October 25, 2012

$1.99 Kindle short story!

Old Joe’s Pink Cadillac
Janelle Meraz Hooper
   Before Old Joe’s best friend left for Vietnam he dropped his pink 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville off at Joe’s for safekeeping. The old car was in bad shape and when his friend didn’t come back Joe made it his mission to restore her.
   Most nights, after work, Old Joe could be found with his head stuck under the hood of the collectible car, murmuring loving, encouraging sounds to the eye-catching lady who once ruled the highway.  When he finished, she was a beaut. Old Joe didn’t have much, never did. But at least he had Elizabeth…for a while.

a few lines...Everyone liked Joe. Ben, a bachelor who lived across the alley, had a special fondness for his neighbor. Years ago, Joe had chosen to move to the white side of the laurel hedge the city had planted to separate the whites from the blacks. Ben suspected Joe’s move had something to do with wanting to get away from his ex-wife. It was a gutsy decision, and Ben admired him for it.
Through the years, the once all-white, intimidating neighborhood filled in with Asians and Hispanics. At dinnertime, the air was filled with wonderful smells of different cultures mixing together in the hot air, and the smells from Joe’s kitchen fit right into the mix.
Ben’s effort to see that Joe was well and had everything he needed was always appreciated by the old guy.  Especially on hot nights, Ben would walk across the alley to say hello and make sure the old man had ice for his icebox. Temperatures in the Oklahoma town could be as high as a hundred and eight degrees or more in the daytime during the summer, and the town’s senior citizens were sometimes known to suffer from dehydration.
On those nights, Joe would pull two bottles of beer out of his icebox, and he and Ben would go outside and sit on Elizabeth’s hood to cool off. There, in the dark, they’d listen to the crickets chirp, and the cats hiss at each other on the Victorian’s porch. Sometimes, houses away, they’d hear a couple squabbling until they both decided it was too hot to fight.
Too hot to love.
Too hot to sleep.
Eventually, cats and people would quiet down for the night, and Ben and Joe would be left under a star-filled sky with only the crickets and lightning bugs for company. 

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