A Story by Lola Nation

Based off the song by Kenny Rogers.

Ruby walked to the front porch again. Ted heard her pacing around the house all day. He knew it was the third of the month because that’s when his Veteran’s disability check arrived in the mail. She’d been in and out of their bedroom prancing around changing into different dresses. The odor of hair color still permeated the room along with her Chantilly perfume that made him nauseous. She’d taken out the curlers from her hair and smeared strawberry lip-gloss across her lips.

As she walked by Ted again, she opened the drapes. By the way her shadow cast itself against the wall he faced day and night, Ted could tell that the sun was going down

“Ruby, ya thinking about going somewhere?” He asked. She didn’t answer, just kept about her business.

Ruby hated when Ted spoke. Why couldn’t he have just died in that crazy Asian war? She wondered constantly. It was just awful to take care of him. He’d been so handsome when he left and proud to serve his country. He’d written her letters telling her how much he missed her, loved her, couldn’t wait to get home to her and she would write him back sweet little love notes laced with her perfume that he so loved.

Then, in June of 1953, she got word that Ted was coming home. She knew from the talk in the general store on Main Street that the war was ending and she knew when Ted was coming home early it could only mean the worst.

When Ted came home he was shell shocked from constant battle. There were 8000 Americans listed as MIA but no, Ted found his way home. Paralyzed. He’d been shot in the neck by some commie. He’d never walk again, he’d laid in a ditch for so long his legs were permanently bent. He had a government issued wheelchair, catheter bag, and tremors that never seemed to cease. She tried to love him but it was just too difficult to carry him from the chair to the bed his gas smell and noises he made at night just made her sick. Most nights she’d just sleep in the den and many nights, she didn’t even bother to try to lift Ted into bed. Doc Holliday said he’d die soon anyway.

Ted was no fool, he was well aware that he could not satisfy Ruby and she was a trollop before he’d gone to the war, during the war, and now it was just downright embarrassing to hear her panting, ranting, and screaming in the den with other men she brought home from the Tally Ho Tavern. Silver-tongued devils were always talking her out of her dress and most of the money in Ted’s disability check. When Ted would remind her that the money was rightfully his, she’d remind him that he couldn’t drive her to the five and dime and that Bobby McGee needed his truck fixed. The last time they’d gone out to the store it took three days for them to get home. Ruby she claimed that Bobby had to thumb a ride for them to return. Ted had succumbed to the fact that she took her love town and probably even border towns.

Every third of the month, he’d proceed with the same routine. In a fit of anger, he knew that if he could just get to his shotgun hanging on the wall, he’d bury her in the backyard. He wheeled his decrepit chair to the bedroom door.

Again, Ruby would foil his plans of a murder suicide. She placed towels on the hardwood floor like speed bumps. Most of the time, he’d fall out of the chair trying with all the strength in his arms to maneuver. He was once again, cursing her before she left, begging her not to take her love to town.

It would be another night he wondered who she might bring home. Maybe one of the Gatlin boys and there were three of them. Bobby McGee who played harmonica and made her sing the blues when he’d disappear for a few months. Or, perhaps the newcomer lately, Johnny.

The sun sank into the mountains behind the house. Ted heard the door slam, just like he heard a hundred or more times before. His heart ached and his stomach growled. She’d left him again without food.

© 2010 Lola Nation

Author's Note

Lola Nation
Please note this is a spoof based off the song lyrics, not intended to be serious. There are other musical references as well for those versed in Kenny Rogers, Kris Kirstofferson, etc. I apologize for any confusion.

My Review

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This was very well written - it made me feel something, which is always the goal of a writer. I have no complaints on this one :)

Posted 6 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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This is so Lola! What a theme to introduce to her readers. When love turns to loathing, disgust and murderous feelings. Could Ruby ever be like a real person? Such an evil trollop! Do they exist? They do exist and live in their own baterial worlds amongst us. Words of a song? Possibly! This is irrelevant to me. No one writes hatred and loathing like Lola. Alfred Hitchcock would have kidnapped Lola for this story. It is not finished yet! Lola may be bored with it! I do hope not. 1000 WC readers await! Quick find Lola a pen!

Posted 11 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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. wow ... the first thing that strikes me ... and is very striking also ... is that you would make an entirely breathtaking video of the song ... not watched it but can tell from the lyrics you so generously shared ... this is just so visual and so vivid and so works with the lyrics ... very competent work here ... it's a writing exercise ... and a great one ... i may try it with some songs that i like ... and will think of you and thank you when i do that ... this is a phenomenal idea ... for any writer to practice ... so applause and appreciation for that ...

. secondly, i think that though you might not have experienced a similar life situation ... i think that you successfully steered clear of being what they call ... here in india ... "melodramatic" ... in fact ... i'd say ... on the contrary ... that you were subtle ... not at all over the top ... which is the inherent risk of such an exercise ...

. thirdly ... i sincerely hope that these exercises will take us out of our shells ... and i do think that women all over the world need that ... not just in india ... and if this is how we can heal ourselves and take on more liberated writing exercises ... that's the way to go ...

. last but by no means the least ... about the story itself ... love is intriguing ... sex is at times over rated ... i'm still trying to figure out the maze ... but what i can tell you from personal experience ... is that ... love is large hearted ... i am trying to rescue my absconding soul mate ... who is an adult survivor of the severest forms of child abuse ... and it's no trouble at all ... i keep getting annoyed and irritated ... (i've seen some nasty types of trauma too) ... but it never feels like a sacrifice ... it always feels like the right thing to do ... but what do i know ... maybe that's not how it is for everyone else ... but ... and yet ... i'd rather be empathetic to anyone's pain than be judgmental ... we never know what the triggers are ... unless we are in the triggers or experiencing them first hand ...

. anyway, great work here ... learnt lots from you today ... so thank you ...

Posted 11 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

In case anyone doesn't know the lyrics, please see below:

You've painted up your lips an rolled and curled your tinted hair.
Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere?
The Shadow on the wall tells me the sun is going down -
Oh Ruby
Don't take your love to town

It wasn't me that started that old crazy asian war
But I was proud to go and do my patriotic chore
And yes, it's true that I'm not the man I used to be...
Oh Ruby I still need some company.

Its hard to love a man whose legs are bent and paralysed
And THE WANTS AND the needs of a woman your age, Ruby I realize,
But it won't be long i've heard them say until I'M not around
Oh Ruby
Don't take your love to town

She's leavin' now 'cause I heard the slammin' of the door
The way I know I've heard it slam one hundred times before
And if I could move I'd get my gun and put her in the ground
Oh Ruby
Don't take your love to town
Oh Ruby
God sakeS turn around

Posted 11 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Aside from spoofing a country song, which is rather hard considering how risible they actually are, my concern is that what you have done lacks adventure in either concept or delivery. I'll leave your choice of future stories to you, and focus on delivery. My main point is that you are using passive language to tell a story which is ripe with opportunities to use more expressive and active language. I suggest, as a writing exercse, you try rewriting it using active wherever possible.

Posted 11 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ouch. I remember this song. Intolerable when people are together because they're "supposed to be." I understand why some long-time partners think of marriage as a diminution of conscious romance. You don't say Ted and Ruby are married, but it seems so.

And I don't have to tell you what a can of worms is opened contemplating the structural realities of war, whereby national "leaders" already engaged in economic warfare w/their own citizenry send naive youth out to get maimed and killed in the service of keeping the unconscious slavery in place. Welcome to Planet Psychopathy.

Your piece generates an ache at the thought of how frequently this scenario has been duplicated. One certainly wishes a more compassionate scenario for Ted, and a more realistic scenario for Ruby.

Ruefully realistic piece, well-etched.

Posted 11 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What a deeply sad story.........poor Ted.........with Ruby who just wants fun and sex, and I wonder how many relationships suffered from the effects of war.......this was well written, and held my attention throughout, two characters trapped in different worlds.......

Posted 11 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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8 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on November 14, 2010
Last Updated on November 15, 2010
Tags: Cheating, War, Country Music, Kenny Rogers, Oh Ruby


Lola Nation
Lola Nation

Los Angeles, CA

Please find my work on these two sites. For poetry: For short stories: ABOUT ME: I am originally from Venice Be.. more..

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