Melody: A Pleasing Arrangement of Sounds
I was at PutPut Town on Main Street. It was my usual hang out spot in the summer. I had been going there since I was 10 and I was now 23. My first time there I went with my brother and was amazed at the small course of 18 holes that wrapped around the small piece of land between a Starbucks and a bar. Nothing says family fun like mini golf, coffee, and alcohol. Unfortunately for my brother, I had never mini golfed before and I thought the method used to drive a ball was the method used to mini golf. One bump on the head later we became friends with Melody, the beautiful girl who worked there, and I returned every day in the summer.
The sky was cloudy and in the distance extremely dark. Being situated on a lake, the town was prone to summer thunderstorms and one was definitely waiting to strike this day. The thunder rolled in the distance and I knew that soon PutPut would be closing up the doors for a short break while the storm passed through.
“Business is bad this year, it’s been raining too much. Who wants to play mini golf in the rain?” Melody asked while hanging her head out the service window. “Not to mention you are still jobless, so I get no money from my best customer.”
“Well, if I had money, I’d play in the rain, it’s the damn lightning that’s scaring people away.” I said stepping out from under the awning to see if the rain had started falling. The sun had gone away and there was no way the rain would miss us now.
“Hey, you know if you stopped spending money in that bar over there you would have money to golf.” She said in her sarcastic tone that urged me to change my ways. “You wanna’ help me close up the putters and windows? I have a feeling no one is gonna’ come right now anyway.” I reached up to grab the flap and a swarm of bees flew down darting at my head. I ran away like a little girl and narrowly escaped the wrath of what seemed like a thousand yellow and black hell hounds. When I finally felt it was safe I took my hands away from my head and heard Melody laughing and gasping for air. She was bent over and could not control herself. She looked up at me and her tanned knees were red from where she had been holding them. Not only did I lose my manhood with that act, but it only hurt more that she was a volunteer firefighter who faced danger frequently.
So much for my attempt to ask Mel out today. Not that I would have really asked her out since I hadn’t asked her in the thirteen years I had been going there. My brother had asked her out once, or so he said. He said she was too busy; I think she said no.
Mel was finally settling down, but tears had formed in her eyes from laughing so hard.
“Hey now,” I said, “It wasn’t that funny. Besides, bees are scary.”
“Yeah, Joel, are you allergic?”
“No, but that doesn’t mean anything. They still hurt if they sting you.” Mel walked towards me and pinched my arm. “Ow!”
“Just as I thought, you are a wuss. Haha.” She turned to finish closing up and I went to chase after her but I was interrupted by a blood curdling scream. I had never heard anything like that in my entire life.
“What the hell was that?” I asked and then we bolted around the building to get a view of Main Street.
“Oh my God, Joel, look!” The thunder rumbled and then all was silent as a car rolled down the hill with the passenger side door open and a woman being dragged along beside it. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do. All I could think of was my life. It was as if I was the one being dragged beside the car and my life was flashing before my eyes.
I was 7. My brother, Nathan and I had a neighbor who liked to capture squirrels and kill them. His whole backyard was full of the cages he captured them in and the tool shed had all sorts of blades and poisons depending on his choice of murder for the day. Nathan and I thought we had the perfect plan though. We waited and watched for weeks. Or maybe Nathan waited and watched. Regardless the time came when all the cages were full and we knew that he was going to kill them that afternoon. After some convincing Nathan got me to skip school with him and we went to the fence. I hoisted him up over and he quickly opened all the cages letting our furry friends loose on the asshole’s garden. I shouted in excitement and Nathan quickly motioned for me to be quiet. After he made sure the squirrels got away he came back over to the fence. The one flaw in our plan was that we forgot how to get my brother back over the fence.
“Joel,” Nathan whispered, “you have to go get the ladder from the garage and put it over the fence.”
“I can’t. I can’t reach it.”
“You have to try. I can’t get back over.”
“Nathan, I can’t you have to find another way.”
“Just go try. Try!” His voice was more frantic now. All of a sudden I heard a door open on the other side of the fence. “Joel, he’s here, help me.” With that Nathan ran away from the fence and I ran to school. I didn’t want to get in trouble.
He had hid in the tree until the neighbor went back in his house. His plan worked until he tried to get down from the tree on our side of the fence and broke his leg. Dad still doesn’t know that I was there too.
I was 23. A car was screeching down the hill and the sound returned. People were yelling and the rain was starting to come down. A man from the top of the hill was running behind the car but he would never catch up to it at this point. The woman being dragged by the car didn’t make a sound and other than the bumps of the road that caused her to bounce she didn’t move. Her car wasn’t slowing down at all and wouldn’t on this hill without some kind of intervention.
Every inch of me wanted to turn and run, to pretend like I had never seen any of this. If I didn’t see it maybe it didn’t really happen. But just as I turned I saw Melody. She was throwing off her flip flops so that she could run after the car. I was frozen until I saw her. She shouted,
“Call 911, Joel!” As she ran by me, I caught her arm.
“Wait, I have shoes,” I started towards my bike and yelled back at her as I took off, “and you will never catch it on foot. You call 911!”
I felt empowered and pedaled as fast as I could to try and catch up with the car. I didn’t have a plan for how I would actually stop it when I caught up to it, but I was determined to do something this time.
I was right behind the car and the rain was coming down in sheets at this point. I could barely see the woman so I couldn’t tell if she was alright. The car seemed to be slowing so I pulled to the side to try and free the woman. I reached out and could feel the fabric of her shirt. I reached a little further and then my bike stopped. I was flying through the air and then everything was black.
I felt sick. I tried to open my eyes but they seemed like they were glued together. My mouth was dry and everything hurt. I cracked my eyes and saw my dad and my brother. Melody was in the corner and had a bandage around her forearm. I was in a white room. I didn’t recognize it and I didn’t remember what happened. I opened my mouth to talk but nothing came out.
“Don’t try to talk, Joel.” I recognized my dad’s voice. “You hit a car while you were on your bike. You are pretty banged up but you will be fine.” So much for saving a life and I am sure I looked very stupid in the process. Melody stepped closer to the bed and said,
“If it makes you feel any better the woman in the car is alright. I know you didn’t save her, but you made a valiant effort.”
“Yeah, right up until he slammed into a bright yellow car,” my lovely brother interjected. “Your arm?’ I managed to push out.
“Oh, it’s fine, don’t worry” Mel replied.
“It’s not fine,” Nathan said. “She burned it saving that woman’s life and then had to pull your sorry ass out from underneath your bike and then pull you out of the road. My brother would get saved by a girl.”
“Enough.” My dad said in a stern voice.
“And you wondered why I said no, Nathan.” Mel looked at him with disdain.
“Nathan,” my dad said, “let’s leave them alone. Joel needs to get rest anyway.” Nathan looked at Mel and a look of realization washed over his face. He probably realized what he lost when she said no.
“Don’t pay attention to Nathan.” Mel said as the door closed.
“I don’t anymore.” My voice was returning. “I am sorry about your arm.”
“Don’t be, just a little burn. Besides it’s not your fault. You know what, I am proud of you. You know what else?”
“I didn’t just say ‘no’ because Nathan is an ass. I was waiting.”
“Waiting for what?”
“You.” I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say. I smiled because for once in my life things were looking up. She looked at me with her beautiful blue eyes and winked. She walked to the door and turned before she left, “Don’t keep me waiting.”
© Autumn Siders 2010