Thank you, MC.
Ball For A Ball
Early Tuesday morning, Rosie stumbled out of the wood frame place that she called home. Concentrating on her steps, careful to not step on bottles left in the yard from the night before she struggled through her hung over haze. She assumed her ability to walk looked less successful than what she was aiming for.
The early morning humidity rested on her shoulders as she prayed that the Dime and Chime store next door had at least one Cherry Pepsi left. Sugary caffeine seemed to be the only thing that could really help relieve the storming aches running through her.
As she walked into the store, the chime from the door along with greeting from the perky attendant seemed to smack her right in her head, causing her to flinch and crinkle her face. "Good morning, Mam" the young lady announced, way too loudly. Rosie looked at her sideways and held up a finger with squinting eyes; motioning to give her a minute. She drug her feet across the store, being very grateful that the cooler that she was aiming for was a straight shot from the entrance. Opening the cooler seemed to exert all of her energy and she lingered there, trying to make out the difference between all the labeled bottles of liquids. She closed her eyes. "Mam, umm Mam? Are you ok?" the attendant asked and then repeated a few more times. "Yeahs, um I mean, yeah?" she manages to stammer out of her mouth. In that moment, she realized that she had been standing in the cooler doorway way too long. "Mam, did you need help finding what you are looking for?" the attendant frowned, despite seeming rather cheerful just a few moments ago. "Oh shit, yeah, I need a Cherry Pepsi. I forgot my glasses" Rosie replied. The attendant nervously walked up to sweating glass door and grabbed a bottle that was sitting eye level from her. Rosie felt proud of the tiny lie that helped soothe the lady. "I can check you out over here" she motioned with her neon pink nails. Rosie followed her to the register with a drunken sway and put two crumpled dollar bills on the counter and didn't stay for the change. In one swift movement she stepped from counter, pushed the door open with her back, and twisted the bottle cap with lightning speed, tossing the bottle cap as she chugged. Taking a moment to breathe and let the carbonation finish burning, she praised the Heavens for the existence of her favorite soda.
The caffeine made trekking the whopping 25 yards back home easier. As she climbed up the cement steps, she noticed one of them had a new crack in it. She sighed and then attempted to look in her pocket for the lid to the bottle, then soon realized that she did not have the lid to the bottle and sighed again. Very soon, the flies and gnats would be very happy at her poor sense of judgement.
Rosie decided to sit down on her favorite wooden chair and finish her barely cool bottle in hopes the sunshine would grant her a bit of energy. As she nearly finished downing it, she see's a familiar foggy outline of a local tweaker approaching. "Miss Rosie, aye Miss Rosie!" She blinked hard each time he called her name. He walked up to the porch. "Hey Miss Rosie, you not out are you?" Rosie pressed her index finger and thumb at the base of her nose and massaged it, trying to alleviate the pain of his intrusion. She always found it rather entertaining that many of her customers addressed her as "Miss" despite many of them being older.
Roscoe was about 20 years older than her, tall, and dirty. Rosie never bothered to find out any other details of his existence other than she can make money off of him. He never kept still as he waited for her to reply, she watched for a second how he was nervous from needing a fix or even more so, scared of her saying she was out of what he needed. Rosie on the other hand, stood about a foot shorter than he, but held a sense of authority about her; even though legally, she could not enter a bar or casino. "Roscoe, I fucking told you not to come here all early." she groaned. The nervousness in his voice seemed to increase, "Miss... Miss Rosie, it is almost noon, and plus last night... You, you told me to find you something special; and and then that you would give me something extra special." As he finished his sentence, that seemed to really bring out his lisp, her memory began to validate his statement. "Oh yeah! I did send you out on a treasure hunt didn't I? Whatcha got for me?" she began to turn a curious smile as if she was proud he listened like a good little crack head. "Oh you goin to like this Miss Rosie." Rosco patted his pocket, and with out him even having a chance to lift his untucked shirt; in that split second, Rosie instinctually made mental note of how far away her revolver was. Certain precautions come with certain territories. She slowly leaned forward and was officially out of her relaxed posture. She was careful to not scare the tweaker because the last thing she needed was a scared giant wanting crack. As he shakily fumbled to find his pant pockets she could make out what seemed to be a softball stuffed in his pants and she lowered her head with annoyance. "Roscoe, you better have not stole some poor kids baseball and think Ima give you shit for that." Roscoe laughed hard exposing all 4 teeth barely hanging in. "Nah, Miss Rosie. This ain't that kind of ball but it is a ball I suppose." He carefully pulled out a roundish shaped object, wrapped loosely in a dirty torn piece of t-shirt. Rosie watched closely with anticipation; the way he handled his offering was rather entertaining at the very least and helped clear the brain fog that was plaguing her. As Roscoe removed the layers the object seemed to move. She asked herself if it was really moving or if she was just still drunk. But soon it was clear that the object started to tremble, her eyes widened. Was she seeing this correctly, was it really moving? Yes, then suddenly, a sound like she had never heard before; Rosie stood up and stepped in closer. Unfortunately, she stood close enough to be able to smell exactly how long it had been since Roscoe showered and it quickly it seemed like that there was a chance that it was, never. After the unveiling she stood there with so many questions that she could barely handle it. Rosie looked down at the trembling creature and smiled so big that her face almost hurt. "Roscoe!" she halfway squealed. "Roscoe, how on earth? Where? How? Where on earth did you get this little guy from?" She couldn't tell which answer she wanted to know first. "Well, Miss Rosie, you know I cant tell you where I found it." Roscoe answered, while shaking his head. She attempted to remove it from his flaky cracking hands but then the little ball of spikes barked again and scared her causing her to jump back a little. Rosie jumped and giggled lightly; as if in that moment, she wasn't a basic street level drug dealer, and it made her feel good. Roscoe seemed to share her delight as he chuckled while it continued to spit and bark in the cutest way anything could spit and bark. "Is that an actual fucking hedgehog, Roscoe? Are you serious?" she asked with incredible enthusiasm. Roscoe laughed hard and Rosie double counted his teeth again. "Yes mam, well I wasn't sure what it was, but I knew this would be something you would like." She approved and reached in her back pocket and handed him his favorite vice, all sealed within a melted corner of a cheap sandwich bag. "But Miss Rosie, you said you would hook me up?" He commented while he seemed to disapprove of the quantity. "Well Roscoe, let me ask you this." She asked, as she carefully claimed her present. It wasn't every day she came across a cute shaky ball of spikes. Roscoe looked at her as if he was a child and was about to be reminded of his child like ignorance. "So, when you found this little guy, was he in a cage?" He could tell that she was annoyed in his obvious lack of gratitude. "Well, yes mam." He answered with reluctance; he could tell where this was going. "And so then Roscoe, why did you not take the whole cage?" with out skipping a beat he popped the plastic covered treat in his cheek for safe storage and replied "Because I couldn't fit it in my pocket." he then turned quickly and walked away with a strut of a very proud crack head. After crossing the road he turns back, "Miss Rosie, what you gonna name it?" She looked at the face that was starting to show itself and looked at its eyes as if she needed its approval, she whispers "Ball? Do you like the name Ball?" Feeling what ever permission she needed was granted she shouted back, "Ball!" Roscoe laughed and continued his strut down the road.
C4 Can Look Like a Firecracker
Tiny Rosie sat in her room and cried into her pillow, today was an especially difficult day for a 6 year old. She grasped at the ruffles on her bed and buried her face into them. She inhaled the delicate smell of washed sheets, it seemed to make her feel a little better. She raised her head off of the bed and looked at her teary marks and before she could finish making a perfect imprint of her sobbing face into them; Mom walked in. She entered with a delicate knock. “Rosie, now why do you want to get yourself so upset?” Mom asked. “Because I want to go! I never get to go! That is not fair! It is because I am a girl!” Rosie stated in a rather high pitched tone. “Rosie, you will be able to go one day. You’re just too small and it is really hard. You have to keep quiet and you would get so dirty, there are snakes, bugs, and spiders almost as big as your little face. Does that really sound like something that is fun?” Mama replied. “YES! I know how to watch out for those things! I’m not a baby!” Mom sighed with annoyance, she knew Rosie wanted to go hunting with her Daddy and there was no stopping her. Something instinctual seemed to speak to Mom, if Rosie didn’t get a chance to go, that girl would find her own way. Mom inhaled deeply, straightened her back and gently sat Rosie up; while noticing the wet clown face on the comforter. Rosie looked at her Mom’s singular raised eyebrow and they both giggled. “Rosie, I will try and talk with Daddy. You know that he takes hunting very seriously and if by some miracle I can get him to take you, you will have to take it twice as seriously to prove that you are strong and smart enough to listen and pay attention. Girls can do these things too; but we have to try twice as hard if not more. Are you sure that you want to do this because if you mess something up he won’t ever take you again.” Rosie’s hazel eyes seemed to gleam golden with happy tears. “Yes Mama, I promise! I hope I see a bear!” Rosie exclaimed with a pitch that was somehow even higher than the moments before. Mom stood up and sighed, knowing that trying to convince Gordon that he should take Rosie on his next outdoor adventure will end up in a fuss. For a moment she felt as though it might be an easier task to hunt, clean, and cook a deer herself than to convince her husband to take their daughter with him.
Rosie knew her Mom would do what she said; and even for a 6 year old, she knew that it would not be easy. She also knew that she better keep herself busy for the rest of the day so that Mom could go on her own scary adventure to convince Dad. So Rosie did just that, she grabbed her green tool box of animal fact cards and headed outside to sit in the shade and prepare herself for her first trip into the woods. Rosie laid under the young oak and willow trees, reading as much as she possibly could. After staring and studying for a few hours she decided to rest her dry eyes, and put the cards away. She made sure everything was neatly arranged in order before she closed her box. The amphibians with the amphibians, birds with the birds, insects with the insects, crustaceans with the crustaceans, mammals with the mammals, and reptiles with the reptiles. Today she was content with this order, but if she had not exerted all that energy crying earlier she would have made sure that the cards were also in alphabetic order for each classification.
Rosie loved biology, just about anything that had to do with animals or plants; she was into it. As a young child she found the nature of animals and plants easier to understand than humans. Humans were always harder to understand; they hurt other people and not even for food or shelter, just to do it. Rosie thought almost everyone she saw on the news or on tv shows were stupid and mean, especially the adults. Rosie’s belly started to growl and she wondered how long she had been outside; she tried to calculate how long that she had been outside the best that she could to make sure that she wasn’t going back into the house too soon. “Well, when I look through my box after breakfast and also put it away before I get up, it normally means that Young and the Restless will be on soon and that means, LUNCHTIME!” Rosie got up off of her Cinderella beach towel, made sure the latch to her box was secure and ran towards the house. Suddenly she stopped, mouth open and eyes wide. She couldn’t believe what she was looking at, it was the largest snake that she had ever seen in person. The black and brown snake seemed to be one giant shiny muscle, she remembered the diagram of the muscular system on the back of one of her cards and could tell where each side of its muscles began along the spine. If she wouldn’t have been filled with such fear she would have been excited that she was able to comprehend the correlation. It must have been enjoying the summer sun when she disrupted him and they met eyes. He was coiled up three times and with his head raised in alert. She made a mental note that it did not hiss. Rosie backed up slowly and started to tremble. As she backed up, the snake seemed to gain more interest towards the barely two foot tall child. He uncoiled and slithered just as slowly as she was moving. Terrified with panic Rosie dropped her precious box and tried to focus on remembering what kind of snake it was. Was it a king snake, if so, I can try to run. It will just bite me and I will be ok, Rosie tried to remember the signs but she couldn’t, she just couldn’t. It’s nose looked sort of pointy and it looked like it wanted to hurt her. She couldn’t take a chance; she tried to scream for help but her voice was so shaky no one heard her. She screamed again, “Daddy! Daddy! Mamaa! AHHH!” It felt like she had screamed a hundred times, and no one heard her. She backed up slowly some more, she didn’t realize how far she had moved from where she started, she was almost to the edge of the property where it dropped down nearly 10 feet into a rocky gully. She knew if she ran the slithery serpent would chase her, she could tell he was practically asking her to. Rosie stopped, she couldn’t step a single step further without falling below but somehow that seemed less scary than being strangled by a beast. Is this what she was born for? She got sad thinking that she never had a chance to go hunting with Daddy. She decided to give one last scream before trying to jump to the least rocky spot below. “Rosie, this way!” She and the snake both jolted their eyes into the direction of the voice. Rosie saw a hand and grabbed it tight BANG! It was the loudest sound she had ever heard in her life, her ears rang and she saw white, and then black.
With a high pitched bell ringing in her ears, Rosie opened her eyes. She saw her Uncle D hanging what was left of the snake up to his skinning station; getting ready to do what he does best. Dad and Mom praised her safety and thanked Uncle D’s valiant rescue. “Uncle D, you saved my life! That snake was going to kill me!” Rosie said with a low tone. “Well, sweet heart, to be honest you… You might have lived depending on where it bit you and if we got to the hospital quick enough. But yes, it would have been a terrible thing for you Runt.” Uncle D replied with his infamous Cajun accent. With wide eyes and red ears Dad kneeled next to Rosie and asked, ” You’re ok?” Rosie softly replied back, “Yes Daddy I am.” He got up from next to her and looked at the snake hanging and now gutted from the large nail. “Well, huh. Nice shot D! You blew that head straight off! What did you use?” Dad put his hands inside of his blue coverall pockets as he seemed to scan the yard for the blown off head. “Well Rosie,” he added. “I bet you will think twice before you ask to come hunting with me, now. Some days we seem to see them every step of the way.” Dad snarked with arrogance. “WHAT!?! NO DADDY! I want to go, how else will I learn how to track and hunt animals, if all I do is look pretty and play with my little brother? I can look pretty, play with my little brother, and hunt, you will see.” Rosie declared passionately enough to make her cheeks red. Dad starred a blank stare, Mom squinted at the comment, and Uncle D didn’t even bother to turn around from his station as his rinsed off his hands and with his wonderful twangy tone says “Needless to say folks’ I strongly suspect y’all might be in for quite a ride with this little firecracker.” Mom and Dad looked down at Rosie with a loving and very scared face and Rosie smiled big.
The End… 95% TRUE events. _MCJ_