Trespasser (Part VI)

“How peculiar,” Marsha said to her husband.  “Did you just see that?”

“Mm-hmm,” he answered.

She and John had volunteered to invite their new neighbor down, while the others finished getting the food ready.  They stood on the sidewalk, looking up the three dozen stairs to the door with trepidation, both knowing that he was looking back down at them.

“I don’t know John,” she suddenly blurted.  “You don’t think we rushed into this, do you?”

He looked into his wife’s eyes lovingly and smiled.  “No dear,” he laughed, “it’s the right thing to do.”  He took her left hand into his right, squeezed it gently and then looked thoughtfully toward the bench that he and his friends had commissioned for Sam.

“Remember when we first moved here,” he reminisced.

“We didn’t know anyone,” she whispered.

“…and being used to big city life, we were afraid.”

She looked into his eyes, fully aware that another set of eyes continued to watch them from behind the lowered blinds above.

“It’s what ‘he’ would do, isn’t it,” she asked in the direction of the bench, and then, “I miss him.”

John nodded as he drew her close for a one-armed hug.  They stood there for a few moments, relishing in each other’s comfort, as well as the memory of their friend, before finally climbing the steps before them.

“I…I don’t know,” she breathed fearfully.

“Shh,” he countered.  “They’re all waiting on us.”

The front of the house looked as it always had, with Sam’s favorite rocking chair sitting off to the side.  They could almost feel his presence there, as if he were waiting to greet them.  Just off to the right, and on the small Lazy Susan-styled bench, were a small knife and the various instruments used during the woodcarving process.

“It’s like he never left.”

No sooner had John spoke, than had they heard the first spoken words of the man inside.  His voice slithered around the cracks of the doors so gently that if they hadn’t been listening, they might have missed them altogether.

“You can turn on around now, the both of you.  You’re not welcome here.”

Marsha looked to her husband for support, brow furrowed in worry, ready to bolt at a moment’s notice.  There was the hint of worry in his eyes, but he only nodded reassuringly for her to continue.

“We…we would like to interest you in joining us for some good food,” she stammered, “that we have the chance to get to know one another?”

“I have no interest in such things,” he answered coldly.  “Nor do I want to get to know you or any of your nosy friends.  Now you can turn yourselves around and go back the way you came…”

He didn’t need to finish his thoughts, they both picked up on the subtle threat glaring at them from between the lines.  He spoke softly, and the cold apathy that carried his words drove a stake into their hearts.

“Won’t you reconsider?”

John spoke for his wife, who had retreated to the edge of the porch.

“You’re trespassing on my property,” the man fired in return.

“Well, if you ever do,” John answered cautiously, “we’re good people.”

“Get off my PORCH,” the voice screeched.  It was so sudden, so shrill, that both jumped as if bitten by a snake.  Marsha yelped, and fled back to the safety of their small gathering, while John made a much slower retreat.

Halfway down the stairs, he paused to throw one final glance at the house behind him.

 

The Morelli Bros. (Chapter 1, Part II)

They went from door to door, visiting customers who had previously done business with their family, and they were met with looks of sympathy and a slow shake of the head.

“I’m sorry, Mario, but given what your father has put us through, we just have to go with these other guys.”

“I wish I could, but I just don’t know if I can trust you boys.”

“No, and if I ever see one of you Morellis on our property again, I’ll call the cops!”

It brought a great sadness upon the boy’s hearts knowing that the burden of their father had passed down to them.  More and more of their customers were turning to their competitors because of his actions, and were now passing their judgement of him down to the hardworking duo.

As the day dragged on, they found it increasingly difficult to find their smiles before knocking on each new door.

“What are we going to do, brother,” asked the younger of the two.

“We have to show them that we aren’t like that bastard of a man.  We have to prove that we can be trusted, that it’s better to do business with a face you know, than with an app, or a phone service,” Mario answered passionately.

“And how do you-a say we do that,” Luigi answered with a sharp edge to his voice.

He didn’t have an immediate answer for his brother, nor would he find one in the near future.  He only knew that the best way to prove his worth was to get in and do the work.  If they couldn’t get over the threshold, how was he going to be able to ever do that?

He shook his head sadly and lowered his faced into his hands where he would hide his shame for the next several minutes.  When he next spoke, it his voice was thick with emotion.

“Offer them our next service for free,” he dared softly utter.

“A-wha…?”

Luigi flew up from his seat as he attempted stand over his brother in anger, only to slam his head on the ceiling of the van.  The breath whooshed from his lungs, stolen by the surprise of the situation as he tumbled askew to his seat.

For the first time in hours, Mario first smiled, and then laughed at what had happened to his younger, clumsier sibling.  It was a brief reprieve, for as soon as the other had recovered, the two argued in earnest about his latest proposition.

“We cannot give away our business,” the younger shot back. “We have-a precious few supplies as it is!”

“We’ve a-gotta do something,” Mario retorted. “If we don’t a-show them our intentions, we’re done for good!”

“Maybe it’s-a for the best,” Luigi fired in return.

The afternoon waned as their Italian blood fueled each side of the argument and by the time they found themselves wore out enough to settle on a compromise, the shadows had begun to stretch back toward the direction from which the sun had begun its journey.

They were no closer to what they had set out to do at the beginning of the day, and neither noticed that the needle on the fuel gauge had begun to dip below the ‘E’.

 

 

A New Toy

Yesterday I did something that I haven’t been able to do for a long time; I treated myself with a technological upgrade.  Compared to what I spent on my baby (primary laptop) seven years ago, this was only a drop in the bucket, but the features that I have available to me are something I never thought I’d be using for writing.

My new toy is a Toshiba notebook, C50-B series; a touchscreen with windows 8.1, 500 gigs and a few other bells and whistles.  The full specs are not really all that important for this post, because this is more about the one feature I’m using as I write this; projection.

This is something that’s new for me, exciting, and I have to be honest here; I can really get used to this!  While there is a second (or less) of delay between my computer and its image on the screen, I can’t help but enjoy fact that I’ve essentially upgraded to a fifty inch monitor!

I don’t know if my wife is very happy with the fact that I have this new toy to work with, but only because I think she would like to have one for herself!  (Sorry babe, we’ll get you one soon!)  But, I did need a little something more reliable for writing.

It’s not that my primary wasn’t good enough, because she is more than capable of handling my writing needs, but due to an unfortunate incident with my kiddos, I now have to spend quite a bit of money (which we didn’t have) on repairs.  Simpler to upgrade than to repair.  At least, it was for now.

Feel free to comment about your experiences below.