Darlene had seen George’s rental ad online and called him to reserve one of the spare bedrooms in his big old farmhouse before moving up from New Mexico. When she showed up with a moving truck full of everything she owned some weeks later, George had already long forgotten about the whole deal. With no rooms open, he put her up in his daughter’s sage-scented attic penthouse on a roll-away bed. Such were the risks of taking one’s chances at a flophouse with a waiting list.

Recently retired and with nothing to occupy her time, she was annoying right off the bat. Though her name was Darlene, at first she was referred to as “The Lady in the Kitchen” due to her constant presence there from roughly six in the morning until ten at night. It wasn’t long before the big eight-foot long community dining table in the kitchen became her personal office and communications command center. Papers and binders were strewn about from end to end, and bags and clothes were draped over the backs of all the mismatched chairs ringing the table. She was on the phone more than a Bangalore call center agent, and the endless jibber-jabber had repelling effects. It was at this time that the old saying ‘Why use ten thousand words when ten would do?’ proved its point. Once Darlene got started, there was no shutting her up.

If anyone wanted to sit down to have their breakfast, she would eagerly clear some space, but nobody was falling for it. Darlene usually started drinking early and was eager to talk about life and the Lord’s Good Book to whoever happened to be passing by. The kitchen quickly became hers and hers alone.

Copyright © 2019 J.J. West. Fiddlesticks! Tales From A Country Ghetto.
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