Chapter X

Chapter X

A Chapter by Mounsell

               While John sat in the restaurant, the grey clouds had grown even heavier.  As he walked down the main thoroughfare of Salton, thick droplets began to pound him.  He attempted to shield himself from the rain with his jacket.  Eventually, the rainstorm transformed into a thunderstorm.  The sound of the falling rain merged with the sound of thunder.

               Looking up to towards the violent sky, John decided to return to the restaurant.

               "Surely," he thought, "Lissie can offer me some relief from the storm."

               Lissie stood in the kitchen, scrubbing dish.  She rubbed each pot and pan with vigor, and hoped that the stains would come off easily.  As she scrubbed, her minds drifted off into thoughts of John.  Lissie knew that a storm was imminent and she worried that he would be caught in the middle of it.  Her scrubbing grew more forceful as her concern mounted.

               After she had cleaned only a few dishes, Lissie heard the front door.  She placed her scouring pad by the sink and walked from the kitchen. 

               At the front of the restaurant stood John.  He was soaked by rain and clearly miserable.  Lissie ran to comfort him.

               "John, are you okay?" she asked

               John, looking down at the girl whose arms were wrapped around him, replied, "I'm just a little wet."

               Lissie relinquished her embrace and he said, "Don't worry.  I don't have pneumonia."

               She replied, "That's good."

               Looking at his drenched clothing, she continued, "You look like you could use some dry clothing.  I have some at my house you can borrow."

               Lissie looked out the window and said, "Now, we'll have to go pretty fast if you don't want to get soaked even more."

               John replied, "I'm worried about you getting drenched.  It's raining cats and dogs out there."

               Lissie replied, "Don't worry.  I'm used to it."

               Lissie ran to the kitchen and returned wearing a jacket.  She walked to the front door and opened it for John.  Standing under the diner's awning, John waited for her to lock the door.

               Once she confirmed that it was indeed locked, Lissie placed the key in her jacket pocket and turned to John. 

               "Ready?" she asked.

               John nodded and the pair began their run to Lissie's house.  Lissie's clothing was soon soaked by the rain and mud coated her shoes.  She ran far ahead of John, not wanting to stop in the rain.  Once she came across a building with a wide awning, she stopped under it.  It did not take long for John to reach it.  Standing under the covering, he motioned for her to wait.  Lissie was eager to move but understood that John needed to catch his breath. 

               After a few moments, she said to John, "From here, it's just a straight shot to the house."

               John looked at Lissie and asked, "No cover?"

               "No cover," she replied.

               John was able to quickly reach the house.  Standing at the front door, he waited for Lissie.  She reached the house shortly after John.  He stood patiently as Lissie unlocked the door.  As soon as the door was pushed open, Lissie placed her jacket on a hook in the entryway and walked to her bedroom.  John placed his boots in the entryway and hung his own jacket.

He moved to the living room and waited for Lissie to return.

               She came back carrying a pile of clothing, made up of jeans, oxfords, t-shirts, and various types of coats.

               John looked at the massive pile and asked Lissie, "Where did you get all these?"

               She answered, calmly, "Thrift stores, mainly."

               Looking through the pile, John was able to find some dry men's jeans and a cotton shirt.  He went into the bathroom and changed his clothing.  Returning to the living room, John found it silent, save for the roar of a newly lit fire in the hearth.

               As he placed his soaked clothing on the stones to dry, he heard Lissie walking into the room.  He turned to face her and saw her wearing a dry outfit.  She stood, dressed in dry clothed, reaching for a glass bottle in one of the kitchen's cabinets. 

               She looked back at him and asked him, "John, could you grab these for me?"

               He moved to kitchen and reached for the bottles.  Standing on the tips of his toes, he was able to grab them.  Lissie grabbed one from his hands and looked over it.

               John looked at his bottle's label and asked her, "Beer?"

               Lissie replied, "Yeah, I thought we'd celebrate my glorious victory at the chili cook-off."

               She rifled through a nearby drawer and was able to find a bottle opener.  After opening her own bottle, Lissie handed the tool to John.  He pulled the cap from his beer and walked to the living room.  Lissie followed him and sat on one of the armchair.

               The two sipped their drinks in silence before John asked Lissie, "So what made you pick Salton, over say, Los Angeles?"

               "Well, when I escaped from the boarding school…"

               "Wait," John interrupted, "You escaped from the boarding school?"

               Lissie replied calmly, "I'll tell you later.  Anyway, when I escaped from the boarding school, I was a bit strapped for cash.  My parents sure as hell weren't gonna give me any money and I didn't have a job.  I heard about this town from one of my magazines and decided it would be a good place to work.  It looked thriving in the ads.  When I stepped out of the taxi cab, I nearly cried.  I had spent all the rest of my money getting here and it was nothing like the ads made it out to be."

               John asked, "I hate to sound rude, but did you ever think to check the dates of the magazine?"


               "I did after I got out of the cab.  I think the date said something like March 1964.  I tore up the magazine as soon as I read that.  After I stopped moping, I tried to find work. 

               Lissie took another sip of her beer and continued, "Lucky for me, I was able to find the diner.  I told my sob story to the man who owned it and he offered me a job.  I managed to make enough money to buy the little house you're sitting in now.  A few years later, the owner of the diner died.  Turns out, in his will, he left the restaurant to me.  I've managed to make a living since then.  Never enough money to go anywhere, though."

               Lissie sat quietly for some time before speaking again.

               "So, John, where do you think you're going once you get your truck repaired?"

               John took a drink and replied, "I thought I'd travel north to Los Angeles and see if I can get work there."

               Lissie appeared startled when John said this.

               "Los Angeles?" she asked.

               Jokingly, he answered, "They need busboys."

               Lissie appeared much more serious than John.

               She drank some of her beer and asked, "Are you really going there?"

               Lissie's attitude began to affect John and he answered, "Yes, Lissie, I'm going to Los Angeles.  If you want, I can probably take you there."

               Lissie moved to the couch he sat on and spoke, "I'd love that."

               John and Lissie began to elaborate on their plan to go to Los Angeles.  She insisted that they leave only after she sold the restaurant.  John agreed to Lissie's terms but reminded her that that would probably take a long time.

               As Lissie spoke, she noticed that he had dozed off.  John's bottle had rolled out of his hand and onto the sofa.  Lissie placed both her bottle and John's on the kitchen table. 

               She walked to her bedroom and opened a closet.  Looking in, she found a quilt with images of exotic animals and starlit cities on it.  She moved the quilt to the living room and placed it on top of John. 

               Walking to her bedroom, Lissie could feel her eyelids grow heavier.  She lied down on her bed and quickly fell asleep.

© 2012 Mounsell

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Added on May 23, 2012
Last Updated on June 3, 2012
Tags: salt, city, sea, truck, salton, guitar, song, songs, concert, performance, yawn, sleep, paris, chili



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