Monday, February 1, 2010

Wolf Moon-Chapter 1a

As promised, the first installment of my newest project. Enjoy!

Bubble gum. Every night as Chuck walked into his countryside home after a long day at the Pompeii salad dressing factory over on Willowbrook St. in the warm but struggling town just fifteen miles away, his daughter, Milene, would wrap her skinny little arms around his neck and smother him with bubble gum scented kisses. The smell of her recently brushed teeth was just another painful reminder that he had missed an entire day of his daughter's life.

He pressed his rough and scruffy beard against her plump cheeks and reveled in her squeals and giggles. He wanted to be home with Milene and his wife, who pulled him away long enough to press her rosebud lips against his forehead and tussle his grimy hair, but times were tough and the bank was on his ass, threatening to take his family home. He should consider himself damn lucky that the higher-ups were letting him work so much overtime, instead of moping about his lost time with his girls.

Chuck's wife, Jeanine, loosened Milene's iron-tight grip around his neck and picked her up with the little girl's bum sitting precariously on the sexy little curve of her hip. "Say good night to daddy," she said.

Milene tossed her bouncy brown curls behind her head and waggled her hand up and down. "Nigh' nigh', bye bye."

Chuck nudged her chin with his forefinger and kissed her one last time before Jeanine turned around and walked down the dimly lit hallway to Milene's princess pink bedroom.

He kicked his boots off onto the floor and shrugged out of his Carhartt jacket. The day had been a long one and he was ready to fill his belly with a good meal and sit back with his feet up. One thing was for sure-Jeanine could always be counted on to keep his food warm and tend to his needs when he came home. God may not have blessed him with monetary wealth, but his family was a good one, that was for damn sure.

A slow and deliberate stretch brought his back arching to the rear, the popping of his strained bones bringing a few groans past his lips. He straightened and walked over to the oven, opened the door and pulled out a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Not bothering to waste the time to grab a fork, he broke off a piece of the loaf and shoved it into his mouth.

"Bad day?" Jeanine's deep, but still very feminine voice penetrated the silence. It was always too silent in that house; his ears couldn't bear it.

"What makes you say that?"

"You always seem a little hungrier after a bad day of work." She raised up the fork she had been hiding behind her back. He took it with a smile and plopped himself down at the kitchen table.

"Eh. Same morons doin' the same stupid shit." He leaned over his plate with his elbow on the table and shoved more food in his mouth. "I ain't gonna take it too much longer. I work too damn hard to let those pipsqueek punks just outta high school come and boss me around, telling me I gotta do their work because they ain't got the smarts to figure out how to run their station."

She smiled and sat next to him, running her nails along his back. "You say that every year, but each time, you take the new guys under your wing and teach them the ropes. It's just not in you to not do something."

"Yeah, well." He shoveled more food in his mouth.

"I didn't get a chance to feed Betsy this afternoon. It's been so long, anyway, I thought you might want to check on her to make sure she's doing all right."

Chuck tore his attention away from his plate long enough to see the sparkle in his wife's eyes. She knew he hated that pig, but it was Milene's pet, so they didn't slaughter it with the rest of them. He had been sure it would freeze to death all by itself in that pen with no warm bodies to snuggle against, but the damn thing was resilient and refused to give up. The thought of going out in the cold didn't warm him any and he knew Jeanine was just giggling inside. It was her own warped sense of humor, but it was one of those things he had fallen in love with when they were younger and stubbornly defiant, daring the world to rip them apart, assured it would never happen.

Yeah sure, he'd feed Betsy, but he wouldn't do it with a smile on his face.

Check in next Monday for the next installment!

~Emily White

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