This is a straight from the consciouness, unedited writing.
|It was unexpected. It was tragically unexpected and yet the most profound moment of my life. When I review the events today, I wonder how I was able to survive even one moment, yet survive I did.
I was a waitress, actually they call us ‘servers, but waitress is what we were in my little town of Praiee Falls. I worked the 7:00AM to 4:00 Pm shift and hated every moment. From the time I rolled out of bed in the morning, until I came home in the afternoon, I hated everything about my life.
The lingering smell of grease from the French fry machine; bacon fat stored on the back of the griddle made the fries smell not as bad. The clatter of dishes slamming down on the ‘ready to go’ counter became jarring sensations every time Muskie threw one down and hollered, ‘Evie, your up gal.”
I hated Muskie too. That lecherous ex-football tackle who owned the diner. He should have been brought up on charges of sexual harassment, but then whichever of us girls who brought charges, would be out of a job, and jobs weren’t plentiful in Praiee Falls.
Besides, he was best friends with Pete Calgon, the town sheriff. Pete was no better than Muskie, he had his paws all over any of us who made the mistake of getting too close.
It was a miserable existence, but I saw no way out, even though I had dreamed of leaving for years. I couldn’t leave. I had an invalid mother to care for. My mother who hated me from the day she got pregnant and forced my father to marry her. He was a no-gooder, who left us after two years, but that’s another story, and has nothing to do with what happened that fateful day.
My shift was almost over. My feet hurt, my back ached, my nostrils had stopped rebelling at the greasy aromas. Sarah and Nadine Crawford, sister spinsters, had come by for their early dinner. They always took home more than they ate, but all of us knew they were living on severely limited income. Even thought their daddy had been the richest man in town, he had spent it all long before he died a pauper.
Anyway, Sarah ordered a hot pastrami sandwich with mashed potatoes and creamed corn. Nadine scowled at her and mumbled she didn’t want to eat mashed potatoes after Sarah had attacked them. Why didn’t Sarah order French Fries?
I pretended not to hear the comment, as I wrote the order on my pad, just praying they wouldn’t get into a boisterous argument. I wanted to take their order, end my shift and go home, except going home wasn’t any big deal either. Mother would be scowling worse than Nadine because of some imagined infraction. Maybe her favorite soap opera character didn’t’ behave well that day, or the lunch I’d made her before leaving in the morning wasn’t good enough. Didn’t matter much what I did, she would still scowl and complain. Most often I didn’t listen to her, just went to my room, took off my smelly uniform, and soaked in the shower until I felt clean and ready to face another evening of dismal complaining.
It wasn’t meant to be. Not that day. It would not be the same as all the others. Jason Carver McKnight walked into the diner just before I ended my shift. I was taking the Crawford sister’s order to Muskie, when I heard the door open. My eyes turned toward the front door and there he was, holding a gun about the size of a Mack truck, at least it was big, bigger than any gun I had ever seen.
Before anyone could move, he was firing that gun everywhere. The first bullet hit me full force in the shoulder, and the second, the one that took me down, hit me just below my shoulder. He was firing rapidly, but suddenly I was not aware of anything except blackness.
That day changed my life for good. Coming close to death made me realize I could no longer live in the misery I had been schlepping through. When I got out of the hospital, I attended the funerals of the Crawford sisters and Muskie, went home, packed a suitcase, told my mother goodbye and left Praiee Falls.
I’ve never looked back, until now. This morning I was rushing to my job at Pendelton Pharmaceuticals, where I work as a receptionist, and I ran into Pete Calgon, the sheriff back home. He told me about the fortune the Crawford sisters had amassed through frugal living, and sound investments over the years. That is was over a million dollars, and left to their church. My mother had somehow managed to overcome her illness and was working at the diner, which Pete now owned, and he and my mother were thinking about moving in together. “She’s a fine woman,” Pete remarked. “You oughta come home and see her.”
So the terrible tragic occurrence of that day not only changed my life, but it changed my mother’s as well. Maybe one of these days I will go home. Mother might enjoy meeting my husband Bart, and her two grandchildren. I'm glad we are both happy.