Nell Johnson, age 95, sits comfortably in her rocking chair on the front porch of the old wooden farm house in Hardell, Texas. The shade is nice, especially with the ambient temperature hovering around 100 or so. It’s summertime, after all, but fall’s coming even if it is off over the horizon. The temperature will be dropping nicely, she reflects, when the sun goes down in a few hours. Nell is a great-grandmother now, a number of times over. She’s lived in Hardell for some 75 years, the town where she and her late husband Melville raised all their kids. She thinks often about Melville, even with him gone for years: He was the love of my life…and the father of their five children. She reflects on him now, smiling to herself: He was so filled with piss and vinegar back when we were young.
Nell was born at home almost a century before, in the Indian Territories of the badlands in Oklahoma. The home? Little more than a sod cabin. When she was 16 Nell had met Melville Johnson at a county rodeo. He was a 25-year-old hell-raising bronco rider, and one thing became immediately clear to Nell right there on the spot: It was to be her mission in life not only to catch and domesticate Melville, but also to make sure he didn’t get himself killed drinking and fighting before he turned 30 (she’d been successful on both counts). When Nell turned 18, Melville took a knee and they’d gotten married. Couple of years later he took her back home to Texas where they settled in Hardell. They made a good life there and raised a family, one that included two boys and three girls. Nell’d never gone to college, but she was whip-smart just the same, and so were her and Melville’s kids. Most of 'em at least. All the five kids made it to adulthood…except for one.
Seemed like that one, Sam, inherited just about all the piss-and-vinegar there was to be had...from both sides of the family. The other kids had it too, but they’d been able to keep it under control. Not so with poor Sam. At age 17 he’d gone out, gotten drunk, jumped on a motorcycle and lit out down a dark county road. The police said they figured he was doing over 120 miles an hour when he went airborne. He and the motorcycle didn’t come down for almost 50 yards, until a wicked big Bur Oak intervened and put an end to both the motorcycle and him. “Didn’t feel anything,” the police said, “death was instantaneous.” And truth be known, there was some consolation in that to Nell and Melville, grieving as they were.
The rest of the kids grieved too, but they went on after that with a hard lesson under their belts.
Algerine Onyx is the nom de plume of an alien "transitioned intelligence" that decided to become a "storyteller-for-humans." Originally of the species "Achron," Onyx is one of several hundred such entities currently loose on earth. To find out more about the author and its original species, the Achrons, read its first book "Achron Kindness" (available on Amazon).