Today’s sample is from a story which will be in my upcoming collection of Lonnie and Tiny stories. I read this one to the Southern Indiana Writers Group last Thursday, and it passed critique with only a few small edits, but I think I want to expand it a little. Still, here’s a bit:
Lonnie, Tiny, and the Block Party
excerpt from “Lonnie, Me, and the Block Party BBQ Cookoff”
by Marian Allen
The wives came back from the Neighborhood Association meeting all pumped up about something. Lonnie and me, who’d been doing yard work at Lonnie and Leona’s while they were gone, gave each other a look. When the wives got all het up about something, it usually meant a Project. Not a project, a Project.
My wife, Mary Lee, said, “Oh, Tiny, you boys are going to love this!”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said, saluting her.
She slapped my arm a little, gave me that oh, you rascal grin that still kills me after twenty years, and said, “We’re having a block party!”
Leona said, “More than a block, though.”
Mary Lee nodded. “More than a block. These three blocks, from Anderson’s Hardware on over to the park, mostly.”
Lonnie loves block parties, and he’d been agitating for years for Leona to talk the Neighborhood Association into throwing one. So you’d think he’d be high-fiving the rest of us and doing his chicken dance, but no. He’d got himself stung by a ground wasp while he was picking up downed branches and was miffed because I’d been telling him right along to put on gloves and he wouldn’t, so he was in a contrary mood.
“What for? That would have been great, back earlier, but it’s too dang hot, now. And what’s to keep it from pouring down rain?”
Leona, who is either a saint or missed her calling as a kindergarten teacher, said, “The ten-day forecast says it’s supposed to be cooler and partly cloudy next week, and next week is when we’re doing it. Ace is getting us the permits.”
“That’s pretty soon,” I said.
Lonnie muttered, Is that so, Captain Obvious, but we all ignored him.
Mary Lee said, “We’re raising money to help send Clint, that oldest Maclemore boy, to New York City with the high school band. They thought they had it covered, but then Jack Maclemore got laid off, and Clint wouldn’t have any spending money or anything to eat on. He’s just a third trumpet, so it doesn’t matter to the playing of the band, but it would break his heart if he didn’t go.”
Lonnie said, “I’d give a hunnert dollars if he’d take that li’l peanut, Blaine, with him, and another hunnert if he’d leave him there.”
“Now, Lonnie,” his wife said.
The Maclemores lived on me and Mary Lee’s side of the street, and it was our house the Maclemore kids spent half their time at, but it was Lonnie they pestered the worst. Sometimes he wanted to tease them until they screamed, sometimes he wanted to play along with whatever game they were running through the neighborhood, and sometimes he channeled a crabby old man and chased them off his lawn.
Mary Lee said, “We’re going to rent a couple of those bouncy house things.”
When Lonnie’s eyes lit up, Leona said, firmly, “For the kids.”
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: There’s a block party. Make something happen. I’ve used a block party before, in “Mr. Sugar vs. the Cake Thief” in Mystery and Horror’s MARDI GRAS MURDER. Lots of activity out front, virtually empty houses for a block or two or three….