Monday, October 30, 2017

Home Delivery By RM Martinez

All characters and events in this story are entirely fictional. 

As I headed south on the interstate, the sky was more white than blue.  Not a cloud for miles.  I consulted the weather app on my phone before leaving the house, and there was a storm forming in the northern part of Mexico but it wasn’t due in southern Texas for another twenty-four hours.  I should reach my destination and head back home while it was still daylight.  A single woman my age always planned ahead when traveling alone.
I raced alongside hundreds of other cars on the highway, and the drive was uneventful except for the persistent pounding coming from the trunk of my sedan.  It was nothing of consequence so I turned up the radio.
As I crested a small hill, thunderheads rose up ahead.  The sky to the west was clear all the way to the horizon, but by the time I neared my exit, the storm clouds were overhead.  I cursed the weather app and stepped on the gas pedal.  I really wanted to make this delivery in the daylight.
When I exited the interstate, I turned off the radio and I heard the pounding again.  I passed only a handful of cars on the state highway, but when I turned left onto an unmarked, farm road, I was the only one in sight.
I drove on for a bit before I stopped the car.  I put it in park, grabbed the tire iron I kept on the floor by the passenger seat, and popped the trunk open.  I stepped out onto the gravel lane and looked up and down the road and into the fields on both sides.
I waited until the trunk lid lifted all the way and I could see the shrouded bundle clearly.  It was still intact.  It looked like a very large holiday ham wrapped in old rugs and bound together with tightly knotted ropes.
I was always careful when filling deliveries.  I purchased my supplies with cash at Goodwill stores.  I did all my research at libraries far from my residence and wore old pairs of white gloves when I paged through the books.  I made sure not to leave fingerprints, neither physical nor digital.  Should anyone tear into my computer, they would find nothing in its history except for bread pudding recipes and pictures of my grandchildren.
The bundle writhed and I hit at it with the tire iron.  I hit at it and hit at it until the movement stopped.  The rain started as I slammed the trunk shut and ran for the cab of the car.  My destination was close by, another ten or fifteen minutes, so the delivery would still be fresh.
By the time I pulled onto the property, the rain was coming down in sheets.  The only light visible was a thin shaft that poured out from the front door of the old farm house.  It illuminated the rickety, wooden porch, and a tall, thin man dressed in overalls and work boots.
I circled the yard so that my car faced out, and I could get away easily.  I made sure my doors were locked, and I reached for the gun I kept tucked in between the front car seats before I popped the trunk open.  I watched as he limped over and lifted the bundle.  He hoisted it onto his shoulder as if it weighed nothing.  It did not surprise me.  Even though I pretended to be feeble and elderly, I too could bench an impressive amount for my size.  It was a necessity in my line of solitary work.

He slammed the trunk closed and started back toward his house.  Neither one of us acknowledged the other, and I pulled away almost immediately.  It would take me three hours to get home, maybe more in this infernal weather.  If he was happy with his order, there would be a deposit of money waiting in my business account by then, and I prided myself in pleasing my home delivery customers. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Broccoli Wrapped in a Corn Tortilla.


HoneyBunch had been single and alone a tad longer than I had when we first met. His sons went off to college and only came home for short visits; two of mine had come back to live with me so I was rarely alone.
On the rare occasion I did not have to cook for five, I indulged in Pop Tarts and cheap bottles of wine for my dinner.  HB talked about steaming broccoli in the microwave and wrapping it inside a cold corn tortilla. He talked about yogurt and hot cups of green tea for breakfast; I feasted on pancakes and mugs of coffee.
He could not go a day without tomatoes and salad for lunch.  The only time I tolerate tomatoes are when they are tucked inside a hamburger. As for his broccoli tacos, I would have smothered them in cheese to help make them palatable.
We were culinary opposites, but we still fell in love with each other.
Once we settled into married life, I pulled out my calendar and sat him down one evening to discuss my hectic work schedule. I sometimes worked six days a week; sometimes I worked fifteen-hour days.  He would have to fend for himself on those days, but I promised to make it up to him and cook for him on all the others. I would make sure he never ran out of his favorites, but there would be other things to eat as well. He would have lots of healthy and delicious options.
I outlawed microwaved broccoli in corn tortillas.
He sat there and blinked. After a few seconds, he smiled at me.
For the first time in almost thirty years, someone wanted to take care of him instead of expecting him to always care for them. When he said this to me, I mentioned that he was my corn tortilla.  I felt safe wrapped in his love and care and wanted him to feel the same.
He asked if that made me his broccoli. As much as he LOVES the stuff, I am flattered.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Me and Moses


When I attended a Catholic university to get my BA many, many years ago, I was required to take twelve hours of religious studies.  I took several courses on the Bible, but I remember little of it outside of the more popular books.
Since then I have tried reading the Bible on my own on several occasions but somewhere between Judges and Ruth, I lose interest. After wandering around like Moses in the desert, lost and bewildered as to how to get this done, I joined a group last year committed to reading the Bible in 2017.   
The leader is a Facebook friend and fellow writing buddy, but my commitment is not as much to her or the group as it is to my own belief in God. If the Bible is the book of my faith, I should be able to proudly state I have read it cover to cover and am familiar with its contents.
Here I am ten months into 2017 and I have just now finished reading the Old Testament and have started into the New. Some OT books were lyrical and uplifting; others were drab and painful.  No matter how much I tried I had a difficult time reading them, much less gleaning a spiritual message from them. 
I am more familiar with the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, so the reading is easier so far. I have noticed a different tone as well. It will be interesting what my final assessment will be when I finish and look back at the total endeavor.
So far, I am surprised at situations in the OT that apply to modern times. We seem doomed to continuously repeat the same mistakes in our relationship with God, but I also see His unconditional and everlasting love, His promise of forgiveness and grace through the ages. 

Moses and I have a lot in common as our wandering ends. I see hope at the end of the journey as I seek God. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Feeding Frenzy on Facebook


8:15 AM: I find a happy photo with a meme and I post it on my feed.  I am the first to “like” it so that it will push to the top of the main FB feed my friends see. 
-       Like # 2
-       Like #3
-       Grumpy Face.  A link is attached.  There is NOTHING happy about last night’s catastrophe, controversy, corruption! (I do not respond.)
8:20 AM: I post a corny, non-political, joke.  I like puns.  I “like” it.
-       Like# 2, 3, 4, 5
-       A “friend” corrects an irksome, grammatical error as if I hadn’t noticed it also. (I do not acknowledge.  I refuse to be put on the defensive.)
8:25 AM: I try my luck with an uplifting quote, a familiar verse often used in literature and song. I “like” it.
-       Like #2
-       Scolded again.  This time for forcing a Bible verse on those who prefer I keep religious references to myself.  (I remind myself to do this again tomorrow.)
8:30 AM: I post a link on my feed, current news.  I share without a “like,” without a comment, without an emoji. 
-       An immediate slam, an accusation of being vile, complicit, divisive. (I delete this comment.  It is MY feed.  I unfriend this person, ban them from my posts.)
I log out.  I need a breather, a cup of coffee, breakfast.

1 PM: HoneyBunch and I return from running errands in town.  Lunch at a new place.  I tag the place, post a photo of my order, and a nice comment on the food and the service.  Again, I “like” my own comment to boost it on the main feed.
-       Some stranger (not on my friend list) contradicts my comments.  They found lipstick on their glass of ice tea, they had to swat at flies in the dining room, the server was rude. . ..
-       I delete their libelous comment.  Again, it is MY post, not theirs.
7 PM: I post a picture of the novel I just finished.  I congratulate and tag the author on a job well done. (I “like” my comment.)
-       Like #2, 3, 4
-       Comments of agreement. I interact with them and ask for other book suggestions.
-       One person talks about the slow pacing, the historical inconsistencies, the exorbitant price, best to buy it second hand. Author So and So did a better job on the same topic.
-       I consider deleting this comment, but when others come on and disagree with this person, I leave it at that.
7:15 PM: Wow! Look at this recipe. (Like.)
-       Like # 2. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
-       I can’t have sugar.  Can you post this recipe without sugar?
-       Is this gluten free?
-       It has chocolate.  I don’t eat chocolate that is not ethically harvested!
-       I comment that the recipe is not mine.  I just like  to look at doughnuts.
9 PM: I log out.  I know I should post consistently but I have had enough of “prime time” FB. (7 pm – 9 pm)
3 AM: Insomnia.  I scroll though FB, searching for posts I want to post on  my feed.  No one bothers me as I read and post. I ignore spam, click-bait, and anything  I dislike. I post something funny, and I “like” it.
-       Aw.  Are you up?  Insomnia?
-       Something bothering you?
-       Do you need a virtual hug? An emoji?  A gif?

I log out and go to bed.   

Monday, October 2, 2017

Legacy


Two people died last week.  They both lived long, full lives.  One was arrogant and infamous, thousands knew his name; the other was humble and well-loved by only a handful.
Both had families.  His was a product of a multitude of meaningless, hedonistic relationships; she dedicated herself to her husband of sixty years. While his heirs scramble over the remains of his crumbling empire, hers are assured of their inheritance as they stand on the solid foundation she left behind.  
He will be remembered for scandal and promiscuity. People either snicker or frown when his name is mentioned. His fame, money, and arrogance did not buy him immortality.
She will be remembered for love and integrity.  People either smile or feel sorrow at the mention of her name. She lived an exemplary life and that is her legacy, one for which her family and friends will long keep her memory.    
Two people died last week.  One lived his life as if there was no tomorrow; she lived hers knowing that there is.