Thursday, August 20, 2015

An Evening At the Mop and Pail - #FridayFlash

Part 1: From A Holler To Here

   The blonde in ISO-6 is slowly and methodically licking the viewing window.  It could be a side effect of whatever she's taken this evening, a deliberate bid for attention, or an attempt to rattle me. Every employee at the Washburn County jail knows that at some point they'll witness an event which will haunt them. But tasting the infrastructure is pretty tame compared to the usual Saturday shennanigans.
     "Git yer hands offa me, you fat-assed Mexican."
     "Over to the counter, sir. Feet on the blue tape. And I prefer to think of myself as husky." That's Officer Ramirez, who's Peruvian but has given up on mentioning it.
     We all get our lineage, our physical aspects and our mothers' marital status questioned. I happen to be part Native American, which elicits everything from offers to smoke a "peace pipe" (the guy actually pulled a crack pipe out of his ass) to war whoops and unsteady performances of Sugar Hill Gangs's Apache (Jump On It). 
     The best piece of advice I've ever been given came from my brother; "consider the source". The source is more than the mouth it came from.  The source is the history, the family, the home and the combined experiences of a lifetime. Drink from a dirty well and you get good and sick. And there's plenty of dirty wells in Washburn County.
     When the jail was built during the Depression, most of our business came from the Holler.  Drunks, petty thieves and the occasional moonshiner showed up on a pretty regular basis. We locked them up, dried them out, gave them a Bible and shipped them out to the judge by 8 AM the next morning.  Nobody held a grudge; the dude who tried to head butt you one night was fixing the steering on your truck a week later.  Hey Earl, can you check the pressure in the tires while you're at it? Sure, Chief. Might charge ya for the air though. Ten bucks a pound. Wink.
     Nowadays the menu has changed to include drug dealing, domestic violence, corruption of minors, mail fraud, burglary and cyberstalking. Yeah, that last one. Got a young man in here for violating a restraining order - he "liked" the girl's Facebook posts. Lots of the oldtimers chalk it up to newcomers moving in, people with too much money and time, big city problems and big world attitudes. You don't have much crime when nobody has anything to steal, when everybody knows who you are, where you live, and is ready and willing to sic your own grandma on you. Which might make you smile until I tell you that my own dear Grammy clobbered a bear over the head with a shovel while Pops ran to get the shotgun.
     "Hey JoJo."
     That's me she's talking to, Joseph Harjo. I'm not big on nicknames, but it beats most of the things that people come up with. You can just imagine. Everything from Chief Runs From Dogs to Squats In the Woods.
     "JoJo, quit starin' down the corridor.  You're creepin' out the inmates.  Remember that missing girl, Paisley Meadows?"
     "Yup. Her family still calling?  I feel bad for them, but she's 19.  No sign of foul play.  It's not a crime to leave town and not call your parents."
     "True.  But somebody else is looking for her now, and that IS gonna be our problem."

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Author's note: The phrase "Mop and Pail" in the title refers to rhyming slang for "jail" used back in the thirties (US).  I don't know if it's still used today.
 
This is part of a series about the inhabitants of the fictional towns called Norgood Hollow and Pascutt Shores. I am clueless right now about where things are going - it might end up being a series of character portraits, or a murder mystery, or a really confusing mess completely lacking in plot or continuity. 

 
     
    

     
     
     

16 comments:

  1. great voice in this and loved the anecdote about the peace pipe!

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  2. Wonderful! The craziness, the descriptive work. Truly enjoyed it especially the mystery you've established.Can't wait to read more!

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    1. Thank you Yolanda! Right now, it's a mystery to me too!

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  3. Li you are masterful here with the setting, the characters, the sensory perceptions, the point of view. Love it. I can imagine this developing as your write. That's the way with this type of story. :-)

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    1. Thanks Denise! :) I'm really out of my comfort zone - I generally have stories pretty much outlined ahead of time. It's Tuesday and I haven't figured out what's next. :(

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  4. I'm really enjoying these little snippets into the life of Hollow ^_^

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    1. Thank you Helen! That makes me happy. :)

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  5. Whatever it turns out to I'm going to love p.

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    1. I was writing this comment on my iPhone in the sun, so I thought I'd come back and tidy it up. It should have read, "Whatever it turns out to be, I'm going to love it." That makes more sense, doesn't it?

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    2. LOL Thanks for clearing that up! (Actually, I got the gist.) ;)

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  6. The characters and their histories are great!

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    1. Thank you! Creating characters is one of my favorite things to do.

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  7. You've got an amazing writing voice, Li. Will be back often :)
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  8. Hello,

    Very interesting. I think this story is full of suspense and mystery.

    Best wishes

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  9. Loved the style and content. Rhyming slang? Didn't know you guys had that over there, too. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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