The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 1, 2010

Chapter 10, As the Small Town Turns

Cynthia Boris, guest writer

— Stretching and smiling with RJ’s little elbow in her face and his leg thrown around her, Raquel turned her head to see Buck fast asleep on her new recliner. Hmmmm, she thought, maybe she should make another trip back there for a new couch. Her back was killing her. Then, the phone rang. She let the answering machine get it.

“Hey, Raquel, it’s me, Maggie. The time is 9:30 a.m. I just read the craziest article in the paper written by Kelly Kutup. It says “Local ROCK n Roller competes in annual Elvis Contest in Branson.” Okay, talk to you later.”

Raquel smiled and hoped Rock’s busted lip that Buck gave him didn’t interfere too much with his famous Elvis snarl.

Then she began to realize how quiet the duplex was.

Knowing better than to get too close to a Marine to wake him up, Raquel quietly said, “Buck, wake up. Has Momma been over here this morning to get Roxy?”

Buck woke with a start. “Nobody’s been in or out of here since your parents left last night. Why?”

Trying not to panic, Raquel quickly ran down the hallway to check on Roxy. Buck was right behind her. The last thing she remembered was opening the door and seeing an empty mattress and greasy footprints on the carpet. Raquel slid quietly to the floor and passed out. Buck ran for the phone.

There are people in life with long-term goals and those with short-term goals. Rock always fell in the short-term category. He had picked up Roxy, but now what? He couldn’t very well perform on stage with a two year old with him. Thinking back, he wished he’d left Roxy with Lorena for the time being. His Mom never did like being a Granny, though. Made people think she was old, or something. Lorena may be 60 years old in a few months, but at night with the lights low enough, she could pass for 55.

“Heartbreak Hotel” began to play softly on his CD. It was like Elvis was sending Rock a sign. What if he just checked into a motel room and left Roxy there for a little while? First, though, he needed to pick up a pair of scissors and some size 2T overalls.