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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest · #1270570
Was moved to pen this for Twisted Tales while listening to Jo Dee Messina
"Someplace where there isn't any trouble...do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?"

The sun never sets on sunset Strip.  From one dawn to the next, the sky is constantly incandescent--as if God keeps forgetting to flip the light switch off.

Danielle sighed as she searched the sky for any color struggling to streak through the gray pollution that puddled through the LA high-rises. She'd only been in this Land of Odd for a month, but she already missed Kansas.  She longed for the touch of rain on her cheek and for the low suns that rolled across the Kansas sky like the crimson wheels of old prairie schooners.  Most of all, she longed for Gram's home cooking.

Already Danielle was tired of heart-shaped hot tubs and private Lears and leers at her privates.  She was tired of men who were prettier than she and who jaunted off to San Francisco to have their hair styled:  Men who liked Judy Garland even more than she did.  Men who didn't have black, brown, or blond hair, but rather ebony blue, burnt umber, or sun-kissed locks.  Locks?  Danielle sighed again.

She drew the drapes in disgust, slid a Judy Garland CD into the player, and curled up on the couch with the last of Gram's chocolate chip Cowboy cookies.

"It's not a place you can get to by a boat or a train.  It's far, far away--Behind the moon.  Beyond the sun."

Danielle had come to LA hoping it would be that place:  the place of stars--Behind the moon.  Beyond the sun.  But so far, the only constellations she had run into were some lecherous old goats.

"Where troubles melt like lemon drops"

Danielle's stomach rumbled in protest as she recalled Gram's Johnny cakes and hominy pudding, gooseberry pie and potato biscuits dunked in home-made gravy.  She was tired of sun dried tomatoes from Spagos and free range squab from Maxims.  Just give her some good old farm fried chicken and warm tomatoes right off Gram's vine any old time.

In the middle of Danielle's reveries, the door bell chimed "Getting to know you".  Only in LA she smirked.  It should play "Bring in the Clowns". And Danielle wasn't in the mood for any more clowns.  She was tempted to just turn Judy up to full volume and ignore the insistent silly chime.  But Danielle was expecting a care package from Gram--perhaps some more Cowboy cookies.  She rose from the couch  to answer the door, but stopped to flip the player to max just for spite.

"Special Delivery, ma'am."

His lips looked like they'd never ever form the words "sun-kissed"; his eyes looked like they'd laugh out loud if he even heard them.  Danielle fought to catch her breath.  It was worse than being thrown from a horse.

"Please ma'am, if you could just turn that music down.  I hate Judy Garland."

The air rushed through Danielle's lungs like a birth breath.  She smiled her most coquettish smile and nearly broke the volume button subduing Ms. Garland.

"I'm from Kansas, too," the man smiled noting the return address as he handed Danielle the package.  "My name is Billy."

"Billy, so simple, so unpretentious.  I must be wishing on a star,"  Danielle thought.  She mustered all her courage and invited Billy over for dinner later that evening.

"Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true."

Danielle listened to the last threads of Judy as she meticulously prepared Gram's fried chicken and black-eye gravy.  Her timing was perfect.

Both Judy and dinner were done when "Getting to know you" chimed.

Billy's mouth began to water as soon as Danielle opened the door.  He smiled shyly as his hand squeezed the leather handle of his freshly sharpened Bowie knife.  It was in his pocket--right next to his Momma's recipe for "Fried Chicks and blood-eye gravy".  You see, Billy missed home cooking, too.

"You're not in Kansas anymore
Can't  be too careful that's for sure
City lights will lead you on
Morning comes and they'll be gone
You're not in Kansas anymore."  Jo Dee Messina

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