SoHumBorn Sunday: Weathering the Storm Part 2

This is the second part of Weathering the Storm (The first part can be found here.)

In December 2008, a Southern Humboldt blogger began posting fictional tales of the marijuana culture. Some people were appalled. Most were enthralled. For three months her stories gripped the online community and then, abruptly, she was gone. Even though SoHumBorn pulled her blog, for months her stories were available in the cached version but eventually they, too, were swallowed into the dark abyss. Recently she gave me permission to revive them. I’ll be doing one each Sunday for awhile. Do you have a favorite? Let me know and I’ll try and include it. The stories of this culture, true and fictional, need to be saved.
At the bottom of the post are links to all the other stories published so far.

When he picked up the phone he saw Ben’s cell number in the caller ID he’d smiled and pushed the talk button while he continued to shovel ashes out of the stove with one hand “Hey man, what’s up?”

Ben’s voice and words had him standing up and laying the little shovel on top of the wood stove. The half done chore completely forgotten. “Of course. Stan and Eric are out here today. I’ll head there right now.” Walking through the house he uses speed dial. Holding the phone to his ear with his shoulder he pulls on a pair of boots. When Eric picks up he says simply “911 at Tad & Maggie’s. I don’t know. Yup, see you there.” on his way out the door he grabs his fire bag and a flashlight, throws them on the truck’s passenger seat and takes off.

He scans the horizon in search of smoke, but sees nothing through the rain and clouds.  His heart is pumping a hard fast beat as he contemplates what could possibly be wrong at his neighbors.  Ben had said his wife was there, but she hadn’t specified what the emergency was, only that there was one.

Speeding along the road he sees Eric & his son Jamie on their quads coming down across the ridge. He knows they called others before leaving, just like he did, and feels a certain sense of relief knowing he won’t be alone in facing whatever is ahead.

He reaches the turn for Tad’s house and pulls down the drive just as the two quads come up behind him. Together they all park on the side of the house. Jamie, just twenty, is fired up the way young men get in the heat the moment. He leaps off his bike. Running up to the side of the truck before Mark has even opened his door, his eyes wide. ” What’s going on?” Mark steps out of the truck relieved to see no obvious sign of fire or mayhem. “I don’t know yet kid.”  He answers “Let’s find out.” He heads for the kitchen door as another truck pulls in the driveway. Pausing to look over his shoulder he recognizes Bill’s truck and sees that he has Stan with him. In a quirky little part of his mind, lyrics from an old song play  “Hail hail the gangs all here!”

As he turns back to the house women begin pouring out the kitchen door to stand huddled in the rain.  Then he sees Maggie and the boys come out followed by even more women.

“Jesus, how many people are in there?” He hears Jamie ask. None of the men striding toward the home bother to reply.

Bill’s wife Diane breaks from the pack and heads towards the incoming men. Her pale face frames the biggest eyes he thinks he’s ever seen. Tears are running down her cheeks mixing with the rain, but she’s got Bill in her sights, and is headed their way with a purposeful stride.  When Bill sees his wife he moves into a jog. Passing the other men he meets her halfway.

Taking hold of both of her arms he looks at her, worry slithering deep in his gut. “Honey what’s wrong?” She spews forth an description of the days events in a nearly unintelligible stream of words.

“Tad beat up Maggie again and Kelly was going to shoot him but Ryan and Taylor were already killing him.”  This statement stops the men in their tracks, and elicits a handful of varying exclamations.

“What?”  “Shoot him?!”  “Jesus Christ!”  “The fuck?”

Eric’s eyes leap to the group circling Maggie and the boys.  “Where’s Tad?”  He turns back to Diane, grabs her shoulder and gives it a little shake, pulling her eyes from Bills face. “Where’s Tad?” Her head seems loose on her neck as she glances at Eric then at the house. “Well, I guess he’s still in the living room.”

Eric talks over his shoulder to Bill as he starts walking once again towards the house. “Round these women up and send them and the boys to my place while we get this handled.”

Bill wants his wife away from Tad and whatever is about to happen. “Yeah, come on honey, get these girls and load up.”  She looks a little like she might balk, so he rephrases it, to refocus her. “Let’s get Maggie and the boys outta here.” That works. Her concern for her friend and the children pulls at her, and she wants them somewhere far from here, and everything that’s happened.

While the women pile into the suburban, Tad’s family get in his truck with Diane.  He sees Ben’s wife Kelly standing by a quad. On the seat a huge black gun sits. The sight of it causes his heart to jump. He’d heard the words when Diane had said them, but somehow he hadn’t really believed Ben’s sweet tempered wife was going to shoot anyone, not even that ass Tad.

He closes the passenger door of the truck and slaps the hood twice, throwing a reassuring smile at his wife as she backs the truck up & turns it around.

He walks up to the quad and takes Ben’s bear gun from the seat.  He says nothing as he drops the clip and clears the chamber. Putting the clip and bullet in his front pocket, he slides the gun into the side pocket on his khakis.

He looks at her then,  her eyes are puffy, but she’s not crying now. Just staring at him while the wind whips rain against his back and into her face.

“What were you thinking? Jesus, Kelly!”

She rounds on him. Anger is such an easier emotion to deal with compared to everything else inside her right now. She pours herself into the safety of it.

“Fuck you! Where were all you useless pricks last time he beat her? And the time before that? How long does it take you to decide someone’s been beat enough?!” He actually takes a step back. “What were you waiting for? Him to kill her, or does he have to hit a man for someone to care?!”  She climbs on the big bike and fires it up.  Looking at him disgust written on her face, her eyes narrow. “Go help your buddy.” She spits the words at him and tears off out the road followed by the suburban.

The conclusion of Weathering the Storm is here.

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