Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Cardboard Box Chapter 19 "Revelations" By Julianna Rowe (property of Diane Ogden)

Chapter 19


            I abruptly hung up the phone before Tilton or his looney secretary answered it.  My mind was off on a gravel road of its own again.  For instance, who owns the church?  In all the craziness of Pam’s generational murder suicide and Miles creepy weeping over her grave in a rainstorm like the lost soul he had surely become.  I had momentarily forgotten this trip to the church viewing could be a re-do of my last trip to the mansion.  The mansion I swore I would never lay eyes on again in this lifetime.  Back on that disaster of a day Tilton and I had driven to the mansion to obtain a key from the owner of the church.  Well captain obvious who owns the church?  Did Pam own the church?  Did Jake own the church?  Or did Tim own the church?  Heck at this point just about anyone could own the church as far as my mind could see in that vast ocean of possible unscrupulous peoples! 

            I decided Duke and I would stop at Tom’s this morning before finishing the call to Tilton Boyer for an appointment.  I needed some space from this situation before pursuing it further.  I stopped at the motel restaurant and got a dozen donuts for Tom, his family, and of course Duke and I. We all sat inside instead of our usual place on the shredded folding chairs out front.  It was so Tom’s son Shamonta could enjoy the conversation as well.  Tom’s daughter Shamika had a strong head on her shoulders.  She was a less emotional person then I therefore able to come to faster and wiser conclusions as well as speculate on a more level brainy playing field.  She could have been a great lawyer while I should have pursed a role in a soap opera for sure.  That way it would have played out on screen vs in my life.  Or so some would say.

            Tom and I had been talking shop while scarfing down donuts like they had the value of broccoli with no calories whatsoever.  Shamika had been very quiet the whole time.  Old Tom asked her what was on her mind?

            She said, “Something is missing here.  So Tim and Jake are no relation to Pam. And Pam is, excuse me, I mean was Tilton’s niece.  And Pam’s adopted father was Tilton’s brother.  And Pam’s mother had an affair with Tim and Jake’s father.  Do I have this right so far?”

            Tom and I looked at each other, then back at Shamika and shook our heads in doubtful agreement.

            Shamika continued. “So who is Pam’s real father? And come to think of it ya’ll, why did Pam always go to Tilton’s real estate office after work. She never went to any real home as I recall Daddy telling me.  Daddy never saw who kidnapped him but did say he and Duke were kept oddly comfortable.  One more thing.  Tilton Boyer is not some fancy big commercial real estate tycoon. So where does he come up with the money for such a fine office and car, not to mention he lives in a very nice home in a very nice neighborhood of Amarillo.  He makes sure everyone knows who he is.  I hate to gossip but what about that kooky Marilyn Monroe secretary? We girls at the church giggle when we see her walking about town in her wannabee low cut dresses and big red lips.  I should stop my evil talking as it is not of the Lord.”

            I quickly responded, “No, no, don’t stop Shamika you are on a roll.  We can use all the help we can get.”

            She continued. “I also noticed you have your car back Julianna.  Why?  Have they caught the criminals or are they using you to do their job?  Daddy says Miles Reed was in the cemetery grieving over Pam Hawkinson's death. Why?  Do you really think he was having an affair with her?  She was so much younger than him.  I thought he was tailing her as a suspect in the Amarillo drug ring.”

            Tom and I stopped eating donuts.  We must have looked like two kids wearing dunce hats sitting in the corner about   4th grade level.  Not to mention our mouths hanging open.  Even Shamonta was grinning ear to ear while drooling.  It was an effect of his physical condition although nothing seemed to affect his hearing from what we could see.  

            “What!” Shamika said. “What!”

             I stood up.  Thanked her.  Never did answer her what. Turned to Tom and said, “I gotta go!”

            Tom grabbed my arm saying he was coming “wit” me, no way was I going on this mission alone. He would not take no for an answer.  And so it was we left together that day.

  I recall noticing I needed to be more careful with my language as I was starting to pick up Tom’s southern Negro drawl and grammar issues.  Acceptable for him but not for a first class young white girl.

            My church secret would soon be out of the bag if Tom were with me.   But he was right; this was no drug fishing job for a young woman to do alone.  The dangers were obvious from what had already occurred. I still hadn’t taken the time to stop in the doc’s office and have those tightening stitches removed from my ankle. Not only were we dealing with a small time drug ring but a family history possibly behind it all.  The three of us, Duke, Tom, and I, piled in the pink Cadi after making the phone call to Tilton Boyer for a set up appointment.  Tom was sure-enough patient during my phone conversation with Tilton although I knew he was curious as to my reasoning behind it.  He was a good patient Christian man to say the least.

            Once settled in the car and driving out of town the radio was playing, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” by the Tokens. 


In the jungle, the mighty jungle

 The lion sleeps tonight

 In the jungle, the quiet jungle

 The lion sleeps tonight

Near the village, the peaceful village

 The lion sleeps tonight

 Near the village, the quiet village

 the lion sleeps tonight

 Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh

 Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh

 Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh

 Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh

Hush my darling, don't fear my darling

 The lion sleeps tonight

 Hush my darling, don't fear my darling

 The lion sleeps tonight!

            I looked over at Tom and quietly said, “Tom there is a lion sleeping somewhere in this jungle mystery.”  Maybe I am scared.”

            Tom went into preacher mode reiterating to me just what the song had said.  To hush now and not to fear for God is our peaceful village and we shall rest under his wings of protection.

            I thanked him but underneath it all I wasn’t so sure anymore.  Once again my mind set off to doing its hindsight thing.  Wishing I were back in Northern Wisconsin living with dead Fred instead of here in Amarillo looking for fast Freddie.  Or even with cowboy Billy in Houston living the rich life being the quiet accommodating southern wife.  Oh God no! Why did I always think I needed a man when obviously I didn’t and don’t. 

Duke gave out a bark for some unknown reason.  In fact barking like he was on a fox run was quite rare.  Then there ahead of us on the side of the road was a man walking alone.  The closer we got the more Duke went crazy barking.  I pulled over to ask him if he needed assisstance.  I thought Duke was going to go right through the window in attack mode.  Only time I had seen this was once when he was with Uncle Biggs in the big rig when they used to haul over the road.  I tried to calm Duke as Tom did also.  We told the young man it might be better if we sent help back instead of giving him a ride to which he agreed.  If I were him I wouldn’t have gotten into a car with a raging dog either.  Even if it was a beautiful Pink Cadillac.  As we drove away Duke was in the back window still attacking the stranger best he could through the window.

            Tom asked me what the heck I thought that was about?  I asked him if he recognized that young man.  Tom thought maybe he had worked at the Rice Motel’s front desk.   I commented how interesting that was.  Then I told Tom I bet that was the kid that took my car and my dog from the motel.  I betcha Tom!  I turned the car around in a fast U turn and headed back toward that young man alone on the side of the road in the middle of nowheresville.  This was my chance to get a little info back for a change and for sure.   I pulled my baby browning out of the glove box, added the clip and hit the gas pedal.  Tom asked me what in the world I was up to now.  I told him this was the perfect opportunity to find out what the hell was really going on.   I excused my language as I added the situation we had been in the past few weeks had been hell. 

            I pulled over to the side of the road opposite the man, got out, pointed my browning directly at him with no hesitation whatsoever while Duke was going ape shit crazy in the back seat to boot.  I supposed Tom was using his direct line to God at that moment to keep our butts safe. 

            The man-boy raised his hands in a gesture of white flaggin it and said, “Hey lady, what the hell? I didn’t do nothin’ ma’am.”

            I said with intimidating strength, “The hell you didn’t! You stole my car and my dog and I want to know why right here and now or I will either shoot you in the foot or let my dog lose on you or both. You see I have had it and you are the end of my I have had it list.  So I suggest you tell me why you took my car and my dog and right now!”

            He told me he didn’t know what I was talking about so I shot his foot.  Well not exactly his foot but so close I am sure the sole of his shoe was smokin’.  My Granddaddy taught me to shoot when I was barely old enough to hold a gun.  More like nine or so.  Duke actually stopped barking but Tom went into high gear and started speaking in tongues.  The man-boy on the other hand was crying.  Imagine that?  Dude is crying, scared of a dog, a girl with a gun, and an old Negro preacher man praying in tongues.  I almost laughed until I caught sight of the true situation at hand. Literally.  

            I said very loudly, “START TALKING!”

            “I was hired to plant the drugs in your Cadi.” He said with a trembling voice.

            “Keep talking, who hired you?  What is your name; throw me your wallet now!” I commanded.

            “Pam Hawkinson hired me.  My name is Joe Ben Waller. I never meant to hurt anybody.”  He slowly pulled his wallet out from his back pocket and slid it across the street. And then wouldn’t you know it.  Here comes Johnny Law Oklahoma State trooper toward us like a bat outta hell.  Shit how did he know what was going down here.  I jumped back in my car and we put the pedal to the metal and drove off like nothing ever happened.  We supposed someone saw us from the ranch house in the distance. Maybe had some binoculars going on.  The trooper didn’t stop us and I was betting Joe Ben Waller wasn’t going to give himself away either.  No matter I had his name and information for Director Ferguson.  Unless he was a bad guy too.  Good God everybody was turning out to be criminals.

            I asked Tom if he was okay.  He looked at me and told me never to do such a thing again.  I started laughing.  Told him I knew we were safe under God’s wings. And we found the sleeping lion.  All was good so far.  Then we both started laughing.  Even Duke figured I had handled the situation because he was all tuckered out sleeping it off in the back seat.

            Tom asked me where in tarnation we “was” going.  I finally had to come clean with him regarding my search for a church for him and that I had found one with a ready-made congregation.  We were on our way to view it with Tilton Boyer who was meeting us shortly.

            Old Tom just sat there speechless on the passenger side of my beautiful pink Cadillac.  I asked him why he wasn’t fussing at me and carrying on about how he can do it all by himself without any help.  Then I saw a tear flowing down the  tributaries of crooked wrinkles on the old man’s face.  I was silent.

            Old Tom said in his southern negro drawl, “Missies, youse come to da town for goodness. Youse helped my family more den anybody ever did.  And youse is perty as da day is long.  Eyes suspect youse sent by da good Lawd above. Is all I gots ta say fo now beside youse a good person Miss Julie.”

            I thanked the old man and we drove on.  This time we decided to sing us a hymn once again.

            A song inspired by Psalm 126:6, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

Sowing in the morning,

 Sowing seeds of kindness,

Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;

Waiting for the harvest,

And the time of reaping,

We shall come rejoicing,

Bringing in the sheaves.


Bringing in the sheaves,

 Bringing in the sheaves,

We shall come rejoicing,

Bringing in the sheaves,

Bringing in the sheaves,

Bringing in the sheaves,

We shall come rejoicing,

Bringing in the sheaves.

Sowing in the sunshine,

Sowing in the shadows,

Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;

By and by the harvest,

And the labor ended,

We shall come rejoicing,

 Bringing in the sheaves.


Going forth with weeping,

Sowing for the Master,

Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;

When our weeping’s over,

 He will bid us welcome,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

            If I hadn’t said so myself others would have agreed that old Tom and I could beller out a tune as good as some of those radio folks.  Lest I not forget Duke howling in the back seat like the hound dog he was.

            I had initially missed my turn to meet Tilton which had taken us too far out of town.   Surely that was an act of God for if I hadn’t missed the turn we wouldn’t have come upon our latest and much needed clue, Joe Ben Waller.  Could have also been because I got sidetracked listening and singing to the radio playing, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”  Maybe another clue sent by the almighty.  Humm, maybe Tom did have a direct line to God going on.  

And so it happened.  Old Tom, Duke, and I, drove on to meet Tilton Boyer and view the little church with the ready-made congregation.  Maybe it was going to be a great day afterall.  
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