Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re calling back into the nineteen-sixties. I just need to hook up this Einstein-Rosen switchboard.
Done, and we’re connecting.
“Eastham Correctional Facility.”
“Good morning. This is Lisa Burton, and I have an appointment to speak with Charlie Riddle.”
“Very good, ma’am. The prisoner is standing by. I’ll connect you.”
“Hello. Lisa? Lisa Burton?”
“Is this Charlie Riddle?”
CR: Yeah, it’s me.
“Charlie, I’m sure we’re all sorry about your circumstances. We’d like to understand how you got to this point in your life.”
“It’s a long story, but if you’ve got time, I have plenty to spare. I grew up in Odessa, Texas. If you’ve never been there, it’s flat land with nothing but sand and oil wells. My ol’ man worked the rigs, so as soon as I turned seventeen, I hired out. The oil field was a tough damn way to earn a living, but it was all I knew. I’ve seen men lose fingers, toes and even their lives working the rigs. But, I was good at it. I wasn’t afraid to climb to the top of the derrick or grab a pair of three-hundred-pound tongs. Hours were long. Money was good. Cocaine was cheap, and the Texas honkytonks was where I spent my days and nights off.”
“Sounds like a hard life, but I don’t see how that would lead you to Eastham.”
“It was a woman.”
“Isn’t it always?”
“Oh, but this one. She was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. Nelda Sue could make me weak in the knees. But, she made it clear from the beginning, that until she had a ring on her finger she was free to go with anyone she wanted to. We’d spend lots of time together when I wasn’t working, but let’s just say we weren’t exclusive.”
“So it was more casual. That can be fun.”
“I wouldn’t say it was casual. I was head-over-heels in love with Nelda Sue. I even paid the rent on her trailer over in Monahans. I’d work overtime to buy her pretty things that she wanted. But, it was never enough. I was working hard to save enough money to buy her the biggest diamond ring I could find, then she’d be mine and we could start a life together.”
“Oh, Charlie. You had it bad, huh?”
“Yeah, I can’t lie. I did. But, the night I saw her out with that oil company bum…that’s what we called the men that owned the oil company…well that’s when things went sideways. I couldn’t take it.”
“I don’t know, Charlie. Something seems to be missing here.”
“There’s a lot missing. I got really messed up on Cocaine and whiskey. I drove around looking for them. I don’t know what in the hell I thought I’d do if I found them, but somehow in my messed-up mind, I thought Nelda Sue would leave him and come with me. Anyway, I never found them.
“I wound up sitting in The New Rainbow bar drinking and thinking when in walked this older woman lookin’ richer than sin. But, what caught my attention was the size of the diamond on her left hand. I watched her. She was waiting for someone, but they never came. So, when she left, I followed her. I never intended to do more than take the ring from her. But, then she screamed and before I even thought about it, I pulled the trigger.
“I killed that poor woman and took the ring off her hand. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.”
“How did you wind up getting caught?”
“I drove to Monahans to Nelda Sue’s trailer and waited for her to come home. Then I put that ring on her hand and she said she’d marry me. I warned her not to show the ring to anyone. I needed her to wait two weeks until I could draw another paycheck, then I’d marry her, and we’d take off to Alabama where I could work the rigs. I thought she understood. But, she started showing the ring off to all her girlfriends and it only took a couple of days for word to get back to me. When a buddy of mine came to work and congratulated me, I knew I had to run. So, I jumped in my truck and headed for old Mexico. I figured they couldn’t get me there and I could send for Nelda Sue. But, somewhere between Odessa and El Paso, my mind disconnected. I snorted all the Cocaine I had on me and followed the broken white line until my truck ran out of gas. I was picked up in El Paso for vagrancy. It didn’t take long for them to connect the dots. Nelda Sue married that oil company bum and has just given birth to his son. I lost everything.”
“That’s all so tragic, Charlie. Sounds like a bunch of bad choices. Besides, you can’t expect a woman not to show off a diamond ring. That’s asking too much. Any closing remarks for our listeners today.”
“Just this. If the price is too high, folks, walk away.”
“Thank you Charlie.
“Listeners can learn all about Charlie and Nelda Sue in the first short story, “Obsessed” in Two Shorts & a Snort, by Jan Sikes. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website after I go off the air.
“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”
This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.
How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.
Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.
Friends Instead of Lovers:
Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.
Tow Shorts and a Snort is available in ebook and paperback at this site: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL/
You can get autographed copies directly from Jan at her website: http://www.jansikes.com/
Multi-Award-winning author, Jan Sikes, weaves stories in a creative and entertaining way. She has been called a magician and wordsmith extraordinaire by her readers and peers.
Jan published a series of four Biographical Fiction books with a musical twist; “Flowers and Stone,” “The Convict and the Rose,” “Home at Last,” and “Til Death Do Us Part.” They chronicle the life of Texas musician, Rick Sikes, a pioneer in the Outlaw Music movement before it ever had a name. She also released a music CD of original songs which match the time-period of each story. She also published a unique book of poetry and art, which combines heartfelt poetry with pen-and-ink drawings.
Four of her five books have won literary awards. She has won several short story writing contests and most recently won the grand prize in the RRBC 90-day Alpha/Omega Short Story challenge.
Jan has written songs, poetry, short stories, screenplays, and novels. She resides in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals and has five grandchildren who keep her busy in her spare time. She sits on the board of directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History. She hosts an internet radio show, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE and is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. She serves on the RAVE WRITERS – INT’L OF AUTHORS Executive Committee.
You can catch up with Jan at the following places:
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: