Finally

This was originally Day 9 prompt of my 30 Day Writing Challenge.  It is far from complete.  There are quite a few things I plan on ferreting out of this initial piece.  So, I hope you’ll stay tuned over the next few weeks.  And by all means, please feel free to leave comments.

Prompt:  Write a story that contains the following words: mask, armor, and steal.

“Jimmie. Hurry up!” Katie whispered.

“I’m moving as fast as I can,” I yelled back.

“Shhh. Keep your voice down.”

“Well stop rushing me.  And besides they can’t hear a thing.”

“Will you guys stop arguing,” Reggie said as he stood at the door listening for any signs that someone was moving around upstairs.  “Let’s just get this thing over with.  We shouldn’t even be doing this.  You just should’ve asked them for it, Katie.”

Katie walks away from her lookout place, the window in the living room and whacks Reggie on the back of the head.  “Ask for it, you say.  Yeah that’s a novel idea.  Why didn’t I ever think of that.  Brilliant.  Absolutely ingenious,” Katie says taking her place back at the window.

In fact, Katie asked nearly every day as a child growing up if she could have them.  The answer was always, “Yes, but . . .”  There was always some condition placed on her ability to acquire them.  One such condition was that she graduate from high school.  Not an unreasonable request considering Katie had no desire to stay in the small backward, hick town she grew up in.  Katie had a plan — graduate from high school and go to one of the top Art History colleges.

That was her plan.

****

She was the high school valedictorian and got accepted to Duke, Columbia, Brown, and U. C. Berkeley.  Katie decided to go Columbia since it was right in the heart of what she called “all that is art”.  She had never really been outside her small West Virginia farming town, except for the occasional school field trip to Charleston or to Washington, DC to the museums.

Many a day Katie would steal away from her duties on the farm and go to Charleston just to look at the building’s architecture.  She loved how they mixed the Gothic architecture with the newer contemporary designs.  Her favorite buildings were the Capitol Building  and the Kanawha County Courthouse.

“Can’t you see it Jimmy,” she would say.  Can’t you see how beautiful the Capitol Building is? Don’t you see the Greek and Roman architectural influences?  And isn’t it amazing how they put limestone over a steel frame.?”

Usually, I would just stand there silent and shrug my shoulders because I didn’t see what she saw.  To me it was just another building, but to her it was art.  She also had this fascination with masks and armor.

I remember we were in the school library when she called me over to look at it.  Some mask she called the Queen Mother Pendant Mask made of all ivory.

“Isn’t it beautiful.” I frowned up in the face because I didn’t see beauty in.  It was actually pretty scary looking to me.  “It’s made of all ivory and it’s one of two,” she said.

“Oh my gosh,” I thought to myself.  “There’s another one of these ugly things out there.”

“I can’t wait to get to Columbia, so I can go to the art museums there.” Katie said.  Then she turned to me and asked, “Jimmie, don’t you ever what’s outside of raising cattle and chickens? Don’t you want to know what’s outside of this town?”

I sat there and thought about it. “No.  I can’t say it ever crossed my mind,” I said.

“Jimmie!” I heard Katie bello.  “What’s taking you so long?  Yo should have had that safe open a long time ago.”

“The lock is rusty, so it’s taking me a little longer.”

“Well hurry it up.  I want them tonight.”

“Katie?” Reggie said timidly as to avoid another whack to the back of the head.

“What, Reggie?”

“What’s in that safe that’s so important that you have to steal it?”

“Don’t worry about it,” she snapped.  “And besides I’m not stealing it.  I’m taking what’s rightfully mine.”

Reggie is really the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet.  A little slow or dimwitted as folks in town called him.  If he could move a mountain for Katie, he would.  He always had this crush on her and he would stand up to anyone who tried to give her a hard time.  But Katie didn’t need protection.  She could definitely handle herself.  And would hog-tie anybody that stood in her way.

“Got it,” I said.

“Move out-of-the-way,” Katie yelled as she came running over to the safe.  I didn’t move fast enough and she pushed me out of her way so hard I fell against a table and knocked the lamp on the floor.  “Finally.  They’re mine.  All these years and they’re finally mine.  I can finally get out of this town.  Maybe I’ll go to Paris or Milan.  Anywhere, just not here.”

“Katie,” I hear something Reggie said.

“Let’s get out of here,” Jimmie said.  “I don’t want to go back to jail.”

Katie closes the safe door and puts the painting back over it while Jimmie puts the lamp back on the table.

“Hurry up they’re getting closer.”

Katie, Reggie, and Jimmie leave the same way they came in — the big bay window she was looking out of.

“Go home, both of you.  And don’t say anything to anybody about this.”

When I woke up the next morning, I heard there had been a break in a Katie’s grandparents house.  Reggie and I wanted to stay away, but seeing as how everyone in town was there I thought it would be better if we went there.  On the way we ran into Drew, Katie’s husband.

“Have you seen Katie?” he asked.

“Not since yesterday afternoon,” I chimed in before Reggie.  He would have told where we were.

“She didn’t come home last night.  I’ve looked everywhere.  I even drove to her favorite places in Charleston to see if she was there.”

“She did it.  She left him,”  I thought.  She always hated Drew, but he was another one of those conditions in order to get what was in the safe.  Drew was the high school varsity football player who as Katie said couldn’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground.  She knew he wouldn’t amount to anything.  That he wouldn’t even be a decent farmer.  And the truth of the matter is he didn’t amount to anything and he was a pretty bad farmer.  He also drank too much, gambled too much, and hit a few times to many for my liking.  But she would fight back each time.

Mr. Matthews, Katie’s grandfather, walked straight up to Reggie and me and asked “Have you boys seen Katie,”

“No, sir,” we said in unison.

“Somebody broke into our house and stole something out our safe,” he said looking at me.

“It wasn’t me sir.  I did my 3 years and I vowed I wouldn’t go back.”

“Hmmm.” He said as he walked away.

Five months later, I got an envelope with two plane tickets to Paris — one for me and one for Reggie.  The note attached said, “Thanks for helping me get what was rightfully mine.”

Two days later Reggie and I landed in Paris.

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Lay it on me

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