Ol' Minnie's Tarpaper Shack

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Vignettes

   

We peered into the doorway of the tiny tarpaper shack. A barrel stove belched smoke from the corner of the room. How has this place not burned down and why is she not cold sitting there in a cotton shift dress and thin cardigan? I myself had on 3 layers of clothes and a wool serape over it all and I was still cold. Dog food bags were stapled all along the inside walls. Funny - I had recently begun doing the same thing on the ceiling of my unfinished shop in lieu of the more common black plastic. One day I looked up at the sagging insulation as I held an empty dog food bag in my hand - BING - connection made! It might take me a hundred and ten years but I was determined to finish that shop and turn my home into a beautiful temple too. Call me delusional... 

A scrawny cat sat on the edge of the windowsill next to a milky jug of murky water. Its tail twitched to and fro. I saw no food or sink or toilet facilities and wondered also where the heck did she sleep? A poster of Scooby-Doo riding a skateboard down a psychedelic tunnel was taped to the dog food bag wall. Another funny - Scooby was my favorite cartoon as a kid.

The old old old woman sat at a card table covered with a plastic red and white checkered tablecloth. A dresser leaned against the opposite wall, one of its feet replaced by a phone book. On its dusty surface lay a few objects: a mother of pearl comb, some shards of dirt encrusted pottery and a few cowrie shells. Candles perched precariously on the dresser held up only by their own melted wax bases and a single votive burned in the middle of the table in an empty catfood tin. Minnie motioned to two folding chairs. I closed the flimsy door and we both sat down. She stared at us with her pale eyes and I thought for a moment that maybe she wasn't blind. 

"Do you have something for me?" How could she know that we had stopped at that trading post to pee and ended up buying Twinkies, tobacco and a Jughead comic for her. Lily pushed the offerings across the table.
"Yes. And Wibble says to tell you that you owe him 3 cigarettes from the last poker game."
"The hell I do! That bugger! He owes ME 3 cigarettes!" She waved a pink bandanna in the air to punctuate her point then fumbled with the box of Twinkies and began feeding bits of the spongy yellow cream filled cake to the scrawny cat on the windowsill and also to a scruffy dog that I had not noticed until now, which lay under the table on top of her slipper-clad feet.
When she was done she flipped open a cigar box and retreived a small bundle of faded red cloth. She untied the bundle and revealed a pile of shimmering blue-green gems. Then she looked me directly in the eyes and I thought I saw a flash of light. Exhausted, my sight must be playing tricks on me. 

"You came here from the East not knowing why... you water water water everyday not knowing why... you pray and pray for rain not knowing why. Now I will tell you why. It is because you are the next Rainmaker."

   

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