The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 1, 2010

Chapter 8, As the Small Town Turns

Harriette Rost, guest writer

— Rock seethed as he pulled the big Mack truck onto a side road several blocks from Raquel’s place. His tail feathers ruffled, he reached in the cooler for a cold Bud.

“If GI Joe thinks he’s getting’ away with this, he’s insane! I’ll make hash out of that jerk!”

Rock threw his head back, downing another swig. Maybe Raquel needed some of what he was good at dishing out.

“And what better way? I know that house inside and out.”

Rock slid down from the cab and crept silently through the early morning hours to the Traubenkraut duplex. Slipping through the back gate, he eased to a back bedroom window. Sliding his pocketknife under the seal, he jimmied the lock, letting the double window open enough to go through. He’d done it dozens of times before to get to Raquel.

Standing motionless in the middle of the bedroom, Rock’s eyes soon adjusted to the dim light. He noticed the door was shut. Muffled voices came from the front of the house. He figured the commotion woke up Raquel’s parents. They were gettin’ to know big boy with the boots.

Standing over the bed, he realized his boy, Rock Jr., was absent from the room. Little snot had probably peed his bed. Soft snoring drew him to the other bed, where little Roxanne Marie snuggled peacefully with her Raggedy Ann doll. Slipping his arms under her, Rock lifted one of Raquel’s most treasured possessions out of the room and slithered into the night air with Raggedy Ann in tow.

He placed her on the mattress of the sleeper cab, covered her with his Elvis cape and sped toward Lorena’s trailer. Lorena, his mother, worked the night shift at Jerry’s Diner and dayshift sewing for the public. Her latest creation was an outfit for Rock, complete with jewels, which formed an eagle on the back of the cape.

Rock jerked open the pantry and stole Lorena’s peanut butter, light bread, bananas and milk. He grabbed his new Elvis impersonator outfit off the hook and headed for the truck. A soft whimpering came from the sleeper cab.

“Daddy’s here and we’re going on a fun trip!” Rock gave Roxanne Marie a sip of milk and a half banana, sending her back to sleep.

Rock’s heart pounded as he raced out of town. He’d unload his freight in Little Rock and be on to Branson to claim his title as winner of “Worldwide Elvis Impersonator.” He smoothed back his dyed jet-black hair and practiced his one-sided lip smirk in the mirror.

This little two-bit, one-horse town could kiss his sore tail good-bye. Let Miss Raquel and her bodyguard stew in that pot. The title would show ‘em all… Rock Roddenheimer was nobody’s fool.

As he turned on I-65 headed north, Elvis kept him company on the CD.

“ caught in a trap, can’t look back…. I love you too much bay - a- bee!”