Airstream.2

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Whenever he mentioned flying, Candy would immediately find herself in a daydream. She was glad they made a pit stop when they did. She had to pee and she was hungry. And she wanted to fly.

They had driven many nights and passed through numerous towns with the State Patrol sitting at the edges of some and the local sheriff taking a catnap in a patrol car in others. Apparently, Candy and Dick weren’t fugitives. Maybe the foul-mouthed antique dealer was more a pain in the ass to everyone than an upstanding businessman pretending to bring goodwill to Lamar.

Candy left Dick to his own as she grabbed a quick cup of coffee and a bag of salted peanuts once she took care of her own business.

“I’ll be across the street in the park.”

She didn’t look at Dick or wait for a reply. She was the driver in this relationship. He would have to learn to live with. Dick didn’t mind.

Candy always found a park with benches and tall trees. At this park she found the perfect bench farthest away from the playground. She didn’t want to engage any moms in small talk about their pathetic lives or their darling children. And she definitely didn’t want to hear the screaming voices climbing all over a metal giraffe painted purple with pink spots or the incessant clacking of the metal blocks on a giant abacus that was supposed to be a “Learning Tool for the Active Child.”

Candy ate her peanuts and drank the coffee as she made her way to her perfect bench. There was even a trashcan nearby to deposit the paper wrapper and styrofoam cup. She was glad she chose this day to wear the cargo pants and white shirt, ala Indiana Jones. She felt like an adventure was brewing.

One day she would have enough bills to buy a leather jacket, whip, and her favorite piece of Indiana Jones equipment, the fedora. Right now she had to settle for a perfectly constructed pair of pants and shirt. She spent hours watching and re-watching all five IJ movies to be sure she had all the details just right. She came up with the final design, a grand mix of all five movies and built her pieces with love. The pant fit was perfect. The shirt was right on, too.

Candy felt confident and relaxed and ready for anything that came her way.

By the time she planted herself on the bench, her stomach stopped growling and the coffee gave her just the right buzz. Stretching out on the bench, Candy placed her arms behind her head cradling it so she could see the clearing between the trees. The sky was the perfect blue for a daydream.

When Candy hit the Ladies’ Room, Dick picked up a bag of marshmallows and a can of yams along with a package of small aluminum containers inside the convenience store. It turned out Dick loved Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. Since he’d been on the street, he could only celebrate the holiday in whatever food line he was near. Sometimes they served his favorite dish. Most times they didn’t. It was baked yams with crusty marshmallows on top. Today was the day.

To celebrate his new friendship with the crazy girl who wore hand made movie clothes and said she was a performance artist, what ever that meant, Dick decided to make his favorite recipe. He also grabbed a small container of cinnamon and a brick of real butter. Not margarine, he knew that stuff would kill you. And he planned to surprise Candy.

Dick paid for the bounty and quickly made his way back to the Airstream. They had been on the road for several weeks now and she had a pattern. She would get up while it was still dark.

Candy allowed Dick to sleep on the floor as long as he was a gentleman. He saw what she had done to the antique dealer in Lamar even though he pretended to be asleep on the park bench. She was strong, fast, and smart. He knew right then he would never cross her.

He also knew she would be there for him if he ever needed her. It was funny how quick those things happen sometimes. You just feel it between some people. Right when you meet them and look into their eyes, you just know it. They’d give their life for you. He would give his for Candy. He had a feeling she would do the same for him.

In the early morning dark Candy would swing some kind of crazy pendulum above a map and soon they would be on their way. She knew exactly where they were going.

Dick marveled at Candy’s knack for finding parks in small towns. When they entered a new town Candy would know just by the feel of it if there was a good park planted in the town. Then there would be a rest stop and time for a daydream. If there wasn’t a park worth a pause, she’d drive right on through.

Only once did they have to drive through the night. They did a pit stop for convenience and there were leftovers to be had in the small fridge in the back of the Airstream to eat. And they kept going. They drove for almost two days straight and when they got to Carson, Candy somehow knew there was a perfectly planted park for a daydream or two.

Inside the Airstream, Dick felt like he was back at home. He thought he could smell turkey roasting in the oven. He could remember cans of corn, cranberry jelly, and green beans lined up on the counter waiting for a can opener to crank open each one and plop them into an appropriate container or pot. He could almost reach out and poke the fluffy buns tied tightly inside the plastic bag, brown and a little shiny on top from the egg white that was brushed on the dough right before they were popped into the oven. And the baked canned yams with marshmallow topping. It was his creation he learned from the neighbor lady.

The neighbor lady promised that this dish would sing gratefulness to even the most hard-hearted or sour soul. And she was right. No matter who Dick served it to, a smile rolled across their face and they were grateful to know Dick Harding that moment in their lives.

That was what Thanksgiving was all about, planning a beautiful meal to share with those you love showing them how grateful you were to have them in your life.

But life doesn’t always work out that way. Families aren’t always grateful and sometimes you’re just in the way. So Dick made himself and his yam and marshmallow dish scarce and no one ever tried to find out why.

So now Dick could be grateful once again. This time for the girl with the movie star clothes and her performance art, whatever that was. He had to somehow find out what that meant. Dick was patient. He knew the time would be right some day. Today it was grateful yam day.

At one point when Dick still had some cash in his belt, he had a Ford pick-up that he traveled in. He didn’t have a kitchen to cook in so he had to figure out a way to do it while he drove. Once he was listening to a talk show in a bar as he was having a few and a lady swore that she and her husband always cooked while they traveled across the country. It was exactly the way Dick was looking for to make his dish.

First he layered the canned yams into one of the small aluminum containers. Next he sprinkled it with some cinnamon. He didn’t buy sugar. He used the odd sweet stuff Candy had. She called it stevie or something like that. He thought she would appreciate the nod to her taste buds. Then he put chunks of butter on top of that. Finally, he poured the little marshmallows to cover it all up making it look like a summer sky blooming with clouds. He fastened another aluminum tin on top with some paper clips he found in Candy’s junk drawer. Then he looked out to make sure Candy wasn’t watching.

He could see her stretched out on a bench in the middle of the park. He smiled. She was doing what she seemed to love most, daydreaming. He wondered if she was flying.

Dick left the Airstream and quickly moved to the front of the Nova lifting the hood. He snuggly fit the tin near the motor. Once they started back on their travels, the heat would not only make a delicious meal for them, but the car would smell like Thanksgiving. Dick hadn’t been grateful in a while. Today was the start of new wave of gratefulness. He could just feel it.

The sun was warm on Candy’s face. It was the beginning of November in the southwest. Days were deliciously warm and nights were a time to snuggle yourself under fluffy warm blankets with the window cracked open just so you could hear the coyotes or at least the dry leaves dancing down the street. And the crisp cold night brushing across your face. He would be there next to her, not touching her, but present, safe and sure.

She stared straight up into the amazing blue sky. It reminded her of the blue of his eyes when her wore her favorite navy blue sweater. Every time he mentioned flying…Candy was flying.

She didn’t know if it was the memory of him or the stories they would make up together about flying without a plane, or even without wings. Jumping off the edge of the Grand Canyon and twirling through the valleys. Or stepping off a high snowy peak and free falling into a glide through the Rocky Mountains. Once they even told the story of being inside a hot bubbly volcano and in the eruption burst into the sky like fiery phoenixes rising from the burn.

When she really felt it, wanted it, and the place was just right – a bench in a perfect park under a warm late afternoon sun – she could feel as though she was rising into the air and she could fly.

Candy felt something grab her ankles and she tumbled back to earth.

“Hey, watcha ya doin’ there, girlie?”

Within seconds Candy was on her feet. He didn’t have a chance.

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

National Novel Writing Month started a few days ago. I won two years in a row but couldn’t do it last year because of my work schedule.

This year I started a day late. And I have a different kind of plan.

I am going to write from a prompt each day. I have nothing in mind. I’m going to be brave and just post my work.

I’ll see what happens. Day 1 and 2 are two different stories. However, today’s prompt led me to connect it to yesterday’s story.

Quite a challenge. I’ll see how long I can keep going.

Here’s today’s prompt from Bonnie Newbauer’s website Story Spinner:

in a daydream

Whenever he mentions flying…

abacus
marshmallow
yams
giraffe

Here are links to my past NaNoWriMo 2104 daily entries:

November 3: Airstream
N
ovember 2: Tea and Rosemary

Airstream

“I think birds live in his hair.” Candy stared out the window of the motor home.

She was talking to no one in particular. Actually, to no one at all. She was the only current inhabitant of the Airstream.

The Airstream once belonged to her grandmother on her father’s side. Grandma Patty was a free soul. When she birthed the last one, as Patty would lament referring to Candy’s father, she divorced her husband, Luke, and left him with all the other kids except for Candy’s father, the new born.

Grandma Patty was clever and smooshed away enough bills, as she would say, to buy a broken down Airstream just big enough for her and her baby. And on top of it all, Grandma Patty was able to finagle the ’56 Chevy Nomad to pull the Airstream out of the divorce settlement because, as she proudly shared, “My bosom is good for more than just milk for a screamin’ kid.”

As it fell, once Grandma Patty was gone and Candy’s dad also left the earth for a more stately place, the Airstream minus the ’56 Chevy Nomad came into Candy’s ownership. Her two brothers and baby sister, all in their mid thirties, were happy that all Candy wanted was the Airstream.

The Nomad bit the dust well before Grandma Patty did and Candy always appreciated a good ride. So whatever funds she had left over after paying the bills and a little fun down at Tony’s Bar once in a while was put into a cookie jar. It was an owl wearing a chef’s hat, winking one eye, and smiling even though owls don’t have lips. Candy thought it was a bit creepy. That’s why she bought it for fifty cents at the World’s Longest Garage Sale.

Once the cookie jar was full, Candy counted it up. It was just enough for a down payment on the hot ’74 Chevy Nova Spirit of America. The sleek Chevy was all white with red and blue striping and could easily handle pulling Grandma Patty’s Airstream.

When she hitched the Spirit of America to the Airstream and pulled away from the curb of her childhood home, a white stucco house that faced Interstate 70 and backed up to a gas station, she waved her arm in a flourished good-bye at her two brothers and baby sister standing in the gravel driveway shaking their heads at her grand exit.

Candy didn’t look back and she never went back, even at the holidays when the Christmas cards pleading for a visit would arrive in the P.O. Box she rented in a small town about an hour and half from her motor home rental pad and where Candy would swing by every few weeks just to check up on things.

Candy was looking out the small window towards the park while she finished her hamburger.

After she visited the P.O. box and stocked up on a few supplies at the grocery store that also served as a hardware store, a beauty shop, and, of course, the post office, Candy took out her map. She folded it a few times making new creases, never using the old ones. New creases meant new adventures. It was how Grandma Patty would decide where she would travel next.

Candy also inherited the large brass pendulum with a loop on the top and a sharp point on the bottom. She actually didn’t inherit it. It was simply left in the same place Grandma Patty had put it the last time she returned from her last road trip.

The pendulum was strung on an old shoelace, the same one Grandma Patty used.

Holding the string in one hand and the pendulum in the other Candy would start her incantation saying the exact words Grandma Patty did all those years ago:

Around and around the pendulum swings,
back and forth hanging from this strings.
Where it will take me I may not know,
But where it stops, that’s where I’ll go.

Then Candy would start to sway back and forth as she repeated the chant over and over again letting the pendulum fall from her hand when the time felt just right. Once Candy felt the force, she let go of the pendulum and it would crash down onto the map, the pointy tip punching a hole in the place Candy would land next.

Next was across the street from a park in the middle of a small town in Colorado. Lamar was a nice little place with mostly friendly people who mostly welcomed Candy and her Airstream and her stories of Grandma Patty. She stayed in Lamar longer than she had planned. Longer than Dick had planned, too.

Dick had long grey hair. It reached below his shoulder blades and was curly and thick. Candy liked that. She could imagine all kinds of things about his hair. Sometimes, like today, she thought about birds living in his hair.

“I think birds live in his hair,” she repeated again as she swallowed the last sip of her Pepsi.

It made her giggle imagining little sparrows chirping in the morning sun peaking out from between the silver curls. Or maybe, she thought, it was a flicker who rushed out and returned just as quickly with something in its mouth to be enjoyed under the cover the swooping curlicues.

Candy thought that she was glad to have found Lamar and, especially, Dick.

“Hey! Anybody home?” There was a loud pound, not on the door, but on the hood of the Nova.

Candy stayed still, not moving, not even breathing.

“Hey! Who the hell said you could park here? You’re blocking the front of my store with this old tin can and beat up heap.”

Apparently, who ever it was that was banging on her car proved to be a tasteless and bullying dolt. Anyone who would think of the beautiful lines of the Airstream as an old tin can and the classic Nova as a heap, didn’t deserve a response.

Who ever it was could never possibly understand Candy and what she was doing gazing at Dick’s long grey curls as he slept on the bench in the park across from Grandma Patty’s Airstream.

It was art. Performance art at its highest level.

Candy Palmwater was eating a hamburger, drinking a Pepsi, crunching on some potato chips, and staring at a homeless bum through the window of a silver Airstream.

Now that was something to see. Americana Performance Art.

Such a crude beast slamming his fist on the smooth skin of the Nova, not appreciating its artistic value, deserved no reply.

The pounding didn’t stop. It got louder and closer and the voice became more agitated.

“I said who the hell gave you the permission to park this piece of junk in front of my store? I have people arriving on a bus from Denver to drop some cash on the best antiques this side of the Mississippi and you’ve parked this fucking piece of shit right where the bus will let them off. Get out of the fucking way!”

Now Candy wasn’t one to promote violence. But she also would not be spoken to in that manner. What the raging antique dealer didn’t know was that Candy was also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. It was her father’s passion and she loved her father. So she did what ever he did and that meant becoming a black belt at a very young age. The problem was, Candy wasn’t really a rule follower. She did things her own way.

So using Tae Kwon Do for self-defense only had a pretty wide-ranging definition in Candy’s mind. Candy stood and brushed off the potato chip and bun crumbs from her dress.

She was wearing a cute blue and white checked pinafore with a white blouse, Peter Pan collar, and puffy short sleeves. She made it herself. The Airstream also proudly held a 1965 Singer Sewing Machine that was her mom’s prized possession and one she learned to use expertly.

Candy’s other love, beside the Airstream and Chevy Nova, was old movies, especially musicals. She made all her clothes after the leading ladies, and even the men. Today she wore her version of Dorothy.

She tied her dark brown hair in two low pigtails just under her ears with red ribbons. She didn’t have ruby slippers, because in her life, it just wasn’t practical. So she substituted bright red Converse high tops. It proved to be the right choice for today’s event.

The pounding and the hollering came closer and grew louder and with it more words that set Candy’s teeth on edge.

“Well, this just won’t do,” Candy said to no one in particular. Actually, no one at all.

She walked to the door just as the voice reached the other side. Swinging the door open as hard as she could, she slammed the antique dealer directly in the face.

He fell back onto the ground holding his nose in his hands, the flow of blood was quite remarkable. As the antique dealer writhed on the ground moaning, Candy stepped up to him and looked down.

“Excuse me, I was eating a potato chip and I couldn’t quite hear what you were saying.”

A flow of curse words matched the flow of blood and as the man started to stand up, Candy used her red Converse high tops in the way her Tae Kwon Do master and her dad would stand in awe if they had seen it, even if they didn’t approve of it. The antique dealer hit the ground with a thud.

Shrugging her shoulders, Candy walked around to the back of the Airstream. The gathering crowd parted like the Red Sea. She stepped across the street to the bench where Dick was sleeping.

“Hey, Dick.” She shook him gently. “It’s time to go.”

Dick looked up shading his eyes with his hand.

“I said it’s time to go.”

And the man with the birds in his beard and the girl in the Dorothy dress and red converse high tops slipped into the ’74 Chevy Nova Spirit of America and drove out of town pulling Grandma Patty’s silver Airstream behind them.