Jake With A Limp (Revived)
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:17 am
Back Story: In 2007 I began writing an ongoing project named "Jake With A Limp". I received generous compliments by what I like to call the Halloween.com class of 2007. And for their compliments, I never finished the story for them. I feel bad about that. 2 things got in the way of me finishing the story, one minor was that the story took a wrong turn in the way of direction and I could not finish it properly. More importantly, I came down with an ailment at the time which I would later discover was a bad case of Pneumonia which put me in the hospital. One thing led to another and time passed. The story was gone. And many of the people who were into it back then aren't here anymore.
If you would like to see the original link go ahead, but out of respect please do not bump the thread. Leave it in the grave.
http://halloween.com/forums/viewtopic.p ... ith+a+limp
In this thread I am reviving the story up to the point where I felt it took the wrong turn. I cannot promise I will be expedient with the story, but I will be careful with it. And it will find its end.
Re: Jake With A Limp (Revived)
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:25 am
The town of Temperance Arizona was a small dusty village surrounded by brush and cactus. It was your average small town. Everyone knew everyone else's business, and small time politics usually prevented the town from growing into anything considerable. Not much happened in Temperance. Crime was virtually non existent, and every morning the round table boys usually met for coffee, eggs and gossip at the corner cafe. The "round table boys" was a quaint nickname which the group earned for meeting every morning at the only round table in Bigsbies Cafe. All other tables were square.
Down Main Street at the Stop N Fuel there worked a passive and quiet man in his late 30's by the name of Jacob Walther. But most folks liked to call him 'Jake with a limp' when they talked about him behind his back. Folks didn't ordinarily dislike Jake, but they weren't sure about him either. He was quiet and he kept to himself, but he was always polite and he was known for being a hard worker. When he wasn't working at the Stop N Fuel, he mainly did side jobs for the community such as landscaping and repairs. He always kept busy, and he rarely went home except to rest and eat. That was it. Since people didn't have any facts on Jacob, they liked to speculate about him. 'Maybe he doesn't like to go home, because he's a terrible house cleaner and his home is filthy!" One person once said. "I heard that his house is haunted" another said. "Maybe he's like one of those psychopath types." Said another. No one would ever speculate anything normal or positive about the man they called 'Jake with a limp'. They didn't even know how he came by the limp. He would never tell anyone.
One July afternoon just a few years ago Jacob had just finished his duties at the Stop N Fuel. And even though he was all caught up, he still stuck around to wipe of some counters by the deli area that really didn't need to be wiped down. Standing at the register counting lottery tickets; a duty performed at shifts start, was Jacobs relief and the owner of the Stop N Fuel. Her name was Maddie Glennan. She was nice woman in her middle fifties who stood about 5'4" with a light frame and curly blondish gray hair. She was a bit rough around the edges but very friendly. Maddie didn't have enemies in Temperance, leastwise any that she was aware of. Maddie looked over to Jacob as he was obviously stalling from leaving the store.
"Hun, your shifts over you know. You clocked out; you can go on home now." Maddie said.
Jacob looked at her with a half grin and stopped wiping the counters.
"You can't possibly want to spend any more time in here." She added with a laugh.
"No Maam, I suspect IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be going now." Jacob said very politely.
"All this time working for me, you don't have to call me Maam, call me Maddie Jacob."
"Yes Maam...Maddie." Jacob stuttered nervously.
Jacob walked towards the single entrance door, squinting from the glare of the bright Arizona sun magnified through the glass.
"Arentcha forgetting something?" Maddie asked.
"Don't think so." Jacob said curiously.
"Your paycheck Jacob! And here, take a bottled water from the cooler, you need to stay hydrated." Maddie said with a caring smile.
"Yes Maam...Uh...Maddie, sorry." Jacob replied. Jacob grabbed his check and the water and walked outside into a heatwave.
He didn't want to go home. He never wanted to go home. He wasn't stupid, or mentally hindered in any way. What really ailed Jacob Walther was that he was a broken man. In one year, his whole life turned upside down. And that home was a direct reminder of what and who he had lost.
Jacob walked down Main Street. Occasionally he would hear folks tell him hello. But he knew how they talked about him. He knew his nickname was Jake with a limp. He always kept it at the back of his mind that he would keep people at arms length. Jacob walked into the bank and stood in one of three lines to cash his check. Suddenly he felt himself pushed backwards as Kenny Alvarez stood in front of him in line.
"Kenny, that was my spot." Jacob told Kenny.
"Yeah well, you understand right?" Kenny replied.
"No I do not understand." Jacob replied.
By this time everyone was watching the two. They knew that Jacob was the quiet and reclusive type and they knew that Kenny liked to get into fights. Just as Kenny was about to turn towards Jake, the bank manager spoke up from his desk.
"Jacob, how are ya bud. Let me just cash your check right here, howÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d that be?" said Bob the bank manager.
"That sounds fine." Jacob turned his back on Kenny and went to get his check cashed. His trademark limp seemed to slow his walk to the managerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s desk.
"You got lucky you flippin gimp." Kenny said.
"Do you like cashing your checks here Kenny?" Bob spoke up.
"What kind of question is that?" Kenny asked.
"Answer the simple question; do you like cashing your checks here?" Bob insisted from his desk.
"Sure." Kenny replied.
"Then I suggest you learn how to behave in this establishment or I will cancel your account and you can drive clear down to Phoenix for all I care." Bob spoke in a sharp voice.
Some of the folks laughed under their breath. The bank manager had embarrassed Kenny and as far as Kenny was concerned it was Jacobs fault. Jacob knew trouble would be waiting for him.
As Jacob counted the balance of his money, which he didn't deposit, he occasionally looked outside. Eventually Jacob just inhaled and exited the bank. After Jacob walked out, Bob stood up to look outside.
"I'll think I'll treat myself to a plate of Hunan Beef at Chens." Jacob said to himself with a smile.
"You talk to yourself gimp?" He heard Kenny shout from behind him. Jacob was able to tell that Kenny was about 15 feet behind him and coming up on him fast. Jacob tried to quickly turn around but his bad leg prevented any expediency. By the time Jacob was totally turned around, he caught a fist square to his mouth. The pain was sharp and intense. He could feel some teeth moving around on his tongue and his mouth was filling up with blood. But despite the devastating punch, Jacob did not fall to the ground.
"How does that taste gimp? You so smart now? How smart are you now, you sad piece of <garbage?"
Jacob stood there as he stared at Kenny. Blood was running out of his mouth.
"From now on, when you see me in town, you run." Kenny stated.
"No Kenny." Jacob said after spitting out a mouthful of blood. "From now on when you see me...YOU run." Jacob said very clearly and seriously.
"You kidding me?" Kenny replied.
Suddenly Kenny caught a punch to his windpipe, which immediately choked him up. The next thing Kenny knew Jacob was picking him up over his head. Jacob threw Kenny ten feet into the brick wall next to the bank teller windows. Everyone inside the bank and all the witnesses near bye stood in shock. Kenny simply lay on the ground yelling in serious pain, and coughing because the air path in his throat was still partially closed.
Almost instantly two Temperance police vehicles pulled into the parking lot with sirens screaming and lights flashing.
Jacob stood still as both police vehicles doors opened. From one stood a tall skinny man with short blonde hair and a mustache. From the other a shorter more stocky man with graying hair and a full beard. They were Deputy Colin Smith and Sheriff Cal Garner.
"Should we take them in Sheriff? It looks they're done and both are hurtin pretty bad." Said Deputy Smith.
"Nah, that won't be necessary. You see if Alvarez needs an ambulance, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll take Jacob to Doc ReinerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s to get his mouth looked at." Sheriff Garner replied.
"On it." Replied the deputy.
"Son, get in the car. We're going to get you looked at and then we need to talk, alright?" The Sheriff asked Jacob.
"Yes Sir." Jacob politely replied.
That afternoon Jacob went to the doctor with Sheriff Garner as an escort. Despite losing three teeth, he only needed a total of five stitches. This meant that he would be on soft non salty foods until his interior mouth healed up. After they left the doctors office, Sheriff Garner pulled into the Tastee Freeze drive thru and bought Jacob a shake. Sheriff Garner always liked Jacob. The scene at the bank didn't change that and neither did knowing that Jacob could be dangerous if he wanted to be. Sheriff Garner was a good judge of character. In his line of duty he had to be. From the moment he met Jacob seven years prior, he could tell he was a straight forward, honest, and moral man. That is why the Sheriff wanted to protect Jacob. He knew Kenny Alvarez had shady friends. And Kenny being a bully and a coward, would likely call in a favor the first chance he could get.
The Sheriff drove Jacob out to his home. He had never been there. No one had. But since the Sheriff had helped Jacob that day, Jacob couldn't be rude. Jacob walked up to the door and Sheriff Garner felt a slight bit curious. He never played into all the gossip and speculation about Jakes home, but still, he would be the first one to ever see the inside of it.
After the Sheriff walked into Jacobs house, even he was pleasantly surprised. The house was neat and clean. It was painted with a medium sky blue color with oak trim and base boards. There was an oak coffee table and two oak end tables. There were artificial flowers in white vases. There were pictures all long the walls. Sheriff Garner saw that most of them held the image of a beautiful blonde haired woman with deep brown passionate eyes. Sheriff GarnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heart sank as he put together the pieces. JacobsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s house was designed by a woman. There was a beautiful woman in most of the pictures on the wall. Then he saw it. The picture of Jacob holding the golden haired angel, both with triumphant smiles. This woman was no longer with Jacob. This woman was gone and Jacob was alone. Sheriff Garner looked over to Jacob as he hobbled into his kitchen. The Sheriff found himself looking upon a sad sight, and his eyes began to water a little bit. He gathered himself just as Jacob asked the man if he would like coffee or something else to drink.
"Uh...yeah Jacob....if you have it, maybe a glass of juice?" Sheriff Garner replied still looking onto the walls.
"Apple or orange?" Jacob asked from the other room. Sheriff Garner did not reply. He didn't even hear him. The Sheriff was startled by a single portrait. Right before him was a portrait of Jacob Walther, the man most called Jake with a limp, wearing a police uniform.
"Sheriff? Apple or orange?" He heard again from the other room.
"uh.......apple......apple will do nicely Jacob." Under his breath Sheriff Garner said to himself. "IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be damned"
The Sheriff walked into JacobsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kitchen as he was pouring apple juice into a medium sized glass.
"Jacob, you know you got trouble with Kenny now right?" Asked Garner.
"Yup, I imagine I do." Jacob replied.
"And that's not good." Garner added.
"Nope, not good." Jacob replied.
"You know I have your back, but get ready for a fight." Garner continued.
"I will be ready sir." Jacob replied. "Here's the juice." Jacob said giving it to Sheriff Garner.
"Folks in town looked at me like I was a monster." Jacob said.
"Hell, if a dog from another town pissed in one of their rose gardens, folks in town would faint. Don't take them personally. They just don't know you." Garner replied.
"But I aint a stranger really, I mean am I? Been here seven years." Jacob asked
Sheriff Garner paused for a moment, trying to carefully choose his next words.
"Jacob.....how come you don't let people get to know you?" Garner asked carefully.
Jacob sat there looking down at his hands. For Sheriff Garner it was a long uncomfortable pause.
Jacob tried to look at Garner but his eyes welled up. He was always raised that a man didn't have the luxury of expressing grief, but that that a man kept his pain in. A man silently suffered and soldiered on.
"Jacob." Sheriff Garner said peacefully
"Son....I want you to know that if you ever have something that needs saying. Something that would eat you whole if you didn't, I will listen and I'll never judge you."
By now Jacob had nearly fallen apart, he desperately stood up despite the shock of pain in his left leg that almost sent him crashing into the kitchen table. He kept his balance with fierce determination.
"I.....I need air. Let's talk out on the porch." Jacob told Sheriff Garner
"That sounds good to me." Sheriff Garner replied. Both men went out onto the concrete porch and sat down.
"It's painful Sheriff. Damn painful. If you want to hear what I have eating me, be prepared to see a grown man cry, cause I don't have much strength to tell it otherwise." Jacob said.
"Well now that's fine. No one else needs to know anything about this. I'm right here providing I don't get called to town." Garner replied.
"Eight years ago I lived in Glendale Arizona. And life was altogether different for me......" Jacob began.
"I'm sure you saw the picture in my living room of me in uniform. I was an officer with the Glendale Police Department. I loved my life and my wife...Sherri. We were just reaching that point in our lives when the American Dream was in our grasp. But Sherri wasn't happy in the city. Glendale really was just an extension of Phoenix and with urban sprawl, the whole valley was growing faster and faster. Sherri has always been a country girl. She was raised in a small town in Colorado and she always wanted to return to a life of simplicity.
I came home from work one day and caught her on the internet looking into homes for sale in small Arizona towns. She was fixated on this home right here. It took a lot of talking and coaxing to convince me, but eventually she had me falling for the romance of the idea. Living the Mayberry life...ha ha. We bought this home. She spent a week up here painting it and designing it while I continued working in the city. No one even knew she was here because she never went into town. No one knew her. And....they never would."
"She came home and was all excited about the house. She had said that she painted it my favorite color of blue. The smile on her face could have put a Christmas tree to shame. I was just happy that she was happy. So we went out that night to celebrate. I suggested a very pricey place as if she would have liked that. She wouldn't have it. So we settled on the Olive Garden near Metro Parkway. It was a nice moment.
When we were walking out to our car a man ran up to my wife and stuck a snub nosed .38 to her ribs. He told her to give him all her money. Told me to do the same or she would die. He must have been strung out on some rough stuff because I had barely moved my left foot when he shot her point blank.
I was a police officer and I could do nothing but simply look at my wifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face as she watched me watch her die. There was nothing I could do. He ran away and I wanted to chase him down, foolish as it would have been. But I held her. I held her as her blood gushed out onto the pavement...through my fingers. I held her as I watched her eyes dilate, as her last breath exited."
By this time Sheriff Garner was pale. Jacob had stopped and simply held his head in his hands nervously.
"So you retired. And then you came here. I can only assume you did so to punish yourself. To exile yourself to the one place that would remind you of who you lost." Garner stated.
"Hey, I could have simply shot myself in the head." Jacob rebuttled.
"True, but Jacob, it wasn't your fault. You had no power to change it." Garner replied.
Jacob just stood there silent.
"I get off in two hours. I say we go on in to SchmidtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Saloon and have a couple cold ones. What dya say?" Garner offered.
"Kenny Alvarez will have someone out there. You know that right." Jacob asked.
"I do indeed." Garner replied.
"Well.....okay then." Jacob accepted.
Re: Jake With A Limp (Revived)
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:58 am
Jacob and Cal met up at Jacobs place later that evening and drove down to Schmidts Tavern. They didn't detect any trouble in town. In the tavern even though they caught a couple of stares, there was no real trouble.
"What'll you have fellas?" Asked Big John, the bar owner.
"Ah...you know i'll go different and have a Rolling Rock." Cal replied.
"Sounds good, me too." Jacob added.
"Been in here before?" Cal asked Jacob.
"Nope. It's really not too bad in here." Jacob replied.
"Yeah, Big John tries to keep it clean in here." Cal replied.
"So Jacob, mind if I ask you where you caught that bad leg?" cal asked.
"No, not at all..."
"Before I moved in up here, I tailspinned down there. I quit the force, and just got drunk, all the time." Jacob said.
"Oh...wish you'da told me sooner I wouldn't have brought you here." Cal replied.
"No it's not a problem. That phase has passed. But it didn't pass before I sent my vehicle into a wall with me in it. Messed my leg up bad. But i'm lucky to be alive. All that time in the hospital was good for thinking. But unfortunately my thoughts were negative. Long story cut short, here I am." Jacob said. He wasn't emotional this time. That had all been let out earlier in the day.
"Well Jacob, you're here and you're alive. Whatdya say you finally start to live life for yourself again." Cal asked.
"I can try." Jacob replied. Both men finished their first drink and called for another.
The night finished with jake feeling light and carefree for the first time in years. The beer hadn't seemed to bother his mouth and he stayed away from the pretzels.
He and Cal shot pool, played Darts and just shared exagerated tales of yore. Mostly they were police tales. Eventually, Cal called his wife. He was too drunk to drive. Cals wife drove Jacob home and then she took her husband home. Knowing this was not a habbit for him, she was understanding and patient with Cal.
Jacob went to bed and imediatly fell asleep. He was to drunk to realize something. Trouble never found him in town that night.
Re: Jake With A Limp (Revived)
Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:44 pm
Man I really need to knock rust off by continuing this.