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Anne Carter

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The Day They Buried Johnny
By Anne Carter
Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Marsha isn't sure whether the knife in her hand is for chopping salad, or exacting revenge...

“I’d like to write that it was one of those foggy, misty, dreamy-damp days, the day they buried our Johnnie.   You know, like in movie funerals, where the mourners huddle together under grey and black umbrellas and the rain runs down their cheeks but it looks like tears.  No, it was hotter’n blazes, hotter even than where Johnnie must be by now, and the wetness on their faces was just sweat.


     “Some of them might have been sad, I guess.  Those tough looking goons in their black woolen suits, their cheeks red – they looked like idiots in the sun, you’d think they’d never been to Vegas in the summertime.  They were Johnnie’s “friends,” you know.  And those little brats were there, those girls I’d rather call something else that starts with “b” but I know you don’t like to read that word much less hear it.  Three of them, standing together across from me, on the other side of Johnnie’s grave, wearing those little slip dresses that are too skimpy even for a garden party, much less a funeral in the morning.  (You know those dresses, with spaghetti straps and you can still see their black brassiere straps underneath?)  I could swear I heard them giggle once or twice during the sermon.


     “The preacher who did the funeral was one of those “one-size-fits-all-religions” guys.  Someone must have told him we were Catholic because he threw in a couple of Latin sentences toward the end.  I guess the goons must have hired him.


     “Johnnie would’ve liked to see all of them at the cemetery.  Especially those girls, you know he always liked having them around him.  Oh, but they used him so much!  He was always giving them rides, buying them stuff, listening to their stupid problems.  But he didn’t really love those girls.  You should’ve seen them carrying on afterward.  After those fake tears, those little red noses, those short skirts blowing with that god-awful hot wind, after all that they were flirting around with the guy that drove the hearse, asking for a ride and such.  That would have hurt Johnnie.


     “Anyway, Johnnie looked real good.  You would have cried to see him.  They dressed him in that tuxedo you bought him when he left for California.  Luckily, the stab wound was on his back.  You couldn’t see nothing. 


     “The casket was real pretty, all shiny black with great silver handles.  The lining was white satin.  I would’ve picked lavender, myself, but I didn’t get to pick.


     “The cops said it was just like in “Psycho,” Johnnie being stabbed in the shower.  Only he was stabbed in the back.  They said he never saw who did it, and it happened real fast.  I hope so.  I hope he died real fast.  I wouldn’t want Johnnie to suffer, ever.  I loved him.


     “I can’t believe it’s been a whole week.  He promised to take me to the show last Friday night, the night it happened.  We were just getting ready to go, but then he had to do something for one of those little chickies.  Her car wouldn’t start, or she locked the keys inside or something.  He’d be right back, he said.  But what I couldn’t figure out was, why did he have to shower before he went?


     “I wish you could have been here.  He always talked about you, about your cooking, like when we went to dinner he’d say, “good, but not like our mama makes.”  He was a good son to you, Mom. 


     “I don’t know what I’ll do without him.  I haven’t eaten, well not much, since then.  Maybe I’ll finally lose the weight!  He always said I should lose weight, but he never called me fat.  Not ever.  He was pretty good to me, most of the time.  Except when he used to tell people I was his sister.  I’d remind him, HALF-sister.  I mean, it never mattered to me that we had the same mother.  We could have had a good life together.  I never wanted any kids anyway.  I only wanted Johnnie, you know? 


     “I knew if I could just keep him away from those trollops, just keep him with me, he’d realize that I was all he needed.  But somehow, they just kept turning up!


     “One of those girls, and Mama I’m sorry but she is really a bitch, she was always talking like she and Johnnie were a thing.  She’s the one who called, I think, last Friday night while Johnnie and me were looking at the paper.  We were going to the movies.  Johnnie had promised me.  He makes me so mad sometimes.  He just got up and went to the shower.  I already had my purse in my hand!


     “Anyway, I was really getting hungry waiting for him and I decided I’d just chop up a little salad.  Johnnie always liked me to eat salad (that’s one thing I won’t miss!)  I can hear the shower from the kitchen (you know our apartment is pretty dinky) and I could hear him singing his little heart out in there.  It made me mad, here I was so diappointed and he was in there singing.  It made me cut my finger!  I wanted to show him, wanted him to feel bad about it. 


     “Then that stupid girl was there, she was screaming and screaming and there was all that blood everywhere.  So much was happening and I thought I would faint I was SO hungry so I went back to the kitchen to finish chopping the salad, but I couldn’t find my stupid knife!


     “Well I’d better finish this up because they are coming to move me today.  I was so glad I got to go to the funeral, and I didn’t really feel all that mad at Johnnie anymore. 


     “The lady here told me I don’t have to eat salads anymore if I don’t want to.  Isn’t that great?”


     “Your Loving Daughter, Marsha”


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Reviewed by Patricia Smith 10/27/2008
Anne, was quite gripping. I really enjoyed it. I was surprised when it turned out to be a letter. lol, You are very talented. Thank you for sharing.
Patricia Smith

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