Let’s Meeting Again – Soccer Practice Part 5

The Deupty’s car pulls into Liz’s driveway.  He has circled a dozen times to show his presence.  Every time slowing down by the Greeley house and watching the man mowing the yard.  The old lady could chase him off but not throw him off.  There’s a risk at showing the source of the compliant.  But there’s a clear message too.

Liz comes to the door long before a door bell is needed.  Socks the cat hides under the clamshell chair on the porch.  Socks stands vigil over the porch.   Jesse calls in his location and the response to the call was taken care of.  Liz stands outside and sees the man down the street mowing someone’s yard.  It creates a chill down the spine.  Her eyes follow him. He doesn’t look real.  A robot moving on rails but far from a man.

Jesse looks at her.  She is shaking slightly.  The way someone looks when they don’t want you to know they are scared. 

“He has an aunt down the street.  She chased me off!  Damn, she is part bulldog.  I can’t see anything that William has done.  But he’s called Joshua by her.  There’s nothing on a Joshua Harden, anywhere.  I tried to run facial recognition but there’s a hundred white men close in looks named William.  I don’t have a close up to work with.  There’s not much else, besides drive by him a bunch of times.  Keep my number close.  Watch out for him.  I’ll come running.  Don’t worry!!  I don’t like his kind either.”  Jesse’s word bounce off her.  She is somewhere else.  Her heart was hoping it was her overreacting.  This is too close to home.  

“Does he live there?  Does he live there?!  You got to know at least that much!  He has to have a home. I never looked for the truck, but there it is.  Look!  He’s watching us!  He knows we are talking about him!  What if he comes around my house at night?  I can’t see him in the bushes in the dark!  If he got in, who would find us while we are still alive!  That’s what they do isn’t?  Sneak into your house tie up the woman and rape them.  Hoping they don’t kill you and your kids.  Beg to be taped to spare my son!  What kind of sick game is that!  And you can do nothing but drive around.  ‘Look we are watching you!  Lookee here!  Mr Policeman driving by.  I hope you don’t have bodies in the freezer!  Really! This is what I have to think about.  I’m not meaning to yell at you but I’m not good with this” she points at the man down the street.

Jesse looks at the man.  The man never stopped and isn’t even paying an attention at all to them.  He looks back at a crazy woman.  Her breath is with the force of a dragon.  Deep wells of air purging the deep fears from blaster furnaces of worry.  The heat that burns out minds from living in today for what exists in their minds.  He didn’t want to think it is in her head.  Years of police work leads to instincts the have vision clearer than human eyes.

“Look, I’m here.  I’ll be around.  I can’t just stop him all the time.  Hell, the turn with no signal.  A headlight burned out, speeding..he’s gonna talk to me.  Until then…I have to respect his right to be slightly creepy at times.  He’s not very intimidating.  You flared up at the store and he left.  Go inside watch some tv, play a game with Devon.  If he’s at soccer practice this week, look in the parking lot I’ll be there.

Jesse gets in the car and drives off.  She sits in the clam shell chair and watches him.  He has finished up with the yard.  Ms Greekey talks with him by his truck.  Her arms wave furiously.  He seems to cower back.  He goes to passenger side and emerges with a stack of pink paper . 

 As she goes back toward the house, her eyes follow him on the sidewalk and toward the neighbors house.  His slow gait carries him as he scans the lawn.  His left hand appears to write on the stack of papers.  He goes up the driveway toward the front door.  He stands there looking around the house.  He turns toward the street.  Not enough to she her.  She watches in disbelief, he acts like he belongs here.  He stuffs a pink paper in the mailbox.  Then starts for the next house  walking away from her.  She breaths a deep breath and goes inside.  

“He’s a landscaper.  Ok, he is selling his service door to door.  I’m crazy.  Jesse was trying to tell me.  Maybe crazy attracts crazy.” Liz retreats into her house.  She sits and flicks on the TV. Her minds floats away.  

The door bell rings.  She shuts off the TV   Walking to the door she sees the man, pink paper in hand he looks toward the street.  Fear emboldens her.  She grabs the door handle.  The door flys open and bangs against the wall.  He jumps.  

“What are you doing here!!  I told you to leave me alone!  What is your problem?!”  Her face is beet red.  Her back curls her face out in front of her.  Both arms forced down with clinched fists.  She is rigid and breathing fire.

“I’m doing landscaping work in the area.  You need anything done.  I mow, design..what ever you need?”  Joshua acts as if nothing has happened.

“Are you stupid?!  I’m yelling for you to leave.  You just don’t get it, do you?!” She starts to lose her steam.

“Ok, thanks for your time.” He smiles and turns.

“You are leaving just like that! Really?!” She starts back up.

“I figured you were having a bad day.  It happens.  Sorry, I’ll keep moving.” He won’t look at her now. 

“Ok.  I might have been a little jumpy there.  But you show up at thecstore talking about practice and now you’re here.  It’s a bit creepy!  Don’t get me wrong.  You can go wherever but I’m a little tired of it being where I am.”  She tries to relax.  It doesn’t work. 

“I’ll be going.  You seen me at one store and here.  I think I was wrong about you.” He turns again.

“Now wait just a minute?! What does that mean?!” She continues.

“You out of control.  You have no idea of anyone else, do you? Someone really hurt you.  And here you are taking the world out on a stranger. Or is there something else I did to you?” He turns again.

“That’s a little too funny.  You psychoanalysing me?! You think I am crazy.” She won’t stop now.

“I have a friend, counselor.  I do some child work with him.  It’s easy, if you are strong enough to ask for help.” He reaches in his pocket.

“Are you fucking kidding me?! Counseling?!” She is back to furious “I’m really trying to figure out what …you work with kids?  Joshua…..that’s who you talk to?”

“Built.  I talk to Billy.  I’m Joshua.  I got nervous around you.  He has my same given name.  He has hard.”  He gathers himself.  Joshua stands tall on both feet.  He looks taller and more attractive. 

“Oh, no!  You aren’t what I thought. You seemed like a stalker!  You acted like you knew me.” She relaxes.  All defenses fall down like rain.

“I know more about most people.  Here’s what Willie looks like.  You’ll know him instantly.”  His hand never left the left pocket. He removes a small black box.

“You’re right I will.  Oh, wait is that….” She crumbles mid sentence.  A smell of ozone and a crackle tell of a tazer delivering enough volts and amps  to stun someone.  He pushes her backwards.  She slumps to a dull thump.

“You are all the same uptight bitches!  You are better than us.  You judge us.  We beat you at the game.  You’re pathetic.  The sermon was beautiful, more substance then in your heart.”  He reaches into that pocket for a shop cloth and four plastic zip strips. “I’ll just move that SUV out in the street.  A tarp full of clippings is all they will see me move.  Going behind your truck.  Like another day, like another invisible person working around your prefect ass world.  I can’t wait til you start moving around.  I’ll just put this pill under your tongue to keep you relaxed.  You’ll love what wait for you.”

Previous pieces

Part 1

Part 2


Part 3


Part 4



Stalker – Soccer Practice Part 4

The Sun beats down on half brown grass.  A mower stirs more dust than grass clippings.  His mind is in overdrive.  The disaster of his making.  He needs another chance to catch her eye.  You would think by chance she would have noticed him.   Over here, or at the soccer practice, or the stores, or restaurants…

A black car pulls up behind his truck.  The bright yellow words of Sherrif and white Crawford County make for a ghastly mix of colors.   A man hides behind a computer screen inside.   His presence is noticed but no reaction seems necessary.

A tall slender white male steps out if the car.  A tug at the waist belt and a scan of the area ensue. He walks around the white truck.  Pausing to look inside at the contents.  The collection of fast food wrappers, trash and debris of someone who spends a lot of time in his truck.  The eyes follow over to the mower. Then the elderly woman watching him intently.

“Yes?! Is their a problem with the truck deputy?” Ms Greeley asks over the loud mower sound.  She eyes the deputy with spear like gaze.

“Mama, I can’t hear you! I’ll be right there!” He yells back.

The man with the mower acts clueless to the scene.

“Mama, how well do you know this man?” Deputy Jesse Jenkins inquires

“He’s my great nephew!  I think I know him well enough.  But you…Deputy..Jesse…Jenkins…I’m not sure about you!”  She knows he had issues with people before.  They look for him.  He told her and this isn’t the first time it happened here at her house.  She thinks it’s no wonder he’s a loser,they would scare anyone away from hiring him. 

“There’s a call about this white truck and someone looking in backyards.  Just checking up on it.  If someone breaks in, we never check these things out.  Hate to see you or your neighbors have troubled, mama.” Deputy Jesse pulls off his sunglasses slowly as he talks.  His face and eyes watching the mower move.  He is disappointed that the man never looks at him.

“I’d love to know who called!  He was in that truck a couple minutes before I could get him out to mow my yard.  Took ten damn minutes to get him in my back yard and I’m paying him.  If you got nothing else here.   Please find someone else to harass. We’re busy here!”  She gets between the eye sight of the deputy and his prey.

“What if he’s a stalker?  You are ok, with that?  Truck says William owns it, but you call him Jesse?  Not Will?  Well, have a nice day! Stay safe.”  He puts his sunglasses back on and waves at the man with the mower. 

“I’d offer you a donut and some coffee.  But I’m fresh out.” She smiles back.

“I’ll be watching him.  Just so both of you know.”  The deputy walks back to the car very slowly.  He sits in the car for a minute or two.

“What was that all about?  Did he want something?”  Joshua asks.

“You stupid shit!  I don’t want to know what you did! You’re gonna get in trouble this time.  I can’t keep them off you.  You can’t talk your way out the front door when it’s open.   Finish up and get on your way!  I’m too old.  I promised to help you if you needed it.  Not help because of how you are.  Don’t forget that!” She gets in his face.   Her demeanor is hostile and edgy.  

“Yes, I’ll be quick and gone.”  He cowers back to work.

Previous pieces

Part 1

Part 2


Part 3


Who is Billy Harden? Soccer Practice part 2

The shock of the encounter.  Who the hell is this guy?  She tries to walk to the register.  Her mind focused on fleeing.  The strange guy has disappeared.  Maybe it’s nothing.  Her mind doesn’t like he knows her child’s name.  She can’t remember seeing him.  Nor remembers a Joshua playing soccer with Devon.

The urge to call her son is overwhelming.  She can’t call panic stricken. The self serve registers will have to due.  They are off to the side, safer.  Maybe he won’t see her there.  They are close to the door, maybe she can get out unseen.

He sits in the white truck outside.  He plays with his phone.  He blew it.  Why did he use that name?  She’ll know he’s lying about Joshua.  But he had to buy time.  Maybe there is one on the team, or last year, or recently.  Kids move around all the time.  At least, he can try going by her place.  

She comes out of the store.  Her eyes spy him quickly under the sign.  She walks toward her SUV trying not to stare.  It’s impossible not to.  She slides her phone out and takes a picture of his truck.  

“I guess we’ll find out who you are Billy Harden.” She speaks to the phone.  Her picture has his face and plate number.  

She loads up her groceries.  Turning back to her pursuer, he is gone. 

Her fingers find her phone quickly.  

“Katie, It’s Liz.  I need a favor.  Do you remember a kid named Joshua playing soccer with Greenville? Or the last name of Harden?  I had the strangest guy approach me….” She tries to stay calm. ” No! I’m not looking to date this one.  He came up to me……”

“Ok, maybe he seen me before.  But you don’t throw out a child’s name to hook up with mom if mom never saw you before.  He has to be a creep!  Ask Jesse to run his plate!  Please?  I just want to be sure about this…….Your right it’s probably nothing.  If I dated more…yeah, yeah!  I’m happy…..really happy without anyone.” She hangs up the phone.

She gazing from the confines of the driver’s seat.  Her surrounds seem clear.  Jesse has used the Sherrif’s computer before to help his sister in law.  This doesn’t feel like nothing this time.

She tries the phone again. “Devon, I’m on the way.  Are you outside or inside? …. Well, stay inside and play through level six, or whatever it is.  I’m on the way now.  Hey, do you remember a Joshua playing soccer?   Oh he did!  Last year?  Was his name Harden?  I may have met someone who says Joshua played soccer with you…..well, if you don’t remember….it’s ok.”

She is both comforted and distrurb.  What if he’s not a creep and was just being friendly?  If you overreact to everyone…you end up alone.

He drives past the house.  A grey cat with white feet sits out front.  It seems to look for someone to let him in.  

Socks the cat see him.  His eyes get big and he slinks away.  Socks doesn’t trust strangers.

Expanded Version- Soccer Practice

​Every Wednesday evening at 6, she will take her place. Third row on the second set of risers. All the way to the right. She’ll lean foward. Rocking a bit as they scrimmage. There’s a nervousness about her. Her eyes flicker.

She’s as quiet as a church mouse. Heavy sudden whispers escape “Go Devon. Come on Devon”. She looks about afterward. Don’t want to be seen rooting, it’s just practice.

She’s almost divine. My eyes are locked into her. The long black hair rides her back. While not thin, she has soft round features. A porcelain complexion bears a sharp chin and a bit of a point to the nose. Eyes seem a bit dark and deeper set than they should be. Her pastel colors make pale skin glow. She loves teal, rose, pineapple, lavender, and new hues.

“I hope to love her even more after we meet. It’s coming. I wait for the chance. I know she would be happy. We shop at the same places. I wonder if she noticed me there. I try to stay a little behind.” His voice goes quiet

Unless it’s the intimate shop, I wait outside. I imagine. Lacy things. Delicate tapestries draped upon God’s creation of woman. Could she wear black or white? Her coordination efforts seem unlikely. I long to find out. I would die to find out.

“Oh what if she is timid? If she preferred darkness of those encounters…. Could I stay until morning? Oh no! She would surely keep that from Devon..at first. I could not stay the night for morning to show me.  I can’t wait to see.” His pulse quickens as he speaks of her.

The clock is his enemy.   It steals away moments they should be sharing.  Soon  the practice ends.  Everyone but one gathers a child.  The coach blabs about the game on Saturday. 

His eyes watch her walk toward Devon.  He could care less.  Her arm wraps across his shoulder and they begin the exit from his day.  

“I don’t think I’ll follow them to McDonald’s.   Maybe I’ll go to grocery in a bit.   I’ll wait for her there. Maybe the meat department..while she’s looking over things in the case, I could come up on her.  Strike up an interest on what she’s buying….” His mind wonders if today’s the day. 

He waits in the parking lot.  “It’s  in the Bag” sign is above his pick up.  The yellow circle and black letters reflect off the white hood.  The parking spot stands guard over the parking lot.  She can’t sneak in without being seen.  He keeps checking the time. It’s been almost an hour.  She should have been here already.

Fifteen agonizing minutes pass.  A silver Chevy SUV pulls in.  Her sunglasses make her look like a star.  He fumbles the door handle.  Getting out is automatic normally.  But this is the chance…. he gets to approach her.  

He sits on the driver’s seat watching her go through her routine.  She reaches in back seat.   Puts away the sunglasses.  Straightens the hair a bit.  Combs the hair back.  Recheck herself.  Then leaves the car.  In two steps, she will turn and lock the car with the key fob. Her gaze will hold until the lights flash.

Once she enters the store, he leaves the truck.  The glass doors show her grab a cart and head off to the right into produce.  He loses sight of her briefly as he approach the sliding door.  He goes through the effort of grabbing a cart and an ad.  But it’s his query he searches.  He know the routine she goes through.  He can count the number of cucumbers, peppers, and lettuce heads she will inspect before making her choice.

“I hope she’s that selective with everything.” He whispers to the world.  He knows she will be thrilled to meet him.

She approaches the back of the store.  She’ll go through the bread looking for whole grain wheat. 

“Honey…that’s right she gets honey wheat.” He turns a bit red not remembering.

Her turn for the meat case sends his heart pounding.  The now or never moment is here.  All the time learning, watching, waiting, hoping….fruition is around the corner.

She starts at the chicken.  He wants to wait until she goes to beef.  He gets closer.  He started thirty feet away, now he’s within ten feet.  She skips beef.  Anxiety kicks in.  He has to rush up and catch her.  He cuts her off at the pork chops.  She had no intention of stopping.

“Oh, excuse me!  I didn’t mean to cut you off.” He offers with a smile.

“It’s ok.  I wasn’t watching.  Just kind of in a hurry.” She counters.  People aggravate her easily.

“Their prices are hard to keep up with.  I see you are not having any luck either here.”  He smiles a little too much.  He is unaware of his own empty cart.  And desperate for eye contact.

“Yeah, well I’m kind of in a hurry.  So….” She excuses herself

“Oh, right.  Devon…how silly of me.” He doesn’t watch his words this time.

“What?! Did you say Devon?!! Why would you say that!  Who the hell are you?!” Her face gets ugly.  Her defense mode is fully operational.

“My nephew… He practices with the Bombers once in awhile.  I kind of recognize you.  You are hard to forget… I mean that complimentary, of course.”  His smile is gone.  He needs to control this.  She wasn’t supposed to change the plan.  He needs a new path here.  He risks losing her.  

“Well, I don’t like people knowing things about me without knowing them.  I’m a single parent and there are a lot of crazies out there.”  She sizes him up.  She doesn’t like him, but isn’t sure why.

“Sorry, next time I’ll mind my P’s and Q’s.  I’m Billy Harden.  Josh is my nephew.  If I see you again…we won’t be strangers now.”  He smoothes details out.

“Yeah, ok.  We aren’t strangers.  Goodbye….Billy.”  She starts to sprint away.

He watches her go.  Next time.  Next time less people around.

Part 2