Here’s the opening of another story that’ll be in my upcoming collection of Lonnie Carter stories. This is called “Lonnie, Me, and the Junkyard of Forbidden Delights.”
He’s a What?
excerpt from “Lonnie, Me, and the Junkyard of Forbidden Delights”
by Marian Allen
“I got a idea,” Lonnie said, which is never something you want to hear, especially when the wives are out of town.
“If it’s anything worse than coming over to my house for a couple of beers, forget it.” Lonnie and me have been best friends since dirt was new, and the only way I’ve survived it was by nipping most of his ideas in the bud.
“No, no, Tiny, this’n is good. Just listen. It don’t hurt to listen.”
My wife, Mary Lee, would have told us both different, but, like I said, she and Lonnie’s Leona were out of town at some kind of ladies’ convention.
I pushed my chair back and got another mug of coffee. Lonnie had cut half a coffee cake for me from one Leona left him. Lonnie was already most of the way through his half. How he can eat the way he does and still look like a string bean is beyond me. I told Mary Lee once I didn’t know where Lonnie put all he eats, and Mary Lee said he probably put it where his brains ought to be.
Lonnie waited until I sat back down, like I couldn’t hear without my legs bent. “You listening?”
“You know that junkyard out north of town? Scrappy’s?”
“The one with the ads that’s got a cartoon of a guy in a suit and a car in a slinky red dress, and somebody that can’t sing singing about make your old heap happy and take her to Scrappy?”
Lonnie – who can sing, I’ll give him that – sang the ad, along with the wink the car in the dress gave at the end.
“What about it?” I knew better than to ask, but it just came out before I thought.
“Well, the guy that owns it isn’t really named Scrappy.”
“His real name is Meriweather Fitzbottom.”
“Get out and quit lyin’!”
“I know! But that really is his name! Leona knows a gal that works in the recorder’s office, and she got it off his property tax bill. Meriweather Fitzbottom, no lie. But that ain’t the point. The point is, he’s a whatchacallit.”
“No, that thing Leona’s so down on.”
“Drinker? Dancer? Gambler? Unitarian Universalist?”
“Dang it, Tiny, be serious! Like Harry Potter.”
“Young? English? Wiseass?”
Lonnie’s scrawny chicken neck got red, so I knew he was about to lose his temper. That’s no fun, so I put half my coffee cake on his plate and said, “Give me another hint. I’m not a very good guesser today.”
“You know: a guy that does magic. And don’t say magician, ’cause that ain’t it.”
“That’s it!” He slapped me on the shoulder with those long, bony fingers hard enough to raise welts. “He’s a warlock.”
“You sure you don’t mean, like, a Mason or something?”
“No, he’s a warlock. Leona said some of the kids in her church youth group come in and said they went to Scrappy’s to buy some parts for a car they’re fixing up together. Said he was picking something in this garden he has out back of his office shed. They asked him what it was and he told them that good church-going children didn’t need to know.”
“What makes you think it was warlockery? Maybe it was marijuana. Or opium. Or heroin. No, you don’t grow heroin.”
“Heroin comes from horses, don’t it?”
Sometimes all you can do with Lonnie is say yes and go on. “Yes,” I said.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character wants something forbidden.