What you will find here

This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn

Friday, May 30, 2014

Excerpt from Bedina's War - Lazy Eight Ladies Chapter Three


Livia walked into Ray’s Café and trembled. A sea of Orchideans

peered up at her.

“Good morning, Miss Livia!” Cornelius shouted, startling Gaia,

who began to cry.

A bear burst out of the kitchen; a bear in a blue apron. “Who’s

frightening the tiny baby?”

Gaia wailed.

“I didn’t mean to!” Cornie pleaded.

Livia stared at them, blinking away tears.

“Stop it, the both of you,” Jones Fredark growled. “You’re making

Livia cry.”

“Are you crying?” Ray peered down, his voice a horrified whisper.

“No, no! I’m not,” the tears streamed. “I’m not crying.”

“You made her cry.” Cornelius accused Ray.

“I did not!” Ray yelled. Gaia howled. “I did not,” he whispered.

“Are we going to get something to eat this morning?” grumped a

voice from the rear.

“Get out!” Ray bellowed. “Out! All of you. Crying babies and crying

ladies and you’re thinking about your stomachs.”

“At a time like this,” admonished Cornelius.

“Don’t go!” Livia sobbed. “How can I wait on you if you go


The men who were leaving froze.

“She’s right,” Cornelius said to Ray.

“Yep. She’s right. Can’t do no waitressing if there’s no one to wait

on,” Fredark agreed.

“No,” Livia shook her head and wiped at her wet cheeks.


Ray scowled, “Alright, sit down.”

The men hesitated, looking at each other.

“Sit down, I said!”

Gaia hiccupped and wailed again.

“Shush, shu-shu. Hushaby, Gaia-baby. I’ll be quiet.” Ray held his

fingers to his lips. “We’ll all be quiet.”

“Sit down and shush up,” Cornelius hissed.

Gaia giggled.

“Oh!” Ray beamed. “She likes that. Say it again, Cornie.”

“Sit down and shush up.”

Gaia pealed with laughter.

“How can we order breakfast if we have to be quiet?” asked a voice

from the back.

Livia and Cornie looked at Ray. He held up his hands. “I know.

One at a time, very quietly, you tell Miss Livia here what you want to

eat and she’ll come tell me.”

“Seems simple enough.” Cornie led the nodded assents.

“We’ll start with you, Lefkin. What do you want for breakfast?”

Livia smiled at the man.

“Three eggs, over easy, a side of bacon, biscuits, grits, coffee and a

honey comb.”

Livia looked at him, trying not to panic. She walked back to Ray.

“Lefkin wants —“

“No, don’t tell me here. Tell me in the kitchen.” He took her arm.

“Come on.”

They walked through the hall and into the kitchen, past the sinks,

beyond the pots of bubbling grits and the oven filled with baking

biscuits to the grill which lined the back wall.

“Now, Miss Livia.”

“Good morning, Mr. Ray.” She grinned. Gaia cooed. Ray’s eyes

shone. “Lefkin wants eggs.”

“How many?”


“And how did he want them?”

“On the side.”


Ray tilted his head. “On the side?”

“And bark gum.”

“Bark gum? You mean tree sap?”

“Um. Yes?”

“Anything else?”

“Yes.” She drew a deep breath, trying to remember.

Ray smiled patiently. “Did he want pancakes to go with his tree


“Pancakes? What are pancakes?”

“Tain’t never had pancakes before? They’re fluffy flour and milk

fried on a skillet. I sprinkle them with cinnamon and powdered


“That sounds good.”

“Sometimes I drizzle berries on top.”


“Would you like some?”

Her stomach growled. Then her nose wrinkled as Gaia made

grunting noises. “Oh. I have to take Gaia outside to change her.”

Ray took a step backward. “Reckon.”

When she returned, there were five platters of food ready to be

delivered. Livia tucked Gaia into the crook of her left arm and picked

up one platter. It took her a moment to figure out how to back through

the door.

The men cheered her.

“Here you go, Lefkin.”

“Oh,” Lefkin looked at the men seated with him. “Pancakes.”

“And bark gum,” Livia beamed.

It took her quite a while to deliver each platter, but eventually,

every man at Lefkin’s table had a plate. She smiled at them and they

sheepishly grinned back. Then the sound of soft grumbling drew her

attention to the other forty-five tables filled with hungry men.

Ray came into the hall balancing four platters and deposited them

at the next table.

“I didn’t order this,” a smallish man complained.

“Yes, you did.” Ray assured him.


“But, I don’t like pancakes.”

“I do,” Fredark piped up. “I’ll trade you my sausages for your pancakes.”

Ray touched her elbow. “There’s more plates to be delivered.”

“Oh! I liked how you carried more than one plate at a time. Can

you show me how to do that?”

“Reckon. But you’d do a might better using both hands.”

“I’ll help. I hate pancakes. I mean,” Cornie reached for Gaia. “I’ll

hold Gaia.”

As she was pulled away, a slimy trail of syrup continued to connect

her to Livia’s shirt.

“Why aren’t you wearing an apron?” Ray asked in a disapproving tone.

“I don’t have an apron.” Livia’s voice trembled.

“No worries, Livia. We’ll fix you up.” Ray reached behind the door

and presented her with a maroon piece of fabric with strings.

“How does it go?”

“This goes here.” He pressed the fabric against her chest and then

realized where his beefy fingers were. “Um. Here. You hold it up. And I’ll,”

he pulled two strings away from the top and tied them behind her head.


“Sorry. Caught your hair. It’s beautiful — your hair.” He took a step

closer, his hands still behind her head.

“Thank you.”

“Oh Ray, you beast! Thank you!” a voice catcalled from the onlookers.

“And you tie these behind you.” He reached behind her back.


They both released the apron and it fell to the floor.

“It’s huge.” Livia bent to pick it up.

“It fits me just fine.”

“She’s a dainty thing, Ray-boyo. It won’t fit!” someone shouted.

“It’ll fit just fine,” Ray growled.

The crowd cackled, nudging and winking at each other.

“What if we wrapped it around me?” Livia pulled the sides behind

and around to the front and tied it. The string still streamed to the floor.

“Here.” Ray pulled the strings behind her and with her in his arms,

fumbled awkwardly.

Livia liked the way she felt in his arms. He wasn’t much taller than

her, so when she tilted her head up, they were nose to nose. “I like the

way you smell.”

His hands stilled and he looked at her mouth.

“Am I all done up now?

“Hmmm.” He liked the way her lips moved when she spoke.

“That’s it; I’m going to Nuffers to eat!” a voice groused.

Others agreed.

“Wait!” Livia turned to them. “Wait. I can do this. Don’t go. Just

give me a chance. Just sit down. Lefkin, can you ring up their bills

since you’ve finished eating? Fredark, you put a carafe of coffee on each

table. Ray, you go start cooking and I’ll bring out the plates.”

Most of the men got their breakfasts by the time the lunch crowd

began to enter Ray’s.

Cornie came into the kitchen and had to shout over Gaia’s squalling.

“She won’t stop crying!”

“Did you try singing?” Ray asked.


“Nursery rhymes?”

“Just so.”


“Dry as whiskers.”

Livia sighed. She knew exactly what was wrong. Her nipples had

begun to leak as soon as Gaia started crying. “She’s hungry.”

“Well,” Cornelius handed the infant to her mother. “Great place to

be hungry. Café and all.”

Gaia clutched at Livia’s apron.

“Oh.” Cornie paled.

“How do I — where do I?”

Ray blushed. “Oh.”

She was yanking at the strings behind her. “I can’t untie this.”

“I’ll help.” Ray embraced mother and child.


“Sorry.” Ray squirmed. “I can’t see. You hair is in the way.”

“Let me help.” Cornie stood behind her.



“Don’t hurt her!”

“I wasn’t hurting her, Ray.”

Sally walked into the kitchen to find Livia sandwiched between the

two men. “I don’t mean to interrupt anything.”

The men sprang away from Livia like magnetized poles. Her apron

had two streams of wet running down the front. Gaia was sucking

madly on the greasy maroon fabric. The Earther looked at the Spa’Lab

and burst into tears.

Excerpt from

Bedina’s War

© Evelyn Rainey

Comfort Publishing

ISBN 9781936695881

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