Sunday, February 8, 2015

The blood of Christ, Charlie Lemon, and the dead of night.

Maxwell stood in the doorway between the back room and the radio studio and looked down at the man on the couch.  He muttered a bit, his leg twitched and then he lay still.  The ringing phone didn't disturb his sleep.  Tonight the phone was ringing left and right and the requests and people were, in a word, crazy. Maxwell put on an extended set because he didn't want to answer anymore calls.

He had basically carried little Charlie back to the station.  By the time Charlie collapsed after the fit of singing and dancing around the church "revival" fire, Maxwell needed to be at work.  Nobody seemed to pay any attention to the collapsed guy, so Maxwell simply lifted him up and put him over his shoulder firemen style. He picked-up the guy's bag and started walking.

He was making good progress, but Charlie suddenly woke-up and demanded to be put down. Maxwell obliged, but as soon as he put him down, Charlie swayed and started gibbering something.  He sounded like the church people talking in tongues. Maxwell thought it was amusing.

Then Charlie stood stalk still and said, "We KILLED him, you know."

"What?"Maxwell's eyebrows rose and the smile disappeared.

Charlie stepped closer, looked both directions and softly said, "My mother and me," he swallowed, "we killed him. He was a crook, and we had had enough." Charlie's eyes told Maxwell that he was standing there, but he wasn't there.


"Pappa. The old man." Charlie was whispering by that point. They were standing in the alley. The night air seemed to be holding its breath. Maxwell could smell the smoke from the next corner.

"Charlie, I know we just met, you've probably just had a bit too much of the blood of Christ."
"I'm Charlie, Charlie Lemon. I never saw any blood. My mother made it go away, and then she went away." Charlie then snickered as if he remembered a joke. "And then I went away.  Far, far away." He gestured and then his arm just dropped.
"Dude, you should stop talking now.  I don't know what the church folks slipped into the punch that was passed around, but you clearly are out of your mind." Maxwell reached out and touched him on the shoulder and it was as if the spell was broken. Maxwell barely had time to catch Charlie before he hit the pavement.  As Maxwell lifted him back onto to his shoulder, he grunted. It felt like Charlie had gotten heavier somehow. "Come on, little man, time to get you on the couch."

The set was almost over, and Charlie turned over so that he faced the back of the couch, muttered something else and was still. Maxwell took another sip of his coffee, turned and went to answer yet another phone call.


  1. Hello Maxwell. I must apologize for the lack of timeliness in my comment. My post was up on Tuesday, and my comment did not succeed in loading here for whatever reason.