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Story listed as: Fiction For Adults | Theme: Drama | Subject: Character Based | Published here : 02/01/2018
Broken People 
By Herm Sherwood-Sitts
Born 1955, M, from Norwich NY, United States
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Broken People
Broken People
By Herm Sherwood-Sitts

Tommy, was working the night shift at the service station. In between filling up cars, he was changing the oil in his 64 Falcon. His job was to run the station and answer service call’s with the tow truck. He was spreading a little oil around the ring of the filter and it reminded him: the only thing his father gave him was the mechanic gene.

Ya see… Tommy came from a very abusive childhood. His father was a mean drunk and took it out on Tommy’s mother. Later, when Tommy was ten or so, his mom died of breast cancer. It was then that Tommy took her place in receiving the abuse. When he was old enough, he enlisted to go to Vietnam. It was an awful way to save himself; he traded one hell for another.

Vietnam took its toll and Tommy came back a wounded man. He had scars that were not visible to the eye, but demanding on the soul. He pretty much kept to himself and though he thinks the mechanic gene is all he inherited, alcohol addiction was another.

He had been working for Bob for four years. Bob was a bastard to work for and he always screwed Tommy on his pay. Tommy stayed, because Bob was the only one that would put up with his addiction and jobs were scarce in this small town. Tommy has been trying to turn his life around. He has been going to AA meetings for eight weeks now.

The phone rang and it was Trooper Briggs. “Hey Tommy… we got a breakdown on 88, just above the bridge. Are you available?”

“Yes, I’ll be right there,” said Tommy.

Tommy then grabbed his coat, closed up the station and fired up the old tow truck. Driving through the pouring rain, he headed for route 88.

Waiting for Tommy to arrive was Chrystal. She pushed the button and the window of the 67 Caddy went down smoothly.

“Tommy will be right here to help you, mam. I have another call, so I have to leave. Tommy will take good care of you.” The trooper tipped his hat, gave her a wink and was on his way.

While waiting for the tow truck, Chrystal thought about her life. She came from money, but money isn’t everything. Her father was a Senator and her mother was a socialite. From the time Chrystal was born they never had time for her. She was raised by nannies and housekeepers until prep school. Two years ago her mom passed away. Three days ago she lost her father. Though they always took care of her financially, she hardly knew them. She was on her way to go to the funeral and settle the estate. Because of the lack of love, Chrystal was somewhat timid and alone.

When Tommy arrived, He put on the flashing lights, grabbed his flashlight and walked up to the car. The steamy window came down and the flashers enhanced the glow of her beautiful skin. Her ice blue eyes and long blond hair gave her a movie star look. She made Tommy’s heart skip a beat, which made him hesitate to talk.

“Hi I’m Tommy. What seems to be the problem?” he asked.

“Well I hit that puddle back there and the car just stalled,” she said.

The rain had let up to a sprinkle as Tommy walked around to the hood of the Caddy. After popping the hood, he asked her if she could hold the light. Tommy thought if he could fix it there, he could save her a tow bill. Bob’s prices were brutal.

Chrystal opened the door and Tommy could hear the click of her high heel’s work their way to the front of the car. She held the light and watched Tommy take off the distributor cap. He dried it out with a rag the best he could and cleaned up the rotor button with his jack knife.

Tommy noticed the light was moving as she shivered. He gave her a smile and took off his coat and placed it on her shoulders. He then went back to working on the car.

Crystal took in the view of the steam coming off Tommy’s back. His jeans fit just right and his damp shirt outlined his muscles. His sleeves were rolled up and he sported a snake tattoo with USMC on his forearm. The dim light glistened off of his shiny black hair, which was slicked back and a little over his collar. His two day scruff made him look rugged. When he caught her looking, she returned to being timid.

Tommy had her get in and give it a try. The Caddy fired up and purred like a kitten. He shut the hood and returned to her window.

“How much do I owe you?” Said Chrystal, while reaching for her purse.

Tommy wanted to say, “How about a cup of coffee at the diner down the road?” However, common sense told him; 'why would a pretty girl like her, want to do anything with a greasy bum like me?'

“Fifteen would be fine,” he said instead.

Chrystal handed him a twenty and gave him a smile. “Thank you,” she said. And they parted ways.

Tommy returned to the station and finished the oil change on his 64 Ford.

It wasn’t until about ten miles down the road that Chrystal noticed she still had Tommy’s jacket. She made a U-turn and headed back down route 88. She had been thinking how nice it would be, to be loved by a guy like Tommy. She was tired of being alone. Visions of his handsome rough face were going through her mind.

It had been only about twenty minutes when the phone rang again.

“Hey Tommy, Trooper Briggs here again. We need you at the railroad crossing north on 88. There has been a terrible accident.”

Tommy closed up the station once more and headed north on 88. He had thought, 'could this be the caddy?' Then he realized, she would be a lot farther than that by now. When he arrived to the scene, blinding lights were flashing on fire trucks and police cars. As he walked towards the accident he overheard the engineer say, “She just crashed right into us.” When Tommy got to car, sure enough it was the 67 gold Caddy convertible. His heart dropped and while they extracted the girl, he paced around in circles with his face in his hands. Tears ran down his cheeks as he hooked the chains up to haul the car away.

The next morning, Bob arrived at the station. Tommy’s car was still in the garage and the tow truck was missing. Bob then called Tommy’s apartment and there was no answer.

After arriving at Tommy’s residence, Bob found his tow truck. The gold Caddy was still hooked up. Bob glanced inside and saw a large amount of blood. Jammed under the brake pedal was a red high heel shoe and on the passenger side was Tommy’s coat. He went up on Tommy’s porch, yelled out a few profanities and pounded on the door. There was no answer, so he tried a few more times. After no answer again, he broke the door down and proceeded inside. He found Tommy in his living room chair with a large empty bottle of Jack at his feet and a partial bottle of Wild Turkey in his hand. Tommy had died of alcohol poisoning. Apparently losing Chrystal brought back the loss of his comrades in Vietnam.

I know what you all are thinking… Why didn’t I write a better ending? If he just would have asked her to go for a cup of coffee, the timing of the train would have been different.

But you see my friend, the real truth is… we live in a world of Broken People.
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