Night crawlers, p.9
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Night Crawlers, p.9

          Ron L. Carter / Thrillers & Crime
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Jed had a lot of time on his hands while Justin was home recuperating. He didn’t like the idea of stealing things by himself without a lookout or companion, but he liked the fact that there wouldn’t be someone with him that he had to be responsible for. He soon would get used to, and even like, his new found freedom.



Now that he was operating all alone, one of the things he was going to do was go to the “The Joint” in Randsburg and meet the pretty blond waitress he’d been thinking about. Ever since the first time he’d seen her, he hadn’t been able to get her out of his mind. He wasn’t going to tell anyone about his plans to meet her. He knew he would be better off if he kept it to himself.



Jed pretended that he was going out on a mission to scope out the next house he was going to break into. Instead, after dark, he headed up the road to the “The Joint.” He took an extra nice shirt with him that he could change into before he went inside the bar. Just before he went inside, he combed his hair back so that it wasn’t flat from the hat he’d been wearing and made sure he looked presentable.



The buildings along the street where the Joint was located all have false fronts and an uneven sidewalk. The front of the Joint has an old rock wall, with whitewashed stucco in the back of it. There’s an old, neon sign hanging from the front of the building that says “The Joint.” Jed had never been inside a bar before so he didn’t know what to expect. He slowly opened the door and peeked inside. As he looked around, it was dark and cool just like any other old bar. It had a few pool tables and serving tables with chairs scattered around the room. Along the wall there were maps to rock hound sites, gold mines, pictures and newspaper clippings from the better days of the little town. It had a wooden floor and as he stepped inside it echoed with every footstep he took. He felt like everyone in the bar was looking at him as he took each step. Once he was close to the bar he saw that it had bar stools to sit and have a drink. It looked like a few of the people at the bar were regulars because they were having a conversation with the bartender. He would soon learn “The Joint” was more than just a bar to all the locals, it was the heart of the city.



When he walked toward the bar, he was met by the pretty blond waitress. When she first approached him, she asked him if there was anything she could help him with. He was so nervous that the first thing he asked her was where the bathroom was located. She smiled and pointed to a tiny hall that led down into the back of the long, narrow building. When he came out of the bathroom he went over and sat alone at one of the tables.



The blond came over and threw a menu down for him to look at as she said, “You find it ok?” Jed was trying to think of something to say to her and his mind wasn’t thinking about the bathroom as he replied, “Find what?” She looked at him and chuckled, “The bathroom silly.” A little embarrassed and red-faced, he looked at her and replied, “Oh that! Yes, I did, thank you.” She could tell he was nervous and wasn’t sure what he wanted to order so she said, “Let me know when you’re ready and I’ll come over and take your order. Jed looked up at her and said, “Yea, thank you, I’ll let you know.” He picked up the menu and pretended to look it over.



While he sat there looking past the menu he could see she was talking to the bartender and she kept looking over at him and smiling. After a few minutes, he motioned for her to come over. She quickly stopped what she was talking about and came straight over. He told her, “You know I’m not real hungry, can I just have a large coke and sit here for a little while.” She replied, “Sure, sweetie, you can sit there as long as you like.” She chuckled and said, “There’s no charge for that.” She then asked him, “Are you new in town?” He told her, “I live in Red Mountain, but this is the first time I’ve ever been inside the bar up here at Randsburg.” He then told her, “I’ve lived in Red Mountain for the past four or five years with my brothers and mom. I can’t remember exactly because I’ve lost track of time. Where do you live,” he asked. She very cautiously replied, “I live nearby in Jo-Burg and I’ve been here all her life. I’m surprised I’ve never seen you in high school or around town.” He smiled and said, “I didn’t go to high school around here and I don’t get out much. By the way, I’m Jed Bailey, what’s your name?” She blushed a little as she replied, “Chelsea King.” They both immediately felt the attraction they had for each other and when she wasn’t busy waiting on customers, she would come over and sit down and talk to him. Jed stayed a couple of hours and just visited with her off and on until the place started getting a little too busy. As he got ready to leave, he smiled at her and said, “Thank you for the conversation Chelsea King.” On his way out of the door she said, “You come back and visit me again soon. Ok, Jed Bailey.”



When Jed left “The Joint” he felt like he was on cloud nine. He wasn’t high from any booze he’d consumed, he was high on Chelsea King. He felt that was much better than any liquor he could’ve ever had. On his way home all he could think about was her, as he thought to himself, she’s about the sweetest girl I’ve ever met in my life. She’s a real keeper. He’d soon forgotten all about the bad experiences he and Justin had at Randsburg. Now there was something in Randsburg that made him want to keep coming back. He really liked talking with Chelsea and knew that he wanted to get to know her better.



When he got home, he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about how beautiful and sweet she was. He’d never had those feelings of butterflies in his stomach like when he was around her. That feeling was driving him crazy.



Jed could hardly wait to see Chelsea again, he was like a kid that couldn’t wait to open his Christmas presents on Christmas day. It was no big surprise to the bartender or Chelsea when he became a frequent visitor to “The Joint.” Before long Jed and Chelsea were very close friends and Jed loved to sit and talk to her when she wasn’t busy. Jed was so smitten he would spend hours watching her and waiting for any free time Chelsea had to talk.



As they got to know each other better, she told him that she had two younger brothers and lived with them and her dad. She told him her mother had passed away from cancer when she was nine years old and her dad became an alcoholic soon after her mother’s death. She told Jed, “Since my mom died, life has been pure hell for me and my brothers. I gave up begging my dad to stop drinking years ago. When I was younger, I would try to reason with him and tell him that my brothers needed him to stay sober and help take care of us. I would pour out his liquor or hide it from him when he was passed out. Anything to get him to stop. I tried everything, but nothing ever seemed to work with him. It seemed like the more I tried with him the worse he got. I feel like he’s just hell bent on destroying himself and maybe taking everyone with him.” Jed told her that he could relate to her misery because his mom and dad both had a problem with drugs, but that was all he would say about them. He didn’t feel like he knew her well enough yet to tell her everything about his parents and their problems.



Chelsea continued to tell Jed, “As I got older my father became even more verbally abusive to me and my brothers when he would get drunk. He would say cruel and hurtful things to me and my brothers and wouldn’t remember any of it the next day when he woke up. When I was younger I didn’t realize that it was just the booze talking and I took everything he said personal. Even though he stays drunk a lot and is verbally abusive, he’s never became physically abusive to any of us. If he had, I would’ve taken my brothers and left. I don’t know where I would’ve gone, but I know that’s where I’d draw the line.”



Now that my brothers have gotten older they’ve started copying my dad’s behavior and they sometimes say mean, hurtful things to me. It’s mostly when they get mad at me. Sometimes my dad gets so drunk that he’ll come home and come into my bedroom and try to crawl in bed with me while I’m sleeping. When he gets like that I just have to take my feet and physically kick him out of the bed and onto the floor. Usually by then, he’ll just lay there passed out snoring on the floor while I go sleep on the couch. When he wakes up the next day he always wonders how got on the floor in my bedroom. Once I tell him what happened, he apologizes to me. He always swears to me it will never happen again. Of course it doesn’t stop him from doing it again because he couldn’t keep that promise to me. He never stop drinking.”



Jed was shocked that her father was such a bad drunk and that he had treated Chelsea that way. He told her he’d never been around anyone like that before and he felt bad for her. She told Jed she was lucky to get the job at “The Joint” when she turned eighteen. She said, “I used to go to “The Joint” to get my dad when he was drunk and I made friends with the bartender/owner. She felt sorry for me, and knew that I needed to get out of the house to get away from my brothers and my dad, so she gave me the job. By then, I was tired of all my dad’s drinking and my brothers’ attitudes. I knew they all could take care of themselves just fine and really didn’t need me as much. My dad has always made me clean the house, do the laundry and do all the shopping for everyone. I had become the mother figure when Mom died, but I believed I had become nothing more than a slave and got tired of it.



“When my dad first found out I was working at “The Joint” he was drunk. He went to the bar and tried to drag me out by the arm and make me go home. Some of the patrons of the bar came to my rescue and had to physically remove him. They threatened to call the sheriff’s department, but that didn’t work, so they had to drag him out of the bar to get him to leave. There were times he would be seen by some of the locals in town passed out in between houses or in a gutter next to the road. He’s just pathetic when he’s drunk and I don’t know how long he can live like that.”



Jed told Chelsea, “I live with my mom and two brothers. Both of my brothers have physical and mental defects from the drugs abused by my mom during her pregnancies.” Because of their similar lives Jed and Chelsea felt like they had a special bond with each other. They felt like they had a life that was not one they would’ve chosen for themselves, but one they were stuck with for now.



No matter how much Jed told Chelsea, the one thing he promised himself he wasn’t going to tell Chelsea was that he and Justin were the ones the people in Red Mountain were calling the Night Crawlers.



Jed started spending more and more time with Chelsea. He would walk her home from work when she couldn’t get a ride, always stealing a kiss, just before he left. As time went by Chelsea and Jed became more than just friends and they started to fall in love. During that time, Jed also got to know her brothers pretty well. They were fifteen and sixteen years old at the time and they were easy for Jed to talk to. Jed also made sure they didn’t say mean or cruel things to Chelsea when he was around.



When it came to Chelsea’s dad, he was another story. He was just like Chelsea said, he wasn’t a bad guy when he was sober, but was impossible to be around when he was drunk. Jed tried to stay away from her house when her dad was around. He was always confrontational when he was drinking and Jed didn’t want to deal with him in that condition. Chelsea always said, “You can’t talk to him or reason with him. He is extremely verbally abusive to anyone around him when he’s drunk.” When Jed saw that he was drunk he would try and avoid him and just stay out of his way.



It was during one of those drunken binges when Jed was over visiting Chelsea. Her dad came home drunk and was out of control. It was too late for Jed to get out of the house so he just sat on the couch trying not to engage him in the wrong way. It didn’t work. Chelsea’s dad approached him and got in his face when he told Jed he didn’t like him hanging out with his daughter. He was stumbling around as he raised his voice and said to Chelsea, “That guy is no good for you and you’re just wasting your time with him. He’s nothing more than a loser and will never amount to anything. He’s just like all the rest of the losers in these little screwed up towns. If you end up with him, you’ll be stuck here the rest of your life.”



Jed tried hard to ignore him, but the more he tried the more Chelsea’s father continued his verbal attack. It was when he told Jed that Chelsea would never end up with a low life punk like him that he’d had more than he could take. He couldn’t keep his mouth shut any longer as he said, “Look who’s talking! You’re nothing but a worthless lazy old drunk who’s verbally abusive to his kids.” When Chelsea’s dad heard those words he got angry and went after Jed, trying to fist fight him. Chelsea was trying to stop him but he wasn’t paying any attention to her as he pushed her aside. As he came at Jed, swinging his arms, Jed tackled him and pushed him face down on the floor. Even if he would’ve been a good fighter, the booze had already taken away all his strength and ability to fight. Jed grabbed his arms and pulled them behind his back and just held him there as he sat on top of him. Her father was in a position where he couldn’t move as Jed continued to hold him down. The entire time Chelsea’s dad had tried to attack him, Jed never punched him, or even tried to hurt him in any way. He just thought the entire ordeal was sad, pathetic and totally uncalled for.



Chelsea went over to Jed while he was sitting there on top of her dad wondering what he should do next. She put her hand on Jed’s shoulder and said, “Jed, I think it would be better if you just left for now, I don’t want to see you two end up hurting each other.” She wasn’t worried as much about Jed as she was her dad. She knew he was too drunk to fight back. Jed knew she was right as he slowly let go of her dad and backed away. He wasn’t sure what her dad was going to do when he let him go but, fortunately, he just laid there on the floor and passed out. Jed wasn’t going to stick around and see if he woke up and went crazy again so he grabbed his coat on the way out. As he left, Chelsea told him she would talk to him the next day at “The Joint.” They kissed each other good night and Jed left. On his way home he thought to himself, “that was a little crazy. Chelsea’s right, her dad is a terrible drunk!”



A few days’ later, when Jed was at “The Joint,” Chelsea and Jed couldn’t help but laugh about the entire encounter with her dad. Chelsea had warned Jed in advance about him so Jed knew it was just the booze talking and he didn’t take anything her dad said about him personal.

He laughed and said, “It’s no big deal. I already forgot about the entire thing.”



Jed and Chelsea talked about what life may be like if they weren’t stuck in the situations they were in with their families. They knew it was just talk because neither of them could do anything different with their lives under the present situations. The mere thought of a different life was just a fleeting fantasy to both of them. The one thing they were sure of, and that was they knew they loved each other and nothing could change that. Jed would say to Chelsea before he left to go back home, “Maybe someday we can escape this town.” She would always smile and reply, “Yea, maybe someday.”





* * *







Chapter 10 - Justin and Joshua come to the Rescue




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment