ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Small Dude, A fictional short story, Part 7

Updated on October 4, 2012
"Evening landscape",by Karl Heffner (1849-1925)
"Evening landscape",by Karl Heffner (1849-1925) | Source

Lunch was quite an enjoyable experience for the whole group. Once it was over, everybody separated to do various activities. Vinnie went on a boat ride with the twin boys and the dogs. Ms. Jones retired to her room to take a nap. Jorge played Scrabble with his his daughters Vega and Juanita. Maria was watching her husband getting his butt kicked by his two daughters, while she was doing some needlework on a quilt she was making. As for Virgil and Maria-Helena, they decided to wash the Jeep truck and her own Mazda, now all covered with a fine coat of dust. They had fun doing that together.

Later in the day, after Vinnie had come back, both him and Virgil took a look at the Jeep truck's engine, and at Vinnie's 1976 Chevelle that he had restored himself too. Virgil asked his friend:

- " What do you think of the truck ?"

- "Well" Vinnie said, with a teasing look on his face "I have to admit you did a pretty decent job for a white boy" Both men started laughing, but Vinnie wasn't quick enough to escape Virgil's fist that landed on his biceps.

- Damn, that hurts !"

- "Good, that'll teach you to be critical of my work. How much horsepower did you get out of that piece of crap Chevelle of yours anyway !"

- " At least 350, as far as I know".

- " And who could possibly need that"

- "Well, me for starters, big boys like to have big toys !"

The evening was going to be the best part of the day. Women and girls concentrated on preparing dinner, grilled chicken on the barbecue with Spanish rice and beans. After another filling meal, Virgil carried out a chiminea from the shed, and lit up the fire right in the middle of the porch. Vinnie went to his car to pick up his guitar, sat on the swing and started playing some blues music while humming. By now, everybody was sitting in circle around the fire, and the singer started an awsome rendition of Ray Charles' "Worried Mind". As he just finished, normally super shy Vega walked up to him and asked if he could play Eric Clapton's song "Tears in Heaven". He said he could and Vega told him she wanted to sing it. As Vinnie started to play the intro, she dedicated the song to her big sister Carmen and she began to sing. A couple of measures into the song, Vinnie started to sing along. The contrast between the frail sixteen years old and the massive retired Marine was a thing of beauty. They did a wonderful, touching and meaningful interpretation of the song, both having beautiful voices. And Vinnie's self-taught playing of the guitar was absolutely out of this world. This was going to be an evening that would stay forever in everyone's memory. Virgil thought that if it hadn't been for Carmen, this gathering of good people would never had happened. And he felt proud, happy and rewarded for putting it together. Between all the participants, 483 pictures were taken that day !

On Sunday morning, Virgil woke up early, around six, and made a gigantic pot of coffee, along with a truckload of made from scratch biscuits. Maria-Helena joined in about half an hour later to set the table on the boat deck. She also prepared scrambled eggs and bacon. By the time everybody was up, a delicious smell had invaded the kitchen. After breakfast, the Conrero clan drove up to nearby Lake Wales to attend church, and took Mamma Jones along. Vinnie and Virgil were left alone, which gave them some bonding time. They asked each other about their respective wounds. It turned out Vinnie's ankle surgery had been botched and he would never walk properly again. Virgil mentioned occasional chest pains, especially around changes of weather, but nothing he couldn't live with. Maybe it would go away someday ?" They talked about cars and women, what else, but also about the future. Virgil shared his intention to start a non profit organisation, in order to help veterans coming back from Irak and Afghanistan reinsert themselves into civilian life, and also provide useful counseling, not just empty words and promises. Later, he asked Vinnie :

- "What are you doing with the rest of your week ?"

-"Nothing in particular, said Vinnie, I got nothing but time, my friend. The only thing Mamma would like to do is to go visit her sister in Jacksonville on the way back, that's all".

- "How about spending the whole week with me and the doggies then, we'll stay here until tomorrow evening, and then we'll go to the house in Vero Beach. We'll take your Mamma to the ocean, maybe you and I can go fishing. Either way, we'll have plenty of time to talk and have fun. How hard do I have to twist your arm, what do you say ?"

- Man, I don't really know what to say ! Mamma and I had such a great time with you all, we were just talking about it. I was getting depressed just thinking about leaving so quickly. As much as I love home, I didn't feel like driving back to Valdosta, Georgia so soon after meeting with you again. Thank you, my brother, I mean it !"

- "Well, don't thank me, you know I'm gonna give you a hellish time, you can count on it". Both men, who had looked at death right in the eye ,laughed together.

When the churchgoers came back, everybody took turn to drive the Jeep J 10 truck, as Virgil had promised, to the exception of Mamma Jones, who had never driven an automobile her entire life, as she said, so she rode as a passenger when her son's turn came up. Even little Juanita nervously took a shot at it, but she had to sit on her dad's lap, her legs being too short to reach the pedals !.

Then came five o'clock and the Conrero family got ready to leave, as children had school on Monday. They reluctantly packed their belongings in the minivan. After many more hugs and kisses, and the promises to meet again very soon, they got on the road. Virgil then asked Maria-Helena if she was leaving too :

- "I have to, I'm working tomorrow morning !"

- "What line of work are you in ?" Virgil asked.

- "I work in the medical lab at Miami General Hospital. Analysis!"

- "A lab rat, huh ?"

- "Something like that ". With a smile.

Mamma Jones was somewhere inside the cabin, and Vinnie had made himself invisible when Virgil carried Maria-Helena's bag to her car. He helped her to lower the convertible top, as she wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather :

- "What are you doing next week-end". Virgil asked, nervously, trying to look busy.

- "No definite plans yet, why ?" He took a deep breath :

- "Well, I was thinking of driving down to Miami, let's say Saturday evening, and pick you up. Then we could go and have a nice dinner right on the water, somewhere on Biscayne Bay, share an enormous steak of tuna and a bottle of Sancerre, or something like that. Then, maybe we could go dancing and...

Maria-Helena had put her hand over Virgil's mouth to shut him up. She looked up to him with a tender smile and said :

- "The answer is yes !"

They hugged for a long time. Virgil caressed her hair and kissed her on the cheek. She reciprocated. The next minute, she was gone, waving her hand as he watched the Mazda disappear behind the trees...

As Virgil started walking back slowly towards the cabin, his cell phone rang :

- "Hello ?"

- "Do you miss me ?"

- "I'm afraid I do, yes !"

- "Good, it'll keep you on your toes until Saturday !" And she hung up !

Titus and Samson were calmly sitting on the steps of the porch, looking somewhat tired and disoriented after having been through so much activity. They looked sad. Virgil sat with them, a dog on each side, and ran his hands through their coats :

- "You know what, Girls ?:" Both dogs looked up to him, a puzzled look in their eyes and their little heads tilting to one side :

- "Life is good".

The dogs licked his hands for a minute and as if they heard a signal, both suddenly ran away, barking with joy...


Copyright 2012 by Austinhealy, his heirs and assigns


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      I have enjoyed your story so much. I look forward to you writing more, on this or another.

    • austinhealy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bernard J. Toulgoat 

      6 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

      You have been so supportive along the way, I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am. When I published the end of that story earlier today, I knew you would be the first to react about it. I left the end wide open so I can pick up from there anytime and I might just do that, so those characters that you like may reappear. But right now, I am itching to write another story so I'm going to do it while the ideas flow. Thank you for your interest and kindness, it is so encouraging

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      This has been an awesomely beautiful story. I loved your characters and I will miss them. I hope to see you write much more.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)