who rides him harder is his wife, Livia. She’s a rich bitch and he’s a businessman. You can imagine theirs is a match made in Saks. In fact, I think they met there. Who knows? Who, in fact, gives a shit? Not me.

“So, this guy. . . .”

“His name is Chester.”

“Okay.” I paused. The silence asked the next question for me.

“He’s a dentist with a very good practice.”

I continued to wait for her to supply the information.

“And he’s got a nice house, a beautiful car. . . .”

“Okay. . . .”

“You could be more enthusiastic.”

“I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“What?”

“The downside of this conversation. I’m waiting for it. Like, he’s got six months to live or he’s going to prison or something.”

“You’re too sarcastic, Mikey.”

“No, Ma, me, I’m cynical. Sarcastic too, but what you’re hearing in my voice right now is cynicism, not sarcasm.”

“Don’t be a smart aleck. It’s unbecoming for a son of mine.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“His name is Chester.”

“Yes, ma’am. You said that already.”

“I don’t like your tone, young man.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And I don’t like being called ma’am very much.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that.”

“Then why do you keep saying it?”

“It seemed the best way to keep out of trouble. Look, Ma—I really do need to run.”

“Your brother has a big house,” she continued as if none of the other conversation existed.

“Yes. I’ve seen it. Big house, huge, very lavish.”

“And what have you got?”

“A cramped two bedroom apartment. What’s your point?”

© Dellani Oakes 2014

To Buy Dellani’s Books 

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Snowed – Part 1


snowed cover image for blogHAPPY HALLOWEEN! Or should I say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You’ll find out why in a minute, just keep reading. Welcome to Cheyenne, Wyoming where it’s not unusual for it to snow as early as October. In fact, I had just started writing this story when a friend of mine (who lived in Cheyenne) gave me a call around Halloween. It was nearly 90 degrees here in Florida.

She started our conversation with, “Guess what, it’s snowing! They’re expecting a blizzard!” I started laughing and told her about Snowed. I even read a little bit of it to her. “Sounds about right,” she replied with a laugh. “Let me know how it ends up.”

Sadly, Charlotte died not long after I finished the book and never had the chance to read it in its entirety. I guess it’s just as well, because Big Mike’s antics might have offended her. However, I’d like to dedicate Snowed to her memory. I miss you, Charlotte. This one’s for you!

 

October 31, 2009

“It’s the worst snowstorm of the year!” The radio announced gleefully, waking me up.

What it fails to mention is that it’s the only snowstorm of the year. Like it’s some big thing, like we don’t know. We live in a city where it snows from October to April. For it to be the worst snowstorm, wouldn’t you expect for there to be something to compare it to? Maybe the guy meant to say, “It’s the first snowstorm of the year!” That would make some kind of sense.

Or maybe, and I’m betting on this one, the guy’s a moron. Soon, the phone calls, from other people like me who notice stupid stuff like that, will start up and they will have to amend what idiot boy said. I’m not calling in. I’m going back to sleep. I drive a school bus and school has been canceled by the worst (and first) snowstorm of the year.

Not that I’m complaining. Kids on a day like this, are impossible to control. You’d think they had never seen snow before. They’ve lived here since birth, still snow has this magical effect on them. Not a good one, just magical. It transforms even the brightest child into a complete buffoon. You can see their devious minds working, determined to figure out a way to mess up my bus, or fall under the wheels, or slide into traffic.

I was just snuggling down, going back to a blissful sleep, when the phone rang. Knowing it can’t be good news on a day like this, I hesitated to answer. I can’t stand a ringing phone, so I picked up, running my fingers through my shoulder length, brown hair.

“Mikey?” A shrill, nasal distinctly Brooklyn voice shouted in my ear.

“Ma?” Grumbling, I sat up. I never lie down to talk to my mother, it puts in me in a vulnerable position. “Why are you calling this early, Ma?”

“Happy Birthday to you. . . .” She has a horrible voice and sings off key. Imagine Edith Bunker, only less melodic.

“Yeah, thanks, Ma.”

She didn’t stop. She was starting with, “How old are you?”

“Ma, please. You know how the hell old I am. You gave me life. You were there.”

“Yes, at this time on October 31, I had my bouncing baby boy! Happy Birthday, Mikey.”

“Thanks, Ma.”

I love my mother, but this is why I moved over a thousand miles away to Cheyenne, Wyoming as soon as I had the money. I was on my way to Alaska, figuring putting the better part of two countries between us, but my car broke down in Cheyenne. I couldn’t afford to fix it and couldn’t afford to buy a new one at the time, so I got a job and an apartment and stayed. I’ve been here five years. It’s not so bad if you can handle wide open spaces. If you don’t mind seven different shades of gray in the winter, with no leaves on the few trees there are, with what feels like 90 mile an hour winds and a wind chill factor of 100 below, it’s okay. I’m getting used to it—sorta.

The fact that I am 1,743 miles away from Kings County, New York is a decided plus. My mother hates to fly and there is no way she’ll drive twenty-seven hours just to see me. She can’t stand the bus or the train either and no one in their right mind would travel with her anyway, so I’m safe. Except on my birthday and over the phone.

“So how’s my little Mikey-wikey like being twenty-seven?”

“It’s peachy, Ma.”

“Do you have a girlfriend yet?”

“Mother, please. Do we have to start on that?”

“Your younger brother is married with three kids.”

“I can’t help he can’t keep it in his pants, Ma. I haven’t found the right girl.”

“Are you sure you’re not gay?” The tone was teasing, but the old bitch meant it.

Normally, such a question wouldn’t offend me. Because even if I’m not married with three kids like my brother, I’ve gotten more tail than he’ll ever get. Sweet, luscious, all kinds of sexy tail. . . . And I’m talking to my mother with my balls in a vice. Because even if I’ve gotten more than him, it’s not been so much lately.

“I got to get ready for work, Ma. I got a long day with the bus. Kids got a field trip.”

“I’d think you could give five minutes to your mother.” She sniffled, pulling the New York Guilt Trip on me. “The woman who loves you. The woman who gave you life!” She was really pouring it on, pulling out all the stops. “Who lives so far away, she can’t see her oldest son on his birthday! Her son who is almost thirty!”

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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