After Thunder Valley

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is the last in a three part series about a guy who sells dream information, and doesn't seem to fit in until he arrives in a town Called Chester.

After leaving Thunder Valley and the farmers behind, Teller drove all through the night. He was headed towards the mountains for some mellowing-time. What he would find, he did not know.

 

About an hour into daylight, Teller felt the need to rest. The Thunder Valley experience had taken it's toll and driving all night didn't help any.

So Teller pulled off to the side of the road and kicked-back in the driver's seat to take a nap, but the occasional cars and trucks passing by woke him every time. So Teller did what he used to do as a boy, he headed for the trees.

Teller found a people friendly tree and climbed it. It was just down the road embankment from his car, and once he had found the right group of branches, he sprawled out and fell asleep.

 

When Teller woke up it was to the sounds of a harmonica being played. Teller knew the song, "Mean Old World", so he sang the words as the man played.

The man didn't miss a note, as if he knew Teller was going to join in. But he couldn't have known because when the song was over he looked up and said, "Were did you come from?"

Teller crawled down outta the tree and stuck his hand out to the black man, then he said, "I'm from Missouri, originally, and from a Navy ship most recently. Hi, I'm Teller."

The man stood up and took Teller's hand, replying, "Marion Jacobs is the name, Harmonica is the game. Happy to know ya."

"That is the best Harmonica playing I've ever heard, it reminds me of Little Walter."

Marion replied with a laugh, "Yah, I've heard that before."

Then Marion slipped his harmonica in his pocket and picked up his carry-bag, saying, "It was nice to make your acquaintance but it's best I be go-in."

"Maybe I could give you a ride, my car is on the roadway," Teller stated.

Then Marion said the oddest thing, he said, Where I'm go-in ain't ready for you, yet. Maybe in the By and By."

Teller took off his hat to brush the dirt from his pant-legs, and as he did he said, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand. Where is it you're going?"

There was no answer.

Teller looked around and Marion was gone. "Hay, what the?" Teller questioned. Then he called out to Marion, but no answer was given. "Maybe he's up on the road," Teller told himself, "I'm headed that way, anyway, I'll check."

When Teller reached his car there was still no sign of Marion, so Teller shrugged his shoulders and got into the GTO.

As the key was turned and the sounds of those 360 horses came alive, Teller felt the pangs of hunger hit him.

The sun was now on the other side of the sky, and it had been hours since Teller had eaten. So the search was on for a place to stay for the night, and something to eat.

 

As Teller came to crossroads in the middle of what looked like farmland, he saw a sign and he stopped to read it.

The sign had an arrow pointing down the crocked little blacktopped crossroad, and below the arrow it just said, "Clean Beds and Home Cook'n in Chester".

Teller was done with driving for the day, and he was banking that there was someplace to stay overnight in Chester.

 

Pulling into the town of Chester was like pulling into a town in the 1920's. The stylistic Main Street was lined with two and three story Art Deco, and Neo-Gothic buildings on both sides.

Even the gas station looked odd, just two glass-bottled pumps with red flying horses on top. And both pumps sat on the sidewalk just outside of an auto repair garage.

As Teller cruised along Main Street he could see a couple of church steeples and some houses off in the distance, they were Dutch Colonial and Victorian houses for the most part; there were a few craftsman's too.

It was just passed three o'clock when Teller pulled up to the curb in front of the gas pumps. The Pontiac was half full but with a car that get ten miles to a gallon of gas, you fill it wherever you can. So Teller waited for service.

That is when a young woman came out of the office door dressed in faded Coveralls and a Pennzoil T-Shirt.

Her hair was in a Ponytail and on her feet were safari boots in buckskin.

She stuck her pretty face in the passenger-side and asked, "Filler-up, premium?" But she didn't wait for an answer, she just headed for the rear of the car.

Teller got out, thinking she wouldn't know where the gas cap was hidden, but she was already there.

And when he looked around, the young woman said, "Go in the office, it's the door to the right. --- Oh, and lift the lid before you go, I hate moping the floor." Then she chuckled and gave Teller a smile.

When Teller came out of the restroom he spied a Coca-Cola Cooler, it was over in the corner. This wasn't one of those stand-up coke machines, it was a cooler type and it had a lid on top.

When you opened the lid there were bottles of soda-pop in rows. Each soda-pop bottle had it's logo on the bottle-cap, so it was easy to tell which kind you were after. All you had to do was to grab the bottle by the cap and slide it along the metal channels until it came to the end, then you could lift it out after putting a dime in the pay-slot.

But this cooler's slot was already opened, so no dime was needed.

Teller took a Dr. Pepper bottle out and popped the top using the bottle opener that was provided on the side of the cooler.

 

As Teller walked out of the building, the young woman was just closing the hood on the car. And as she wiped her hands with a rag she stated, "Everything under the hood looks good, and the Gas and the Dr. Pepper will set you back three dollars and eighty cents.

Oh, and your two front tires, the treads are not even covering Washington's Head, so you might want to replace them pretty soon, they could be dangerous on the open road."

Teller looked at the name-tag on the young woman's coveralls and replied, "Well, Sue, I saw a sign about a bed for the night and good food, where do I find those?"

Sue pointed and said, "See the sign that says Maggie's Saloon, it's more like Maggie's Hotel, now days. They have clean rooms with feather-beds and a dinning room on the first floor. The food's great. Just ask for Maggie when you walk in."

Teller handed Sue a Five Dollar Bill, then asked, "How long would it take for you to get the two tires I need?"

Sue smiled and said, "I got two on the rack and they can be on your car in about an hour."

Teller handed Sue the keys to the Pontiac and asked when they closed.

Sue responded, "I'll be here til six, and the garage closes at ten."

Then Teller replied, "Be sure to road test it when your finished, I don't want any out of balanced tire surprises when I hit the highway."

Sue smiled and said, "I'll test the GTO myself, Sir, just as soon as she's done."

"The name is Teller, and test her out on the highway," Teller responded teasingly, "Test her real good, safely, but real good."

Sue's smile got wider when she replied, "Oh, I will, Teller, I'll test her real good!"

 

At half-passed five, Teller walked over to the garage to ask if his car was ready, he didn't see it anywhere. And as he approached, Sue came out the doorway with a big grin on her face. Then she stated, "Your Pontiac is all ready.

Teller handed Sue a hundred dollar bill and she headed for the cash drawer to get change.

Following her inside, Teller asked, "Where's my car?"

As Sue dug through the cash she replied, "I took the liberty of parking the GTO inside for the night. Mary says the wind is gonna blow, and when Mary says the wind's gonna blow, it really blows.

The garage opens at 6 A.M., and I didn't think you'd need the car before then. And when you pick it up tomorrow about noon, it'll be all clean, I'll wash it as soon as I open."

Teller wondered how Sue knew when he planed on leaving the next day, but he figured it was an educated guess based on past customers, so he took his change and replied, "Sounds good to me, black car get dirty easily, thanks."

As Teller was about to leave, Sue said, "They are having a jam session at the Saloon tonight, you might want to take your guitar."

Teller hadn't ask who Mary was, the wind predictor, he thought it might be the weather person on a local radio station, so he thought little of it.

But when Sue knew he played the guitar, he was beginning to get suspicious about the people in this town. So Teller asked, "How did you know I played the guitar?"

Sue laughed and then replied, "I opened the trunk of the GTO, silly, you know, to get your Lug-Wrench out. That's when I saw a guitar in there, along with an amplifier and some other stuff. So I took a leap of faith and made an assumption. Was I wrong?"

Teller smiled and said, "You're right, so open the trunk to the car and I'll fetch my Guitar. A jam session sounds like fun."

"Good," Sue replied as she opened the trunk. Then she stated, "I'll see you there. I play a little, myself, and my sister and I sing."

 

***

 

That night after supper, all the tables were cleared off, and curtains were opened on a stage that looked like it came from a Roaring-Twenty's Speakeasy.

The cover came off of the piano, and an amplifier was plunged in. Then some guy set up a few microphones and by nine o'clock the joint was jump-in.

There was a guy playing harmonica in the back of the stage, he had a mic all to himself. He looked familiar to Teller but Teller couldn't figure out where he had seen the guy before. Everyone just called the black guy, Walter.

Then there was another black guy called Jelly Roll on the piano, A Mexican guy called Pokito played base fiddle, Coleman Hawkins play'n Saks, and Teller play'n guitar.

Sue and her sister, Mary, (Yes, the wind predicting Mary), sang mostly country songs. They also sang requests if they knew them. They sang back-up for Teller when he did his Chuck Berry, Gene Pitney, or Elvis interpretations.

Also, there was a mix of Dillon, The Rolling Stones, and a couple of Beetle's songs.

Everyone had a good time, and the more they drank the less they noticed how hard the wind was blowing.

And by two in the morning the band called it a night.

The wind gave up about the same time, just mild breezes were all that was left.

 

The next morning, Teller woke up at 10 A.M.. to the smell of coffee and what he thought was bacon frying.

He was sleeping sitting up in an old High-back chair and the bed looked like it had hardly been touched.

Teller found he still had his pants and T-Shirt on. One boot and his dress shirt were off, the shirt was on the bed. So Teller figured he must have had a very good time.

After some time in the shower Teller was ready to hit the highway, but packing his Bag and having a little breakfast would have to come first.

So Teller packed his Overnight-Bag and while checking the room for things left behind, he saw it.

It was a woman's silk slip, with lace and other girly stuff around the edges; it was on the floor near the bed.

"Were the hell did that come from?" Teller mumbled to himself. Then he thought and said, "I don't remember much, but you'd think I'd remember something like that. God, I must be getting old."

Well, first things first, Teller stuff the slip in his front pocket and grabbed his bag, then he headed for the dinning-room.

 

After a lite breakfast and two cups of coffee, Teller paid his bill and walked to the garage.

As he crossed the street he could see his recently washed GTO parked at the curb, "God that's a great looking car," Teller mumbled to himself. Then he made a joke to start his day, "If I could drive two GTO's at the same time, they'd both be exactly the same; like shoes."

Teller went into the garage office, Sue wasn't there. So he pulled the slip from his Levi pocket and shoved between the pencil sharpener and the ashtray, but it was still visible.

Teller didn't know for sure if the garment belonged to Sue, but if it didn't then she might know who it did belong to; Teller's not much for show-and-tell, so he wasn't going to ask any questions.

Then Teller went to the Coke Cooler and took a Dr. Pepper from the rack, opened it, and took a swig.

That's when Sue walked into the office from the garage. And as soon as she saw Teller she said, "Well, if it isn't Mr. Rum and Coke. How are you feeling this morning?"

But before Teller could answer, Sue said, "A shower, coffee, and a little breakfast must have done the trick for you."

Teller replied. "How is it you always seem to know what I'm going to say, before I say it?"

Sue laughed and replied, "Must be a gift, I guess."

That is when Sue noticed her slip was on the desk. So she laughed and said, "How did that get there? I looked all over your room for it but I was in a hurry to get the station opened, so I must not have looked good enough.

After the jam session and you had gone upstairs, I noticed you left your guitar on the bandstand. So I put it in it's case and took it to your room.

When I got there, I found the door opened and you were sitting in the high-back chair, one boot on and one boot off. Oh, and your western dress shit was on the floor.

I tried to get you to go to bed, but you were dead to the world. So I figured if you weren't gonna use the bed, I would. So I stripped to my undies and put on your shit, (Hope you don't mind, I figured you weren't gonna wear it again today.). Then I hit that feathered like a lump of potatoes; best I've slept in ages.

I was up, showered, and was out of there just in time to open the garage at six.

Not having to walk home and back to the station gave me an extra hour sleep. And again, I hope you don't mind."

Teller smiled and said, "Letting a feather-bed go unused is a terrible thing, so I'm happy someone made good use of it."

Sue walked over to the wall by the desk, and took a clip-board from a hook, then she said, "Sign at the bottom and date it." Then she handed the clip-board and a pen to Teller.

Teller signed it, but he didn't date it, hell, he had no idea what the date was.

As Teller handed the clip-board and pen back to Sue, she handed Teller his car keys, saying, "Your good to go."

With that said, Teller took the keys and walked out of the office, Sue followed close behind.

As Teller tossed his Overnight-Bag in the back seat, and slid into the driver's seat, he told Sue, "You know, if I was a little younger and prone to settling down, you and Chester would be my target."

Sue smiled and replied, You are only as old as you feel, Rain-man, and when the time comes for settling somewhere, come back and see us, we'll be here."

Then Sue stepped back and Teller drove away with a puzzled look on his face.

 

Teller turned right onto the highway and turned the radio on. He dialed around until he happened upon a local radio station that was playing Rockabilly music.

It wasn't long before the station's DJ announced a song by a local singer that he called Guitar George.

"Guitar," Teller grumbled, "I left the dammed Guitar in my hotel room!"

So before anyone could say, Bull-fog Hop-pin, Teller had swung the car around and headed back to Chester.

 

When Teller pulled onto the road to Chester, he noticed that the terrain was different, not a lot, but enough to notice. Then he saw a state-park sign that stated, "Historical, and Haunted, Town of Chester, straight ahead. Turn to your A. M. Radio to channel 98 for self-guided tour information."

"Self-guided tours, what the?" Teller mumbled to himself.

 

It wasn't long before Teller pulled the GTO up in front of the garage, the garage was closed. In fact, everything in town seemed to be closed, and there was no-one on the streets, not a soul.

Teller got out of the car and walked to the door of the garage. He tried to open the door as he called out, "Sue, hay Sue!" There was no reply.

So Teller walked over to the window of the office and looked inside. Everything looked just as Teller had seen it that morning, but it was dusty in there, and there were cobwebs in a few corners.

"What's going on?" Teller questioned, "Where is everyone?"

Teller was thinking about going over to Maggie's Saloon/Hotel when something caught his eye; it was the Silk Slip that Teller had put there that morning.

Teller's eyes searched the wall next to the desk, sure enough, there was the clip-board but there was no sales receipt for his tires, and no signature of Teller's.

Teller walked out to the car and looked at the tires. The tires on the car were not new, they were the ones he came there with. The one's that Sue said needed replacing.

Teller checked his money, the money he had spent in town was not missing from his money-clip; it was as if he was never there.

So Teller opened the trunk on the GTO and sure enough, his Guitar was still there.

That is when Teller got in the car to leave, and when he did he looked at the gas gauge, it was a little less than half fully.

"Hmm, I didn't buy gas either, maybe it was all a dream." Teller mumbled, then he started the car.

 

The way Chester was now set up, the streets were all one way. So in order to leave town you had to drive all the way through, and around it.

The last stop, if you were willing to stop and read the plaques along the way, was the graveyard on the hill behind the town.

Well Teller couldn't help himself, so he stopped and read the Plaque at the entrance to the Graveyard. It said, "The land for this graveyard was donated by William Chester, self made millionaire and bootlegger extraordinaire.

Mr. Chester claimed that his success was due to the sight of those that could see without eyes, could hear without ears, and could read what was written in the stars.

Seldom caught and never prosecuted by authorities, Mr. Chester built this town and gave lifetime free rent to those that he said made his life blessed.

His donation of the town to the State's Historical Society was finalized after the deaths of it's last two rent free residents, Sue and Mary Scales; both who were said to be Clairvoyants.

Local fables say that the town is haunted by past residents, and music can be heard when the wind blows. Both claim are unsubstantiated and have never been recorded."

 

Before Teller left the graveyard, he located Sue's grave.

And after he did he placed a guitar-pick on her gravestone; then he put a rock on top of the pick to keep the wind from blowing it away. That is when Teller said, "Save this for me, Sue, I'll be back to get it in the By and By."

 

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

04-06-2021

 


Submitted: April 19, 2021

© Copyright 2021 D. Thurmond aka JEF. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Ann Sepino

Lovely way to end the trilogy. Marion was an interesting character. I love his mysterious introduction, which also serves to ease the existence of Chester into the story. I also love the detailed descriptions of Chester and its locals. The little hints to what the residents can do are brilliant. And that ending is so satisfying. :)

Sat, May 1st, 2021 12:02pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Ann, I am very happy you like the outcome. --- Actually, it was your comments after you read "Thunder Valley Dreaming" that lead me to the conclusion that Teller's situation, and Teller himself, needed further explanation. (After all, he's not just your average Rain-maker.) And since Teller's story is ending now, for now, I thought it would be good to project a future place for him to haunt. Did I say haunt? I meant a final resting place among others of his kind. Resting, that is, until a windy night might happen along. ... LOL

Sat, May 1st, 2021 11:45am

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