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The Carriage Driver³ - I Think I’ll Run

Source

Death rode in hard on a black steed, under a multicolored, multilayered cloud covered sky. It was a dawn to remember, a dawn to mourn, a dawn to rejoice. The wind from the north cleaned the streets, and in its wake left dynamic air. It was a perfect morning to run, and that is what Kimberly did. She ran.

Two days prior she had received the phone call. “If you want to see Nonna before she goes, you need to come now.” She flew in, as did her brothers. It was a familiar scene. They had each played it out when Papa Joe passed.

Near the end, Kim had spent many hours with Papa Joe. When they were alone, he told her stories. The story she recalled now was about a man Papa Joe met when very young. He said, “The man turned his head like a serpent, flashed a practiced smile, and stared out of devil blue eyes, directed at me. That was long before I became ‘Papa Joe.’ The man was formidable at about 5’7” 210 lbs all muscle. His long dark ponytail reached the middle of his back. Left ear carried a gold chain about two inches; that held a gold cross with a diamond in the center. He wore dark clothing. His right hand carried about $15K in gold. Three gold rings, a thick, four-inch wide gold bracelet and an accompanying gold chain around the same wrist. Not knowing any better, I embraced his ways. That was years ago.”

Kim’s mother never talked about those days at home. On the surface, everything appeared fine. Years ago a rumor circulated in the family. Joe had something to do with a cousin sent to prison, for running cigarettes from a low tobacco tax State to a higher tobacco tax State.

Joe conned his way through his life. He went to a job and brought home a paycheck. But his time and his passion were the illegitimate schemes to make money. There was dark money to be made. He ran the small cons, even on members of his family. He felt if they were not blood, then they were fair game. That is how his mentor taught him. The old cliché, ‘never give a sucker a fair shake,’ was his unspoken motto.

Kim ran. She worried that Nonna, who had been free of Papa Joe these last years, would now once again meet him. She wondered if he would be waiting for her. Kim had often heard loved ones were waiting.

The sound of Kim’s footfall against the pavement helped her relax. She thought more about Papa. She felt he was a good Papa, and many times he entertained her and her brothers while in his garage, playing air guitar with them as he had done with his own children. His favorite song was Louie Louie, and none of the grandchildren could help but smile whenever they happen to hear the song.

She glanced at her ‘health watch.’ She’d promised to be back in less than an hour. Upon arriving back at the house, she took a quick shower and now sat holding the frail hand of the only grandmother she had ever known. She was aware of the moment her quiet pulse ebbed.

Source

The Carriage Driver sat in his new quarters. The place was bigger than what he had become accustomed. The barn had more room than the one they left behind. The carriage newly relocated. The sturdy new barn offered Nuelle protection from the ageless north wind that reminded all of the temporary nature of their presence. He thought about Lilith and how she had gotten the better of him. And he thought about the man calling himself Dusty, who had gotten the better of her. He looked at the fresh, clean book, with only one name in it.

Griffin stood and put on his jacket and hat. In the barn, he harnessed Nuelle to the carriage. They walked out of the barn together, and Griffin patted his pocket to make sure he had remembered an apple. He climbed in, and the two went to find their fare.

They arrived at the front of the old house. It had a front porch, the kind that wrapped around to the side. And there was a tree for shade. Griffin watched as a stocky man wearing black and sporting lots of gold jewelry paced near where he had pulled to the curb. Griffin double checked the book, Dorothy Bengoetxea. There was a footnote: Dottie to her friends, Nonna to her grandchildren.

The stocky man turned his head, like a serpent, flashed a practiced smile, and stared out of devil blue eyes, as Dorothy approached the carriage. “You are promised to me,” he called out.

This was a new experience for Griffin. He climbed down from the carriage and went to Nuelle. Taking an apple from one jacket pocket, and a penknife from another he cut the apple into four pieces. He fed two to Nuelle and ate the other two himself as Kim watched the event unfold, from the front porch.

“Promised to you?” Dottie asked. “Who in the world could promise me to you?”

Gold clad fingers dug into a vest pocket and came out with an embossed card, “One Joseph Prieto Bengoetxea. He has been getting special privileges for the past fifteen years based on his promise.”

Dottie glanced at the carriage and Griffin, as he tossed his hat into the front seat of the carriage, and she took in the beauty of Nuelle. She watched Griffin as he walked to the step of the carriage and held out his hand to her. She glanced over to the muscled man with the dark ponytail.

Her usual reserved face, first twitched, then burst into full laughter, much to the dismay of the man dressed in black. Griffin’s face widened into a broad smile. “So, Papa Joe even conned the devil!” And she laughed some more.

Dottie took Griffin’s hand and stepped into the carriage before the man wearing black recovered. The dark red of his face faded. He took two paces toward the carriage, then stopped as the smile on Griffin’s face remained, but the eyes changed.

Gold clad fingers tucked the card back into his vest pocket. There would be hell to pay.

Kim’s two brothers walked out on the front porch. “What are you doing out here?” Bobby asked her.

Kim stood tall, sensing her brothers could not see the carriage or their Nonna beginning her new journey. She was proud that she looked so much like Nonna.

“Come on,” Joe Jr. piped up. “Let’s get some breakfast.”

They all went into the house and looked around one last time at their childhood.

Bobbie went over and flipped on the Westinghouse radio. Louie Louie blasted from the speaker.

The three began at once:

Louie Louie

Oh, Yeah, we got to go.

.

I wear shoes with

Red shoe strings,

The children smile

When Papa sings

.

Oh, Louie Louie

Oh, Yeah, we got to go

.

I waited, so long

No place to hide

Now we’re here

But, no sign of my ride

.

Oh, Louie Louie

Oh, Yeah, we got to go

Griffin stepped into the carriage. “There is a blanket near your feet if you need it.”

Dottie didn’t hear him; she was still laughing and listening to her grandchildren singing. Like the old days.

Kimmie put one arm around each of her brothers, and the three walked down the front steps still singing Louie Louie.

Louie Louie - The Kingsmen (HQ)

Willie Nelson - Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain

© 2016 mckbirdbks

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Comments 26 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 5 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Very good read.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

Wow, you described ' the devil ' so well. The long ponytail was a familiar remembrance of unforgotten days past. Papa Joe was a con artist extraordinaire! You ' gotta ' be good to con the devil. I wonder about the fresh, clean book with only one name written in it? Who and what will we see and read about in this new series. You started off with a ' blockbuster ' Dusty is smiling...


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

And Karma exists on some level both in Heaven and in Hell. Papa Joe has some surprises coming his way. "Special privileges"? Not any more. :-) But it's always nice to learn of when the devil has been tricked in some way. Perhaps he met his match; and perhaps he has learned that imitation is not always the best form of flattery. Even the devil has an ego that can be deflated. Kudos to Nonna on her final journey. Louie is such a great song...and I love Willie Nelson; listening to his voice is like coming home. Thank you for this story, Mike. It's the perfect way to end the week as I think back in reflection on life's lessons and what we hold dear. These stories are treasures. Great writing as always.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Eric – very nice to see you . Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment, so that I know you were here.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Ruby – I met the man I described here at a memorial service. We shook hands, it was quite the experience. In the parking lot was a newly detailed black Mercedes with his personalized plate. I could not help myself but use his description. Dusty had a big impact on all of us.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Genna – Karma does exist. Sometimes I get impatient waiting for its mysterious workings. Yet, I see the results often. I for one like to be helpful hurrying karma along when possible. As for life lessons, I was toying with a storyline called Seniors, where somehow our older selves (seniors) got in touch with our younger selves (seniors in high school) and helped each other. But I did not think I could write the roles of three older women and three senior high school girls.

Thank you for your generous comment. Have a great weekend.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

Great story this morning. I have always looked forward to your Fri. morning stories.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Thank you Becky - you have always tried to get by each story and leave a comment. That is very much appreciated.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 weeks ago from North America

Mike, your first two Carriage Driver books are on my shelf of favorites at home and now I can enjoy even more of these stories. Each set of stories has a new overall flavor and I like this particular story of Kimberly, Joe, and Nonna very much.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

You've carved out another fantastic story here, Mike. Loved the description of the dark man with all the jewelry. The pony tail and blue eyes were a real bonus. I think I've met this guy, too, somewhere in my past and he always drives a black Mercedes.

The imagery of the footfalls and the kids singing with Papa Joe added to the depth of the story. Love that song. Louie Louie, and how well I remember it. I was relieved to hear Nonna laugh at the preposterous thought that someone could commit her to the dark side in the afterlife. Hah! I'll bet Papa Joe was a tough one to live with in her marriage, although, with a kind side as well.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hi Patty – The Carriage Driver 3 is going to be a little different. As soon as I find out what that means, I am going to let those kind enough to stop by, know. I have a concept, but now have written three episodes, and have not gotten that concept into a story. Thanks for all your kindness.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Peg he was the perfect prototype. I talked to my brother later, and he described the man as a gangster. That was clear. My thought when I met him was, ‘You are a man with many secrets.’ The Mercedes I met thirty-minutes later and put it all together.

Louie Louie is part of all of our shared heritage. It was such fun, then and now. Quite a bit of this story is true. Since, I feel assured at this late date, that none of my family reads my work, I feel free to share this without recourse.

Nonna was wise indeed. Thinking someone else could commit another in the afterlife is preposterous. I thought you would catch that. It is my understanding that Papa Joe was tough to live with and was darker than anyone realized.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

I'm glad you're continuing your work in this fascinating series of tales, Mike. Sometimes it's good to let the light into things that have festered in the dark for a long while. I'll imagine that most of us have one or two nefarious family members whose story needs to be told.

Yes, isn't it strange that our work is appreciated by strangers more so than our own kin? Sadly, that's also true for many of us. I could feel quite confident posting a story about a departed family member whose dark side was clear to see. I witnessed some of the deeds with my own eyes. I've had part of it written for a while, but it is dark, dark, dark, full of abuse, neglect and dastardly deeds. Of course, the names can be changed to protect the guilty.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Mike,

For a moment I thought you had a 'fammy cam'- looking into my devilish (or is it Mafia...?) ancestry. Whew - thanks for your clarifying comments.

I am loving Series 3 which your HP family obviously does as well.

Happy Friday...I'm dog tired but looking forward to a pawsitively relaxing weekend...! Hugs, mar


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Peg – Thank you. The series is going to go through a subtle change. That is if I can get there successfully. As for the mysterious family members, as a kid in California, on occasion “Uncle Johnny” would fly in from Chicago. At one gathering he was flashing $100.00 bills. Needless to say, I had never seen one before, and very few after for that matter. He always claimed ties with the family. I am guessing he was a natural born storyteller.

As for our kin – well, they just don’t know what they are missing. It sounds like your family has at least one person with many secrets. Perhaps that is what makes the world go around.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello mar – based on your comment and Peg’s comment, perhaps we all are just a breath away from a person with a very dark side to them. How do you suppose all those Italian’s feel now that they have gone through Ancestry and find they are all from Scotland? Ha-ha

Series 3 – who could have guessed that a simple story over a year ago would lead to fifty some stories. Not me, that is for sure.

Enjoy your weekend. Oh, and happy Halloween.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 5 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

This was a little different from previous stories but enthralling reading still Mike. I can sense the slightly new direction. I too loved the description of the devil...very appropriate. Good job.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello John - Thanks for the visit. This series 3 is going to be a mystery to all of us. I just know it needs to be somewhat different.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

The first sentence was enough to guarantee the reader would continue. The first paragraph was enough to guarantee the reader would be excited and spellbound. The remainder of the story was simply satisfying all the needs of the reader.

You are a craftsman!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Bill -thanks. I think I learned that first sentence concept from you.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 weeks ago from South Africa

"... if they were not blood, then they were fair game...."

Not even family escape the doings of gangsters down here!

This is going to be an interesting series!

I enjoy your style of writing, thank you, mckbirdbks :)


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 weeks ago

Dear Mike,

You conjured up a picture of the devil's follower

Obsessed with someone who could not become possessed

To my delight you brought the Carriage Driver back

To deliver Believers to places only they could see

This one filled with mirth, sheer hilarity

And Nonna could ride away, from the Devil

In her laughter from the him she would flee

Blessings my dear friend


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Martie - yes there are those that will steal from their family (and worse) easier than going outside. How they reach the conclusion that it is OK, well, I just do not know. Thanks for taking the time to read The Carriage Driver stories.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Nonna’s heart was strong

And bold

She wasn’t going back to

Someone so cold

Oh, Louie Louie

Oh, Yeah, we got to go

As for you

Thanks for stopping by

My good friend

Known as Shy

Oh, Louie Louie

Oh, Yeah, we got to go


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 weeks ago from Central Florida

That was quite a twist throwing the devil into the mix, Mike. Even in death, we have choices to make.

Beautiful story. You had me dancing in my seat to "Louis, Louie". Do you know what movie the Willie video is from? I'd love to catch it sometime.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Sha - I meet 'the devil' in this story at a memorial of all places. The Louie, Louie part of the story was actually a story heard shortly after that memorial. Hard not to dance to that song.

I am not sure about video - it may be a movie, or may just have been a well put together music video.

Have a good week.

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