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Thursday, September 07, 2006

BAIT HOOK & SWITCH PART II

At long last the final chapter has arived. It is a little longer than the first but hope you enjoy this romantic thriller. MAJ

"If there is anything you are looking for, maybe I can save you from digging through that stuff. Most of it has been in the barn for years."

"Oh, I'm just looking for pieces of art."

Ed shook his head in disbelief, lifted his seed corn hat, scratched his head for a moment and replied, You won't find any art work there, that's just barn stuff–you know, old tractor parts, a few old bailer gears, maybe an old milker or tow, but we never did milk ya know."

"That's just it sweetheart, pieces of life, a little soul here, a little light there, maybe a tear or two with sweat of hard life of course," she said wiping the grease on here tie-dyed coveralls. "You find these unique things, weave them together with paint from the rainbow and you have art. Now you see why they call me Prism."

During the ensuing conversation Cassandra also known as Prism, accumulated half a pickup load of twine, gears, metal shrouds and other assorted barn junk. Piece by piece she carefully examined the treasures and placed the gems gently in the bed of her rusted out International.

"You got any more pieces of art laying around," Cassandra asked laughingly.

At first Ed was somewhat stunned by the question. He thought a moment about the two pictures hanging on the living room wall. His wife bought the pair of at a booth during the Iowa State Fair about 25 years ago. The picture was made with strips of birch bark and little bunches of moss gently placed against a painted scene of blue skies with a meandering brook.

"Oh, I got tons of it, but tell me what are you going to do with, well for instance, that sprocket gear."

"Oh this", she asked, looking down through her sun glasses. "This will make a cool hanger for my story glasses."

Edwin pulled of his cap again, not knowing if he should ask any more questions. He just totaled up her collection of items once having a purpose about the farm but now, as the day came to an end found a new purpose in some flower lady's art collection.

"Well it looks like the total comes to nearly fifty-five dollars," Edwin said.

Cassandra dug through her macrame purse and took out a crumbled fifty dollar bill. "I still owe you five but I will run home and get it."

"Nah, just give me a twenty and call it even," Edwin said, shaking his head. Yesterday the pile of worn out machinery and other farm clutter didn't have a plug nickels worth of value and today it was high price art.

"You are such a sweet old Iowa farmer."

Before Edwin knew it, Cassandra gave him a big hug and a peck on the cheek. She jumped in the rickety International, slammed the truck door and drove down the dusty township road. He stood by the hay rack for about 10 minutes until Scrunchers came along. A whirlwind of confusion raced through his head. Suddenly more than ever he missed his wife. Edwin recalled how a simple hug from his wife would give him such a peace of mind. He noticed his eyes were a bit misty he reached down, grabbed the old tom cat and walked back to the house.

"Do you know what a dream catcher is, ol' boy?"

Edwin didn't have a clue about Cassandra or half of what she talked about. Prisms, auras, story glasses. Whatever those things were, the whole mess had him baffled, besides he had to throw the rest of his chicken in the oven. That evening as he wiped the supper dish's dry he still was thinking about that strange female and wondered how many people like that lived in Iowa. St. Paul perhaps, but here in Iowa?

He leaned back in the recliner browsing through the latest Farm Journal and fantasizing about the humongous 4- wheel drive tractors now available. A tractor like that would be nice, he thought, but was he really serious about next year's corn crop. He had about 50 acres on a slope and a tractor like that sure would be a dream.

As the evening news came to an end, Edwin put away his magazine and filled up the coffee pot with water. Cassandra, or Prism or whatever she wanted to be called and her dream catching auras, or whatever they were called, still rattled around in his mind. Edwin could not put a finger on this emotion. Could it be, well you know, infatuation. Nah, she was just a strange gal and that is all there was to it.

The next morning Edwin arose early, shaved, put on a pair of jeans his wife bought him, which he hated, made breakfast and went over to an old combine and disassembled it for more parts to put on the wagon. He grabbed his coffee cup and sat on the yard chair and waited. Three hours passed by and he decided nothing was going to happen, so he went out to the pasture to straighten out some old fence posts, then drove into town for more coffee and lunch with his cronies.

As he pulled into the driveway, he noticed a large note on the hayrack fluttering in the afternoon breeze. It simply read nice stuff--will return Friday to pay for them, Love Cassandra. The name Prism was spelled in even larger print.

Edwin felt a lump in his stomach when he read the word l.o.v.e. He never said words like that around his wife, why should he, after all they both loved each other and now he knew Cassandra, or Prism, or who ever she was had touched him in a very lonely part of his heart.

"I know what I will do, find that book we had around the house with all those poems in it and write a special letter to her. That's ‘bout the best I can do for myself."

All through the evening Edwin carefully read through the poetry book, looking for something, anything he could put into his own words. He closed the tattered hard covered book when his eyes grew tired. He awoke at 4 in the morning with the book lying on the floor and the cat in his lap. He slowly moved himself from the recliner and walked over to the bed. He once again thought about that woman, until sleep overtook him. He knew poetry could never come from his pen. There had to be a better way.

The sun was barely high enough to burn the dew off the grass when the sound of a car door slammed shut out front. It couldn't be her, the vehicle was much to quiet, he thought. Grabbing a dish towel to wipe his hands, Edwin went outside and there stood Cassandra with a middle-aged man wearing a seed corn hat and behind him walked an "older woman."

"Hi Edwin, Cassandra said, "Thought I would introduce you to some special people. This is my husband Jake and my mother Inez."

"Husband, uh gee, well I didn't think you were, you know,"

"Nah, nobody ever thinks I'm married. Jake always stays about the place. Farm boy ya know. Doesn't know an aura from a dust storm."

Jake shook Edwin's hand and said, "I know this place, always thought it had the best layout in the county. Ever think of selling."

"Well I had thought about putting it on the market," Edwin said, looking back at Cassandra who had already headed for the hayrack. "The idea of wintering in Arizona has been on my mind for some time, but if I sell I won't have a place to come back too, ya understand."

Suddenly Inez looked up from her sunglasses. "You like Arizona?"

"Thinking about it quite a bit here lately."

"What's your wife say about it?"

"She died a little over a year ago. Yup, we talked about it all the time. She left way to early and we never had the chance to go."

"Oh, I'm deeply sorry, Inez said, reaching out for his hand. "Irwin and I bought a lot in Sun City and put a double wide on it, but he too died, so now I go there by myself every winter. You know, the kids got a life of their own and all."

Edwin took it all in but he was still stunned by the news and to imagine her husband was a farmer. He looked at Cassandra's mother. "You do know that you are way too young to be Cassandra's mother. Do you drink coffee"

They returned to the house Neither one payed any attention to the younger couple. Edwin put on a fresh pot and rummaged through the cupboard hoping to find the nice cups his wife used when company stopped by. Hours rolled by as the two shared conversation and for the first time in weeks, Edwin understood every word a woman had to say.

A knock came on the door hours later. Cassandra and Jake walked over to the table where Inez and Edwin were deep in conversation about Arizona. The younger two had just finished walking the corn and bean fields. After she found the creek and Jake inspected the immaculate out buildings they had something to say.

"Mr. Johnson, the two of us have been looking for a piece of land like this for a long time. If you ever think of selling it, will you give me first dibs on it."

"For sure," Cassandra said. "The creek has a lot of energy in it and the workshop would make a beautiful art gallery. Jake, well he's all beans and corn."

"Well you better think fast because Inez and I are thinking pretty darn serious about going to Arizona when the corn gets put away," Edwin said. "She might even decide to get a butterfly tatoo just like yours, Miss Prism." He felt so much alive and thanked God he didn't play out his foolishness by writing poetry to a married woman young enough to be his daughter.

He thought they, Inez and himself, could always summer out on the farm and perhaps keep his heard of Angus if the place was kept in the family so to speak.

"Oh ya, girl, your mother explained to me about those dream catching things and I figure we got enough room to haul them to Arizona and open a dream whatchama call it store."

"Cool," said Cassandra. "The energy is flowing in the right direction."

8 comments:

camojack said...

So, Edwin and Inez, eh?

MargeinMI said...

Ain't life just full of surprises! Very sweet, Ms.RW.

Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

camojack

Gee, I hope you were not dissapointed. Do you approve?

margeinmi

Thanks for tunning in. I think Edwin will live longer with Inez than Prism

Barb said...

Golly gee whiz fuzz, I love a happy ending. I guess life does happen like that sometimes ,but sadly not always.So many marry the wrong perosn and let the right one get away. This story made me feel good. You just get better and better Shelly.

Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

barb

I first published this story on an Internet news site long before blogs were even heard of. I had to fluff it up a little since my style has changed since 1998, but the hero still got his woman in the end.

I am afraid to let my new age friend read this because I am sure she would think I was writing about her but sorry, I only met her a year ago.

I have the same problem when I write about Minnesota people, everyone thinks I left the Land Of Lakes just so I could talk about them.

What story comes next?? Gosh so many stories so little energy.

camojack said...

I can see why "bait & switch"...and so long as Edwin approves, it's OK by me.

Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

I'm okay--you are okay--edwin is okay. Okay, okay.

Kajun said...

By Yimminy! Yer a arthur! Ya can write also; too!