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Shorty Dawkins
May 11th, 2012, 02:56 PM
(Shorty:This story is about Crazy Mary and her son. I knew them many years ago. The basic facts of this story are true. The names have been changed, along with a few details. Jimmy, for instance didn't always speak in the third person, but he did so quite often. I don't remember the exact number of bullets used, but it was all he had. I also am not sure Mary saw her husband kill himself, but she and Jimmy were in the house when it happened.

This story is part of The River Heals.)




Crazy Mary



I saw the face of evil




Crazy Mary Barlow lived on the “other side” of the river, where the workers at the Sawmill and Lumberyard live. The “other side of town” was the working class side of town. It was what you’d call the “poor” side of town. No, very few folks in town were poor, but those that needed help were looked after by their neighbors, who would drop off a pair of hand-me-down jeans, or shoes, or an old shirt or skirt that just needed a little mending, for the folks who were struggling, which was the widows with children, or the disabled husband with a wife and children. Loaves of home-made bread were sometimes dropped off at the poor folks homes, too.



No one called Crazy Mary “crazy” to her face. Folks were too kind to do that, but ever since her husband had shot and killed himself in the head in front of her, Mary had not been right. It was not an accidental shooting. He had killed himself and meant to do it in front of her. Poor Mary was in shock for several weeks. When she was finally released from the Mental Hospital she had been taken to, her little boy, John was returned to her care, and all her neighbors helped her out as best they could. Bev Koslowski, her next door neighbor and friend, in particular, looked out for her. She was informed of a peculiarity about Mary that was not harmful, but was peculiar nevertheless, for Mary now exclusively referred to herself in the third person. It was not “I” or “me”, but “Mary”, or “She”. It took some getting used to, but, as the psychiatrists had told Bev, it was basically harmless.



“How are you, Mary?” Bev might ask. “Mary is fine” or “She has a headache”, might be Mary’s response. Something was not right about Mary, but whatever it was, it seemed harmless.



Mary went to work at Dunston’s Dry Cleaning and Laundromat. She pressed clothes and kept the Laundromat portion of the business clean. She was a diligent worker, who most folks tended to like, even if she was a little odd. She had a young son to support and everyone was supportive of her. The neighborhood ladies brought them bread and pies, or whatever else they were baking, and Jimmy, the little boy, never wanted for decent clothing. The neighborhood men took care of any repairs on the house, and several teenage boys rotated the job of keeping her lawn mowed in summer and her walkway shoveled of snow in winter. Folks in working class neighborhoods tend to help each other out. They all knew about her husband’s suicide, and what it had done to Mary, but she was a survivor. Folks helped those willing to help themselves.



Jimmy became a quiet boy who watched the other kids in their games. He rarely joined in. He knew his Mother was different. He knew, somehow, that he was different, too. His Father had killed himself. He spent his time walking in the woods, or down the railroad tracks. He would sit on the bank of the river, sometimes and fish. At other times he stared at the river as it flowed slowly past.



“Jimmy is different.” He said to himself, when he turned sixteen. He had adopted his Mother’s habit of referring to himself in the third person, when he was alone. “Jimmy is not like the other kids. Jimmy will do things other kids don’t dare to do.”



From that moment, Jimmy became a daredevil. He did lots of crazy stunts that other boys would never try. He got a lot of satisfaction out of knowing he had done something no one else dared to do. He jumped off the railroad trestle bridge into the shallow river below. He badly bruised his shoulder doing it, but he had survived. He had done it. No one else had even tried. He smiled inwardly at the other boys and their silly, tame games and escapades. They were not different.



Mary worried daily about Jimmy. He was proud of being different, which didn’t bother Mary, no, it was the foolhardiness of his actions that told her something was not right with him. But who was she to say he was acting bizarre, or needlessly risking his life?



One day Jimmy broke his leg jumping off a barn roof onto a haystack.



“Jimmy needs to be more sensible. Jimmy needs to not be so reckless.” She told him.



“No, Mother. Jimmy is different. Jimmy does dangerous things. It is who Jimmy is.” He had replied.



Mary cried at night, thinking of her reckless boy. What could she do? He seemed to want to destroy himself. One day she would get a call telling her Jimmy had had an accident, that he was dead. This was what she dreaded would happen.



When Jimmy graduated from High School, Mary was very happy. He had hated school, but now it was over. He could begin working. In fact, he had a job lined up at the Sawmill. Perhaps his reckless youth was past. Mary could only hope so.






“Why did you do it, Jimmy?” Sheriff Thompson asked, as he stood by the body of the dead bum lying next to the river.


“He asked me to kill him.” Jimmy replied, simply and honestly. “He said he was tired of living. No one else would have granted his wish, but I did.”



“Why did you shoot him eight times?”



“I only had eight bullets.”

xlwoo
May 19th, 2012, 03:40 PM
It's a sad story. If there's God in heaven, He should not give people all the killing and disasters.

Gonzalothethird
May 19th, 2012, 10:37 PM
I forgot this was part of a series you've been working on and I read it as a stand-alone short story and I liked it! Aside from some punctuation errors, I was pretty intrigued with the story. It's the first one of your series where I really, really want to know what happens in the future!

Shorty Dawkins
May 20th, 2012, 01:09 AM
I forgot this was part of a series you've been working on and I read it as a stand-alone short story and I liked it! Aside from some punctuation errors, I was pretty intrigued with the story. It's the first one of your series where I really, really want to know what happens in the future!

Thanks Gonzalo!
Soon the stories will begin to form a thread. All the various individuals and their stories meet together for some serious interaction, just as a river is formed by streams being joined together. I just posted two more Chapters under Evil Dispatched. In the second of those Chapters it starts to come together.

Shorty

Abdul-fattah
May 22nd, 2012, 11:36 PM
This 3th person referral is really nice. You should play around with that more, switching back seamlessly from and forth from conversation to narration.
First paragraph is a little slow though, and perhaps even useless? Or is that where you tie it in with the other stories?